Have you ever wanted to figure something out so desperately for the good of others, but realize that in order to find the answer you would have to skirt moral, human ethics to incredible degrees?
Welcome to the world of being a scientist. You are always hungry for more information, but have to realize there is a line that you cannot cross when experimenting, especially with human test subjects.
But that doesn't stop 'em from dreaming.
Here were some of those answers.
Psychopath Through The AgesGiphy
I want to take DNA from infamous serial killers like Dahmer or Albert Fish or the like, clone them, then have the baby raised in a normal, supportive, loving family.
I'd study the kids all through adulthood to see how much is nurture and how much is nature.
There's a guy who did a TED Talk, found out by accident that he has the brain of a serial killer (brain scan). Talked about the character qualities he has that fit the bill, family history and all that.
Your Own Personal Ecosystem
I want to do a long term case study on children's Microbiome. It would start with samples of their mothers microbiome, and then when the child is first born get a sample of theirs, compare it, and continue comparing the two samples throughout breast feeding vs. bottle feeding. Also get a detailed comparison of how the microbiome changes after vaccinations, sickness, antibiotics.
I would basically study every single poop this child has, their eating habits, their health conditions, any medications, vaccinations, etc. for years.
But people want privacy, and most wouldn't want to commit to keeping such accurate accounts of their children's food/health/activities, so it's likely that even if I did this study it would be difficult to prove all variables were accounted for. And with all the variability I would need many, many children.
The end goal is to see how our microbiome changes throughout your childhood, and note when you may be more susceptible to things depending on the type of microflora you have. Everyone has a different ratio, so essentially if we can harness the individuals capability of unique flora we could find a whole new way to tackle illnesses and preventatives for sicknesses that would have significantly less side effects than many other medications.
This idea stems from others studying the microbiome, and finding that certain ratios of microflora can cause you to get over illnesses quicker when combined with the right medicine, and also help digestive tracks regulate better. But so far these tests are being done with cancer patients. I think if we're able to see how children are effected it may bring less possibilities of cancer and other illnesses down the road, as well as a faster recovery time.
I'm a physician and I would love to see how far the Placebo Effect really goes.
For those who are not familiar, the Placebo Effect is an unexplained phenomena where people who take medications that aren't real, but they believe are real, have an actual, measurable effect on their illness. People with depression who take sugar pills report feeling happier. People with pain who take sugar pills report a decrease to their pain etc.
I've seen even crazier ones where people think they are having surgery for their bad knee...but the docs just put them under, make an incision on their knee, do nothing, sew them back up and patients report improvement to their bad knee.
So part of me just wants to explore this to its full extent. Can we treat chronic illnesses like arthritis, lupus and bipolar disorder with just placebos? What about viral illness? Can you imagine if someone's HIV viral load decreased while they're eating Skittles thinking its a new miracle drug?
Call Of The Wild
Experiments with social isolation intrigue me. Raise a child with no language and see what happens. No contact. Wild children give us some insights, but also a sample of the kind of trauma this can produce. Completely and undeniably unethical. Incredibly cruel. But sooooo intriguing!!
I want to work on genetically modifying the genes that control our active cones in our eyes. Specifically I want to try to activate a tertiary cone in the eyes of dogs so that they can see infared light just like snakes can.
In simpler terms, we could make rescue dogs that have infared vision to help locate missing people or recover people in natural disasters.
In even simpler terms I want to make heatseeking dogs.
In The Way
I wouldn't say "mad scientist", but medical privacy laws get in the way of a LOT of incredibly useful research. Everything has to be so de-identified and confidential that it makes doing any sort of large-scale statistics nearly impossible. You have to make a ton of assumptions because you can't know many details.
If I had full access to everyone's medical records, we could probably fix a whole lot.
When Mad Lightning Strikes
The typical discovery and clinical testing pipeline of a pharmaceutical looks something like this:
cell culture > rodent models > other animals (primates, rabbits, etc.) > humans
If at any step the drug fails the test (either for toxicity or efficiacy), the potential drug is nixed. And this process of discovery and clinical testing can take up to 10 years at the cost of billions of dollars.
What happens if your model systems can't fully recapitulate the human disease phenotype? So what happens if you've got a drug that might work really well in the human, but we never know, because it gets trashed because there's no response in the mouse model?
