Top 10 Reasons Science Is Another Religion


Science Thinks Humans are Special


It is understandable that religion might place man in the center of the universe – but for science to do so is inexcusable. However, a great number of astrophysicists and cosmologists are eager to talk about how the universe conforms to the “anthropic principle”.

There is absolutely no scientific reason why human understanding – above that of slugs, dolphins and monkeys – should be wide enough to encompass the universe. Anthropocentrism – the assumption that humans take center-stage in the universe – is rife in the sciences, as it is in religion.



It Casts Out Heretics and Persecutes all Other Religions


Science, like God in the Old Testament, behaves jealously against any other religion. So science will say to its followers: “You shall have no other gods before me”.

If you have any doubts, try asking an audience at a scientific convention to join you in a prayer. From that moment on you’ll be called a theist-scientist. A heretic. A miasma. An abomination. Just look up how Kurt Gödel was viewed at Princeton after circulating his ontological proof of God.



Science Reveres Its Own Saints


The ranks of science martyrdom may be thin, yet its members are revered as far greater scientists they actually were. Take Galileo Galilei, for example, the patron saint of all scientists persecuted by religious orders. He actually contributed very little to science: most of his achievements were technical, such as tampering with telescopes. Heliocentricity was known since the 4th century BC.



Science Makes up Stories to Explain Our Origins

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The Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Chinese, the Aztecs – all of them had creation myths, probably invented around a fire. All of them took their creation myths seriously. Now, of course, we have science to explain our origins.

You know what its latest version of this story is? In the beginning, there were giant membranes. These membranes touched each other, triggering something called the “Big Bang”. Sure.



Science Has Its Own Code of Ethics


There are state laws, and there are moral laws. And now, according to science, there are “laws of scientific conduct”. All kinds of atrocities are committed in the name of science – take a doctor, for example, who has to give placebo pills to a number of his patients in a drug trial, knowing that they will suffer or die much sooner than if they had received proper treatment.

But scientific advancement almost always claims precedence over personal morality. And – unless you’re a zealot yourself – its ethics will clash with your personal code of conduct.



Science Has Its Own Priesthood


Newton, Darwin and Einstein serve as the holy trinity of western science. And below these are the elders: Watson, Crick, Dawkins, Hawking, Dennet, Chomsky, Penrose and Sagan. And then you have the High Priests: the Nobel Prize winners, the popular writers and the media celebrities.

Their opinions are received as sermons, and their statements are quoted like sacred texts. Ordinary people are ridiculed, if they doubt the interpretations of this priesthood. Even for scientists, questioning a member of a higher tier is done only at your own risk. After all, all scientific work (from papers to grant applications) is peer reviewed, remember?



Science is Based on Established Dogmas


Ever wonder how for centuries, the best doctors could insist on blood-letting as a cure – without ever noticing that their patients did worse? The answer: belief in blood-letting was part of the scientific dogma at the time.

Anything contradicting this dogma is simply rejected and ignored, or ridiculed for as long as possible. Science thus has the trappings of a full blown religion.



Science Will Bend to Accommodate Modern Trends


If you think scientists are immune to the pressure to conform to public opinion – think again. I am not even going to consider the announcements made by scientists under totalitarian regimes (such as racist “conclusions”), because I consider these to be forced aberrations.

Instead I will use the scientific approach to homosexuality. It was included in the list of personality disorders of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM) up to its 1973 edition. It was then removed – only to be replaced a year later by a close variant, before being removed entirely in 1986. Upon what evidence rested the changing decisions to include or exclude homosexuality among mental disorders? Public sentiment, backed by convenient “empirical evidence”, played a leading role.



Most of Science is Unfounded


Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Quantum Strings and Ego – all of them sound like plausible stories. But can anyone point out the Ego locus in a dissected brain? Or use the concept of Dark Energy for anything besides helping to explain the expanding universe – another scientific theory? There is no actual proof for any of these theories.

That’s right – we have no proof for the existence of 96% of what science thinks the universe is made of – and yet the theories explaining it (we call them theories to avoid calling them stories) we hold to be true. Why? you ask. Because we have faith – which brings me to my final point.



Science Requires Faith


Even highly-specialized scientists will often pursue a certain line of thought, and explore the implications of certain theory while rejecting others, based on nothing more than intuitive preferences, and their sense of what is elegant and right.

Most people who reject the religion they once accepted will claim to have done so in favor of the reasonable, clear-cut answers provided by logic and science. When asked to explain the existence of the universe, they’ll mention the Big Bang and M Theories; when asked to explain the existence of humans, they’ll mention evolution.

When pressed to explain any of the above, however, they soon realize that they actually understand very little. They were exhibiting blind faith – accepting the theories without comprehending them. If you don’t understand something, yet accept it as the truth, then you’re simply a Believer – and like much of science, you’ll find yourself well within the territory of religion.

10 Incredible Recently Discovered Animals


Goliath Bird Eating Spider

I’ve opted to put this monstrous creature at number ten for one very simple reason: it terrifies me. It terrifies me so much that I didn’t want to grant it the honour of placing it any higher. The species was officially discovered in 2006 during an expedition to Guyana. It is a burrowing spider, feeding primarily on invertebrates, though it has also been observed eating small mammals, lizards, and venomous snakes (surprise surprise). Fully grown specimens can reach a horrific weight of around six ounces. Thankfully for us – and for any other creatures too large for the spider to eat – the goliath bird eater is a species of tarantula, and has relatively weak venom, which causes mild swelling and pain for a few hours.

But the thing that poses the biggest threat to us humans is the goliath’s ability to expel urticating hairs from its body. These tiny, nearly invisible hairs float through the air – and have an awful tendency to stick in the eyes.



Lousiana Pancake Batfish

Belonging to the Ogcocephalidae family of batfish, the Louisiana pancake batfish is a bizarre looking creature native to the Gulf of Mexico. The species was discovered in 2010, during the cleanup process following the infamous oil spill in the gulf, which affected every kind of batfish.

The Louisiana pancake batfish’s name comes from its shape, which quite closely resembles that of a horrendously prepared pancake. The strange manner it has of moving along the ocean floor is described as being similar to the way a bat crawls. The pancake batfish feeds on invertebrates, which it uses chemical lures to capture.


Walter’s Duiker

Walter’s Duiker is a fascinating little creature, officially discovered in 2010 in the Dahomey Gap, West Africa. The species made its first foray into the world of science in 1968, when Walter Verheyen – the man after whom the species is named – retrieved a specimen in Togo. This species of duiker is native to Togo, Benin, and Nigeria.

