Published 31 January, 2007
My Writing Life , Science
I’m now published at Inkling Magazine and that‘s the big thing of mine. Inkling Magazine’s motto is: On the HUNCH that science rocks. You pretty much know what that article of mine is all about – at least globally.
Titled, A Rose by Any Other Name Would Look as Red, the article explains how the human brain seems to calibrate colour vision against a standard, making up for differences in eye hardware. In simpler terms, although your eyes and my eyes are different, we all see the same colours. Or do we? Actually, our brains decide how we perceive colours.
Every person is different. Take my neighbor, for example. He has amazingly selective hearing. When his two dogs start to bark madly at 2 a.m, he is undisturbed, whereas I fall out of bed thinking that the Death-Eaters are attacking my house. Maybe his eyesight is different too. That would explain why he waters his lawn every single day, even though it looks pretty green to me. Which makes me wonder: Does he see colors differently than I do? Could our eyes be telling us different stories?
In this lawn-watering example, the answer seems to be no. Barring color blindness, no matter how different our individual eyes may be, our brains ensure that we experience colors in the same way, according to a group of ground-breaking studies in the past decade. But those rules can change when we start mucking with vision – through colored contact lenses or even changing latitudes. But seeing as my neighbor hasn’t been on any far-fetched vacations nor does he have a fondness for red sunglasses, I can only assume that he just likes wasting water.
I took more than a week (four drafts) to come up with a decent article. Big thanks to Anna Gosline, who edited this article and really guided me through the process. She stuck up with me and proved to be an awesome mentor, having been a writer for New Scientist herself. Without her support, I would never have been able to get this published. Also, many thanks have to go to my dad for his support and suggestions.
I also have my very own profile at Inkling – with a couple of embarrassing photos – and I’m very proud about that. I’m also proud about the fact that for the first time ever, I read actual scientific papers from scientific journals!
All in all, I’m really happy about this.
Note: This is probably the last decent post in this blog. I’ll obviously tell you when I’ve migrated the blog to start it back from scratch. Already working on it. So, farewell!
Technorati Tags: inkling magazine, science, psychology, cognitive science
Published 23 January, 2007
Aside , Science
Each player will be given an island, forested or slightly so, but intentionally inhabited so as to give your actions in the game an element of real consequence.
Without intervention, your tropical paradise is predicted to go under exactly ten years from the start of play. And lest some bothersome Republican Apologist or a second-rate SF novelist obfuscate the science, the data is irrefutable and the analysis is impeccable, unassailable.
Per island is a lone seaside village. You will notice that its plan follows the principles of New Urbanism. This is either because the executive producers have read too much Nicolai Ouroussoff and consequently have turned homicidal against anything quaint and earnest, or have been roselytised by Andrés Duany enough to have developed a raging hero complex for things wholesome and bourgeois.
The waters are coming, and you are tasked to prevent the island and the village from sinking.
You will have a budget of $1 trillion, of course, and have all the structures and widgets ever used in the long history of hydroengineering.
As this is being sponsored by IKEA®, the challenge will be in their assembly.
From Alexander Trevi’s Pruned. A blog which should be on your blogroll.
December 25th seems to be a very strange day to publish a column: that’s why I published the latest Not Scientific Science on Christmas day. It’s always cool to do something out of the ordinary from time to time. And as senior columnist over at backwash, I have the opportunity to share my geekiness with all those great people on the net.
The year’s last article on Not Scientific Science is “Artificial Meat.” Basically it’s all about the mass production of cultured/artificial meat in laboratory for proper human consumption.
“With a single cell, you could theoretically produce the world’s annual meat supply. And you could do it in a a way that’s better for the environment and human health. In the long term, this is a feasible idea.”
– Jason Matheny, University of Maryland doctoral student.
Artificial meat is a decent idea; it clearly has its advantages. For one, the nutrients in the meat can be controlled. For example, most meats contain much Omega 6, which can cause high cholesterol. With artificial meat, the Omega 6 can be converted into Omega 3, which is a healthy fat. Another advantage of artificial meat is that it could reduce the pollution that results from raising livestock.
However the obvious benefit of artificial meat is that it can help match the ever-increasing demand of meat around the world. Along the same vein, one may even fantasise that artificial meat may, one day, help in alleviating famine in some countries.
When I wrote this article, I didn’t particularly enjoy the final product. But after some editing, I have to say that I’m quite satisfied with it.
Concerning weird science again, I stumbled upon an article on the web about geckoes. Apparently, femaly geckoes do not need sex to reproduce! The link is over here, posted at backwash. And from a fellow columnist (and reader) over at backwash, I got to know that female komodo dragons are also doing the same thing.
Seems like the females really don’t need us, males, any longer. Kind of frightening. No sex though. Umm… boring life?
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Published 14 December, 2006
Science , Websites
We make stuffed animals that look like tiny microbes—only a million times actual size! Now available: The Common Cold, The Flu, Sore Throat, Stomach Ache, Cough, Ear Ache, Bad Breath, Kissing Disease, Athlete’s Foot, Ulcer, Martian Life, Beer & Bread, Black Death, Ebola, Flesh Eating, Sleeping Sickness, Dust Mite, Bed Bug, and Bookworm (and in our Professional line: H.I.V. and Hepatitis).
Each 5-to-7 inch doll is accompanied by an image of the real microbe it represents, as well as information about the microbe.
They make great learning tools for parents and educators, as well as amusing gifts for anyone with a sense of humor!
GEEKY! I love this. I really love this.
Bad Breath (Porphorymonas gingivalis)
Mad Cow Plush Doll
Stomach Ache Plush Doll
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)
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Published 6 December, 2006
My Favourite Blogs , Science
Want to know which picture has made it to my desktop wallpaper? Here you go:
Are the snakes rotating or not? Obviously they are not. But your mind thinks they do and right now I have a sort of animation on my desktop!
There are many many more illusions which you may find interesting over here. I particularly like this one too:
Cognitive science remains one of the field we are poorest in. It’s only now that scientists are starting to probe in the secrets that it holds and the more we decode, the more we find how utterly complex the mind is.
For this one here, the grey line is indeed horizontal although your mind thinks that it’s slightly tilted. You can read why and how your mind has been fouled here
What makes this phenomenon really interesting is when rectangles are combined in creative ways. In the cafe wall illusion, for example, the placement of the blocks next to a line makes the same line appear “darker” or “lighter” depending on what it’s next to
P.S. Click on the pictures to get the full-sized versions.
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I’m a little bit depressed right now (all too normal, I asure you) and when I read really good poems, I can really cry.
This one poem is just too much, me thinks.
Technorati Tags: seed magazine, scienceblogs