SCI-ART LAB

Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

                                                              Interactive science series

Q: What is the most interesting thing that you do and I don't, but I should? 

Krishna: I tread in a wonderful world called ‘pure science’. It is completely different from ordinary world. Wonder whether you have ever encountered it.

If you do, please enter it, it will change you for ever. And you never want to go back to any other world again. It’s grip is so tight, you cannot escape from it. Ever! 

Krishna in a wonderland (called Science)

Q: I don't like science and hate it because I don't understand it. Am I doing something wrong?

Krishna: I read a quote sometime back. I don't remember the exact words but it goes like this...

''Your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it!"

Okay, without science, you, I and the whole universe don't exist in the first place!  If you hate it, you hate yourself for coming into this world making use of scientific principles and living in it with its aid! Now go ahead and hate science!! And yourself, the method of your birth and living in the process!!!

Q: Is science a never ending expedition, the other end of which, we will never see? 

Krishna: Yes! I would also say it is a never ending thrilling adventure. That is why you will never get bored here. We in the field never want it to end in the first place. Scientists never want to go jobless!

But we will see some phases where we encounter fascinating results which we can make use of for the welfare of mankind. Isn’t that sufficient to be here and get satisfied?

Krishna in a wonderland (called #Science)

Q: Aren't people who are trying to go to Mars mad? Nobody can survive the journey.

Krishna: If that 's what  Neil Armstrong and his fellow Astronauts thought, they would have never landed on moon. Sometime back I read an absorbing story about the first lunar expeditions. 

It’s hard to imagine now how primitive computer technology was in 1969. Mission Control's total computing power was the equivalent of an old laptop and the lunar module’s computing capability was equivalent to a digital watch with a calculator. Then they had to deal with human errors and mechanical failures and it is a miracle that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin ever made it back alive. The White House had even prepared a speech honoring the deaths of the astronauts during lunar trip!

Apollo 11 was four minutes into its landing sequence when the terse words of its commander, Neil Armstrong, came from the speaker in Mission Control:

"Program alarm." Error code “1202” Controllers in Houston scanned their notes trying to figure out what the problem was. But time was running short. Aldrin had adjusted the antenna, and Mission Control had done what they could on their end, but the radio connection just kept fading in and out. The next alarm was a code “1201”. If it got much worse, they would have to order an abort.

To make matters worse, Apollo 11’s lunar module was running off course by a faster than planned descent, so the lunar module overshot the landing site by 4 miles into an inhospitable lunar terrain with boulders the size of trucks. Armstrong leveled off at 400 feet. According to astronaut Duke monitoring events from Houston, “the LEM was whizzing across the surface … It was far from what we had trained for and seen in the simulations. So I started getting a little nervous, and they weren't telling us what was wrong. It was just that they were flying this strange trajectory." In fact, they were flying for their lives.

You can’t hear it in Armstrong’s voice but he was flying the craft manually to find a less hazardous alternative site and came within seconds of exhausting the module’s fuel and crashing. After an accident that far away there would be no rescue attempts. They very well knew that! But still Neil’s voice was calm, confident, most of all clear: "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."

Initially the door would not open because the internal atmosphere would not completely vent. There was a danger that forcing the door would rupture it beyond the astronauts ability to re-establish a seal. While exiting the craft for the first time Neil’s bulky suit broke off the ascent arming switch to leave the moon. Buzz Aldrin revealed how a pen saved him and Armstrong from a lonely death stranded on the moon. When someone asked me why the Omega watch Armstrong was wearing was not technically the first watch on the moon it is because he had to leave it in the module when the on board clock failed.

When the two astronauts were finally able to see their home: a distant blue marble, the weight of this accomplishment came down on their shoulders as the representatives of all mankind. They were standing on the Earth’s only natural satellite which had been orbiting the earth since before the dawn of civilization. There was the awe and mystery of being on an alien world and the realization of how small and frail man is compared to the cosmos.

Everybody thinks they know about Apollo missions, but never stop to think just how complicated those trips to the moon actually were. For a group of pioneering men armed with experimental 1960′s technology, Apollo 11 was a triumph against the odds that came close to ending in disaster.

(Thanks JF for this story)

And imagine about the emotions Armstrong felt when he first stepped on the moon. Nothing you could imagine can ever be compared to it! Thrill, excitement, fear (yes, but they won't tell you about it), triumph and new knowledge! It 's unimaginable and incomparable. After that experience everything else on our planet  becomes insignificant!

It is that experience, knowledge and emotions we are after! If you think we are mad, yes we are! But get this right.  It is people like Armstrong that drive the world towards progress. Not people with retrograde fears.

Q: I got my beliefs - I must admit several of them are irrational -  from my parents and grand parents when I was very young. I grew up with them and thought they were real. I am a PG in science but still have several of my beliefs  intact. 

After visiting this website and reading your articles, I realized how my mind was 'conditioned by my religion and culture' like you say. Is it possible for me to change now? Developing critical thinking is difficult for people like me. You must have got it by birth. How can normal people like us become 'Krishnas' now?

Krishna: I see a change in your thinking. For that matter several peoples' thinking after visiting this network. The messages I receive are proof of that. If that change is caused by my articles,  I am glad I succeeded!

To tell you the truth, I am not like this from the beginning. When I was young, my mind too was conditioned. My training in science, plus the atmosphere provided by my father and my paternal grandfather (he was a social reformer and much advanced in his thinking in those days), brought a slow change in me.

Everything that was lodged in my mind got a thorough thought analysis and most of irrationality got thrown out of it. I am extremely happy with this change. My world has completely changed since then. I entered a new arena - a wonderland called science - which made me a new person brimming with confidence brought by knowledge and the right reasoning. It is so beautiful, complete, whole and realistic, I never can go back again. 