One of the most interesting characteristics about the species is its small stature, measuring an average of only forty centimeters (sixteen inches) in height and typically weighing four to six kilograms. In addition to its small height, the duiker has hind legs which are longer than their counterparts up front. This is particularly interesting given that the duiker is not a grazing animal, and typically feeds on berries and other similar items of nourishment, which grow on plants.


Yeti Crab

This rather snuggly looking crustacean was discovered in 2005 in the South Pacific Ocean. Given the presence of a substantial quantity of silky blond setae, its discoverers were quick to dub it the ‘yeti crab’. The unusual little decapod reaches an average length of around fifteen centimetres (just under six inches) and lives around hydrothermal vents deep in the ocean. It is for this reason that the fur-like setae contain filamentous bacteria, which allow the creature to detoxify poisonous substances emitted in the water by vents. It has been speculated that the yeti crab may actually feed on such bacteria – but it is generally believed to be a carnivore.


Red-bearded Titi

The red-bearded titi is a small primate discovered in the Colombian section of the Amazon Rainforest in 2008. Unfortunately, the story of the discovery is not all happy, as it appears the adorable bearded little things are critically endangered, with an estimated surviving population of less than 250. The red-bearded titi, like many primates, shares a surprising number of characteristics with humans. One such characteristic is that they mate for life – an uncommon habit in the primate world. A typical couple has a baby every year, and males are responsible for a majority of the infant’s care. Couples have often been seen sitting together on tree branches with tails intertwined.


Pinocchio Frog

Found in the remote Fuja Mountains of Indonesia, the Pinocchio frog is a strange little creature which was only discovered by accident in 2010, after wandering into a research camp and perching itself atop a bag of rice. The animal’s most obvious distinctive feature is the odd protuberance on the front of its face – most often referred to as its nose. The strange nose-like thing is a feature which only the males have, and becomes erect when they are making excited calls, returning to its standard position when they are not. The exact purpose of the ‘nose’, and the frogs’ ability to manipulate it, is as yet unknown.



The lesula is a remarkable new species of African monkey discovered in 2007. It was discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is the second new species of African monkey discovered in nearly three decades. The monkey was first seen (by non-locals) in 2007 by John and Terese hart of Yale University’s Peabody Museum of Natural History, in the home of a primary school teacher in the town of Opala. The most visible characteristic which makes the lesula so unusual is its startlingly human face. A slightly less obvious characteristic are the bald patches on the monkey’s hindquarters and genital region, both of which are coloured a vibrant blue.


Wattled Smoky Honeyeater

The wattled smoky honeyeater is a species of honeyeater endemic to the Foja Mountains of Indonesia. This particular species’ most distinctive feature is the reddish-orange facial skin around its eyes. Discovered in December of 2005, the wattled smoky honeyeater was the first new bird species discovered in New Guinea since 1939. In addition to the brilliant orange skin around the bird’s eyes, it has the curious characteristic of walking with a ‘wottle’. The honeyeater was one of over twenty new species discovered in a single expedition that took place in 2005. The shade of the bird’s facial skin changes slightly when flushed.


Megalara Garuda

I’ve already mentioned a number of recently discovered animals from Indonesia – and I would gladly wager that this is the most terrifying of the lot. The megalara garuda, also known (for good reason) as the king of the wasps, is an enormous wasp officially discovered in the Mekongga Mountains on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in 2011. Average males are about two inches in length, and have an elongated mandible similar in size to their forelegs. Not only is the megalara garuda massive and demonic looking – it is also venomous. The first specimens of the wasp were collected on an expedition to Indonesia in 1930; however the first live specimen was captured and documented just last year. Much like many other rare species, deforestation and other environmental impacts pose a threat to the wellbeing of the species.


Paracheilinus Nursalim

First described in 2008, paracheilinus nursalim is a new species of flasher wrasse discovered in the Bird’s Head Peninsula in Western New Guinea. The fish’s most distinctive characteristic is of course its incredibly bright, vibrant colours. Given the recent nature of its discovery, little is currently known of the creature.

To end on a cheery note: the future for the paracheilinus nursalim looks quite a lot brighter than can be said of some other animals on this list. The fish’s primary habitat is located within already-protected waters, meaning that it’s safe from external factors which may otherwise have put it at risk.

10 Weird Ways to Live On After Death


Be Thrown as a Frisbee

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Ed Headrick invented the Frisbee after seeing the foil trays from the Frisbie Baking Company pies used as flying disks. He first produced a plastic disk called the Pluto Platter, and later renamed it the Frisbee. These days, the Frisbee is one of the most popular toys in the world, and Ultimate Frisbee is played at universities across the globe. When Ed died at the age of 90, his cremated remains were mixed with plastic and turned into Frisbees which were given to friends and families. He used to joke while still alive that all humans were frisbees and that there was no such place a purgatory – souls simply got lost on roofs.



Be Worn as a Diamond

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Synthetic diamonds are created mostly by using high pressure and temperature in the lab to dissolve graphite in a metal catalyst. This method allows for the production of lots of small gems. These will usually be used in industrial situations, because they lack the beauty of natural gems. It is possible, however, to make sparkly diamonds in the lab – and in doing this, you can use almost any source of carbon. Cremated human remains can now be turned into diamond jewellery, a cherished memorial of the lost loved one. You can even become a diamond before your demise, by using your hair as a source of carbon.


Become Fireworks

Several companies will take the ashes of cremated people and load them into fireworks. After cremation, there are usually 2-3kgs of ash left. This means that a great many fireworks can be made from a single person, and a whole evening of wondrous display organized in their memory.


Become a Statue

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Jeremy Bentham was a free-thinker and utilitarian philosopher who died in 1832. One of his notable ideas was that human burial was a waste. Incidentally, when great men die, they are often given a statue to memorialise them – and Bentham decided to kill two birds with one body. Since taxidermy was all the rage at the time, he arranged for his body to be preserved and turned into what he called an auto-icon. Now his well-preserved body is kept in University College London. It was regularly brought out for meetings: at the roll call Bentham would be recorded as ‘Present, but not voting.’


Become Ammo for a Hunting Trip

For those wishing to go out with a bang, it is possible to have body ashes included in shotgun cartridges. In 2004, an expert on shotguns was cremated and made into 300 cartridges. His widow invited his closest friends to join her on a shoot. They bagged seventy partridges, several pheasants, ducks, and a fox. Before the shoot the cartridges were blessed by a vicar who said it was simply a somewhat unusual method of scattering ashes.


Bind a Book of Your Choice

Human skin can be used to make a rather supple type of leather, which makes it perfect for the binding of books. The fancy term for this use of human skin is anthropodermic bibliopegy. In the past there was a fashion for binding books with the skin of hanged criminals, but it was not unknown for people to will that their own skin be used to bind a memorial book after their death. The skin of one of the November 5th Gunpowder Plot conspirators was used to bind a book describing his own crimes.


