Poorna Katha

RSS

Posts tagged with "science"

Mar 2
brandx:

mothernaturenetwork:

12-year-old invents Braille printer using Lego setThe Braigo printer cost its inventor about $350, making it more affordable than other Braille printers that can retail for more than $2,000.

And because I seriously side-eye this Western journalism trend of never crediting and NAMING the actual inventors in the headlines (especially when they’re young POC)
this inventor’s name is Shubham Banerjee, and he is making his glorious design completely open source, publishing it online FREE of charge! Just remember this kid’s name before some crusty old white dude “innovates” his design and takes all the credit.

brandx:

mothernaturenetwork:

12-year-old invents Braille printer using Lego set
The Braigo printer cost its inventor about $350, making it more affordable than other Braille printers that can retail for more than $2,000.

And because I seriously side-eye this Western journalism trend of never crediting and NAMING the actual inventors in the headlines (especially when they’re young POC)

this inventor’s name is Shubham Banerjee, and he is making his glorious design completely open source, publishing it online FREE of charge! Just remember this kid’s name before some crusty old white dude “innovates” his design and takes all the credit.

(Source: mothernaturenetwork)

theswindlr:

Frozen Peas from SuckUK; a fantastic piece of design as metaphor (as well as a super convenient way to make a spherical ice “cube”.

via Gizmodo

Spherical ice cubes! People! This is amazing

One August afternoon, the two baby ospreys of that season took flight for the first time as I stood on the circular deck of my house watching the nest. All summer long, they had watched me on that deck as I watched them. To them, it must have looked like I was in my nest just as they were in theirs. On this particular afternoon, their maiden flight, they did a loop of my house and then headed straight at me with tremendous speed. My immediate impulse was to run for cover, since they could have ripped me apart with their powerful talons. But something held me to my ground. When they were within twenty feet of me, they suddenly veered upward and away. But before that dazzling and frightening vertical climb, for about half a second we made eye contact. Words cannot convey what was exchanged between us in that instant.

-

brainpickings.org

Would you have the courage to stand still, so you could make eye contact with a bird of prey?

Our universe is what it is simply because we are here. The situation can be likened to that of a group of intelligent fish who one day begin wondering why their world is completely filled with water. Many of the fish, the theorists, hope to prove that the cosmos necessarily has to be filled with water. For years, they put their minds to the task but can never quite seem to prove their assertion. Then a wizened group of fish postulates that maybe they are fooling themselves. Maybe, they suggest, there are many other worlds, some of them completely dry, some wet, and everything in between.

- brainpickings.org

A Quantum Adventure

blibberingschrodinger:

"If you know what you’re doing, don’t do it!"

Like I’ve said before, PhD TV should be made compulsory watching for our students and some of our teachers too.  Imagine how cool it would be to be contribute even a little to building that maze-like equipment instead of trying to get a reading from a broken voltmeter that the lab assistant insists was fine before you touched it.

Sure, those things train you to make precise measurements and instill some kind of scientific discipline (and let’s face it, the joy when you calculate g for the very first time using a pendulum is tremendous), but none of it is imparted with any kind of a link in view.  In the sense that you’re asked to make a paper wedge fall from a wire using a tuning fork without being told why the thing should fall, or how the equipment and the environment can play a part in ruining the experiment and that’s really not your fault.  Quantum phenomena and really the whole concept of quantum physics is simply reduced to a bunch of equations. I remember having to memorize the derivation of E=m(c*c) and nobody ever explained the true significance of that equation.  How it so elegantly and so simply connected matter and energy. And what in heaven’s name was c squared? Was it just a number to calculate? Can it be visualized?  I remember asking what c squared meant and being ignored by my teacher for the rest of the year.  This was the same teacher who told a class of eighty students that a surface will rise if the pressure above is greater than the pressure below owing to a misprint in the textbook, so I didn’t really blame her.  Asking her to teach relativity was like asking a pig to fly.

I’m not saying I understood all of quantum physics perfectly on my own.  i still don’t understand it, but the teaching in college definitely left a lot to be desired.

Well, hopefully things will get better.  If not, jai PhD TV!

Were you also subjected to ‘experiments’ that were really demonstrations? I mean, how is it an experiment if you’re already told exactly what the result should be?! And no room to explain different results other than ‘You must have done it wrong’. Erm, yes, I can see that, the value of ‘g’ cannot be 28, but what part did I mess up? And how would that mess up correlate to the results I got? I never figured this out other than holding my breath the entire time the pendulum swung.

This is really just intellectual corruption, reducing our reliance on our own sense and ability to understand the world and making the textbook the ultimate fount of all wisdom.

Is it any surprise that entire populations are vulnerable to every form of rabble rousing? If you are trained to accept one authority, you’ll tend to accept any other that contends to be authority as well.

P.S. BlibberingSchrondinger, I have this idea of creating a handbook of ‘Where did this idea come from?’ for basic science concepts. Sound interesting?

I apologize if this has been asked, but why does the placebo effect work?

sciencesoup:

For those who don’t know, the placebo effect is when an inert medical treatment—like a sugar pill—actually has a positive effect on a patient’s condition. People essentially trick themselves into becoming better simply because they believe they will.

It’s not just about taking dummy pills; patients who are treated by a warm, caring practitioner seem to recover sooner from mild conditions strep throat and the common cold—which suggests they have a certain expectation that this person will make them better.

We’re not fully agreed on how, why, and when it works. It’s actually one of the strangest and least-understood phenomena in medicine. But studies have shown that when treated with placebos, our brains release pain-relieving opioids, which at least help along the healing process.

