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# Some Qs people asked me on science and my replies to them - part 23

Interactive Science Series

Q: I have watched recently a Godman shrink a coin to a smaller size. How is this possible?

Krishna: Why Godman, even school children can do this trick. Watch the video:

This  phenomenon occurs as a result of the process known as electromagnetic forming (4). The metal object’s shrunk in the blink of an eye through the use of powerful magnetic fields. Massive amount of current is involved and the fields are arranged in a manner such that they repel each other. When enough power is generated, the coin starts to reform itself inward, becoming denser and smaller at the same time.

This is the detailed explanation...

The Quarter Shrinker uses extremely powerful pulsed magnetic fields to “shrink” coins in a process called high-velocity metal forming. There is no direct contact with the coin. All of the reshaping is done by invisible, but incredibly strong, magnetic fields! The coin is first centered within a 10-turn coil of insulated copper wire. The Quarter Shrinker then forces a huge pulse of electrical current (up to 100,000 amperes!) into the coil. Through transformer action, a current of up to one million amperes is created inside the coin. Another phenomenon, called “skin effect”, forces this immense current to flow within a circular ring that’s only 1/20” thick along the outer edge of the coin. During shrinking, the instantaneous power applied to the coil is comparable to the total electrical power consumed by a medium-sized city! The circulating current created within the coin also creates a powerful magnetic field around the coin. The magnetic fields from the coil and the coin oppose each other - an effect called “Lenz’s Law”. This creates irresistible repulsion forces between the work coil and the coin. The intense compression evenly squeezes the coin inward, toward its center, reducing its diameter while simultaneously making it thicker. The entire process only takes less than the blink of an eye (~25 millionths of a second). The combination of rapid plastic deformation and high current raise the temperature of the coin by several hundred degrees. Although the diameter of a quarter becomes smaller than a dime, the coin retains all of its surface features, and is still easily recognized as being a quarter! However, there’s no, “Honey, I shrunk the kids” magic involved. As the coin shrinks in diameter, it becomes thicker. A shrunken coin still has the same mass, volume, and density as the original coin. The amount of “shrinkage” depends on the amount of energy applied to the coil – higher energy pulses create smaller diameter coins. There are equal (and opposite) reaction forces on the coil. Intense magnetic pressure pushes the inside of the copper coil outward, rapidly expanding its diameter, ultimately causing it to explode in a shower of potentially deadly copper fragments. As the coil expands, the wire stretches to less than half its original diameter. The wire’s insulation can’t stretch to the same degree, so it gets blown off, leaving fragments of mostly bare wire. As the coil explodes, the copper fragments are ejected with the force of a small bomb, and small fragments can reach a velocity of over 5,000 feet/second. To protect nearby objects (and people!), coin shrinking must be done inside a bulletproof chamber. When the coil disintegrates, any residual electrical energy is dissipated in a bright ball of blue-white plasma and a shock wave (a very loud BANG). We only shrink one coin at a time. Each coin requires its own carefully wound coil which is explosively destroyed during the shrinking process.

This is pure science and no magic is involved.

Q: I want to donate my eyes and other organs. But when I read a few stories in the media that people would be declared dead sometimes even though they are alive, I get frightened. What if I am declared dead mistakenly and what if I get up after my eyes and other organs are removed? I get scared.

I heard that emergency room doctors would be tempted to let someone die if they think it will yield some useful kidneys, a liver, etc., if the victim is listed as a donor on their driver’s license. Is this true?

Krishna: People will be mistakenly declared dead sometimes by careless doctors who are still under training and don't have much knowledge. A well trained and highly experienced doctor in a hospital rarely makes such mistakes. Moreover, the machines never lie. Your ECG and EEG  tell a confirmative story.

Emergency room doctors have absolutely no stake in organ transplant recipients. Doctors typically care most about their own patients, i.e., donars.  Nobody becomes an organ donor until a panel of doctors determines that they are brain dead. These doctors too have no stake in the transplant and really do not want to make a mistake in the diagnosis.There have been no cases of recovery after determination of brain death. There have been cases where the conventional cardiac death has been misdiagnosed and people have woken up in mortuaries.

I have donated my mothers eyes. It is so satisfying to think that a few parts of her body are still working in somebody else's body and a few cells of her body are still working and helping others to see instead of getting destroyed unnecessarily.  I couldn't donate my fathers eyes because he had septicemia. I want to donate my organs too.

You don't have to worry when a highly specialized doctor in a highly sophisticated hospital tells that a person is dead. He is dead! Period. So, don't worry, please go ahead and sign up for organ donation.

Doctors lie to us! When my mother was in hospital the doctor tried to tell us she was brain dead despite her looking at us and trying to communicate, reaching up to her oxygen mask with her hand. People around told me she's not brain dead. But she died the next day. This happened to my friend too when his brother met with an accident. The doctors said he was brain dead despite some movements in his body. Of course he too died two days later.