Decorate a House

Some people leave money to their church after they die – but if you wish to leave something more material, you could follow the example of the people who let themselves be used to decorate the Sedlac Ossuary. Here, the walls of the chapel are covered in human bones. The decorations include a large coat of arms made from a variety of bones. The ceiling is covered in lines of skulls, and hanging from the centre is a vast chandelier. The chapel is now a hugely popular tourist spot in the Czech Republic.


Become Glass

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The process of making a diamond, mentioned earlier, is understandably quite expensive. For centuries glass has therefore been used in place of gems in costume jewellery. So if you can’t afford to become a gem, then you can become glass at a fraction of the cost. Ashes can be suspended with pigments in a variety of glass objects of your choosing.


Become a Vinyl Record

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The brilliantly named offers a service where a person’s ashes can be pressed into a vinyl recording of their favourite music. As well as music you can have your voice recorded to leave a final message printed on your own corpse. For £3,000 you (or more accurately your relatives) will receive 30 copies of your recording in a personalised cover. For a little more cash, you can have a portrait painted of yourself for the sleeve. When I say ‘of yourself’ I mean that the portrait will be made using acrylic paint, mixed with your own ashes.


Become a Prop for a Play

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Many people dream of being actors, and most actors dream of playing Hamlet at some point in their career. What if you lack the talent for the lead role? Or lack even the talent for one of the minor roles? There is a famously taciturn part for those who wish to take up acting post-mortem. Yorick appears as a skull used in the famous scene in the graveyard. André Tchaikowsky was a Polish pianist who bequeathed his skull to the Royal Shakespeare Company to be used in a production of Hamlet – something for all those desperate extras out there to consider, perhaps.

Top 10 Unexplained Mysteries of the Stars


The Star That Shouldn’t Exist


The star in question is called SDSS J102915 +172927. For the record, I much prefer simply-named stars as opposed to ones named like this one. The odd names do serve a purpose though, as they are typically coordinates for where the star can be found in the sky.

In 2011, a team of European astronomers discovered this star in the constellation Leo. It is a small star – only about 80% the size of our sun – and is believed to be around 13 billion years old. Since the universe as we know it is itself thought to be around 13.7 billion years old, this is considered one of the oldest surviving stars. Nothing is particularly unusual about this star … except that according all of our theories, it shouldn’t even exist. The star is made up of 99.99993% hydrogen and helium, elements that are too light to condense and form a star on their own. When these figures are put into any star formation super computer simulation, the result always comes back that such a star is not possible. Astronomers are puzzled as to how such a star could have formed without the aid of heavier elements – research is ongoing.



The Star Surrounded by Spirals

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Located 400 light years from earth in the constellation Lupus, SAO 206462 gained the attention of astronomers in 2011. What surprised them was not the star itself, but what surrounded it: it seemed to have spiral arms rotating around it. Now spirals are no strangers to space, being one of the common formations for galaxies; but scientists have never observed one rotating a star before. The cause? It’s still a mystery – although a widely accepted theory is that gravity from planets, forming in the dust which orbits the star, are responsible for the features. However, there is not enough evidence to support this theory – until planets are actually detected, it is likely to remain a mystery.



The Eternally Youthful Star

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Messier 4 is a globular cluster, about 7,200 light years away from earth. If galaxies had human life cycles, this one would be an old timer at 12.2 billion years. For any who are unfamiliar with astronomy: it is believed that all galaxies eventually become globular clusters once all the gas and dust used for star formation has been depleted. This means all the stars are expected to be very old stars in the late stages of their lifespan. While looking at stars in this particular galaxy in September of 2012, a team in Chile found a star rich with a material called lithium.

Although lithium is not an uncommon element for a star, it is a compound which burns off typically within the first few billion years of a stars lifecycle. As most of the surviving stars in this cluster are around 10 billion years old, finding a star with this element was like finding a needle in a haystack. It is like a teenager living in a nursing home: it just doesn’t seem to fit. Scientists think the star may have found a way to actually replenish it lithium supplies, which in a way keep the star from aging. Many have nicknamed it “the fountain of youth star.” Exactly how it replenished lithium supplies is a complete mystery, which still puzzles astronomers today.



The Stars That Escaped a Black Hole


This mystery deals with probably several million stars, as opposed to just one. At only 2.5 million light years away, The Andromeda Galaxy  is the closest spiral galaxy to our own. Anyone with an Apple computer running Lion should have a good idea of what this galaxy looks like. In the center of this galaxy is a supermassive black hole, like one enormous vacuum cleaner, so strong that even light cannot escape.

In 2005, the Hubble space telescope zoomed in on the galaxy’s core and discovered a blue, pancake shaped disk rotating dangerously close to the black hole. Further analysis showed that this was not just hot dust: the glow was coming from millions of young blue stars. These stars are zipping around the black hole at more than 2.3 million miles per hour. That is fast enough to circle the earth at the equator in only 40 seconds. The thing about this disk is that – given what we believe we know about the tidal forces around black holes – they should not exist. The gas which formed them, and the stars themselves, should have been torn apart by the immense gravity of the black hole. How they were able to remain intact in such a close orbit, remains a mystery.



The Siamese Star?


Swift J1822.3-1606 is a special type of star – known as a neutron star – located about 20,000 light years away in the constellation of Ophiuchus. (There are generally three ways a star can end its life: as a white dwarf, for smaller stars like our sun; as a neutron star, for much larger stars; or as a black hole, for the largest. The latter two are formed following the largest explosions known in the universe – supernovas.)

There are a few different types of neutron stars: a magnetar, with the strongest magnetic fields in the universe; and a pulsar, which shoots beams of electromagnetic radiation from its poles (somewhat like a lighthouse). For years, everything we knew about these stars told us that they could only become one or the other class, never both. But in 2011, Swift was discovered to have the properties of both. It is only the second star ever found to have such qualities, after a discovery of another a few months before.

The mystery? Astronomers have no idea how a star can possibly exhibit properties of both stars. While the fact we have discovered two in recent years means that they are more numerous than once thought, we are still no closer to discovering the secret behind these mysterious stars.



The Planet That Should Have Been Swallowed

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Wasp 18 is 330 light years away in the Phoenix constellation, and about 25% more massive than our sun. This is another entry where not the star itself, but what orbits it, is the real mystery.

In 2009, Coel Hellier of Keele University discovered that Wasb – 18 had a planet. Dubbed Wasp–18b, the planet is slightly bigger than Jupiter, but has about 10 times its mass. This is just below the mass that would make it a brown dwarf, which is a star that failed to initialize. What puzzles astrophysicists is that the planet orbits less than 2 million miles from its parent star. By comparison, Mercury is nearly 36 million miles from our sun.

