Placebo Effect The placebo effect is when a person takes something they believe is medicine for an ailment they are suffering (which is not really a medicine), and they get better. A placebo is an inert substance, and when taken (with the advice from others that it will cure them) makes the person get better, simply because they were expecting or believed that it would work. Something similar, called the nocebo effect, is when a person takes fake drugs and thinks they are experiencing problems that would have been caused by the real drugs. They have been known to reduce pain as well. Why they occur is mysterious and they are only one of the many complicated things related to the body-brain connection. In fact, our own bodies hold many unsolved mysteries. Panspermia How did life on earth appear? Science suggests that life started when the planet was favourable for habitation. Yet did microscopic organisms just pop out of nowhere? One hypothesis is panspermia, which suggests that ‘seeds of life’ exist everywhere around the universe, and that life on earth started when these ‘seeds’ came here, probably by a meteor. It also suggests that these seeds are taken to other habitable places in the universe. Something similar to this is exo-genesis. It suggests that life was brought to earth those billions of years ago, however it does not say that life is also taken to other habitable places. Some people believe aliens brought life to our planet, as suggested by the theories of Erich Von Daniken. Although some are sceptical as to how life could exist in space and get carried to other planets, there is substantial evidence that certain life forms, like spores and certain types of bacteria can actually exist in space, perhaps in a dormant state. Mass extinctions From the death of the dinosaurs, to the disappearance of the creatures in the Permian Era, mass extinctions are occurring even now. Sometimes, the cause is clear. We are destroying the biosphere and the atmosphere, and scientists predict that in the next 100 years, 50% of all living species will become extinct. But sometimes, the real reason is unclear. It may have been due to competition from other species, dramatic climate changes, or the impacts from an asteroid/meteor (the last one being quite a popular one). Yet some questions remain unanswered. Why was it that some species died out, and others survived, some to this day (famous example: the coelacanth). During the extinction of the dinosaurs, crocodiles and turtles were around, but they survived, even to this day, while the dinosaurs, the pterosaurs, the marine reptiles and others died out. While some people believe that those species were unable to cope with the (possibly) new surroundings, others are not convinced. To this day, they are a mystery, and without a time machine, we may never know. Other popular theories include:- flood basalt events, smaller asteroid showers, global warming/cooling, sea level drops. Zombies in Haiti Haitan vodou, part of their religious practices, has long been considered to be evil. And the base of this suspicion is that the vodou is used to create zombies. Not zombies as in Hollywood zombies. Not animated brain ****ing zombies. Zombies like, sub-conscious humans who do everything they are told. Wade Davis, a Canadian ethno-biologist, uncovered a lot of info on this. Apparently, it originated in Africa, and two drugs (or poisons) are inserted into the victim’s bloodstream. One creates a deathlike trance, and one makes the victim seem like they have no brain of their own, thus rendering them able to do whatever they are told. 3 important facts Davis found was:- zombification is not random, it is not common, and it is used as a kind of severe punishment, most likely to those that have broken the sacred vodou laws. Intuition Ever learned something without really understanding how you know it? That’s intuition. Sometimes called a sixth sense or gut feelings, intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without a clear source or without reasoning it. Some people claim that they get a feeling that someone is watching them, and they look around and find that somebody is, or was, watching them. Or a police officer may look at some suspects for a crime and somehow know which one is guilty, and later discover they were right. Though some people say that these things are all coincidences, others believe that the human brain has a special ability to get knowledge around them without conscious realization. It is another mystery of the human mind.