Yes, you too can come to this sublime shrine called  science and make it your home. My articles will help you in doing that. 

To develop critical thinking, plead read this one:  critical thinking 

Q: Is drinking alcohol in moderation good for health?

Q: I've heard that drinking a little alcohol is beneficial for our health. Why is that? How much is "a little"?  

Q: What are the health benefits of drinking alcohol?

Krishna: With 'research papers' published by vested interests like the alcohol industry, people are getting confused. According to WHO and a new research study, the alcohol industry uses denial, distortion and distraction to mislead people about the risks of developing cancer from drinking, often employing similar tactics to those of the tobacco industry. Too bad. 

Drinks industry organizations often present the relationship between alcohol and cancer as highly complex, implying there is no clear evidence of a consistent link, said the study led by scientists at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Sweden's Karolinska Institutet. Other strategies include denying any relationship exists, or saying inaccurately that there is no risk with moderate drinking, the study found. The industry also seeks to mention a wide range of other real and potential cancer risk factors in an effort to present alcohol as just one of many, it added.

The World Health Organization says drinking alcohol is a well-established risk factor for a range of cancers, including tumors of the mouth, liver, breast and colon and bowel. And the risk of cancer rises with levels of alcohol consumed.

The research team behind Thursday's study analyzed the information relating to cancer on the websites and documents of nearly 30 alcohol industry organizations around the world between September 2016 and December 2016.

"The weight of scientific evidence is clear - drinking alcohol increases the risk of some of the most common forms of cancer," said Mark Petticrew, a professor of public Health at the LSHTM who co-led the study.

How Alcohol is bad for your heart: excessive alcohol consumption begins to weaken the heart muscle resulting in blood flow irregularities. Alcoholics and binge drinkers are often plagued by a condition known as cardiomyopathy where the heart stretches and droops. People diagnosed with cardiomyopathy caused by alcohol tend to experience shortness of breath, arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), fatigue, enlarged liver, and a persistent cough. Alcohol can also increase the risk of a heart attack, stroke, and hypertension.

Nervous system and brain: Beyond that initial feeling of euphoria, alcohol can have a detrimental effect on the brain. By slowing the relay of information between neurotransmitters, the ethanol found in alcoholic drinks can cause damage to multiple areas of the brain. Prolonged damage to the brain’s neurotransmitters can result in behavioral and mood changes such as depression, anxiety, memory loss, and seizures. Alcoholism combined with poor nutrition can also trigger Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, “Wet Brain.” Alcoholics with “Wet Brain” experience a form of depression characterized by memory loss, confusion, hallucinations, loss of muscle coordination, and an inability to form new memories. Alcohol impairs the nervous system

Liver: Our livers are essential when it comes to proper food digestion, nutrient absorption, controlling infections, and ridding the body of toxins. Excessive alcohol consumption causes liver cirrhosis and the subsequent death caused by it.

Pancreas:  Large amounts of alcohol can confuse the pancreas causing it to secret enzymes internally instead of sending them to the small intestines. The buildup of enzymes in the pancreas will eventually cause inflammation. This inflammation, also known as pancreatitis, can either occur as a sudden attack (acute pancreatitis) that includes symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, increase heart rate, diarrhea, and fever or chronic pancreatitis which slowly deteriorates the pancreas, leading to diabetes and even death.

Kidneys: The effect alcohol has on the liver can also spread to the kidneys. Due to the diuretic effect alcohol has on increasing the amount of urine the body produces, the kidneys are not able to do their job of regulating the flow and makeup of body fluids including the distribution of sodium, potassium, and chloride ions. This can in turn disturb our balance of electrolytes. Excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to high blood pressure, the second leading cause of kidney failure. 

Now say that drinking alcohol is good for health. It is not! Even in moderation!

Q: Why are some scared of doing a Ph.D.?

Krishna: As I am sitting on the other side of fence now, I can only speculate the reasons based on the observations done on other people.

  1. You are about to enter an unknown, untested and uncertain zone.
  2. You have to deal with all your problems all alone.
  3. You have to use your brain more creatively, correctly, critically and concentratedly.
  4. You have to deal with lots of difficulties and failures.
  5. You have to deal with financial restraints.
  6. Your grit and determination will be measured with high caliber analytics.
  7. You are asked to sacrifice most part of your youth for the sake of knowledge.
  8. Success is placed so high, it takes all you have as a human being to reach there.
  9. Some students think they don’t have the right personality to handle the above things.
  10. Some don’t know the strong stuff they are made of until they jump into the ocean and meet the psunami in person. 

Q: Has the belief in God increased or decreased during the past 50 years? Does science and technology have an impact on it?  

Krishna: Several things influence you to make you a believer.

Some time back I read an article on SA

Is God Dying?

The article says free thinking of democracies, opening up of borders and free trade are responsible for this trend of non-belief.

Religious beliefs also depend on age. The older the population, the stronger the belief, because you become physically weak, lose confidence in your abilities and make belief your support.

Older People Hold Stronger Belief in God

Losing control over the situations in your life, chaos, fear, your surroundings too influence you in believing certain things…

Science's rules are unyielding, they will not be bent in any way fo...

Analytical thinking decreases your belief. And science deals with such thinking.

Analytic thinking can decrease religious belief, study shows

That is why most of the scientists are non-believers.

Majority of the people in the world believe in God because they are not analytical thinkers. 

Q: Are there any natural remedies for cough?

Krishna: Honey! 

Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18056558

Q: How are we fighting war with science?

Krishna: By standing up for science… like this…

Standing Up For Science : Showing Reasons Why Science Should Be Tru...

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