Wasp-18 is so close to its parent, that it completes its orbit in less than 23 hours, and its surface temperature is around 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit (2,200 Celsius). Being so close, the planet should eventually fall into its sun – yet it has survived already for about 680 million years. Given the mass of the star it orbits, this planet should have been consumed long ago. How a planet was able to form and remain in a location where planets were thought unable to exist, is a question that continues to perplex astronomers.



The Stardust That Found Its Way Home


Since PSR B1257 +12 is a remnant of a supernova explosion, scientist never expected to find planets anywhere near it. But they found an entire solar system. A total of three planets and one dwarf planet orbit this pulsar. Thinking they must be common, scientists began looking at other pulsars for planets: however, only one other pulsar was confirmed to have a single planet orbiting it, showing that they are indeed extremely rare.

The process by which such planets are able to form is still not well understood. The most accepted theory is that the planets formed a little like our own – from a planetary disk that originally surrounded the star. However, any planet-making material and dust should have been thrown billions of miles out into space by the supernova explosion. How the gas and dust was able to return to the remaining ulsar, become tidally locked, and contain enough material for the formation of a whopping four planets – remains a mystery.



The Disco Star


V838 Monocerotis is located in the constellation Monoceros, which is about 20,000 light years from earth, and was at one point considered one of the largest stars in the universe.

In 2002, the brightness of the star shot up suddenly. It was thought to be a simple nova, which is what happens when the remaining core of a dead star (known as a white dwarf) accumulates too much hydrogen gas from a neighboring star, causing a fantastic explosion. The star dimmed after a couple weeks, as expected, and scientists put it in the record books as a nova.

But less than a month later, the star burst into light again. Since the time period between the explosions was too short to be caused as two separate novas, astronomers were puzzled and took a closer look. It was then they discovered their problem: there was no white dwarf. The star had simply erupted by itself – and it repeated this process of brightening and dimming several times over the next few months. During its brighest eruption, the star became a million times brighter than the sun, and one of the brightest lights in the sky.

Typically, stars brighten slightly before their death – but measurements indicated that the star was only a few million years old, a mere toddler in star years. When the Hubble Telescope captured an image of the star after the eruptions, a large cloud of gas and debris was seen accelerating away from the star. One theory is that the star had collided with something unseen, such another star or planet, but scientist are still puzzled by this now decade-old mystery.



The Rogue Planet

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CFBDSIR 2149 – 0403 is classified as a brown dwarf. These have failed to initialize nuclear fusion in their cores, and develop into real, burning stars. While characterized as an AB Doradus star, due to its size and mass, many others characterize it as a gas giant. This would make it a planet without a parent star, which has been theorized but only rarely observed.

Only four possible candidates for the title of ‘rogue planet’ are known to exist, the one in question being the closest to earth at an estimated 130 light years. Without a large star to orbit, the motion of the plant is influenced by other stars in the AB Doradus star group. This doesn’t mean that it travels through space in any sort of straight line – a common misconception about rouge planets. But just how a planet is able to go rogue remains a mystery.



The Vanishing Stardust


TYC 8241 2652 is located 450 light years away in the constellation Centaurs. It is believed to be around the same size as our sun – but a mere child, at 10 million years old, compared to our 4.5 billion-year-old star. From 1983 to 2008, astronomers searched a bright ring of dust around the star for possible planet formation, believing they were getting some insight into how our own solar system formed. But when the star was due for a check up in early 2009, astronomers were astonished: when they looked through their telescopes, they saw nothing but the star itself. The once-visible, glowing disk of dust was gone. It did not leave behind any planets, or any signs as to where it had gone; it had quite simply vanished. Scientists were baffled. When asked about it, astronomer Carl Melis simply stated, “We don’t have a really satisfactory explanation to address what happened around this star.”

10 Breathtaking Little-Known Places in Images


Ice Towers & Caves of Mount Erebus


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Mount Erebus is Antarctica’s second largest volcano and has been observed to be continually active since 1972. Atop the mountain are a number of ice towers formed as a result of steam emissions from volcanic activity. Many of the ice towers constantly emit steam giving them the appearance of chimneys jutting out of the icy volcano’s frozen sides. In addition to these chimney-like pillars the volcanic mountain is home to a variety of ice caves, formed naturally in a number of ways, all resulting in glowing blue, eerily cavernous subterranean chambers.



Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks

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New Mexico’s Kasha-Katuwe tent rocks were formed around seven million years ago as a result of ash deposited by pyroclastic flow from a volcanic explosion. As is the case with most rock formations, weathering and erosion can be credited with creating the area’s remarkable geography. The markedly pointy phallus-like stones receive their interesting name from the area’s native language and means “white cliffs”. The rocks vary in height from only a few feet to over ninety feet tall.



Lechuguilla Cave



One of the more well known of these little-known locations, Lechuguilla cave is yet another location found in New Mexico. The cave is the seventh longest explored cave in the world, with a known length of 134.6 miles. The cave is most famous for the fascinating crystal formations of gypsum and aragonite located within. Prior to its discovery in 1986 the cave sat untouched for hundreds of millions of years, making it one of the world’s most pristine ecosystems.



Krubera Cave

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Krubera cave, located within the Arabika Massif in Abkhazia, Georgia (the country not the state). Krubera is the deepest known cave on Earth, dropping a startling 2,191 meters from its entrance. The cave is also known as “Voronya Cave” meaning “crow cave” because it was full of nesting crows when first discovered.



Valley of Flowers



Valley of Flowers Natonal Park in India is one of my personal favorites on this list. There is just something incredible about the soaring peaks rising into the clouds and the steep inclines on the interior completely covered in luscious greenery and unique flora. As well as being a site of grandeur and great natural beauty, the area is home to a number of rare, endangered animals such as the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear, and blue sheep.



Glen Coe

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Located at the northern tip of Scotland, Glen Coe is a narrow glen which is often considered one of the most spectacular sites in the country. If you’re a traveler like myself, or enjoy nature photography and lists similar to this one, you’ll know that says a lot given some of the incredible areas in Scotland. The glen is home to a stunning array of flora, as well as towering peaks on either side and a crystal clear river running through its heart.



Quinta da Regaleira

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Another of my favorites, the Initiation Well located at Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra, Portugal contains a descending spiral staircase which leads to a variety of exits. The well gets its name from the belief that it was home to masonic initiation rituals. At the well’s bottom is a compass rose atop a Knight’s Templar cross. The symbolism of the well relates to life and death, a common theme for initiation rituals.



Plitvice Lakes

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The Plivitice Lakes national park is home to spectacular views of perfect blue waters and waterfalls which look rather like the lakes are overflowing. The contrast of the deep blues to vibrant greens makes for an incredible view. The park is no less spectacular when viewed in the winter. To visit the lakes you must visit beautiful Croatia.




