Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication
Interactive science series
Q: Is Indian mythology scientific?
Krishna: Time doesn’t go from forward to backwards. Mythologies - more importantly the religious ones - cannot have possible origins in ancient times and have roots in modern science!
Modern science didn’t have any existence - as human mind didn’t experience that possibility then - when human beings creatively narrated mythological stories first.
So don’t try to link our ancient culture and traditions with modern science. Like my Western scientist friends say, ‘we people get crazy ideas and try to travel through imagined time machines’ and then create pseudo-science in the process.
Q: As an intellectual, how do you cope if nobody around you is up to your level of thinking?
In this world you have to live with all sorts of people around you! When I try to think about it, it amazes me how the human thought process is influenced by several factors which need not always be scientific facts that govern this universe.
If everybody is standing against you, turn back and try to lead them!
I try to educate people, make them think in other ways too. Do I succeed? The answer is blowing in the wind! But I can have satisfaction that at least I tried. And sanity returns to my mind.
Any way I live in an extremely wonderful world. I want to show this to others too. How much they are willing to view it is up to them. But I have no doubt in my mind that if they allow their minds to expand with real knowledge, they can benefit to a great extent. Their thrill in life increases. Their minds become stronger. They can have a mind-blowing life like me!
Anyone, game for it?! :)
Q: Are mirages real? How are they formed?
Krishna: Yes, mirages are real! Their formation is a result of the refraction and the total internal reflection of light in the air.
First we need to understand why light is refracted in the air in order to understand mirage formation. Regions of air at different temperatures have different refractive indexes, just like many different mediums. The closer the air is to the ground, the hotter it will be, and its refractive index will be smaller. We could imagine the air as many layers of medium with a particular refractive index for every layer, and the refractive index is smaller for those that are closer to the ground.
We should also understand what total internal reflection is. If light travels from glass to the air with a small incident angle, part of the light will be reflected back while the remaining part will be refracted, passing out from the glass. As the refractive index of glass is larger than that of the air, the refracted angle is always larger than the incident angle . When the incident angle becomes larger, the refracted light will get closer and closer to the interface between the air and the glass. When it is larger than the critical angle, the light will only be reflected but not refracted. This phenomenon is called total internal reflection.
Pictures below shows the path of light when a mirage happens. Suppose there is an oasis and the light it emits at point A is refracted by the air, the light will travel through a curved path. Total internal reflection occurs at point B and will cause the light to travel upwards. Then the light is refracted by the air again. At last, it will enter the eyes of the observer at point C, producing an illusion that the oasis is close to him.
The path of light when a mirage happens.
Pic Source: Physics. org
Q: What is the science concept behind putting Drishti Gombe (evil defender) in front of houses?
Krishna: Irrational beliefs! Like the ones peopel give. If just touching a child or hugging her or praising something makes it go weak, develop disease or die, every one in this world would have killed all their ‘enemies’ with dristi.
Indians just try saying “Oh, what a beautiful country, what a marvelous country’ innumerable times to your neighbouring countries that are causing you trouble and see if they get destroyed immediately. :)
But if your Dristi Gombe or evil defender causes more harm to the society we live in? We try to inject some sense into such people. Like this ….
Q: Do you believe in bad omens and do you think they are scientific?
Krishna: No, I don’t believe in any sort of irrational things. Because I am trained in critical thinking which is a part of my science training.
Irrational beliefs don’t and cannot have real science behind them. Of course people give all sorts of pseudo-scientific explanations to authenticate their beliefs. “Thinking whether they are scientific” doesn’t give a real picture. Because most people don’t know the difference between science and pseudo-science and treat the latter as the former! And I have read/viewed articles/videos in the media and answers on social media sites people saying that their irrational beliefs have ‘science’ behind them which is completely false according to real people of science.
“Bad omens” are just your perceptions and fears which show your lack of control over a situation you are in. You have to come out these things by using rational thinking. Like this…
Q: What is the logic behind myths like not uttering names like "snake" and "owl", in the night?
Krishna: One shouldn’t utter the words snakes and owls during night?! We do utter them! And we didn’t face any bad consequences because of that!
Irrational thoughts and fears are reasons behind those myths originated in pre-scientific era. And we need not fear them anymore now. Go ahead and utter those names at night and see for yourself how those myths can be busted! It is fun!
Q: Some people do get cancer even if they don't smoke, consume alcohol, gutka etc. , or interfere with their body's natural processes. Then what is the purpose of 'being good'?
Krishna: Oh, my! What a question? Okay, let me explain this way...
You drive your car on a road. Accidents do happen when you are on the road. But if you limit your speed, follow the rules, be alert and don't drink and drive, you can have control over your vehicle and avoid other vehicles. You can reduce your chances of getting involved in an accident if you take care.
But if you refuse to obey the road rules, speed or use your cell phone while driving or drink and drive, and say, "Accidents do happen, why should I care? Why should I take preventive measures?", nobody can help you. You yourself are increasing your chances of becoming an accident victim.
Now need I tell you if you smoke or drink heavily you yourself increase your chances of becoming a cancer patient very early in your life?
Okay, I warned you anyway. If you are wise, you won't ignore it.
Q: Should we oil our hair everyday?
Krishna: I never oil my hair! Never, ever! But my hair doesn’t fall down because of this!
Our skin produces enough oil to lubricate our hair. Glands in the skin produce an oily substance called sebum. Sebum is what moistens hair and keeps it from drying out. The glands that produce sebum (called sebaceous glands) are located next to hair roots in the layer of skin called the dermis. Each of us produces a different amount. Everything from genetics and hormones affects how much sebum we produce at a given time.
