The skin we live in
I’m All Ears
You ever notice that after a concert or a loud club, your hearing is kind of muffled? Obviously because it’s loud, but did you ever wonder why/how that happens?
Past your eardrum there are 3 inner ear bones (incus, malleus, and stapes), they amplify the vibrations going to your cochlea by about 22 times, and are why we can hear very clearly. Two muscles, the tensor tympani and the stapedius connect to those bones, and contract when they vibrate. However, if the inner ear bones vibrate too rapidly or too harshly (basically constant loud noise), the muscles will go into tetany (locking up because they run out of energy), which pulls all three bones out of contact with each other. This is suspected to be an evolutionary mechanism to preserve the bones and prevent permanent damage, and is also why everything sounds so fuzzy after a night out in the club. (FloralBison)
Springing a Leak
Scientists only recently figured out why we don’t just leak all the time. Given that we’re regenerating our skin entirely every 4 weeks or so, it’s baffled people as to how there’s never seepage or holes.
Turns out our skin cells are simply shaped for optimum tessellation – tetradecagon, 14 edges I think. If I remember the story right some scientist spent years and years figuring out the best way for things to fit together and came to the conclusion that 14 edges was peak. Turns out our bodies have been doing that for years and years and years and years.
Also from the same podcast (No Such Thing as a Fish) someone figured out that if you took all the DNA from all the cells in the average human body. There would only be about 2% human DNA in there – we essentially harvest and host a fucking heap of other things inside our body to the point where we actually make up a negligible amount of ourselves. (HueyLewisAndTheShoes)
It’s possible to separate the brain’s hemispheres into two separate chunks (it’s recommended surgery for certain rare types of debilitating epilepsy) and the human body will still function perfectly fine… but with some oddities.
Because the two sides of the brain can’t “trade information”, and different physical bits of brain are tied to different bits of your field of vision, you end up with some bizarre limitations e.g. when viewing an object with the right hand side of their field of vision, patients could remember what an object was and what it was for, but could not describe it visually (shape, size, colour). When the same object was moved to their left field of vision, they could now describe it visually but could not tell the tester what the object was called or what it was, despite knowing they had known that when they looked at it from the other side.
The procedure is called a Corpus callosotomy. (knightsbridge)
An additional fun fact about corpus callostomies is that you can give instructions to one half of the brain (by writing notes which can only be seen in one field of vision) and the person will follow them without knowing why. If you ask them why they’ve done something, they’ll just make up a reason, which they’ll believe completely. For example, if you write laugh now, they’ll laugh. When you ask them why they laughed, they’ll say something like, “I just thought of a funny joke.”
People whose corpus callosums have been severed generally live pretty normal lives, but they do need to talk out loud to themselves quite a bit, since it’s the only way to transmit certain information from one half of the brain to the other. (enjollras)