There are many mysteries that have stumped scientists for years. These include questions about dark matter, why humans need to sleep, the migrating patterns of animals, and the origin or human life (not a creationism vs. evolution question).
These are matters that are fascinating, but best left up to scientists to explore. What about the oddities that we encounter in daily life but cannot fully explain?
Here are seven puzzling mysteries of daily life that finally have an explanation.
1. What is foam? Is it a solid, a liquid, or a gas?
Actually, it’s all three. Foam is a series of gas or air bubbles that are trapped inside of a liquid or solid containment. In fact, you see foam in many places around you every day. The bubbles in a bubble bath, your bath sponge, the overflow of carbonation from a beer or soda. All of these are just a few examples of foam that you will see in your daily life.
2. What is that cracking noise when you pop your joints? Does it give you arthritis?
There are actually a few things that this noise is. Sometimes gas bubbles become trapped in the joints, and with a little bit of pressure relief, they are able to escape, making a popping sound. It can also be the simple noise your tendons and joints make when they rub together. Popping your joints does not have any direct correlation to arthritis. However, some studies have found that constant popping off your joints or knuckles may lead to tissue swelling.
3. Are yawns really contagious and why?
Yawning can be contagious, and it is caused by our capacity for empathy. Studies have proven that children do not yawn contagiously until they are about four years old while children with mental disorders such as autism or schizophrenia may not yawn contagiously at all.
4. Is there a scientific reason that the first drink of beer tastes best?
Actually, there is! When you properly pour a glass of beer, it should have at least ½ to 1 inch of head (the foam that sits on top of the drink). The head is simply yeast particles that are reacting to the CO2 that is being released from the top of your glass. This foam traps and strengthens the aroma, leading to your first drink of beer tasting better than the next. Next time you’re at the bar, and you order a beer try holding your nose during the first drink and see what happens.
5. What is the deal with the falling sensation that happens when you aren’t quite asleep?
This is known as a sleep twitch and happens when both your conscious and unconscious mind are active at the same time. Because you’re both awake and asleep at the same time in a sense, your body and mind may become confused, and when your unconscious mind starts to dream, you will feel a falling sensation that your conscious mind will react to. More than likely you will jerk awake due to the physical reaction of falling.
6. Why do some people love cilantro while others think it tastes like soap?
It’s all because of genetics. If you are someone who hates cilantro and thinks it tastes like soap, don’t blame yourself. Blame your parents. Science has found that most people who hate cilantro are people who share a group of olfactory-receptor genes, which are called OR6A2. These receptor genes pick up the smell of aldehyde chemicals. Why are aldehyde chemicals so important to this? It’s because these chemicals are found in cilantro and soap. If you hate cilantro and want to avoid a possible soapy taste in your food, try using parsley instead.
7. Which food labels should be followed and which are meaningless?
Many of the food labels you see are completely meaningless and are only placed there to try and make them seem fancier, which leads to you spending more money than you have to. The labels you should follow are those stating that the food is pesticide free, organic, and peanut/tree nut/soy/gluten free. Food labels that are meaningless are labels claiming that the product is doctor-recommended. This claim makes the food sound like it will be healthy when it can easily mean that a doctor tasted and liked it. Other labels to ignore are: A good source of fiber, made with whole grains, kid-approved, free range, farm-raised, and all natural.
What other puzzling mysteries of daily life do you know? Have you ever managed to find an explanation to any of them? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jonathan Emmen is a student and a passionate blogger from Copenhagen and regular contributor for different educational and entertainment blogs. His passion is writing and he finds inspiration in travelling, books and movies. You can follow him on @JonnyEmmen.