Class in Session

Another Tuesday has decided to grace us with its ominous presence. So, keeping up with the spirit of Teach Me Tuesdays, I’m gonna try to squirt some fun facts all over your pretty little faces. So for those of you in the splash zone, don’t worry, as long as you don’t get any of this knowledge in your eyes, mouth, nose, or ears, you’ll be just fine.

Before we get started, if you’re interested in last week’s lesson, you can find it by clicking RIGHT HERE.

We’ll kick off today’s lesson, with some scientific noodle scratchers. If you’ve been on earth for longer than 3 days, chances are, you’ve seen that big gray rock up in the sky, known as the moon. Etium Luna as I like to call it for no reason at all, has a pretty unique property. Have you ever noticed the face of the moon? Have you ever noticed that it is the same every single night? Sure, it gets thinner as it goes through its phases of waxing and waning, but the splotchy gray face of the moon looks the same, night after night.

The reason for this is because the moon has become tidally locked to the earth in its orbit. This means that as the moon rotates during its revolution around the earth, it spins at the perfect speed to ensure that only one side of it will always be facing down to earth. The phenomenon occurs after millenia and millenia of the moon falling towards the planet as it spins on its own axis. Eventually it found its sweet spot and fell perfectly in sync with the earths orbit. Don’t believe me? Take a picture of the next full moon. Wait approximately 29 and a half days (29.53 to be exact) and then compare your picture to what’s happening, live in the sky that night. It will match the picture.

How about we jump into something a little metaphysical. This may border on the extremes of pseudoscience, but it’s an interesting fun fact to learn. Your soul, spirit, or the animus that provides consciousness to the body isn’t something that everyone believes in. After all, souls aren’t seen or touched outside of the realm of horror stories. However, what if it could be measured? In 1901, it was.

A scientist by the name of Dr. Duncan Macdougall set out to show that the existence of a soul could be proven through scientific measurement. He conducted an experiment on 6 dying people—5 men and 1 woman. Each of the patients were extremely terminal. Macdougall and a panel of four other scientists measured the patients on large scales and determined that shortly after death, each scale dropped 3/4 of an ounce, approximately 21 grams. According to the experiment notes, everything was accounted for, such as clothing, body fluid and air trapped within the lungs. All scientists measured a decrease in weight.

Now there were some hiccups with the experiment. Two of the patients could not be measured correctly because the scales they were on failed. There was also a delayed reaction on one of the measurable patients, in which at the moment of death, the weight did not change at all, but then did only a few minutes later to the tune of 21 grams. It was said that his soul was confused and wanted to stay within his body before eventually going towards the light.

This experiment seemingly proved that the soul did indeed, have mass. After his findings were published, much to his benefit in the scientific community, he stated that the experiment needed more research to verify the findings. However, Mcdougall never got around to it because he decided that he wanted to see if it was possible to photograph the soul leaving the body at the moment of death.

Since then, there have been scientists that claimed to disprove his findings but there are a few more interesting things about his original findings. One, performing the same experiments on animals of varying species, in a controlled environment proved no changes after death, seemingly proving that the soul was something exclusivity to humanity. The other interesting thing is that another scientist performed the same experiments in 1917, and got the same exact results as Dr. Mcdougall. I’m not a scientist, but the whole concept of the soul having mass is really, really interesting.

But for our final lesson of the day, maybe we should steer away from the macabre. This post has gotten a bit lengthy so I’ll teach you something short. Let’s hop into grammar. The symbol “&,” is called an ampersand. Believe it or not, it was once considered a letter of the alphabet, similar to how the double “L” and double “R” are sometimes seen as letters in the Hispanic alphabet. The “&” symbol is actually a cursive representation of the letter “Et,” which is Latin for the word “and.” History teaches that it was first seen in Pompeii in the first century.

Also…most of the English speaking world pronounces a “Z” like the word “zed.” Do with that, what you will.

Class dismissed!

“But one more thing, your hair and nails don’t grow after your death. Your body dries out and loses its moisture and lipids, so the skin begins to leather up and recede away from your cuticles and follicles, creating the illusion of longer nails and hair.” — Jamale Davis (Extra Credit)

7 comments

  1. If you’re offering up science facts weekly then count me in! Would our souls be a bunch of gaseous molecules??? With weight and density? I’m completely having tunnel vision thinking about this aspect of life right now! Thanks for that!

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    • Not going to lie, that whole concept blew my mind when I first learned about the experiment years ago. Apparently, the scientists all accounted for fluids and gases that were trapped in the body…and the 21 grams still didn’t appear biologically possible. Perhaps the spirit or soul is comprised of a state of matter that has not been charged by living beings as of yet? Perhaps there is a fifth state? Since matter can typically transform between states, ie water, ice, vapor, perhaps whatever the soul is comprised off starts off as one state and transforms into something else completely? Maybe ectoplasm is a byproduct? Shit, I don’t know. I love the idea of the whole thing though.

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  2. The research produced about measuring the soul was very compelling that you provided. That’s the kind of information that I enjoy indulging in, usually. I enjoyed this segment of “Teach me Tuesday”, I enjoy learning everyday, discussing specific topics as well as hearing different point of views. The moon is also another love of mine, thank you for providing in depth information. In the matter of European Vampire folklore, if it was seen that the hair or nails grew post mortem, it induced enough suspicion that the corpse was a vampire for town folk to create particular practices to impede the process. In modern day science of course, it is proven that it is a natural process post mortem that gives the illusion that the nails and hair is growing. in the 16th century it meant something totally different, in the world of superstition.Thank you for sharing!

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    • In the 16th century, everything meant something different. For example, a woman exposing her ankles was considered a harlot, while one exposing ample cleavage was considered opulent. A person born with a mental disorder was seen as possessed by a demon. Arsenic was used as a cosmetic medicine to keep the skin pale. Cocaine was a panacea. Everything was different and seemingly dumb as hell…lol.

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  3. Great lesson for lesson Tuesday’s….
    Although you’re not a scientist I appreciate the details to their findings, their work and also putting you’re own thoughts in theory. It makes the lesson read more appealing and inviting.

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    • I’m glad you’re enjoying the classes. Please make sure you comment on the other classes so that I can mark you as “present!” Lol

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