The human body: An inspiring biological work of art? Or a meaty sack of germs and fluids? Either way, there’s still a lot we don’t know about what goes on in there — and scientists are constantly attempting to find out more. Here are the most interesting things we learned about our bodies in the last seven days…
Hot Tea Can (and Will) Kill You
Researchers recently studied more than 50,000 people in Golestān, a province in Northern Iran, and found that those who consumed more than two large cups of tea that were hotter than 140 degrees Fahrenheit each day had a 90 percent higher risk of esophageal cancer than those who drank less tea at cooler temperatures (and now I have yet another reason to order everything at kids’ temperature).
The researchers admitted that more studies are needed to figure out why drinking hot tea is associated with a higher risk of esophageal cancer. For now, though, remember that water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, and the time it takes to cool really depends on the temperature outside, so your best bet when it comes to avoiding esophageal cancer is to not drink anything that burns your tongue into oblivion.
On the Plus Side, Gardening Can Save Your Life
Another new study found that activities like gardening, walking or dancing — basically, anything that requires non-vigorous, leisurely activity — for 10 minutes to an hour per week is associated with an 18 percent lower risk of death compared to people who do literally nothing. However, it’s also possible that people who have the time and abilities to engage in these more laid-back forms of exercise could simply live generally healthier lifestyles than those who spend all their time on the couch (although, the researchers did mention that they took such variables into account). Whatever the case, gardening sounds chill as hell and might prevent you from dying an early death (unless, of course, you’re drinking too much hot tea).
Watch Out Crackers, Cheese Tastes Better with a Side of Hip Hop
Some wild and crazy Swiss researchers recently exposed nine wheels of cheese to various soundtracks — including songs by A Tribe Called Quest, Mozart and Led Zeppelin — and after a blind tasting, they came to the conclusion that their hip-hop-fueled cheese was the fruitiest, tastiest and smelliest. The same researchers now plan to conduct another experiment that specifically focuses on how hip hop affects the development of cheese. For now, though, be sure to play this next to your refrigerator for a couple of hours before you plan to eat any of the cheese found inside:
Death Metal Makes People Happy, Not Sad
Despite what your totally lame mom may think while you’re blasting Cannibal Corpse in the basement, yet another new study shows that death metal fans aren’t desensitized to violent imagery — and therefore, death metal doesn’t inspire violence. In simpler terms, people listen to death metal simply because they like the music, not because they’re attracted to the idea of clawing open a cow with their bare hands, then crawling inside of it so they can live for all eternity within a literal womb of pain, suffering and bloodshed. And so, in an effort to cheer you up, here’s my favorite recent death-metal release:
Ball Pits Are Fucking Disgusting
You knew this. I knew this. Even your kid even knew this (despite immediately diving headfirst into the nearest ball pit upon arriving at every McDonald’s). But now, research backs us up, finding that even the ball pits used in children’s physical therapy clinics can go days or even weeks between cleanings, which allows times for nasty (and dangerous) microorganisms to grow. In fact, bacterial colonization was discovered to be as high as thousands of cells per ball. The lesson here? We really need to wash our balls better.