Oiling doesn’t help preventing hair fall, instead it can increase it. Oiling leads to accumulation of dust and oil on the scalp which blocks your hair follicles, hence increasing the fall. It can also give rise to other facial problems like acne.
Oiling itself is not good for a healthy scalp. But, if you wish to in order to condition your hair, oil them half an hour before head bath. It will soften your hair, at the same time; the oil won’t stick to your scalp attracting dust particles, leading to hair fall.
I wash my hair twice in a week.
I eat a highly nutritious and healthy food. I think that is enough for me to maintain my hair on my head!
This answer is based on my experience plus the science I know :)
Q: My mother panics very easily. Even when we try to assure her everything will be alright, she goes into panic modes very often. We are fed up. How can we control her disorders?
Krishna: The first thing I learned after coming into the scientific arena is - not all biological systems will be alike and that we have to understand each individual's unique bio-chemistry to understand his or her conditions properly and respect the person despite his/her conditions and not to ridicule or criticize the person.
Therefore, I request you try to understand that not everybody's brain chemistry will be alike.
Multiple studies in the past few decades have found that when people with panic disorders are exposed to air with a higher-than-normal concentration of carbon dioxide—which can combine with water in the body to form carbonic acid—they are more likely to experience panic attacks than healthy individuals are. Other research has revealed that the brains of people with panic disorders produce elevated levels of lactate—an acidic source of fuel that is constantly produced and consumed in the energy-hungry brain.
Recent research shows that the link between brain acidity and psychiatric disorders is real. Live imaging studies conducted on people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and panic disorder provide much more direct evidence for the hypothesis that acidity may underlie these various psychiatric conditions. By using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, a method that can detect biochemical changes in tissue, scientists have consistently found elevated levels of lactate in these individuals’ brains.
Panic attacks can occur due to number of disorders including panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, drug use, depression, and medical problems. They can either be triggered or occur unexpectedly. Risk factors include smoking and psychological stress. Diagnosis should involve ruling out other conditions that can produce similar symptoms including hyperthyroidism, hyperparathyroidism, heart disease, lung disease, and drug use.
Treatment of panic attacks should be directed at the underlying cause. In those with frequent attacks, counselling or medications may be used. Breathing training and muscle relaxation techniques may also help.
The physical changes that occur during panic attacks include...
Feeling that his or her body is failing. There is frequently the sudden onset of fear with little provoking stimulus. This leads to a release of adrenaline (epinephrine) which brings about the fight-or-flight response when the body prepares for strenuous physical activity. This leads to an increased heart rate (tachycardia), rapid breathing (hyperventilation) which may be perceived as shortness of breath (dyspnea), and sweating. Because strenuous activity rarely ensues, the hyperventilation leads to a drop in carbon dioxide levels in the lungs and then in the blood. This leads to shifts in blood pH (respiratory alkalosis or hypocapnia), which can lead to other symptoms, such as tingling or numbness, dizziness, burning and lightheadedness.
Moreover, the release of adrenaline during a panic attack causes vasoconstriction resulting in slightly less blood flow to the head which causes dizziness and lightheadedness. A panic attack can cause blood sugar to be drawn away from the brain and toward the major muscles.
Read here how even gut bacteria effects anxiety: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/how-gut-bacteria-may-affect-anx...
Panic disorder can be effectively treated with a variety of interventions, including psychological therapies and medication.
Now that you know what causes her condition, try to understand and think that not everything is under her full control.
Take her to a good doctor. I am sure, she will come out of this condition if you co-operate and when she is treated properly with medical intervention. I wish her a speedy recovery.
Q: If we die and the "nothingness" happens, are we aware that we're dead?
Krishna: When we die, we will not know that we ‘re dead.
Because we will not have our consciousness to understand things.
Q: Why are most people so uninformed or incurious about the world around them?
Krishna: Because their brains are differently wired!
Q: Do microbes live in our brains too?
Krishna: There are some reports of microbes in brains ...
Brain Microbial Populations in HIV/AIDS: α-Proteobacteria Predominate Independent of Host Immune Status
Frontiers “Bacteria Found in Alzheimer’s Brains.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 17 July 2017.
Q: Is Elon Musk right in saying most academic papers are useless?
Krishna: Nobody can decide like that. At least all scientific fields and knowledge depend on one another. Every bit adds some information to the knowledge bank. Even negative information contributes and says something about the topic. People use it in one way or the other.
In my opinion, nothing in scientific research is going to be a waste.
Q: Do the ability to observe the world increase superstitions in a person?
Krishna: That depends on the thinking process of a person.
If the person is rational in his thought process, observing others or the world where superstitions are prevalent have no effect whatsoever. I live in a highly superficial world but I never believe in or practice any of them.
On the other hand, if a person lacks neutral assessment ability, he or she gets influenced by the world around easily.
Some people can think somewhat neutrally but cannot overcome their fears, cannot control the situation they are in fully, cannot go against the tide and resort to irrational beliefs in the end as it is the easiest way to follow and get a temporary relief.
Anyway, it is not easy to go superstition-free. Only a highly critical thinking and courageous mind can overcome irrationality.
Mythology also expresses a participatory result of people's aspirations,
which in the end are targets that really touch.
If we suspend the time, about tens of thousands of years, since
mythological aspirations have an internal logic the story of ICAR aspiration appeared yesterday
and today we live the reality of replacing wax wings with composite materials of supersonic airplanes.