Wednesday, 30 July 2014


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10 Indestructible Products You Can Use Today
By Mike Brown,
Toptenz, 30 July 2014.

If only we could bid for a Clark Kent-esque supersuit on eBay - life would be pretty awesome if we were invincible. Ridiculous daydreams aside, some people are hard at working developing indestructible materials. No one has succeeded yet, but while we’re waiting there are a few things you can get your hands on today that come pretty close.

10. The Embassy Tactical Pen

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Everyone hates rummaging for a pen only to find that it’s out of ink. Even worse are ink explosions that always ruin your favourite bag or pair of pants. It’s time we took a stand against faulty pen manufacturing, and the Embassy Tactical Pen does just that. It’s made from top-notch, aircraft quality aluminium and stainless steel, and the top is designed to fit on securely so you no longer have to worry about pen marks messing up your nice clothes.

The Tactical Pen was designed for military personnel, but who says we don’t need this type of technology in the corporate world? No one likes to watch their pen roll off their desk every time the building’s A/C turns on. Or even worse, that awkward twist of your fingers that launches your pen across the room. Yeah, that’s really smooth. You won’t have that problem with this indestructible piece of inked up machinery considering it weighs as much as a roll of nickels.

9. The Kaventsmann Triggerfish Bronze A2 Watch

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If whatever’s currently on your wrist can’t withstand a blast from a whopping 10 pounds of C4, you need to consider replacing it with the Kaventsmann Triggerfish Bronze A2, the most indestructible watch known to man. This thing can survive an explosion, and it’s been tested at up to 300 bars of pressure. That means if you ever find yourself deep sea diving, you’ll know what time it is right up until you’re 3000 meters deep. So if you ever need to know the time during the apocalypse or some other form of mass destruction, you’ll need to have the Triggerfish on hand. Luckily the watch is a lot more stylish than the name sounds.

8. Tungsten Ring

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Tungsten carbide is fairly new to the jewellery market. Designed to last forever, tungsten rings keep their lustre longer than gold, silver, and even platinum. Plus they’re inexpensive, making them a good wedding band choice for men and women prone to losing their valuables.

Tungsten resists pressure and it doesn’t bend or break nearly as easily as other metals. There are a host of online videos of people whacking away at their rings with hammers just to prove that it’s indestructible. Tungsten gets its claim to durability from its score on the Mohs hardness scale. Diamonds reign supreme with a perfect 10 rating. Gold and platinum rank between two and a half and four, while tungsten pulls out a close second place, scoring a nine. So it’s not totally indestructible, but when you have a ring made from the hardest metal known to man and encounter a way to break it, you probably have a bigger problem on your hands than the safety of your ring.

7. Yachiyo Metal Rug

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No need to make your guests take their shoes off at the door - the Yachiyo metal rug is made from galvanized steel links and built to last for eternity. Thousands of wires are looped by hand to create the three-dimensional work of art. Messy belongings won’t tear up the floor ever again, and you won’t have to attack your floor with a dust buster and a bottle of stain remover every week.

When laid down, the rug gives off the illusion of being a cube. Just be careful not to take a spill on it, or you’ll feel a sting for a while. Creative designers from Philippe Malouin masterminded this labour-intensive design and put in 3,000 hours of work. A close up on the handiwork is just as stunning as the rug appears from afar. It’s all the more impressive when you consider that most people would  rather chew off their own ankles than sit and painstakingly loop together thousands of little rings.

6. Hurricane Proof Monolithic Dome Home

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Doomsday preppers have come up with all kinds of materials and designs to save their loved ones from potential danger, but it’s hard to prepare yourself for the big shebang when you don’t really know what it’s going to be like. Everyone has their theory, which has led to a number of bunkers and compounds being built, but one home stands out from the rest.

In Pensacola, Florida, the monolithic dome home is famous for its seemingly indestructible construction. The half-dome, shell-like home is reinforced with five miles of steel. After laughing in the face of four of Florida’s most catastrophic hurricanes, people are beginning to understand why Valerie and Mark Sigler invested seven million dollars into their home’s one of a kind design. The Siglers were inspired to construct their Mother Nature resistant residence after losing their last home to a hurricane. Designed to withstand winds up to 300 miles per hour, this fortress looks like it’s here to stay.

