SCI-ART LAB

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.

Congenital nevi are moles that are present at birth. 
Dysplastic nevi are moles that are generally larger than average and irregular in shape. They tend to have uneven color with dark brown centers and lighter, uneven edges. These nevi are somewhat more likely to become melanoma. They are usually formed later in life.
Q: Do failures frustrate scientists?
Krishna: Frequent ones, maybe. But scientists are made of sterner stuff. Most of them have the ability to overcome failures. 
Alexander Graham Bell said: "In scientific researches, there are no unsuccessful experiments; every experiment contains a lesson. If we don't get the results anticipated and stop right there, it is the man that is unsuccessful, not the experiment."
Edison said: I did not fail. I realized how I cannot make a bulb in 999 ways. So I succeeded the 1000th time by avoiding them!
I never allow myself to become discouraged under any circumstances. … After we had conducted thousands of experiments on a certain project without solving the problem, … we had learned something. For we had learned for a certainty that the thing couldn’t be done that way, and that we would have to try some other way. We sometimes learn a lot from our failures if we have put into the effort the best thought and work we are capable of. — Thomas Edison
Other quotes...that inspire the field of science...
An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he’s in. He treats his failures simply as practice shots. 
Every discoverer of a new truth, or inventor of the method which evolves it, makes a dozen, perhaps fifty, useless combinations, experiments, or trials for one successful one.
Every great improvement has come after repeated failures. Virtually nothing comes out right the first time. Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success. 
Failure is so much more interesting because you learn from it. That's what we should be teaching children at school, that being successful the first time, there's nothing in it. There's no interest, you learn nothing actually. 
Honorable errors do not count as failures in science, but as seeds for progress in the quintessential activity of correction. 
I have failed in finding parasites in mosquitoes fed on malaria patients, but perhaps I am not using the proper kind of mosquito. — Sir Ronald Ross
I sought excitement and, taking chances, I was all ready to fail in order to achieve something large.
I still take failure very seriously, but I've found that the only way I could overcome the feeling is to keep on working, and trying to benefit from failures or disappointments. There are always some lessons to be learned. So I keep on working. 
I was not made a dexterous manipulator, for the most important of my discoveries have been suggested to me by my failures. — Sir Humphry Davy
If the experiment works, you must be using the wrong experiment. An experiment has a tendency to fail.
 It doesn't matter if you try and try and try again, and fail. It does matter if you try and fail, and fail to try again. 
It is not a disgrace to fail. Failing is one of the greatest arts in the world. 
May every young scientist remember … and not fail to keep his eyes open for the possibility that an irritating failure of his apparatus to give consistent results may once or twice in a lifetime conceal an important discovery.
More and more of out colleagues fail to understand our work because of the high specialization of research problems. We must not be discouraged if the products of our labor are not read or even known to exist. The joy of research must be found in doing since every other harvest is uncertain. 
Nature never “fails.” Nature complies with its own laws. Nature is the law. When Man lacks understanding of Nature’s laws and a Man-contrived structure buckles unexpectedly, it does not fail. It only demonstrates that Man did not understand Nature’s laws and behaviors. Nothing failed. Man’s knowledge or estimating was inadequate. — R. Buckminster Fuller
No experiment is ever a complete failure. It can always be used as a bad example. 
No scientist is admired for failing in the attempt to solve problems that lie beyond his competence. … Good scientists study the most important problems they think they can solve. It is, after all, their professional business to solve problems, not merely to grapple with them. 
Progress is made by trial and failure; the failures are generally a hundred times more numerous than the successes; yet they are usually left unchronicled. The reason is that the investigator feels that even though he has failed in achieving an expected result, some other more fortunate experimenter may succeed, and it is unwise to discourage his attempts. 
We need to teach the highly educated man that it is not a disgrace to fail and that he must analyze every failure to find its cause. He must learn how to fail intelligently, for failing is one of the greatest arts in the world.
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Image result for Quotes of scientists on success and failure
The key to success is failure. Success is made of 99%failure!
The search [for extra-terrestrial life] is a failure until that moment when it suddenly becomes a success. 
Stem cells are probably going to be extremely useful. But it isn't a given, and even if it were, I don't think the end justifies the means. I am not against stem cells, I think it's great. Blanket objection is not very reasonable to me—any effort to control scientific advances is doomed to fail. You cannot stop the human mind from working.
Experiments often fail, but they don't always fail.
I can give hundreds of these quotes that denote a scientist's real story.
That is the spirit of science and scientists!
My art work based on this theme: THE SPIRIT OF SCIENCE
AS-66-THE-SPIRIT-OF-SCIENCE
No matter how many obstacles and difficulties they face, how many times they fail, how much criticism they encounter, most of the people of the scientific community move forward with courage and dedication. The driving force of this unstoppable journey is the spirit of science that says : Never stop, never quit, no matter what happens. Keep going until you reach your destination and goal.
Failure can't beat science and scientists!
Q: Your article, 'being a woman is no obstacle in science' is amazing and highly inspirational.
But I heard many men complaining that women are emotional and therefore lack critical thinking skills and are not suitable for research. What is your take on this?  
Krishna: I came across men who are very emotional too and cry for silly reasons. So?!
Even though  we are emotional, we are trained to keep our emotions in check when we enter our labs.
Don't worry, women can handle their emotions as well as men do in scientific research labs. 
Q: Is it true that we need 7-8 hours of sleep in order to perform well?
Krishna: Sleep necessities differ from person to person.
The largest single factor that affects sleep requirements is age, and the amount of sleep needed by individuals of different ages can vary in a very significant way. For example, children, and particularly babies, need much more sleep than adults. 
Daily Sleep Requirement according to experts...

