12 Ordinary Things Scientists Don’t Actually Understand

Chela Mibei
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You’d think that after centuries of constant scientific exploration, we’d have this universe pretty much figured out, right? Plot twist: Not even close. Countless everyday phenomena keep scientists scratching their heads and saying, “Well, that’s weird.”

From the odd behavior of house cats to the mysterious dark matter that supposedly makes up most of our universe, we’ve got plenty on the cosmic to-do list. Here are the juicy mysteries you probably didn’t know scientists are still scratching their heads over.

Why Cats Purr

12 Ordinary Things Scientists Don't Actually Understand
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They purr when they’re happy, right? Well, that’s what we all like to believe when Fluffy is curled up in our lap, purring away like a tiny motorboat.

But then, why do they also purr when they’re injured or stressed? Sounds like someone needs to let the cat out of the bag on this one.

Hiccups

12 Ordinary Things Scientists Don't Actually Understand
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We’ve all had them, but do we know what causes them? Some say it’s a leftover reflex from when we were infants learning to suckle.

Others claim it’s our diaphragm contracting. But why do they happen in the first place, and how can we make them disappear?

Tylenol, or Acetaminophen

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It is one of the most commonly used pain relief medications for Americans. But do we understand how it works?

Sure, we know it can help with headaches and sore muscles. However, the exact mechanisms behind its effectiveness are still a mystery.

Yawning

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Speaking of contagious, why is yawning infectious? Just reading this, you’re probably yawning too. (Gotcha!)

Despite being a universal human experience, scientists must learn why we do it or why it spreads like the latest dance craze.

Bicycles

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You’d think we have this one nailed down, considering we’ve been cycling since the 19th century. But the physics behind why a moving bike stays upright and stable remains to be discovered. It may be time we steered science in a new direction.

In the words of Professor Andy Ruina at Cornell University, “There’s a lot we don’t understand about bicycles, and just when we think we do, another question pops up.”

Dreams

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Sure, we can analyze dreams and the brain activity that goes along with them. But why do we dream in the first place? What purpose does it serve?

Do our dreams mean anything at all? These questions continue to baffle scientists and leave us wondering if there’s a hidden meaning behind that dream where you’re flying.

Laughter

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You’ve heard the saying, “laughter is the best medicine.” But why? And don’t say it’s because endorphins are released when we laugh. Because then you have to explain why some people find dad jokes funny.

Taste

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Smell and taste go together like peas in a pod, but scientists still can’t fully explain how our brains process these senses.

As much as we try to categorize flavors, there’s no definitive answer on why some of us love cilantro and others swear it tastes like soap.

Time

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We use it to measure everything, but what exactly is time? Is it a fundamental property of the universe or simply a human construct? And why does it seem to pass slower or faster depending on our state of mind?

Sleep

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We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, yet we still don’t fully understand why. We know it’s essential for our physical and mental well-being, but the exact mechanisms behind sleep remain elusive. One day, we’ll finally unravel the mysteries of the land of nod.

Crying

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It’s a biological function that we humans share with animals. But why do we cry when sad, happy, or overwhelmed?

Some scientists believe it’s a way to release stress hormones, while others suggest it’s a form of communication. Regardless of the reason, one thing is sure – there’s no shame in shedding a few tears now and then.

Anesthesia

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Despite being used in medical procedures for over a century, we still need to understand how anesthetics work fully.

We know they make us unconscious and unable to feel pain, but the exact mechanisms behind this are still a mystery. Some secrets are meant to stay hidden, even from science.

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Author

  • Chela Mibei

    Chela excels in crafting insightful pieces, drawing from her background in finance and commerce. Her passions for reading, travel, writing, and volunteering enrich her contributions.

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