SCI-ART LAB

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

Q: It seems a US Nurse tested +ve over a week after receiving Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine? Why did she test positive after taking the vaccine?

Krishna: I am not surprised. It takes time for the human body to develop immunity after taking the vaccine.  

COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness. Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection, but with all types of vaccines, the body is left with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes as well as B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus in the future.

It typically takes a few weeks for the body to produce T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes after vaccination. Therefore, it is possible that a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and then get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection.

Sometimes after vaccination, the process of building immunity can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity.

Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine offers immunity at least seven days after the second dose.1 and Moderna's vaccine offers immunity at least 14 days after the first dose (1).

Although immunity is offered through the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, building immunity against COVID-19 takes time and will still require social distancing and mask-wearing till a person develops immunity.

If a person doesn't follow these rules immediately after taking the vaccine, he or she might get the infection when exposed to the virus.

Footnotes: 

1. https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa2035389

Q:   Why do scientists recreate the copy of viruses?

Krishna: It is just a technology demonstration in synthetic biology.

In 2017 scientists at the University of Alberta have put together from scratch a relative of the smallpox virus (1).

They have a bigger goal in mind, though. Scientists are trying to develop cancer vaccines and wants to use a vaccinia virus — another relative of smallpox, often used in research — as a way to introduce cancer fighters to the immune system. Learning how to make vaccinia viruses synthetically would speed this work. They also want to develop better vaccines by re-creating the viruses.

This is an example of what modern technologies can do

The horsepox virus the Canadian team created is not a threat to human health — or even the health of horses — should it ever escape from a lab. And it’s not the first virus created by putting pieces of DNA together in the right sequence.

Scientists in Australia have become the first to recreate the new coronavirus outside of China in what they have called a "significant breakthrough" in 2020(2).

The discovery has been shared with the World Health Organization (WHO) in the hope it may help efforts to diagnose and treat the virus. The copy could be used as "control material" for testing and "will be a game changer for diagnosis". And it helped in vaccine development too.

Scientists in China have also recreated the virus and shared its genome sequence, but not the virus itself.

Footnotes:

  1. Scientists recreate an extinct virus, a relative of smallpox
  2. Coronavirus: Australian scientists first to recreate virus outside ...

Q: Do animals have left and right handedness like we do?

Krishna: Yes!  Like humans, many animals tend to use one side of the body more than the other. This innate handedness (or footedness) is called behavioural or motor laterality.

The term laterality also refers to the primary use of the left or right hemispheres of the brain. The two halves of the animal brain are not exactly alike, and each hemisphere differs in function and anatomy. In general terms, the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body and the right hemisphere controls the left side (1).

Laterality is an ancient inherited characteristic and is widespread in the animal kingdom, in both vertebrates and invertebrates. Many competing theories (neurological, biological, genetic, ecological, social and environmental) have been proposed to explain how the phenomenon developed, but it remains largely a mystery.

Humans tend to be right-handed. Lefties or “southpaws” make up only about 10% of the human population, and more males than females are left-handed.

Great apes show similar handedness patterns to humans. Most chimps, for instance, seem to be right-handed. But not many studies have looked at laterality in non-primate animals.

There is some evidence to suggest that dogs and cats can be right- or left-pawed, although the ratio seems to be more evenly split than in humans, and it is unclear whether there are sex differences.

Horses also seem to prefer to circle in one direction rather than the other. Meanwhile, one study suggests that kangaroos are almost exclusively lefties, although the neural basis for this is unknown.

In humans, the left hemisphere is mainly associated with analytical processes and language and the right hemisphere with orientation, awareness and musical abilities, although this dichotomy is simplistic at best.

Although the whole brain works in most of the things we do, these special characters 're attributed to different hemispheres. 

Is there evidence of lateralised brain function in non-human animals too? A team of Italian researchers think so. They found that dogs wag their tails to the right when they see something they want to approach, and to the left when confronted with something they would rather avoid. This suggests that, just as for people, the right and left halves of the brain do different jobs in controlling emotions.

Laterality is also connected to the direction in which hair grows (so-called stuctural laterality), or even to the senses (sensory laterality). Many animals use they left eye and left ear (indicating right brain activation) more often than the right ones when investigating objects that are potentially frightening. However, asymmetries in olfactory processing (nostril use) are less well understood.

