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…
Facial Cosmetic Surgery Makes You More Likable
Guys who get facelifts don’t just look better on the outside — people think they’re better on the inside, too. That’s according to a study published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, which found that people perceived men who had undergone various facial surgeries as more likable and trustworthy. In particular, researchers collected before and after photos of 24 men who’d undergone upper eyelid lifts, reduction of lower eyelids, face-lifts, brow-lifts, neck-lifts, nose jobs, chin implants and other cosmetic procedures. They then presented these photos to 147 people, who were asked to rate their perception of the patient’s personality traits.
Different procedures yielded different results: Upper eyelid surgery and facelifts both increased perceived likability and trustworthiness; neck and brow lifts increased perceived extroversion; and neck lifts further enhanced masculinity. The only procedure that didn’t seem to help men look like better people was chin augmentation, which also, despite the popularity of the procedure, didn’t improve attractiveness.
If going under the knife to seem more friendly sounds daunting, you could always just try (literal) snake oil.
Please, Please Don’t Shower with Your Contacts In
Most of us prefer to be able to see what we’re doing in the shower, and if you’re blind as a bat, that means wearing glasses (which obviously get wet and in the way) or contacts. But you really don’t want to do that either, apparently: A U.K. man has gone blind in his right eye after showering with his contacts in and developing an infection.
It happened while showering at his gym, where a parasite called Acanthamoeba keratitis burrowed beneath his lens and into his eyes, as a result of which, he’s been blind in his right eye for the last 18 months. (There are pictures here, but you may not want to look at them.) Following two surgeries, he’s currently awaiting a corneal transplant that could restore his vision.
Contact lenses soften, expand and stick as a result of the steam and water in showers, and they’re also highly absorbent. Basically that means that since your shower water contains more bacteria and fungus than you’d ideally want it to, your contacts can soak it right up and unleash that nastiness right into your eyeball.
So yeah, maybe settling for the blurry view of your soapy legs is the better option.
You’d Have to Drink 31 Cups of Cocoa to Enter the Caffeine Danger Zone
What’s the point of drinking a caffeinated beverage if it doesn’t make you at least a little nervous? While a lot of the effect depends on your tolerance, there’s an upper limit to caffeine intake, becoming dangerous at 400 milligrams (around four 8-ounce cups of brewed coffee) per day. There are a lot of different ways to reach that limit, some faster than others — some nice guy over on Reddit compiled a chart to visually document how many servings of caffeinated products you can get away with consuming before you experience symptoms ranging from a headache to convulsions.
At the very top of the chart, with the highest dose of caffeine per serving, is Rage Inferno, which comes in a bottle shaped like a fire extinguisher and contains 375 milligrams of caffeine — you can only drink 1.1 of these before you run the risk of overdose. You’ll want to be careful with most energy drinks, but you also don’t want to go over four cups of most coffees a day. Now, if you really want to go hog wild on caffeine via hot chocolate, you’d have to drink 31 cups of cocoa a day before anything bad happens. Y’know, besides an obesity-induced heart attack.
Soon We’ll Be Playing Video Games with Just Like, Our Minds, Bro
We’ve just gotten a little bit closer to figuring out how to communicate telepathically, and the first thing we’re gonna do with that knowledge is play video games. Researchers at the University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and Center for Neurotechnology have developed “BrainNet,” a Tetris-like game where two participants, labeled “Senders,” helped a third participant, labeled “Receiver,” complete the activity. All three participants were in separate rooms, but were able to send signals to each other’s brains using a system of lights that trigger cerebral reactions, which are then picked up by electroencephalography caps worn on the participants’ heads.
I’m quite honestly not smart enough to understand exactly how this works, but basically: Science ‘n’ shit.
The point of this kind of game technology, though, is that it helps allows problems be solved by multiple brains working together at the same time. There are some ethical problems to solve first, though, like the issue of people knowing each other’s thoughts as the technology improves.
I’ll just stick to the Tetris that came with my old PC, thank you very much.
Sperm Can Survive Space Travel
Back in 2018, NASA shot a few loads of sperm into space to see how it would survive. We now know part of the answer, but not from NASA’s test, specifically: Scientists from Polytechnic University of Barcelona and the Aeroclub Barcelona-Sabadell of Spain recently reported that frozen sperm samples exposed to microgravity (as one would experience in a rotating spacecraft) showed no difference to samples kept on the ground. This means, at the very least, that frozen sperm can handle the process of being transported through space.
In a, well, nut shell, scientists are planning to develop a human sperm bank in space to rebuild civilization when the majority of the population dies and the planet becomes inhospitable. Or it could be just like that Netflix movie I Am Mother, where robots are just going to breed humans in space in test tubes. Either way… cool?