Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Like most runners, I like me a banana now and then.  I usually eat one every day.  It’s a nice quick snack between patients or surgeries that is actually good for me.

Now in all those years of carrying my banana to work with me, I have never had a serious banana incident.  Oh, I may have dropped it on the ground once or twice, but I don’t eat the outside anyway, so it’s not necessarily a problem.

Other people must have banana issues I am not aware of.

Fortunately, we have science.  Technology meets healthy snack in a new way:  THE BANANA BUNKER.


It seems Groupon marketed this product on their website with some hilarious reactions.  The basic problem here is that the protective banana bunker resembles something else . . .

Among the comments and Groupon’s responses:


Laugh if you will, but  they sold out.

So we must wonder now, is that a banana bunker in your pocket, or are you just happy to see us?

Don’t forget to sponsor me in the Beaver Stadium Run to benefit Special Olympics!  Thank you!

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As I was surfing Facebook tonight, because, well, I have no life and this what I do, I came across an advertisement for the Quantum Vision System, which guarantees “perfect vision in just 7 days” or your money back!

Holy Eyeballs, Batman!  Why did they never teach me this in my residency?  Shoot!  I’ve been wearing glasses since third grade.  I could have been glasses free before the end of the marking period!  (Forehead slap, which makes me thirsty for a V8 for some reason.)

Naturally, I had to investigate this miracle for myself.

Disclaimer:  I have no financial interest in this product.  I am not telling you not to try it for yourself, or confuse you with double negatives.  It might work for you.  All I am doing here is to provide my thoughts on the promotional video.  You may reach whatever conclusion you like from that.  You can see the promotional video on Youtube.

Not far into the video, the alleged doctor asserts that “if you fall asleep in your contacts they can slide around in your eye and damage your optic nerve.”


Seriously????  That’s a violation of basic anatomy right there!




And then, when talking about LASIK surgery, he says:


I wouldn’t let an amerature touch my eyes either!  So, apparently anatomy isn’t the only class he skipped.  Spelling AMATEUR isn’t important when you are saving eyesight and lives!

There was a rumor back in medical school that anyone who applied to an ophthalmology residency, but couldn’t spell ophthalmology, didn’t have a chance to get in.  Those applications went straight into the circular file.  Optrometry Optometry schools must not screen their applicants similarly.


And if that isn’t enough, how about recalibrate?


Maybe recolaborate is a military strategerizing term.  Or it could be a quantum term that only Einstein understands.

Again, I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t try out his $37.00 “risk free” vision system.  But if it had been me, I’d have charged maybe $49.00 and hired a proofreader to give me some more credibility.

And, I’m not the only blogger to stumble upon this:

My Eye Pod writes:

Here is “Dr” William Kemp, who claims to be an optometrist in Virginia, but does not exist as far as my research can tell (no Twitter account, no LinkedIn profile, no Facebook page, no practice website, no Virginia Optometric license, etc). . . The video presentation is rife with typos (“lense”, and “amerture” for example), impossible claims (reading the serial number of an airliner from the ground), and absolutely hilarious reinactments. But that’s not all! He also claims his method can help you remember things better, have improved brain function, reduce stress and even “detect all lies”! WOW, WHO WOULDN’T WANT ALL OF THAT!?

And Eye Exercises for Computer Users writes:

The promotional video lasts very long. I thought I was only 30mn long. I could not pause it. I left it playing for about an hour and when I came back, it still is playing! . . . Don’t hurt your eyes and watch that never-ending infomercial. Many scammers who gave reviews all over the place are unethical affiliates who starve to get commissions from selling you this ebook. The product seems to come with a money-back guarantee. But here is the catch: if you would buy it from an affiliate link, you won’t get that feature.

I guess I’ll have to go back to my glasses, which I will do just as soon as I squint and feel around to find them!  It might take me seven days!

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Happy Pi Day!

This Friday–March 14, is pi (pi) day.

