Techly Explains

Why are dogs’ noses so wet? Why do we yawn, and why is it contagious? Is there any difference between brand-name drugs and generic drugs?

From whimsical shower thoughts to current affairs, here’s where you’ll find answers to all those questions you’re losing sleep over.

  • A dish with delicious shrimp tempura

    Techly Explains: Why Japanese tempura isn't really Japanese

    Tempura is one of Japan's most distinctive dishes and a favourite of foodies around the world. But does it really originate from Japan? Yes, yes, we know. The concept is as blasphemous as saying tacos aren't Mexican, hamburgers aren't American and French tries aren't French. Hang on... Anyway, for the...

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  • Classic alarm clock with silver bells on blue and pink surface.

    Techly Explains: Why we say tick tock, not tock tick

    Have you ever wondered why certain phrases in the English language sound completely ridiculous when said in a slightly different way? Imagine that you're at lunch with a co-worker. They're gnawing your ear off about how cute their kid is. While you're munching your chicken schnitzel, they mention that they've...

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  • Relaxed woman lying in bed.

    Techly Explains: The weird, soothing world of ASMR

    Prepare yourself: If you've never heard of ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response), you're in for a wild, confusing and downright weird ride. When I was given this assignment, I had no idea what to expect. My eloquent editor Andrew gave me four letters - ASMR - and the vague description...

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  • Dairy products on display on a supermarket shelf.

    Techly Explains: What's the difference between 'use by' and 'best before' dates?

    Have you ever noticed how some food is "best before" while others need to be "used by"? I mean, what's up with that? Odds are you've probably written it off as being a simple choice by the manufacturer – best before has slightly more positive connotations. But there's actually a...

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  • pedestrian lights

    Techly Explains: Does bashing the pedestrian crossing button actually work?

    How often do you stand at an intersection, popping away at the pedestrian button, and have Johnny Rotten's famous quote run through your head: "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" Well, if you live in the city of Sydney, you've likely been spot on – for more than two...

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  • Correcting with red pen

    Techly Explains: Why are scam emails always written so badly?

    We've all got those emails before – the one where someone (they don't have to be Nigerian royalty, but it helps) writes an abysmally spelled missive begging your financial assistance. Of course, you'll be handsomely rewarded for your generosity when your benefactee becomes the benefactor, and that's precisely why they've got...

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  • Old stopwatch held in hand.

    Techly Explains: Who decided how long one second is?

    We all know a second is simply one-sixtieth of a minute – or roughly "one Mississippi" – but how was it decided how long it should be? Actually, the strict definition of what makes a second is "the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between...

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  • Man eating corn

    Techly Explains: Why does noisy eating annoy me so much?

    Eating is a normal part of life – most of us do it every day, and everyone on the planet needs to do it pretty frequently or they will literally die. It's a bit odd, then, how many people are really annoyed by the sounds made while others chow down....

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  • sea lion sleeping on a bench

    Techly Explains: How long is the perfect nap?

    It's an age-old question which has left friendships shattered in its wake. Some can nap for three hours, others draw the line at a quick, 20-minute rejuvenating nap. Is it a strictly mid-afternoon, post-lunch thing? Or can you go for a late-morning lie-down? After conducting some extremely thorough research, which...

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  • Woman eating popcorn

    Techly Explains: Why do I waste time doing easy tasks instead of ones that matter?

    Ever notice how much easier it is to perform a small, menial task than get stuck into a far bigger but ultimately more important job? Why is our brain – which is supposed to be the most logical of our organs – so hard-wired against doing the things that actually matter?...

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  • Boy hiding

    Techly Explains: What do I do if I need to call 000 but can't talk?

    Australians are taught from a young age to call 000 in case of an emergency, but there's one problem. What happens if that emergency is something sinister – for example, you're hiding from intruders and are genuinely scared for your safety? You can't exactly pick up the phone and confidently...

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  • Australian Parliament House

    Techly Explains: Did Australia really steal New Zealand's flag?

    New Zealand's acting Prime Minister, Winston Peters, recently came out swinging against Australia, telling us we should ditch our flag, because they had it first. “We had a flag that we've had for a long time, copied by Australia,” Peters told TVNZ. “And they should actually change their flag and...

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