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[–]UnderwaterPianos 4072 points4073 points  (111 children)

Time

"You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today. And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you."

[–]Vieke 922 points923 points  (32 children)

I met someone I knew 10 years ago just this week.

She's married, has a kid, has another planned for next year, got a big ass house.

I'm fucking around with my studies unsure of what I want to do.

[–]-Matt-- 487 points488 points  (22 children)

I'm fucking around with my studies unsure of what I want to do

This was me 5 years ago. Now I'm married, 2 kids, great job, and medium ass house.

[–]squanto1357 152 points153 points  (5 children)

"no one told you when you run. You missed the starting gun." God I love that song

[–]Irrelaphant 7512 points7513 points  (359 children)

Someone mentioned the concept earlier, but the thing that makes me wonder the most is HOW SMALL CAN THINGS GET.

Like we are made up of stuff, which is small stuff bunched up. That tiny stuff is made up of smaller stuff. So at what point does it not get smaller?! Atoms made up of protons and electrons. Those made up of smaller things.

So we go all the way down to strings (hypothetically, but I don't know anymore). So what makes up the strings? And what makes up the stuff that makes up the strings. And so on and so on until fuck you

[–]Hovmod 4422 points4423 points  (132 children)

All the HIV currently infecting people on the planet today - millions of people - fits in a tea spoon.

[–]TheCooch21 2593 points2594 points  (84 children)

Wonder what it tastes like

[–]catchpen 3280 points3281 points  (40 children)

Careful, you'll start a teaspoon of HIV challenge.

[–]vettes_4-ever 3449 points3450 points  (17 children)

Just mix it into some sugar water to make Kool-AIDS.

Edit* Never expected my first gold to be for something like this lol. Thank you, stranger.

[–]paul_456 148 points149 points  (24 children)

http://htwins.net/scale2/

I really really like that scale. It really helps put things into perspective. Plancks length seems to be the bottom limit but I don't know much about it. Cool stuff though.

Edit; YouTube mobile link Thanks u/SpeakItLoud

[–]fijiboat 3937 points3938 points  (147 children)

The fact that everyone has their own internal thoughts.

Edit: spelling.

[–][deleted] 635 points636 points  (10 children)

oh my god sometimes on the bus I think of how there are so many brains on the bus, each with their own buzzing thoughts and images and sensations. It makes me feel incredibly claustrophobic and dizzy. It's amazing.

[–]ElViejoHG 184 points185 points  (2 children)

"Ha! there's a guy hyperventilating there"

[–]UseThisToStayAnon 1636 points1637 points  (76 children)

Or do we? Maybe it's all a simulation made for you and we're just the NPCs?

[–]aishik-10x 916 points917 points  (18 children)

You're not supposed to tell the subject about the simulation! I'm reporting this

[–]Rootkit9208 4494 points4495 points  (202 children)

If I get married and stay married, then I will someday bury my wife. If I don't, she will bury me.

The sadness of either of these things is horrible.

[–]t33m3r 6844 points6845 points  (95 children)

If it make you feel better you guys might die together in a car crash or something.

Edit: Wow of all the dumbshit I say.... Anyways, thanks for the gold, soulless asshole!

[–]HeIsIAndIAmHim 5580 points5581 points  (232 children)

When a sperm comes in contact with an egg, they somehow become a human. 2 cells just have to meet up and it becomes a specific genetic code that collects the right nutrients vitamins and minerals from the mother to build a living creature as complex as a human. And to think that each one is so different in so many ways just boggles my mind.

[–]CupcakeofDeath 2404 points2405 points  (109 children)

What's more baffling imo is the success rate. Considering how complicated we are, it's remarkable that the majority of us are constructed properly for the most part.

[–]henrycharleschester 504 points505 points  (68 children)

Most miscarriages happen without the female even knowing so it's impossible to set a a success rate.

[–]BigYearColorado 759 points760 points  (14 children)

I’ve had genetic counseling and one of the bad genes I inherited has to do with causing structural defects in the heart. My father passed on a bad combination of circulatory disorders and he died at the age of 23 from a sudden and massive clot in his heart.

The reason I am still on this earth is because the bad gene failed to express. My glitch glitched. My heart is perfectly healthy. I think a lot of people have little genetic errors here and there that never show any symptoms, never express, and they walk around totally unaware that according to code they shouldn’t have existed.

[–][deleted] 1111 points1112 points  (39 children)

That fact that another person and I accidentally created an entirely new human being just blows my mind. Like, you don't even HAVE to know what you're doing, it's not a skilled art, your body just, like, prints a little person package and off they go. How.

[–]leadwind 413 points414 points  (2 children)

...your body just, like, prints a little person package and off they go

"Hey yeah, thanks for that! Seeya round."

[–]raylasucura 8527 points8528 points  (255 children)

You never directly see your own face.

[–]DWillows 5348 points5349 points  (40 children)

Well, hopefully you won't.

[–]erasmause 1557 points1558 points  (128 children)

You see your nose and eyebrows basically all the time.

[–]duckyreadsit 1947 points1948 points  (50 children)

I can see parts of my cheeks, too. And if I make a particularly fishy face, the top of my mouth.

[–]Icelyon 4036 points4037 points  (39 children)

How does it feel knowing you just made hundreds of people do a fish pout?

[–]At_least_im_Bacon 6344 points6345 points  (496 children)

All living beings (that we know of) are made up of non living matter.

Also. Mitochondria....seriously wtf.

