Coffee, chocolate, morphine and cocaine all have one thing in common. Their active ingredients — the things that makes them work as they do — are all parts of a chemical family called the alkaloids.
When you swat a fly, you’re swatting a biological machine that in many respects makes the electromechanical machines (read: robots) that we make look less than crude by comparison. Don’t take my word for it; watch “fly guy” Michael Dickinson tell the tale in his recent TEDxCalTech talk.
Platinum is symbol of prestige, wealth and success, and the basis of one of the most successful anticancer drugs of the last 50 years. Not bad for a metal that at one point was thought to be a nuisance.
Because it feels good, thanks to specialized nerve cells in the skin that fire only when gently stroked. That’s what research in mice would suggest.
You can do it, but it takes some concentration. And it feels weird. At least, it does to me. That’s because it takes more work to let your arms swing free than it does to hold them still. And here’s why.