SCI-ART LAB

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

Q: What are the self synthesized vitamins?

Krishna: The words themselves explain this: self synthesized - those vitamins that we ourselves can make (something) by synthesis, especially chemically. 

Human beings are able to synthesize certain vitamins to some extent. For example, vitamin D is produced when the skin is exposed to sunlight.  Niacin can be synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan and vitamin K and biotin are synthesized by bacteria living in the gut.

However, in general, humans depend on their diet to supply vitamins because we cannot synthesize vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), B12 (cobalamin), E and K .
Q: Do two humans see the same object as the same or can an object change its form according to those human's perception or observation?
Krishna: We think that our perception is a perfect reflection of the physical world around us, but research shows (1) that each of us has a unique visual fingerprint. 
The discovery has ramifications for the practices of medicine, technology, driving, and sports, among other fields where accurate visual positioning is critical. For instance, a driver who makes even a small miscalculation about the location of a pedestrian crossing the street can cause a catastrophe. Meanwhile, in sports, an error of visual judgment can lead to controversy, if not a fiercely disputed championship loss. Similarly, line judges need to rule on whether the ball is outside or inside the parameters. Even an error as small as half a degree of visual angle, equal to a sub-millimeter shift on the judge’s retina, may influence the result of the whole match!

Researchers sought to understand if different people see objects in their surroundings exactly the same way. For example, when glancing at a coffee cup on a table, can two people agree on its exact position and whether its handle is big enough to grip? The result of a series of experiments suggest not, though there’s an upside.

We may reach for a coffee mug thousands of times in our life, and through practice we reach our target. That’s the behavioral aspect of how we train ourselves to coordinate how we act in relation to what we see.

In the first task to test visual localization, study participants pinpointed on a computer screen the location of a circular target. In another experiment looking at variations of acuity within each person’s field of vision, participants viewed two lines set a minimal distance apart and determined whether one line was located clockwise or counterclockwise to the other line.

And in an experiment measuring perception of size, participants viewed a series of arcs of varying lengths and were asked to estimate their lengths. Surprisingly, people perceived the exact same arcs to be bigger at some locations in the visual field and smaller at other locations.

Overall, the results showed remarkable variations in visual performance among the group and even within each individual’s field of vision. The data were mapped to show each study participant’s unique visual fingerprint of perceptual distortion.

Though this study might suggest that the source of our visual deficiencies can originate from our brain, further investigations are needed to uncover the neural basis, according to researchers.

What’s also important is how we adapt to them and compensate for our errors.

Q: Why doesn’t our whole consciousness come with us during reincarnation?

Krishna: There is no genuine evidence for reincarnation. Without evidence, it just is a belief.

Consciousness arises out of neuron activity. Neuron activity depends on several things. Consciousness is the result of our neurons in the brain interacting with one another at a higher scale to make us conscious! Nerve cells will be connected and form circuits based on your experiences, learnings, conditioning of your mind, your knowledge levels, and several other things. That is why no two individuals can have the same circuits. Each person’s thinking and feelings, although related to the word consciousness, are different.

Even if you try to link two people born at different times through a term called reincarnation, they can never have the same consciousness. In fact this very fact itself shows their brain circuits are differently formed because they are separate individuals, not related in any way and therefore, their consciousness too is different.

Reincarnation is a myth. Some people are trying to hoodwink you by telling stories.

Reincarnation is a myth based on false premises:

  • That a soul exists
  • That a soul would survive death
  • That there is life after death

This is an irrefutable biological fact.

All that we are, or that we think we are, is contained in a 1.5 Kg blob we call the brain.

When we die, all out cells die, decay and revert to being a small pile of salts and minerals, dirt.

This includes the brain cells.

All your thoughts, fears, dreams and ambitions disappear. There is no magical memory bank in the aether to save any of us.

Dirt has no memory, (consciousness)

Q: Science says that life emerges from matter, consciousness emerges from complex neural networks and evolution has no agent or direction? Are there any spiritual mysteries left?

