Archive for May, 2016

Where Does Body Fat Go After Weight Loss?

Losing weight can be an exhilarating experience for someone who was obese and had an extra layer of fat floating around the centre of the body. With proper diet and exercise the extra kilos can come right off the human body, but when you lose weight what actually happens to the extra fat that was stored earlier in the body?

Our body fat is called triglycerides. This is stored for use as fuel when the body needs to use it for energy. There are enzymes in the blood which will take the triglycerides and break them down into fatty acid chains and glycerol. The fatty acids are a form of energy that cells can absorb.

The fatty acids are further broken down within the cells and fed as fuel to the mitochondria, which is basically the power generator of the cell. Once the fatty acids are used up they disintegrate into carbon di oxide and water. These are again thrown out of the body from our lungs and through our urine respectively.

That is how the fats that have been stored in the body can break down and be absorbed completely. So the next time you decide to conduct a science experiment about how well you can lose weight, be sure to remember just where the body fat goes!

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Do You Talk in Your Sleep?

A room mate can have many appealing qualities, but talking in their sleep at night would not be considered one. Why do some people have a habit of talking in their sleep while others don’t? It comes down to a mechanism in the brain which is associated with controlling, or guiding certain neural activity. This allows the person to dream, but without speaking or moving.

When the brain mechanism is not perfect, it does not completely kill the actual talking and moving responses triggered by a dream. While not all the signals will be passed through a fair amount do make it and cause the sleeping person to mumble, maybe groan a bit or at times even very clearly say things while they are technically still asleep.

This is the reason why sleep walking also gets triggered. researchers believe that a person who is under severe stress can have psychological problems which lead to the lack of this neural activity to control the speaking or moving around of a person in sleep. There is no clear evidence on how much stress will trigger this, and if it will affect everyone the same way. That is a study for another science project.

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Brains in Space

Human beings have evolved on planet Earth over a long period of time. This means that all the organs that we have developed are best suited to working on the surface of the Earth. So what happens when we leave the Earth and end up in outer space? Astronauts who have spent considerable time in space tend to have a number of physical problems readjusting to the gravity once they return to Earth.

Once it was discovered that the lack of gravity can seriously affect the health of a human being researchers started paying more attention to just what went on in the human body when it was in outer space. One such study was concentrated on the effect of the lack of gravity on the human brain. This organ which is barely five kilograms is key to optimal human performance.

On the International Space Station a study of brain activity was made when asked to predict the falling of a ball and where we would move to catch it. It was interesting to know that the brain despite knowing about the lack of gravity, would naturally guide the person in a position where gravity would work to throw the ball. Also the lack of gravity begins to affect the electrical activity of the brain and one scientific study even found that it would begin producing patterns resembling epileptic seizures.

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Why Artificial Intelligence is Never As Good

There have been giant strides made in the field of Artificial Intelligence or AI as it is commonly abbreviated in the last couple of decades. Computers are able to independently handle tasks which would have been unheard of just half a century ago. Yet, no matter how well these computers function, they are often restricted in the amount of intelligence that they can display.

Computers do not learn organically like humans do. They can scan data to find patterns, and then use these patterns to predict what data may occur next. This can work well in regular patterns which generally tend to follow the same set of data time and again repeatedly. However it is not much help when the data keeps changing as does the pattern.

Human beings are not only very good at identifying patterns and predicting behaviours, they are also able to grasp complex concepts with relatively more ease than the software of the computer would ever be able to. The truth is that the scientists working on understanding how the brain functions have a huge science project which they will take years more to complete. Till that happens, and it will be a while, computers with AI are never going to be as good at learning as a human being.

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Why No Videos From Mars

Knowledge only ever grows with increasingly better technology in our hands. A century ago taking a photograph on Earth was a huge production. Fifty years ago any amateur could handle an automatic camera and in the last decade even children are able to take digital images with great ease.

This improvement in technology also carried forward into the space exploration front. With the different photographs that Mars based rovers such as Curiosity have been sending back to Earth, we have a fairly good idea of what the Martian terrain looks like.

One question that may pop up is how come when we can get such brilliant images from Mars do we not have any interesting video clips? The radio wavelength that is currently used to transmit data is not enough to handle the larger data amounts that a video would require.

Currently scientists are experimenting with infra red communication which will allow higher rates of data exchange. Perhaps the new Mars landers will be outfitted with this technology enabling them to send back high definition videos. Then we will surely be able to see what the surface of the planet actually looks like in contract to the ever changing atmosphere on Mars.

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