Things We Learned in 2016

Four for the price of one

It turns out that giraffes aren’t one species but four… And nobody had noticed until last year. The genetic mutations between them are so strong that they’re even further apart than polar bears are from brown bears. More than that there isn’t any cross breeding between them.
So now the four species are the Southern Giraffe, Masai Giraffe, Reticulated Giraffe and the Northern Giraffe.
Take note.


Brains Over Brawn

We know exercise is good for us and it’s natural to assume that the more exercise we do the better it is. Researchers in Finland conducted lab experiments on rats to break down what types of exercise have which effects.

Long distance exercise yielded the highest level of brain cell production. Neurogenesis rates more than doubled after long-distance running and the longer they exercised the higher the production rate of new brain cells in the hippocampus (the area of the brain associated with cognitive intelligence and memory). Rats that did high-intensity training produced far lower levels of new brain cells but still more than rats that did no exercise at all.

The hilarious part is that weight-training had the same impact as doing no sport. So although the weight-lifters grew muscle mass, their cerebral facilities hadn’t gone very far. The next time you choose to stereotype muscular people as a little vacant… You might just be right.


Mr Sandman, Give Me Your Cash

We use more sand than any other natural resource except water or air. Sand mining has become a massive movement in the world because of our need for urban construction. It’s how we make cement. It’s a $70billion industry that can’t use the sand in the desert because it’s the wrong type. Typical.

As much as we’re deforesting and polluting, our beaches are going to be under threat soon. Today is a good day to have that swim.


NFL Madness

Troy Haupt, a 47-year old nurse anaesthetist owns the only recording of the first ever Superbowl. Valued over $1million, the NFL doesn’t want to buy the tapes and is threatening legal action if Mr Haupt tries to sell them. CBS and NBC both broadcast the first Superbowl fifty years ago and never kept copies.


In The Pipeline

Halve Maan brewery in the Belgian town of Bruges has been getting itchy with the presence of all of these tourists in their town. Transporting the beer from the brewery in the city centre to the bottling plant on the outskirts of the city had become a nightmare. The cost and logistics of transporting millions of litres of beer across town had risen high enough.

What they’ve just launched in a single €4million pipeline that runs two miles underground from the brewery to the bottling plant. Without any trucks driving to-and-fro we can only hope that the beer starts tasting even better. The best bit? They raised funds by promising free beer for life to all donors.

Hint hint Banks! We promise not to tap it, much.


Cool Beans

It turns out that despite all the greatest coffee-aficionado efforts, the best way to grind beans is to grind them cold. Most cafes go to extraordinary lengths to produce consistent, full-flavoured coffees but because of the temperature differences between each establishment the results will vary more than you expect.
If you’ve trying very hard to produce smaller, perfectly shaped, evenly ground coffee, you might want to start with the big coffee tool you’ve always had – the fridge.