Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication
Q: Do our blood groups play a role in disease susceptibility?
Krishna: Undoubtedly. Blood group antigens (a toxin or other foreign substance which induces an immune response in the body, especially the production of antibodies) represent polymorphic traits (or quantitative, traits is attributed to two or more genes and can be measured quantitatively) inherited among individuals and populations. At present, there are 34 recognized human blood groups and hundreds of individual blood group antigens and alleles ( each of two or more alternative forms of a gene that arise by mutation and are found at the same place on a chromosome). Differences in blood group antigen expression can increase or decrease host susceptibility to many infections. Blood groups can play a direct role in infection by serving as receptors and/or coreceptors for microorganisms, parasites, and viruses. In addition, many blood group antigens facilitate intracellular uptake, signal transduction (a set of chemical reactions in a cell that occurs when a molecule, such as a hormone, attaches to a receptor on the cell membrane. The pathway is actually a cascade of biochemical reactions inside the cell that eventually reach the target molecule or reaction), or adhesion through the organization of membrane microdomains. Several blood groups can modify the innate immune response to infection. Several distinct phenotypes associated with increased host resistance to malaria are overrepresented in populations living in areas where malaria is endemic, as a result of evolutionary pressures. Microorganisms can also stimulate antibodies against blood group antigens, including ABO, T, and Kell. Finally, there is a symbiotic relationship between blood group expression and maturation of the gastrointestinal microbiome.
Therefore some people with specific blood groups will have more susceptibility towards certain diseases. For example, blood type affects severity of diarrhea caused by E. coli (1) and people with type O blood more likely to die of cholera (2).
Q: What happens the second time pathogens enter the body?
So not only your immune system is designed to seek out and destroy disease-causing bugs, it also remembers bugs it's encountered earlier so they are swiftly dealt with when they return. After a first infection is cleared, a small number of B and T cells persist in the blood with memory of the pathogen like virus, allowing them to activate and destroy viruses more quickly next time they enter the body.
This is known as immunity. It doesn't really matter if the infection you're fighting is bacterial, viral or a parasite — the general process is the same.
This is also how vaccination works. When you have a vaccination it's like inserting a false memory into your immune system. You're able to develop immunity without the discomfort of having an illness.
Q: My brother is in love with a woman who is four years older than him. My parents are opposing their marriage because of this. What does science say in this regard? Can my brother marry his girl friend?
Krishna: In today's world, it doesn't matter. Your brother can go ahead and marry his girl friend without any hesitation.
I have read some research papers on this which contradict one another and therefore, didn't convince me as genuine science. As long as the woman is in her reproducible age, it doesn't matter if a man marries a woman older than him. If they don't want children, it doesn't matter even if the woman reaches menopause, like the French President's wife.
I have seen several men marrying women older than them. Like Sachin Tendulkar, Prince Harry. They
are happy. I have also seen male dogs mating with older bitches. All that they bother about 's hormones that denote health and reproducibility. Then why should we bother more about this?
The Hindu Vedas / Shastras do not mandate the age of the man to be more than the woman. Your parents are culturally conditioned, when they oppose your brother's marriage with a girl older than him. It is difficult for them to come out of that condition, unless they think critically.
And there are people who deal with pseudo-science and give strange explanations on why a man should marry a woman who is younger than him.
Genuine Science says if a woman is biologically fit to have children, nothing else should bother a man. Period!
Q: How do geniuses see the world compared to normal people?
Different people give different definitions for the word genius and therefore, their views also reflect their perceptions.
They are people who can look at things from various angles gathered from immense knowledge, creatively connect diverse things, persist under the most trying circumstances, read in between lines, think critically and see through things and their world is definitely different from that of others because of this.
Q: You said animals too use plants as medicines. How is this possible?
Krishna: If they are a bit intelligent, some animals can use plant parts as medical substances by trial and error methods.
We used to have cats ( as pets) in my home some years back. They ate grass whenever they didn't feel well and vomited their food. "The grass is their medicine"!
Many other animals, from insects to birds to nonhuman primates, have been known to self-medicate with plants and minerals for infections and other conditions.
Morrogh-Bernard and her colleagues watched 10 orangutans at Borneo Nature Foundation occasionally chew a particular plant (which is not part of their diet) into a foamy lather and then rub it into their fur. The apes spent up to 45 minutes at a time massaging the concoction onto their upper arms or legs. The researchers think this behavior is the first known example of a nonhuman animal using a topical analgesic. Local people use the same plant—Dracaena cantleyi, an unremarkable-looking shrub with stalked leaves—to treat aches and pains.
The plant extract reduced the production of several types of cytokines, the scientists reported in a study published last November in Scientific Reports.
The results suggest that orangutans use the plant to reduce inflammation and treat pain.
In creatures such as insects, the ability to self-medicate is almost certainly innate; woolly bear caterpillars infected with parasitic flies seek out and eat plant substances that are toxic to the flies. But more complex animals may learn such tricks after an initial discovery by one member of their group. For example, an orangutan may have rubbed the plant on its skin to try to treat parasites and realized that it also had a pleasant pain-killing effect! That behavior may then have been passed on to other orangutans.
