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  • Start Off the Year Smarter: 10 Hows & Whys from TED-ed

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    Alas, flu season is upon us. But while chugging lemon tea and popping Panadol, did you ever stop to wonder what’s going down inside your body? The people behind this Ted-ed video on how the flu affects you did.  It’s 2017 and about time you learned a damn thing or two about the hows and whys of life. 

    Here are 10 Ted-ed videos, ranging from health to business to the origins of things, that will get the job done:

     

    Have blood pressure issues? This video shows you the reason for it:

    Won’t buffer; Didn’t watch:  Blood pressure is caused by the blood pushing against the inner walls of the blood vessels. Anything from thick blood to thin passageways can cause blood pressure issues.

     

     Ever missed a flight even though you showed up? This economics lesson on overbooking will explain why:

    Wb; Dw:  Airlines sell more tickets than there are seats, because they know not everyone will show up, and doing so increases their profits.

     

    Last time you went for a check-up at the doctor’s, did you wonder about the origins of the stethoscope? Here’s how they came about:

    Wb; Dw:  The idea came from a pair of children playing with a wooden plank!

     

    Have you been stressing lately? Watch out—this is the effect it can have on your body:

    Wb; Dw:  Chronic stress literally alters your genetic DNA, along with depleting the number of brain cells being made.

     

     Speaking of how things affect your brain, here’s a video on how playing an instrument is good for your intelligence:

    Wb; Dw: Processing the information when playing music gives your brain a major workout.

     

    Yawning even though you’re not tired? This video explains why yawning is contagious:

    Wb; Dw  There are a few theories—fixed action pattern, unconscious mimicry and possibly even empathy.

     

    What did you have for lunch? Chances are it’s a sandwich. Here’s how they became a thing:

    Wb; Dw:  The sandwich was invented by a corrupt English politician who wanted to be able to eat and gamble simultaneously!

     

    You’re probably relieved 2016 is over, but is there a certain memory or point in your life you’re feeling

    Wb; Dw:  Nostalgia, which was first observed in Swiss soldiers on duty abroad, is actually a restorative way of coping with negative feelings (because the happy memories improve your mood).

     

    Are you a proud Lefty? Here’s why some weirdos are right-handed, and some of us lucky people are left-handed:

    Wb; Dw  Your position in the womb before birth can determine your dominant hand!

     

    Have you had little floating squiggles of light flash across your eyes as you’ve been reading this? This video explains what they are and how they come about:

    Wb; Dw  They’re actually called Muscae Volitantes (though, ‘floating squiggles of light’ sounds more accurate) and cast shadows on the retina in your eyeball.

     

    Look at you; you’re smarter already! Now you have neat facts to entertain your date with next time there’s an awkward silence.
    __________

    By Salma Thanatos Rizk

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