Don't you think it is unethical to say their brains are dead despite patients are able able to move and do certain things?

While it is very sad that people who do not understand what’s happening are encouraging this person's doubts and fears and suspicions, which while not a criminal thing to do to a grieving person, it is at least immoral and sick to do so…, but in fact, such behavior is very common, and is consistent with brain death.

The problem is that the brain is so severely damaged that its actions and signals make no sense, and are not connected to any stimulus the brain receives. There is no coordination or control of the brain any more.

In other words, the actions you see the person performing, are random. Sadly, yes. Think, if you will, for a moment, of an electrical network. The central control of that network is severely damaged. It can no longer direct or control the rest of the network. For a time, we see small sparks and surges here and there along the lower network lines, but none of it is coordinated or directed by that profoundly damaged ‘’Central Control”. The central control, the higher level coordination that the brain provides, is what makes it what it is. It coordinates breathing, swallowing and other basic, essential functions. Without that coordinated control….life can not be maintained.

Movement, on the other hand, continues, despite loss of that “Central Control” being able to function. This is largely because movement is such a low-level function, and so much of it occurs WITHOUT THE CONTROL OF THE BRAIN.

Yes, there are movement networks that control muscles that you have absolutely no conscious awareness of - THEY DO NOT EVEN CONNECT TO THE BRAIN. These movements can and do continue after the ‘central control’ of the brain has been profoundly damaged - destroyed. Think back to your basic biology class, when your teacher explained ‘’reflexes’’ movements we’re not conscious of. Those signals do not even go into the “Central Control”.

THIS is why many movements can occur despite profound destruction inside the brain.

This is what I would like to add... my mother too had severe brain stroke - one side of her brain was completely effected and she went into deep coma. The doctors told us the end was nearing. But the first day she tried to get up, yawned sometimes, and when we called her by touching her, she opened her eyes. the next day all that was gone and the third day, she died.

But we believe what the doctors said. Why would the doctors lie to us? It would be better not to comment on things we don't understand. I realize due to the emotional situation you are in, you lacked clarity in thought and believed whatever others say. But the doctors are experts and they rarely make mistakes. I trust the doctors and experts.

Q: I am doing my PG in science. We have a professor in our university who doesn't have any knowledge about the subject. His thinking is primitive. When I ask  important questions about the subject he gives stupid replies. I feel like telling him, he is stupid on his face. I cannot respect him, I don't even feel like interacting with him. I bunk all his classes. I feel I have a better knowledge about the subject. I don't know how he became a professor when he is not fit to be one. Is my thinking wrong? Am I doing something wrong?

Krishna: Oh, my. What can I say? This is perhaps the most difficult Q I ever faced.

But let me analyse the situation.

When a person is working as a professor he is expected to have a reasonable amount of knowledge in his field. Science is an ever expanding subject and  if a professor doesn't update his knowledge according to the changing times, such situations arise. If a person supposed to have critical thinking capabilities doesn't use them properly, again, this is what happens.

However, not all people will be smart. You have different grades of personalities that dictate their performance as professors. You have excellent professors and you have not so good ones. When you compare one with the other, you really get frustrated with the latter type of people.

No doubt students - if they are not smart like you - suffer because of not so good professors. Hope he realizes that. When he is being paid, he should think of doing justice to his job.

If you feel you have better knowledge than your not so good professor, that is okay. But don't insult him or malign him because of this. Doing so degrades you as a human being.

Q: How can an atheist be so sure that there is no God/creator if there is creation? Doesn't creation mean something has been created?

Krishna:

How do you know this universe is ‘created’ by ‘’God”?

What if it came into existence on its own?

The zero-energy universe hypothesis proposes that the total amount of energy in the universe is exactly zero: its amount of positive energy in the form of matter is exactly canceled out by its negative energy in the form of gravity.

It was suggested that since the positive energy of a star’s mass and the negative energy of its gravitational field together may have zero total energy, conservation of energy would not prevent a star being created by a quantum transition of the vacuum.

The zero-energy universe theory originated in 1973, when Edward Tryon proposed in the Nature journal that the universe emerged from a large-scale quantum fluctuation* of vacuum energy,** resulting in its positive mass-energy being balanced by its negative gravitational potential energy(1).

Due to quantum uncertainity, energy fluctuations such as an electron and its anti-particle, a positron, can arise spontaneously out of vacuum space, but must disappear rapidly. The lower the energy of the bubble, the longer it can exist. A gravitational field has negative energy. Matter has positive energy. The two values cancel out provided the universe is completely flat. In that case, the universe has zero energy and can theoretically last forever! (1,2,3)

*In quantum physics, a quantum fluctuation (or quantum vacuum fluctuation or vacuum fluctuation) is the temporary change in the amount of energy in a point in space, as explained in

Werner Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.

