Learning! Roundup: Cat Tongues, Side Benefits of the Pill, Cube Poop, and More!

A roundup of research including the power of cat tongues, wombat poop, and the connection between our stress response and cognitive health when we're old
Photo by Antelope Park.

Cat Tongues

Cats spend about a quarter of their waking hours grooming themselves. Their tongues are, apparently, such great cleaning machines thanks to little protuberances all over that are shaped like little scoops with grooves on the end. This helps the cat's saliva get right into the fur and also picks up dirt, blood, and other icky things. It's a loofah and a sponge all in one.

Benefits of the Pill

While there are a lot of negative side effects to taking birth control pills, there are some benefits! The obvious, of course, is not getting pregnant when you don't want to. The less obvious side effect of the pill is more stable, satisfying long-term relationships, possibly due to an emotion-stabilizing effect of the pill.

Cube Poop Explained

Did you know wombats have cube-shaped poo? Well, now you not only know that (if you didn't already), but you also know that this is thanks to wombats having stretchier intestinal tracts with a more irregular shape.

Drawing Memories

Drawing things helps us remember them better than writing them down. As someone who is very bad at drawing, I can see why: it takes a lot of time and concentration to get anything on paper!

Stress and Age

If you're looking to avoid cognitive decline as you age, one thing that you could try (that might just make life a bit more pleasant in the intervening years) is reacting less to stressful situations. A new study shows that older people who have stronger negative reactions to daily stressful situations are more likely to suffer cognitive decline. (Yes, I know, this is correlation, not causation, but I bet you won't find ANY studies suggesting it's healthier to get really angry in a traffic jam.)

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