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Home to over three-thousand of the enormous sandstone pillars pictured above, many of which tower over two-hundred meters in height, Wulingyuan, China, is one of the world’s most stunning natural sites. The towering pillars are composed of quartzite and sandstone and are karst formations (rock formations created as the result of the dissolution of soluble rock). The incredible area is located one-hundred and seventy miles northeast of Changsha and was dedicated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992, however it still remains relatively unknown by much of the world’s population.



Ki Monastery

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Ki Monastery or Key Gompa is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery which stands spectacularly upon a hill overlooking the small Indian village of Kibar. The monastery stands at 13,668 feet above sea level and the village below is said to be the highest in India. Founded in the 11th century, Ki has not had a peaceful history. The monastery has been attacked many times over the long course of its existence, ravaged by Mongol armies and devastated by fires and earthquakes. The constant destruction and reconstruction has resulted in the monastery being built in a box-like fashion.

10 Bizarre Indian Rituals




People from South India ‘celebrate’ the Theemithi festival by walking barefoot across a pit filled with burning hot firewood, or sometimes glowing charcoal. The fire walking is done in honour of the Hindu goddess Draupati Amman – so rather than hurrying across the pit, the devotees have to sdo it slowly, as though it’s a walk in the park.

The ritual begins when the head priest traverses the pit with a pot on his head, filled with sacred water. He is then followed by other men, who seek to prove their piety by withstanding the pain. Participants suffer from burns on their feet – and sometimes worse injuries, on the all-too-common occasions when they fall into the burning pit.




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The thookam festival sees the backs of devoted Hindus pierced by sharp hooks; the men are then lifted off the ground onto a scaffold using ropes. Sometimes, children are even tied to the hands of the participants. Originating from southern parts of India, the festival has now been banned by the Indian Government after continued pressure from human rights organizations.



Bull Fighting


Unlike its Spanish counterpart, Indian bull-fighting, or Jallikattu, is done without the help of any rope or weapons. Thankfully, the bull’s life is also spared afterwards, bovines being famously sacred in India. Celebrated during Pongal (harvest thanksgiving), this is one of the most dangerous sports played in India. Youth, ardent for some desperate glory, usually strive either to tame the bull or at least to hang on to the bull for a reward – usually money.

More than a hundred people have been killed in southern India over the past two decades. A case against Jallikattu is ongoing in the Supreme Court of India, which is considering an outright ban on the sport. The bulls are force-fed alcohol; their eyes are sprinkled with chili powder, and their testicles are pinched in an effort to infuriate them.





Muharram is the first month in the Islamic Calendar, and this was the month which marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala, when Imam Hussein ibn Ali was killed, followed by 72 warriors who were killed over the next ten days. Shi’a Muslims in India, and also other countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh, mourn this event by flogging their naked bodies with a bunch of chains known as ‘Matam’. Sometimes, these Matams also contain razor blades or knives.





Practiced extensively in the 17th century, Sati was a ritual whereby a widow – voluntarily or involuntarily – would lie down next to her dead husband before being burned alive along with the corpse. The widows who were caught trying to escape this fate, despite the intense social pressure to self-immolate, would be tied to the burning structure, or their limbs would be broken in order to prevent more attempts to flee. Sometimes, they would even be pushed back with bamboo sticks into the burning funeral pyre. Even though it was banned by the British colonial government in 1859, it was still practiced in some parts of India. It is still banned under the current Indian government, with harsh penalties for those few who still insist on forcing innocent women to their deaths.



Baby Tossing

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Every year in the month of December, more than a hundred babies are tossed from a temple roof into a crowd below. They plummet 200 feet, to where a group of men stand waiting with a cloth meant to catch them. The reason? Married couples – looking to be blessed with, perhaps ironically, more babies – take part in this event. It is also said to bring good health and luck to the family. The Indian government is looking to set a ban on the jaw-dropping ritual, which takes place in the southern state of Karnataka.



Food Rolling

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Enter certain temples in Karnataka, and you’ll be ordered to stop, drop and roll. Supplicants roll their bodies over scraps of food discarded by Brahmins – the highest, priestly caste in India. The act of rolling is practiced by all of the castes lower than Brahmin, and is said to cure skin disease.

Made snana has been in practice for over 500 years, but it is now on the verge of being banned. Though restrictions in certain temples had been put up in recent years, these restricitions were lifted after protests from devout Hindus. Members of the Indian government have therefore decided to educate, rather than impose their will upon the people. Good luck to them.



Chicken-shredding Exorcisms

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In Hinduism, exorcisms are carried out by various means, according to the traditions of different regions. One of these methods involves the slaughter of a white chicken: the bloody parts are strewn around the house by the Pandit or priest, who is usually in charge of performing the exorcism. The possessed person in question is then addressed as a demon, or by the name of a dead relative who may have become a demon within them. These demons, or spirits, are said to be afraid of white chickens. In some cases, the demon is reported to have screamed ‘I go! I go!’ through the possessed body, before apparently leaving. Supposedly, this is followed by the immediate revival of the exorcised person, who appears to wake from something like a trance, with no memory of the events or of the chicken.



Tongue Piercing


Not studs, but long and sharp needles are used to puncture the tongue. The needles – usually made from wood or steel – can be so long that the tongue is forced to stick out of the mouth permanently, unable to retract. The piercing is common a number of religious festivals. In some regions, young boys and sometimes girls take part in the ritual piercing. The ones who are going to pierce their tongues wear a garland around their necks for a day before the ceremony. The piercing ceremony is usually followed by dancing and merrymaking. These practices are also seen in countries other than India, in southern parts of Asia.



Female Infanticide


This social evil exists not only in India, but also in many other parts of the world whose populations see male children as more desirable than female children. Preference for a male child can be so extreme that female infants might be killed, or set afloat in the river. Illegitimate girls, especially, were vulnerable to murder prompted by shame: only if a man agreed to marry the mother-to-be could the child often be saved – but this hardly ever happened. Infanticide was banned in the 19th century.

Top 10 World Famous Human Body Parts


Cromwell’s Head

When justice fails to find someone living to charge with a crime, it has often happened that a corpse has been put on trial. After the restoration of King Charles II, the body of Oliver Cromwell was dug up and held accountable for the execution of his predecessor and father, Charles I. Cromwell’s body was hanged publicly, and its head was cut off and put on display at Westminster Hall. Heads for display were usually tarred so that they could remain on show for a long time – and this is precisely what seems to have happened with that of Cromwell.