Get it?  3-14.  3,141592 . . . . (the value of pi?)

The ultimate Pi Day was March 14 of 1592!  We gonna party like it’s 1592!

Maybe it’s a math geek thing.  Whoa!  Let’s not go putting labels on people here.

I was always intrigued by math in school, and math, be it algebra, trigonometry, geometry or calculus, was always one of my favorite subjects.

(pocket protector falls off and hits the floor.)

Okay.  I’m a math geek.

I was fascinated by numbers and how they related to the world around us.

The circumference of a circle is always 2 pir.  Why is that?  What is so special about  pi?  And is it not weird that the area of that circle is also related to this same, strange pi number, given that the area is equal to pi times the radius squared?  Every circle.  Everywhere.  Without exception.

It’s an irrational number.  It cannot be expressed as a fraction.  It is an endless series of non-repeating digits (the last report I saw was that it had been approximated to 12 trillion decimal places!)  According to Wikipedia (so it must be true!), “Attempts to memorize the value of π with increasing precision have led to records of over 67,000 digits.”  I have trouble remembering my Social Security number and my credit card number.  67,000 digits???  I would be terribly impressed if that wasn’t just so scarily inhuman.

piis also a transcendental number which means that it cannot be expressed as any combination of rational numbers, square roots or nth roots.  It also means that it is impossible to “square the circle.”  You cannot construct, using a straight edge and compass alone, a square whose area is equal to the area of a given circle.  Does that not just blow your mind???

piis also related to another irrational number (perhaps they are kissing cousins?) known as phi.  It is represented by another Greek letter: φ.  Obviously, they are both Greek.  Pi and Phi.  Sitting in a tree.  K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

φ is when the ratio of two numbers is equal to the ratio of the sum of those two numbers to the larger number, as described in this equation:  \frac{a+b}{a} = \frac{a}{b} \ \stackrel{\text{def}}{=}\ \varphi, and is referred to as the Golden Ratio.  \varphi = \frac{1+\sqrt{5}}{2} = 1.6180339887\ldots., another irrational number.

piis also related to the Fibonacci Series, which starts out 1,1,2,3,5 and continues with each succeeding number equal to the sum of the previous two numbers.  pi = 4*arctan(1/F(2n+2)) + 4*SUM{i=1...n}[arctan(1/F(2i+1))] where the Fibonacci Series is described by this: arctan(1/F(2i)) = arctan(1/F(2i+1)) + arctan(1/F(2i+2)).

I don’t know about you, but all this math is making me hungry.

I think I’ll go eat pie.

Happy pi Day!

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Have you ever played golf?

No?  If I hum a few bars, do you think you could play it?

If you have, though, I am sure there have been times that you stand over that little ball on the green and ask yourself, ‘why didn’t I go bowling today?’


You are faced with a daunting task.  Your ball is here.  The hole is over there.  If you’re like me, it’s waaaay over there.  And you have to figure out some way (other than picking the ball up and dropping it in the cup, which although that makes perfect sense, is not allowed by the rules of the game) to get the ball from here to there in the fewest tries.  In short, you can’t get there from here.

Who came up with this?

Sure, it’s not that big of a problem for Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus or Sammy Snead, but you and I, my friend, are not professional golfers.

If we somehow manage to map the landscape of the green and predict the probable trajectory of the ball, we are sure to hit it too hard or leave it short.  If by some stroke of luck we find the proper putting swing to impart the correct speed on the ball, it will not roll in the direction of the hole.

This, in a nutshell, is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

The uncertainty principle also called the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, or Indeterminacy Principle, articulated (1927) by the German physicist Werner Heisenberg, that the position and the velocity of an object cannot both be measured exactly, at the same time, even in theory.

In other words, it is impossible for me to know the location of the ball and it’s speed during a given putt–I may not know either, for that matter.  But it would appear that it is just dumb luck if I manage both trajectory and velocity at the same time.  Ergo, it is not my fault I can’t putt.  It’s physics.  I’m sure if I research this long enough, I’ll be able to prove why I can’t drive, chip or hit an iron straight.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to eventually come up with a Unifying Theory of the Universe to explain why I can’t cook, do laundry or vacuum the house.

