Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication
Interactive science series
Q: What are moles?
Krishna: Moles are growths on the skin that are usually brown or black. Melanin is the natural pigment that gives skin, hair and the irises of the eyes their color. In the skin, melanin is produced in cells called melanocytes located in the two upper layers of the skin. Melanocytes tend to be spread evenly throughout the skin, giving the skin its natural color. When exposed to sun, melanocytes produce more melanin, darkening the skin with a suntan. When melanocytes don't distribute evenly and instead grow in clusters, moles form.
Moles can appear anywhere on the skin, alone or in groups.
Newborns (0-2 months): 12-18 hours
Infants (3-11 months): 14-15 hours
Toddlers (1-3 years): 12-14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5 years): 11-13 hours
Young children (5-10 years): 10-11 hours
Adolescents (10-17 years): 8.5-9.25 hours
Adults: 7-9 hours
In adults, total sleep time, sleep efficiency, percentage of slow-wave sleep, and percentage of REM sleep significantly decrease with age, while light sleep and wake after sleep onset increased with age. The decline in deep sleep begins around age 36-50. However, it is important to note that these changes are less prominent among women and in the healthiest older adults.
Sleep duration as well as structure changes with age and reflects alterations in physiology and health.
This plan involved breaking up his normal period of nighttime rest into several parts — making it ’polyphasic,’ which refers to the practice of sleeping multiple times in a 24-hour period. Da Vinci thus slept for 15 minutes in every four hours. As a result, da Vinci generally limited how much he slept to just one and a half hours a day. The time he saved on resting he began to use for his creative work. Da Vinci is said to have used this method for many years of his life, without ever feeling tired.
Those connected with the polyphasic sleep lifestyle were actually biphasic sleepers, which means they took longer naps twice a day.
However, those polyphasic stories are very hard to confirm. Because these people are no longer in this world now.
It is well known that in physiological terms, the most productive time for work and creativity is following a period of sleep. This is when a person’s capacity for work is particularly high. Interrupting one’s waking time every four hours with a short rest period leads to a sharp increase in the amount of time a day that a person has a high capacity for work, as a direct consequence of this rest.
But everyone’s body is different, and as a consequence the various types of polyphasic sleep might not suit everyone. If you would like to make the transition to this kind of rest-work schedule, it’s recommended that you refrain from driving a car and from taking very important decisions until you’re absolutely sure that cutting down on your sleep hasn’t had any adverse effects.
Thomas Alva Edison had a love-hate relationship with sleep. Workaholics like to quote him on his contempt for sleep. Advocates of polyphasic sleep claim he was a polyphasic sleeper. Indeed, Edison's contempt for sleep is well documented. Little was known about the biological role of sleep at his time. He believed wrongly that, as with food, humans will always sleep more than necessary given a opportunity. As a natural short sleeper, he believed long sleep is a sign of laziness: "Most people overeat 100 percent, and oversleep 100 percent, because they like it. That extra 100 percent makes them unhealthy and inefficient. The person who sleeps eight or ten hours a night is never fully asleep and never fully awake - they have only different degrees of doze through the twenty-four hours".
Nikola Tesla and Edison tried to outbid each other in sleeping little. Tesla who could indeed work throughout the night, would often crash for the entire day of sleep after his exploits. He exhibited classic signs of manic creativity, which might have been interrupted by short recuperative naps or long recovery sleep. Otherwise, Tesla was nothing more than a short sleeper. He was too busy with his pursuits to ever think of anything resembling a strict polyphasic schedule.
Nikola Tesla, is said to have adopted what's probably the most ill-advised sleeping habit of them all - devoting just five hours a day to rest, only two of which were dedicated to actual sleep. And this wasn't something he implemented when he realised he had too many inventions and too little time. In his book, Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla, author John J. O'Neil says Tesla was terrible at sleeping.
So, your brain knows how much sleep it wants and tells you when to sleep and when to wake up.
On the other hand your brain can also adopt to minimum sleeping habits when the situation demands it like mine does. So I don't give much importance to it. Unless you are a driver or work with machines that need complete alertness you don't have to worry about the period of sleep! Just listen to your brain, that all.