5. Bulletproof Suit

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It’s hard out there in the corporate world. Sometimes you have to step on a few toes to get where you’re going, and wanting to protect yourself from retaliation is a natural reaction. Now you can do that and avoid looking tacky at the same time. No one wants to wear a bulky bulletproof vest while walking around the office, but the Diamond Armour company decided that men should be able to look suave and be stealthily protected at the same time. A US$3.2 million price tag may come as a shock, but the bulletproof suit is diamond-encrusted, stain resistant, and even equipped with on-board air conditioning. The fabric is riddled with 880 black diamonds, along with 600 more in the lapels and stitching and a radiant 280 in the buttons. Altogether, you’ll be walking around with 140 carats draped on your body. So you can look stylish when you walk through a rain of bullets, and you won’t even break a sweat. (Thanks to the air conditioning.)

4. Bulletproof Public Toilet

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Usually the worst thing you have to worry about when using a public bathroom is an empty toilet paper roll. But if you’re in China’s Zhong Guan Village Plaza and are concerned that bullets are going to fly at you while you handle your business, you can be treated to even greater luxuries. This 15 ton bathroom cost US$100,000 to make, but not even dynamite can damage it. The Chinese government constructed it as part of a series of speculative anti-terrorist products, making this bulletproof bathroom the safest in the world. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do many of the locals much good. At first it only had instructions in English and French, and even once Chinese instructions were added it remains an awfully conspicuous place to answer nature’s call.

3. The ioSafe N2 Indestructible Hard Drive

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You trust your computer’s hard drive to store all of your most valuable digital possessions. And from family photos to business files, we think we’re safe storing them on little mobile devices. But what happens when your hard drive or memory card gets lost or damaged? That’s why we have the ioSafe N2, a heat, fire, and water resistant hard drive. Users can keep it securely padlocked, and the dual hard drives are wrapped in a nearly indestructible steel shell. The two drives are mirror copies, so if one fails you don’t have to worry about having a backup.

And we’re not talking regular heat and water resistance. The hard drive will keep all your data safe for up to three days in 10 feet of salt water, while a rear exhaust system and vent prevents flames from entering the tank. So if you don’t have enough time to build an ark, or are under a surprise flamethrower attack, at least your hard drive will stay intact.

2. The Toyota Hilux

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“The Indestructible Truck” is like a miniature tank. It’s as close to the definition of “indestructible” as any truck has come. Of course, you can’t use that term without someone stepping up and challenging you, which is why Toyota drove the Hilux across the Antarctic. The journey lasted just under 6,000 miles, and the Hilux came out unscathed. Arctic trucking professionals souped-up the Hilux with jet fuel and let it loose to square off with the tundra. The transmission was fixed with crawler gears, the massive tires are 17 times larger than standard wheels, and the 280-litre gas tank gives “guzzler” a new definition. If your pockets are deep and you feel the need to drive up a mountain or drop a minivan onto your vehicle, the Hilux is just what you’ve been looking for.

1. Indestructible Tires

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Potholes, extreme heat and deranged exes can really do a number on your car’s tires. The best offense is a good defense, and the best way to protect yourself against finding a flat tire is to use an airless tire. Designed by Polaris, these experimental tires are both shock resistant and bulletproof, and will keep trekking for a good 1,000 miles after being hit with long rail spikes. The outer band of the tires is wrapped around honeycomb spokes that adjust to the road while keeping rocks and debris from messing up your groove. Can you imagine a set of these babies on the Hilux? It’d be so much fun to play with!

Top image: Monolithic Dome Home. Credit: Monolithic.

[Source: Toptenz. Edited. Top image and some links added.]


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The Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History Just Took a Terrifying Turn
By Zak Cheney-Rice,
Policy Mic, 29 July 2014.

Bad news, world: The deadliest Ebola outbreak in history just became your personal problem.

Reports now say that on July 24, a Liberian man named Patrick Sawyer tested positive for the lethal virus - in the mega city of Lagos, Nigeria.

