1

Quake jolts South Asia

God. It happened just as they had predicted before.

The prediction was for a quake about 7-7.5 in magnitude but this one was a whopper and really beats most quakes hands down in its power (8.7) … Reports say that as of now, 2000 are feared dead and search is still underway. There has been no Tsunamis like the last one but the tumbling buildings have claimed enough lives …

I wanted to post about my trip to South padre but i guess i’ll do it later. Don’t want to write something like that right after this post.

6

Nuke Trivia

Everyone has heard about MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

But do you know that a part of the actual term was dropped in forming this acronym ?

Hint : Read the title. Answer coming up soon …

Weird Science 5

pla·ce·bo
Pronunciation Key (pl-sb)n. pl. pla·ce·bos or pla·ce·boes

A substance containing no medication and prescribed or given to reinforce a patient’s expectation to get well.

Why am i even talking about something that useless ?! Well here it is.

The placebo effect

Don’t try this at home. Several times a day, for several days, you induce pain in someone. You control the pain with morphine until the final day of the experiment, when you replace the morphine with saline solution. Guess what? The saline takes the pain away.

This is the placebo effect: somehow, sometimes, a whole lot of nothing can be very powerful. Except it’s not quite nothing. When Fabrizio Benedetti of the University of Turin in Italy carried out the above experiment, he added a final twist by adding naloxone, a drug that blocks the effects of morphine, to the saline. The shocking result? The pain-relieving power of saline solution disappeared.

So what is going on? Doctors have known about the placebo effect for decades, and the naloxone result seems to show that the placebo effect is somehow biochemical. But apart from that, we simply don’t know.
Benedetti has since shown that a saline placebo can also reduce tremors and muscle stiffness in people with Parkinson’s disease (Nature Neuroscience, vol 7, p 587). He and his team measured the activity of neurons in the patients’ brains as they administered the saline. They found that individual neurons in the subthalamic nucleus (a common target for surgical attempts to relieve Parkinson’s symptoms) began to fire less often when the saline was given, and with fewer “bursts” of firing – another feature associated with Parkinson’s. The neuron activity decreased at the same time as the symptoms improved: the saline was definitely doing something.

We have a lot to learn about what is happening here, Benedetti says, but one thing is clear: the mind can affect the body’s biochemistry. “The relationship between expectation and therapeutic outcome is a wonderful model to understand mind-body interaction,” he says. Researchers now need to identify when and where placebo works. There may be diseases in which it has no effect. There may be a common mechanism in different illnesses. As yet, we just don’t know.

Also read more about the psychological theory behind it all that says “It’s all in your mind”. Sounds like “The Matrix” doesn’t it ?

Weird Science 4

Even as i start writing, i was thinking if i should categorize this under Weird Science ’cause this ain’t weird; It is mindblowing !

Ok before i give the actual jolt, here is a smooth intro to the whole thing ! It has not been a long time since i saw Spiderman 2, where the guy ends up creating a Fusion reactor, in mid-air ( Yeah sure ! Tell me about it !). But the beauty is that this reaction gets uncontrollable ( no surprises there ) and starts sucking in metal objects due to the increase in gravitational force as it gains mass. Well alright makes sense. But wait a minute, are you saying that you created a Black Hole right here on earth ? WTF ?!?!

Ahem, i think it is impossible. Or so i thought until i read a news article today, that states : Lab fireball ‘may be black hole’. Got very curious and started reading about it. It is actually quite interesting but way out of my league in terms of understanding the whole theory.

Here is the abstract and the actual paper which talks about this in detail). So someday, in the future, when i know enough about what i am dealing with, i will, hopefully, come here and read about it. And here is an excerpt of the article.

A fireball created in a US particle accelerator has the characteristics of a black hole, a physicist has said. It was generated at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) in New York, US, which smashes beams of gold nuclei together at near light speeds. Horatiu Nastase says his calculations show that the core of the fireball has a striking similarity to a black hole.The Brown researcher thinks the particles are disappearing into the fireball’s core and reappearing as thermal radiation, just as matter is thought to fall into a black hole and come out as “Hawking” radiation.

Awesome. Can’t say how cool this is !

Indian Ocean may face another quake

Holy crap. This is terrible. Just read the article at MSNBC website about another possible earthquake with a magnitude 7-7.5 and more Tsunamis.

It is cruel but atleast we now have a forecast to take measures to prevent the damage and hopefully we won’t end up losing as many people as the previous time.

My life still moves without any incidents. Adios !

Weird Science 3

I am damn sure that you have watched “The Matrix”. The best cult movie ever, i would like to add to that ! Well anyway, as interesting the concept is in the movie, where you can easily bend spoons and fly across continents at the speed of light, one question keeps you on the edge of the seat.

Can i bend that spoon ?! Well really. This is not a joke. Can you ? These guys say that you can. Who are they ? They are the Spoonbenders !

Fork-You

I don’t know what causes cutlery to bend, but then I don’t really know exactly why compasses point North or what causes lightning or how the Moon controls the tides, either. I know that all of these things now have scientific explanations, but it’s not too long ago in the scheme of things that we thought that sending sound and pictures through space was a bizarre fantasy. Surely the more we learn, the more we should realise how little we really know.

“Do you remember how electrical currents and ‘unseen waves’ were laughed at ? The knowledge about man is still in its infancy.”

– Albert Einstein.

