Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Why Do Humans Have Uvula?

I believe many of us have experienced looking at ourselves in the mirror, with our mouth wide open, and wondered what's that dangling-testicle-lookalike-thing doing in there?

That dangling thing, my friend, is called the uvula.
Image: webmd.com
So what exactly is the function of uvula?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Birthday to "I'm Curious Too"

Ladies and gentlemen,

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Happy 4th Birthday to I'm Curious Too.

Whoahh~~Yoohoo

Today marks the fourth anniversary of I'm Curious Too, the blog that I started four years ago. The number of posts have admittedly dwindled over the past 12 months, and I hope to push the number up in the coming months.

I started blogging because I needed a space to write down -- as a way to consolidate my memory -- interesting science news that I read online. Blogging has given me a lot of exposure, writing experience and opportunity to learn. It's really fun to look back at some of my favourite posts and laugh out loud, and--as the saying goes, practise makes perfect--blogging really does make thesis-writing easier.

Thanks to everyone who read my blog this year, and I hope to see you all again next year.

Wait, let's do that again.

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*YEEAAAAHHHHHHH*


Malcolm

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Science of Interstellar Q&A

(Spoilers alert)

Firstly, a huge credit to Christopher Nolan for producing such a wonderful film.
I like the character of Mr Cooper and Professor Brand. Anne Hathaway's character—apart from her stunning look—doesn't really appeal to me; some of her lines are clearly misplaced, like the one when she starts murmuring about how love transcends gravity and shit-I-can't-even-recall-because-it's-so-cheesy-and-embarrassingly-bad-I-mean-wtf-you're-being-illogical-as-a-scientist.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why Do Cats Love Being in Circles?

I guess most of you have seen this because it's been all over the internet over the past two weeks; a cat owner makes a circle on the floor using masking tape, a wire or a rope, and the cat, as if drawn by a mysterious, unseen force, walks into the circle. All. By. Itself.
Image: http://www.boredpanda.com/how-to-trap-a-cat-circle/
After reading from the website, one of my friends—an avid cat lover—started an experiment of her own using masking tape and, voila, it worked!
Image: Hooi Yuan Teng
Interestingly, according to a Taiwanese website, cats also favour smaller circles, especially those that have more or less similar diameter to the cats' body.
Image: http://www.boredpanda.com/how-to-trap-a-cat-circle/
But why? What triggers the cat to behave in such a way?
Do cats have a secret affinity for circles?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Poor Whales, They Can Only Taste Salty

Two years ago I wrote an article about how carnivorous animals are oblivious to the taste of sweet things: tigers, lions, dolphins, sea lions, and your cat cannot differentiate between a bowl of sweet milk and a bowl of plain water.

But cetaceans, it seems, have lost more than just their sweet tooth.
Dolphins in the Ocean World Park, HongKong. Image: Malcolm Tang
Five basic types of taste exist: sour, sweet, bitter, salt, and umami. These five tastes can be distinguished by humans and are fundamental for physical and ecological adaptations in mammals. Umami and sweet tastes are attractive because they not only taste good, but are also essential to the ingestion of protein-rich and nutritious food. Salt, at low concentrations, is an attractive taste and is associated with sodium reabsorption and basic functioning of cells and neurons. Bitter tastes can cause taste aversion,thus protecting mammals from ingesting toxic substances. Sour tastes are unpleasant and can prevent the ingestion of unripe and decayed food resources.

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