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Image Credit: Mob 76 Outlook

This is a major development. Until Sawyer’s death, the 660 Ebola fatalities recorded in 2014 were confined to three West African nations: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

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Image Credit: Quartz

Now that the virus has spread to Nigeria, its global consequences could prove devastating.

A primer on Lagos: First off, it’s huge.

The largest city in Africa, this densely populated metro houses 21 million people at a concentration of 53,000 citizens per square mile. It’s also a major international hub, with at least 7.1 million passengers passing through Murtala Muhammed International Airport every year.

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According to the Nigerian Tribune, Sawyer’s was the first Ebola case ever recorded in the country. But it might not be the last: Quartz reports that - due to the city’s density and poor health infrastructure - the virus’ appearance here sharply increases its likelihood of spreading to the rest of the world.

It gets worse: When Patrick Sawyer started having symptoms, he was on the three-hour flight from the Liberian capitol of Monrovia to Lagos.

After a lengthy bout of vomiting and diarrhoea, he turned himself in to Nigerian authorities for quarantine. There’s just one problem: None of the other 100 or so passengers were detained. This means up to 100 people are walking around Lagos as we speak, unwittingly hosting a virus with a 90% fatality rate.

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A frantic manhunt is currently underway to track down the remaining passengers, according to Quartz. Only in the days since have Nigerian health authorities started screening incoming travellers for Ebola.

What does the virus look like? Anyone who read The Hot Zone for biology class can tell you it’s an ugly way to die.

Ebola victims typically exhibit flu-like symptoms at first, which makes it incredibly difficult to detect. It’s often mistaken for malaria or typhoid, but from there, all hell breaks loose: Headaches, fever and stomach pain devolve into vomiting, diarrhoea and bleeding from the mucous membranes, climaxing with massive boils on the skin and an eventual shutdown of the internal organs.

The virus spreads when victims “spew” blood or phlegm into the cuts or mucous membranes of its next host. You read that correctly.

Background: The battle to contain it thus far has been arduous.

Since March, doctors and aid workers have worked tirelessly to stop Ebola from spreading throughout the continent, even as it wreaked havoc throughout the region. In the four months before Sawyer, at least 1,100 people in the aforementioned nations had contracted the virus, including 100 health workers, 50 of which have died.

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Image Credit: Quartz

But Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are largely rural, meaning the outbreak has been slightly easier to contain, according to Quartz. Nigeria is a different story altogether. And the rest of the continent, and by extension, the world, may depend on how well Lagos can keep the virus from spreading.

Top image: Deadly remains... Workers wearing protective clothing bury victims in a recent Ebola outbreak. Photo: AP via

[Source: Policy Mic. Edited. Top image and videos added.]

Video 1: EBOLA OUTBREAK - Biggest Outbreak of Ebola Ever Seen. How Worried Should You Be?

Video 2: EBOLA OUTBREAK COULD GO GLOBAL - Be Prepared for a Pandemic


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10 Surprising Social Media Facts [INFOGRAPHIC]
By Kathryn Wheeler,
Mainstreethost, 16 July 2014.

Social media is extremely popular in today’s world. There is a social media platform for basically anything you can think of. Want to keep in touch with friends? There’s Facebook. Want to share a picture of your fancy food? Instagram is definitely the app to use. Want to get connected with your co-workers? Say hello to LinkedIn.

However, social media is not only a great platform for social interactions: it’s ideal for digital marketing, and there’s a plethora of social media statistics floating around the Internet. Thanks to Fast Company, I have combined a list of ten essential facts you should keep in mind when using social media to market your business. And what better way to present them than in an infographic?

10 Surprising Social Media Facts [Infographic] image 10 Facts infographic Final 01

[Infographic courtesy of: Mainstreethost]

Tuesday, 29 July 2014


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10 Strange Things That Can Happen To Your Eyes
By Max Cooney,
Listverse, 29 July 2014.

While people might worry about the health of organs like the heart, lungs, and liver, not many people think about their eyes. But our vision can be affected by some very strange diseases and conditions indeed.