The left or right bias in sensory laterality is separate from that of motor laterality (or handedness). However, some researchers think that side preference is linked to the direction of hair whorls (“cow licks”), which can grow in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. More right-handed people have a clockwise hair pattern, although it is unclear if this is true of other animals.

The direction of hair growth and handedness are also related to temperament. Left-handed people might be more vulnerable to stress, as are left-pawed dogs and many other animals. In general, many animals, including humans, that have a clockwise hair whorl are less stress-prone than those with anticlockwise hair growth. The position of the hair whorl also matters; cattle and horses with hair whorls directly above the eyes are more typically difficult to handle than those with whorls lower dow....

Elsewhere in the animal kingdom, snails also have a form of laterality, despite having a very different nervous system to vertebrates like us. Their shells spiral in either a “right-handed” or “left-handed” direction – a form of physical asymmetry called “chirality”. This chirality is inherited – snails can only mate with matching snails.

Chirality is even seen in plants, depending on the asymmetry of their leaves, and the direction in which they grow.

One adaptive advantage of lateralisation is that individuals can perform two tasks at the same time if those tasks are governed by opposite brain hemispheres. Another advantage might be resistance to disease – hand preference in animals is associated with differences in immune function, with right-handed animals mounting a better immune response.

Does it matter if your cat, dog, horse or cow favours one paw (or hoof) over another? Determining laterality – or which side of the brain dominates the other – could change the way domestic animals are bred, raised, trained and used, including predicting which puppies will make the best service dogs, and which racehorses will race better on left- or right-curving tracks.

Footnotes :

1. https://theconversation.com/ive-always-wondered-can-animals-be-left....

Q: Is there any naturally observable indicator of the new year?

Krishna: I don’t think there is any specific natural indicator. There’s no astronomical reason to celebrate New Year’s Day on January 1.

In Northern Hemisphere, early January is a logical time for new beginnings. At the December solstice ( solstice: the time or date -twice each year- at which the sun reaches its maximum or minimum declination, marked by the longest and shortest days (about 21 June and 22 December), they have the shortest day of the year. By early January, their days are obviously lengthening again. This return of longer hours of daylight had a profound effect on cultures that were tied to agricultural cycles.

Earth is always closest to the sun in its yearly orbit around this time. This event is called Earth’s perihelion (it is the point in the orbit of a planet, asteroid or comet that is nearest to the sun. It is the opposite of aphelion, which is the point farthest from the sun).

People didn’t always celebrate the new year on January 1. The earliest recording of a new year celebration is believed to have been in Mesopotamia, circa 2000 B.C. That celebration – and many other ancient celebrations of the new year following it – were celebrated around the time of the vernal equinox, around March 20. Meanwhile, the ancient Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians began their new year with the autumnal equinox around September 20. And the ancient Greeks celebrated on the winter solstice, around December 20.

By the Middle Ages, though, in many places the new year began in March. Around the 16th century, a movement developed to restore January 1 as New Year’s Day. In the New Style or Gregorian calendar, the New Year begins on the first of January.

New Year also starts in March, April according to Indian calender. It uses a lunisolar system, meaning that it takes into account the apparent movements of both the Moon and the Sun, as seen from Earth. It is primarily based on the length of a synodic lunar month.

Q: How can it be possible that human beings are so dumb or is the whole belief is totally ridiculous?

Krishna: Your question made me smile. No it is not a ridiculous thought .

Well most human beings behave irrationally whether we accept this or not. They give some sort of ‘logic’ or ‘rationality’ too to support it. And some use ‘science’ to authenticate their behaviour creating pseudo-science in the process.

What might seem to be ‘dumb’ to us could be ‘clever’ to others. So perspectives differ too.

We are living beings. Our Biochemistry is responsible for most of our behavioural patterns. This biochemistry is taken into control by some vested interests - gas lighting is what they do to control masses to gain power. So human beings and their biochemistry are conditioned through religious, cultural, traditional, political and emotional methods.

This biochemistry also influences a single individual’s unique behaviour.

Interestingly some people can stay out of the spheres of these influences. These people are responsible for the sanity of the societies we live in. Need I say these are ‘intellectuals’ who can overcome all sorts of influences because their biochemistry is different. Or because their minds had been trained in the right way?

Whatever, might be the reason, these people are rare and that is what makes me say, ‘not all human beings are dumb’. There is still some hope left.

Q: Why scientists are destructive?

Krishna: What?! What gave you this impression?

No, scientists are not destructive.

