Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication
Interactive science series
Q: What is science?
(I am a six year old boy and don't know anything about it although I use cell phone, TV, car and laptop and my dad says these are invented by scientists and technologists)
Krishna: Science is the systemic accumulation of knowledge of the physical and natural world using strict scientific methodology. Technology makes use of this knowledge to make our lives comfortable and easy.
For instance Radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum longer than infrared light. Electromagnetic radiation is transmitted in waves or particles at different wavelengths and frequencies. This broad range of wavelengths is known as the electromagnetic spectrum. The spectrum is generally divided into seven regions in order of decreasing wavelength and increasing energy and frequency. The common designations are radio waves, microwaves ( used in ovens), infrared (IR), visible light, ultraviolet (UV), X-rays and gamma rays.
Scientists study them in detail in nature and make use of them in communication - while making gadgets like cell phones, TVs, radios. All these receive radio waves and convert them to mechanical vibrations in the speaker to create sound waves that can be heard.
( I hope you understood what science and technology means now and in case you didn't, please don't hesitate to ask more questions )
Q: More and more youngsters are committing suicides because their parents are forcing them to pursue science - Engineering and Medicine to be precise - even when they are not interested in it. As a person of science what is your take on it?
Krishna: I had a very absorbing debate on this with my conscience some time back!
I promote science because I firmly think it benefits the whole world and I am convinced fully that pursuing science will take you to great mental heights.
However, media and social circles around us paint a different picture. They promote movies, pop, rock, rap and all kinds of music, sports, partying, celebrations, events, merry-making etc. (open any news paper supplement and magazines, more than two-thirds of the pages will be filled by these sort of things, majority of TV channels, net etc, too give importance to these things) and make uncritical mind think that only pursuing the glamorous and relatively easy life they offer is the best way to lead a life. These memes go viral!
Most youngsters who cannot cope with the 'difficulty' of sciences because of lack of good support system try to go the easy ways of 'art'.
And parental pressure without providing the required support brings immense stress on these young minds. Unable to cope with these conflicting pressures, they again choose an easy way out- taking their own lives!
So, is parental stress on 'science', the cause? I think not providing help and support to their children to cope with the difficult subject is the main culprit. Science was difficult to follow for me too - when I was young and still a student - and to all those who pursued science to cope with it. But didn't I and they succeed? It is because of my parents' support and sacrifice to provide me with the best.
And why does media give more importance to 'other things' than science and 'glamorize' them and create a false perception among youngsters? Why can't it 'heroicize' science too?
I agree not all people will have the same mental capabilities to pursue science. If some children think, they are not cut for science, parents should either provide assistance to cope with it or allow their children to seek what they are interested in.
I think these are the solutions for the problem you mentioned.
And I am trying to 'romanticize and soften' science too so that people would see it from a different perspective and get hooked to it. There is thrill in carrying on with challenges and difficulties and overcoming them. If I can show this thrill and romance in science, I am sure people will accept science as a way of life.
So my adventure goes on ...
( I also want to add here that some people are more prone to depression because it was found that suicide victims have structural abnormalities in a protein called NMDAR, a neurotransmitter receptor that is sprinkled throughout the brain. They have to take anti-depression medication to come out of suicidal thoughts. Parental pressure could just be an excuse in such cases.
Moreover, some chemical (for example pesticide) exposure too can cause changes in brain that drive people to suicide. Without thoroughly studying what causes these suicides , you just cannot blame difficulty of science education as the one and only reason)
Q: Can scientific discoveries be harmful and disturbing?
Krishna: To those who cannot use the knowledge properly, some discoveries can be disturbing! Yes! And to those who prefer to still live in 'ancient times' too these discoveries are disturbing. For those who look for confirmation biases, some discoveries are unplatable because facts disturb their mental peace! For those who are fearful of truth and new worlds too these truths are disturbing!
Like the earth is not at the center of our universe!
The Earth is not flat.
That micro-organisms are trying their best to beat us in the game!
We are in the middle of mass extinctions!
That some celestial bodies can destroy everything on Earth with their impact!
That Sun is not going to last forever.
Things that taste good are very bad for your health!
That your are being controlled by biases and influenced largely by the mass media.
What you believe in is mostly irrational!
We are causing the climate change that is irreversible.
The universe had't originated in the way you or your ancestors imagined!
Living beings are made of star dust.
Evolution, not creation, explains our presence more accurately.
Yes, there some truly harmful things that are brought into human arena using science...
Like the nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
Q: Do people with high EQ win more friends in life than people with high IQ?
Krishna: They might temporarily. But imagine this ... if you pretend what you are not, if you manipulate emotions to gain friendship or love, can that last long? It is an artificial life!
If you remain silent even though your friend is making mistakes, ignore your children who are behaving badly to maintain good relationships, will that make you a good friend or parent? Can simulated sweet talk and mildness solve the problems more accurately?
I am told some people just ignore the bad behaviour of others to maintain good relationships with them. Some praise the deeds of their friends and loved ones even though they are below average stunting their growth.
Visit FB pages and you will find several examples of such behaviour - people praising the selfies, pets, plants, houses, furniture and what not of their 'friends' all the time. People with high IQs desist this fake life.