[–]usernumber36 10.3k points10.3k points x5 (342 children)

Ah, mitochondria.

Back in the old times, when all life was single celled... photosynthesis was invented by the cyanobacteria. This released a poisonous, toxic gas into the atmosphere that killed almost all life: oxygen.

There were few ways to survive. Most of the survivors were the cells that lived in places oxygen couldn't reach. The bottom of the ocean or other extreme environments for example. Therse were the extremophiles: the archaea, the anaerobic bacteria. Many remained there and still exist today. Not to be found on earth's oxygen rich surface.

Others though, were more clever. They survived by inventing chemical reactions that used up the oxygen. If the oxygen were used, it could not kill them, and they could continue to live on the earth's surface and away from extreme environments. These too, still remain today. Some became the modern day aerobic bacteria. Others, we now know by another name.

The third way to survive the threat of oxygen was the most ingenious... rather than invent your own chemistry to use up the oxygen... hold someone hostage who HAD found a way, and use their chemistry for your own selfish purpose. These cells engulfed some of those who had the chemistry to survive. They captured them. Made them live internally... almost as if they had become organs of their hosts. The cells who had learned to survive oxygen still continued to live though... they went generations and generations inside these host cells. The DNA of the two became intertwined and interdependent. over time.. none could live without the other. They were now one cell: the eukaryotic cell, which modern day animal cells are just one example. A cell which could survive the oxygen plague because of its internal hostages which used to be free roaming beings of their own: what we now call the mitochondria.

Mitochondria are still their own beings.

They have their own cell cycle.

They have circular DNA, like bacteria

They replicate by binary fission, like bacteria

They have their own ribosomes, which resemble bacterial riosomes much more than the ribosomes of the nucleus

They even have a two-layered membrane.... an inner membrane that was always their own... from when they were living free.. and an outer membrane which remains from when they were taken hostage; engulfed and captured by their host.

is this the only time this happened? No. Once these cells discovered that the mitochondron's chemistry for using oxygen was also harnessed as an energy source... what better plan than to take another hostage? One to make the fuel... why breathe oxygen when you could have a second hostage make it within your own cells, then pass it straight to the mitochondria?

And so a new hostage was taken: the cyanobacteria that invented phytosynthesis in the first place. The oxygen makers: what we now know as the chloroplasts. Thus, the plants came to be, and they never needed to seek out their fuel again. Their two slave beings inside of them: the mitochondria and the chloroplasts, did it for them.

EDIT:

woahhhh did this ever blow up more than I anticipated. Thanks so much everyone for the appreciation. There is something that's been coming up in the comments that is very much worth clarifying. I told this story in a very personified and anthropomorphised sense. It lends itself to the impression that the cells are somehow deciding to do this or inventing their internal chemistry with conscious effort. This is NOT the case. No cell chose to trigger endosymbiosis. It just so happened that cells for which this event had occurred happened to reproduce successfully enough to form a substantial portion of the living cells on the earth. I noted in the post above that surviving the threat of oxygen was a reason for this. I described it as a motivating factor for the sake of the story, but it is more accurately a selective pressure. The ones who didn't have that chance adaptation died out. Moreover the adaptation likely occurred due to some chance mutation event which altered the digestive capabilities of the host cell or something. It's worth noting these events have actually been observed in modern day, it just so happens to be a really really useful event when you're trying to survive an onslaught of toxic gas.

Evolution does not operate because organisms made conscious choices to do something (well.. except maybe memetic selection). It operates because chance mutations changed a cell's internal chemistry etc in a way that happened to be useful. Happening to have a reaction that used up oxygen in a constructive way was helpful. Happening not to destroy the cell you just engulfed happened to be helpful. These things were capitalised upon even further in subsequent mutation and selection events. Hopefully in the story above you can see why the cells for which these chance events happened would begin to flourish.

I should also point out, the reasons I cited for these events are somewhat of an evolutionary "just-so" story. There are rationales to suggest WHY these changes would lead to selective sweeps, but there is always room to revise these proposals based on evidence and the timelines of events. At least a couple of users in the comments have pointed out in the replies that there is evidence that some of the reasons for these events could well be different to what I describe. See this comment for example. I recommend reading deeper into these suggestions - one of the bets things about knowing a good story is delving deeper into the lore, and finding out it isn't all quite so simple.

This story is my favourite one in all of science. I always wished it was in the history of the world video.

Because this was so popular, I've created a new sub for this type of thing: /r/storiesofscience. I added a little bit more to this story too in the first post: more about what geologists know as "the great oxygenation event" that changed the world forever.

If anyone finds or writes anything similar to this, please post!!

EDIT 2:

I made a further comment on the fact that this post absolutely does trade accuracy for entertainment value here. This post may well be something I told to a class, but it would never be the ONLY thing I told to that class. It's easy to generate misconceptions by telling easy to grasp stories that have comforting inaccuracies. This story has those, because it is a reddit post. For a real understanding of the topic I would recommend researching more about the actual mechanisms by which evolution occurs, and recalling that evolutionary adaptations result from chance mutation events, genetic drift, natural selection and so on, none of which occur through conscious intent of individual organisms.

[–]DannyTannersBar 2991 points2992 points  (46 children)

I have no idea what you do for a living, but you should write short stories in this style to teach science concepts to broad audiences.

[–]wearsAtrenchcoat 163 points164 points  (3 children)

Yes! I'd totally buy children books like this! My 10 and 12 year olds would like them too. Please write books... Pretty please...