Krishna: Why should there be any mysteries? We, the scientists, are here to find out things and understand them as they are. Not in the way people want or wish them to be.

In earlier times, when science was not in a position to answer these questions, people imagined things and told you several interesting stories. Now we are in a position to verify them. Then why still hang on to the cave interiors and refuse to see the light?

Let us find out the facts as many as we can and make ourselves better beings. Any objection to this improvement?

Q: In ball point pens, how does its ink only move forward? Why does it not come back? What is the scientific reason?

Krishna: Ballpoint pens depend on gravity to release the ink, they don't write upside down, so you may have to hold them facing downwards for the ink to start moving.

A ball point pen is a pen that uses a small rotating ball made of brass, steel, or tungsten carbide to disperse ink as you write. The key is the ball as it acts a continuous cap that keeps the ink from drying and creates a mechanism for getting the ink onto the paper.

The ball is located in between the ink reservoir and the paper by a socket, and while it's in tight, it has enough room to roll around as you write. As the pen moves across the paper, the ball turns and gravity forces the ink down the reservoir and onto the ball where it is transferred onto the paper. It's this rolling mechanism that allows the ink to flow onto the top of the ball and roll onto the paper you're writing on, while at the same time sealing the ink from the air so it does not dry in the reservoir.
The tiny ball is held in a socket, and the back of the ball is exposed so it can pick up ink from the reservoir. The ball fits into the socket with just enough space to move freely.

Ballpoint pens often leak when the temperature is raised. When people wear them in a shirt pocket the temperature of the human body raises the heat of the ink cartridge causing the ink to flow. If not capped or positioned vertically the pen is likely to leak. Fabric and paper are also materials that help the ink flow, so they can also cause the pen to leak.

Footnotes:

Why not?

Krishna: AI is the ability of a machine to display human-like capabilities such as reasoning, learning, planning and creativity.

AI enables technical systems to perceive their environment, deal with what they perceive, solve problems and act to achieve a specific goal. The computer receives data - already prepared or gathered through its own sensors such as a camera - processes it and responds.

AI , when programmed to do several things, can do them! These are the 13 things Artificial Intelligence can already do (5):

Read, write, see, hear and understand, speak, smell, touch, move, understand emotions, play games, debate, create, read your mind.

AI systems are capable of adapting their behaviour to a certain degree by analysing the effects of previous actions and working autonomously.

Here are some AI applications : Online shopping and advertising Artificial intelligence is widely used to provide personalised recommendations to people, based for example on their previous searches and purchases or other online behaviour. AI is hugely important in commerce: optimising products, planning inventory, logistics etc. Web search Search engines learn from the vast input of data, provided by their users to provide relevant search results. Digital personal assistants Smartphones use AI to provide services that are as relevant and personalised as possible. Virtual assistants answering questions, providing recommendations and helping organise daily routines have become ubiquitous. Machine translations Language translation software, either based on written or spoken text, relies on artificial intelligence to provide and improve translations. This also applies to functions such as automated subtitling. Smart homes, cities and infrastructure Smart thermostats learn from our behaviour to save energy, while developers of smart cities hope to regulate traffic to improve connectivity and reduce traffic jams. Cars While self-driving vehicles are not yet standard, cars already use AI-powered safety functions. The EU has for example helped to fund VI-DAS, automated sensors that detect possible dangerous situations and accidents. Navigation is largely AI-powered. Cybersecurity AI systems can help recognise and fight cyberattacks and other cyber threats based on the continuous input of data, recognising patterns and backtracking the attacks. Artificial intelligence against Covid-19 In the case of Covid-19, AI has been used in thermal imaging in airports and elsewhere. In medicine it can help recognise infection from computerised tomography lung scans. It has also been used to provide data to track the spread of the disease. Fighting disinformation Certain AI applications can detect fake news and disinformation by mining social media information, looking for words that are sensational or alarming and identifying which online sources are deemed authoritative (1).

To create AI art, artists write algorithms not to follow a set of rules, but to “learn” a specific aesthetic by analyzing thousands of images. Most of the AI artworks that have emerged over the past few years have used a class of algorithms called generative adversarial networks (2).