I think an intelligent person should face reality as it is and should be able to show it to others too. S/he should help them improve themselves by doing so. That is the real mark of goodness or greatness.
In some studies it was found that in certain cases, the more you think of someone as warm, the less likely you are to think of them as competent. Like when you are judging a scientist or a director of a company!
Well, yes, that is why people of science, who follow the IQ way are less popular but people treat them with more respect! :)
More friends doesn't mean, more good. One or two friends who are true are enough to live a fulfilled life.
Q: Can the water in water falls go up instead of down?
Krishna: In all the water falls the water falls down but in some places on Earth sometimes strong upward going winds make the outer water particles go up and that creates the illusion of the entire mass of water going up.
And, yes, when the force of the wind is so high that it can beat the gravity of the place, the water can be blown up by the wind force.
Q: Will global warming scientists ever be able to say truthfully that the science is settled?
Krishna: Science can rarely be ‘settled’. It is a continuous process of improving over and over again with new data arriving almost every day.
However, the present knowledge says AGW is happening and it is going to effect all of us in every possible way unless we take remedy measures immediately. If you fail to listen to the scientists’ warning, you are doomed to suffer.
Q: Could science ever make machines that can think?
Krishna: Scientists are already doing that!
Q: How do Ouija boards work according to science?
Krishna: There are no demons, devils, spirits and ghosts in the first place according to real science because there is no evidence.
Paranormal and supernatural beliefs associated with Ouija have been harshly criticized by the scientific community, since they are characterized as pseudoscience. The action of the board can be parsimoniously explained by unconscious movements of those controlling the pointer, a psychophysiological phenomenon known as the ideomotor effect.
Yes, people who promote these things lie to you and make you believe them.
Skeptics say that the Ouija moves due to the ‘ideomotor effect’ (sometimes called "automatism"). The ideomotor effect refers to the involuntary and unconscious motor behaviour of a person. The term "ideomotor action" was coined by William Carpenter in 1882 in his explanation for the movements of dowsing rods and pendulums by dowsers, table turning by spirit mediums and, of course, the movement of pointers on Ouija boards.
Muscular movement can be initiated by the mind independently of volition or emotions. We may not be aware of it, but suggestions can be made to the mind by others or by observations. Those suggestions can influence the mind and affect motor behaviour. What is purely physiological, however, appears to some to be paranormal if they have ‘intuitive minds’ and not rational ones.
Q: Can I take antacids regularly?
Krishna: Why do you want to take them regularly? Is the problem you have so serious? If so please consult a well qualified Gastroenterologist.
Self medication is not good.
Antacids can cause nausea, constipation, diarrhea, or headache. If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
The magnesium in this product can cause diarrhea. Using an antacid that contains only aluminum along with this product can help control diarrhea. The aluminum in this product can cause constipation. To minimize constipation, drink plenty of fluids and exercise. Diarrhea is more common with this product than constipation.
Aluminum-containing antacids bind to phosphate, an important body chemical, in the gut. This can cause low phosphate levels, especially if you use this medication in large doses and for a long time. Tell your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms of low phosphate: loss of appetite, unusual tiredness, muscle weakness.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: dizziness, fainting.
Seek immediate medical attention if any of these rare but very serious side effects or symptoms of a serious medical problem occur: black/tarry stools, slow/shallow breathing, slow/irregular heartbeat, mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion), deep sleep, pain with urination, stomach/abdominal pain, vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
Antacids may cause dose-dependent rebound hyperacidity and milk-alkali syndrome. Antacids that contain aluminum hydroxide may cause constipation, aluminum-intoxication, osteomalacia, and hypophosphatemia. Antacids that contain magnesium have a laxative effect that may cause diarrhea, and in patients with renal failure they may cause increased magnesium levels in the blood, because of the reduced ability of the kidneys to eliminate magnesium from the body in the urine.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor.
Q: Can astrologers really predict something about one’s marriage and career from their birth chart?
Krishna: No they can’t! I have scientific explanations to say this. Read them here: Why astrology is pseudo-science and unreliable…
Q: Why do some people have blue and green eyes?
Krishna: It is because of a genetic mutation occurred some 6000 - 10000 years ago.
Variation in the colour of the eyes from brown to green can all be explained by the amount of melanin in the iris, but blue-eyed individuals only have a small degree of variation in the amount of melanin in their eyes.
Research shows that people with blue eyes have a single, common ancestor. A team at the University of Copenhagen have tracked down a genetic mutation which took place 6-10,000 years ago and is the cause of the eye colour of all blue-eyed humans alive on the planet today.
Originally, all human beings had brown eyes. But a genetic mutation affecting the OCA2 gene in our chromosomes resulted in the creation of a "switch," which literally "turned off" the ability to produce brown eyes." The OCA2 gene codes for the so-called P protein, which is involved in the production of melanin, the pigment that gives colour to our hair, eyes and skin. The "switch," which is located in the gene adjacent to OCA2 does not, however, turn off the gene entirely, but rather limits its action to reducing the production of melanin in the iris -- effectively "diluting" brown eyes to blue. The switch's effect on OCA2 is very specific therefore. If the OCA2 gene had been completely destroyed or turned off, human beings would be without melanin in their hair, eyes or skin colour -- a condition known as albinism.