As usual our monthly list of links to interesting items you may have missed the first time around. There’s a lot in this month’s edition, so let’s get going …
Science & Medicine
Here are 101 ridiculous science “facts” which are mostly myth and need to die.
Researchers have worked out the genealogy of our dog breeds, and it isn’t as simple as you might think.
Meanwhile scientists have discovered the world’s largest canary on an isolated island of giants and dwarfs off west Africa.
Changing tack, it turns out the new £5 note isn’t so indestructible – if you’re a determined enough mad scientist.
Wow! A photographer has used black light (ie. UV) to photograph the luminescence emitted by plants. And it is amazing!
Another sort of discovery has led to the finding of lost research notes which undermine dietary advice we’ve been given for the last several decades.
Looking at even older “research” it seems that some of the medical recipes in medieval books may actually work and point the way to new antibiotics.
I wasn’t sure whether to put this here or under “science” but it turns out that unprotected sex may disrupt the microbiome of the vagina. Now there’s a surprise!
A Victorian ivory dildo, with an interesting story, has generated a lot of excitement at an auction in Ireland.
Max Hooper, the man who worked out how to date old hedgerows, has died at the age of 82.
Here’s another which could easily have gone in the science section … Scientists have now worked out how to extract the DNA of ancient hominids from the surrounding dirt.
Turns out we aren’t the first people to be scared of zombies; it seems the mediaevals were too and they did some barbaric things as a result.
It’s well known that the Tudors bathed only about once a year and were very smelly the rest of the time. Turns out that may be another myth as it is possible to go months without bathing and not be smelly. Yes, an intrepid researcher has tried it!
They’ve found, quite by chance, the remains of five lost Archbishops of Canterbury in a small London church. Harry Mount, new editor of The Oldie, was first on the scene.
Are you a devotee of nail polish? If so here’s a piece on some of the chemistry which makes them work.
Food & Drink
Cheese. That microbial concoction of from milk. Well here’s a guide to the natural microbiology of cheese rind.
Why is ultra-heat-treated (UHT) milk so stable that it is a shelf staple, especially in tropical climes where milk easily spoils?
[Incidentally, UHT milk is always known in our house as “UFO milk” but I have no idea how you might milk a UFO!]
So what really does give beer its bitterness and flavour? While some of it is down to the malt, most seems to originate with the hops.
Why are we masochists? Why is it we love chilli so much when it burns like it does? And how does the burn work?
Shock, Horror, Humour