And as for the professional golfers . . . they are either the luckiest bunch of macrophysicists on the planet, or the Laws of Physics don’t apply to them.

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Science never ceases to amaze me.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester and the University of Innsbruck have determined that red is sexy.

Richard Gray, Science Corespondent, writes:

It seems men really do prefer the lady in red.

A new study has found that men are more attracted to women wearing red compared to other colours because they believe they are less likely to be rejected.

Psychologists behind the research claim the colour red carries subtle but powerful messages about how receptive a woman might be to romantic advances and so men find it more alluring.

The researchers found that men who were shown photographs of women wearing a red shirt found them more attractive compared to when they saw the same women wearing green or white garments.

The study, which tested 96 men from the United States and Austria, also found that the men felt the women would respond positively to their advances.

This man would not be smiling if she were wearing green!

Now, ordinarily, this would not have drawn my attention, other than the fact that someone, somewhere–and it probably involves unsuspecting taxpayers–paid for this study.  But as the father of a 17-year-old daughter, who will be going to school in the fall at St. Francis University (“our colours colors are white and RED!”) this really caught my attention.

My God!  She’s going to be a Red Flash!

She may think she is just representing her school, wearing a red sweatshirt, but this study suggests that she is sending out a clear message to all the men on campus . . . look at me!  I’m sexy.  And I want you!

I don’t want my daughter doing that.

It is rather late in the process to decide she should go elsewhere, like Penn State, where blue is a much more acceptable color, so we are going to have to make sure that all her college apparel is in the more appropriate WHITE color.

Otherwise, she may have her dad seeing red.

If you wear the bad color, or even think that about my daughter that way

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Sponge Boobs

A new study shows that 4-year-olds who watch just nine minutes of Sponge Bob Square Pants can have problems with short-term attention and learning difficulties.  Apparently, the sponge-like material just sucks the learning right out of them.

The study compared kids who watched nine minutes of Sponge Bob with kids who either drew pictures for nine minutes or watched a “slower-paced” show called Caillou.  I have never heard of this latter show.  Maybe it’s because I watch too much Sponge Bob.  They had a Sponge Bob marathon a few months ago.  I think my IQ dropped 20 points.  But I have no problems with short-

What was I typing about?

I like Sponge Bob.  He’s a little weird and his laugh is annoying, but by golly, nautical nonsense is something I wish.

If parents want their children to learn something, perhaps they should park them in front of Sesame Street.

Or play Mozart for them, because playing Mozart makes babies smarter.  I’ve heard they don’t even need to be awake.

Kids’ cartoon shows typically feature about 22 minutes of action, so watching  a full program “could be more detrimental,” the researchers speculated, But they  said more evidence is needed to confirm that.

The results should be interpreted cautiously because of the study’s small  size, but the data seem robust and bolster the idea that media exposure is a  public health issue, said Dr. Dimitri Christakis. He is a child development  specialist at Seattle Children’s Hospital who wrote an editorial accompanying  the study published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Christakis said parents need to realize that fast-paced programming may not  be appropriate for very young children. “What kids watch matters, it’s not just  how much they watch,” he said.

I wonder how much money was spent to come up with that conclusion?! I could have told you that, even after watching the show for six straight hours.

Nickelodeon spokesman David Bittler disputed the findings and said “SpongeBob  SquarePants” is aimed at kids aged 6-11, not 4-year-olds.

I guess it won’t hurt me to watch Sponge Bob since I’m past the target range.  It’s also not clear to me how a show in bikini bottom isn’t adult-oriented.  What does a six-year old know about bikini bottoms?  And what about Sandy Cheeks, the squirrel?  And Squidward Testicles Tentacles?

And why is there a pineapple under the sea?

