Daniel Kolitz's posts - Vietnamese uPOST

What's the Least Useful Body Part? What's the Least Useful Body Part?

We’re all familiar with the flashy, big-ticket organs: the heart, the brain, the lungs. Their celebrity often obscures the work—humbler, less heroic, but often no less essential to the maintenance of a life—performed by those organs only doctors know about: the body’s back-up players, pulsing and pumping in relative…

Why Do People Believe in Pseudoscience? Why Do People Believe in Pseudoscience?

It’s difficult to change someone’s mind if they have anything like a strong opinion on the risks of vaccination, or the usefulness of orbs and essential oils in the treatment of late-stage liver cancer. But if you’re ever going to stand a chance of doing so, you’re going to need to wipe the rage-spittle off your face…

What's the Worst Trash Humans Produce? What's the Worst Trash Humans Produce?

The world is trash. Even leaving aside the garbage of regular citizens—the many stadiums’ worth of shit and piss, plastic cups and pill bottles, scrapped cars and dead dogs dispensed of every day, every hour of every day—there is the world-withering, endlessly-accumulating waste of the industrial variety, which could…

Do Dogs Get Headaches? Do Dogs Get Headaches?

From the outside a dog’s life can seem close to ideal, at least at those moments when your desire to do nothing runs up against the imperatives of being alive (going to work, doing dishes, buying food for the dog, etc.). Plus, dogs generally don’t require fistfulls of Advil just to make it through the day. But would…

What's at the Edge of the Universe? What's at the Edge of the Universe?

It is a routine emotion in 2019 to urgently wish, four or five times in a day, to be launched not simply into space but to the very edge of the universe, as far as it is possible to get from the fever dream of bad weather, busted trains and potentially cancerous thigh lesions that constitute life on Earth. But what…

How Fast Can You Travel Before It Kills You? How Fast Can You Travel Before It Kills You?

The human body can withstand a lot before giving up and dying: falls from second-story windows, years of fevered substance abuse, wolf attacks, etc. We have a pretty good idea of what it can’t tolerate, but some ways of dying instantly have received less attention than others, and speed is one of these. We’ve all seen…

Is Permatripping Real? Is Permatripping Real?

For decades, every town had its spin on the story: the distant cousin or friend of a friend who took a bunch of acid and never came down from their trip. Rumor had it that many of these people were consigned to state asylums, unshakably convinced that they’d morphed into tall, precariously balanced glasses of orange…

Why Do We Forget?

To live is to forget—account numbers, names, the precise locations of keys and wallets, friends from childhood, peripheral characters from prestige TV shows, inside jokes, past ambitions, U.S. history, much else. Goldfish with guns: that’s the human race. But every frailty, we know, serves some larger adaptive…

What's the Loudest Sound in the Universe? What's the Loudest Sound in the Universe?

The human tolerance for sound is, on a galactic level, puny. Volcano eruptions, jackhammer-intensive construction work, My Bloody Valentine concerts—these tinnitus-inducing phenomena are barely whispers besides the majestic, roiling bursts and collisions going on in outer space.

What's the Worst Pain? What's the Worst Pain?

Some people say that life is pain. Those people are optimistic: life isn’t pain, it’s pains, plural—tooth pain, back pain, breakup-pain, the pain of watching your parents grow old and die, the pain of downwardly adjusting your expectations for life, stomach pain and sinus pain, pain you can’t quite trace to any one…

What Was the First Recreational Drug? What Was the First Recreational Drug?

Sex, war, and getting insanely high: Society might’ve changed in the last 60,000 years or so, but these interests have remained constant. In a way, this is a kind of golden age for the aspiring recreational drug user: putting aside the public health consequences of a market flooded with mass-produced speed,…

What's Wrong If You Have a Red, Shiny Nose? What's Wrong If You Have a Red, Shiny Nose?

All this talk about whether or not Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is problematic has obscured a very important question—i.e., what was actually wrong with Rudolph’s nose? Like, medically? Did no one ever think of taking him to a doctor, to see if everything was ok with his nose, before being mean to him about it?

What's the Newest Animal? What's the Newest Animal?

Bears. Donkeys. Fat, friendly dogs. These animals—animals, generally—have been around for an extremely long time, long enough to feel like a fixed part of the landscape. It’s easy to forget that these creatures weren’t always there, and didn’t always look like they do now. On human—as opposed to geologic—time, forms…

What's the Most Dangerous Food of All Time? What's the Most Dangerous Food of All Time?

Surveying the whole scope of human history vis-à-vis food, a couple of themes emerge. One is that humans like their food to taste good. Another is that they like it to not kill them. These two qualities often cohere in the same foodstuff—apples, for instance, taste great, and are not to my knowledge toxic—but…

What's the Smartest Plant? What's the Smartest Plant?

Compared to even the dumbest human being, your average tulip is a moron. But you’d have to be dumber than a tulip to deny that something—maybe not intelligence in its dictionary definition, but some guiding, autonomic power—is at work among the members of the plant kingdom. And if we grant plants this…

Do Animals Grift Each Other? Do Animals Grift Each Other?

Ours is a dog-eat-dog world—but is the same true for dogs? I’ve seen dogs tussle over discarded bits of hamburger meat, but I’ve never seen one try to enlist another in a shady multi-level marketing scheme, nor have I seen one dog try to distract another dog while a third dog steals the second dog’s rat carcass or…

How Will We Know the World Is Ending?

Visions of the end of the world tend to extremes—the planet fatally fracked, flooded, hurricaned, nuke-cratered. No survivors, or maybe one or two survivors, dazed and dust-grimed, roaming a wasted landscape, eating canned beans, rotted squirrels, each other. But the truth is we might be in for a slow burn,…

How Much Human Skin Does a Person Ingest Over the Course of Their Lifetime? How Much Human Skin Does a Person Ingest Over the Course of Their Lifetime?

The average American eats almost a ton of food a year. This breaks down to roughly 630 of milk, cheese and ice cream, 185 pounds of meat, and an increasingly high dosage of anti-depressants. But where does human flesh fit in? Humans shed something like 500 million skin cells a day. The fact is that these literal…

Will Cryogenically Frozen People Ever Be Revived?

Corpse-freezing hasn’t exactly gone mainstream, but most people are now familiar with the concept: you lay out a ton of cash, sign some papers, and spend a couple post-death decades in a cutting-edge meat locker, calmly awaiting the conditions for your eventual revival. Over 300 cold, dead Americans—or dead, cold…

Why Do We Remember Some Dreams but Not Others? Why Do We Remember Some Dreams but Not Others?

If you’ve ever woken up on the brink of a heart attack, drenched in sweat and convinced you’ll never live down the shame of sprinting nude through downtown Pittsburgh, you know that some dreams are more memorable than others. Most dreams, in fact, seem totally unmemorable—at least in the sense that we can’t remember…

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