5 Dumb Truths Behind Amazing Scientific Mysteries
If you're a scientist, being able to announce a major new scientific discovery must be better than winning the lottery while having sex with an anthropomorphic, gorgeous Nobel Prize. So it makes sense that some of them might rush an amazing discovery to the papers before they check it properly -- which can lead to some embarrassing and hilarious results.
A Mysterious Newly Discovered Fungus Is ... A Sex Toy
There isn't much that happens in the small Chinese village of Liucunbu, on the outskirts of provincial capital Xi'an -- at least, we assume that's the case, since it doesn't have its own Wikipedia page. So it must have been pretty exciting when they stumbled upon an unusual and unknown kind of fungus when drilling a new well. Their discovery managed to get them on Xi'an TV, spreading their fame across China and, eventually, the internet -- where thousands of people pointed out that the rare new mushroom they found was, in fact, a male sex toy.
NSFW ... maybe?
To be fair, the thing does look like some sort of bizarre double-ended mushroom at first glance. But if you watch the video and see them turning it, you can tell that, yep, that's very clearly a vulva modeled on one end of the thing.
Which we can only say after hundreds of photographic comparisons with the real thing.
We're fairly certain that at least one person in the village of Liucunbu has to have seen a vulva before, so we're not sure how this mystery made it all the way to the news. Though they did say the 80-year-old elder had "never seen anything like this before," so ... we'll let you draw your own conclusions.
It didn't help that the eager young reporter was chiming in with her own research about the mystery mushroom; she claimed it was a historically sought-after fungus that granted eternal youth, which is the same opinion your estranged uncle voiced during his divorce hearings. In its online apology, the television show threw the reporter under the bus and dubbed her "still very young and unwise to the ways of the world," as if to convince the audience that everybody else on staff is excavating rubber mystery vaginas on the daily.
The Study About Ecstasy And Brain Damage Is ... Actually About Tons Of Meth
In 2002, a surprising study from Dr. George Ricaurte was published in Science magazine about the effects of a normal dose of ecstasy (MDMA) on primates; namely, it fucked those monkeys up backwards, causing permanent brain damage and even death. The government used studies like this as part of their campaign against ecstasy, saying that it would put holes in your brain and other scary things. A year later, however, the study was retracted, when it was discovered that instead of a normal dose of ecstasy, the primates had been injected with a metric fuckton of meth.
This wasn't an isolated problem in the lab, either; four other papers from Ricaurte related to drugs had to be retracted as well. The problem was that two vials purchased in 2000 had the wrong labels slapped on them, so the bottle that should have been labeled "MDMA" was instead labeled as "Jesse Pinkman's blood" and vice-versa.
"I am the one who
knocks fucks up."
If you pay much attention to studies about drugs, or anything that the media can turn into a terrifying headline, you've probably noticed that a lot of studies have problems, and this isn't Ricaurte's first questionable study, either. One scientist said that the good doctor was "playing games with his data," while another claimed that he was "running a cottage industry showing that everything under the sun is neurotoxic." Unfortunately, with the media happy to jump on any paper that looks sciency enough and sounds scary enough, we're probably going to have to put up with this for the rest of time, until we all wind up living in giant biodomes woven out of celery stalks and nobody is allowed to masturbate.
And, for the record, ecstasy doesn't actually put holes in your brain, either; that study was retracted too. So the lesson here is that recreational drug use is perfectly safe*.
*Cracked.com has not been evaluated by the FDA, is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure,
or prevent any disease, and might actually cause some. (Are you happy now, Legal?)
A Mystery Plant Found On A Biological Preserve Is ... A Poop Tomato
When the volcanic island of Surtsey, which was slowly being created out of lava for weeks, finally appeared in November of 1963, scientists saw a golden opportunity to study the geology and formation of plants on a newborn landmass, without any human interference. Banning almost everyone from setting foot on the island, they watched as mosses slowly encroached over the island, followed by lichen and other simple plants. So it came as quite a shock to everyone when, in the summer of 1969, a large tomato-like plant suddenly appeared out of nowhere, reportedly in the shape of Bryan Adams.
Canadians the world over flocked to pay homage to the Virgin Bryan.
