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General knowledge

General knowledge
July 16, 2018

Showers vs. baths: which is better?

Whether your preference is hopping in the shower first thing in the morning or indulging in cosy, warm baths after work, both have perks. But are baths or showers better? Let’s explore the different benefits of baths and showers. If you want to save water A long soak after a hard day sounds great, but the average tub uses approximately 136 litres of water to fill! On the other hand, a 10-minute shower uses just 76 litres. With the Cape Town water crisis, it makes sense for us all to be more water-wise. For example, take two-minute showers. The best…
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General knowledge
June 11, 2018

What causes hiccups?

You're in the middle of telling your friends how your weekend was, when “hic!” your body jerks and your throat quickly contracts. Oh man! You have the hiccups again. Why does this happen, and how do you make it stop? Hiccups are involuntary contractions from your diaphragm, the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen. The diaphragm plays an important role in breathing. When you hiccup, your vocal cords are blocked after each contraction which causes you to make the “hic” sound. Hiccups are usually harmless, but in some cases, they may be linked to a serious condition. Why…
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General knowledge
May 11, 2018

Are artificial organs the future?

Imagine you walk into a waiting-room in hospital. You approach the reception, fill out a form, and hand it back to the receptionist. She punches your details into the machine, and prints out a ticket, saying: “Please take a seat. You are number 2500 in the queue.” This is effectively what is happening for people awaiting organ transplant. Currently in South Africa, there are at least 2500 people on the waiting list. According to information by the LoveLife Organisation, not even one percent of our population is registered as organ donors, which means  if you are on a transplant waiting…
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General knowledge
May 11, 2018

How mosquitoes choose their victims

You can’t sleep because you’ve been scratching and itching from mosquito bites, again! Why do they swarm to slurp your blood every night, but they seem to avoid your roommate? Why these little vampires need blood Pesky mosquitos are commonly known as bloodsuckers, but only female mosquitos are the culprits. Mosquitos generally feed on the nectar of flowers, but female mosquitos need blood to breed and lay fertile eggs. The secret ingredient they’re looking for is protein which is necessary to develop their eggs. The blood is also used to feed young mosquitos. Different species of mosquito’s feed on human…
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General knowledge
March 7, 2018

These people can see sounds and taste words

Imagine seeing swirls of colours when you listen to music and tasting different flavours when you see shapes or objects. It might sound impossible, but this is a reality for a synesthetic person. Synesthesia is a neurological condition that causes your brain to process information in such a way that you’d experience senses like tasting, smelling, hearing and seeing simultaneously. It may sound like hallucination, but the sensations that synesthetes experience are consistent. For example, a person with synesthesia may associate the musical note “F” with a shade of red, number three with the colour pink and the word “truck”…
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General knowledge
February 28, 2018

5 celebs with chronic illnesses

From the outside looking in, celebs have the perfect life, right? But not quite. Look beyond the admirable bank accounts and luxury lives; and they may be more human than we think. Celebs get sick too. In fact, some are living with chronic conditions. Here are five celebrities faced with chronic conditions. HIV HIV can be transmitted through contact with infected blood, semen or vaginal fluids. HIV destroys one type of the immune system cell, called T cells; which makes it difficult for people with the virus to fight off infections. Charlie Sheen is a popular actor, most noticeably from…
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General knowledge
January 5, 2018

Saliva – your body’s amazing fluid

No-one wants to think of saliva. It’s gross, right? But we’re about to blow your mind. This body fluid is incredible, and for many good reasons. Commonly known as spit, saliva is approximately 98% percent water with the other two percent made up of mucous, which includes electrolytes, antibacterial compounds and different enzymes which all work together to help with digestion. Your salivary glands secrete saliva 24 hours a day - nearly two litres every day! Besides its normal duties of keeping your oral health in shape, saliva is also a window to your health, often used to check if…
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General knowledge
August 28, 2017

What happens when you sneeze?

Everyone sneezes. In fact, the average healthy person does so up to four times a day. But why, exactly, do we sneeze? The mechanics of sneezing Part of your nose’s job is to make sure the air you breathe is clean, and free of dirt and bacteria. Your nose traps dirt and bacteria in mucus, but sometimes debris can enter your nose and irritate the sensitive mucus membranes inside your nose and throat. When these membranes become irritated, a message is sent to your brain to sneeze. Sneezing is your body's way of removing an irritation from your nose. Your…
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General knowledge
August 27, 2017

This is better than Googling your symptoms

You know the scenario: you have an odd rash, twinge of a stomach ache, or an intermittent cough. You contemplate a doctor’s appointment – for about a minute – and then immediately hit the keyboard. Before you know it, you’re sucked into the vortex of search results. “I knew it! I have cancer!”. Tip: Instead of consulting Google, why not just ask our doctors? We’re just one click away. Reasons to log off Besides the paranoia and fear we create for ourselves, there are legitimate reasons to leave the Internet alone and go straight to those in the know. And…
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General knowledge
August 23, 2017

How to live twice as long as everyone else

Okay, maybe not all of you, but most of you. These days you can donate everything from your skin to your corneas. You can save up to 7 lives by donating your organs, and up to 50 people by donating your corneas, skin, bone, tendons and heart valves. There isn’t much you CAN’T donate. It turns out that once you’re gone, all the bits and pieces that kept you going all those years can keep going, with or without you! If you’ve been a couch potato all your life, maybe your heart would finally get the chance to run a…
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