Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication
Interactive science series
Q: What are some theories which talks about the connection of emotions and scientific growth?
Krishna: What?! Emotions interfere with critical thinking and when they rule, science cannot progress as it should be doing!
However, Scientists are human beings too. But they are trained to keep emotions at bay while they are in their work places. This is because emotions interfere with critical analysis of a problem. Just because you are emotionally involved with something, believe that something is true, it doesn't become truth and a fact of science. In fact I would argue that some of these unreasonable emotions are responsible for mistakes and frauds in science - the urge to succeed at any cost, to beat others and reach top positions, to get accolades from the world are driving some people now - instead of curiosity, desire to learn and understand things and helping the world. The "p-hacking" or 'inflation bias" or"selective reporting" is the misreporting of true effect sizes in published studies occurs - sometimes unconsciously, yet consciously at other times. It happens when researchers try out several statistical analyses and/or data eligibility specifications and then selectively report those that produce significant results. Sometimes you believe in some theory first then try to tweak data and results to suit your theory to get published. If you want fraud-free science, a tight leash on these emotions by scientists is a must. Now, take that!
Q: What are still unsolved mysteries of physics?
Krishna: Physics is a strange world that fascinates me to no end. According to physicists there are several mysteries still need to be unraveled. Like dark energy, dark matter, arrow of time (because of entropy - a property of universe -level of disorder- time moves only forward), the question of parallel universes, why is there more matter than anti-matter, fate of the universe, how measurements collapse quantum wave functions, the correctness of string theory, order in chaos - set of equations that describes the behaviour of fluids from water to air to all other liquids and gases, do the universes's forces merge into one, what happens inside a black hole, do naked singularities exist, violating charge-parity symmetry,
how sound waves make light (sonoluminescence), what lies beyond the standard model, fundamental constants (like the speed of light), truth about gravity - what is it in reality, is the space we live in a false vaccum?
There are several more. Go ahead and work on them!
Q: Is a scientific proof final?
Krishna: All scientific knowledge is tentative and provisional, and nothing is final. There is no such thing as final proven knowledge in science. The currently accepted theory of a phenomenon is simply the best explanation for it among all available alternatives. Its status as the accepted theory is contingent on what other theories are available and might suddenly change tomorrow if there appears a better theory or new evidence that might challenge the accepted theory. No knowledge or theory (which embodies scientific knowledge) is final.
Scientific theories are neither absolutely false nor absolutely true. They are always somewhere in between. Some theories are better, more credible, and more accepted than others. There is always more, more credible, and better evidence for some theories than others. It is a matter of more or less, not either/or. For example, experimental evidence is better and more credible than correlational evidence, but even the former cannot prove a theory; it only provides very strong evidence for the theory and against its alternatives.
Proofs exist in mathematics and logic and therefore they are closed self-contained systems of propositions, whereas science is empirical and deals with nature as it exists.
Q: Why don’t scientists believe in sci-fi explanations?
Krishna: Science deals with facts, not fiction. Period.
Belief has no place in science. Period.
If somebody’s imagination can be fit into real world facts, yes, why not go ahead and make that fiction work with some modifications?
Informed imagination can work sometimes. Educated guesswork can be dealt with. But funny and crazy stories don’t need a second look.
Q: Why does burping make my throat burn sometimes?
Krishna: Because of hydrochloric acid produced in your stomach. Acid reflux, burping and severe vomiting like in cases of morning sickness, make the HCL come out and burn your oesophagus and throat. It can also spoil your teeth!
This is also the reason why, when you’re about to be sick, your mouth often produces excess saliva, so that your teeth and the tissue in your mouth don’t get as badly damaged by the acid as it would otherwise.
Q: Can science explain luck?
Q: How can science explain my bad luck?
Krishna: There isn’t anything called luck. It is just your perception about a situation.
When several factors decide outcomes, they follow the interplay of scientific rules and routes and exactly fit into the reaction realities. You have to register this in your mind to come out of the misery you are in. Watch it coolly and try to understand it. How a person survives a health condition or a catastrophe depends on the sum total outcomes of scientific factors occurring simultaneously. Other outside things have no effect whatsoever on it. Any connections you make between rituals/superstitions and the outcomes depend on your perceptions and experiences. A positive outcome either to you or others makes you stick with them. A negative result will make you attack them. But the net result doesn't depend on anything that is not related to it! And these unrelated factors are your beliefs, rituals, superstitions and myths.
