Learning4Fun: Wacky Things Humans Do

The human body can accomplish many things. Some are gross, some are funny and some are just downright unbelievable…

Shine Bright

Your body gives off light, much like a firefly or a glow worm – or a superhero. Sadly, nobody can see it. Using special cameras, scientists have proven that our bodies glow. The light is so weak however, that our eyes would have to be one thousand times stronger to see it. Most of the light comes from our foreheads, cheeks and necks. This glow is a result of chemical reactions in our bodies that give off small particles of light. The light brightens and fades throughout the day, with the most light produced in the middle of the afternoon. Even though you can’t see this light, it’s pretty awesome knowing it’s there.

There are several animals that produce visible light, including fireflies, jellyfish, glow worms. This is called bioluminescence. Animals use it to attract mates, lure prey and communicate.

Super Strength & Speed

There are many true tales of people gaining super strength in times of danger, such as someone lifting a car to save a loved one trapped underneath. While scientists don’t really believe anyone can lift a car, your body can get stronger and faster in high-pressure situations. When you experience fear, a chemical called adrenaline is released into your bloodstream. It makes your heart beat faster, increases breathing capacity, and shuts down other bodily functions. This lets your muscles concentrate on running faster than you ever thought possible or using strength you didn’t know you had.

News stories about normal people performing with superhero strength include a woman who fought off a polar bear, a man who lifted a crashed helicopter and two teenage girls who lifted a tractor to save their father.

Brain Science

Computers can beat human chess champions, poker experts, and even quiz show brainiacs. But did you know your brain can perform 38 quadrillion operations per second (or 38,000,000,000,000,000)? When scientists wanted to imitate one second of a normal brain’s activity, they needed 82,000 computers. And while the smartest computers out there need enough electricity to power up to 10,000 homes, your brain operates on the amount of energy it would take to turn on a dim lightbulb.

Our brains can still do many things better than computers, such as solving crossword puzzles, creating art, writing, and recognising faces.

Magic Body Tricks

Stand inside a doorframe and press the backs of your hands against the frame for 30 seconds, as if you’re trying to push the frame outward. Then let your arms down and step away from the doorframe. Your arms will “magically” start floating upward. Scientists call this the Kohnstamm phenomenon, and it’s not really magic. Basically, the part of your brain responsible for your limbs gets fooled easily, and it thinks your arms are still pushing against the frame.


Have a friend sit in front of you in a chair. Close your eyes. Reach around and place one hand on their nose. At the same time, put your other hand on your own nose. Stroke both noses. After about a minute, your brain will jump to the conclusion that your nose has grown to be extremely long. 

50 Wacky Things Humans Do from the Walter Foster Jr. Creative Team and illustrated by Lisa Perrett, makes science fun for all ages with peculiar and fascinating facts about the human body. Mind-boggling and ridiculously interesting, this book will make your kid the source on the wacky. Published by The Quarto Group, HB RRP £9.99

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