Things I Learned this Week: Of Bizarre Baby-Making Races and Habitual Tardiness

Here are a few of the most interesting things I stumbled upon this past week:

  • MSG isn’t actually bad for you! The additive first got a bad rap in 1968 when a scientist named Robert Ho Man Kwok wrote to the New England Journal of Medicine claiming to suffer from headaches, weakness, palpitations etc after eating a lot of Chinese food. He coined the phrase ‘Chinese Restaurant Syndrome’ and, along with some colleagues, blamed it on MSG. Turns out the letter was intended as a harmless hoax, sparked by a crazy bet between friends. Listen to the weird tale on This American Life.


  • In the same episode, an even stranger story of a wealthy Toronto lawyer who bequeathed part of his estate to the local mother who had given birth to the most children within ten years from his death. This was the final clause in his overall bizarre will, which unsurprisingly enjoyed a lot of media attention. It also ended up sparking a crazy baby-making race dubbed the Toronto Stork Derby. Unfortunately, many of the women who found themselves in the running were living in poverty and couldn’t necessarily afford to add even more children to their already burgeoning broods. But the promise of a large amount of money at the end of it all evidently kept them going. Listen to the crazy, but rather heart-breaking story



  • Have you ever spent some time wondering why the natural world is so damn beautiful? From the majesty of mountains to the otherworldly serenade of an otherwise unobtrusive choir of tiny frogs. I think about it a lot and always come full circle back to the fact that it truly is a mystery. And one that I’m happy to dive deeper and deeper into for the rest of my life. If, however, you’d like to read a scientific perspective on the beauty of nature, I can highly recommend this NY Times piece, titled How Beauty is Making Scientists Rethink Evolution. It’s a long read!



  • Do you often find yourself being late for appointments? Well, maybe there’s more to your tardiness than just being bad at punctuality. Here’s a Complete Guide to Being on Time, which also delves into various reasons why you might have cultivated a habit of tardiness in the first place.

Photo by Luma Pimentel on Unsplash

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