10. Cat Eye Syndrome

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An extremely rare chromosomal disease, cat eye syndrome appears at birth and is a lifelong condition. The syndrome was named after its signature symptom - an absence of tissue in the eye, which causes the pupil to narrow and push itself into the iris. However, not all sufferers of cat eye syndrome actually experience this ocular abnormality.

Unfortunately, cat eye syndrome also affects the kidneys, heart, ear, and skeletal system. It may also cause hyperactivity and mild mental disability. The condition can often be detected early on, as it causes growth delays before birth.

Treatment varies depending on the phenotype of the sufferer and the severity of the symptoms. The ocular abnormality cannot be reversed, but eyesight can be improved with glasses or other prescription eyewear.

9. Eye Paralysis

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In every case of eye paralysis, the eye loses all sensory and motor functions - and it’s a much more common condition than you’d think. It’s usually a symptom of various diseases, such as diabetes, peripheral artery disease, a tumour in the pituitary gland, or a cardiovascular problem. It is also associated with Kearns-Sayre syndrome, which causes pigment to build up behind the eye and comes with a horrible bonus of heart disease. Other signs of Kearns-Sayre are seizures and deafness, which usually strike in late adolescence. In rarer cases, eye paralysis is a side effect of Moebius syndrome, which paralyzes the entire face. Treatment for eye paralysis depends on the underlying cause - if the cause is cured, the paralysis will be as well.

8. Hippus

More of a natural occurrence than a medical condition, hippus can be observed in anybody. When you shine a light into a person’s eye, their pupil will enlarge and contract at a slow pace, as it adjusts to the new, brighter environment. This is the pupil’s normal way of reacting. In fact, if hippus doesn’t occur under these circumstances, that may be a sign of medical problems in itself.

But when hippus occurs without the help of light, it can indicate a wide range of conditions, including neurosyphilis and multiple sclerosis. It has also been linked to renal failure and cirrhosis, and even cerebral tumours.

7. Eye Tumours

Normally appearing behind your eye, ocular tumours are unpleasant enough to begin with - but are even weirder when they appear on the outside of the eye. These types of tumours, called limbal dermoids, are almost always benign and usually don’t cause any major vision problems, since they rarely cover the centre of the cornea. Doctors who have treated limbal dermoids (a typical ophthalmologist may see one or two cases in their lifetime) say that patients often don’t request surgery to have them removed, because the tumours don’t harm them, aside from the possibility of mild astigmatism.

Some limbal dermoids will grow hair follicles, cartilage, and even sweat glands. One anonymous Iranian man had an eye tumour removed after it sprouted several black hairs, which were causing him mild discomfort.

6. Ocular Herpes

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Photo credit: Rohina Swaroop, MD

Ocular herpes is exactly what it sounds like: herpes of the eye. It can be caused by the varicella-zoster virus or by herpes simplex type 1. These are distinct from the virus that causes genital herpes and ocular herpes cannot be sexually transmitted (the majority of people will actually be exposed to some form of herpes during their lifetime, mostly without noticing it). Ocular herpes can appear as a sore or bumps on the eyelid. These sores will usually heal within about a week, but until then they can cause redness, headaches, and photophobia.

More unusually, the virus can also affect the cornea itself, resulting in more severe versions of the usual symptoms. In very rare circumstances, herpes can even appear inside of the eye, causing temporary vision loss.

5. Red Eyes In Albinos

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Albinism is a condition caused by insufficient production of melanin, the pigment that gives colour to your skin and hair. This melanin deficiency also affects the eyes, which can appear red or pink as a result.

Since albinos lack pigment, their eyes aren’t really red. Instead, the iris becomes transparent enough that the blood vessels behind it show through, creating the reddish colour. Unfortunately, the lack of melanin means the retina is less efficient at absorbing light. This causes photophobia, an uncomfortable or painful response to bright light, and can lead to eye damage. Albinism can also inhibit the eye’s development and is strongly associated with astigmatism and other vision problems.

