Archive for the science Category

Real myth busters: penile length and shoe size!

Posted in humor, random, science with tags , on December 2, 2008 by freakychinaman

Just some random stuff a lecturer brought up in a lecture once, looked it up and… hey, what do you know!

How stuff works… in a nutshell!: Sarcomeres

Posted in science with tags , , , on August 3, 2008 by freakychinaman

Sarcomeres are the basic functional units of muscle (be it skeletal (ones you show off) or cardiac (heart), but  NOT smooth muscle!… however the principles below still apply), and they stick end on end to form myofibrils (if you ever see “myo” it means “muscle”), which gather to form the muscle fibers and blah blah blah.. gather to form your everyday muscles . And if you want to know how they contract you really only need to worry about 2 things: actin (thin) and myosin (thick) filaments.

I like to think of the myosin filaments as caterpillars…. that have 2 heads: so as you can see from the picture above, the myosin filaments have little ‘legs‘  sticking out at the 2 ends (but they like to call them heads….) and what those 2 pictures at the bottom are trying to say (and doing a crappy job at it..) is that these heads reach out to an actin filament and then attaches itself, then physically pulls the actin towards the middle over and over again (much like how animals walk), which makes the muscle shorten.

If you keep in mind the same image, then you can begin to understand the logic behind the length-force relationship of muscles:

all this says is that when the muscle is stretched or shortened to a point it will start to reduce its ability to produce force (so why it’s harder to do a squat or a push-up if you go lower, despite the fact you are moving the same weight). So back to the caterpillar metaphor: if the branch (actin) is too far but close enough for a leg or 2 to reach, it still really can’t pull itself up the other side and if anything it’ll have to keep scuttling just to stay attached (that vibration you get when you strain?…). And when your muscles are too short, the actin filaments will end up sliding past each other, which means that the ‘legs’ at each ends will actually be working against the contraction as they run along the actin going the opposite way, also when the actin overlaps it stops the myosin from connecting with the filaments it was suppose to; and also the myosin filaments will end up butting up against the ends of the sarcomere.

Anyways that’s my first in-a-nutshell post and I hope it was useful and didn’t confuse/bore you to death. I try to steer away from the molecular stuff for now since it can be extremely boring and extremely long and I want to try to keep these as simple and short as possible (hopefully I did alright this round), and I guess I’ll keep these post to things people can relate to (rather than your school stuff where you spend 2 months learning about how you make pee…. but if you really want to know….).

[Doing this is also beneficial to my study :P]

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Hugh Hefner finally grew up:

stage of playlord

[another fashion store in HK somewhere…]

Scientific Facts

Posted in philosophy, science with tags , , , , on July 15, 2008 by freakychinaman

we hear the term all the time, from snack and supplement commercials to schooling and the news; but seriously, there is no such thing as fact in this world, simply claims yet to be disproved.

What is considered a fact changes almost everyday: back in the day it was fact that the world was flat, mental illness was cured by drilling a hole in your skull, earth was the center of the universe, and standing in the cold will get you a cold. In the scientific world things are accepted as facts or laws simply because there is yet to be a better explanation: the effectiveness of a drug depends on the fraction of people that it has an effect on; remember those commercials saying “it has been scientifically test to significantly help sooth the symptoms of influenza” what this means is that we gave this drug to 1000 sick people, about 10 said they felt a bit better, so we made a little graph and threw some stats in there. And has anyone besides me found the claim of “it is scientifically proven that smoking causes cancer” and “we don’t know exactly how lung cancer is formed” a bit contradictory?

