Wandering thoughts: Body edition

The human body is full of surprises. Without a list like this one, how would anyone discover them?

The human body is full of surprises. Without a list like this one, how would anyone discover them?

1. Is it possible to touch one’s elbow with your tongue?

Yes. Some say it’s impossible, but those people just have short tongues. There are three techniques:

  1. Go into the yoga position called cobra, where the stomach is on the ground and your chest and face are raised. Lift one arm and wrap it around the lower half of your face – close (of course) to your mouth. Push the arm as close to your face as possible, and using the momentum of your body in cobra position, try to reach the elbow. If it doesn’t work then do a few arm stretches before trying again.

  2. Standing up, stick one arm straight out at a ninety degree angle from your body. Now wrap that arm around the lower half of your face, and using the hand of your other arm, push the elbow as close to your face as possible. Stick your tongue out and try to touch the elbow. If it doesn’t work, do some arm stretches and try it again while pushing harder with your other hand.

  3. Go into normal position with your elbow as close to your mouth as possible. Take ten or more deep breaths. The deeper the breather the more you’ll be able to raise your diaphragm, which will allow you to stretch your neck out further – hopefully far enough that you’ll finally lick the elbow.

2. What would happen if someone held their mouth and nose closed while he or she sneezed?

Rumor has it that if you did such a thing, your eyes would explode or pop out of your face. While this may happen in cartoons, it doesn’t in real life. However, according to the blog Basic Science, it can still do some damage. The pressure involved in a sneeze can go up to 176 mph. If both your nose and mouth are closed, the pressure can cause damage to your hearing and eyes.

3. Can people swim faster if they have webbed toes?

Sadly, webbed toes have not been shown to make any difference in swimming ability and speed. According to Emory University swimmer Lisa Young, “When you swim, your toes are all together when you kick anyways, so having webbed toes wouldn’t give a swimmer any advantage.”

To all of you out there with webbed toes, it’s okay – your toesies might not improve your swimming ability, but they don’t hinder it.

4. How fast does the brain receive messages from the nerves?

According to UCSB ScienceLine, the brain can receive messages at 268 miles per hour. The fastest a (legal) car can go is 180 mph. That’s almost half the speed capable of the brain.

5. When is the brain the most active?

The brain is by far at its most active at night while you’re asleep. According to the Huffington Post, when you sleep, you enter into a slow wave sleep that reduces activity in the thalamocortical system, which constitutes the majority of the human brain. This reduction causes an increase in the activity of your brain, making it much more active while you dream.