4. Star In The Eye

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Nine months after being punched in the face, an Austrian man went to the doctor complaining of deteriorating vision. When the doctor examined his eye, he was surprised to find a perfect star-shaped cataract. It’s common for cataracts to form after a blow to the eye, since the shock wave can disrupt the structure of the lens, causing it to become opaque in places. The cataract’s unique shape was a beautiful coincidence. Doctors eventually used sound waves to break up the cataract, which was then removed and replaced with an artificial lens.

A much more serious case of a star-shaped cataract occurred in California in 2004. An electrician’s shoulder came into contact with an exposed wire, causing 14,000 volts to course through his body - including his optic nerve. The initial shock of the electricity created the unusual star shapes. The cataracts were eventually removed, but the damage to the optic nerve was unfortunately permanent, leaving the man with limited sight in both eyes.

3. Heterochromia

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Photo credit: Rakesh Ahuja, MD

A fairly well known condition, heterochromia is a difference in colour between the eyes. Most cases are hereditary, but it can be acquired later in life. Heterochromia itself is fairly benign, although it can be a symptom of an underlying condition like Waardenburg syndrome.

Heterochromia can manifest itself in different ways. For instance, not all heterochromia cases involve two totally different-coloured eyes. Some people have two different colours within the same eye - for example, with sectoral heterochromia, you could have two blue eyes, but a quarter of an iris might be red or brown. The third type (other than complete heterochromia, which is described above), features a circular ring of colour around the outside of the pupil, and is known as central heterochromia.

2. Polycoria

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Photo credit: G. de la Houssaye

True polycoria is one of the rarest conditions in the world - there have been only a handful of cases in recorded history. Even exactly how it occurs is still unknown. People with true polycoria have two or more pupils in one eye. The pupils are contained in the same iris, but have their own sphincter muscles and are capable of operating independently of each other.

Much more common is a condition called pseudopolycoria. People with this condition simply appear to have two or more pupils. However, the additional “pupils” are merely holes in the iris, lacking a pupillary sphincter, and do not function as true pupils. One Massachusetts woman appeared to have five pupils in one eye. The condition apparently did not cause her any major vision problems, other than mild discomfort in very bright light. Other than mild vision loss, polycoria doesn’t affect the inner workings of the eye.

1. Haemolacria

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Maybe one of the strangest conditions in medicine, haemolacria is better known as crying blood. In 2009, a teenager named Calvino Inman randomly began weeping blood one day. Reasonably thinking he was dying, Inman was rushed to the hospital and had a CT scan, MRI, and ultrasound. None of these revealed any abnormalities. Today, researchers are still puzzled as to why Calvino keeps bleeding from his eyes.

Another sufferer, Michael Spann, felt a violent pain in his head and suddenly began bleeding from his eyes, nose, and mouth. Ever since then, he has wept blood at least once or twice a week. Spann’s life has been badly impacted: “Any job I get, I lose, because my eyes start bleeding and they can’t keep me on.” Oddly, both Spann and Inman are from Tennessee.

A 2004 study looked at four children with haemolacria, all of whom eventually recovered without any medical treatment. It is unclear what caused Spann and Inman to develop the condition, but Spann at least appears to be recovering - he used to weep blood up to three times a day.

Top image: Star-shaped cataract, via Live Science.

[Source: Listverse. Edited. Top image added.]


This car is the closest thing you will ever feel to be Batman and Robin
This car is the closest thing you will ever feel to be Batman and Robin
By Jesus Diaz,
Sploid, 28 July 2014.

This is the all-new Polaris Slingshot, a US$20,000 173 HP three-wheel car obviously designed by Wayne Enterprises to realize the dreams of Batman and Robin wannabes across the planet. Seriously, this thing looks amazing, and apparently it's incredibly fun to drive. Check out the videos of it in action.

Their product video, with all the specs.

Some shots showing its exterior and interior:

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And some images of the tech inside it:

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[Source: Sploid.]


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10 Supplements That Do Not Work as Advertised
By Maria Trimarchi,
How Stuff Works, 21 July 2014.

Fish oil is one of the most common supplements taken in the U.S., but is it just snake oil in disguise? Something's fishy in the world of supplement marketing, and it's difficult to know if the benefits and health claims on the packaging are for real or just false advertising.

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The sales of supplements are bolstered by the promise of improved health and longevity, but many of
those claims aren't substantiated.