** Vacuum Energy is an underlying background energy that exists in space throughout the entire Universe. One contribution to the vacuum energy may be from virtual particles which are thought to be particle pairs that blink into existence and then annihilate in a time span too short to observe. They are expected to do this everywhere, throughout the Universe. Their behavior is codified in Heisenberg's energy–time uncertainty principle. Still, the exact effect of such fleeting bits of energy is difficult to quantify.

But they can be experimentally observed in various phenomena such as spontaneous emission.

Q: Why isn't the fact that over 90%of the world population is religious enough proof for atheists that a divine being exists? Over 6 billion people can’t be stupid.

Krishna: What gave you the idea that majority can't be wrong? Earlier almost all human beings used to think that the Earth is flat! Weren't they wrong? In science, democracy doesn't mean opinion of majority is right.  In the field of science majority's opinion counts only when it matches with facts!

# in-the-field-of-science-majority-s-opinion-counts-only-when-it-ma

In matters of science just one person’s neutral reasoning outweighs billions of opinions based on just beliefs.

Show atheists solid proof, not another person’s confirmation bias.

Q: Why isn't life enough proof for atheists that God exists? How can soemthing so complicated occur randomly?

Krishna: If you don’t understand how life originated, like in ancient times, ‘God of gaps’ view appeals to you.

If you know through scientific knowledge how life originated, then you don’t need God to fill the gaps. Simple!

Q: Do you regret doing your Ph.D.?
Krishna: No, never!
It made me a stronger person. It enhanced my knowledge. I loved what I was doing. I found out new things and reported them. People started respecting me more. It made my whole family proud of me.
With all these positives, how can I ever regret doing it?

Q: Why do astronauts carry pistols when there are no aliens or enemies in space?

Krishna: The pistols astronauts carried in the last century were not for space use. The return capsules might not land where they are suppose to land - atleast in earlier times. They might land in a forest or a desert. In that case the astronauts might face danger in the form of wild animals before they were found. Remember there were no satellite tracking systems then.

Q: Is there science behind airlines restricting luggage a flier can carry?

Krishna:  I asked one of my friends who works with an airline to explain and he told me this:

# Kids Slapped With 192-Pound Weight Tilt Qantas Plane Nose

Primary school children mistakenly assigned the standard adult weight of 87 kilograms (192 pounds) each tipped the nose of a Qantas Airways Ltd. plane, prompting the pilot to take corrective steps during a takeoff.

Ground staff loaded 87 primary-school students on to the back of a Boeing Co. 737 plane on a May 9 domestic flight and then wrongly entered them as adults, changing the weight of the aircraft in the data supplied to the pilots, Australia’s Transportation Safety Board said on its website today. The mistake prompted the pilot to set the instruments incorrectly, making the plane nose-heavy, it said.

That is the problem!

Well, the plane has to take off and land. It is not like a bus or car that travels on the road. Even if it is a bus or a car, it cannot move forward if you load it with luggage beyond the engine's working capacity.

All aircraft have a certain center of gravity (CG) they need to maintain. Why is this point so important?
1. to take off smoothly in a way that the wings create lift 2.  bank without having to strain the body of the aircraft 3. it lands without being bumpy  and there is no undue stress on a single part of the plane's body 4. fuel efficiency.

If hundreds of people that travel in a plane carry unlimited luggage, and if the weight is not evenly distributed on the plane it effects the CG of the plane and its safety. It has to carry the fuel too that is sufficient enough to last till landing. And postal services and courier services too book large spaces in planes to carry cargo. An onboard computer ensures fuel is distributed across compartments as the flight goes along. The tedious job of figuring out a way to keep the CG as close to the ideal point through the journey is also done by computers.

Large blocks of weight (like badly placed freight) affect the CG. Small weight deviance (people, 7 kg handbags) don't affect it much.Those hundreds of pieces of luggage going on and off the plane and thousands of liters of fuel in the plane can effect the efficiency of the engine and the plane CG.

So how does one swiftly calculate and distribute weight all over the aircraft to ensure it takes off properly and on time, doesn't break apart in mid-air and returns safely? Simple: Place an upper limit on size and weight of the luggage. The reasons airlines are so strict about the top-limit (23\25\27) is because their technicians are working within a set weight and size formula. Asking you to pay a huge fee for the extra weight is just a way to ensure you don't mess with their calculations and if you do to punish you.

Although some passengers dispute these clarifications, the explanation given by the airline employee clearly states it is better to follow the rules set by aviation experts for your own safety. So follow them strictly.

Q: If there is no common ground between religion and science, how can religion be made  acceptable to people of science?

Krishna: How about religions reinventing themselves and keeping in step with changing times of science and technology? There is no other way out!

Q: Do you think science and technology are the only answers to the challenges we face in the world?

