Scientias reads

It is so unfair. At the hands of the pregnancy hormones, you are already staggering through life and then there are all kinds of people who provide solicited and unsolicited advice and bombard you with baker's talks. And whoever thinks they will end up in calmer waters after the birth: forget it.

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IBAN, the new Rabobank app, the combi microwave, the e-bike and the almost self-driving car: these are five completely failed inventions. And it's just the tip of the iceberg! In the book "How hard can it be?" lecturer Jasper van Kuijk of TU Delft filters errors in contemporary design. You can read five of these failures below.

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We know less and less the difference between online and offline. This is because we live online more often. In the book Digiziek the German neurologist Manfred Spitzer makes a plea for offline life. Spitzer's book is one big warning for the digital world and is gloomy. It starts at a young age.

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It can make you dizzy when you walk into the bookstore in your search for a diet book. What a lot of choice! And although all those books have the same goal - losing weight - they all use a different approach. One book puts its trust in shakes and another book claims that you lose weight if you only eat 500 calories per day.

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Suppose a researcher gives a pill to ten people with headaches. Five people receive a pill containing an active substance that must relieve the pain. The other five receive a pill without an active substance, better known as a placebo. After an hour, the researcher asks people about their headaches.

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You may not realize it, but your life is full of small traditions and customs. Like eating with a fork. Or shake hands with your right hand. But why do we actually do that? And when exactly did we start doing that? The book 'Question of rabbits' has an answer to these and many more questions.

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I once ate a grasshopper once. This was surprisingly tasty. I stir-fried the grasshopper with some lemon oil. The grasshopper tasted like walnut, but with a nice bite. Maybe we will all eat insects in the future. To produce 1 kilo of beef, 15,000 liters of water are needed.

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It is a question that concerns biologist Menno Schilthuizen: why are there so many species? Why is the diversity so large? In his book he elaborates on this subject and visits coral reefs, caves and jungles. Someone who would like to know more about ecological riddles will certainly devour this book.

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Suppose you want to lose a few pounds. Where do you start then? Maybe you walk to the local bookstore and buy one of the many diet books. Armed with that book, it must succeed? You faithfully adhere to everything that the author prescribes for you and indeed: slowly you start to lose weight. Of course it doesn't work: no matter which diet book you take, it requires substantial sacrifices.

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The past week an unpleasant invoice fell on the editorial doormat. We are forced by BeeldigBeeld.nl and Permission Machine to pay 370 euros for a small photo from 2012. Blogs and news sites are increasingly being sued by companies for photo use. Recently the blog was 925.

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You have to do it all your life with and therefore you are probably very familiar with it: your own body. But you probably didn't know these five things about your body yet! Anyone who has immersed himself in the human body is probably astonished by how it works. Cees Mulder, former columinst of Scientias.

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What do dark matter and dinosaurs have to do with each other? A lot, says professor of physics and cosmology Linda Randall. In her book she explores a speculative scenario: a disk of dark matter gave the impetus to the comet impact that eradicated the dinosaurs. It may sound like the plot of a bad science fiction film, but it is really tough science.

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Visiting 3000 houses per second in one night is not possible without a little help from science. Santa Claus delivers a world-class performance every year. He manages to bring one or even several presents to every sweet child on earth. It meant last year - very concretely - that he had to honor around 350 million families with a visit.

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Mindf * ck is a popular television program in which illusionist Victor Mids performs all kinds of tricks and neuropsychological experiments. The book of the same name contains 101 experiments and illusions that you can perform from your living room. But what exactly does the book say? We give a few examples.

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The sex life of plants is ... surprising. You come to that conclusion when you read the book 'Plant Love'. In the beautifully designed book, writer Michael Allaby exposes the sex life of more than 200 plants. Fairly explicit, he explains how plants 'do it'. “Most plants have no inhibitions (...) What they do, they do in public.

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In 'Why cola is more expensive than milk', philosopher Bas Haring answers questions about the economy. Haring knows how to translate excellently and offers clear answers to questions such as "What is interest?", "Does everything of value have a price?", "What happens when everyone gets a million?"

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They are plentiful: conspiracy theories. The best known is perhaps the theory that the moon landing was fake, but there are many more. For example, there is a conspiracy theory that states that the death of John F. Kennedy was directed by the American secret services. More recently, it was claimed that Osama Bin Laden was not killed by the US, but died a natural death years before (an alternative theory states that he is still alive).

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A hundred years ago, Einstein already predicted them: gravitational waves. All nice and nice, but it remained a theory until we actually spotted them. And at the start of this year the time had come: scientists had detected them! World news. The discovery, of course, did not fall from the sky.

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With some jealousy I regularly watch the famous TED talks. The clarity, passion and apparent ease with which these people tell their story is admirable. Secretly I would like to be able to do that too. But the idea alone - on such a stage, for such a large group of people - gives me serious nerves.

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