A storm eventually dislodged the head from its pike, and it was stolen by a guard. Since then the skull, still with preserved flesh attached, has passed through several hands, including a museum of curiosities and a private owner. The head was finally put to rest in 1960, in the grounds of Cromwell’s old college in Cambridge. The exact site of burial has been kept secret, in order to protect the head from further molestation.



Bentham’s Head


I recently wrote a list which mentioned the remains of Jeremy Bentham, the utilitarian philosopher, being used as a memorial statue. This was in line with Bentham’s wishes. For the last decade of his life, Bentham carried around the glass eyes he wanted to be used to replace his own when he was turned into his own statue. Unfortunately, the process of preservation used on the head transformed it into something rather grotesque, and so the final statue had a waxwork head. Bentham’s own head became the focus of student pranks after it was placed in University College London. Because of this it has been removed to a museum and can only be viewed with special permission.


Einstein’s Brain

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Einstein’s brain is perhaps the most famous organ of the 20th century. The brain became synonymous with genius, and remains an item of fascination for neuroscientists. Within hours of Einstein’s death, his brain was removed for study to try and understand the source of his insights. Several interesting differences between his brain and other people’s were noticed. After the initial study, however, the brain went missing – with no one knowing for certain what had happened to it. Sections of the brain had been given to researchers but the main portions of the brain were still with the doctor who had removed it. The travels of the brain which changed 20th century physics have been documented in several books and films.


Einstein’s Eyes

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The bodies of saints were often raided for relics as soon as they died. Einstein – secular saint of the modern day – was no exception. As well as taking the brain from Einstein’s corpse, the doctor who dissected him also removed his eyeballs. While his brain may have been a legitimate object of study, it is hard to see what Einstein’s eyes could teach us. The eyes were passed to another of Einstein’s doctors and they remain in his possession today. Rumour has it that they are locked in a safe deposit box in New York. When asked why he has kept the eyes the new owner said it was to keep Einstein with him.


Galileo’s Finger

Galileo suffered greatly for his refusal to deny his belief that the Earth travels around the sun. He was kept under house arrest by the Church, for saying what every school child knows today. After his death he was buried in a modest tomb. As soon as later generations recognised his greatness, he was removed to a grand mausoleum. During the move, his admirers decided to take relics – and one of these was the middle finger of Galileo’s right hand. The finger can now be seen in the Museum of the History of Science – named after Galileo – in Florence. The preservation of a middle finger has given Galileo the ability to eternally flip off the church, which only formally apologised for its mistake regarding heliocentricism in 1992.


Napoleon’s Penis

While the Napoleon complex, which associates short stature with a drive for power, may be based on a historical misunderstanding – Napoleon being of an average height for the time – there may still be a Freudian explanation for his urge to conquer Europe. After his death, an autopsy was performed on the emperor to establish why he died. Napoleon’s heart and stomach were officially removed – but the servant of the doctor who performed the examination recorded privately that various other unspecified parts were taken.

For decades, rumours have existed that one of these parts was the Emperor’s penis. The penis has been auctioned several times and displayed. The thing now known as Napoleon’s Napoleon seems to be a genuine body part of the great conqueror, but no one quite agrees as to whether it is a penis or not. The preserved member, about an inch long, has been described variously as a tendon, a piece of leather, a grape, and a shrivelled sea horse.


Buddha’s Tooth

Gautama Buddha was the spiritual teacher who founded Buddhism in the 6th century BC in India. As with many religious figures, things associated with the life of Buddha became objects of veneration for followers. After Buddha’s death, he was cremated on a sandalwood pyre and his body entirely consumed, except for one of his canine teeth. The tooth was kept as a sacred relic. When wars between Indian states occurred through history, the tooth was one of the most wanted objects of plunder. After several giftings and relocations, the tooth finally ended up in Kandy, Sri Lanka, where it is held in a large gold reliquary to this day.


Henri IV’s Head

During revolutions, even the dead are not safe from violence. During the French revolution the tombs of former kings were desecrated, and their bodies scattered. Henri IV, called ‘The Good’ and founder of the Bourbon dynasty, suffered the indignity of being dug up nearly 200 years after his death. His head was detached, and passed between collectors of macabre items. The identity of the head was not confirmed until 2010, however, when a team of scientists studied the head and compared it to known portraits of the king and the death mask of the monarch. The head has since been reburied by descendants of the king.


Lincoln’s Skull Fragments

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At the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Maryland, several relics of Abraham Lincoln are held. After the president was shot, he received the best medical treatment available at the time – but it was impossible to save him. Removing the bullet lodged in the president’s skull also presented a challenge: it ended up dislodging a blood clot, and a number of fragments of the skull the bullet had shattered. These were not returned for burial with Lincoln’s body, but have been preserved, and can be seen alongside the bullet.


Rasputin’s Penis

Rasputin’s penis had a rather colourful life while still attached to its owner. Since his death, it has continued to be an object of fascination. Rasputin had a reputation for using his penis as a method of spreading his holy message amongst women. He became a hated figure, among the common people and nobles alike. It was a conspiracy of nobles who finally murdered Rasputin – and, it is claimed, castrated the body. The organ of Russia’s greatest Casanova can now be seen at the Erotica Museum in St. Petersburg, which purchased it from descendants of a maid who, in turn, claimed to have rescued it from the scene of Rasputin’s murder.

10 Weird Things that Make You Smart




The brain is split into two hemispheres. While each half of the brain does broadly the same thing as the other, there are some differences. In humans, and lots of other mammals, one side of the brain is slightly dominant – this is why you favor one hand over another. Some studies have shown that left-handedness is linked to intelligence; left-handed people tend to score higher on IQ tests, and can also often finish these tests faster than right-handed people. Other studies, however, have shown that left-handed people have a wider range of IQs – making them over-represented in both the highly intelligent and the rather dim-witted sections of the population.





A study by the evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa this year has found a small but significant link between homosexuality and intelligence. Rather than homosexuality itself being a characteristic of intelligence, Kanazawa’s results suggested that those who had had multiple homosexual partners were more likely to be intelligent. Those who scored highest on intelligence tests, tended to have had the greatest number of homosexual partners. Kanazawa suggests that homosexuality may be a reflection of inquisitiveness – a sure precursor, or companion, to intelligence. It has been suggested that the positive effect of homosexuality towards intelligence may be caused by society’s attitude towards gay people. Children bullied for perceived homosexuality may turn to intellectual pursuits, and may feel a greater urge to strive for achievement in areas where they will be accepted.



Birth order


Many studies have found a link between IQ and the order in which you were born in your family. Firstborn children were found to be generally more intelligent than their siblings; the further down each child sat on the pecking order, the worse they generally scored in IQ tests. It was unknown whether this effect was due to some change in pre-birth conditions as a mother continued to bear children, or whether it was a post-birth social effect. Recent studies have revealed that the main determinant for IQ is how children are treated within their family – as opposed to birth order in itself. In families where the first child dies, the surviving second child, on average, has the same boost in IQ as is usual for a first child.





