SCI-ART LAB

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

Q: I get scared when I hear stories in the media like children dying after taking vaccines. Will it be alright if I refuse to get my children vaccinated? Just one or two children keeping away from vaccination doesn't make any difference. What do you think?

Krishna: I think the media is irresponsible. Just  reporting such minor stories in a bad way without really investigating the real causes of death of the children in such cases is highly deplorable. There are millions out there who benefited from vaccines. Billions of children were saved from certain death because of vaccines all these years. When one or two die - not because of actual imminization programme but because of other reasons like 'bad storage, bad preparation of vaccines' or other 'underlying causes in a child that were present at the time of vaccination', that should never be the reason to refuse vaccination. 

Imagine if each and every parent thinks like you do and refuses to get their children vaccinated! You are not only taking your child towards danger but also several others who cannot be vaccinated for various reasons. Recently a scientist told me a very sad story. Please read this story ...

A child in Serbia was diagnosed with a non-life threatening autoimmune syndrome when she was aged one. Because of her condition, she couldn't be vaccinated. The parents hoped that the collective immunity ( when all other children around took vaccines, they develop collective immunity to several diseases which would prevent the diseases from spreading) would protect their daughter in the course of an epidemic.

But when the girl was hospitalized, dashing all hopes of her parents, she contacted measles from children who were not vaccinated. Her condition worsened and the girl died because of measles. That could have been easily prevented had all the other children around been vaccinated.  Just because all the other parents thought like you did, this tragedy happened. 

Every child has the right to be protected from infectious diseases. Just because of one or two bad incidents, don't take yours and all the children around towards dangerous path. Read this article by clicking on the link given below that would give a clarity to you ...

vaccine-woes

Q: What are the pros and cons of fevers?

Krishna: Fever is the body’s natural response to infection — it’s a natural defense mechanism. There is no need to panic if you get a 'slightly high' temperature. A high temperature triggers the body’s production of infection-fighting white blood cells and inhibits the growth of viruses and bacteria. If you lower the fever, you may be affecting the body’s ability to respond to that infection. Most fevers — generally considered to be a temperature 100.4 and above ( till 102F)— come and go quickly, without any complications.

These fevers are actually necessary to inhibit  microbial growth in the living body , as microbes need optimal temperature to grow and flourish and high temperatures make things difficult for them.

There’s also no reason to panic about fever-related seizures, in children, which are generally short and not related to how high a temperature is, and almost always resolve on their own. What you should take seriously in children are these symptoms ... decreased activity or lack of responsiveness of the patient, headache with neck pain, acute dehydration, difficulty breathing, pain with urination and a fever with abdominal pain. In adults ... a relentless fever that doesn’t disappear over the course of several days, which can indicate a severe infection, malignancy or other problem. If you really worry about  the temperature, you should care about treating the root cause, not actual fever.

A fever higher than 102 F can be reduced safely, but temperature below these are no longer recommended to be reduced by using fever medicines. There is no need to run to pharmacy if you get a fever below 102 F. But ... very high fevers are dangerous. 

Fever can help fight infection, but sometimes it can climb too high for the body's own good. Internal body temperatures in excess of 105 degrees F, for instance, expose proteins and body fats to direct temperature stressors. This form of heat distress can threaten the integrity and function of proteins accustomed to the body's usual temperature variations and the occasional less excessive fevers. Cellular stress, infarctions, necrosis, seizures and delirium are among the potential consequences of prolonged, severe fevers. The receptor environment at the hypothalamus maintains limitations on high fevers. In the rare instances in which the hypothalamus itself malfunctions, the result is typically low body temperature, not elevated body temperature. 

My mother's body temperature  reached 107 F when she had malaria, a few years back. I wouldn't have believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes. Even the doctors were shocked. But when the alarm bells in my mind started ringing, I took immediate steps to reduce the temperature. Although they and my mother's defense mechanism worked and she survived, I noticed her brain chemistry changed drastically afterwords. She became very aggressive, dementia developed, she used to have confusion and seizures. Because I understood what happened,   and also why, I developed patience to deal with her. But it 's not easy. She suffered the consequences rest of her life.

