Here's Why You Really Don't Want a Fly Landing on Your Food

iStock
iStock

As viewers of the classic 1986 Jeff Goldblum film The Fly are well aware, the winged insect has some of the poorest table manners of any species on Earth. Lacking teeth to masticate solids, Musca domestica instead vomits out bile that can break down solids so they can be slurped back up.

The problem? Since common house flies are rarely invited to formal dinners, they pick up all kinds of pathogens and bacteria from all of the rotting garbage and feces they frequent. 

Despite these habits, most people tend to swat away flies, thinking a brief landing on their cheeseburger is no big deal. But new research published in Scientific Reports and passed along by the Telegraph indicates that, impossible as it may sound, flies are even more disgusting than we knew.

An international team of researchers recently examined the various bacteria carried by the common house fly and the blowfly (Chrysomya megacephala)—which loves corpses—and discovered salmonella, E. coli, and H. pylori among hundreds of other types. Worse, these pathogens can collect on a fly's legs, meaning it wouldn't have to do a whole lot more than land on food to pollute it with bacteria that result in intestinal fireworks—and sometimes even serious conditions. (H. pylori, for example, can result in stomach ulcers.)

In short, flies spread disease wherever they roam, and even a passing stop on soup can leave behind bacteria that can ruin your meal, your day, or your digestive tract.

[h/t Telegraph]

Editor's note: This post has been updated. 

Keep Your Cat Busy With a Board Game That Doubles as a Scratch Pad

Cheerble
Cheerble

No matter how much you love playing with your cat, waving a feather toy in front of its face can get monotonous after a while (for the both of you). To shake up playtime, the Cheerble three-in-one board game looks to provide your feline housemate with hours of hands-free entertainment.

Cheerble's board game, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is designed to keep even the most restless cats stimulated. The first component of the game is the electronic Cheerble ball, which rolls on its own when your cat touches it with their paw or nose—no remote control required. And on days when your cat is especially energetic, you can adjust the ball's settings to roll and bounce in a way that matches their stamina.

Cheerable cat toy on Kickstarter.
Cheerble

The Cheerble balls are meant to pair with the Cheerble game board, which consists of a box that has plenty of room for balls to roll around. The board is also covered on one side with a platform that has holes big enough for your cat to fit their paws through, so they can hunt the balls like a game of Whack-a-Mole. And if your cat ever loses interest in chasing the ball, the board also includes a built-in scratch pad and fluffy wand toy to slap around. A simplified version of the board game includes the scratch pad without the wand or hole maze, so you can tailor your purchase for your cat's interests.

Cheerble cat board game.
Cheerble

Since launching its campaign on Kickstarter on April 23, Cheerble has raised over $128,000, already blowing past its initial goal of $6416. You can back the Kickstarter today to claim a Cheerble product, with $32 getting you a ball and $58 getting you the board game. You can make your pledge here, with shipping estimated for July 2020.

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The Long, Fascinating History of Chocolate

Wikimedia Commons//Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons//Public Domain

Walk into just about any grocery or convenience store today and you're sure to find row upon row of chocolate in every imaginable form. While we have come to associate this sweet treat with companies like Hershey, chocolate has been a delicacy for centuries.

All chocolate comes from the cacao tree, which is native to the Americas, but is now grown around the world. Inside the tree’s fruits, or pods, you’ll find the cacao beans, which—once roasted and fermented—give chocolate its signature rich and complex flavor. While we don't know who first decided to turn cacao beans into chocolate, we certainly owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.

In this episode of Food History, we're digging into the history of chocolate—from its origins to the chocolate-fueled feud between J.S. Fry & Sons and Cadbury and much, much more. You can watch the full episode below.

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