When confronted with mysteries in life we are all too quick to head over to Google, or any other search engine, in order to try and find out the answer. In that same way we have grown to assume that science can answer every question that is lobbed at us, or at least go a long way toward giving us an adequate answer. Yet, science isn’t a perfect art and the very nature of our reality means that we will always be hunting for answers. Keep on reading but be forewarned that these mysteries might keep you up at night.
Cows will face directly north or south while eating, always.
Let’s face it: nobody is sitting around trying to figure out the what direction most animals face while they are eating. For instance, our cat would sit on its head if it meant that it could get a few extra treats. Fortunately there are scientists out there much smarter than us. Utilizing satellite images pulled from Google Earth, a team of researchers found that cows always stood facing the magnetic poles within the Earth while eating or resting. Always. Spooky, right?
Why do we need sleep?
When you consider how much time we spend sleeping it seems like a given that we really need it. And we do! We do really need to sleep in order to stay healthy and stay alive. However, scientists aren’t sure why this is exactly. Every creature on the planet experiences some form of sleep and right now one of the leading theories is that we sleep for ‘brain maintenance’. Crazy!
Why did some mammals turn back to the ocean?
Evolution is one of the most consistent and heralded scientific theories around today and it has survived for numerous years and likely will continue to do so. Still, we are left with some questions. We understand why evolution would bring animals out of the water and onto land, but what would cause the inverse to be true such as what happened with the ancestors of seals? Evolution from within the waters is a much trickier situation and one that doesn’t make sense with our current scientific understanding.
Scientists understand how magnets work to a degree but what they don’t understand is this: why do natural magnets ALWAYS have a north and south pole? Further, no matter how many times you cut a magnet in half you will always get a magnet that has a north and south pole. Pretty strange right? Scientists can generate lab made magnets that only have a north or south pole, but out in the wild this is simply not the case — it has never happened simply put we just don’t know why. You know what, let’s just set magnets aside entirely. Why do they even exist?
A Cats Purr.
Is there anything more symbolic of domesticated contentment than the purr of a cat? If there is we haven’t heard of it. If you have a cat then you know just how content your kitty is when they are purring and there is little more rewarding for a cat owner than to bask in the love of an adoring cat. Yet, this simple act of purring has kept scientists on the edge of pulling out their hair for as long as they’ve been studying our feline friends. Scientists today cannot figure out how exactly cats manufacture their purring. Scientists to this day don’t have a solid answer down but the leading hypothesis is that cats use the vocal folds in their larynx in order to create the vibrating sounds we interpret as purrs. Why do domesticated cats all choose to do this? No idea.
The Placebo Effect.
If you are a child of the ’90s then the most iconic ‘placebo effect’ moment occurred in the Michael Jordan/Looney Toons crossover Space Jam. In that film our cartoon heroes drink from a bottle labeled ‘Special Stuff’ and then they are suddenly able to defeat the vile MonStars in a game of basketball along with the help of Bill Murray and Michael Jordan (oh weren’t the ’90s incredible?). The thing is, the placebo effect is real and has been shown to repeatedly occur in controlled tests by leading scientific studies. As long as your brain believes that your medication will work then it likely will. Pretty crazy right? It seems like our brain is willing our body to heal through the power of our faith in a sugar filled dummy pill. The craziest thing of all is this: even when we realize that it is just a placebo, the effect continues to work. The placebo effect isn’t just restricted to pills either as it can be found widespread in your life.
The Act of Yawning.
Yawning itself isn’t very exciting. In fact, the yawn is commonly used as a symbol of boredom or fatigue. Yawning is a part of our life pretty much from birth and it persists with us all throughout. No matter where you live or were born, you yawn — that’s just how your body works. The only tricky thing is this: we don’t know why exactly we yawn. There are many theories floating around as to the pervasiveness of our yawning but nothing is concrete. One theory explains that we yawn due to a subtle lack of oxygen flow, thus probing ourselves into the act of gulping down some extra oxygen. As I wrote this I began to yawn. Crazy world we live in, right?
The Voynich Manuscript.
Alright, we’ve played around with some lighter mysteries and now we deserve to dig a little deeper. Next up we’ll talk about the unintelligible Voynich Manuscript. The Voynich Manuscript is a 246 page book that is filled with botanical illustrations along with written word that modern man has so far been incapable of deciphering. Carbon dating places the book at around 1400 but our inability to translate the words in the manuscript has made it near impossible to place in terms of which civilization or culture it belongs to. Right now researches are tentatively calling it a book on medicine but there is no clear reason as to why it is incapable of being translated.
The Stone Balls of Costa Rica.
Stonehenge is a majestic place to visit and one that is undoubtedly filled with great mystery and nobility. Was Stonehenge a religious or spiritual place? Was it created to welcome aliens to Earth? Who knows? In Costa Rica there is a similar mystery haunting locals but it doesn’t quite have the curbside appeal of Stonehenge: giant stone balls. All over Costa Rica you can find perfectly spherical stone balls that range in size from bowling balls all the way to about eight feet in total size. These balls are littered throughout the country and the perfect craftsmanship makes them unlikely to have been made by locals with crude tools. Nobody knows where they came from or how they got there.
Powerful Cosmic Rays.
Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity has been instrumental in the world of science for many reasons. One of those reasons is its application to the GZK Limit. The GZK Limit sets a proposed ceiling on how powerful cosmic rays can be when they hit Earth and filter through our atmosphere. However, scientists across the ocean at the Akeno Observatory of Japan have found powerful cosmic rays that have routinely blown through this ceiling. The source of these powerful rays has never been identified and further research has come up dry when trying to get an answer. Surely, there’s no Marvin the Martian pointing his gun at our planet. So what’s the deal? Activities like this remind us that while we have come so far, there is just so very far to go.
The Vanishing of Pilot Fred Valentich.
Flight is one of the greatest marvels of modern man but continued incidents leave us wondering just what is going on in our sky. Back in 1978 a pilot by the name of Fred Valentich simply vanished while flying his plane. The Australian pilot was flying a Cessna 182L on a training mission. While in the air Valentich radioed in to command, located in Melbourne, and reported that an object was flying over him at a high rate of speed. Metallic scraping sounds followed his voice and soon all transmission was lost. Fred Valentich and his airplane were never seen or heard from again. Did Valentich run into an alien spacecraft and get abducted? Did Valentich stage the whole thing and simply vanish with the plane? The truth is that we will never know and perhaps that is the greatest sadness of all. There is no closure to this great mystery and there likely never will be.
The Cocaine Mummies.
Cocaine is pretty prevalent in the modern world and it sort of seems like a timeless drug. The fact is that it hasn’t always been there and that’s why German scientists, who tested the remnants of Egyptian mummies, were so floored by the prevalence of the drug. Back in 1992 scientists were testing the chemical make up of Egyptian mummy remains. Inside the bones, skin, and hair of these embalmed people the scientists found evidence of cocaine and tobacco. These drugs weren’t in Egypt at the time as the drug was cultivated in the Americas. There has been no documented trading between the two communities so the scientists were understandably baffled. Where were these mummies getting their fix?
If you are like me then nothing should scare you quite as much as the ocean. The ocean is deep, wide, and full of mysterious unknowns. In truth, we have barely even scratched the surface of the mysteries that the ocean holds — and that is why The Bloop is so terrifying. Way back in 2007 the Unite States NOAA department (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin.) located a powerful, long, and loud sound emitting from underwater. The sound seemed almost animal like but it registered as louder than even the largest known sea creatures in the ocean could emit. Immediately theories about Cthulu or some other beast of the deep began to fill the internet. The truth is, we will likely never know what made the haunting, deep, and powerful sound.
Just what is on Mars?
Mars is the one planet that we’ve turned into a pop culture phenomenon for potential life outside of our planet. Research into Mars keeps uncovering more and more questions. For example, scientists are capturing dark and extensive streaks near the surface of the planet that only show up during the warm season of the planet. Scientists don’t detect water in these areas so we are left with nothing but some pictures and more questions. What are these streaks and where do they go when it gets cold?
Why is being right handed the norm?
When you meet someone who is left handed you probably immediately go, ‘Whoa, that’s cool!’. What you don’t take time to realize is this; why should being left handed be such a rare thing? Conservative estimates show that 70% of the world’s population is right handed and extreme estimates conclude that almost 95% of the world is right handed. Why? What makes this happen? At some point in time we must have decided that being right handed is ‘correct’.
What does a black hole feel like?
For a long time the prevailing opinion was that you wouldn’t feel much of anything if you fell into a black hole, at least not until you passed through the Event Horizon. Now scientific calculations believe that you would head straight into a giant wall of fire, burning instantly to nothing. We likely will never know the answer to these gigantic questions.
Why is life so diverse near the equator?
The further you move away from cold climates and toward the equator, the more diverse life will become. Alexander von Humboldt, a Prussian explorer, first noted how biodiversity was massively more diverse and extraordinary near the equator as opposed to anywhere else on the planet. There are more types of people, flowers, creatures, and even diseases in this area. Some will point to the warmth as a result but scientists still aren’t sure what is causing this to happen.
Where are all of the aliens at?
And no, we aren’t talking about the kind that Donald Trump seems so obsessed with. If you play the statistical game of averages we’d expect to have run into some lifelike creatures from out of this world. If you follow the concept of nearly limitless planets and galaxies then it stands to reason that there would be another planet full of life out there. Perhaps they just don’t want to talk to us.
How has water always existed on Earth?
The Earth is so old that it is hard to really put it into words and numbers won’t do it justice. We’ll just say that at one point in time the sun was too far from the planet in order to melt the ice on Earth. However, research shows that liquid water has been on the planet for nearly 4 billion years — coinciding with the evolution of life. Our main question is simple: how was the water in liquid form?
How do butterflies know where to go?
Every year the Monarch Butterfly will go on a great journey, thousands of miles, for their migration. The journey will months upon months. Monarch Butterflies lay eggs when they reach the end of the journey and then they die off, having a life cycle of just six months. Soehow the newborn butterflies know the exact route home. How do they know where to go?
Where is all of the lithium?
Are you ready for a lesson in science? Lithium is considered the lightest metal that we know of. Lithium itself has an atomic number of just 3 and despite its size the material is used extensively: bombs, metal work, batteries and even medicine. What strikes scientists as truly bizarre is that we don’t know why it is so rare. Everywhere you’d think to find lithium we end up finding just a fraction of what should be there.
What are the Pyrophyllite Spheres?
South African miners found a collection of metal spheres within Pyriphyllite deposits. These spheres were carbon dated to be over 2.8 billion years old, predating intelligent life by quite a large margin. The craziest thing about these spheres is that they have markings on them and are balanced more accurately than we can even make them today. Creepy!