Showing posts with label science. Show all posts
Showing posts with label science. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Power of Melatonin

For a long time, my body's been moanin' for melatonin. Last year, I announced an experiment whereby I would attempt to sleep in a completely dark room for 7+ hours in order to allow my body to manufacture sufficient quantities of melatonin. For some reason, according to my sources on Wikipedia and elsewhere, darkness is required, but the body is not a psychic and is not in tune with the Moon, so you can fool the body by simply wearing a patch over the eyes during the daylight hours. Apparently there are photosensors in our retinas independent of rods and cones. I heartily recommend the purchase of an eye patch for anyone who works the graveyard shift and needs to sleep during daylight hours.

I have had several weeks of full, blissful sleep wearing my eye patch and I do indeed feel a difference, possibly from the increased amounts of melatonin. I suspect I do have more melatonin, because my circadian rhythm is much more pronounced. No longer is it simple (or mandatory) for me to stay up late at night, past 3 AM. Instead, I find I can get to sleep at midnight without much difficulty. Also, I wake up feeling refreshed and reinvigorated.

I was talking to an unemployed gentleman the other day who informed me he had to quit factory work because the factory had a mandatory swing shift of two weeks 8 AM - 7 PM followed by two weeks of 11 PM to 10 AM. Anyone whose productivity declines is reprimanded or fired.

It is physically impossible to adjust to alternating sleep schedules that change in such a drastic manner on such short notice. Swing shifts are simply sadistic, no two ways about it, a means of humiliating and beating down the working class, and I think that factory owners should be required to alter their sleep schedule as well.

There is no logical reason to have a swing shift. Personally, I would be willing to work either day shift or night shift, but not both; the human body needs to adjust to one or the other. It is possible to adjust to the graveyard shift through the use of an eye patch and a soundproof bedroom. People with children should work the day shift, while single, childless and retired people can work the night shift and be paid a small premium to do so ($1/hour). There are plenty of single people in the world and it should not be difficult to fill a night shift. If I were a factory worker given the choice, I would volunteer for night shift simply because it is cooler during the summer and pays slightly better.

Business owners should make modest and reasonable attempts to create a  nurturing, positive working environment for their employees. Those that fail to do so find their businesses highlighted in the media for the wrong reasons. I am willing to wager that many cases of workplace violence or labor discontent could have been avoided by the simple and cheap expedient of rendering the interior design more hospitable to human beings. Business owners should consult with an interior designer, someone that knows how to create a positive and nurturing space. Decisions that are made on the purchase of furniture, decor, and lighting will persist for decades, and typically the wrong decisions are made with long-lasting and invisible consequences. Valuable employees leave the company, and the manager is scratching his head wondering why, because the troll is clueless about the ugliness of his cave. One should take pride in his work and his workspace.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Is Red Meat Bad?

A recent finding by researchers indicates that any dose of red meat is bad for health. I find that rather surprising. However, I have reduced my consumption of meat to once a day. I may reduce it further, to once every two to three days, if there is a health benefit. I am pretty flexible on diet and will eat anything that seems to improve health, as long as it does not taste too bad or cost too much.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Solar Flare

I felt a bit odd last night and into Monday morning. I just had a feeling that conditions were unfavorable. It was almost as though there was too much noise in the background. Perhaps I have a pseudo-scientific explanation at hand. I just read that there was a massive solar flare Sunday night, and the Earth has been and continues to be bombarded with radiation. I wonder whether solar flares cause any psychological effects in human beings. I have a little hunch that solar flares may increase or accentuate the negative, that is to say the unpleasant and anti-social emotions, but it is only a hunch, and nothing I've read in reputable media gives any credence to that opinion. Lacking evidence, I must classify the notion that solar flares effect human psychology as a highly suspect hypothesis. But I think the question merits a bit of research by a graduate student or two. Most of all, I think a survey would be effective, asking a thousand people whether they felt better overall or worse on the day that the Earth is impacted by a solar flare. I felt a bit worse, and I think other people did as well. Some researchers merely analyze crime reports, because it's an easy thing to do. Feeling worse does not necessarily mean that rates of crime or violence will increase. In fact, the opposite may hold true; people may withdraw or isolate themselves when they feel bad, thus reducing rates of crime or violence.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Smoking Pot Vs. Smoking Cigarettes

What pot smokers have known forever, scientists are discovering through experiment. Pot is not nearly as harmful as either tobacco or alcohol. The fact that it is illegal all over the world is a clear indication of the stupidity and insanity of world leaders and their disconnect from reality.