Dietary supplements are popular in the U.S., and the number of Americans trying to insure their path to wellness is well-paved with nutrients (whether we're eating a balanced diet or not) is on the rise. As many as 69 percent of Americans take a daily dietary supplement, a percentage that's risen from 64 percent in 2008 (and only about 50 percent in 2000). That makes this really big business; more than US$20 billion is spent annually on multivitamins or other dietary supplements (whether it's capsules, pills, tablets or liquid) [source: Walsh, Morrison].

But what, exactly, are we getting for our billions? The majority of people taking a supplement do so because they believe these vitamins, minerals and herbs will cure colds, build muscles, improve memory and generally benefit their health and lifespan. As it turns out, many don't live up to their claims. In fact, in some instances you might just be healthier without them.

10. Echinacea Versus the Common Cold

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If you’ve never heard someone singing the praises of echinacea as a cold remedy, you might be the only one.

Echinacea is not a new treatment; more than 400 years ago, Native Americans were using it to treat infections and for other medicinal needs. In fact, the flower was officially listed in the U.S. Pharmacopeia and National Formulary (USP-NF) in the first half of the 20th century, but its popularity and usage declined with the introduction of antibiotics.

Today echinacea is having a revival of sorts, and the herbal supplement is commonly taken to prevent the onset of or reduce the symptoms of the common cold and other upper respiratory tract infections. While some swear by the healing power of echinacea, at least if started as the first symptoms appear, scientists can't agree - but, neither can they disagree. Echinacea may help the body decrease inflammation by perking up your immune system, and if that's the case it may also ease cold symptoms. Although it may not work that way at all. Clear as mud?

A 2007 study found that echinacea supplements did reduce the duration of the common cold by as much as (on average) 1.4 days. If taken before the cold takes hold, echinacea may reduce the risk of catching a cold in the first place by as much as 58 percent [source: Paddock]. However, in 2010 a new study concluded that taking echinacea didn't improve the duration or symptoms of a cold any better than a placebo could; in fact, the most optimistic - yet statistically insignificant - outcome suggested it may reduce the length of a cold by about seven hours [source: Paddock]. So the jury's still out.

In addition to treating colds, some people also use echinacea to treat problems including typhoid, malaria, and genital herpes; there's no clinical evidence echinacea would be beneficial treating any such things.

9. Vitamin C Versus the Common Cold

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Vitamin C, like echinacea, is one of the first supplements people turn to during cold season.

In 1970, scientist Linus Pauling believed the common cold could be controlled with vitamin C, aka L-ascorbic acid. He recommended doses of 3,000 milligrams of the vitamin supplement as the way to prevent catching a cold, and also, over time, to help completely wipe out the offending viruses.

But he was incorrect. Vitamin C is no more effective against an upper respiratory infection than a placebo is, concludes study after study. While one 2007 study found that yes, perhaps high doses of vitamin C - we're talking vitamin C megadoses of at least 200 mg per day (more than double the average recommended daily allowance for adults) - may ever-so-slightly reduce the length of your cold, it's only effective for a small number of people (about 8 percent of adults). If you must treat your cold with vitamin C, don't go overboard; more than 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C in a day can irritate your stomach and cause other problems, such as kidney stones. The exception: Marathon runners and other endurance athletes may find vitamin C supplements between 250 milligrams and 1 gram per day may reduce their risk of catching a cold by as much as 50 percent [source: NIH - ODS].

8. Zinc Versus the Common Cold

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Some people swear by zinc for colds, and it may help, but scientific studies have been inconclusive.

If zinc lozenges and supplements are beneficial in waging war against the common cold, it might be because zinc is an antioxidant. It's also an anti-inflammatory, which may ease your cold symptoms. Or it could be that sucking on zinc lozenges may work because zinc is an anti-viral, literally stopping the cold virus from being able to spread in your mouth and throat. Or it may be that zinc doesn't have any scientific evidence to back up any of the anecdotal evidence. Studies are inconclusive, and only about half of those who've tried zinc report the mineral had any positive impact on the length of their cold or on reducing the severity of their cold symptoms [source: Cleveland Clinic].

