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Is "Spanish Fly" really an aphrodisiac?

3 Dec 2021

The extract contains cantharidin,  a substance that supposedly increases sexual desire. Not only does it not do that, it may eliminate all desire permanently. When ingested, cantharidin can kill....

From Bugs to Plastics

20 Aug 2021

During the first years of the twentieth century, the demand for shellac outstripped the supply. It wasn’t because people developed a sudden penchant for shiny furniture. Electricity was starting to...

Do Not Mess with a Bombardier Beetle!

28 Dec 2017

Why not? Because you risk being sprayed with a hot solution containing irritant chemicals known as benzoquinones.  In all likelihood it would be a memorable, but unhappy experience.  Based on their...

How an Asian Bug Led to the First Synthetic Plastic

20 Mar 2017

During the first years of the twentieth century the demand for shellac outstripped the supply. People did not develop a sudden penchant for shiny furniture, but electricity was starting to take the...

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