Obama is one example of an over-educated fool who does not understand science.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Friday, December 16, 2011

Oil Changes

Finally, the world is waking up to the fact that cars don't need oil changes every 3,000 miles.

For decades, I read that cars need an oil change every 3,500 miles, and each time, I thought to myself, "What a great lie those oil companies are spinning--how profitable!" And think of all the Jiffy Lube's that benefited from the pile of horse crap.

How'd I know? I read the manual for my 1982 Honda Civic. It said change the oil every 7,500 miles. The manufacturer would not have put that information in the manual if he thought it would make his product less reliable. So I always changed my oil after a year or two or 7,500 miles, whichever came first. In cases where the engine is old and burns oil or where the oil turns pitch black, I change sooner.

Apparently, high oil prices are the reason for the increased publicity counteracting the marvelous profit-making lie that extracted $20-$50 every 3,000 miles from legions of gullible car owners.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Curbing Animal Research

I applaud these efforts to curb animal research in laboratories. Especially in cases where the only thing at stake is mere profit, animals should not be considered for painful or harmful laboratory experiments. Where human lives are at stake, then animal research may be alright, if necessary in order to proceed with discovery. I think a judge should be the arbitrator, a judge armed with a law that expresses a general philosophy with guidelines rather than a thousand-page law of specific rules for every conceivable case (inevitably there will be cases that would fall outside any such law).
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Our ancestors would be shocked by the technology that we take for granted. Moving pictures on a screen would seem like magic. There was nothing comparable to television hundreds of years ago. It is quite a leap to visualize our grand technological idea that data can be transmitted through the air via radio waves that are invisible to our sight and completely undetectable by our other senses, and this data can be reproduced using a natural force of electricity and producing artificial light in fine colors and resolution, not just for short bursts but continuously. They would be amazed and think it was magic. I wonder what gadgets of the future would inspire in me a similar wonder? A time machine, I think. That to me would be magic. Or a device, such as a cloak, that rendered a person invisible. I would not understand these things, but they would delight me. Maybe magic is and always was just science that was beyond our current level of understanding.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Common Sense on Vitamins

I used to be a vitamin supplement enthusiast, but in light of recent research I have lost interest in supplements. It seems to me that vitamin pills are a continuation of the snake oil remedies of the past.

Multivitamins should be used in moderation. If one is eating a well-balanced diet, there is no need for a multi. If one is eating vitamin-poor food at fast-food joints, perhaps it can't hurt to pop a multi in an attempt to fill in the gaps left by such a poor diet.

Taking a multi every day regardless of diet seems wasteful to say the least, and then there's apprehension in the medical community as to the pharmacological effects of high dosages of various vitamins and minerals on the body.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Understanding Technology

Qubits are being studied in research into quantum computing.

I can't help but think of Q-bert, a popular video game from the 1980's.

I have only a vague notion of what the research really means or how it works, but it does sound most impressive. I have difficulty understanding what is meant by a bit that can be both zero and one at the same time. Does that mean it has three possible values, rather than two, and the speed increase derives from increased capacity or bandwidth? Or would there be five possibilities: 1, 0, 00, 10, or 01? I don't really understand a single thing about quantum mechanics, insofar as why it works. I can almost grasp how it works, but not why.

As far as I'm concerned, electricity is magic. I've never understood electricity in a proper way. The inner workings of personal computers also seem like magic.

I suppose it is possible, if written and recorded documents were lost in an Apocalypse, such as after a nuke attack or comet strike, that much technology could also disappear, because many people don't really have a good idea as to how their gadgets work and could not begin to recreate them, especially without preexisting tools and other supplies. It is easy to understand and recreate such things as a cart, a wagon, and even a saddle from easily obtained natural resources, but to build a car and the infrastructure to support it and its fuel, that would be quite a trick for an ordinary person left to his own devices. The only guarantee we have is about the Renaissance level of technology. Hopefully, though, there will always be a cache of technological information stored somewhere in a computer disk or a book.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Friday, September 23, 2011

Speed of Light Repealed

I was taught in school that the speed of light in a vacuum was absolute and could not be exceeded by anything.

Turns out that may have been wrong.