[–]A_Wandering_Soul__ 807 points808 points  (22 children)

I second that, I find it incredibly hard to understand some scientific studies that I come across, but that text was surprisingly easy to follow. Really enjoyed reading that.

[–]ShittierSlash 2506 points2507 points  (71 children)

The powerhouse of the cell.

[–]thactis05 19.0k points19.0k points  (505 children)

The idea that blind people don’t just see black, they see nothing.

[–]moongf 4708 points4709 points  (171 children)

I've had migraines where i lost vision in one eye and it literally is just nothing, like your peripherals moved into your viewable vision field but there's also nothing there. I've also hit my head so hard that my eyes went wack and i had these lines of blindness in a cracked egg like fashion across the whole field, similar to the movement of the photoshop selection tool (the dashes moving along) it was crazy. Obviously not the same as total blindness but still scary

[–]SulkyAtomEater 2495 points2496 points  (79 children)

My friend recently lost most of his sight in his left eye and he was trying to explain to us about the nothingness. I couldn't get my head around until I remembered an experiment in school about blind spots. You cover one eye and look at a piece of paper with a mark on it. Then move the paper around until the mark is gone. It was wasn't blurred out or anything; it just disappeared.

[–]luxii4 1353 points1354 points  (55 children)

My MIL fell and lost sight in one fourth quadrant in her right eye but instead of seeing black in that area, her brain fills it out so it seems like she didn't lose sight in that area at all. I think that's even scarier to think you are seeing something though it's not really there.

[–]MoNastri 478 points479 points  (23 children)

Kind of like the blind spot everyone has, which is also filled in by our brains, except instead of being a blind spot it's an entire blind quadrant. Wtf

[–]--cheese-- 115 points116 points  (1 child)

Blind spots are weird. We're great at unconsciously ignoring them, because there's usually enough data from the other eye to explain what's there, and even when there's not it doesn't matter - apart from every now and then when it does, or when we deliberately go looking for it.

[–]TumbleweedFilms1234 834 points835 points  (49 children)

I heard something recently and a blind person was asked to explain what it was like and he said it was like a sighted person trying to see with their elbow.

[–]deehayzee 169 points170 points  (28 children)

Wow that actually makes me understand it better, as weird as that is

[–]micromongolian 11.5k points11.5k points  (673 children)

How many people there are in the World. I know there’s 7.6 billion but I just cannot seem to comprehend the scale of that number.

Similarly, I cannot comprehend how rich billionaires are. If I’m a millionaire (which is hard to achieve in its own right), I still only have 0.001 of what a billionaire would have. Boggles my mind.

[–]FlavourEnhancer 1479 points1480 points  (78 children)

This comparison let me understand wealth.

I don't know what it's like to earn, a billion every year, but I do know what it's like to earn £20'000 a year.

That's 50'000 times less.

Assuming their money is worth 50'000 less than mine, we can do some simple division.

Want to fly first class New York to London? Cost £10'000, that's the same as £0.20 to me. For £0.20 I'd do it each weekend!

Want a new £100'000 Tesla? At £2.00 equivalent I'll take 3...

New mansion in the country for £20 million? £400 equivalent. I've spent that on nights away.

[–]FusRoYoMama 473 points474 points  (25 children)

My god... and here I am debating on whether I can afford to go out tonight for a friend's birthday. £50 would be my absolute limit tonight.

[–]fat2slow 6281 points6282 points  (300 children)

The crazier part is since the black market is so vast that some economists believe that there could be trillionaires out there they just don't exist in the legal worlds economics.

[–]pogmoshron 573 points574 points  (8 children)

I could well believe this. The wealth demonstrated by some of the Saudis and oil barons in the middle east is immense.

[–]graybarrow 9233 points9234 points  (369 children)

Theory of relativity and that time can slow depending on speed and gravity is wild

[–]ToastyKen 2991 points2992 points  (133 children)

My favortie fact about relativity is that GPS satellites, which are based on timing, have take into account both special relativity (due to their speed) and general relativity (due to distance from Earth's gravity well). If they didn't, their accuracy would drift by 10 km per day!

Details: http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Ast162/Unit5/gps.html

[–]Kcris_ 2335 points2336 points  (182 children)

That we developed this incredibly complex system that is society. We act like society is all there is but ultimately even if I fuck it up it’s just make believe thing that we all agreed to take part in.

[–]CupcakeofDeath 714 points715 points  (102 children)

We talked about this in my philosophy class the other day when we were talking about vegetarianism or something and someone said that we no longer need to eat meat to actually sustain ourselves in a healthy way, which is said pretty regularly but it's really baffling. Humanity could essentially remove itself from the food chain. We've progressed so far as a predator that we no longer need to be predators. We've managed to circumvent the natural order essentially by outsmarting it.

[–]DrProfScience 815 points816 points  (53 children)

I never agreed to shit. This has been forced upon me.

[–]jkohl 481 points482 points  (13 children)

Yeah, it sucks ass. But if you stop playing the mods get mad and ban you for a while, sometimes a permaban, depending on what part you stopped playing at.

[–]thebenefitofbalance 13.4k points13.4k points  (326 children)

52!, fifty-two factorial: the fact that no matter how many times you and a billion of your friends shuffle a deck of playing cards, you'll probably never shuffle it into an order that any deck has already been in. There are significantly more combinations permutations for the order of cards in a deck of 52 than the total number of seconds that the universe has existed.