There are a few theories about why this happens:

  • It’s all in the patient’s head, and their expectation that a treatment will help actually activates a physiological response
  • It’s all in the patient’s body, which remembers how it felt after taking medication previously, so it automatically releases neurotransmitters that begin the healing process (sort of like conditioning: our body may be conditioned to react positively in medical situations)
  • Or a mixture of both: expectation and conditioning

The effect is highly variable, and seems to work better for “subjective” cases (like simply reducing the feeling of pain) rather than “objective” cases (like reducing blood pressure).

Some fun facts about the placebo effect:

  • It can still work even when you know it’s a placebo. Harvard researcher Dr. Ted Kaptchuk studied migraine-sufferers, and found that even the patients who knew they were taken a dummy pill still experienced pain relief 
  • The opposite of the placebo effect is the nocebo effect—when the patient is expecting a negative outcome, then their injury or illness may be negatively affected. A study in Italy gave what they claimed was lactose to patients, some of whom were lactose-intolerant. Even though the lactose wasn’t really lactose, 44% of those with the intolerance and 26% without it showed symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort. 
  • The shape, size, colour and branding of the pills subconsciously affect how well they work—yellow pills are “best” at treating depression, green are best at easing anxiety, and pills with brand names on them are more effective than blank ones. 
  • The effect seems to have become more “powerful” over the years. It was first documented in the late 1700s, but has become stronger and stronger up until the present day. This is likely due to social conditioning; humans are becoming more trusting of medicine.

So, to sum up: the placebo effect is weird, so I can’t give you a straight answer!

With every new discovery, we are given new mysteries.

What a wonderful world

Do animals and small creatures, like ants and spiders experience time differently than we do? Like is a day longer for an ant because they are smaller? Would one day for an ant feel the same as a month for us? because time, like hours, days and months are a human construct, but small creatures do still recognize changes in the day and seasons otherwise they wouldn’t prepare for winter. But how long is a day for an ant? How do small insects experience time?

sciencesoup:

Hey, what a fantastic question!

Everyone knows that animals experience time to some extent—I know my dog always seem to know when it’s time for dinner—but it’s thought that animals’ memories aren’t tied to the passing of time like human memories are. Humans live life linearly, and our ability to remember the order of past events and predict future events plays a large role in our perception of time. Animals, on the other hand, are believed to have a less “episodic” view of time, and live more in the moment.

Human time doesn’t have a lot of significance to animals, because they have no needs for clocks and hours and seconds, so it’s important to think about time in a different way. Perception of time isn’t only about remembering what events happened when, but it’s also linked to how quickly we can process the world around us.

There was a recent study (September 2013) published in Animal Behaviour that suggests that the speed at which creatures perceive time is linked to their metabolic rate. (See: how metabolic rate is linked to life span.) The researchers used a technique called “critical flicker fusion frequency”—basically, measuring the speed at which the eye can process light—and found a strong relationship between body size and how quickly the eye responds to changing visual information.

Small animals with fast metabolisms, like birds and insects, take in more information per unit of time. This means they experience time slower than larger animals with slower metabolisms, like turtles and elephants. They can actually perceive time as if it’s passing in slow motion, meaning they can observe movements and events on a finer timescale. This would definitely be an advantage in some situations, increasing their reaction times and allowing them to escape—like dodging bullets in The Matrix—from larger creatures who perceive time slower, and so might miss things smaller animals can spot rapidly.

Some of the fastest visual systems recorded by the researchers included golden mantled ground squirrels, starlings and pigeons. 

As the lead author of the study, Kevin Healy, remarked: “We are beginning to understand that there is a whole world of detail out there that only some animals can perceive and it’s fascinating to think of how they might perceive the world differently to us.”

So there’s still a significant amount of study to be done, but it’s a really intriguing question, and it seems so far that differently-sized animals experience time—i.e., perceive events—on different time scales!

I used to wonder if ants looked at giant human legs and the arbitrary way in which a movement caused the annihilation of entire hordes and call human legs ‘god’. And make elaborate stories that removed the randomness of feet movement.

explore-blog:

The story of Albert Einstein, illustrated – how an introverted little boy grew up to become the quintessential, quirky modern genius. 

Mine too!

explore-blog:

The story of Albert Einstein, illustrated – how an introverted little boy grew up to become the quintessential, quirky modern genius. 

Mine too!

Sep 9
neuro-neptune:

sunfoundation:

Jupiter Structural Layer Cake

Rhiannon at Cakecrumbs loves science and baking. One would have to, to devote the time, skill, and artistry necessary to this Jupiter cake she made. Icing the atmosphere alone took eight hours! But that’s not the extent of the realism. The inside of the cake is also as accurate as we know about Jupiter.


YES PLEASE

I am sinking into the awesomeness
The way I would on the surface of this gas giant

neuro-neptune:

sunfoundation:

Jupiter Structural Layer Cake

Rhiannon at Cakecrumbs loves science and baking. One would have to, to devote the time, skill, and artistry necessary to this Jupiter cake she made. Icing the atmosphere alone took eight hours! But that’s not the extent of the realism. The inside of the cake is also as accurate as we know about Jupiter.

YES PLEASE

I am sinking into the awesomeness

The way I would on the surface of this gas giant

Sep 3

mucholderthen:

Cellular Mitosis
Illustrated with Krispy Kreme donuts
Kevin Van Aelst - 2005

Someday, I’ll use this as a teaser when I am explaining mitosis :D