They sometimes take things apart to study things but again put them back in their places. That is not destructiveness! They only want to help the world by doing so.

A small minority of them sometimes dance to the tunes of the politicians, but that doesn’t make all of the scientists destructive.

Science itself is not bad. The way you use it can be good or bad. The benefits of Science and technology are like knives. You can use them for cutting fruits and vegetables and also to spill blood. It is up to you which way you want to go. The choice is yours. That doesn’t make scientists or science destructive!

Q: People who claim alternative medicine works better than modern medicine don't understand that it is modern medicine that eradicated polio, and controlled tetanus etc. But why do they still claim it is better?

Q: What is alternative medicine  and does it work?

Krishna: If they don't claim it is better, who will use it? :)

Alternative medicine that works loses the alternative part of its name and becomes just medicine. Alternative medicine that is unproven is mainly quackery and voo doo.

Like somebody ( I don't remember who said it, sorry) said,  alternative medicine has either not been proved to work, or has been proved not to work. You know what they call alternative medicine that has been proved to work? “Medicine.”

Most of the alternative medicines ( like homeopathy) don't work because the people who developed it didn't know how a disease 's caused, what germs 're, what immune system 's and how it worked, and 

how drugs worked at cellular and molecular levels. Without this knowledge, it is extremely difficult to cure or eradicate a disease. 

However, in desperation if you take something from nature like some animals do, it might work sometimes. But still you don't know what is responsible for it, if there are any side effects and how to manage this collateral damage like modern clinical research tells us.

That is the problem with alternative medicines.

Sometimes you can get lucky—the observation that milkmaids who contracted cowpox later became resistant to smallpox sparked the first vaccine (the word “vaccine” comes from Latin vaccinus meaning “from the cows”). That observation did not lead to an understanding of immune response, though. Only modern research told us what happens in such situations and how to exploit it without putting a living being in dangerous situations. 

Then when so-called “alternative” medicine actually works, it becomes part of traditional medicine, for example aspirin, metformin and digitalis, all of which are derived from plants and have been used for centuries.

Alternative medicine without the right research, testing and confirmation is like going in the dark, not knowing where your destination is and what path takes you there or whether you can reach your destination at all and alive. 

Do you take such a dangerous journey if you have a better alternative? That alternative is the modern medicine.

Q: Do personal and cultural beliefs interfere with the adoption of scientific findings into a scientist's daily life?

Krishna: That depends on the scientist as a person.

If a scientist is properly trained and follow the scientific method strictly, overcoming the religious, cultural, traditional, political and emotional conditioning of the mind is not a problem.

For me it is not a problem.

Even if my entire life’s hard work is marked as not ‘genuine science’ and my peers reject it, I bow to them, accept their verdict and move on.

But that never happened to me. Why? Because the moment I enter my lab, nothing but scientific method guides me. I left everything else long back. The science’s grip on me is total. Nothing else influences me and my thoughts like the scientific method does. I can’t think about anything else as genuine.

But when the training is inadequate, some people of science can’t overcome their prejudices, and conditioning of minds. So their mental states might influence their science. But scientific method tries to put a check to this. Therefore, I trust the method, not people.

Then in my daily life too, I strictly follow science. I abandoned religion, traditions, politics, … and most of my emotions too. Culture fascinates me to some extent but it helps me only in understanding people and their ways of living and this guides me in my interaction with them.

Sometimes my friends and relatives wonder whether I became a machine by strictly following science in my daily life too. :)

But I tell them this entire universe follows scientific principles to run. I am just following natural principles and my brain is differently wired by following a certain biochemistry. And all the other things denote pseudo-world but strangely guided by strangely wired biochemistry of the brain.

I too can have fun, but in a different way. I enjoy life, but in a different way. I live my life in a different, strictly scientific way.

So, the final answer to your Q is - for some it is yes, for me it is a big NO!

Being a scientist is a state of mind, not a profession.

Q: Why do scientists use drugs for reading books?

Krishna: Scientists use drugs for reading books?

My first reaction was ‘what?!’

Because none of my colleagues and I do this.

There is an April Fool article about it (1). Did you get fooled by it too? :)

But I know about a survey - though it is not a scientific one, just a poll - in which some (1in five) nature’s (journal) ‘readers’ admitted taking cognitive-enhancing drugs(1) to stimulate their focus, concentration or memory. The readers - who are mostly students, not scientists (1), - used stimulant and the use is highest in people aged 18–25 years.