Fucked. Up.

Edit: Allow Michael to take you on a stroll through this one. 52! starts at 14:04.

Yes, you can choose to deliberately put a deck into an order it's been in before. Don't be that guy. We're randomly shuffling here.

[–]kisafan 490 points491 points  (9 children)

what really fucked me up is 52! is more than there are atoms on earth.
I read it online, my husband spent the next 10-15 minutes explaining that it is in fact possible, and true.
Thinking of it again re-blows my mind

[–]verycurious333 1565 points1566 points  (56 children)

This is a great one. Can't wrap my mind around it.

[–][deleted] 7148 points7149 points  (362 children)

The microscopic world scares the shit out of me. A lot of people seemed perturbed by what's outside our universe. I'm more freaked out by the idea that there are unobservable microuniverses operating on unknown physical principles stuck under my fingernails that get destroyed every time I wash my hands.

[–]ikverhaar 3414 points3415 points  (262 children)

I'm a student in microbiology. You know what scares me the most about that? Gut bacteria. You have more bacteria in your gut than human cells in your body (but human cells are 1000 times as large). These bacteria can produce hormones that run up to your brain; bacteria can control your feelings. Billions of mindless bacteria control your food yearnings.

Other than that, the microscopic world is incredibly interesting. The more you learn about it, the more interesting it gets.

Edit: wow, this comment gained a lot of attention. Thanks for all your positivity. It brightens my day. I'll try to answer as many of you as possible.

[–]GiantsRTheBest2 2065 points2066 points  (94 children)

That’s why i do a daily stomach cleanse by drinking half a cup of Bleach. No bacteria will tell me how to live my life!

[–]paracelsus23 123 points124 points  (16 children)

Check out infections madness by Harriet Washington if you haven't. It touches on how many mental illnesses may be caused by external factors like parasites and changes in gut bacteria.

[–]axisrahl85 1796 points1797 points  (20 children)

Now I'm gonna have a moral crisis everything I wash my hands. Thanks.

[–]LLAMA_CHASER 1541 points1542 points  (8 children)

you don't have to lie here and pretend you wash your hands

[–]68024 4590 points4591 points  (260 children)

That color is something that's generated inside our brains, and is not an innate property of any object. Sure, objects have a property that make them absorb / reflect light in a certain way, but the redness of red or the yellowness of yellow is created inside our heads.

[–]PM_GRAPEFRUIT_NUDES 3045 points3046 points  (145 children)

Also the thought that my yellow may not be your yellow

[–]Lostpurplepen 1331 points1332 points  (56 children)

Hummingbirds and insects see colors that are there, but we can't see.

[–]fredyouareaturtle 4979 points4980 points  (172 children)

That atoms are 99.9..% empty space. makes no sense.

[–]tricksterloki 2029 points2030 points  (35 children)

The way to think of it is, though they aren't very dense (not much mass in the volume), they have fields that encompass the entire structure. So the mass of atoms aren't engaging directly but with forces that define their volume. Mostly empty by mass, but entirely filled by forces.

[–]jomrib 24.3k points24.3k points  (364 children)

My grandpa started a family tree in the 70's. It contains hundreds of people, all relatives of mine. This summer, he gave it to me to be its keeper. After my uncle died this fall, I had to fill in his date of death. I realized that I will have to fill in dates of death for my family, and that some day, someone will fill in mine.

[–]BedroomAcoustics 3102 points3103 points  (114 children)

But on the positive side, adding dates of birth for new family members as your close family and extended family grow is exciting! There’s 100’s there now, soon there will be more and it will never stop.

[–]Just_For_Da_Lulz 1211 points1212 points  (98 children)

I’m a huge genealogy nerd and your comment couldn’t be more true. No one in my family was particularly interested, but I wanted to learn where we hail from.

Thanks to Ancestry, FamilySearch, DNA and genealogy analysis, and hours upon hours of googling and emailing people, I’ve tracked down extended cousins whose nearest branch point was in my great-great-grandfather’s generation. And fortunately, many of those cousins are genealogy nerds, too.

I’ve obtained photos, articles, stories, legal documents, and more for my ancestors. It helps make them much more human than a death certificate or even obituary does.

/u/jomrib, try to put your family tree online so others can see it. You probably have a few cousins who are stuck on your family or ancestors, and that would be a huge help to them. You might even kick off a great relationship!

[–]SuchaDelight 8597 points8598 points  (92 children)

You are the Keeper of Memories. ☺

[–]pale99 3392 points3393 points  (72 children)

Does that make his grandpa The Giver ?

[–]Mark_VDB 1584 points1585 points  (44 children)

This is the first time I've ever understood a reference from a book.

[–]ManMan36 14.5k points14.5k points  (254 children)

You only clean things by getting other things dirty.

[–]Meowmers33 2786 points2787 points  (19 children)

This is The Cat in the Hat Comes Back all over again.

[–]durpdurpdurp 228 points229 points  (1 child)

It always got me when the ring in the tub stayed... I was always like, "damn, well, if the tub didn't work, you're fucked, cat." Except with less fuck words because I was 7.

[–]iamvsleepy 1141 points1142 points  (8 children)

My brain twitched reading this

[–]ShitInMyCunt-2dollar 892 points893 points  (69 children)

Entropy.

[–]SirLuciousL 102 points103 points  (8 children)

Goddamnit, I went on Reddit to try and forget that I completely bombed my Thermo midterm today. I can't believe you've done this.

