Scientific Mysteries

Guttersnipe

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Inspired by the witchcraft thread. What are some things that can probably be understood in the future, but nowadays boggle scientists to some degree. No ghosts or magic here, just things that are actually studied by scientists. Here are a few:

*Slime mold: Why is it so "intelligent"? It can solve mazes and keep track of time.

*What is ball lightning, exactly?

*What killed Venus? Was it the Sun or the volcanoes? It's believed to have once been Earth-like.

*What causes Havana syndrome?

*What causes Alzheimer's?

*How did creatures develop anuses? No joke. They certainly give us and others an advantage.

*Why do tetraneutrons exist?

*Dark matter and dark energy--how and why do they
 
I think that one of the most fascinating is/are dark energy and matter. Although it seems to me that this is a 'best guess' scenario for the 'glue' that is holding everything together. At one time it was just empty space, but now (it appears) that there is 'something' there that we can't see or determine what it actually is. If we ever do, I think it will go an awfully long way to explaining how the universe works.

The other fascinating one are black holes; it looks as though there are a vast number of them. If and when we understand black holes better, we may find that our understanding of time and movement through the universe will alter significantly.

Sadly, I don't think that (in universal terms) the miniscule time cycle allotted to human beings will be enough to ever find out. It's a stepping stone thing; we will send humans back to the Moon and shortly afterwards construct a permanent living space there. We will then move on to Mars and do the same there. But after that the best we can hope for are orbital stations around other planets; I doubt that humans will ever go beyond Saturn's orbit.
 
@paranoid marvin Do you think post-humans will make it farther out in space or do you think we'll destroy ourselves before that happens?


I think that the human frame is barely fit for purpose when it comes to space travel within our solar system, let alone further afield. In our current form, I don't think that we will ever be in a position to send a human being to another star.

If the different evolutionary era of this planet have taught us anything, it's that no one species stays in charge for too long. Which is why, if we want the human race to continue, it's important to expand beyond the Earth and colonise the Moon or Mars.

Enough large meteorites have hit the Earth to suggest that one large enough to evade our best attempts to destroy it will be what eventually does for us. Hopefully not for another few thousand years!
 
...if for no other reason that no one would want to admit that their lives are spent orbiting Uranus....


A funny thing is in the pronunciation of that plane. Growing up it always seemed to be pronounced 'you-ray-nus' then all of all sudden it started to be pronounced 'you-ran-us'. Funnily enough, this seemed to coincide with the planet suddenly being mentioned in the news (Voyager 2 visited the planet in 1986), Perhaps the bigwigs at the news stations decided that the original pronunciation was too rude for programmes before the watershed?

There's a very funny clip on Youtube from Spitting Image about it, featuring Sir Alistair Burnett (a famous newsreader of the time).
 
Also, scientists don't fully understand why people yawn and why cats purr, beyond the simple answers that we're tired or they're happy.
 
According to Wikipedia, they're eight-legged segmented micro-animals whose closest relatives are (i.e. they're in the same superphylum as) arthropods and nematodes (whose common characteristic is that they grow by moulting).
 
According to Wikipedia, they're eight-legged segmented micro-animals whose closest relatives are (i.e. they're in the same superphylum as) arthropods and nematodes (whose common characteristic is that they grow by moulting).
Ah. I must've read an outdated article.
 
Einstein: People like us who believe in physics know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

The oldest confirmed use of any version of "Time prevents everything from happening at once" is from Ray Cummings' short story The Time Professor, published in the Jan. 8, 1921 issue of Argosy All-Story Weekly

And: Space is what stops everything from being in the same place. - Unknown
 
Einstein: People like us who believe in physics know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

The oldest confirmed use of any version of "Time prevents everything from happening at once" is from Ray Cummings' short story The Time Professor, published in the Jan. 8, 1921 issue of Argosy All-Story Weekly

And: Space is what stops everything from being in the same place. - Unknown
But we effortlessly move through time, yet to move through space does take effort, ie the expenditure of energy. Why?
 
But we effortlessly move through time, yet to move through space does take effort, ie the expenditure of energy. Why?

Time is only a measurement. A measurement of things changing. Someone said we created time - yes, as a concept. We created the measuring device (clocks) and decided the size of the units: seconds, minutes, etc. In reality, things change, but at different rates. The time as dispensed by the cesium clock in Colorado is NIST-F1 Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock. It's based on the cesium radiation decay rate which is 9,192,631,770 times per second, and it is stable at that frequency. I suspect a blade of grass grows a bit slower.

A lot of the confusion for us humans is that we remember stuff. We record events we experience with our brains. Without that ability, I don't think we would have a concept of time.
 

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