Home Weird Science Ordinary Things Scientists Somehow Still Can’t Explain
Weird Science By Monica Gray -

Ordinary Things Scientists Somehow Still Can’t Explain
Shutterstock

Static Hair With Balloons Has A Secret

If you have a head full of hair, chances are, you’ve rubbed your head with a balloon at one point to get a static charge. It’s so common, that most of us barely think about what causes it. Scientists have tried studying the phenomenon and were unable to come up with a clear and concise reason as to why it happens. Previously, scientists claimed that electrons move from the atoms and molecules on your hair to the balloon. When the balloon has a negative charge, your hair turns to a positive charge, thus standing on end. This is called static electricity, though scientists later learned this theory doesn’t hold. It doesn’t explain why objects of the same material also build up a static charge. In an experiment with tiny grains of material, scientists, could not explain the static build-up and assumed that it may come from the water molecules that coat the grains. Still, it remains a complete mystery (Gizmodo).

Ordinary Things Scientists Somehow Still Can’t Explain
Shutterstock

Even Though We Use Anesthesia, Scientists Aren’t Sure How It Works

Without anesthesia, surgery would be a lot more painful, if not downright impossible. If you’ve ever undergone surgery, you probably thanked anesthesia for making you unconscious and preventing an immense amount of pain from coursing through your body. In the past, surgeries without anesthesia were unbearable, and the advancements in modern medicine have made surgery a lot more pleasant. Before this magical drug, doctors used opium and hypnosis, though we’re not sure if it worked or not. In 1811, an English novelist by the name of Fanny Burney underwent surgery without any sort of numbing solution. In a letter to her sister, she wrote, “I began a scream that lasted unintermittingly [sic] during the whole time of the incision — and I almost marvel that it rings not in my ears still! So excruciating was the agony.” Fainting was the best outcome. Regardless, scientists are still unsure how anesthesia works. Some believe it’s affected the fatty parts of the brain and interrupts neural activity. Now, it’s said that certain receptors attach themselves to the anesthetic, which leads to unconsciousness. There may also be multiple processes at work (Medical News Today).

Ordinary Things Scientists Somehow Still Can’t Explain
Shutterstock

Only Birds Know Why They Migrate

Humans aren’t the only species who head to warmer climates to escape the chill of winter when their nesting conditions become unsuitable. If you’ve ever booked a flight to a tropical country once that first snowflake fell from the sky, you’re not alone. Birds also migrate incredibly long distances once winter sets in. But scientists have no idea how birds migrate or how they manage the migration. They’ll fly hundreds of thousands of miles to find the perfect conditions and habitats to breed and live. Some birds fly up to 4,350 miles (7,000 kilometers). That’s the distance from Andorra to the USA. Birds use sight, smell, and even the stars to migrate. They follow Earth’s magnetic field with their biological compass. Scientists theorize that birds sense an invisible magnetic field with built-in hardware, though they’re not entirely sure (Vox).

Ordinary Things Scientists Somehow Still Can’t Explain
Shutterstock

Scientists Don’t Understand That Soft Sand Between Your Toes

Walking barefoot through the soft sand is one of the most pleasurable feelings in the world. Scientists understand why sand feels so good in between your toes, but they don’t know why sand is so soft. There’s a scientific reason why you love sitting on your towel and sticking your toes into the cool, comforting sand. When we walk through sand, the motion activates lymphatic circulation and the anastomosis of the blood vessels in our feet. This relaxes your feet. It’s also exfoliating and removes dead skin cells. We know the top surface of sand feels the softest. But the layers underneath feel rougher, and the smaller the grain of sand, the softer the sand feels. Nevertheless, some rules to sand don’t apply, like the smaller grains of sand trap more moisture, thus making it feel clumpier (Ranker)

Ordinary Things Scientists Somehow Still Can’t Explain
Shutterstock

Those Pesky Hiccups Are More Than Annoying, They’re An Enigma

You’re probably one of the billions of people on this planet who dislike hiccuping. It’s likely you dislike listening to other people’s hiccups, especially if they last for more than a few minutes. It’s an unpleasant sensation that can also feel painful. How often have you tried to hold your breath or ask your friend to scare your hiccups away? While they usually go away by themselves, they can also stick around for some time. Charles Osborne hiccuped for 68 years straight. He managed to live with his hiccups and even lived to be a father and husband. He hiccuped a total of 430 million times during those six decades. Doctors could never find a cure, and couldn’t pinpoint the exact reason for his hiccups. Despite how common they are throughout the world, scientists still have no idea what causes them or their point. Scientists haven’t truly systematically studied hiccups or the mechanisms behind them, or how to get rid of them. They’re something we have to deal with until they pass (Smithsonian Mag).