[–]Dat_Boi_Frog_Memer 9089 points9090 points  (568 children)

The idea of being tortured. Not having any way of stopping it even though your brain probably holds on to some hope of an end. Does your brain try to protect you? Are there diminishing returns on the pain? How many people have been tortured and how many may be in the middle of torture at this moment? Fuck humans.

[–]Win10isWeird 4736 points4737 points  (154 children)

The worst part is that there are so many methods of torture and that people are messed up enough to come up with them.

[–]kooshipuff 3255 points3256 points  (136 children)

Worse: it's someone's job.

[–]00dawn 2212 points2213 points  (89 children)

And since it's someone's job, there's probably some workaholic who likes it.

[–]Penya23 586 points587 points  (13 children)

Worse: it's someone's hobby.

[–]roy20050 1950 points1951 points  (153 children)

Your brain does indeed attempt to protect you. It'll give you some feel good chemicals to reduce the amount of pain you feel for a while though that'll wear off. You'll mentally retreat into yourself, sort of like dreaming. Other tactics like fainting or passing out preventing you from directly experiencing the pain though you can be woken up with medications.

Edit: humans have had a long time to learn torture methods. Many can cause extreme pain but not cause enough physical damage to cause the victim to pass out or lose coherence. Like in that show Lost when that guy gets bamboo splints shoved under his fingernails. The nail beds and fingers in general have a lot of nerves causing a lot of pain but won't cause enough bleeding to be a problem.

[–]drpeters123 1134 points1135 points  (115 children)

Many also emotionally and psychologically fuck you up these days. For example, water boarding. There was a video of a radio dj that said "how bad can it really be", so he volunteered to be water boarded. One jug of water and he was done and said it was the worst experience of life.

I've heard of another kind where they have you strapped to a board again with your head strapped in place as well, and they just slowly drip water on your forehead, drop by drop, for hours on end. I dunno about you, but that would drive me fucking bonkers.

Edit: Mancow was the radio dj I was thinking of that tried water boarding. And that guy bails QUICK

[–]dablocko 632 points633 points  (38 children)

I've heard of another kind where they have you strapped to a board again with your head strapped in place as well, and they just slowly drip water on your forehead, drop by drop, for hours on end. I dunno about you, but that would drive me fucking bonkers.

That's Chinese water torture right? Sounds awful.

[–]Shpamm123 118 points119 points  (7 children)

Kari did that on mythbusters years ago and was absolutely traumatised it looks horrendous

[–]pm_me_ur_cats_toes 497 points498 points  (26 children)

I've actually been tortured so I can give some insight on this one. Your brain does try to protect you. It's common, and it happened with me in spades, to experience something called dissociation. It's like an intense disconnection of your conscious mind from what's happening. You feel like you're not real, your body isn't real, the situation isn't real. Like you aren't in your body and you're sort of floating and nothing is happening and you don't feel any emotions or have any coherent thoughts or really much of anything at all. You still feel the pain, you're still aware of it on some level, but it's like your conscious mind just isn't there to process it. It's a very weird feeling and hard to describe.

You can even experience something called dissociative amnesia, where you dissociate so severely that you can't remember what happened, at least not consciously. Your subconscious remembers, the memories are still there (my trauma therapist described how they're stored differently in the brain). Like, for example, if the torturer used a specific knife you'll react instinctively with absolute mortal dread when you see it again, even if you can't remember why. But your regular mind can't remember what happened normally. It'll filter back in bits and pieces and, in my case, via PTSD flashbacks.

Aside from that there isn't really diminishing returns on pain. Not having any way of stopping it is the worst part imo. Even now if I experience pain I'm just fine as long as there's something I can do about it. I broke my ankle a while back and I was downright cheery because there was a thing to do and it was to go to the hospital and I was doing that and everything was going to be just fine. It's only pain, after all. But if I'm hurt and there's nothing I can do about it or I feel powerless I start completely freaking out and then the pain is completely unbearable.

[–]justaddchocolate 61 points62 points  (0 children)

Oh man, that’s heavy stuff. I’m glad you came out on the other side; you seem to be doing well. I hope you get joy and love back in spades to make up for all you went through.

[–]singersmith 56 points57 points  (8 children)

I was kidnapped once for a week and spent a lot of time thinking about the torture that might occur if we all reached our intended destination together. Kind of a long story, but it’s impossible to convey to people who have never lost their freedom what the whole thing does to your brain. Number one rule of self defense, folks: NEVER get to Location B.

[–]Kevex_The_Dictator 2701 points2702 points  (198 children)

How big the universe might be.

[–]whatsthatbutt 2177 points2178 points  (130 children)

heres a weirder concept. Every unit of measurement we have is totally arbitrary. You and I may be huge, like super huge, it all depends what you compare it to.

Or we may be incredibly small.

[–]pandar314 11.1k points11.1k points  (655 children)

Existence. What the fuck is even going on? How the fuck did we get here. Why are there even things? What in tarnation is going to happen after we're dead?

Sweet ride though.

[–]butsuon 4839 points4840 points  (238 children)

A better question besides "what happens after we're dead" is "why did we ever wake up?"

We're all made up of dead stuff. Why did it wake up?

[–]wordserious 2187 points2188 points  (128 children)

Not sure why, your comment reminded me of something I once read: "computers are rocks that we tricked into thinking."