Now I completely understand the ethical concerns with testing on human subjects from the get go, but if you asked me to don my mad scientist lab coat and goggles, I'd try to push for earlier testing on human subjects.
Violating The Oath
I'd never do the experiment, but it's hard to overstate how helpful it would be to have large-scale, longitudinal data on how different chemotherapeutic drugs/drug cocktails affect the evolutionary trajectory of tumors.
The problem is that in order to study it, you'd need to:
- Give a large number of people experimental or substandard care, which is highly unethical.
- Perform serial surgeries even when they aren't medically necessary in order to collect tissue samples from the tumors, and since every surgery carries with it some risk this is also highly unethical.
Use the milk from orb spiders (they mix the DNA of orb spiders with goals at UWyoming) to build a better dental filling. They'd hypothetically last exponentially longer, would bond to tooth as an organic substance, and are stronger that Teflon. It would also be minimally invasive as to set the groundwork for more invasive medical applications such as knee replacements. If you fund me I know the orb goat and dental guys.
Many people live by the mantra that ignorance is bliss.
It's true, how being left in the dark about influential pieces of information is preferable.
For example, being cognizant about a co-worker's questionable private life can adversely affect how others interact with this individual if they object to their tendencies outside of the workplace.
Not knowing certain things can be freeing, a notion that was explored when Redditor Distantmole asked:
"What’s something you really wish you didn’t know?"
These Redditor examples are based on an occupational hazard.
"How to fix a printer. Sometimes, I just play dumb when I'm asked..."
"I was the ONLY one who knew how to unjam the printer at my old job. And it was a lemon - it jammed at least once a day. I quit the job because I was overworked and unappreciated. My replacement left in less than a year. I hope they're suffering without their little resident unjammer. Thanks for letting me vent."
Parents are people too, and you wouldn't be here were it not for them.
So there's that.
The Origin Of You
"I know exactly where, when, and how I was made in grand detail. I have no idea why my parents felt the need to tell me this, but I now know and I wish i didn't."
"I was conceived in a waterbed in my parents’ old condo. My dad told me when I was 15…"
Pulling Back The Curtain
"My father photographed all the births, me and my siblings."
"Each of us had a photo album growing up."
"They started with the photos of our births."
"My father took photos of us coming out.... of the vagina."
"This is the first page of my childhood photo album."
Too Close For Comfort
"My parents told me they conceived my younger sibling in a tent with me and my older sibling while we were sleeping in the same tent. I did not need to know that."
You think you know everything about the members of your family.
However, some things about them are better left a mystery.
"Was on a vacation with my grandma in a shared room and she disappeared into the bathroom for 5 minutes, came out, I didn't think any of it and didn't care, and she came up to me and said."
"I have bad constipation right now so I shoved a bit of soap in my butt to help softening it up! Maybe I'll fart bubbles soon, he he!"
"That happened 6 years ago but it's burned into my brain."
The Family's An Open Book
"Didn't need to know the reason I'm mums least favourite child and I certainly didn't need her to tell me what colour my step dad's pubes are. Didn't need my Grandparents to tell me that they had sex the night before on the couch I was sitting on or my grans favourite position."
"Also didn't need to know my uncle only has one testicle or that my dad was in the room when my cousin was conceived. My family is far to open lol."
"If you find an unlabeled videotape laying around burn the f'king thing just in case."
The myth of mammals.
Scary Fish Tongue
"There is a parasitic isopod that gets inside a fish’s mouth, severs the tongue, and lives in the fish’s mouth acting as a replacement tongue."
I wish I didn't know about as Demodex or eyelash mites.
Oh, you didn't about them?
Prepare to have your mind blown.
There is a community of mites living in the pores of our faces.
Ever wondered why your face randomly itches when there's nothing visibly making contact with your face? That's because these little stubby boring worms–that are a distant relative of ticks and spiders–are having a party inside your fleshy dwelling, and they are grateful for its host to extend the welcome mat.
Americans often drop popular sayings in conversation that have some element of truth to them.
You've undoubtedly come across phrases like, "Kill two birds with one stone" or "it's raining cats and dogs."
While those are used to describe actions, like the state of the weather, there are other phrases that are dispensed as words of wisdom to help individuals through a challenging situation.
But the endeavor to console someone by using this tactic is not always effective.
