Live, Learn, and Dream

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Tag Archives: Education

Don’t Wash Your Chicken

A common misconception when preparing chicken for cooking is the need to rinse the poultry with water before it is cooked. In fact, the USDA recommends that you do NOT wash your chicken, as it increases the risk of spreading bacteria around the kitchen. Dr. Jennifer Quinlan helped to develop the “Don’t Wash Your Chicken” campaign, as creative way to inform people about this mishandling.

I think this one will be very hard to overcome because we wash everything before cooking it. Everything. What if there is dirt on it? :P … However, the reasons behind the recommendation are: 1. It does not get rid of germs or kill germs. 2. Washing increases the chance of spreading those harmful bacteria and contaminating the kitchen, the environment, and the person.

The Solar System — our home in space

It is a great education video that give a good overview of our solar system and the sizes/mass of planets in comparison. One small problem I have with this video is the space between the planets. :)

Office Posture Matters: An Animated Guide

Yes, chair can kill, and based on the video paying attention to your posture is real key to stay healthy. Here are a few recommendations of the basic of good posture:

  1. Good support for your back
  2. Feet are comfortably resting
  3. While sitting, try not cross your legs which restricts circulation
  4. Keep monitoring an arm away at eye level
  5. Rocking back and forth can help
  6. Interrupt sitting down every 30 minutes
  7. Take advantage of every chance to move your body

BBC Science Club – Physics

Giulio Tononi: 2011 Allen Institute for Brain Science Symposium

Giulio Tononi, University of Wisconsin, Madison “Sleep function and synaptic homeostasis”

We spend a third of our lives in sleep, but we have no idea why. This, according to Dr. Tononi, “is most embarrassing for neuroscience.” Slow sleep oscillations — traveling waves — propagate throughout the brain on the superhighways of the connectome, then they spread out through the rest of the brain; this happens a thousand times every night, but we have no idea why. Dr. Tononi proposed a theory for why we sleep, which basically states that “sleep is the price we pay for synaptic plasticity.” That is, sleep exists as a sort of “offline” reset, or release valve, to renormalize synaptic strength that steadily increases during wakefulness. Dubbed the Synaptic Homeostasis Hypothesis (SHY), Tononi presented supportive evidence from a variety of perspectives including molecular, electrophysiological, and anatomical.

A correlative basis for SHY is the observation that genes involved in plasticity drop during sleep and a validating piece of evidence would lie in the ability to view the increase in synaptic potentiation in the sleep cycle. If validated, Dr. Tononi pointed to functional consequences of SHY that fall in a cycle such that 1) net synaptic potentiation in wakefuleness has energy, space, supply cost, and saturates learning until 2) renormalization during sleep restores the brain and consolidates and integrates memories.

Theory: Sleep re-normalizes the brain.

NASA | IBEX Provides First View of the Solar System’s Tail

NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, recently mapped the boundaries of the solar system’s tail, called the heliotail. By combining observations from the first three years of IBEX imagery, scientists have mapped out a tail that shows a combination of fast and slow moving particles. The entire structure twisted, because it experiences the pushing and pulling of magnetic fields outside the solar system.

Our solar has a comet-like tail called heliotail. NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer has mapped the shape of the tail based on the relative speed of solar particles. I wonder if it is possible to observe the same phenomena from nearest stars (Alpha Centauri, Sirius, Barnard’s Star, …, etc.) in our part of galactic neighborhood.

How to Survive a Plane Crash

The odds of dying in a plane crash are about one in 11 million (about the same as being attacked by shark and much lower than the chance of being stuck by light), while the odds of dying in an auto accident are about one in 5,000. More than 95 percent of the airplane passengers involved in a crash survive, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Scientific America has an article that gives a few tips that can increase your chances of survival in a plane crash.

  • Dress for survival – Wearing practical shoes, long pants and long-sleeved shirts. (Cover your skin to protect your skin from flames and sharp objects)
  • Choose your seat wisely – Passengers in the rear of an aircraft were significantly more likely to survive, and people sitting behind the wing had a 40 percent greater chance of surviving. Also, try to sit in or near an exit row because most crash survivors moved five rows or fewer before exiting a burning plane. Last, aisle seats are somewhat safer. (Not first class)
  • Takeoff and landing – The most accident-prone times of an airplane flight are the three minutes after takeoff and the eight minutes before landing – keep your shoes on, keep your tray table up, make note of the two nearest exits, placing a carry-on item under the seat in front of you.
  • The 90-second rule – Stay calm and move out of the plane quickly. (Fire can spread very quickly)

After surviving a plane crash, if we can learn from the Flight 214 plane crash at SFO, don’t get run over by emergency vehicles arriving at the scene.
Source: Scientific America – How to Survive a Plane Crash

The Chemistry of 4th July Fireworks


Sodium produces yellow/gold colors. Barium creates green, copper compounds produce blue, strontium salts give you red and titanium metals give you silver colored sparks.

Other commonly used chemicals are carbon which provides the fuel, oxidizers which produce oxygen for burning, magnesium which increases the overall brilliance and brightness, antimony that gives you a “glitter” effect and calcium which deepens the colors.

Source: Google+

What’s Actually Inside An Average Cup of Coffee — Wired Magazine

In general, coffee consists of 98% of water and 2% of other stuff.
Some interesting compounds in coffee:

  • 2-Enthelphenol “has tar-like odor and is actually a cockroach pheromone that warns other cockroaches of danger.” (It makes me wonder if it could hold cocroach invasion at bay.
  • Dimethyl Disulfide “smells like rotting meat.” Wiki: It penetrates the skin very readily, giving it the unusual property for many individuals of being secreted onto the surface of the tongue after contact with the skin and causing a garlic-like taste in the mouth.
  • Acetylmethylcarbinel or Acetoin gives buttery odor.
  • Trigonelline “has a sweet, earthy taste.” According to wiki, it may help to prevent dental caries by preventing the bacteria Streptococcus mutans from adhering to teeth.
  • 3,5 Dicaffeoylquinic Acid or Chlorogenic acid is an antioxidant and may slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream after a meal.
  • Finally, there is Caffeine. :)

Source: Wired

World’s Largest Jellyfish

The lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata), also known as hair jelly, is the largest known species of jellyfish. Its range is confined to cold, boreal waters of the Arctic, northern Atlantic, and northern Pacific Oceans, seldom found farther south than 42°N latitude. Although capable of attaining a bell diameter of 2.5 metres (8.2 ft), these jellyfish can vary greatly in size, those found in lower latitudes are much smaller than their far northern counterparts with bell about 50 centimetres (20 in) in diameter. At 120 feet (37 m) in length, the largest known specimen was longer than a blue whale and is considered one of the longest known animals in the world.

Info: Wikipedia

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