See, plants do not tend to spontaneously appear on new islands; they're brought over by one means or another, which explains why more plants appeared when birds started nesting on Surtsey in the 1980s. So seeing a plant like that suddenly appear would shake the foundation of plantology to its very core. They sent for an expert, Agust Bjarnason, to study the plant and determine how it formed. And when he arrived on the island, it didn't take him long to discover the source: The plant was growing out of a pile of human poop.
"Visual analysis also confirms this motherfucker needs more fiber."
That's right, you thought The Martian was all about far-off science fiction, but human poop has been an effective fertilizer for centuries, and apparently it managed to grow a tomato on a volcanic island entirely by accident. And as soon as Bjarnason discovered the embarrassing truth, he did what the rest of us would have done: He put the evidence into a plastic bag, sealed it up, and didn't say a word about it for the next 45 years.
Enigmatic Rock Carvings Are ... Just Graffiti
If the obsession with Stonehenge is any indication, historians lose their minds when they discover any new historical culture stuff. This is why they collectively flipped out when, back in 2003, they discovered a large rock in Great Yarmouth, England, that had been engraved with entwined snakes, runic symbols, a dragon, and other things that clearly point to a serious love for heavy metal among ancient cultures.
"And lo, the great Sun Spirit did come forth on the morn and declare, 'Lemmy is God.'"
The stone had been uncovered after stormy weather and high tides washed away the sand that was covering it. The discovery was celebrated by the local newspaper, the Great Yarmouth Mercury, as archaeologists set out to determine who could have made these carvings. Shortly after, an out-of-work construction worker named Barry Luxton contacted the Norfolk city council, as he knew who had made the carvings.
It was, uh ... him, actually. He did it.
Some months prior, he had carved the stone himself with a hammer and chisel over the course of three days. He wanted to have it moved for a druid festival, but like that garbage we keep saying we'll take out, he forgot about it for several months until it was eventually buried in the sand. The rock isn't completely worthless, though -- according to some members of the community, it would look rather nice in the middle of their town flower garden.
Which, as we've established by now, is probably just a garden of used dildos with rose petals glued on.
An Ancient Jerusalem Artifact ... Is Actually A New Age Healing Device
If you want to make mind-blowing discoveries about history and don't mind spending 99 percent of your time painstakingly brushing dirt off of things, then archaeology is the field for you. Some amazing discoveries are out there just waiting to be stumbled upon, sometimes literally -- such as in 2015, when a maintenance worker at an ancient Jerusalem cemetery discovered this ... whatever this is.
We're going with Autobot sex toy.
Experts were utterly baffled by this double-ended bowling pin, and spent six months (and plenty of taxpayer dollars, presumably) trying to determine the origin of the object. Without any leads left to go on, they eventually said fuck it and posted pictures of the object on Facebook, hoping that the public could give them some answers, or at least Photoshop it into some pictures with dogs in lab coats.
In a heartwarming and movie-esque twist, one of the users did in fact recognize the object and know of its origin. Less heartwarming, though, is where he had seen the object -- in an online New Age store.
Presented in German, because if we knew what New Age weirdos would pay $1,300 for,
it would just make us angry.
Yes, it seems that some hilarious or confused individual had taken the center component out of his or her Bullshit Hourglass and placed it in an archaeological site to confuse the living hell out of scientists. According to the website, the above device can apparently "harmonize against the strongest electromagnetic and geopathic radiation," whatever that means; maybe someone was trying to start an undead barbershop quartet.
Israel's Antiquities Authority put out a message about it, asking the mystery people "to whom of the dead they wished to give positive energy." We can't say for sure, but we assume that they were trying to revive the necrotic career of famous member of the tribe Adam Sandler.
Deep inside us all -- behind our political leanings, our moral codes, and our private biases -- there is a cause so colossally stupid that we surprise ourselves with how much we care. Whether it's toilet paper position, fedoras on men, or Oxford commas, we each harbor a preference so powerful we can't help but proselytize to the world. In this episode of the Cracked podcast, guest host Soren Bowie is joined by Cody Johnston, Michael Swaim, and comedian Annie Lederman to discuss the most trivial things we will argue about until the day we die. Get your tickets here!
For more times we all pretended like science wasn't a thing, check out 5 Basic Things You Won't Believe Science Can't Explain and The 6 Most Baffling Science Experiments Ever Funded.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out The 10 Most Insane Things You Didn't Know About The Universe, and other videos you won't see on the site!
Also, follow us on Facebook, and let's be friends with science again.