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

Q: How can some people dip their hands into hot oil without burning  their hands? Do they have  supernatural powers?

Krishna: Nobody has any supernatural powers. It is based on science. 

Have you heard about Leidenfrost effect? 

It is a physical phenomenon in which a liquid, in near contact with a mass significantly hotter than the liquid's boiling point, produces an insulating vapour layer keeping that liquid from boiling rapidly. Because of this 'repulsive force', a droplet hovers over the surface rather than making physical contact with it. This is most commonly seen when cooking:  sprinkle drops of water in a pan to gauge its temperature: if the pan's temperature is at or above the Leidenfrost point, the water skitters across the pan and takes longer to evaporate than in a pan with a temperature below the Leidenfrost point but still above boiling.

These people who are trying to trick you when they dip their hands in the cool water or masala mix first and then put them in the extremely hot oil, the water vapourizes. This water vapour is a relatively poor heat conductor, and provides a thin protective barrier between their hands and the oil. However, the thin water layer won't last forever and you would get some pretty serious burns if you left your hand in there for too long.

In the first video to  which you gave the link, the person is dipping his hands first in water and then ice before touching the chicken pieces in boiling oil. In the second one, the person is dipping his hands in the masala paste, notice that his hand has that masala coated to it  when he is putting his hand in the hot oil.

These people are protecting themselves with Leidenfrost  effect. 

Watch this video in which how myth busters dipped their fingers in molten metal without getting hurt ...

That is science, not a miracle. Get that right.

Q: Can dogs predict earthquakes?

Krishna: I spoke to seismologists and geophysicists on this issue. They say there is no genuine evidence to prove this. You cannot say if your dog is barking because there is going to be an earthquake, or because it smelled the neighbour's cat!

Some people say animals behave strangely before an earthquake. So far we haven't been able to study whether this is even true, and if so, what these animals can detect that we can't! Small, minor quakes before the bigger ones? Even  man-made equipment can detect these things. 


Q: You said in one of your articles ( )

that farmers are using antibiotics to boost the growth of chickens etc.  How is this possible?

Krishna: According to new research, antibiotics that lowered the amount of bacteria in the gut led some lab animals to secrete less mucus in their GI tract. Mucus is consumed sometimes by gut bacteria for their growth dependent on nitrogen. The animals seemed to keep the extra nitrogen that wasn’t going to feed gut microbes for themselves, allowing them  to grow bigger when antibiotics are used. That finding help explain why antibiotics promote growth in the farm animals.

Q: What is the difference between scientists and ordinary people that make scientists very special?

Krishna: Scientists excel at time management, are comfortable failing, can think critically, can creatively connect various things to solve problems and are great at testing and iterating. 

Read here more about their special qualities: the-specific-traits-of-a-scientific-mind

Q: Does science change based on opinion?

Therefore, the answer to your Q is, the change comes in science based on new genuine data. That is how science progresses. The scientific arguments or conflicts are resolved by a search for better data, not by search for better opinion.

In the field of science majority's opinion counts only when it matc...

Q: Why can't I be a respected biologist who believes in creation rejecting evolution but accepting everything else?

If you are scientifically trained and know how to think critically , you can’t apply this to some and ignore some. That makes you look like a buffoon, not a person of science. Most people don’t respect a person who cannot do proper justice to his job.

Q: Is patriarchal system founded on cultural myths or biological facts?

In patriarchal societies, the father or eldest male is head of the family and descent is reckoned through the male line. People from such systems believe that sons are the "true heirs", and a son less father cannot continue his "line". While male members retain their family names through out their lives, female members have to take the name of their husbands after marriage. Male members also inherit the property rights of their families, while female members don't.

Giving such undue importance to a man doesn't have any basis in science. In fact Nature gives more importance to women and girls - at least during the child bearing years - because they will have to give birth to young ones and this is considered very important. For example given the same conditions for both men and women, the latter will have less cholesterol levels than men, protecting the young females from heart diseases!

The sex hormone oestrogen protects women from heart attacks and may explain why they are far less likely to be struck down than men, according to scientists. They have discovered that this naturally-occurring chemical helps stop blood cells sticking to the walls of arteries and forming potentially fatal blockages.

Women also might have evolved a particularly fast and strong immune response to protect developing fetuses and newborn babies.

Men are more susceptible to parasites, infectious diseases and a man's life span is lesser than a woman's!

Patriarchy has never been grounded in science, and yes, daughters carry a bit more DNA from their fathers than the sons! Girls you are the better carriers of inheritance and you pass on more DNA than your men!!! 

So, girls, don't worry even if your parents and societies discriminate against you, it is only a superficial show and get comfort from the fact that Nature and Science favours you! You are the ones who are truly honoured in reality.

Read here how: How Science is demolishing patriarchal ideas

Q: What is the purpose of different blood types?

Krishna: The most important purpose is fighting disease. 

Like, for instance, Malaria appears to be the main evolutionary selective force behind type O, according to experts. Type O is more prevalent in Africa and other parts of the world that have high burdens of malaria, suggesting that blood type carries some sort of evolutionary advantage. The advantage appears to be that cells infected with malaria don't stick well to type-O or type-B blood cells. Malaria-infected blood cells are more likely to stick to cells with the A sugar and to form clumps known as "rosettes," which can be deadly when they form in vital organs, such as the brain. As a result, people with type O get less sick when they're infected with malaria, according to a 2007 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

On the other hand, people with type-O may be more prone to other diseases. For example, they are known to be more susceptible to Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that causes ulcers. 

Q: Why do some Qs still remained unanswered and some mysteries remained unraveled despite scientific advancement? 