The most popular reason for taking the drugs was to improve concentration. Improving focus for a specific task (admittedly difficult to distinguish from concentration) ranked a close second and counteracting jet lag ranked fourth, behind 'other' which received a few interesting reasons, such as “party”, “house cleaning” and “to actually see if there was any validity to the afore-mentioned article”.

Oxiracetam is popular among computer programmers, oxiracetam, another racetam, has been shown to be effective in recovery from neurological trauma and improvement to long-term memory. It is believed to effective in improving attention span, memory, learning capacity, focus, sensory perception, and logical thinking. It also acts as a stimulant, increasing mental energy, alertness, and motivation.

Modafinil, sold under the name Provigil, is a stimulant that some have dubbed the "genius pill." Originally developed as a treatment for narcolepsy and other sleep disorders, physicians are now prescribing it “off-label” to cellists, judges, airline pilots, and scientists to enhance attention, memory, and learning.

According to Scientific American, "scientific efforts over the past century [to boost intelligence] have revealed a few promising chemicals, but only modafinil has passed rigorous tests of cognitive enhancement." A stimulant, it is a controlled substance with limited availability in the U.S (2).

The search to find effective drugs to increase mental ability and intelligence capacity with neither toxicity nor serious side effects continues. But there are limitations. Although the ingredients may be separately known to have cognition-enhancing effects in cognitively challenged people, randomized controlled trials of the combined effects of cognitive enhancement compounds are sparse (3).

Popular smart drugs on the market include methylphenidate (commonly known as Ritalin) and amphetamine (Adderall), stimulants normally used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. In recent years, another drug called modafinil has emerged as the new favourite amongst college students. Primarily used to treat excessive sleepiness associated with the sleep disorder narcolepsy, modafinil increases alertness and energy.

Despite some positive findings, a lot of studies find no effects of enhancers in healthy subjects. For instance, although some studies suggest moderate enhancing effects in well-rested subjects, modafinil mostly shows enhancing effects in cases of sleep deprivation. A study by Martha Farah and colleagues found that Adderall (mixed amphetamine salts) had only small effects on cognition but users believed that their performance was enhanced when compared to placebo.

In addition, the cognitive enhancing effects of stimulant drugs often depend on baseline performance. So whilst stimulants enhance performance in people with low baseline cognitive abilities, they often impair performance in those who are already at optimum. Indeed, in a study by Randall et al., modafinil only enhanced cognitive performance in subjects with a lower (although still above-average) IQ.

Clearly, the hype surrounding drugs like modafinil and methylphenidate is unfounded. These drugs are beneficial in treating cognitive dysfunction in patients with Alzheimer's, ADHD or schizophrenia, but it's unlikely that today's enhancers offer significant cognitive benefits to healthy users. In fact, taking a smart pill is probably no more effective than exercising or getting a good night's sleep (4).

And scientists are not fools to fall for these claims without evidence about intelligence enhancing drugs.

Footnotes:

  1. Poll results: look who's doping
  2. Moyer MW. A Safe Drug to Boost Brainpower. Scientific American. Published March 1, 2016.
  3. Saiz Garcia H, Montes Reula L, Portilla Fernandez A et al. Nootropics: Emergents drugs associated with new clinical challengesEuropean Psychiatry. 2017;41:S877-S878. doi:10.1016/j.eurpsy.2017.01.1769
  4. Do “Smart Pills” Really Make You Smart?

Q: Do you believe ghosts exist? If yes, how can you describe them in science?

Krishna: Science doesn’t endorse ghosts because there is no evidence till now.

Now you ask ‘‘do you believe in ghosts?” and then ask us to describe ‘in a scientific language.’

Blind belief and science cannot co-exist.

And if somebody tries to describe something that has no evidence using science, that becomes pseudo-science, not genuine science.

So nobody can describe ghosts using genuine science.

Yes, some people can blindly believe in them. And some can imagine and hallucinate ghosts.

Science can explain why this happens. And read here why: Science and the paranormal

Q: What is the application of scientific knowledge for some specific purpose known as?

Krishna: Technology and applied science!

You creatively use your scientific knowledge to solve a problem the world is facing.

The problem can be from the field of science itself, or the industry, or medical field or from your daily life. You develop new technologies by using your scientific knowledge.

