EDUCATION
01/25/2016 05:34 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

From the Science of Cow Milking to Netflix Socks: This Week's Curios

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Every day of the year, Curious.com CEO Justin Kitch writes a quirky fact, known as the Daily Curio, intended to tickle the brains of lifelong learners everywhere. This is a weekly digest.

Last week's Curios covered the science of cow milking, socks that sync with your Netflix habits, and the most expensive material in the world.

Curio No. 913 | A brief story about long books
Does it feel harder to get through a book than it used to? It's not your attention span that's changing. Books are actually getting longer. In the last 15 years, the average book length has increased by 25 percent! The online publisher Flipsnack gathered 2,515 fiction books from last fifteen years of New York Times bestseller lists and Google's "Most Discussed" books. Since 1999, the average length of those bestsellers grew from 320 pages to 400 pages. One explanation for this phenomenon is the advent of... keep reading.

Curio No. 912 | Endohedral fullerenes are a girl's best friend?
The most expensive material in the world? It's not diamond, platinum or plutonium. Not even close. It's a material called endohedral fullerenes, which are molecules consisting of spherical cages of carbon atoms that house nitrogen atoms. This microscopic substance is the result of 12 years of work by a company spun out of Oxford University. Its intended use is for... keep reading.

Curio No. 911 | Milk the cow at night, sleep more tight
Cow owners, pay attention. 1 in 3 people suffer from some form of insomnia, which means billions are spent on sleep drug development annually. Yet it turns out we may not need drugs, just sleepy cows. A South Korean research team has discovered that milk -- as the old wives' tale claims -- really does aid in sleep. But only if the cow is milked at night! Dubbed "night milk"... keep reading.

Curio No. 910 | Why do you look so mad?
Hey, why do you look so mad? If you've ever been asked that question when you are perfectly happy, it might be a genetic condition. Dubbed "RBF" (you'll have to Google it so we can keep our family-friendly rating), the term describes a person whose "resting" facial expression looks upset. RBF became an internet meme last year, but now science has proven it's a real thing. A new study from the American Psychological Association... keep reading.

Curio No. 909 | The myth of the Monday blues
Happy Martin Luther King Day! If you're having a case of the Mondays -- like maybe because you have to work while others have this day off -- then you're not alone. Feeling blue on Mondays is a common problem, with several scientific explanations. First, most people don't get enough sleep during the workweek, and try to make it up on the weekends. But those few extra hours of sleep can leave your body clock totally out of whack by up to 45 minutes. Secondly... keep reading.

Curio No. 908 | New "Netflix and wool" socks
You might have heard of the internet meme "Netflix and chill." Well, now there is "Netflix and wool." It's a pair of socks that detects when you are falling asleep and will automatically pause Netflix. You know, so you don't have that annoying experience of waking up and having no idea how much of the show you missed? The socks' sleep detection system uses actigraphy, which monitors... keep reading.

Curio No. 907 | Online dating is only going to get weirder
If you think online dating is awkward now, just wait. Future online matchmaking promises to be even more uncomfortable -- complete with virtual reality and DNA testing. In the near future, in-home bandwidth will be sufficient to generate "full-sensory" virtual reality experiences. That means awkward first dates will be replaced with... keep reading.

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