[–]Niriun 267 points268 points  (19 children)

because humans are just squishy bags of meat that chemicals tricked into thinking

[–]spyro_96 13.0k points13.1k points  (564 children)

Clapping. At what point was a human so excited by something that they repeatedly slapped their own hands together in approval of something? Did we watch seals do it first and copy them? People are weird.

[–]cutelyaware 4020 points4021 points  (214 children)

I gave a lecture to a scientific group in Germany once and at the end they all pounded their fists on the table like they were knocking on a door. I was really surprised but I guess it just meant the same as clapping.

[–]djfellifel 3261 points3262 points  (119 children)

In German universities it's supposed to be more formal to do that instead of clapping, which you do at a show for example. I didn't know other countries don't do that.

[–]good-titrations 1200 points1201 points  (12 children)

My philosophy professor (at a US university) would have us do this at every lecture that referenced a German philosopher, just for style.

[–][deleted] 411 points412 points  (24 children)

lol my first class at a german university that one took me back. Like what the fuck are you all doing....And it's at the end of everything. When any class ends we all give a few knocks on the table before we leave. It's weird but I like it. It's more efficient and less obnoxious than clapping.

[–]Fluffatron_UK 194 points195 points  (5 children)

It's more efficient and less obnoxious

And this is why I love the Germans

[–]Secretalias666 2198 points2199 points  (120 children)

Dancing fucks with me. Hey, this collection of sounds is pleasing to me and I'm going to express that by jerking my body around.

[–]sirwestonlaw 1042 points1043 points  (46 children)

It’s instinct for some reason. In old African languages music and dancing didnt have separate terms but were considered the same thing

[–]Secretalias666 249 points250 points  (17 children)

Really? That's intriguing.

[–]sirwestonlaw 220 points221 points  (16 children)

I took a music history class freshman year. Super cool to learn about how all the ideas of modern music came from so many different corners of the world and how it all meshed together. African history is easily the best to read up on because they were the first to really utilize percussion, beats, and call and response styles

[–]25point80697 2185 points2186 points  (151 children)

What is reality?
Everything we perceive is just the brain processing different inputs, and telling us what is currently going on. We already know of a lot of "tricks" the brain plays on us visually (optical illusions, implanted memories which are as or more vivid than real ones, etc). Whose to say that my whole world is actually real? What if everything I think I see is actually a trick of my brain? Maybe I am, in objective reality, going through some terribly traumatic event, and my brain made up this happy home with my husband and 2 kids to protect itself.
Think about dreams. Your brain can literally alter time (or your perception of it at least). I've had dreams that spanned months, but woke up and only 30 minutes had passed.
So yeah, the brain/what is real is my answer.

[–]theviewfrom5Terre 790 points791 points  (20 children)

I recently played a game called Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, which is about a woman who has psychosis and schizophrenia. One of the most impacting lines for me was:

Maybe that's why people fear seeing the world through her eyes. Because if you believe Senua's reality is twisted, you must also accept yours might be too.

[–]TheGoodJudgeHolden 17.9k points17.9k points  (803 children)

There are anywhere from 100-400 billion stars in the Milky Way, with a potential 100 billion planets.

And the Milky Way is by no means a large galaxy, there are untold billions of "super-galaxies."

It boggles the mind how big space in, and how many heavenly bodies are in it.

Edit: Yay, my top comment is no longer a Shakira song lyric I commented while drunk.

[–]Zediac 3115 points3116 points  (310 children)

Size of the known universe.

It gets to the Milky Way about 2/3 in.

[–]ARiemannHypothesis 871 points872 points  (44 children)

Ah space.. It's so much easier to not think about it, just considering the magnitude of all those galaxies compared to ourselves spirals me into thoughts of existential crisis

[–]TheTrent 901 points902 points  (52 children)

The absolute size of space is insane!

Some perspective just using our little solar system.

The moons diameter is smaller than the width of Australia.

The surface area of Pluto is smaller than the surface area of Africa. Africa nearly has twice the surface area in comparison.

The volume of Jupiter means you could fit all other planets, including Pluto, into it and still have some space.

At the Moon’s furthest distance from the Earth, its apogee, you can fit all the planets (this time not including Pluto) side by side between the Earth and the Moon. This includes Jupiter, which could fit 1300 Earths within it.

The we go to the Sun, which could fit about 1.3 million Earths inside it.

If you cloned Earth and put it side by side continually until it reached the Sun you’d need about 11,760 Earth’s to reach the Sun (at its average distance).

Then you look at one of the largest stars found, UY Scuti, which is bigger than VY Canis Major even, and its diameter is estimated to be 1700 times larger than our Sun’s and its volume about 21 billion times larger.

If the Earth was an 8 inch (20.3 cm) ball, our Sun would be about 73 feet (22.25 m) in diameter. UY Scuti would be 125,000 feet (38 km) in diameter. Felix Baumgartner, who jumped from the outermost limit of Earth’s atmosphere for Red Bull (if you haven’t seen it, check it out, it’s rad), well he jumped around that distance in real life.

And that’s just the stuff we’ve been able to see! Space is crazy!

[–]stumpdawg 9806 points9807 points  (365 children)

That the phone in your hand. The computer or tablet you're using. Is nothing more than a bunch of electricity running through copper and silicates turning into ones and zeroes gives us all of this.

The internet, rocket boosters that land themselves, and everything else that electronics do for us.

[–]vanoreo 7990 points7991 points  (149 children)

Processors are just the result of humans tricking rocks into doing math.

[–]MadderHater 4322 points4323 points  (109 children)

We also put lightning in them.