Q: What is the destination of science?

Krishna: Like I have been explaining for the past several years, science has two aspects to it. 

1. The scientific principles this universe is based on and run it.

2. The process with which we study these principles that govern the universe and make use of them for the welfare of the world.

The second one also supports the explanations of phenomena and processes and to inspect and correct them on the basis of old and new knowledge. Establishing facts is very important to make use of them in the right way, i.e., in the application process. Only science and scientific methods can take us to the Ultimate Reality.

The main destination of science from the second aspect angle, therefore, is  the improvement of the living conditions, life prolongation, to alleviate pain and suffering of living beings,  understanding the possible dangers from nature to avoid them. 

Q: Does science needs support and if it does in what way?

Krishna: Most scientists think that no objective truth requires support if it is really the objective truth.

The Earth is not flat but a spheroid. Whether anybody agrees with it or not, once indisputable evidence is provided, this stands unless somebody falsifies it with another set of data and evidence. It makes no difference if somebody agrees with this fact or still argues that the Earths  is flat!

However, there are some aspects that needs peoples' understanding, acceptance and co-operation for the welfare of living beings. Like the universal immunization programme, global warming, health aspects, cleanliness, superstitions and things that effect all the human beings. If we don't have people's understanding and support for these causes, that would become a disaster. These  would fail and humanity as whole would suffer.

That is where we are trying to make people understand with our efforts to educate them, understand and accept them so that they would co-operate with the scientific world willingly.

Q: How do researchers motivate themselves during tough conditions?

Krishna: One of my friends told me recently very inspiring story about their supervisor.

My friend deals with cancer  research. Each time the research team gets fatigued with the extremely hard work (they work for 20 hours a day sometimes)  or has to face frustration and failure, the supervisor arranges a meeting of his team with  the cancer patients. Each patient tells a heart-rending story about his/her condition, pain, his/her young family, his or her desire to live. 

At the end of each such meetings, my friend says, the researchers come out with more determination to help these patients! They forget their own pain, all their fatigue, failure, funds they didn't receive and everything else. Only thing that remains in their mind is to find a cure to cancer and help the patients they interacted with!

'Who says life is easy? It is tough, more so in the lab. But the show must go on ... no matter what. The world is suffering and we have a mission to alleviate that suffering. Our own pains and sufferings can wait!' That is how a genuine researcher thinks.  

Q: Why are scientific findings often mocked?

Krishna: If people have shallow knowledge about science and the scientific method, this happens. Also, if people are afraid that they would lose control if science over takes the religion, they try to undermine science. The fear factor makes you attack anything that you feel threatened with!

That doesn’t mean science is always right. There are two aspects to science.

First, This universe is based on scientific principles. These principles run this universe too. These are facts nobody can disagree with. Isn't that then absolute truth? Atleast in our universe, that is an absolute truth. If these scientific principles are not absolute, our universe would have been collapsed by now and it wouldn't have existed in the first place.

Second, science is a process with which we study the universe around us. As human beings with limitations, what we study need not always be absolute facts. That is why science encourages falsification and correction. We have also made the scientific method our best protection from failure. However, these, although the best under present circumstances, need not be full proof. Therefore, human-proposed scientific theories need not be absolute truths like the scientific facts of this universe. These inadequacies of human mind and the resultant misinterpretation of the true scientific principles that govern this universe form the basis for the mocking.

But only if people really try to understand or to know how difficult it is to unravel the mysteries with all our limitations, this mocking would stop!

