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Lacerant Plainer
87,178 followers -
Non Resident Alien & Science Fiction writer www.lacerantplainer.com
Non Resident Alien & Science Fiction writer www.lacerantplainer.com

87,178 followers
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Why do we yawn? : While this sounds like a question which has been answered already, the real reason is still a hypothesis. Yawning helps to get oxygen into our bloodstream and makes us more awake. Right? Wrong. It has nothing to do with Oxygen at all. Read on...

Radiator cooling : When our bodies are hot, standing in front of a fan can be a quick fix, and the brain is the same way. When we yawn, we pull in cool air through the nasal and oral cavities, and that air comes in contact with all of the blood vessels in those densely packed areas. Many of those blood vessels carry blood directly to the brain, and the surge of air cools the blood, and thus the brain.

Catching a yawn : Why are yawns so contagious? Does the fact that we catch them from one another shed light on their underlying function? One possibility is that contagious yawning serves as a way of showing empathy. While all vertebrate mammals experience spontaneous yawning, only humans and our closest relatives, chimpanzees, seem to experience the contagion effect—a sign that there may be a deeper social meaning to the experience. What’s more, while spontaneous yawning occurs in the womb, contagious yawning develops only later in life, as does empathy. Children younger than five don’t yawn any more often when watching videos of yawns than they would normally.

Bigger brains mean longer yawns : Yawning—a stretching of the jaw, gaping of the mouth and long deep inhalation, followed by a shallow exhalation—may serve as a thermoregulatory mechanism, says Andrew Gallup, a psychology professor at SUNY College at Oneonta. In other words, it’s kind of like a radiator. In a 2007 study, Gallup found that holding hot or cold packs to the forehead influenced how often people yawned when they saw videos of others doing it. When participants held a warm pack to their forehead, they yawned 41 percent of the time. When they held a cold pack, the incidence of yawning dropped to 9 percent.

H/t to +Amanda Powter for asking this question

References and links

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-do-we-yawn-and-why-is-it-contagious-3749674/

http://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/the-surprising-science-of-yawning

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/10/bigger-your-brain-longer-you-yawn

https://www.scienceabc.com/humans/why-is-yawning-contagious-people.html

#yawn   #science  
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The Pale Blue dot : Carl Sagan gives us some perspective, which is both a point of view and unique way an astronomer looks at the Earth. It is a mote in the immensity of the Universe.

From the Planetary Society's website This image of Earth is one of 60 frames taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft on February 14, 1990 from a distance of more than 6 billion kilometers (4 billion miles) and about 32 degrees above the ecliptic plane. In the image the Earth is a mere point of light, a crescent only 0.12 pixel in size. Our planet was caught in the center of one of the scattered light rays resulting from taking the image so close to the Sun. This image is part of Voyager 1's final photographic assignment which captured family portraits of the Sun and planets.

Reference : http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/earth/pale-blue-dot.html

Attributed to -- Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994

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How a supervolcano almost halted the human migration : Or did it? Genetics, Archaeology and physics are being used to figure out that happened.

What is Toba? Mt. Toba was a supervolcano which erupted around 75,000 years back. This was Earth's largest volcanic eruption in the past 2 million years.

Why does this matter? Toba drastically altered the world’s climate and caused a six-year-long volcanic winter in some parts of the world. Correlating the date of the eruption to evidence of a genetic bottleneck in the modern human population around the same time, some researchers suggested that populations of modern humans (Homo sapiens) that had previously expanded out of Africa were unable to cope with these changes, and thus experienced huge population declines everywhere except in tropical, mainly African, refuges.

Alternate routes Genetic and fossil evidence has accumulated in support of an African origin for modern humans. Despite this consensus, several questions remain with regard to the mode and timing of dispersal out of the continent. Competing models differ primarily by the number of dispersals, their geographic route, and the extent to which expanding modern humans interacted with other hominins.

Please note the pic is not Mt.Toba

References and links

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1040618215011891

http://www.pnas.org/content/110/26/10699.full

http://www.yourgenome.org/stories/evolution-of-modern-humans

http://www.geotimes.org/sept07/article.html?id=nn_eruption.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toba_catastrophe_theory
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What's new with the Hyperloop? : Recently Hyperloop has spawned two new startups; Hyperloop One and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), both racing to get their proof of concept and test tracks ready. And India and the UK are very, very interested. Why is that?

The promise of a low-carbon large people mover : The Hyperloop will be able to move large number of people, really quickly with a low carbon footprint. So what is holding it back? In the U.S., political will is divided, but there are high investment costs and support required to prove the concept commercially.

Immense potential : “Imagine Chennai to Bengaluru in less than 30 minutes for a fraction of the cost of air travel today,” Joel Michael, the chief global operations director of the Los Angeles-based company told the Economic Times via email. The executive is slated to attend the i5 Summit in India next week, where initial negotiations might commence.

