Life’s Little Mysteries

We are lucky to be born in this century. The history of Humankind seems to have reached a turning point. Knowledge explosion, population explosion, global warming, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, … Life in the next century promises to be completely different — if any humans survive. Or if they remain human.

At the same time, especially during a quiet walk or the daily shave, one is apt to ponder on life’s little mysteries. Here are my favourites.

1. Why a mirror reverses left-to-right and not top-to-bottom

2. Why a T-shirt reverses front-to-back when turned inside-out

3. Why buses come in pairs or threes at a bus stop

4. Why, sometimes, you get a  call from a person just when you are thinking of them

5. Why a woman of unexceptional looks become the subject of the most famous painting in the world (Mona Lisa). Compare the two pictures below:

Classic Modern
original modern-monalisa

6. Why some pictures fool the eye into seeing motion.

7. Why a safety razor with four blades gives a better shave than one with three blades

8. Why one never sees baby pigeons (pigeon chicks, to use the correct word).

9. All elementary particles are fundamentally identical, yet Hans Dehmelt of the University of Washington has a positron named Priscilla.

10. Why the majority of people¬†throughout history have remained in slavery, ruled over by small elites — including today. I use the wide definition of slavery: economic or mental slavery as well as physical slavery. Hmm … maybe this not a small mystery.
(note: fixed broken link to modern mona lisa)