People Are Sharing The Most Mind-Blowing Scientific Facts They Know

A brain
Unsplash | Robina Weermeijer

What's your favorite scientific fact?

Mine is probably that consuming random facts and trivia on a near-daily basis is no guarantee that you'll be able to remember any when it's time to write an article about them.

Thankfully, the r/AskReddit thread, "What is a scientific fact that absolutely blows your mind?" will be an excellent source of awesome facts that I'll quickly forget.

We're getting old sunlight.

The sun
Unsplash | NASA

"We don't know if the sun exists as of this second. Of course there's no doubt it is still there etc... But the light needs about 8 minutes 20 seconds for the distance. And as nothing is faster than light, all we can ever say for sure is the sun was doing fine this time span ago."


Free fallin'.

A space station
Unsplash | NASA

"The reason for near-weightlessness on the international space station is nothing to do with low gravity in space. It's still very close to the massive ball of wet rock that we live on, and still experiences 89% of the gravity that we do. It's just that the ISS is in (almost) freefall, so everything is accelerated by (almost) the same force."


Technically, wood doesn't burn.

A fire
Unsplash | Ricardo Gomez Angel

"Solids and liquids don't burn. Only their vapours and gases. That's why you can't just throw a huge log on the fire and have it burn, you need to haul its temperature up until the surface starts pyrolysis and turning into a gas, which then burns."


Trees: smarter than you thought.

A view upward from the forest floor
Unsplash | Arnaud Mesureur

"Trees can communicate and cooperate using a network of underground mycelium. They can store excess energy in it for later use, can trade different nutrients with neighbors so their needs are met, take care of their young when they're unwell, and even warn others of a spreading disease or parasite. Nature is wild."


Time is vast.

A crowd of people
Unsplash | davide ragusa

"The fact that we are all dead in practical terms for forever. We were not alive for billions of years before birth, and we will be dead for billions of years after death with only a blink of conscious existence in deep time.

"As Mark Twain put it: I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."


This is theoretical, right?

A folded sheet of paper
Unsplash | Markus Spiske

"Exponential power: Fold a 'big sheet' of paper - that is 0.1 mm thick - 50 times and the height of stack is over 20 times the distance earth to moon."


Humans are a bunch of johnny-come-latelys.

An alarm clock
Unsplash | insung yoon

"If the entirety of the Earth’s history were compressed down to a single day, humans of any sort wouldn’t appear until the last second before midnight."


Space is big.

A space scene
Unsplash | Greg Rakozy

"Without the development of genuinely sci-fi travel technology like wormholes or hyperspace (which may not even be possible) 99.99+% of the universe will be forever locked off from us. Because of cosmic expansion, the various galactic clusters are moving away from our local cluster faster than we could ever catch up to them."


Those are long odds.

Two hands touching
Unsplash | Shoeib Abolhassani

"With the help of quantum tunneling, there is a 1 in 5.261 chance that the molecules in your hand and table would miss each other when slamming it, making your hand go through the table."


Take that, high tech aliens.

A t-rex in a modern city
Unsplash | Huang Yingone

"If some sort of super-advanced alien species on a planet 80 million light years away from Earth built a high-tech telescope that let them see objects on the Earth's surface, they would be seeing dinosaurs right now."


Here's why dreams surprise us.

A sleeping man
Unsplash | Tânia Mousinho

"When you dream, one portion of your brain creates the story, while another part witnesses the events and is really shocked by the plot twists."


Keep that acid far away from me.

A science lab
Unsplash | RephiLe water

"The strongest known acid is called Fluroantimonic Acid and it is made by combining a solution of two different ions in various quantities. Without going too crazy into the scientific details, the part that blows my mind is that at certain ratios of the two ingredients you can get an acid that is 1 QUADRILLION TIME STRONGER THAN 100% PURE SULFURIC ACID."


In space, no one can here you weld.

A galaxy
Unsplash | Andy Holmes

"If 2 pieces of the same type of metal touch in space, they will bond and be permanently stuck together. Space welding ( cold welding )"


Atoms are tough to get your head around.

Waves on water
Unsplash | Matt Hardy

"There are 8 times as many atoms in a teaspoonful of water as there are teaspoonfuls of water in the Atlantic Ocean."


Slime makes decisions.

Green slime
Unsplash | michela lommi

"Slime molds don’t have brains or nervous systems but some how retain information and use it to make decisions. Even more crazy is that they can fuse with another individual and share the information"


The T-rex is sort of modern.

A tyrannosaurus rex skeleton
Unsplash | Scott Evans

"T-rex lived 66million-ish years ago. Stegosaurus lived 155million-ish years ago. The gap between rex and stego is 16million-ish greater than between rex and present day."


They're like Transformers, only gross.

A green caterpillar
Unsplash | Justin Lauria

"Caterpillars basically dissolve into liquid in the cocoon. The only thing left are the so called ‘imaginal discs’, groups of cells that contain all the information and the mechanism to turn that soup into the various body parts of a butterfly (the same applies for other insects)."


Our bodies glow, kinda.

An artist's dummy
Unsplash | Kira auf der Heide

"All matter literally gives off light, but we can only see a sliver of that spectrum (although we do have tools to help us see other spectrums.)

"Our bodies give off infrared, and are basically glowing in that portion of the spectrum similar to how iron glows to our normal vision when it’s heated. Something that sees a different spectrum than us might not see hot iron as glowing at the same temperatures we see iron glow at."


Perfectly preserved.

A woolly mammoth
Flickr | kevin.boyd

"There are some Ice Age animals that are so perfectly preserved in permafrost that scientists have been able to find them still with all their soft tissue, hair, and organs. They even found a couple mammoths that still had liquid blood in them and I remember one scientist even tasting the mammoth meat."


See your own blood vessels.

A brain
Unsplash | Robina Weermeijer

"There are actually blood vessels obstructing light from reaching certain areas in your eye, effectively creating a shadow. Your brain filters this out and essentially fills in the gaps so you don’t actually see this spiderweb-like network of black lines. However, you can visualise them by shining a light at a diagonal into your eye (not directly!) and gently wiggling it about. This means your brain doesn’t have enough time to filter it out and you see this spiderweb like network of blood vessels!"