Q: I am asking this Q after reading your reply to a Q on 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?
Krishna: I asked a neuro-scientist about this. And this is what he told me...
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: Would any scientist ever say, this is magic or miracle? Or this is 100% true? Or I know everything?
Krishna: Yes, why not? This is the magic of science! Miracle, because I cannot explain it? No!
This is what a scientist would like to say: No! I cannot do it right now but in the future when the conditions are favourable, another of my colleague might explain it.
100% true? Never if he is wise!
Q: How common is research faking?
Krishna: Difficult to find out exactly.
I can give several references that confirm biases and malpractices:
funding biases results.
Those who resort to unethical practices are bringing a bad name to the field. But these filtering mechanisms that find out these frauds and fakes also tell us to what extent the field of science can go to self-correct itself by accepting its inadequacies and fault lines. I take it as a positive sign!
Q: What are galactic spit balls?
Krishna: Galactic spit balls are created when black holes destroy stars and other galactic objects that come very close to them. Stars that pass too close to the black hole can be shredded by the intense gravity. A star is sucked into the black hole and torn apart “every few thousand years”. Computer simulations have shown that within these strands of stellar debris, gas can clump back together into balls roughly the mass of Jupiter that are then launched away at several thousand kilometers per second. A single shredded star can form hundreds of these planet-mass objects. What happens to these blobs was unknown. About 95 percent are launched so fast that they escape the gravity of the Milky Way and fly into intergalactic space. Our own milky way black holes produce some of them. There are expected to be about 100 million of them in the Milky Way, with the closest one being a few hundred light years away from us.
Galaxies like Andromeda could even be expelling these stellar spitballs, too. These spit balls will be very cold and very dark as they have no parent star heating them up.
Q: What do people do when life gives them lemons?
Krishna: I don’t know about others but this is what scientists do…
Q: Isn't just born baby's breathing a miracle? Nobody taught a baby to breathe!
Krishna: :) A foetus gets its oxygen supply from the mother through blood when still in the womb. So it need not breathe on its own.
But, once born, when the umbilical cord is severed, the baby has to get oxygen on its own. The baby needs to initiate breathing in order to get oxygen and clear carbon dioxide from its body. Immediately after birth (and before crying), the CO2 levels start increasing rapidly in baby’s blood.
This increased levels of carbon dioxide serve as a signal, it signals the area of brain responsible for respiration that now is a good time for baby’s first breath. The brain of a baby, then responds to the signal by sending impulses to rib cage to expand and draw in air.
First breath is thus initiated — as a cry. It is a built-in reflex.
Now, imagine a baby/infant give out a loud cry — it has 2 phases
This way the first breath of a baby is initiated!
As always, I end my reply by saying 'this is science', not a miracle.
Q: After reading some of your articles posted here, I think your views are very progressive, highly stimulative, original, unique, somewhat confrontational ( they oppose vastly held public views), and a little bit shocking - they come from a woman - who dares to take on nonsense! Aren't you afraid of anything? What gave you so much strength and a blasting mind? Are all scientists like you?
Krishna: :) My training in science - especially in critical thinking is the main thing. I don't think all the people who are trained in science will be like me. Most of my colleagues are not! The difference is my family. My grandfather was a social reformer. My father too had his father's qualities. I think all that had been passed on to me. But my sister - who was brought up just like me - is not like me. She is not from the field of science. So what made the difference?
My training in science plus my family atmosphere made a deadly combination that sculpted my unique personality. Nothing appeals to me unless it is subjected to rational analysis of my mind and comes out as the right thing.
When I was young I used to get frightened very easily. My father made me fearless. I used to faint at the sight of blood then. It doesn't happen now.
I would be dishonest if I say I won't get frightened. But I can conquer it now with my rational thinking.
If I think I am right I can take on the whole world. That is what is happening here. And I have enough knowledge to guide me in deciding what is right and what is not. If I lack it in some aspects, I try to learn it from other experts.
I can never step back again. My brain that is broadened by knowledge can never go back to its original size. An enlightened person can never retract into darkness. All that I can do now is move forward ... up ... into ... brilliancy!