I don’t claim it’s ‘psychic’ but I think physical & psychological factors certainly come into it, and I think a large part of whatever causes it is subconscious. Perhaps it uses parts of your brain that are normally just reflex. Some mystics can apparently control their heartbeat after years of practice (although whether they can do it in ‘scientific conditions’ is another matter). And though I think it’s got something to do with your brain, I’m not saying it’s paranormal. I think there’s probably a very physical explanation – biochemical, electrical, magnetic or some combination of those things that can temporarily alter the alignment of the molecules in the metal.

OK, so I have no idea as to why or how it works, but it’s still a lot of fun.

– A good read nevertheless and maybe, i could get my mind to bend spoons too. Wanna give it a try ? I am going to anyway …

Weird Science 2

Ever believed in the paranormal ? Ever thought if the paranormal was so normal to be real ? I have. I like the X-Files but never did truly see how viruses and alien landings and a psychotic mind can do so much in ways unknown that you can hardly even understand.

But here seems to be proof of something similar.

Welcome to “The Enigma Project” !

The history of the project, an excerpt :

On one very cold March evening in 1978, members of the Odyssey Research group gathered for an informal meeting at the north Baltimore home of John Lutz, Odyssey’s director. They were there to discuss topics of unexplained phenomena. The 15 people present had segregated into smaller groups, each spewing excited chatter in which the quickly belabored subjects changed like slides in a rushed presentation.

Read more

Also dont forget to check out the various events that these guys have tried to decrypt and understand. hmm now where did you say Area 51 was ?!

Weird Science 1

Ever wondered if one man’s thought can affect another man’s imagination. I have and i believe in it. I have never been able to explain such a thing but somehow, out of mere intuition known that this is so very much possible and true. Now this particular observation just knocks me in the head and says, ‘Here is the answer you moron’ ! Read on …

The Hundredth Monkey

The Japanese monkey, Macaca fuscata, had been observed in the wild for a period of over 30 years. In 1952, on the Island of Koshima, scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkeys liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but found the dirt unpleasant. An 18 month old female named Imo found she could solve the problem by washing the potatoes in the salty ocean water, improving the taste of the potato. She taught this trick to her mother. Her playmates learned this trick and taught their mothers too. This cultural innovation was gradually picked up numerous monkeys in the troop and observed by the scientists.

Between 1952 and 1958, all the young monkeys learned to wash the sandy sweet potatoes and make them more palatable. Only the adults who imitated their children learned this cultural improvement. Other adult monkeys kept eating the dirty sweet potatoes. In autumn of 1958, something startling took place. A certain number of Koshima monkeys were already washing their sweet potatoes, the exact number is not known. The hypothetical number given was 99. Then it happened. The hundredth monkey learned to wash the sweet potatoes. The added energy of that hundredth monkey somehow created an ideological breakthrough. Almost everyone in the tribe was washing their potatoes before eating them, but a surprising occurrence was observed by these scientists. The habit of washing the sweet potato had jumped overseas. Colonies of monkeys on other islands and the mainland troop at Takaskiyama began washing their sweet potatoes.

Although the exact number may vary, this Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon means that when only a limited number of individuals knows a ‘new way’, it remains the conscious property of those individuals. However, when one more individual manifests this new awareness, the field is strengthened, a critical mass is reached, and the awareness becomes the conscious property of all. This new awareness is communicated mind to mind.

– Mind boggling it does seem but it makes so much sense. But if this were true in the way they actually observed it, by some God forbidden logic that seems impossible, then it leads to so many interesting questions and solves so many old ones in different ways. Awesome. Really liked the inclusion of the idea of critical mass in the scenario.

Hello Nuclear Reactions, here i come …

A new category.

Since i am dog bored out here, i have been doing loads of reading to avoid becoming a serial killer or something. So been browsing some totally fantastic and weird sites lately and have come up with a good collection of interesting things. I am going to post them from now on, regularly i hope, under the hood “Weird Science”.

Well, the design for the site has not come up as well i thought it would. The only reason i can think of is that i am bloody lazy ! All the crib of not catching up with the sleep finally got to me and today i slept for 13 hrs straight and am still feeling drowsy. Wonderful ! There is a slight ache in various places but i guess i can sleep it off again 😉 And off i go …

2

Back to the absurd normality

I am back after a rush of intense work for the past 3 weeks. Everything is settled down and i don’t have much to do for the coming one week during the spring break. Just a couple of assignments but hopefully no time crunching tasks to take care of !

For today, all classes are over. My meeting with the prof went on well and got a couple of things to take care in my code to get it working the way it is supposed to work. But that is a good thing ! The code really works !

But what am i going to do otherwise ? Well, as it turns out, the plans to go to Columbus, Ohio and Savannah, Georgia to meet old buddies are cancelled and i am just going to lay back and relax here, with nothing much to do. Planned to go to Austin this weekend, but no confirmed plans as of yet and so totally tied to college station over the break.

It does feel weird when you had so much to do the last couple of days and when you suddenly have so much time, the reaction is the most unexpected. You start remembering all those people you’ve been with the last couple of years. Ugh, it is miserable. So, me going to get drunk and do the things i wanted to do for quite some time.

Start my own site. Well i have registered for the domain name quite some time back but nothing much is still in place. I should get it done by this weekend. And i designed a new template for this blog. It is coming out well too. Hopefully, before wednesday, this site will have a new look and i could move out the blog to my site also !

yeah its all the general boring stuff. But nothing much to write. Maybe i should catch up with all that sleep i missed but unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be a cumulative effect. After working all through the wee hours in the last few days, i am still wide awake. Well i could babble on for some more time writing whatever i want, but am gonna stop now.

Probably should do more browsing or watch new movies or read the novels i picked up from the library. Can this become any more vegetative ? hmm .. Here comes the end of the ramble.