Q: Do you consider yourself to be a science buff?
Krishna: Need you ask this Q?
Yes! Science is in each atom of my body. Science is what drives my thoughts. I am drunk on science. I am deeply in love with science.
I cannot imagine our universe without science, because this universe is science based and science run.
Need I say more? :)

Q: I read a description of a person where he says, a beautiful lady gave him a n electric shock without touching him. This is how he told the story: 

'One day a lady has come to our house. She is beautiful. I was admiring her beauty. While she is leaving, she prostrated on the floor and kept her fingers 3 inches away from my toes. I was just standing with bare feet on the mosaic tiled floor. To my surprise, I felt electric shock on the legs. I know she spends some time in prayer in pooja room which I have seen in their home. This is something paranormal'.

Well, is it?

Krishna: :) The lady’s beauty tweaked this person's mind! This can happen to some people!

Have you heard about anxiety and stress brain zaps? 

It feels as if your head, brain, or both have experienced a sudden shake, vibration, tremor, jolt, electric shock, or zap. Some people describe the head and brain zaps symptoms as if the brain has been suddenly jolted by electricity or strong electric charge. Others describe it as having a sudden intense head or brain tremor, shake, or vibration.

The head and brain zaps symptoms generally come out of nowhere and don’t have a logical explanation. These head and brain zaps usually last only a few brief moments and then disappear. The brain zap feeling can affect a small part of your head or brain, many parts of them, or all of them.

The head and brain zaps symptoms can occur rarely, frequently, or persistently. They can be associated with anxiety and stress, or for no apparent reason.

The head and brain zaps symptoms can be slight, moderately strong, or severe. 

Behaving in an apprehensive manner creates the state of anxiety. Being anxious activates the body’s emergency response, also called the stress response. The stress response secretes stress hormones into the bloodstream where they bring about specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that equip the body to better deal with danger - to either fight with or flee from it - which is the reason the stress response is often referred to as the fight or flight response.

Because of the changes the stress response brings about, anxiety stresses the body. When the body becomes overly stressed, it can exhibit symptoms of stress, such as having head and brain zaps. If you've been under a lot of stress lately, that could be the very reason you experienced this symptom.

As the body's stress increases overall, it can exhibit more symptoms overall, and they can vary in type, number, intensity, duration, and frequency. Having head and brain zaps is a common indication of persistently elevated stress. While this sensation can be unsettling and startling, it’s not dangerous or harmful when it’s a symptom of elevated stress (1).

Electric currents aspecifically stimulate neurons, causing them to fire. When sensory afferents are activated in this way, sensory perceptions are generated.

sharks have a feature Ampullae of Lorenzini. These sensory organs are electroreceptors, which allow sharks to sense the bio-electrical fields of prey under water.

Even music can give you chills (2)

It is not possible to get a shock without current. But 'biological aspects of feeling shocks' work completely different from the normal current shocks. 

Q: One of my dad's friends has been doing 'pujas' for the past 30 years. He can tell what is happening in a house 600 kms away without seeing anything. How can science explain that?

Krishna: Okay, ask him to tell what is happening in my house right now. 

It might be your belief but no person can do such things. Sorry to disappoint you but without any solid evidence just your words don't count in science. Science can't explain things that exist only in your imagination, not in the real world.

After ten days of asking you for evidence I am still waiting for your uncle's 'miracle vision'. Where is it? 

Q: Why does the universe exist at all instead of nothingness?

Q: Can we explain the  existence of universe without invoking religion?

Krishna: From a scientific point of view ....  Quantum fluctuations are responsible for the existence of  the universe - assuming that it is  is spatially ‘flat’, which suggests that the positive energy of the universe ( in the inflationary theory, matter, antimatter, and photons were produced by the energy of the false vacuum, which was released following the phase transition. All of these particles consist of positive energy ) balances the negative (gravity). In other words, the net energy sum of the universe is zero. In reference to this feature, physicist Alan Guth once said that the universe is “the ultimate free lunch”.

