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Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of the Unknown

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  • Tail wagging in domestic dogsplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigTail wagging in domestic dogs

    "Tail wagging is a conspicuous behaviour in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). Despite how much meaning humans attribute to this display, its quantitative description and evolutionary history are rarely studied.

    Source :
  • Boredomplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigBoredom

    From a scientific viewpoint, boredom is very poorly defined. Some research groups asserting that boredom is associated with very low levels of psychological 'arousal' and other asserting the opposite (i.e. boredom can induce intense agitation).
  • Nanochemistryplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigNanochemistry

    It has been known for centuries that 'particle size' can very strongly affect chemical reactions.

    At 'normal' scales, it's generally the case that the smaller the size of reactant particles, the faster the reaction progresses. This is often simply the result of increased surface area.
  • Childhood amnesiaplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigChildhood amnesia

    Childhood Amnesia refers to the inability of adults to remember events from their infancy and early childhood. Typically, most people can't accurately remember anything form their very early life - i.e. before 2yrs, and in some individuals up to 6yrs.
  • Tendon sheath tumorsplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigTendon sheath tumors

    There are several types of benign tumors which grow on the sheaths of tendons - usually involving the tendons of the hand, though others can be affected.

    The most prevalent types are Giant Cell Tumors, and a less common sub-type called
  • 'Hot Jupiter' planetsplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_big'Hot Jupiter' planets

    The phrase 'Hot Jupiter' was first suggested in 1995 and covers very large (.i.e. Jupiter-sized) planets that are very close to the star which they orbit. With a typical orbit time of just a few days.

    Their existence had been predicted in the 1950s - though at the time there was no way to reliably detect them. In the 1990s astronomers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz won a Nobel Prize for discovering the first examples. They also came up with the name.
  • Vaguenessplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigVagueness

    Very few sets of data are truly complete or completely accurate. There are nearly always some 'errors and omissions' - as well as cases which fall on borderlines (which are sometimes themselves ill-defined).

    Over the years the philosophical community has extensively studied the concept of 'vagueness'.
  • Histamine intoleranceplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigHistamine intolerance

    Histamine is an important naturally-occurring neuro-transmitter compound and 'local hormone' involved in mammalian gut regulation, immune responses and many other vital processes.

    Histamine levels are finely balanced, and variations have dramatic effects on a range of bodily processes. Because the compound is also found in a range of foodstuffs (cheese, fish etc.) it has been suggested that some people may be prone to developing excess histamine levels if their digestive โ€ฆ

Recently edited articles :

  • Tail wagging in domestic dogsplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigTail wagging in domestic dogs

    "Tail wagging is a conspicuous behaviour in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). Despite how much meaning humans attribute to this display, its quantitative description and evolutionary history are rarely studied.

    Source :
  • Neural Networksplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigNeural Networks

    functionality_unexplained

    ""Multilayer neural networks are among the most powerful models in machine learning, yet the fundamental reasons for this success defy mathematical understanding."

    Source : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [open access]2018 115 (33)"

    'Artificial Intelligence' (AI) systems predominantly use
  • Boredomplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigBoredom

    From a scientific viewpoint, boredom is very poorly defined. Some research groups asserting that boredom is associated with very low levels of psychological 'arousal' and other asserting the opposite (i.e. boredom can induce intense agitation).
  • Bell's palsyplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigBell's palsy

    Bell's palsy is a temporary facial paralysis (typically lasting 6 weeks to 6 months) that results from damage to the nerves which control facial muscles. It's usually one-sided, and has been estimated to affect around 1.5% of the global population at some point in their lives.
  • Cicada lifecycleplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigCicada lifecycle

    In North America, Cicadas spend most of their lifespan as underground larvae known as nymphs. Depending on the species, they emerge en-masse as winged adults after either 13 years or 17 years. When this behaviour was originally discovered, it was noted that the developmental delay involved two prime numbers, 13 & 17.
  • Infinityplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigInfinity

    unknowable

    If a mathematician wants to explore infinity, there are many options - for example by calculating ฯ€ , or the square root of 2, or dividing any number by 0.

    For philosophers, the concept of infinity is fraught with enigmas :

    * Are infinities created over time different from instant infinities?
  • Health risks of sittingplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigHealth risks of sitting

    It was noted as far back as 1700 that 'Chairworkers' seemed tp have an increased risk for several diseases.

    Since then, prolonged sitting (as a habit or for work purposes) has been associated with increased risks of developing heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and various cancers.
  • Inner speechplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigInner speech

    "When people reflect upon their own inner experience, they often report that it has a verbal quality (Baars, 2003). Also referred to as verbal thinking, inner speaking, covert self-talk, internal monologue, and internal dialogue, inner speech has been proposed to have an important role in the self-regulation of cognition and behavior in both childhood and adulthood,
  • Hall's conjectureplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigHall's conjecture

    In 1970, American mathematician Marshall Hall Jr. conjectured that :

    $${\displaystyle |y^{2}-x^{3}| >C{\sqrt {|x|}}.}$$

    Or, in language form : For any ฮต > 0, there exists a constant c(ฮต) > 0 such that if x and y are positive integers satisfying x3 โˆ’ y2 6 โ‰  0, then |x3 โˆ’ y
  • Jet stream migrationplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigJet stream migration

    Jet streams are persistent narrow bands of fast-moving high-altitude meandering air currents which flow from West-to-East around the globe in both hemispheres.

    The speeds tend to be around 100 > 200 km/h, and the altitude 9โ€“12 km above sea level/
  • Protein structuringplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigProtein structuring

    Genes set the order that amino acids (the chemical building blocks of proteins) appear in the proteins which they code for. But, working from the gene, the form which the protein's 3-D structure will take cannot as yet be predicted. The extremely complex shapes in which the protein 'folds' has a profound effect on the properties it has within an organism.
  • Brodmann area 10plugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigBrodmann area 10

    Brodmann area 10 (a.k.a. BA10, frontopolar prefrontal cortex, rostrolateral prefrontal cortex, or anterior prefrontal cortex) is a frontal lobe area in the human brain which has been found to be generally associated with working memory and multiple-task coordination. The area has also been implicated in 'decision making'.
  • Cancer dormancyplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigCancer dormancy

    "Clinical cancer dormancy is defined as an unusually long time between removal of the primary tumor and subsequent relapse in a patient who has been clinically disease-free. The condition is frequently observed in certain carcinomas (e.g., breast cancer), B-cell lymphoma, and melanoma, with relapse occurring 5โ€“25 y later.
  • The Interstitiumplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Interstitium

    In 2018, a research team from NYU School of Medicine published a paper in the journal Scientific Reports, entitled : Structure and Distribution of an Unrecognized Interstitium in Human Tissues.

    The paper described what is now known as the Interstitium - a contiguous network of interconnected fluid-filled spaces below the skin's surface. It lines the digestive tract, lungs and urinary systems, as well as surrounding arteries, veins, and the
  • Expansion of the universeplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigExpansion of the universe

    unknowable

    Current cosmological theory, backed up by many diverse observations, suggests that the universe is not only expanding, but that the speed of expansion is accelerating over time. Thus the limit of the observable universe is not only receding away from us (and from every other location in the universe) but the speed at which it recedes is increasing.

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