Curious to hear examples of this, Redditor Braca5 asked:
"What popular sayings are bullsh*t?"
These sound familiar?
The Survivor Mentality
"whatever doesn't kill you just makes you stronger."
"Looks aren't important."
"It's true. They don't always or entirely matter, but they do. That's kind of how superficial humans are."
Not Every Pain Heals
"Time heals all wounds."
"There's another one that goes like this 'time heals nothing, it just replaces memories.'"
The stigma around this is so foul, the guilty will lie about their offensive crime.
"He who smelt it dealt it"
"Whoever said the rhyme did the crime."
Psychology Around The Guilt
"The irony is it's almost always the opposite that's true. Most people would rather just be quiet about a fart than try to put it on somebody else and as it is you usually become pretty accustomed to your own and probably don't even smell half of the ones that slip out so likely the person who dealt it is going to be one of the last to actually consciously smell it."
Playing by the rules doesn't always get you places.
"Cheaters never win."
"A better saying:"
'Treason doth never prosper, what's the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it Treason.' John Harington (1561 - 1612)
Comeuppance Never Comes
"What goes around, comes around."
"Bullsh*t. I've seen people be jerks my entire life (I'm 57 y/o) and they never got what should have come around to them."
Thing About Karma
"Worse, it's an excuse to not take responsibility. A few years back, I had discovered a nasty person who was fooling the public by buying dogs from Amish auctions of out of state, bringing them, unvaccinated, across state lines, and pawning them off on the public as 'rescues' but also taking loads of donations when she was not registered as a charity. She was not using the funds for medical care. The gal was a flashy blonde in designer clothes and knew how to fool people."
"The county authorities were investigating and needed more evidence. I approached the owner of a local pet supply store where she operated her scam and asked him to cooperate. He banned her from the store but completely refused to cooperate with the investigation. Excuse, 'Karma will get her.'"
"B*tch got off with just a fine when she would have faced animal cruelty charges."
"Karma? No, it's not a thing."
Those who adopt a passive way of thinking end up making up for lost time.
Turning A Blind Eye
"Out of sight, out of mind."
"Ever lost track of a spider?"
How Much Time Do You Have?
"Good things come to those who wait."
Lond Distance Relationships Aren't For Everyone
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”
I think those who say "if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life," is debatable.
Depending on the situation, being forced to do something you once loved so you could earn a living can potentially breed resentment.
I'm a former dancer who absolutely lived off the adrenaline of performing on a stage. But when the cast I was performing with at a theme park was forced to do the same rigorous show five times a day–sometimes in intense heat–I was miserable.
Once, I severely twisted my ankle mid-performance simply because I was physically exhausted but continued giving it my 100% when my body was ready to give out. That's when most performance-based injuries occur.
That phrase certainly got a second hard look from me back then.
No two people share exactly the same likes and interests.
But on occasion, one might find themselves being among the few, if not the sole members of a certain fan club.
Indeed, while Cats earned a place on the list of the worst movies of all time, its 19% score on Rotten Tomatoes suggests that there are a handful of people who actually liked it.
Or while many people dread having to clean their homes, some simply can't wait to get started, and will look for any and every opportunity to do so.
Redditor StardustNova_ was curious to hear where members of the Reddit community found themselves in a distinct minority of appreciation, leading them to ask:
"What's something you like that the vast majority people hate?"
You've got me all tied up in knots!
"I love untangling things."
"Your Christmas lights end up in a ball and there’s no telling where it starts or ends?"
"Got a necklace that got rolled up into a total mess?"
"I’m your de-tangler."
"Headphones come out of your pocket looking like a Tangela? "
"Total zen for me."
"Wish I could make a few bucks with it tho."- Not_Jo_Mama
I'm all ears!
"People that talk a lot so I don’t need to."
"I like listening to them & I find their energy refreshing."- krasavetsa
"Everything about the airport."
"Idk why but it’s so fascinating."
"Honestly I like it more than the trip sometimes lol."- abigailgwhitneyairport GIFGiphy
"The cold never bothered me anyway"
"A Winnipeg winter day where there's not a cloud in the sky or a breath of wind, but it's so f*cking cold out your nose hairs freeze together every time you breathe."- FakeLordFarquaad
When life gives you lemons...