People usually think scientists can look down a microscope and see the little balls of atoms and molecule in the nice colours, then move them around to make other stuff; but no, until recently noone has actually seen an atom, chemists and physicists analyse atomical structure and manipulate it by chemical reactions based on theories by some old dude hundreds of years ago, and go by it because the reactions they see conform to it. But let’s say this theory is incorrect, but just that something else happens along with the process tehy were testing, or simply that every time this experiment has been done something has gone wrong, or that this process happens by percentage and it’s just been luck that it’s worked so far…. and now we are basing all our future developments on this principle, we would have then fundamentally biased all our scientific knowledge. I mean think of the alchemists and making medicine out of sulfur and mercury… which I’m sure worked very well in bringing the patient straight to heaven…

I’m not saying that what specialists and textbooks say aren’t trustworthy, I’m just saying don’t live by what others have told you and be open to all possibilities, after all, we are where we are because we question… whether that is a good thing or not you be the judge (and I’m also sick of people telling me they got their sources from ads and their grandmas).

[lies, damn lies, and statistics..]

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would you like to try for size?

Evolution: what’s so hard to understand?

Posted in science with tags , , , , , on March 19, 2008 by freakychinaman

Though it may not seem to be too pronounced in this blog, I’m actually a science geek, so I thought I’d add in a science related article just to spice up the diversity of information and propaganda you get from this site.

When people think and talk about evolution, they usually talk about Darwinism and ambiguous terms like “it happens across a long time and you don’t see it happen, but we still know man came from monkeys and monkeys came from fish”. Lecturers and know-it-alls go on and on about this stuff and just when I thought I caught the concept, they start steering off into more gibberish. My mission today is to clear up these misunderstandings and ambiguities with a single entry.

evolution.jpg

Let’s get one thing straight, evolution is not a process that is designed, meaning that just because you live in the sea does not mean that your species will eventually grow gills and flippers; and living in New York doesn’t mean you’ll eventually not need oxygen. Evolution is a result of genetic variability either naturally (eg, natural talents, physical abilities, ethnicity etc), mutation, and cross-breeding (there is co-evolution but I don’t want to make this entry too long); and depending on how strong a selective pressure there is on these traits certain traits will die out and others dominating, this is where the term “survival of the fittest” comes from (not always referring to physical strength, just how adapted to an environment), and this is why it takes so long for more complex organisms.

When I talk about selective pressure, I’m talking about how strong a need you have for a certain trait, so for example: you won’t die if you don’t have a thumb, but if you want to survive on land lungs might come in handy. Then you have the pressure you need to dominate other organisms and your own species of certain niches, so using the example from before: you may not need a thumb to live, but without it humans may not have made it to where they are today.

Nowadays humans don’t have much of a selective pressure on most common (non-debilitating) traits in terms of needing it to survive. Modern technology has allowed a lot of negative genetic features, such as stupidity, obesity, ugliness, bitchiness, and anthropologists to survive without being eaten. The main selective pressure we have is basically whether we can get laid and whether we can have kids; you may think that therefore the above traits should be filtered out, but unfortunately you get desperate stupid people screwing fat, ugly bitches and too stupid and poor to buy a condom. It also happens to be the same people that have tons of time on there hands to have sex all day while tax payers keep them alive; while the healthy, good looking smart people practice safe sex.

To all those that say evolution is only a theory and hasn’t been proven: you’re all idiots. I just listed a very simple logic of “the smart live, the idiots die”, that IS the process of evolution. If you want an example that’s closer to home, think of the flu. Even if you don’t pay any attention to scientific development, you would’ve noticed the flu getting more and more vicious and more and more deaths and ultimately we’ll be facing another plague that’ll wipe out most of our population (just my speculation, it’s just a trend that happens every few centuries); and also stories about the ‘super bugs‘ that are immune to most known antibiotics. There we go: EVOLUTION!

So evolution is really just a process of trial and error: if it doesn’t work, it gets abandoned; if it works, good for you. So stop asking questions like “why did it grow legs? why am I so hairy? why doesn’t it have wings?”, because animals didn’t choose what traits they wanted (sort of…).

Finally, a note to any creationists out there that deny evolution because you’re too stubborn and your faith is too insecure, I hope I have convinced you that you are a bunch of idiots and shattered your belief system, if not, I promise I’ll try again. If I don’t convince you on my second attempt, give me your name and address so that I can shatter your pelvis.

[If you happen to be a creationist that discredits evolution based on reasoning then the above does not apply to you (note: the Bible does not count as a source of reason nor fact.)]