Not all zinc supplements are created equal; some research indicates those made with zinc acetate or zinc gluconate, rather than with zinc glycinate or zinc citrate, are more likely to reduce the amount of time you suffer your cold symptoms [source: Prasad]. Timing is important, too. Even if you take the right type of zinc, if you're too late you won't have the benefits; if it's going to work, it'll only do so if you start treating your cold within the first 24 hours of your first symptoms.

Not only are zinc supplements an unreliable cold treatment, neither will they make your hair grow. While technically, yes, zinc can be used against hair loss, that's only in cases where your hair loss is due to a zinc deficiency. Treat the deficiency and your hair loss will stop. But if you don't have a zinc deficiency, increasing your zinc intake won't turn your limp locks luxurious.

7. Garlic Versus the Common Cold

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Whether or not it will help your cold, garlic is delicious, so there’s that.

Garlic is a boost to any kitchen pantry, and outside your favourite dish it may also have some health benefit; it may help people get their blood pressure under control. Research suggests that garlic may ease hypertension. But if you're taking garlic supplements as a cold remedy, or for any other health benefit, you're probably out of luck.

Garlic contains a sulphur-containing compound called allicin, which may have both antibacterial and antiviral properties, and because of that the vegetable was adopted as potential way to prevent and treat against the hundreds of viruses that cause the common cold. Despite its popularity, though, there's little evidence that eating raw garlic, or taking supplements, can reduce the severity of your cold symptoms or the length of time you suffer your cold, culminating in a 2012 study that concluded more evidence is needed before anyone can claim with certainty garlic's role against rhinoviruses [source: Lissiman et al].

6. Vitamin D for Heart Health

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There is some evidence that vitamin D supplements can help protect you against rickets, but they won’t
really contribute to heart health.

Sun exposure gives the biggest delivery of vitamin D to your body; as much as 80 to 90 percent of all your vitamin D intake happens this way [source: National Institutes of Health]. Supplementing your diet with vitamin D is a good way to prevent bone conditions such as rickets and osteomalacia, as well as to treat the skin condition psoriasis. But if you're taking vitamin D in an effort to reduce your risk of developing heart disease, don't bother. While studies indicate a person with higher levels of vitamin D circulating through his body has a lower risk of developing heart disease or having heart failure than a person with low levels of the vitamin, there's no conclusive evidence that supplementation in an effort to prevent heart failure or boost heart health makes any discernible difference in your health - and some studies have found vitamin D supplementation had a negative effect on the heart, the very opposite of what you want from your vitamins and minerals [source: National Institutes of Health, Mayo Clinic].

5. Yohimbe Bark as an Aphrodisiac

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Yohimbe bark is sometimes used to make tea. As with most barks, it doesn’t look especially appetizing
in its natural state.

Yohimbe bark is most commonly taken because its active ingredient, yohimbine, is supposed to be an aphrodisiac. Yohimbe has been used in Africa in this way for hundreds of years, but there isn't any conclusive evidence suggesting the supplement works as a sexual stimulant. Yohimbe bark is actually considered unsafe in Germany because of its side effects, and the supplements available in the U.S. contain only small amounts (less than 7 percent) of the active ingredient [source: American Cancer Society].

What's interesting, though, is that some emerging evidence suggests that yohimbine may be effective in treating sexual dysfunction caused as a side effect of certain antidepressants, specifically selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as the popular brand name antidepressants Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft. Additionally, there is a possibility that yohimbine may also help treat some types of erectile dysfunction (ED) - mild types caused by psychological rather than physical problems. In this regard, the American Urological Association is unconvinced of its efficacy and recommends further evaluation.

4. Chromium to Treat Type 2 Diabetes

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Glucose testing is a routine part of life for many people with type 2 diabetes.

More than 8 percent of Americans have type 2 diabetes - that's just shy of 26 million people. Many of those people rely on blood sugar (glucose) testing and medications such as insulin, biguanides (including the brand name Metformin) and DPP-4 inhibitors (including brand name Januvia) to keep themselves healthy [source: NDEP]. What if you could improve your blood sugar levels - whether diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or not - with a mineral supplement, instead?