"Apparently a lot of people don't like the lemon/yellow starburst candy, and that's the one I prefer."- mermaid_with_pants
Sudsy, soapy dreams...
"Doing the dishes."
"I find it so calming."- shakensunshineSeason 5 Episode 10 GIF by SpongeBob SquarePantsGiphy
The gift that keeps on giving.
"It's super therapeutic and relaxing to me."
"I'll wrap everyone's presents in the house, even the ones they have to give to other people!"- happygoose2022
Sweeet and sparkly!
"Fruit flavored sparkling water."- suitcaseinherhand
"It's raining, it's pouring..."
"Gloomy and rainy days."- eggtart_princerainy day GIFGiphy
Can't dive too deep!
"I got addicted to research when I was in college and something about putting everything together to present a coherent argument is just exciting for me."- ILoveFoodALotMore
It's always interesting to hear the thing which would make some people groan with misery that would make others cheer with glee.
Nor should always look down on someone for loving something you absolutely hate, as they could help you wrap those presents you've been putting off because you hate it so much.
And who knows, maybe Cats wasn't as bad as you remembered...
It's usually a good feeling to be "on top".
To be found at the top of the list of a notable or unique accomplishment.
Though having the distinction of being in the top 0.1 percent of something might not always be something to brag about, resulting in some keeping this distinction to themselves.
If only because some people might be unusually fascinated by their so-called "accomplishment", that they'll never stop being bombarded by questions.
Redditor ImLostInTheForrest was curious to hear if any members of the Reddit community believed they were in the 0.1 percent of anything, be it commendable, bizarre or unfortunate, leading them to ask:
"What’s something you believe you may be in the 0.1% of?"
A mighty heart indeed
"Scars on my heart."
"I have about 30, I think."
"On my 4th heart procedure, I had 24 cardiac ablations."
"They use radio waves to kill tissue to create scarring so that effectively signals can't travel through that way."
"During one procedure, epicardial, meaning both inside and outside the heart. by the top electrophysiologist on the east coast."
"He said only one other patient of his had more done in one procedure."
"Took 10 hours."
"I could hear the nurses gossiping about me in the hallway."
"This was 7 years ago, and now my heart is working great!"- pearlie_girl·
Extremely comfortable in my skin
"Half of my body is a birthmark of tan skin, and the other half is pale white."
"It's right down the middle of my stomach and same with my back."
"I've only ever seen 1 person online with it saying 'chimerism' but idk if that's same with me."
"Idk but it's uncommon." - User Deleted
"Still living with stage IV lung cancer for 13 yrs."- Flashy-Cattle-8086
Big shoes to fill indeed...
"I wear a size 18."- wearegoodthings
Love your job!
"Don't know if it's less cool because I do it for work, but I 'photograph' atoms and crystalline atomic structures most days."
"I get to see the world in a way few ever do which is kinda neat."- RayseBraizeAnimation Loop GIF by xponentialdesignGiphy
An exclusive club no one wants to be part of...
"I have this condition called Miyoshi Myopathy, which, thankfully, affects only my calves and hence my walking capabilities."
"My doctor told me it is rare, but tbh statistically rare does not really mean anything, everyone might have it but they either did not get out of their way to test it, via taking blood and had it examined in a lab, or they just never realized there was something wrong at all."
"If you are wondering why I said 'Thankfully it only affected the legs', it is because it is a muscle disorder, and some disorders affect Cardiac, heart, and Pulmonary, lungs, muscles that will obviously not be pretty."
"I have to get tested every year to make sure all my vital functions are normal and as of now nothing significant is noted and I should be living a long and healthy life."- 1123Icantthinkofname
It's harder than you think...
"Folks who know percentages."- mrg1957Giphy
"Apparently only 0.1% of people become mechanical engineers in the US and an even smaller percentage are women, so maybe that?"
"I was also less than 2 lbs when I was born, and I think the percentage is probably similar."
"I somehow have no lasting physical issues from that, though my sister has cerebral palsy."- s_p_o_c_k
Plenty to go around!
"I have 3 functional kidneys."
"No it doesn't mean I pee more."
"No it doesn't mean I can drink more alcohol, thats the liver."
"No I won't sell it for under $71,241." - User Deleted
While some wouldn't necessarily consider some of these things an accomplishment, all of them certainly make for fascinating conversation starters.
Seriously, where would the third kidney even go...?