The link between IQ and religiosity has been studied extensively, in both individuals and societies. Average IQ scores tend to vary between countries. Those countries with the highest rates of atheism were found to be in the highest range of IQ scores. Since societal links can be easily skewed by other factors, studies on individuals have also been carried out. A 2008 study examined the relationship between intelligence and religious belief. When ranked in terms of intelligence, atheists generally came out on top, followed in order by agnostics, liberal believers, and last – and in this case least – religious fundamentalists.



Body hair


Studies on men by Dr Aikarakudy Alias have found a link between body hair and intelligence. Rather than looking at IQ, he looked the relationship between body hair and levels of education. Perhaps contrary to popular belief, he found that men who were students or graduates had more body hair than those who work menial jobs. He also found that students who excelled in their degree were often hairier than students who performed poorly.

While his work focused particularly on chest hair, he also correlated the presence of back hair to intelligence in men. The hairiness of intelligent women has yet to be studied systematically.





Ernest Hemingway once said that “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” We can all think of intelligent people who seem to be driven to misery by their intelligence (Hemingway committed suicide), and there does seem to be a strong link between intelligence and mood. In the past it was thought that high IQ was linked to depression and low moods. This year, however, a study in the UK showed that those with lower IQ were more likely to be unhappy than their more intelligent colleagues. Once again, it could be the characteristics associated with intelligence – rather than intelligence itself – which have tended to induce despair.





Eccentricity is a difficult quality to define and measure. It is usually seen as odd behaviour with regard to social norms, but behaviour which at the same time – unlike insanity – is not necessarily harmful to the individual. Some evidence (mostly anecdotal) points to creative intellectuals being prone to eccentricity, but eccentricity is also prevalent among academics. Montaigne once wrote that “obsession is the wellspring of genius and madness” – and perhaps it is this very obsession which creates an eccentric, and gifts him with a corresponding intelligence.





Some studies have followed British children as they grow up, and have measured a number of characteristics. This has allowed a range of traits to be correlated to intelligence. One study looked at the link between alcohol consumption and intelligence. It was found that you could predict a child’s level of alcohol intake, based on their intelligence. Surprisingly, intelligent children were more likely to be heavy drinkers when they grew up. Similar results have been observed in the United States.



Bipolar Disorder


Madness has been linked to intelligence since ancient times. Today, politically incorrect terms like madness are unacceptable for descriptive use, but the relation of mental illness and intelligence remains a fruitful area of study for neuroscientists and psychologists. A Swedish study compared the relationship between student performance and their mental health in later life. It found that amongst those students in the highest performing group, bipolar disorder was four times more likely to develop later in life.



Chocolate consumption

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Correlation does not necessarily imply causation. When a surprising link is made between two seemingly unrelated factors, you have to consider what may be the real link between the two. Very recently a study looked at the number of Nobel laureates per ten million people in a country’s population, and the amount of chocolate that the whole country consumes. The resulting graph shows a very strong and statistically significant positive correlation. While it may not guarantee you get a phone call from Stockholm, it seems that having a bar of chocolate – or being surrounded by chocolate-munching friends – won’t do your brain too much harm in the long run.

10 More Things You Don’t Know


Albert Einstein’s brain was abnormal

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One theory of why Albert Einstein was so brilliant at mathematics has to do with a physical abnormality: he was born without the visual reasoning center of his brain. This is the center that enables you to comprehend the difference between a zebra and a trash can. Assuming Einstein had never seen either, he would not have been able to reason which was which. But to make up for this, his mathematical computation center grew to twice the size of yours and mine, because it was able to use all the room next door where visual reasoning was absent.



You can fall from space to earth and survive

Because of Fearless Felix Baumgartner and his record breaking skydive in October this year, scientists now know for a fact that if an astronaut equipped with a parachute were to become trapped outside a stationary spacecraft in orbit, he could simply kick off the side of the craft and fall to Earth. He would have to radio ahead, of course, lest he find himself bouncing around in the middle of an ocean. If he were to wear a wing-suit, then upon striking sufficiently thick atmosphere, he would be able to glide the whole way across the Atlantic Ocean, from Nova Scotia to Ireland.



The moon sounds like a gong

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The astronauts who walked on the Moon quickly discovered a number of very strange things about it, and most of these remain unsolved mysteries to this day. As an example, whenever a meteor of the size of a basketball of larger struck the Moon, the astronauts reported hearing the Moon ring like a gigantic gong – as though it were hollow metal. The Moon is pitched in C-sharp.



Watch advertisers understand your subconscious

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In almost all commercial and print advertisements, watches and clocks read 10:10. If it’s a watch commercial, this is because the hands don’t block the brand name. If the time is featured in a commercial or ad for any other product, the hands resemble a person’s arms raised in happiness. It is a more positive hand position than the inversion of 8:20, and banks on the theory that a person in a happier frame of mind is easier to persuade.



Flatworms can learn through ingestion

Certain species of planarians (a type of flatworm) have been gradually taught to run a maze. If you grind them up and feed them to a second batch of planarians, the second batch can run the maze on the first try.



South Dakotans can shoot Indians by the carload

There is a South Dakota state law, still current, that goes as follows: “Any group of five or more Indians of any tribe or nation is to be considered a raiding party and may be fired upon.” Many lists could be compiled of truly stupid laws, but this one is genuinely dangerous. A person in South Dakota could deliberately murder 5 Native Americans at once and get off scot free.



Brain cells don’t regenerate

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You are born with all the brain cells you’re going to get, anywhere from 50 to 100 billion. They are the smallest cells in the body. Once they die, the number goes down and stays down. A 12-ounce beer will kill precisely zero of them. Drinking 5 beers and waking up with a hangover will kill precisely zero of them. But drinking yourself sick every day for 30 years will kill millions of them, because of the stress through which you’re putting your brain. The next morning’s headache is caused by the alcohol evaporating water all over the body, especially in the head. Drinking water during the night’s festivities will largely prevent the hangover. However, a 10-minute fever at 106 degrees Fahrenheit will kill about 50 million brain cells.



Wisconsin has an army of hunters

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If hunters are counted as a military force, the State of Wisconsin has the 8th largest standing army in the world, at about 615,000. That’s almost 100,000 more armed people than there are in the Iranian Army.