Chromium is a mineral your body uses to control its glucose levels. Because of this, it's easy to extrapolate that if you supplement your diet with chromium you'll prevent or control your diabetes. Marketing got something right, right? Well, maybe not right at all. Studies offer conflicting evidence about the effectiveness of chromium supplements to prevent or treat diabetes. For every report finding that chromium supplements do have a measurable positive impact on your glucose levels, another will find no benefit at all to the supplementation.

3. DHEA for Anti-aging

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Products claiming to boost sex drive and slow aging are big business.

Dehydroepiandrosterone, known as DHEA, is a hormone your body naturally makes (your adrenal glands produce it). Specifically it's called a prohormone because your body needs it to activate the production of testosterone and estrogen. And because of its connection with our sex hormones, we hope taking supplements will, for example, boost our sex drive. But no study can validate that claim. DHEA supplements are marketed with the fountain of youth in mind; in addition to the improved sex drive claims, DHEA is also touted to slow down the aging process, build muscle and boost your immune system. But there's no evidence these supplements can do anything of the sort, either. Studies overwhelmingly find that taking DHEA supplements is no better than taking a placebo.

2. Fish Oil is Not a Panacea for Your Health Problems

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Fish oil makes everything better! Not so fast. It’s good, but it’s not magic.

Americans spend a lot of money on fish oil purchases - more than US$1 billion per year on over-the-counter fish oil supplements (and that doesn't even count the jar of peanut butter plus omega-3 fatty acids you keep in your pantry) [source: LeWine].

Fish oil will probably not make any discernible impact on your child's intelligence, or protect against Crohn's disease or mental illness including major depression. Many of us take fish oil capsules believing the omega-3 fatty acids will reduce our risk of developing heart disease; while some studies suggest that fish oil supplements may have heart-healthy benefits, conflicting recent research finds its heart benefits may be bunk. Or at the very least, inconclusive or biased. Studies are finding that patients with cardiovascular disease do not have any reduction in their risk of having a(nother) heart attack, nor does fish oil lower their risk of stroke, congestive heart failure or any other cardiovascular condition after taking supplements for a minimum of one year.

While fish oil doesn't live up to the hype that surrounds it, it's also not a snake oil remedy - research shows promise that adding it to your diet helps protect against colorectal cancer. The best way to get your daily intake of fish oil isn't with supplements. Eat fish. (For you non-meat eaters, flax is a good substitute.)

1. Multivitamins May Not Have Any Benefits

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Millions of people take daily multivitamins, but they may do just as well to skip them.

Nearly 40 percent of American adults take a daily multivitamin, and more than 50 percent of American adults take some sort of dietary supplement (the most popular is a daily calcium supplement) [source: Fetters]. While evidence suggests that calcium may actually have a positive impact on your health, there doesn't seem to be any evidence any other ingredient in your multivitamin does anything positive for you. At all. And in addition to that bombshell, some research suggests those of us who take vitamins may die sooner than our friends who skip the supplements. Yes, you read that correctly; in 2011 The Iowa Women's Health Study found multivitamins didn't offer any health benefits to the women taking them - and also found an association between taking dietary supplements and a shortened lifespan [source: Mursu]. It's entirely possible that this is due to people having a false sense of security about their health; taking a multivitamin may make them less likely to take care of themselves in other ways.

The best thing to do is ditch the daily vitamins and instead make sure you eat a healthy, balanced diet.

Author's Note: As a person who tries to remember to take her multivitamin (and maybe a few other supplements here and there), I was really curious what I'd find when I started looking into the pros and cons of dietary supplements. Should we bother taking them? Overwhelmingly the research for this article points to, well, maybe but maybe not - at least not a multivitamin. (Did you see that part about the shortened lifespan?) Unless you're taking a supplement because you have a legitimate deficiency, such as iron supplementation for iron-deficiency anaemia, you'd be best off with a healthy, balanced diet and exercise rather than a does-it-or-doesn't-it cure-all pill.

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Top image via FiT Sports Lab.

[Source: How Stuff Works. Edited. Top image added.]