Today's Mystery may surprise some of you, especially if you are well versed in what you humans call "scientific priciples". I know many of you humans are big on science, and you love to study things and come up with "rules" and "theories" and "laws" to describe all the physical phenomena around you in the natural world, and often you folks figure things out exactly right, or pretty darned close. So I don't want to discourage all that sciencey stuff you do with this post, but I have to Reveal to you that you got one of your scientific laws wrong.
This is a big one, too.
There's this scientific principle called "Conservation of Mass" that some guy named Antoine Lavoisier* came up with in 1789, and science-types make a pretty big deal out of it. Without going into the nitty-gritty details, this rule says that regardless of what you do to physical matter (the technical term for this is "stuff"), you can't make more of it or destroy any of it. The best you can hope to do is move it around, but you always have exactly the same amount of it when you're done.
A well-known illustration of this principle was demonstrated by the great Russian scientist Dr. Alexei Jiffypopov in 1974:
Before thermal processing.... After thermal processing
As can been seen in these images, the delicious, butter flavored treat weighed the same before and after thermal processing, despite the obvious difference in volume. The total mass remained the same!
So why is this important? Well, the Conservation of Mass rule is considered the cornerstone of modern Chemistry, so without it you wouldn't have many modern conveniences that you take for granted, like shampoo, non-stick cookware, or breast implants.
So it may come as a complete shock to chemists and other scientists all over the world that I have discovered, under specific circumstances, that this Immutable Principle of the Universe can be violated!!!
Bill Nye the Science Guy is incredulous of my findings.
So what are these seemingly "magical" circumstances where this Pillar of Modern Science ceases to apply? You have probably experienced them yourself, at:
Yes, I, the Great and Powerful Baba Doodlius, have now proven experimentally what many of you have suspected for years: When you sit down to eat a Holiday meal, you can actually gain more weight than the weight of the food you eat!!!
How can that be, you ask? Well, I leave that as an exercize for the reader. I specialize in the "What" and let some sciencey folks figure out the "How". (If I gave you all the answers you'd all just get lazy and expect me to spoon feed you all the time. Yes, I'm looking at you. You know who you are.)
So I may not want to put in the work to figure out HOW Holiday Dinners manage to violate the law of Conservation of Mass, but I have conclusively demonstrated, through diligent experimentation**, that this effect is real. Fortunately it only appears to happen during actual Holiday Dinners and not just any old time of the year. Further investigation of this time-dependent function is certainly warranted; I'll try to get a grant later. But for now I will just publish my data, which quantifies the magnitude of the additional mass gain during a typical American Holiday Meal (people outside the U S of A can feel free to replicate my findings with your local dishes the next time you have a Holiday Dinner):
1) Turkey, roasted and sliced
Amount Eaten: 6 ounces.............................. Amount Gained: 9 ounces
Amount Eaten: 4 ounces.............................. Amount Gained: 10 ounces
3) Ham, baked and sliced
Amount Eaten: 6 ounces.............................. Amount Gained: 10 ounces
4) Cranberry Sauce
Amount Eaten: 4 ounces.............................. Amount Gained: 12 ounces
Amount Eaten: 6 ounces.............................. Amount Gained: 1.2 pounds
7) Mashed Potatoes, with butter and gravy
Amount Eaten: 6 ounces.............................. Amount Gained: 1.7 pounds
8) Pumpkin Pie, 1 slice, with whipped cream
Amount Eaten: 7 ounces.............................. Amount Gained: 7.2 pounds
As you can see, if you just stick to eating turkey or ham, and maybe a light veggie, you don't come out too bad in the end. But if you go all out with the traditional Holiday Dinner, well, you'll probably end up looking like my test subject:
So whenever you sit down to eat a Holiday Meal, remember the Baba Doodlius Principle of the Violation of Conservation of Mass - and go easy on the dessert. Do what I do - eat it the next day!
* I believe this may be an honorary title meaning "Smart Guy": Earlier scientists like Galileo were said to be "Lavoisy", our conservation-of-mass guy Antoine was "Lavoisier", and later geniuses like Einstein are the "Lavoisiest".
** No animals were harmed during this testing phase. One human may have been harmed a little, but he sure did enjoy it.