Spiders may eat your children

One of the most horrifying cryptids is the J’ba fofi (CHAH-bah FOO-fee). It is a brown spider, either a tarantula or something similar, with a leg span of four to six feet. The Baka tribe of the Congo Jungle in Africa swears these spiders exist. The Baka have never profited a single cent from tales of the spider, and they adamantly maintain that it lives just outside their villages. It builds ground webs of leaves formed into tubes resembling cornucopias, with a sheet of silk around the front. The Baka claim that anything smaller than a medium-sized dog – including children – can be snatched by the spiders



You can chew concrete

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Consider this a definitive answer to a recurring trivia question. The strongest muscle in the human body, in proportion to weight, is the masseter muscle, which is the muscle you use for mastication. You have two – one on either side of your jaw – and each can impart 900 pounds of force. If only your teeth could withstand it, you’d be able to chew up a cinder block, or puncture a truck tire.

Top 10 Possible Next Steps in Human Evolution



Multiculturalism is the essence of modern society. It shouldn’t come as any surprise, then, that humans are expected to evolve into a single, ubiquitous ethnic group, should the mixing of the cultures continue. As miscegenation becomes commonplace, humans will slowly begin to lose the distinguishing features of their ethnicity, and instead take on characteristics from many different parts of the world. There’s one obvious benefit to all this: “race” will no longer be an issue.



Weakened Immune Systems

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As humans become more and more dependent upon medication for survival, we can expect the human immune system to slowly weaken. The best way to explain this is with an example using hormones: imagine a future in which, with the help of supplements, you can regulate your hormones to maximize your wellbeing. Over time, your body would become dependent upon the additional hormones, to the point where it might stop doing for itself what the supplements can do instead. The processes which create hormones would become less important for survival, since your body would always have enough, thanks to the supplements.

After tens of thousands of years, it is likely that humans would evolve to the point where hormones are no longer created organically within their body. Taking this example a little further: if external aids were entirely responsible for our survival, many of our internal functions might become obsolete. Why would your body need a powerful immune system if all pathogens are tackled with medication? Indeed, it is but another downside to the use of medication to fight diseases.


Muscle Atrophy

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There are two foreseeable causes for the gradual physical weakening of the human race. The first is our increasing reliance on technology – and in particular machinery – to do our dirty (but muscle-enhancing) work. The less each generation depends on physical strength, the more likely it is that the whole species will grow weaker.

The second possible cause for muscle atrophy is a little more awesome, and would become highly relevant if ever we were to relocate into space. In such a scenario, physical strength is hardly necessary for day-to-day activities. Should we spend too long as galactic explorers, it’s likely that we’d eventually lose most of our muscle mass. Most of us have heard about astronauts returning to earth, a mere husk of their former selves. Future generations will need to take this into account, lest they find themselves confined to wheelchairs like the morose humans in Wall-E.


Increased Height

Human height has been growing rapidly for the last two centuries. Over the last 150 years alone, the average height of the species has increased by 10cm. It is believed that the main driving force behind this growth is the abundance of nutrition available to many of us. Famine has long been a curse for those aspiring to tallness – and in certain parts of the world, it has almost been eradicated.

The more a child has to eat, the more energy he or she has to grow. As long as we have the ability to eat in excess, the species will continue to grow taller. Whether the sky is the limit, or whether biology will stop us short somewhere among the tree-tops, only time – and evolution – will tell.


Loss of Hair

Having lost the majority of body hair already – for a whole host of reasons – it is likely that humans will become more and more bald as a species over time. Women, in particular, are frequently seen as more attractive with less hair on various parts of their bodies, and because hairlessness offers the individual an advantage when it comes to sexual attractiveness, we can posit that, over time, females will eventually evolve to a point where such hair is completely absent. The same could be said for men – at least in terms of body hair – but since there is less social pressure for men to be smooth-skinned, permanent change is likely to occur more slowly.


Brain Rewiring

Technology has already affected the way our memory works. The human brain, being a machine striving for maximum efficiency, typically remembers where information is stored, rather than the information itself. It is far easier to remember where you put the book containing juicy facts, than to recall the actual content of the book; and in the age of internet, this mental peculiarity has become especially important. How many times have you tried to remember something, and instead simply looked up the answer? That’s your brain remembering where something is stored – on the internet, on google, on wikipedia, and so on. As technology becomes more and more advanced, our brains will adapt in order to maximize efficiency – perhaps to the detriment of our memory.


Smaller Teeth

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The most obvious change to our jaws will be the disappearance of wisdom teeth, which serve no use to modern humans, and which already have low occurrence rates among some ethnic groups. But aside from this, we can also expect our teeth to grow smaller. Throughout the evolution of man, there has been a general trend towards smaller teeth. Evidence has shown that in the last 100,000 years alone, our teeth have halved in size. No longer having any reason to accommodate such huge gnashers, our jaws have also shrunk. We can expect this trend to continue into the foreseeable future.


Less Toes

Before humans walked upright, our toes were used for grappling – much like our hands. As we have come to rely less on climbing and more on walking, our toes have slowly shrunk to their current size. With our feet now woefully incapable of grasping even the smallest branches, evolution has taken steps to rid us of our smallest fifth toe.

Whereas our other toes – especially the biggest – serve to aid balance and walking, our little toes serve no purpose, and humans can get by very well without them. Because of this, and because of the problems which arise from its needless existence – being frequently crushed in shoes and stubbed on every prominent object, to name a couple – we can expect humans to eventually evolve into a four-toed creature. It is common for animals to lose digits through evolution: the horse, for example, used to have more than two.


Larger/Smaller Skull Volume

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Two schools of thought exist on the question of skull volume. The “small skull” camp, which enjoys the support of many scientists, argues that it is borderline impossible for humans to evolve with larger heads. Why is this? Well, anyone who has given birth knows that a child’s head is, to put it tactfully, rather large already. For this reason, many biologists believe that a larger head would make birth impossible – something the evolutionary process would phase out rather quickly, no doubt. A large head at birth is also more likely to hurt or kill the mother. With this in mind, it seems inevitable that head size will stay the same, or even decrease over time.

However, this ignores the fact that Caesarean sections are these days providing more and more opportunities for the survival of big-headed children. In fact, some believe that C-Sections will eventually be safer than natural births – leading to the possibility that children with small heads, naturally delivered, will be less likely to survive than those requiring an operation.

But such dependence would be dangerous for humans. If huge-headed humans lost the ability to perform C-Sections, we could expect a quick extinction.


Self Improvement

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Humans may eventually reach a point where they can force evolution upon themselves through the use of technology. Whether this is literal self-improvement, via bionic organs for example, or through gene selection, which has prospective parents choose their child’s traits before birth, this is the most likely avenue human evolution will take in the near future. If permitted, gene selection in particular could quickly lead to a boom in so called “designer babies” – in which all defects and undesirable traits are removed. Should this become widespread, it could potentially force many negative human traits to extinction.