Alia Hoyt

Contributing Writer

Alia is an Atlanta-based freelance writer who has contributed content to HowStuffWorks for going on a decade now, with a specialty in health writing. She’s also been published by TLC, Animal Planet, and a number of corporate clients. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!), and might someday get around to setting up a professional website. Until then, check her out on LinkedIn.

She and her husband are proud parents to three handsome, too-smart-for-their-own-good boys. Alia is a passably not terrible tennis player, lover of all things dance and music, brownie-obsessed, avid reader and off-key car singer. Her two favorite types of people are those who have a healthy sense of humor and those who actually read articles in their entirety before posting comments.

Recent Contributions

Placebo Surgeries Are Effective, But Are They Ethical?

Some clinical trials subject volunteers to fake surgeries to determine whether a surgical procedure has any real value. But does the long-term benefit to society outweigh the risks to patients?

Many Animals Have a Cloaca, But Humans Should Not

It's the organ commonly found in animals where multiple body systems come together into one opening for both defecation and reproduction. But in humans, having a cloaca causes huge problems.

The Particulars of a Perfect Porridge

During the winter, many Americans love a nice hot bowl of oatmeal. But people around the world eat porridge at different times of the day and in different ways. Here's how to make a perfect pot of porridge.

One Cute Character: The Hello Kitty Quiz

She's dominated pop culture for decades, but how much do you really know about the cutest anime character around? Take our purrfect quiz to find out!

Binaural Beats: Does This Auditory Illusion Really Calm Your Brain?

This new form of sound therapy takes advantage of the fact that a different frequency in each ear yields a third frequency that can allegedly calm you down or improve your focus. Does it really work? Our writer tried it out.

How to Fold a Fitted Sheet

Fitted sheets often look a mess when folded if you do it the wrong way. We've got step by step instructions to ensure that they come out looking neat.

When to Apply Antiperspirant So It Works Best

It's a common routine: Wake up, take a shower, put on some deodorant or antiperspirant and get dressed. But your antiperspirant can work better if you skip it in the morning.

What's So 'Offal' About Haggis and Why's It Banned in the U.S.?

The national dish of Scotland (popular at New Year's Eve and Burns Night) is banned in America because it contains a certain outlawed ingredient. But whose idea was it to stuff a sheep's stomach bag and boil it? And what does it taste like?

How to Get Rid of Weevils

Those tiny critters with a snout may be crawling around your pantry. But how do you get rid of them? And if you find them in your rice or flour, are they harmful?

Pretty Cool Produce: The Exotic Fruits and Veggies Quiz

You know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but what's your IQ on the lesser-known fruits (and veggies) of the world? Take our quiz to find out!

What's So Delightful About Turkish Delight?

A favorite treat in British children's stories of the past, Turkish delight might be an unfamiliar taste to American readers. So, what is it like, and how do you make it? We get insight from the Culinary Institute of America.

What's Inside Worcestershire Sauce, and How Do You Pronounce It?

This 180-year-old sauce can be used to add zing to just about any dish. But what's in it? And why is it so effective? And, most of all, how do you pronounce it anyway?

What Is Probate and Can You Avoid It?

A lot of people don't like to think about death, which is why many estates go unplanned. But if someone dies without a will, their survivors may end up in a long expensive fight in probate court.

Capitalize This! The State Capitals Quiz

Every state has a capital city, which houses the government where all the legislative action happens. How much do you know about these capitals? Take our quiz to find out!

Cyanosis: Why Your Fingers Turn Blue

It might be OK for a Smurf to have blue fingers, but for the rest of us, it's something you don't want to see. Cyanosis is usually a sign of a bigger health problem.

NYC ClimateClock Counts Down Deadline to Climate Doomsday

Every minute, the time to do something about global warming gets shorter. In a move reminiscent of the Doomsday Clock, a new art installation, ClimateClock, aims to show this crisis visually.

Do Nootropics ('Smart Drugs') Actually Work?

Nootropics (also known as smart drugs or cognitive enhancers) are pills, supplements or beverages that are thought to enhance brain function. But experts caution on whether they really do anything.

When Should You Refinance Your Mortgage?

Refinancing your mortgage may be a great way to lower your monthly bills, but you need to keep these points in mind.

Embracing Ennui: How Boredom Can Be Good for You

Everyone experiences boredom at some point and maybe even ennui, a chronic type of boredom. But surprisingly, ennui does have some benefits.

How to Choose the Best Trellis for Your Garden

If you don't already have a trellis working for you in your garden, you probably need one.