Ordinary Things Scientists Somehow Still Can’t Explain
Shutterstock

The Placebo Effect For Pills, Surgery, And Beyond

Sometimes, the placebo effect is just as effective as the real deal. Previous studies conducted at Harvard have tested the placebo theory, often discovering that the placebo pill in an experiment is nearly as effective as the pill for treating migraines. If you’ve ever had a nonalcoholic beer or a mocktail, chances are, you felt tipsy even though your drink lacked alcohol. That’s the placebo effect. Our brains are incredible, and scientists are only beginning to understand the depths of our brain power. Furthermore, if you believe you’re exercising, even if you’re lying down, your brain starts to respond as if it is exercising. When researchers told athletes they received a caffeine pill, those athletes ran faster, even though they only received a placebo pill. These fascinating facts about the placebo effect stun scientists, and it’s something they still can’t explain (NPR).

Ordinary Things Scientists Somehow Still Can’t Explain
Shutterstock

Why Bicycles Don’t Topple Over

You might read this and think, “but I always fall off of my bicycle!” It might make you feel better to learn that we’re not talking about your inability to ride a bike. We’re talking about the strange structure and mechanisms behind the bicycle that keep a bicycle upright. As perplexing as they are, we continue to use bicycles every single day. They’re one of the most common modes of transportation, even if scientists haven’t figured out how they stay upright while moving. The pedal turns the gear, and the gear turns the wheel. It’s stable enough that it doesn’t fall over while it’s moving, and it’s only until the bike slows down that it falls on its side. Scientists believe it’s a combination of things, like the front wheel touching the ground behind a tilted steering axis, plus several other gyroscopic effects. You can test this out yourself by removing the front wheel and spinning the axle while holding it. Then, “try to twist the wheel by moving the axle. You’ll see it resists you. Now, with the wheel still spinning, crook a finger under one side of that axle, and let go of the other side. Magically, it stays there, like somebody invisible is holding the other side up.” This is only one of several theories as to why the bicycle stays upright (Fast Company).

Ordinary Things Scientists Somehow Still Can’t Explain
Shutterstock

No Explanation For Why We Cry

Crying is a part of the human experience, even if we don’t have an explanation for it. Have you ever tried to hold back your tears? It’s almost painful. We cry when we’re happy, when we’re sad, and when we’re laughing. There are numerous other benefits to crying, like cleaning the eye from debris that could potentially damage the eyeball. But crying is especially unique to humans. Other animals do cry, but it’s only to lubricate their eyes. Our emotions cause us to cry. Even though it remains a mystery, research suggests that when we cry, we release endorphins and oxytocin that help relieve any stress we may feel. Humans have developed crying as a way to get a request without using words, strengthen social bonds, sympathize, and process emotions. Some people cry more than others, and people with different attachment styles cry at varying levels. Because it’s so widespread, scientists still haven’t figured out why we cry (Healthline).

Ordinary Things Scientists Somehow Still Can’t Explain
Shutterstock

Solitary Humpback Whales To Super Social Creatures

The shift in humpback whale behavior has baffled scientists. They’ve gone from solitary creatures to living in “super-groups.” The change is strange, and biologists are studying their behavior day in and day out to try and figure out why. Usually, humpback whales are solitary creatures. They only stay in large groups when they are migrating or mating. But only recently have they begun to feed in packs of 20 to 200 around the entire planet, most notably in 2011, 2014, and 2015. These whales typically feed in Antarctica, but now they’re finding them thousands of miles away near South Africa. Scientists cannot figure out why they’ve changed, but they assume it’s because of the rise in the population of humpbacks, and they’re going back to their typical behavior before human interference (All That’s Interesting).

Advertisement
Advertisement