25 People On The Horrifying Scientific Theory That Triggered An Existential Crisis

Unsplash / Drew Hays

1. The human form of mad cow disease may cause thousands of deaths

“vCJD, the human form of mad cow disease, may have a decades long incubation period and cause thousands of deaths in the future.

In cattle the incubation period can be up to 5 years but we have no idea whether or not it could be longer in humans, and there’s no routine method to detect the prion which causes it. Almost half a million infected cows entered the food chain but only a few hundred cases have been reported. Essentially anyone who ate British beef in the 90s could be at risk of a horrible death, with no way to predict or prevent it.” — buttwarm

2. People with split brains exist — and don’t even realize it

“You can split a person’s brain down the middle, entirely severing the connection between the hemispheres. By showing things to different parts of the visual field, you can give information to the hemispheres separately – so one hemisphere can know things that the other does not. As far as we can tell, both hemispheres are conscious beings with hopes and dreams. Usually one hemisphere can’t speak, but from non-verbal indications we can clearly see it has a very human level intelligence. Other times, both hemispheres can speak.

Split brain patients don’t notice nor particularly care that they are split brained. Neither hemisphere seems perturbed by the separation. Verbally, split brain patients say they can’t even tell. And, as far as we can tell, it’s not like the non-verbal hemisphere is screaming quietly or anything. The splitting process just… doesn’t seem to impact people very much, although I did see some reports of people’s left hands doing actions that their verbal hemisphere didn’t seem to agree with. (Unbuttoning shirts they didn’t like, etc)

What does it mean, that we can cut our minds in half and not even notice? What does that mean about our everyday existence? What does that mean of our perception of ourselves as a coherent consciousness? Do we really communicate so little with ourselves that we wouldn’t feel the sudden separation of half of us? What else about ourselves might we not even notice? On the other hand, I guess it’s also kind of inspiring that somehow, everything still more or less works!” — ishaan123

3. One eruption could kill thousands of people

“How Yellowstone National Park is a super volcano that could potentially wipe out a huge chunk of the United States in one eruption.” — Sh3pWr3ck3d

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