That's an important step I feel.

[–]Ickypahay 1629 points1630 points  (85 children)

This statement makes me feel better about being an IT wizard

[–][deleted] 860 points861 points  (76 children)

It makes me feel like this is actually just magic. There's no way you could tell a person 1,000 years ago that it's not magic.

[–]CaulkParty 699 points700 points  (47 children)

I'm in my last semester for EE, and I'm still not completely convinced it isn't just magic.

[–]thirdAccountIForgot 1226 points1227 points  (74 children)

I’m currently in undergrad for electrical engineering. My first digital logic class, we built a crappy cpu from logic gates. Another class taught how transistors work. About halfway through the semester there was a definite ‘holy shit, that’s how this freakin stuff works’ moment.

I loved it

[–]Dent18 426 points427 points  (37 children)

I took one hardware class and it was the coolest thing in the world when everything clicked. high/low voltage->binary->ascii->reddit

[–]Theguygotgame777 558 points559 points  (45 children)

There are no exact measurements. We might think of something as being six feet long, or fifteen inches tall, but if you zoom in it'll always be a few hundredths or thousandths off. No matter how exact you get, keep zooming in and you'll find more errors, like being one billionth off. Nothing can ever be infinitely precise. Any given line has an infinite amount of points. This bothers me a lot.

[–]fgejoiwnfgewijkobnew 332 points333 points  (21 children)

Tautaology might be helpful. My index finger is one fgejoiwnfgewijkobnew-metre in length. How long is that? It's the length of my index finger.

[–]xtrstno1 413 points414 points  (25 children)

Have you ever watched the show on the ID channel Disappeared? I always get stuck in a loop about how insane it is that you can leave your house one day for work, as you do every day, but at some point you could ‘disappear’ and just never be seen or heard from again.

In an instant everything can change. For you, for your family and friends.

[–]DoctorVanillaBear 3016 points3017 points  (113 children)

When I graduate I will be constantly working in the same jobs for years at a time. For the last 15 years, every 3-4 months or so I have had a completely new routine, and I don't want to give that up.
Edit: I plan on moving around within the company, but 4 years would still be a long time in one position.

[–]GoatFlow 398 points399 points  (25 children)

Graduated May 2017 and this has been on my mind nonstop since then. I'm a computer engineer so I do move onto new projects every few months, but it isn't the same. Everything feels unnaturally cyclical until I retire and that's kinda depressing :/ Already thinking of my next job move in order to have some sort of break in the cycle.

[–]american_america 217 points218 points  (9 children)

Don't worry, I graduated 10 years ago and I'm on my 6th job because things get boring. I'm making way more now than if I had just stuck at the first place. Quickest way to increase your salary is to get a new job, plus it keeps you on your toes.

[–]TheInterrex 1882 points1883 points  (131 children)

The double slit experiment... Particles behave differently when they are being observed, it's so wild, I wonder what else it affects

[–]Ragnorok3141 974 points975 points  (50 children)

The part most people don't get is what physicists mean by "observer". An observer is just any particle that interacts with another particle. It doesn't mean humans, or animals, or things that can see. An electron is an observer. So all quantum mechanics says is that matter behaves differently when it's interacting with other matter than when it's by itself.

[–]Mephistoss 150 points151 points  (14 children)

That every object in the universe exerts a force on me.

[–]Stiletto 100 points101 points  (4 children)

My pancreas attracts every other  Pancreas in the universe  With a force proportional  To the product of their masses  And inversely proportional  To the distance between them 

[–]HungryForCrypto 1005 points1006 points  (81 children)

The universe goes on forever but is also expanding. If it is already never ending in every direction then how can in expand more...

[–]Stat_Cat 687 points688 points  (43 children)

A Brief History of Time gives a plausible (but no less mind-bending) possibility, by asking you to imagine a balloon with dots on it. As the balloon inflates, each dot gets farther away from all its neighbors, but the center of expansion is nowhere on the balloon’s surface. Furthermore, an ant on the surface walking in a straight line would just walk around and around forever, seemingly infinitely.

It hurts my head, and now I’m worried we have ants :(

[–]examinedliving 70 points71 points  (4 children)

If I ask myself everyday, “Will today be the day I die?”, one day the answer will be yes.

[–][deleted] 2716 points2717 points  (441 children)

Death.It terrifies me.I want to do great things but at the end it will go away it makes me kinda sad

[–]whereisthespacebar 1344 points1345 points  (64 children)

Guy I worked with died today, maybe 33-36 years old. Always had a smile on his face every morning, cool guy to bullshit with, talk to. It can happen to anyone at any time.

[–][deleted] 538 points539 points  (39 children)

Yea recently one of my old classmates died and it humbles you.No one is special

[–]DongLaiCha 1027 points1028 points  (23 children)

Iim pretty special. 100% track record of not dying.

[–]angelontheside 388 points389 points  (71 children)

Me too, I spiral into an endless sense of doom whenever I think of it :-(

[–]sghetti-n-buttah 210 points211 points  (23 children)

Same, and it’s always when I’m trying to fall asleep. Yay

[–]POTUSKNOPE 21.5k points21.5k points  (1057 children)

That during metamorphosis a caterpillar loses all physical shape. Like inside the cocoon is just a bunch a mush. No one has ever really figured out what goes on while they are in there because if you open the cocoon it completely stops the process, kills the caterpillar, and doesn't provide you with any information other than the cocoon is full of mush. The weirdest part is that they've done studies, and though the mush contains no neurological remnants or brain, the butterfly retains memories from when it was a caterpillar. What the actual fuck?