Failures might occur in life. When they do, you should revisit your problem, analyse it thoroughly in an enlightened way and think you haven't found a proper solution to it yet and that's why you couldn't overcome it, then try to get one, increase your efficiency of the effort, plug the loopholes and go after it with all your might to defeat it.
Q: Why is sea water salty?
Krishna: The saltiness of sea or ocean water comes from dissolved minerals such as sodium, chlorine, sulfur, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Today’s ocean salt has ancient origins. As the earth formed, gases spewing from its interior released salt ions that reached the ocean via rainfall or land runoff. Some of the salts were added to the water at a time when gases and lava were spewing from increased volcanic activity. The carbon dioxide dissolved in water from the atmosphere forms weak carbonic acid which dissolves minerals. When these minerals dissolve, they form ions, which make the water salty. While water evaporates from the ocean, the salt gets left behind. Also, rivers drain into the oceans, bringing in additional ions from rock that was eroded by rainwater and streams.
Q: Do women produce eggs in their ovaries through out their life time?
Krishna: When a girl is born, her ovaries contain about one to two million immature eggs, or follicles.
Over a lifetime, the vast majority of follicles will die through a process known as atresia. Atresia begins at birth and continues throughout the course of the reproductive life. When puberty is reached and menstruation begins, only about 400,000 follicles remain. With each menstrual cycle, a thousand follicles are lost and only one lucky little follicle will actually mature into an ovum (egg), which is released into the fallopian tube, kicking off ovulation. That means that of the one to two million follicles, only about 400 will ever mature.
Relatively little or no follicles remain at menopause, which usually begins between 48 to 55 years of age. The remaining follicles are unlikely to mature and become viable eggs because of the hormonal changes that come along with menopause.
A study published online in Nature Cell Biology (April 12, 2009) reports that at least in mice, adult female ovaries have a store of stem cells that have the potential to generate new eggs (1).
Q: Why do we need multiple drugs for HIV infection?
Krishna: HIV has one of the highest mutation rates. Mutations leading to drug resistance can occur within a single day, this is the reason that simultaneous treatment with multiple anti-retroviral drugs that function in different ways is necessary to suppress infection.
Q: Is converting a forest into a farm land bad? We are only planting plants!
Krishna: A study was published in July this year in PLoS Biology on this topic. The study by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) examined deforestation in more than 50 countries in the tropics between 2000—2012, and identified regions where deforestation is most and least beneficial.
It was found that deforestation in Latin America, insular South-East Asia (which include Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Timor Leste) and Madagascar derived low agricultural benefits and high environmental costs.
Areas where benefits from agricultural conversion are higher than cost of deforestation were identified as the Atlantic Forest (mostly coastal Brazil), the Gulf of Guinea and Thailand. These areas have high potential yields, low production costs, high prices for the produce and have market accessibility to trade centres such as cities.
The researchers analysed deforestation and crop distribution and studied the trade-offs between agricultural benefits, carbon emissions and losses of multiple ecosystem services, which are benefits obtained by people from ecosystems such as forests. These benefits include carbon sequestration, flood protection and water purification.
The findings show that while gains by agriculture are US$32 billion to US$53 billion per year, the environmental damage caused by tropical deforestation during this period amounts to future annual losses of US$107 billion to US$135 billion per year. On the whole, tropical deforestation generates large economic losses and that subsequent erosion from conversion was not even factored into the analysis.
They concluded that “If you consider biodiversity as well as carbon and ecosystem services, you’d probably tend not to favour much deforestation at all even for agriculture use.”
Q: According to physicists, how did our universe come into existence?
Krishna: The zero-energy universe hypothesis proposes that the total amount of energy in the universe is exactly zero: its amount of positive energy in the form of matter is exactly canceled out by its negative energy in the form of gravity.
Krishna: Am I an intellectual? :) Thanks, anyway, for the compliment!
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 at least have satisfaction that 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: What is the difference between scientific method and scientific methodology?