Google’s new AI tool, Verse by Verse (which comes via Boing Boing), allows users to compose a poem using “suggestions” from classic American poets (3).

AI can do all that human beings can do. And people are even trying to teach AI emotions (4)!

AI is already a polymath like me :) . There is no need to imagine. You can see the reality with your own eyes.

Footnotes:

1. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20200827ST...

2. https://www.americanscientist.org/article/ai-is-blurring-the-defini....

3. Google's New AI Helps You Write Poetry Like Poe - Nerdist...

4. Can Your AI Have Emotions?

5. https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2019/11/11/13-mind-blowing...

Q: Do you think transhumanism, the ability to transfer the consciousness of a human being into a computer, is possible?

Krishna: Consciousness consists of a stream of unified mental constructs that arise spontaneously from a material structure, the dynamic core in the brain. It is the result of neural activity.

But transhumanism is the belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology.
So a programmer will be able to program AI to emulate some aspects of human consciousness and AI can be somewhat aware of its own presence  but I don't think it is possible for a machine to have full consciousness like human beings. 
Human brain is a highly complex system and for a 'machine' to achieve this exact complexity is impractical.
Q: Is every research scientific?

Krishna: It need not be.

It is the rigour with which research is carried out (the scientific method) that distinguishes scientific research from other forms of enquiry, and scientific knowledge from other kinds of knowledge.

Scientific method is one means by which knowledge is created. However, it is not the only way we know or understand our world.

People who follow religion understand the world in a different way. Here knowledge is sought from the supernatural world. People do different kind of research in this arena.

Some rationalists derive knowledge from the rules of logic and without reference to the empirical world.

Authoritarian individuals serve as sources of knowledge by virtue of their social or religious or political position. Leaders like Marx and Mao, prophets, Yogis, kings come in this category.

In contrast to the ones listed above, scientific knowledge about the world is based upon empirical observation. Observation is used to develop theory to help us to describe, understand, and predict how our world works. The procedures by which observations are gathered, evaluated, and used to produce new knowledge are termed method and methodology.

Research methodologies are the rules and procedures by which knowledge is generated and shared. They allow research and therefore knowledge claims to be evaluated. The following criteria are commonly used to evaluate scientific research (1)

  • Reliability - Is the research study repeatable? - that is: are the measures used reliable and consistent. If I go back and repeat the measurements in the same conditions will I get the same results?
  • Replication - This refers to the idea that the procedures (methodology) employed in the study are reported in sufficient detail that a second researcher could repeat the study.
  • Validity - This concerns the integrity of conclusions that are generated through a research study. There are a number of issues raised here including (1) does the measure employed accurately reflect the concept under investigation; (2) is the causal relationship robust - can we be sure that X is the cause of Y? (3) Can we be confident that we can extrapolate our findings beyond the research context?

Modern science is the one that gains knowledge by strictly following the scientific method. Only research that is done in science is scientific. Others that use the scientific method are ‘scientific’. Others are not.

Scientific method : Image source WIKIpedia

Footnotes:

  1. What makes research scientific?

Q: 

Scientists examining rocks older than 3 billion years discovered that the Earth's tectonic plates move around today much as they did between 2 and 4 billion years ago.

Plate tectonics is key to the evolution of life and the development of the planet. Today, the Earth's outer shell consists of about 15 major rigid blocks of crust. On them sit the planet's continents and oceans. The movement of these plates shaped the location of the continents. It helped form new ones and it created unique landforms like mountain ranges. It also exposed new rocks to the atmosphere, which led to chemical reactions that stabilized Earth's surface temperature over billions of years. A stable climate is crucial to the evolution of life.

Image source: maps of the world

Mantle dynamics, gravity, and Earth's rotation taken altogether causes the plate movements. However, convectional currents are the general thought for the motion.

Plates at our planet's surface move because of the intense heat in the Earth's core that causes molten rock in the mantle layer to move. It moves in a pattern called a convection cell that forms when warm material rises, cools, and eventually sink down. As the cooled material sinks down, it is warmed and rises again.