And scientific knowledge can also be directly used without developing any specific technologies. Applied science is the use of scientific processes and knowledge as the means to achieve a particular practical or useful result.

Q: Should science interfere with nature?

Krishna: Can you show me nature without science in the first place? You can’t!

Everything in this universe and the universe itself runs on scientific principles. Remove these principles this universe and everything in it cease to exist!

When the very existence if nature depends in scientific principles, asking the Q should science interfere with nature becomes …. you fill in the blank.

OK, you mean the process of studying and building knowledge about nature. How can acquiring knowledge about nature become ‘interfering’ with it?

Then comes the process of using this scientific knowledge.

Some people complain that science also brings with it a few bad things like commercial GM crops, nuclear bombs etc. along with the good it does to the mankind. But according to the scientific community – science is like a knife. A knife can be used to cut throats and spill blood. It can also be used for good purposes like cutting fruits and vegetables. It depends on the person who uses it. Likewise science can also be used for the benefit of living beings as well as for their destruction. Which way it goes is in the hands of the person who uses it. The choice is definitely yours, Homo sapiens.

Choice is Yours

Choice is Yours

Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa's Art work based on the theme

If you can’t use the scientific knowledge properly, and if you call it interfering, if you use it for destruction, you will have to blame yourself, not science.

Remember a bad worker always complains about his tools, not about his inefficiency.

Q: When carpet is beaten with a stick, dust comes out of it. Why?

Krishna: Physics!

The carpet is at rest before you beat it. When the carpet is beaten with a stick, the stick exerts a force on the carpet which sets it in motion. But the dust particles on the carpet are still at rest. The inertia of the dust particles residing on the carpet resists the change in the motion of the carpet. This is why the dust comes out of the carpet when beaten.

Q: ( A person from France asked me this Q ) : Est ce que le qi peut être affecté si on ne lis plus ou on est moins enjouer a se lancer dans des explorations scientifiques après un certain temps? En d'autre terme… est ce que le qi peut diminuer si on ne vas plus s'instruire dans le site l'Internet?

Krishna: 

French to English Translation:
Can iq be affected if we stop reading or are less playful in embarking on scientific explorations after a while? In other words ... can the iq decrease if we no longer go to learn on sites on Internet?

Do you think all that is posted on  on the net in general is the right information? If you do, you are wrong to a great extent! Some people post misinformation, pseudo-science too. Your knowledge doesn’t improve if you follow such trash. Therefore, I request you to follow only experts, highly qualified genuine medical doctors, professors and scientists if you really want to increase your knowledge here. But even some good writers and experts can go wrong sometimes. Therefore, follow these guidelines while assessing ‘knowledge’: How to trust science stories: A guide for common man

Then, if you stop reading or gaining knowledge, you will get stuck with old knowledge and stagnate. You should keep updating on a daily basis. Science is an ever progressing field. You get new information on a daily basis. What is the use in having stagnated content that doesn’t help you much?

So the answer to your Q is, forget IQ, you will have to get updated on a daily basis in science. If you want to get benefited by the knowledge that is.

Translation: Pensez-vous que tout ce qui est affiché sur  ou sur le net en général est la bonne information? Si vous le faites, vous vous trompez dans une large mesure! Certaines personnes publient de la désinformation, de la pseudo-science aussi. Vos connaissances ne s’améliorent pas si vous suivez ces déchets. Par conséquent, je vous demande de ne suivre que des experts, des médecins authentiques hautement qualifiés, des professeurs et des scientifiques si vous voulez vraiment approfondir vos connaissances ici. Mais même certains bons écrivains et experts peuvent parfois se tromper. Par conséquent, suivez ces directives lors de l'évaluation des `` connaissances '': Comment faire confiance aux histoires scientifiques: un guide pour l'homme ordinaire (https://kkartlab.in/forum/topics/how-to-trust-science-stories-a-gui... -common-man? groupUrl = un peu de science &)
Ensuite, si vous arrêtez de lire ou d'acquérir des connaissances, vous serez coincé avec de vieilles connaissances et stagnerez. Vous devez continuer à vous mettre à jour quotidiennement. La science est un domaine en constante évolution. Vous recevez de nouvelles informations au quotidien. À quoi cela sert-il d'avoir un contenu stagnant qui ne vous aide pas beaucoup?
Donc, la réponse à votre Q est, oubliez le QI, vous devrez être mis à jour quotidiennement dans la science. Si vous voulez profiter des connaissances qui existent.

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