Krishna: Understanding the difference between methods and methodology is of paramount importance in science.
Method is simply a research tool, a component of research – say for example, a qualitative method such as interviews. Research methods comprise of the tools, strategies or techniques that are used in research. These could be questionnaires, surveys, interviews, participant observation or other feedback polls. Different scientific disciplines utilize different kinds of methods. Like an ecologist's tracking animals for population studies.
Methodology is the justification for using a particular research method. Methodology refers to the study of how research is done. It entails how we find out about procedures, and the manner in which knowledge is gained. Methodology outlines the principles that guide research practices. Methodology is the study of how research is done, how we find out about things, and how knowledge is gained. In other words, methodology is about the principles that guide our research practices. Methodology, therefore, explains why we’re using certain methods or tools in our research.
Q: Are reincarnation stories true?
Krishna: After you die, your body breaks down with the help of microbes, becomes absorbed and used to build parts of plants, get eaten by microbes, and bigger organisms, becomes parts of those animals. New life begins for the atoms of your body. Isn't that reincarnation? :)
That is the only explanation accepted by science.
Q: Is there a homeopathic remedy that will protect me from the effects of GMO?
Krishna: GMOs have bad effects?! That is just a misconception. Read here why: Relative truth about GM crops, foods and products
Homeopathy doesn’t work most of the time and have only placebo effect.
Homeopathy is pseudoscience – a belief that is incorrectly presented as scientific. Homeopathic preparations are not effective for treating any condition large-scale studies have found homeopathy to be no more effective than a placebo, suggesting that any positive feelings that follow treatment are only due to the placebo effect and normal recovery from illness.
Now you are asking for a medicine that doesn’t work for a condition that doesn’t exist in the first place!
Q: What do you say about these reports on vaccines:
1. Measles and Rubella vaccination scare: http://www.deccanchronicle.com/lifestyle/health-and-wellbeing/28021...
Parents of a particular community in Bengaluru have refused to get their children vaccinated for Measles and Rubella over the last few days. Many parents have refused to get their children vaccinated, fearing health consequences. At least in two areas, state government agencies were forced to use the services of local priests and Wakf Board to convince the opposing parents.
Days after a polio scare in Telangana, a suspected polio case has been detected in Uttar Pradesh, prompting the Union Health Ministry to initiate a probe even as it sought to allay concerns, saying no case of the crippling disease was reported in the country since 2011.
A suspected case of polio was detected in UP's Balrampur district, following which the state health officials have sent a report to the WHO.
Krishna: These happenings are the results of ...
1. Carelessness on the part of health care workers - not storing and checking vaccines properly and also about the health condition of the children before vaccine administration
2. Careless reporting of the media - without researching and mentioning of real reasons why the child died - and educating public - causing panic in parents.
3. Failure of science communicators and government agencies to educate people in the right way.
4. Religious leaders spreading misinformation based on false beliefs.
Read this article of mine to get a clear picture on why vaccines are safe .. vaccine-woes
If prepared and stored properly, the risk of a vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small. The probability of vaccines causing any significant issues is incredibly low. The probability of vaccines preventing significant illnesses is incredibly high.You can meet with an accident while going on the road. But the probability is low if you take all precautions. If you refuse to go out because of your scare, you will have to sit in your home all your life. And that doesn't make you safe at all! Same is true for vaccines. Not taking vaccines is more dangerous than taking them.
And I took vaccines for almost all the diseases and I am a living proof of vaccine safety!
What more reassurance can we give than making ourselves the research subject for everyone to observe and understand?
After reading this answer of mine, a health care provider told me this story...
I worked with a child with Autism. Her mother swore it was from vaccinations and refused to get the next child vaccinated. Then child number 2 also had autism.
Mum still thinks there was a link between the first child's autism and vaccinations. She hasn't said what she thinks caused the 2nd child's.
Some people just won't change their ideas. Ever.
Q: Why is ayurveda not that interesting?
Q: Why don't people don't take ayurveda seriously?
Krishna: Ayurveda is an ancient science that is not tested properly. Several severe side effects have been reported when these medicines were used in patients.
Until the medicines are tested properly using modern scientific methods, and the results published in high quality journals, people don’t take ayurvedic medicines seriously.