Q: What is singularity in black hole?
Krishna: In the centre of a black hole is a gravitational singularity, a one-dimensional point which contains a huge mass in an infinitely small space, where density and gravity become infinite and space-time curves infinitely, and where the laws of physics as we know them cease to operate. It is "the point where all laws of physics break down".
Q: Why are people born with bad luck (like with disability or born into a bad family) when they haven't done anything yet that could be classified as a bad deed for which they get punished?
As people of science, we don’t call such things bad luck. We have a different view on this.
Disability: I will try to tell you why this happens to anybody.
When the egg gets fertilized in the womb of a woman several factors like Genetic, Biochemical, Environmental - control the development of the fetus. During this process when hundreds of actions and reactions that are taking place under the influence of so many things, anything can go wrong, anywhere and at anytime. It really is a miracle how most of the babies come out of the womb so healthily without any problems. Some babies by sheer chance get caught in them. Something goes wrong for them during the development. Don’t blame anything else for it. Nobody is getting punished here for anything they did.
But still in this age of science, you need not worry. A disabled person can live as well as any abled person with the help of science and technology.
This universe is a system of random events. The baby who is suffering, or the one who is feeling pleasure are just masses of chemicals and some energy and the resultant consciousness - because they are living - present at the random chance events and is not chosen for a reason.
The universe doesn't care who is suffering and who is not. Pure random chance is what governs the universe and within that vast system, you and I can more-or-less freely choose to do this or to do that, but the universe does not share our goals or our values - nor does it care about our suffering or our bliss. It doesn't even care which mass of atoms or energy is suffering or which one is not!
So, in such a system there might be ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ according to human minds but as far as the universe is concerned, there are only participants - no winners and no losers - just parts of the universe doing what they have always done - living, dying or just existing as inanimate things.
If you have diseases that make you suffer, you can avoid them by using vaccines or treat them using medicines, by making use of scientific knowledge. If you refuse to use it, and call it your fate to suffer, it is your foolishness.
It is our minds that make up things. Even infant minds who have no control over events ( because they have brains, neurons and feelings or emotions ) or the adults who can control whether they want to suffer or not, the latter by understanding and dealing with things appropriately.
If a system is making you uncomfortable you have the choice of rejecting it! The universe gave you that option. The adult brain or mind has a choice - you can suffer if you cannot control your thoughts that lead to suffering or you can remain detached and feel the bliss. You can come out of it with your courage and smartness. The choice is yours!
But some people don't use that selection process because they are cowards. I have seen people spending lots of money on marriages by taking credits and getting into more misery because they 're afraid of their societies' judgements. If anybody can break the society's unwritten rules, they can avoid this misery. If he or she can overcome his or her fear of judgement, then s/he has taken the act of writing his/her destiny into his/her own hands and can lead into a world of the person's choice. Refuse to suffer. The universe gave you that choice.
Don't blame your 'karma' for the inadequacies of your mind.
Q: Can we cool or heat building naturally without consuming much energy?
Krishan: Biomimicry is what makes it possible. We study things that naturally occur and follow the procedure adopted by nature to minimise energy consumption.
One such naturally occuring self-sufficient system is termite mound. Mound termites, native to Africa, South Asia, and Australia, are pros at building self-regulating structures that maintain oxygen levels, temperature, and humidity. And now human architects and engineers want to adapt that ingenuity for their own designs. From the outside, a termite structure just looks like a pile of dirt. But if you slice one in half—difficult considering some can be more than 30 feet tall—things get a bit more complicated. The above-ground mound has an outer wall riddled with holes, which lead to a labyrinth of tunnels that themselves lead to a series of chimneys. And below the mound is a large, oval nest, where the queen resides. Buried underground, that queen needs to breathe somehow. And termites makes it possible.
How does the mound dissipate air through its network of holes? As the sun moves through the sky during the day, the air in the thinner chimneys on the outer edges of the mound heat up quickly, while the air in the mound's big, central chimney stays relatively cool. Hot air rises up through the outer chimneys and cool air in the central chimney sinks, circulating air continuously—injecting oxygen and flushing out carbon dioxide. At night, the flow reverses as the outer chimney air cools down quicker than the inner chimney air.
Mimicking termites' strategies, architects and engineers can drastically improve energy efficiency in buildings. The picture below shows one of the termite inspired buildings built in Zimbabwe that cools itself and highly energy efficient ...
Q:: How can science explain black magic?
Q: Is black magic real in India and do you have any real life experience of it?
Krishna : There isn’t anything called real black magic, according to science. People are spreading superstitions here.
We are actually a bunch of ignorant people despite studying in schools, colleges and universities.
Pseudoscience by definition is a belief, claim, or practice that is demonstrated as scientific but does not fall under the heading science. Lacking support and evidence makes pseudoscience not considered to be science as it is not valid under the scientific method. Beliefs, certain cultural, and traditional practices can be considered pseudoscience. Pseudoscience is often vague, exaggerated and lacks the ability of evaluation. Good science on the other hand, is one that follows the scientific method checklist. Good science could be measured, tested, evidence based and therefore it is valid and reliable.
