By Michael Hanlon
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Additional info for 10 Questions Science Can't Answer (Yet): A Guide to the Scientific Wilderness
If you drive to work along the same route every day, the chances are that during most journeys, most of the time, you will be no more conscious of your actions than you are of your heart beating or of your kidneys processing urine. Try to remember your trip the next time you end up in the office car park. And yet, despite the fact that driving a car is a hugely complex and difficult mentally driven process that takes some time to master (and we can all remember what that was like), most of the time you do not crash in a heap of tangled metal despite having been a zombie for most of the journey.
But this state of affairs may not be able to continue forever. The more we learn about the most intellectually 40 10 questions science can’t answer yet advanced of the animals, the more squeamish we will inevitably become. Every second humans kill some 16,000 animals for food – that is 50 billion lives taken per year. While this slaughter may be carried out in fairly humane conditions in wealthy countries with strict laws governing farm animal welfare, we can assume that the vast majority of these lives are ended in a relatively disgusting and brutal way.
It is quite possible to trick the brain’s temporal editing suite into mixing up time altogether. In an experiment published in 2006, Professor Eagleman set up an experiment in which volunteers were told to press a button1. When the button was pressed the light would come on almost instantaneously as a result. At other times, they were asked to press the button after the light came on. In all cases the subjects were able to distinguish perfectly the order of events. Then, the experiment changed.