Krishna: Undoubtedly! You can't pray and solve them. You can't wish and solve them. You have to use knowledge and creativity derived from it to deal with them. Watch this video to realize why...

Q: I am a school student and not good at maths and other science subjects. My teacher scolds me all the time and sends bad reports and my parents beat me after reading them. My brothers ridicule me and my friends tease me and say I am dumb. I feel like running away from home and school. I hate science. But I know I cannot go forward without  doing well in science subjects. What should I do to get good grades in science subjects?

Krishna: So sorry to hear your story. When I analysed the situation you are in, I feel, instead of helping you, people around you are making things more difficult  for you by creating mind blocks and fear for science subjects.

Well, not all students will be bright. Different things effect the learning process of a student. Some are slow at learning. I don't think you are dumb. Maybe you are a bit slow in understanding things and the mind blocks created by the complex situation you are in are making things more hard for you..

When people insult you or criticize you, don't get disheartened. Just think why they say things in that way. If there is truth in them, try to correct yourself. If there is no truth, just ignore them.

Now, just go and talk to your teacher. Make him understand why you find it difficult to follow his lecture. Make him explain things again to you. Listen with concentration  and ask questions to clear doubts. Go home, read the subject once again and try to understand it fully. Draw pictures on a paper. Try to write what you understood. Take the help of your siblings or friends who are kind enough to understand your situation to know whether what you followed is correct or not. If it is not ask them why. They will explain the topic once again to you. Try to do this again and again until you get it correct.

The beauty of science is when you understand a thing correctly and fully, you will never forget it! You can write it accurately in the exams. And you will get good marks. You will realize science subjects are not that difficult to understand. Then you will start loving science.

You can do it. You are not dumb.

When you get good marks in science after following my advise, write to me again and let me know how you achieved success.

Q: If science can 'prove' religion is mumbo jumbo why don't more people follow science as a way forward?

Krishna:

Because emotions rule most people’s minds. They need external emotional support from their ‘group’ members.

Unbiased Reasoning is alien to emotions. Emotions interfere with critical thinking and this leads to peripheral processing.

Peripheral processing stands in contrast to so-called central processing. Central processing refers to situations in which we try to make deliberate arguments where we weigh the evidence and logic of the argument. This is almost always what experts and scientists do.

Elaboration Likelihood Model suggests that we rarely can engage in both types of decision-making at once. That means that if we have been lulled into a superficial (peripheral), engagement with the information that we are asked to make decisions about, this largely excludes our ability to process the information deeply (central).

When followers of religion suggest a few things to your liking, when they appeal to your emotions, you will be lead slowly into peripheral processing and forget about Central Processing.

So they are actively trying to push you from using central processing to a peripheral approach. They are asking you to turn off your logic and turn on your emotion, because they know that it is difficult to use logic once fear and other emotions take over.

That is how religions keep people in their grip despite science.

Q: Is tattooing eyes good?

Krishna: According to eye doctors,  tattooing eyes can potentially be quite harmful because many of the inks used may not be compatible with eye tissues like they are with skin. However  ophthalmologists use something called Corneal Tattooing to hide the white or yellowish discoloration in a blind eye and to match the other seeing eye. This gives a permanent and a cosmetically acceptable appearance for the patient. Please note that this is usually done for a blind eye and very rarely for partially seeing eye. ​

Q: You think you are intelligent and unbiased? Now let me test you. There are two people - a religious man and an atheist - in a highly  dangerous situation. If you could  save only one person, which one would you save  - the religious man or the atheist man? If I give you time enough to think and choose what will you do?

Krishna: Very simple. I will do everything possible to save both. During  such situations, my mind never thinks about these petty things. Human lives are more important than theism and atheism.

If you give me time to think and choose - I feel that time would be enough to think and save both!

Okay, okay, I know you want a specific answer :) - I will choose the person who I think would be more beneficial to the world -irrespective of his beliefs and affiliations!

Satisfied now?

Q: Are there examples of false news published in journals?

Krishna: Yes, Science can sometimes  falls victim to  distortion. Take, for example, a conspiracy theory about cloud trails from jet planes that was published in a peer-reviewed journal. How about a study linking vaccines to autism long after such a connection had been thoroughly debunked? That one was published in a public health journal. Or this fake news whopper: HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. A peer-reviewed paper made that claim until it was retracted.

Predatory publishers continue to churn out papers for a price, with minimal peer review — or very often no peer review. Unscrupulous researchers use those and other soft spots in the scientific publishing system to get away with presenting wild theories or cooking their data.

Q: Why is the logic of an atheist more sound and strong than a theist?

Krishna: Some scientists themselves answered this Q …

References:

1. Edward P. Tryon, "Is the Universe a Vacuum Fluctuation?", Nature, vol. 246, p.396–397, 1973.

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