While good science works with facts, pseudoscience works with opinion. Good science is always peer reviewed prior publication, while pseudoscience is almost never checked and is simultaneously published for the public. Pseudoscience is false science that with acquired skills makes the public fall for it and start believing in it as it targets one’s emotions and needs.
Black magic works only on mentally weak people, not because it actually works but because it effects their psychology. When you think it is working, you get scared, worried, get depressed and think everything negative happening in your life is because of it.
If somebody can control your mind and life like that it is because you showed them your weaknesses and vulnerability. Fear, uncertainty, greed and jealousy and of course ignorance are these deficiencies in your mental make up.
Just a few mantras, lemon and chillies or some kumkum and haldi or a doll or a few neem leaves cannot do any harm to anybody. A person who cannot control his own destiny cannot do any harm to others. No person has such supernatural powers as to cause harm to others just by wishful thinking. Realize that. Then nothing or nobody can effect you.
The nocebo effect has been seen in clinical trials. The opposite of the placebo effect, the nocebo effect can cause patients to develop symptoms when told they may be a side-effect of a possibly harmless drug. This may explain how a curse could have a real effect.
Some people try to earn money by cheating people and telling them they can do black magic on others. If you are a sucker, you believe them.
Science doesn’t accept black magic because there is no such thing actually. It just is a superstition. Your baseless belief that is effecting you mentally because you are not strong. So stop believing in it if you don't want it to work psychologically.
A challenge: Black magic, no matter who resorts to it, cannot effect me in any way. Why? Because I know it doesn't work and therefore I am not at all worried. It doesn't effect me psychologically. Nobody, literally nobody, can do black magic to me.
Never has an empirical scientific discovery been deemed wrong and replaced by a more convincing mystical explanation or a misconception. On the contrary science replaced myths, mystics, mythologies, magic, mysteries and misconceptions.
Science is the most accurate understanding of the universe. If it found and says black magic is a superstition, it has evidence in this regard.
Black magic doesn’t work in reality. It just is your perception that it works based on your culturally conditioned mind. Period.
Q: What do you think about things and theories in science several scientists oppose?
Krishna: In the earlier century The Germans had something like a hundred scientists sign a paper against Albert Einstein’s latest paper on physics.
When Albert was asked about it he said, “It seems to me that if they had the evidence to refute it- one scientist would suffice”.
Democracy doesn't work in science like it works in other places.
Q: What are some common superstitions which have a scientific reason?
Pseudo-scientific explanations for superstitions, culture and tradition is highly prevalent in this part of the world. Therefore, these Qs too come from here. People think their culture, tradition and even superstitions are science based and feel pride in them.
Come out of this pseudo-world.
Science doesn’t endorse superstitions. However, some people try to give a scientific twist to make their irrational beliefs authentic creating pseudo-science in the process. I have seen this happening all over the net.
And people who don’t know the difference between science and pseudo-science think all that is true and ask such questions.
Q: You say Homeopathy has only a placebo effect. If a medicine works even as a placebo, isn't it good?
Krishna: Oh, yes, some sweet talk can also work as a placebo. Then why waste money on homeopathy?
Placebo treatment appears to work in either self limiting diseases ( like cold, your body's immune system can 'cure it' after some time) , chronic diseases which has remission-exacerbation kind of course or diseases with psychological component.
In majority of these situations, placebo is equal to doing nothing. You just need to tell to the patient the fact that s/he does not need any treatment rather prescribing placebo, majority times it works, according to mainstream doctors.
Some main stream medicines also work as placebos and I have read research papers on this.
Open-label use of placebos in the treatment of ADHD: a pilot study.
Cough medicines’ effect is mainly placebo
Double-blind comparison of liquid antacid and placebo in the treatment of symptomatic reflux esophagitis.
Psychology is a strange thing. It works for some. Beliefs can work in a positive way for some and we cannot disregard it. Homeopathy is like a religion. No wonder it’s useless to argue with a “believer” in homeopathy. A religion is based on faith, not evidence. People believe what they want to believe, and it might work sometimes.
However, in cases of severe diseases, when time factor is very important, you just can't waste your time waiting for placebo effect to take place in life and death situations. Cancer cannot be cured with homeopathy and placebo effect. Do you want to waste your time with homeopathy and allow cancer to spread? Isn't that foolishness?
I will give another example too.
Q: What is the scientific reason behind the saying ' a person should not cross the road if it is intersected by a black cat'?
Superstitions don’t have scientific reasons behind them. Get that right first. Science doesn’t endorse silly things like these. Some people try to endorse their irrational beliefs using science creating pseudo-science in the process.
People who don’t know the difference between science and pseudo-science think all that is science and ask such questions.
Science and technology bring tremendous progress and comforts. They save lives. If you use them rightly, that is.
According to scientists, science (and technology) is like a knife. A knife can be used to cut throats and spill blood. It can also be used for good purposes like cutting fruits and vegetables. It depends on the person who uses it. Likewise science (and technology) can also be used for the benefit of living beings as well as for their destruction. Which way it goes is in the hands of the person who uses it. The choice is definitely yours, Homo sapiens.
If you use them badly, why blame them for your stupidity?