It is remarkable that the universe consists of essentially nothing, but (fortunately for us) in positive and negative parts. You can easily see that gravity is associated with negative energy: If you drop a ball from rest (defined to be a state of zero energy), it gains energy of motion (kinetic energy) as it falls. But this gain is exactly balanced by a larger negative gravitational energy as it comes closer to Earth’s center, so the sum of the two energies remains zero.

The idea of a zero-energy universe, together with inflation, suggests that all one needs is just a tiny bit of energy to get the whole thing started (that is, a tiny volume of energy in which inflation can begin). The universe then experiences inflationary expansion, but without creating net energy.

This video  explains it in detail:

Q: If we swallow a nail, can our body absorb iron in it?

Krishna:   The body is unable to directly absorb elemental iron, the reaction that occurs with hydrochloric acid (HCl) in the stomach produces ferrous iron (Fe2+), which is absorbed in the small intestines. 

Q: Has your brain ever been hijacked?

Krishna: Not by people actually or any ideology but by science!  I am under the tight grip of science most of the time. I don't call it actual hijacking but it is a will-full surrender and I love it.

Q: Have you ever accepted what others call a myth after knowing the scientific reason behind it?

Krishna: No! Just ‘knowing a scientific reason’ won’t do for scientists. We want genuine evidence to accept anything. Misinformation and pseudo-science are prevalent in most parts of the world.

Anything that doesn’t follow the scientific method doesn’t come under the category of science. If you just give me an explanation using all the scientific jargon, I will just say, ‘thanks for your efforts’ and walk away.

Only genuine high quality evidence can bust a myth. Rest all is rubbish.

To defeat a lie, you need reliable genuine evidence and data, not another lie.

Q: Is it possible to avoid being superstitious?

Krishna: Yes! If you are a critical thinker.

Yes, if you use genuine science as a tool to understand and explain things happening around you.

Critical Thinking

Scientific Thinking

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

I am one of those people who overcame fear, low confidence, ignorance and things like that form basis for going the superstitious way by following the above methods. I helped several others too to overcome their fears.

If I could do this, then anybody can, if they try honestly.

Q: Give me an honest answer to this Q: Why did 1000 PhDs, express their skepticism about Darwinian Evolution?

Krishna: I have seen the list of people who signed this skepticism linked paper.  They are mostly scientists who have no experience in evolutionary research and often are in fields not even related to evolution, like hydraulic engineering. Some even have PhDs in other fields not related to science. Merely being a scientist does not make anyone very knowledgeable about all science, but only a small area of it. An  engineer whose PhD is in Mechanical Engineering or Computer Science expresses an opinion on evolutionary theory it is as irrelevant as my opinion of Quantum Mechanics. Opinions don't count in science. If the opinion comes from a person of another field, it doesn't carry any weight at all!

Why have 1000+ scientists signed this statement? Because many are not in relevant fields to be knowledgeable about it and because the statement itself is deceptively written (deliberately vague and poorly written).

A conditioned mind that is unable to overcome its own weaknesses, can go to any extent to derail the scientific method. And creationists 'use them' to push forward their agenda.  

Having said that I also want to add that science encourages falsification and correction. If the experts in Evolutionary Biology thinks something is wrong with Darwinian Evolution, they can produce data and evidence supporting their argument and settle the issue following strict scientific method. No other person has any business to talk about it and cause confusion in people's minds.

Evolution just isn't plain and simple; an organism may evolve a system to help it succeed in an ecological niche. Later descendants of that creature may evolve further traits when it's ecological niche changes. Again, later on, the niche may change, regaining some of the previous characteristics of the niche. When the organism evolved to meet the new requirements, it didn't necessarily lose the DNA needed to grow structure for the older ecological requirement. It just deactivated those genes, and continued to replicate them.

Again, some genes only get activated if an environment contains molecules that cause certain genes to express.

In these cases, the organism isn't demonstrating evolution per second. It evolved a trait once, then deactivated it when it was no longer needed, and reactivated a trait that actually already existed.