Krishna: Hmmm! People expect to get all the answers in a single day! Okay a single day when compared to the vastness of time scales of our universe.

Read this article of mine to get an answer to your Q:  science-will-answer-your-questions-and-solve-your-problems

Q: Why do we have consciousness?

Krishna: Because our neurons interact with one another at a higher scale to make us conscious!

Q: Can atoms be conscious too? 

Krishna: Individual atoms? No!

We have to consider two things here: Does consciousness arise  because of

 1. Properties of matter?  or 2. Interactions of matter?

Properties of matter decide  interactions too. According to the scientific community,  consciousness arises from the collective interactions going on in the particles that make up our “brain.” Therefore, there  might be something about the properties of matter, as currently measured, that contains some “essence” of consciousness.

It is particular phenomenological groupings of sub-atomic particles that allow consciousness to arise. Science would argue consciousness arises from the structural nature of the “neuron.” Since not all molecules are replicant like DNA, nor are all cells “neurons”, the basis of consciousness is not implicit to the standard model, but explicit to a small set of the phenomenological groupings that arise from it. It is the way matter is arranged, that decides about its consciousness. 

So quantum action might be a precondition of consciousness, but not necessarily the only condition. Phenomenological groupings (like DNA and the neuron) exhibit behavioural perceptions unique to those groupings. The property arises from the shape of the grouping, not the components. A unified theory of physics will arrive at a point where matter has no properties except relative location on which an action principle works. So, consciousness would arise from phenomenological groupings, not from properties of matter.

Consciousness requires several steps up in order and complexity. That can be obtained only by way of interactions of specific groupings of molecules working in a specific way.

Although individual oxygen and iron atoms can become part of brain structure, contribute some way with their properties, they themselves cannot cause consciousness. They alone don't cause consciousness in other parts of the body. Without interaction between specific-chemical-interaction-structured-neurons and their interactions with one another in a special way, there won't be any consciousness. Although nerve cells exist through out the body, only the specific collective interactions of neurons with the help of other neurons in the body in a brain causes consciousness. But other neurons help in the process. Only when other neurons send signals that your hand 's injured, you become aware that your hand 's injured when the specific neural process in your brain determines  and fixes it.

Q: Does consciousness exist even before you are born?

Krishna: Consciousness is the result of our neurons in the brain interacting with one another at a higher scale to make us conscious!

A fully developed fetus in the womb can be somewhat conscious. But before different cells are differentiated, you have interactions between cells through chemical signaling. The fetal brain does not begin to develop until 3-4 weeks into the pregnancy, at which point it is little more than a hollow tube filled with dividing neurons. Between weeks 4 and 8 this neural tissue grows forming the major divisions of the adult brain. By 8 weeks recognisable facial features have developed and the cerebral cortex separates into two distinct hemispheres. By the end of the first trimester (12 weeks) nerve cells are beginning to form rudimentary connections between different areas of the brain. However, these connections are sparse and incapable of performing the same functions as an adult brain. So by 12 weeks, although the fetus is certainly starting to look like a little human, the neural circuits responsible for conscious awareness are yet to develop.

As the complexity of the fetal brain grows, forming structures similar to those we recognise in the adult, so the does the fetus’ ability to experience and respond to its environment. Studies have shown that from 16 weeks the fetus can respond to low frequency sound and by 19 weeks will withdraw a limb or flinch in response to pain. An observer would certainly think these responses look very much like the start of conscious awareness. However, during these early days the neural pathways responsible for converting senses to conscious experiences have yet to develop. This means what we are seeing are just reflexes, probably controlled entirely by the developing brainstem and spinal cord.

In fact, we know that the brain structures necessary for conscious experience of pain do not develop until 29-30 weeks, while the conscious processing of sounds is only made possible after the 26th week. Even when the fetal brain possesses all its adult structures, scientists are cautious to assume it posesses what we refer to as ‘consciousness’. This is mainly because the low oxygen levels and a constant barrage of sleep-inducing chemicals from the placenta ensure that, until birth, the fetus remains heavily sedated. It is not full consciousness. In the last few weeks before the birth the fetus develops some memories. Fetuses can listen to speech within the womb, but the sound-processing parts of their brain become active in the last trimester of pregnancy.

Consciousness requires a sophisticated network of highly interconnected components, nerve cells. Its physical substrate, the thalamo-cortical complex that provides consciousness with its highly elaborate content, begins to be in place between the 24th and 28th week of gestation. Roughly two months later synchrony of the electroencephalographic (EEG) rhythm across both cortical hemispheres signals the onset of global neuronal integration. So, many of the circuit elements necessary for consciousness are in place by the third trimester.

Before birth, full consciousness is not well developed in a fetus. Most part of its development, the fetus is asleep while its brain is trying to mature. It feels the way we do when we are in a deep, dreamless sleep. This state can suppress higher cortical activation in the presence of intrusive external stimuli. The dramatic events attending delivery by natural means cause the brain to abruptly wake up. The fetus is forced from its parasitic existence in the protected, aqueous and warm womb into a hostile, aerial and cold world that assaults its senses with utterly foreign sounds, smells and sights, a highly stressful event. Only after birth the fetus draws its first breath, wakes up and begins to experience life.

Babies display glimmers of consciousness and memory at about 5 months old. At that time the baby has some basic level of unreflective, present-oriented consciousness.

Q: Are International Olympiad medalists prodigies?

Yes, your genetic make up helps. However, without the help of science, you cannot outdo other competitors successfully.

Read here how sport science is doing that: Sport Science - your best bet to beat competition when used in a correct and legal way

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