Science is always revising and improving itself. Religion does, too, to be fair, but it's a bit more resistant to change.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It is Evil to Use Anonymous Sperm Banks

One of the most unethical practices of our time is the use that some women and couples make of anonymous sperm banks in order to have children. Setting aside other ethical qualms, to not know the father and not even care to know the father is irresponsible when we are aware that many diseases, psychoses and physical and personality traits are hereditary.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Friday, July 29, 2011

Obama and the Environment

When the Obama Administration encounters science it doesn't like, it has a simple solution: punish the scientist. In that respect, it is similar to the Bush Administration. Both Presidents are the same on marijuana, too. Even though science is quite clear that alcohol is more harmful than marijuana, it is marijuana, not alcohol, that the Federal government goes to great lengths to eradicate. Our leaders are indifferent to science and uninterested in learning. That is why the country is in the situation it is in today. If the country were a restaurant, it would have been shut down already either for health code violations or lack of business. Imagine a restaurant that sends all its customers to other restaurants to eat and refuses to serve food at all. That is the U.S. today, shipping jobs and resources overseas and letting the people and the infrastructure rot.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Evil Scientists

I watched "Operation Crossbow," a BBC documentary, tonight. It was about the Allied aerial reconnaissance against Nazi Germany during WW2 that resulted in the diminishing of the threat posed by the V-1 rockets. German scientists had developed highly advanced rockets that were to cost 9,000 lives.

I think there is a basis for holding scientists to a higher standard than political leaders, generals or other civilians. Scientists are smart and should know better. If they can penetrate the secrets of nature, they should also have a grounding in basic ethics. If a scientist serves a power as evil as Nazi Germany, particularly in a military capacity, his evil rises to a level above that of other human beings, who may be deceived, stupid or ignorant. A contemporary example of evil scientists would be the nuclear scientists that serve the Iranian regime.

I almost regret not having been alive during WW2 and having missed out on what seemed a glorious war. Even the smallest act must have been imbued with profound meaning and purpose when a people are joined in a collective struggle against absolute evil.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Alcohol & Cancer

Alcohol has been linked to cancer, again.

Weed is linked to cancer, too; it fights cancer. It is non-carcinogenic and non-toxic, properties not shared by alcohol.

The U.S. government displays abject ignorance by enforcing draconian laws against harmless weed, while booze causes health costs to skyrocket.

Human beings have long sought an inebriant of some kind in order to take a break from the relentless calculations of everyday living. It is unrealistic to expect that everyone is going to choose sobriety all the time and forever.

A simple legal and cultural switch from booze to pot would save the U.S. trillions in long and short-term health care costs. Yes, trillions. Alcohol kills; pot does not. Period.

One cannot expect the U.S. government to do anything sensible. Considered more important are foreign wars on behalf of Iraq and Afghanistan, where we are despised in return for providing trillions of dollars in aid. Considered more important is the never-ending drug war against drug users that costs hundreds of billions of dollars and fills the prisons with nonviolent offenders. Considered more important is aid to enemies disguised as allies like Pakistan. Basically, the U.S. government flushes half our taxes down the toilet every year. That is why the country is in the situation it is in today.

The workers are just as creative, hard-working and educated as ever, but the leaders, such as Lamar Smith (R-Tx), are hardheaded political hacks without the slightest capacity for creativity.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fusion Power

Fusion power seems to me a better investment than either Iraq or Afghanistan. I don't see why those two countries merit many trillions of dollars, whereas $30 billion can't be found to develop and exploit fusion energy. We should leave the lunatics in the Middle East to war among each other, and develop a replacement for oil.

Big defense corporations want to feast on the money cow known as war, and they control Congress. That is why there always has been and always will be war.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Friday, June 3, 2011

Body Odor

Seafood or fragrant gourmet cheeses bring to mind body odor, but not in a bad way. Oddly, their aroma is interpreted as pleasant and non-threatening, their flavor rich and delightful. The scent of a large mammal, though similar, is interpreted in a different way. Disgust is the dominant reaction.

I have noticed that people are indifferent to their own body odor or they may not even be aware of its intensity. I sometimes smell people who have not been vigilant about their personal hygiene. The odor can be overpowering, and if they only knew of its intensity, they would feel ashamed. All one remembers about them is their smell, a most unfortunate legacy.

But how can one broach such a subject? One cannot, in polite company. One simply endures, and then makes a mental note to limit one's future association with the stinking individual, or to at least situate oneself near an open window. That is a sad outcome that may result in certain people being lonely. I am reminded of my hyperactive friend who showered twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. That seemed excessive, but I understand the motive. For my part, I have made it a rule never to socialize without taking a shower. Rather than be smelled and not know it, I'd rather err on the side of fastidiousness.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Fascinating article about psychopaths in The Guardian. Perhaps it is a coincidence, but a recent case of a mother accused of murdering her daughter certainly brings to mind the subject. If found guilty, could the mother be certified as having the empathy-deficient brain profile of a psychopath?
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments
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