Random Scientific Musings

In any given day I have quite a few questions go through my head... much like a big toddler.  I always catch myself looking at something outside and suddenly going "now wait a minute WHY is it like that?!".  Or I'll be at school and have to jot down all my big questions during lessons so I can look them up later.  Lately my questions have been profound enough that google doesn't have the answers for me.  Here's a few that have been trapped in my brain, looking for hints to their big answers while I live my life.  Trying to figure out how much further and deeper I can take a question and apply it to something practical.

- Why do sycamore trees shed their bark in winter?  What is the evolutionary reason?  Does it provide a benefit?  Is it just a random mutation?  There are 3 main hypotheses as to why, but none have been tested.

- Both plants and animals evolved the ability to live independently of water at the same time... plants started making seeds, amphibians left the water and became reptiles who laid eggs.  Was there some chemical component to this that maybe caused a mutation in the DNA of all living things at the time?  What would it have been... sulfur from volcanoes?  iridium from meteors?  Or was it really just unequal reproductive success and gradual evolution from natural selection.

- What causes a smell?  What chemicals are there that we register as that smell?  What are we actually tasting when we are registering that smell/taste combination?  Why does a smell "stick" to us?  Why does what an animal eats effect what its meat tastes like?  Is it the proteins we are "tasting"?  Do smells decay like carbon or are they just replaced by other smells?  It's all so very Matrix-y.

- What signals a tree to grow more branches?  Do they grow from the innermost layer?  Why do they grow in the locations they do?  Once the branch begins growing do they provide more energy to it to help it grow faster than everything else?  Why is it every type of tree grows "one ring" every year, but every tree's rings are so hugely different in size... how do they display such different growth rates, but still have those yearly lines in them to tell us their age... are we SURE about this?  Maybe a tree year isn't the same as a human year.  Maybe an oak year isn't equal to a poplar year.  Has this annual ring thing really been measured and observed to be true?

Are humans really becoming more allergic to foods or is it that we're developing an aversion to the genetically modified foods we're being sold?  Or are we so obsessed with cleaning everything that we're no longer ingesting important digestive bacteria that used to help us break down these foods?  It's mostly in children, or adults will randomly develop them later on in life.  What suddenly happened?  Is it really a change in human body chemistry or is it something completely separate from us?  Lack of necessary bacteria and GMO foods are my front-runners.  Bacteria would be easiest to study/test.  Find people without allergies and compare the bacteria in their guts to the bacteria of someone with an allergy.    

OK so that's enough for now... that's what I'm doing when I'm not analyzing myself... analyzing everything else hahaha.
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