[–]realhorrorsh0w 3633 points3634 points  (87 children)

though the mush contains no neurological remnants or brain, the butterfly retains memories from when it was a caterpillar. What the actual fuck?

Scientist: What do you remember?

Butterfly: Everything.

[–]Nine_Gates 611 points612 points  (29 children)

The butterfly swims through the air and it remembers. Everything is stored, dating back to the very beginning.

[–]PostRitzOrGTFO 913 points914 points  (19 children)

Scientist: What do you remember?

Butterfly: I've seen attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion...

[–]jansencheng 135 points136 points  (8 children)

I've seen the rise of nations now long forgotten

[–]Alivesometimes 630 points631 points  (8 children)

Someone here on the reddit posted a cocoon where the caterpillar had used a window as part of it. So you could see right into it without disturbing. Alas, I did not keep a link to the post to see if there was ever an update.

[–]Melleris 255 points256 points  (19 children)

I had a co-worker try to fuck my brain with the idea that if our lives flash before our eyes before we die then how do we know if we're living our lives or re-experiencing it in those last moments.

I responded with the idea of our lives flashing before our eyes inside the first flash. So we could be several layers deep in flashbacks and not know it. (Which I had read on Reddit just a few days before).... He needed to sit down.

[–]dlrecovery 281 points282 points  (30 children)

Galileo’s Paradox:

“some numbers are squares, while others are not; therefore, all the numbers, including both squares and non-squares, must be more numerous than just the squares. And yet, for every square there is exactly one positive number that is its square root, and for every number there is exactly one square; hence, there cannot be more of one than of the other.”

[–]Eddie_Hitler 11.8k points11.8k points  (360 children)

The idea of "sonder".

Everyone out there is living a life as rich, as vivid, and as real as your own. They are extras in your movie, you are an extra in theirs.

Everyone has a story. Just because you walk past them in the street once and never see them again, doesn't mean that they don't exist and aren't living their own life somewhere, having their own experiences, seeing things with their own eyes.

[–]IDrinkUrMilksteak 3302 points3303 points  (69 children)

I think about this most when I fly. Looking down at all the thousands of houses. Thousands of cars. All with people. And all of them have full lives and thoughts of their own. And that’s just at this moment in time that has stretched on for thousands of years.

[–]Clbrnsmallwood 372 points373 points  (16 children)

I love it, I was never that great at being social until I started actively doing this. It's like yeah, I've got this cool and awesome tapestry of life that I can look up and down but so does that guy over there and that girl over there and even that dog, so to speak. I get absolutely lost in it at times.

[–]WoollyMuffler 1057 points1058 points  (29 children)

The idea of "sonder".

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is quite possibly the coolest thing I've ever found.

[–]PM_ME_GARAM_MASALA 1359 points1360 points  (42 children)

i love this and i’m glad i’m not the only one who thinks about it. like we are all tiny, infinite universes passing each other by.

i never knew there was a word for it.

[–]Recoil93 469 points470 points  (78 children)

The concept of forever. The fact that there is no start nor end of the universe just leaves me dumbfounded, I try to rationalize it but just can’t.

[–]Bryggyth 52 points53 points  (11 children)

If the Big Bang theory is correct, what was there before the Big Bang? It seems impossible that nothing existed, but it seems impossible that something did exist before then as well.

Also the universe is just so massive, I wonder if there’s some highly advanced civilization out there that can do stuff far beyond our wildest dreams. There has to be at least one other planet with intelligent life in the universe. And if we look at how long it has taken humans to get where we are today, there may be civilizations that appeared a few million, or even billion, years before us. Imagine what kind of technology they might have! Will we ever meet aliens like that? What kind of impact would it have on us? I wish I could live long enough to find out.

[–]--Doom-- 1812 points1813 points  (238 children)

The thought of nothingness after death

[–]Schooltrash 9078 points9079 points x2 (437 children)

Spending hours and hours every day every week every month every year at a job I hate and that isn't related to my degree, doing almost nothing because I can efficiently perform my job in 20 hours a week, and doing this for decades until I die as a majority of my generation has no chance at a normal retirement or home ownership. And if I convey this concern to anyone else I'm immediately labeled as lazy and viewed poorly by any employer, as everyone has agreed to pretend this shit is normal.

[–]N3kras 1235 points1236 points  (23 children)

This was my favorite comment in this thread by far.

[–]Blecaker 608 points609 points  (79 children)

I am trapped in my mind until I die

[–]Jesuswasamuslim 648 points649 points  (13 children)

That video which shows the scale of our solar system to known stars in the universe

[–]aadeac 383 points384 points  (16 children)

That when you smell fart, you actually make contact with particles, which were inside someone's ass.

[–]hhebee 66 points67 points  (0 children)

I love how this is in here with all the "magnitude of the universe" type of stuff.

[–]ThatIneptGuy 413 points414 points  (12 children)

The sheer amount of living things that are no longer living for little to no reason

[–]srrythtusrnmeistken 873 points874 points  (117 children)

determinants and eigenvalues of 3x3 and up matrices

EDIT: everyone check out 3blue1brown on Youtube

[–]EmileKhadaji 176 points177 points  (23 children)

i found that eigenvalues made more sense abstracted somewhat. i remember taking intro linear algebra and just going 'nope'