For instance, after watching this video my brain fell on the floor, a mushy pile of bewilderment, electrons and all. Therefore, somewhere else in the universe, all the other electrons adjusted their energy state to compensate.
We know that exercise is good for you. Not only for your short-term health, but also to stave off disease and aging. We’ve covered before how exercise is the single best thing you can do when it comes to healthy living (but not the only thing, of course). What we don’t know is exactly how that happens.
Thanks to new research in active mice, we may be closer to understanding why.
It has to do with “autophagy”, a mechanism by which cells recycle worn out proteins and organelles. Perhaps by cleaning up the junk, they prevent toxic compounds and free radicals from building up? Cells that are exercised more are cells that recycle more. From The Economist:
Autophagy is an ancient mechanism, shared by all eukaryotic organisms (those which, unlike bacteria, keep their DNA in a membrane-bound nucleus within their cells). It probably arose as an adaptation to scarcity of nutrients. Critters that can recycle parts of themselves for fuel are better able to cope with lean times than those that cannot. But over the past couple of decades, autophagy has also been shown to be involved in things as diverse as fighting bacterial infections and slowing the onset of neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases.
Our biofuels can’t compete with our food sources (looking at you, corn ethanol), and these advanced methods are the next generation sources we’ve been looking for. There’s a few catches in this study, like whether the pre-treatment methods and all that are scalable, but YAY BIOFUELS!
Alone as a croud: the latest example of the weirdness of quantum mechanics:
Quantum mechanics is a realm of weirdness: electrons being linked to each other even though the vastness of the universe might separate them, things being in two places at once, and, of course, knowledge precluding knowledge. This last is the standard bearer of quantum oddity: measuring the momentum of an object precludes precise knowledge of where that object is. But I think I have found something that is stranger than them all.
Researchers have suggested that it might be possible to make measurements that trick a photon into thinking it is, in fact, a crowd of photons.
Let’s imagine that we want to introduce a phase shift to one single photon through a control photon. A phase shift is basically a time delay. In traditional optics this delay is applied through high-intensity light beams: a high intensity pulse can modify the refractive index of the medium through which it propagates. Our signal photon traveling through that medium will see that different refractive index and either be delayed or sped up.
The problem is that we want to do this all with single photons, and just one photon does not fit the definition of high intensity.
It seems a bit hopeless, right? However, in quantum mechanics, things are not all that they seem. One type of measurement in particular—called a weak measurement—can give very strange results. For instance, if you measure the spin of an electron using a weak measurement, you can be reasonably certain that you haven’t disturbed the spin state of the electron, but, you might get a strange value. Electrons only take on spin values of +1/2 or -1/2, but a weak measurement could return something like 100. So, under the right circumstances, that single electron can behave as if it had the spin effect of 200 electrons.
Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge. Its goal is to find out how the world works, to seek what regularities there may be, to penetrate the connections of things - from sub-nuclear particles, which may be the constituents of all matter, to living organisms, the human social community, and thence to the cosmos as a whole. Our intuition is by no means an infallible guide. Our perceptions may be distorted by training and prejudice or merely because of the limitations of our sense organs, which, of course, perceive directly but a small fraction of the phenomena of the world. Even so straightforward a question as whether in the absence of friction a pound of lead falls faster than a gram of fluff was answered incorrectly by Aristotle and almost everyone else before the time of Galileo. Science is based on experiment, on a willingness to challenge old dogma, on an openness to see the universe as it really is. Accordingly, science sometimes requires courage - at the very least the courage to question the conventional wisdom.