And when so many things happening and controlling things, you got to be an expert in the field with high critical thinking abilities to really understand anything. If you are not, it is better to keep quiet. 

Q:When India becomes a Hindu nation will its science follow Hindu or western principles? 

Science isn’t Indian, American, Russian, Chinese, Asian, European, Eastern, Western, Earth’s, Mars’s, Sun’s or Milkyway’s. It is Universe’s!

If any scientist follows pseudo-science, he won’t be able to publish in any international genuine science journals, he has to be satisfied with publications in dubious journals that have no value in the world of science. With pseudo-science you cannot treat diseases - you can only cheat people. You cannot go into space, only boast about it. you cannot feed people, only hoodwink them. The world soon finds about your frauds and you will become a laughing stalk.

If the Indian scientific community doesn’t follow the universal scientific methods, they become pseudo-scientists and fraudsters. Science here becomes stagnant and India becomes retrograde.

No genuine scientist wants that to happen. We want to follow universal scientific method. For our own good and progress of humanity.

Can courts here decide what is science and what is not? If they do,...

Q: Do our thoughts come from nowhere?

They come from the stored information in your brain like the previous experiences, learned (consciously or unconsciously) things, the present inputs you get from your senses, various stimuli. Thoughts emerge from neural processes, and that neural processes come from everywhere in your body.

If you have information loaded, controlled and trained thinking we call it Critical Thinking and Scientific Thinking.

During some medical conditions like schizophrenia your circuits go heywire and you face strange thought processes.

There are in between conditions where your thoughts are conditioned by various factors and therefore are lopsided. Or with less information to guide, they are immature or with misinformation, they are faulty.

Q: Why don't scientists support alternative medicines?

Krishna: We do, if they follow scientific method to arrive at a conclusion.  Then it becomes real and genuine  medicine, not an alternative medicine! The other day, I heard a scientist saying, the alternative to medicine is 'illness'. So?!

Q: What is alternative to science? Why shouldn't we follow the alternatives?

Krishna: The literal meaning of science is 'knowledge'. Therefore, the alternative to science is 'ignorance', literally speaking. If you want to go the ignorant way, it is your choice! But as an intelligent human being, do you think ignorance is worth following?

Q: Science, especially mathematics and physics,  hurts my head. Then how can I love it or get interested in it? I love sports because they don't hurt my head. 

Krishna: Sports can  hurt  your body and head too! :) Haven't you heard about sport injuries? And sport medicine that specifically treat them?

Anyway, people who love science loves it because it is difficult, not easy, and highly challenging to understand and deal with. Science is fun, highly interesting and very thrilling too if you approach it in the right way. Just apply your mind to it, thinking about all the people who get the highest thrill out of complexity and  difficulty. 

We are here to help people like you - to make things easier for you. Then why worry?

And do you know even sportsmen and women cannot do well in their respective fields without the help of science? Wherever you are and whatever you do, love it or hate it, you cannot escape science. Period.

Q: Can dogs work in a laboratory? As in, could they be of use in an environment such a s a lab? If so, how?

Krishna: Not in our Microbiology labs. Not only dogs, no other animals, why we won’t allow even unauthorized human beings inside our labs. Because they not only bring in contamination and screw up our results, they also spread the dangerous bugs out side the labs.

Pic source: Google images

What are Biosafety Labs?

But work in a lab?! They can stay outside, not inside a lab! They can distract us. They can spoil our work with their play, if not trained well.

Having said that, I also want to add that, if you are experimenting with dogs, naturally you allow them inside the labs. Dogs are especially popular for use in toxicology tests, which determine safe levels of an unknown substance for humans. They are also popular for cancer studies because dogs and humans have similar immune systems, making dogs a good model for cancer immunotherapies.

But these tests, using animals, have become rare now. In India, they have been banned altogether.

I am not aware of any dogs working in a lab. Not in India.

Citations:

1. Head And Brain Zaps

2. What Happens in the Brain When Music Causes Chills?

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