“Transportation is a multi-billion dollar industry that has yet to meaningfully innovate against issues like gridlock, pollution and traveler discomfort,” said Gresta. “We see our role as taking responsibility for introducing that innovation.”

People mover : Every year around 1/3rd of the world's population travels by air. The fuel costs, the costs of running this high volume is going up daily. And we are reaching the point where prices are only going to go up. Even more worrying is the amount of fossil fuels that are burnt to keep aircraft in the air. And airports are unable to keep up with the burgeoning demand for air travel.

References and Links

http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/hyperloop-india/

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/hyperloop-technology-uk

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperloop

https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/14/shervin-pishevar-the-first-hyperloop-will-likely-be-built-overseas/?ncid=rss

http://www.spacex.com/hyperloop

http://www.dnaindia.com/scitech/report-tesla-s-hyperloop-may-just-see-a-pilot-happening-at-the-mumbai-pune-expressway-2255932
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Is the Science settled? : I often read or hear about people asking this. Is science sure about this? That is the wrong question. To find out more about what the real question should be, read on...

Science is a methodology : Science looks to find answers about us, the place we live in, the way things work. We find out incrementally new things about phenomena everyday. So what we know today to be 'true' is often something we find is not tomorrow.

Does that mean I can't trust science? : The answer is a big resounding NO. Scientific methods lead to better and better answers everyday. The very nature of the process questions the very basis of things we know and looks at alternatives and tests to disprove hypothesis.

Can I therefore say that Gravity should be questioned? : Surprisingly, the straight answer is yes. But it is much more nuanced that that. One needs higher and higher bars on the disproving of a theory which is established. It requires extraordinary proof and peer review by many reputed researchers to pull down an established theory.

Scientists often Hedge their claims : Because they know the pitfalls of being an absolutist. Check the video to see how Prof. Brian Cox. says "This is the best prediction we have. And we get better at it everyday."


Brain Cox explains the scientific method : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxEGHW6Lbu8

Related article : http://kbsgk12project.kbs.msu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Nat_Geo_War_on_Science.pdf
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Is the Science settled? : I often read or hear about people asking this. Is science sure about this? That is the wrong question. To find out more about what the real question should be, read on...

Science is a methodology : Science looks to find answers about us, the place we live in, the way things work. We find out incrementally new things about phenomena everyday. So what we know today to be 'true' is often something we find is not tomorrow.

Does that mean I can't trust science? : The answer is a big resounding NO. Scientific methods lead to better and better answers everyday. The very nature of the process questions the very basis of things we know and looks at alternatives and tests to disprove hypothesis.

Can I therefore say that Gravity should be questioned? : Surprisingly, the straight answer is yes. But it is much more nuanced that that. One needs higher and higher bars on the disproving of a theory which is established. It requires extraordinary proof and peer review by many reputed researchers to pull down an established theory.

Scientists often Hedge their claims : Because they know the pitfalls of being an absolutist. Check the video to see how Prof. Brian Cox. says "This is the best prediction we have. And we get better at it everyday."


Brain Cox explains the scientific method : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxEGHW6Lbu8

Related article : http://kbsgk12project.kbs.msu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Nat_Geo_War_on_Science.pdf
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Advantages of Trump becoming President

As a third-worldy person, I can actually see a bunch of advantages. Most of them to make other countries feel good...

- Third world countries can laugh at the complete chaos he will create, and that will make them feel good about their own crappy situations.

- Comedians around the world will get so much material to work off of.

- Maybe when he manages to take the US to the stone age, other countries can help... which will make everyone happy.

- The dollar will be devalued so much, we can travel to the US and treat the locals to a good time.

I usually don't write or post about politics... but this is too much to pass up. You will get the future you deserve; but seriously people?

Tagging +Gita Jaisinghani 
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From +Rhys Taylor ..... Please sign. Observatories are awesome!
To everyone I know who has large numbers of followers, please consider signing, but more importantly sharing, the following petition regarding the funding of Arecibo Observatory :
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/arecibo-observatory-pr-danger-being-closed-or-severely-impaired-take-action-keep-it-well-funded-0
It's currently acquiring new signatures at an extremely low rate, otherwise I wouldn't bother drawing it to your attention. I don't think I need to tell any of you why this is important, but I'll write a strongly-worded blog post if necessary. Or a weakly-worded blog post, whatever works.

Off the top of my head and in no particular order, I'd like to bring this to the attention of +Winchell Chung, +Jenny Winder, +Ciro Villa, +Fraser Cain, +Ethan Siegel, +Jonah Miller, +Lacerant Plainer, +Christopher Butler, +Brian Koberlein, +Jason Major.

I make no apologies for the spam.

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The best Indian food in Bombay? You gotta know it.....

Stuffed myself silly. And then some.

Main Pic : Raan - Lamb falling off the bone

Top right : Dal Bhukhara Butter lentil goodness
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2016-04-30
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Unfortunately I can no longer eat beef. But, but..... I have to travel often to get some. Plus the politicians are crazy. And loons.
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