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.

And there are people who conquered their own requirements of sleep and can do well with little of it. I am one such person. When a problem is bothering me either in science or art or literature or designing, it will have me in its grip and I keep thinking about it until I solve it.  During such times I might just sleep for three to  four- and -half hours or don't sleep at all. But still can think clearly and can find solutions to the difficulties! I sleep for maximum six hours  per day if I am not very busy.  
But I have observed that I dream a lot during short periods of sleep too!
When my mother was on her death bed in coma in an ICU, I sat with her for ten days, attending to her, sleeping for just a few minutes per day - whenever my brain was deprived of sleep and felt like having it, it automatically dozed off for one or two minutes  and then became alert again! I didn't find any problem with that and could think very clearly during that period taking critical decisions about my mother's treatment better than my  relatives who slept well during that time because of my knowledge!
Some of history's most powerful and intelligent people had very little time for sleep. While it's difficult to confirm, American inventor, Thomas Edison and Leonardo da Vinci are both said to have adopted a polyphasic sleep cycle, which involves sleeping multiple times in a 24-hour period. 
Polyphasic sleep is often associated with the name of the most famous artistic genius and inventor of the Renaissance era, Leonardo da Vinci. Of course, he needed a lot of time to develop his ideas — time which he often didn’t have. Being a resourceful person, however, da Vinci sought to extract this time from his daily dose of sleep.

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 Teslaauthor 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:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1182327/

Sponsorship bias in clinical research. funding biases results.

Funding bias - Wikipedia

Stanford researchers uncover patterns in how scientists lie about t...

The 10 Greatest Cases of Fraud in University Research - OnlineUnive...

Industry-funded research leads to biased results - The Daily Texan

http://retractionwatch.com/2016/05/07/weekend-reads-another-autism-...

http://retractionwatch.com/

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.

Story image for galactic spit balls from Science Daily

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 signalit 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

  1. A deep breath is taken in, in preparation of crying (a.k.a deep inhalation/inspiration).
  2. Followed by a prolonged, loud breathing-out (a.k.a exhalation/expiration) or simply put — crying.

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!

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