Some researchers suggest there are also other contributions to plate motions.

You can find some of these in the following papers:

Riguzzi F., Panza G., Varga P. & Doglioni C. (2009): Can Earth's rotation and tidal despinning drive plate tectonics? Tectonophysics, doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2009.06.012.

Doglioni C., Tonarini S. and Innocenti F., (2009), Mantle wedge asymmetries and geochemical signatures along W- and E-NE-directed subduction zones. Lithos, doi:10.1016/j.lithos.2009.01.012

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Replies to This Discussion

36

Because death is the end of life and other than either being cremated to ashes or being buried and decomposing, there is nothing after death.

There is no evidence, none whatsoever, to support any aspect of a belief in an afterlife in any form, nor is there any chance of such a thing as an afterlife being possible without the fundamental laws of nature which govern our very existence, being violated.

For the concept of an afterlife in any form to be real, there would need to be:

  1. The ability of a person’s consciousness or awareness, commonly called a soul, to survive the death of the brain of the person concerned. This is an impossibility since while it’s accepted we don’t yet fully understand the causes or mechanisms of consciousness, we do know it’s an exceedingly complex emergent function of the electrical and biochemical activity between an estimated 80 to 100 trillion synapses inside a living human brain, and as far as we’re aware, only in the brain of very few higher mammals. The definition of death is when all electrical and biochemical activity in the brain ceases, and consequently, everything — which includes consciousness — which was ever held in that brain, vanishes. It doesn’t ‘go’ anywhere in the way that utterly unevidenced religious belief assumes, it simply ceases to exist — in some ways analogous to how the light from a light bulb ceases to exist when the bulb fails.
  2. The ability for this dead person’s soul to continue to exist extracorporeally, immaterially, and remain in a coherent form — no mechanism allows for such a thing even when related to a living brain, let alone a dead one. For this to happen, several of the fundamental laws of nature would need to be violated.
  3. The ability of this extracorporeal soul not only to survive the death of the brain in which it originated but then continue in existence in this immaterial and coherent form for eternity in this discrete form. With some beliefs this is supposedly in some ill-defined but idealised place in space and time which seems to depend on the dogma of any religion which promotes this concept — heaven, paradise, moksha, nirvana etc. Or, with other beliefs this extracorporeal soul supposedly becomes reincarnated into the brain of another person, perhaps someone not even born yet. In both cases whilst retaining the thoughts, memories, emotions and personality of the original deceased person.

We’re well into the realm of fantasy or science fiction — or religious belief — here; such things do not happen and are simply not possible.

However, to millions of people the concept of reincarnation, of any form of afterlife, is hugely appealing on a psychological level and to a large extent counteracts the innate human fear of death by purporting to represent a continuation of life, often in an idealised environment to increase its perceived allure. This is particularly so in respect of people who are emotionally vulnerable having lost someone close to them, but unfortunately, it’s these very same people who are most vulnerable to religion, pseudoscience, or the many charlatans who prey on them by claiming to be able to ‘communicate with the dead’, often placing false memories in their mind, giving them false hopes and often significantly emptier wallets.

It’s purely a combination of religious indoctrination, repetition of the concept, and a desire among many people to believe it’s true, which keeps false memes such as the belief in reincarnation or the existence of an afterlife, alive.

We don’t exist, we’re conceived, we’re born, we live, we die and once more cease to exist. That's all there is. There's nothing beyond death other than being turned to ashes or the decomposition of our organic remains.

Other than poor education, blind belief in nonsense like this as is amply illustrated in so many answers here, is one of the biggest causes of ignorance in the world today. And what makes it worse is that it's often sheer wilful ignorance, causing people, even otherwise intelligent people, to lose touch with reality.

You only need to look at the many answers and comments to questions here and elsewhere to see how many people completely disregard evidence, even irrefutable evidence, in favour of nothing more than historically incorrect and scientifically impossible supernatural beliefs from ancient mythology just because someone once said it was true…

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