I don’t know the answer to these questions.  I have watched too much Sponge Bob!

The next thing you know, I’ll drop on the floor and flop like a fish.

And then they’ll link seizure activity to watching Sponge Bob.

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In my last post, I discussed faith and in the process of meandering through that

Just typing my blog . . .

issue, I addressed the origin of life, and how science has not proven the mechanism by which the first cell(s) was/were born.

The general theory is that if you start with the right ingredients, under the right conditions, and throw in an immense amount of time (beyond human comprehension) then life will form by random chance.

The Infinite Monkey Theorem.  A million monkeys typing away randomly will eventually produce the works of Shakespeare.

Or in this case, the inifinite evolutionists theorem.  Replace letters on the keyboard with base pairs in DNA and amino acids in proteins and the similarities are striking.

The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.

In this context, “almost surely” is a mathematical term with a precise meaning, and the “monkey” is not an actual monkey, but a metaphor for an abstract device that produces a random sequence of letters ad infinitum. The probability of a monkey exactly typing a complete work such as Shakespeare’s Hamlet is so tiny that the chance of it occurring during a period of time of the order of the age of the universe is extremely low, but not zero.

 In order for the evolution theory of cell creation to occur, one must have a lot of pre-existing conditions (a typewriter and a million monkeys for instance) and a lot of time (more than we can imagine.)

But it could happen.

One monkey typing for a few days could probably reproduce this blog.  But I digress.

On another blog, I asked the evolutionist to prove the origin of the first cell.  His response was thus, and I will cut to the chase:

Explaining early life is difficult if you are not from a biological and chemical standing point, or have an interest in how chemicals and biology work, but ill keep it relatively simple for the length of the reply. Life began in the sea several million years ago. Complex chemical molecules began to clump together, it is these that begin to sow the first seed for the tree of life. We know that when certain atoms are arranged, you get adrenaline, sugar and caffeine. It is because of this way, that atoms can do many things, that they formed these organic chemical molecules, most importantly protein. When given enough time in the right environment, ie warm oceans, then these chemicals begin to combine. After these chemicals find the right state to be, they are able to split, and replicate themselves, as has been found in pre-Cambrian fossils. This can be achieved in labs, but they would have to wait some time for the chemistry set to do much, thats the wonder of evolution, it takes a long time.(And they’d have to get the right parameters.) And it is at this point, id like to mention that life, every cell, is just a chemical box. The Nucleus of the cell, is just a big packet of DNA, or long strings of chemicals. What scientists have done is artificially, by using chemicals, create a cell nucleus, and create synthetic life from that.

But is synthetic life really creating life?

You can read about synthetic cells here in the Wall Street Journal.  But note the following conditions:

To make the synthetic cell, a team of 25 researchers at labs in Rockville, Md., and San Diego, led by bioengineer Daniel Gibson and Mr. Venter, essentially turned computer code into a new life form. They started with a species of bacteria called Mycoplasma capricolum and, by replacing its genome with one they wrote themselves, turned it into a customized variant of a second existing species, called Mycoplasma mycoides, they reported.

To assemble the strips of DNA, the researchers said they took advantage of the natural capacities of yeast and other bacteria to meld genes and chromosomes in order to stitch those short sequences into ever-longer fragments until they had assembled the complete genome, as the entire set of an organism’s genetic instructions is called.

They transplanted that master set of genes into an emptied cell, where it converted the cell into a different species.

So in essence, to “create” this life, they used an existing mycobacterium, they employed other bacteria and yeasts to manufacture the DNA, and then used a pre-existing cell shell to house the new life.  None of these things would have been present in the primordial soup before life began.

Even the researcher notes:

“I don’t think it represents the creation of an artificial life form,” said biomedical engineer James Collins at Boston University. “I view this as an organism with a synthetic genome, not as a synthetic organism. It is tough to draw where the line is.”

I still maintain that science has not shown how LIFE originally began, only how it has changed and adapted from that point on.  It may seem like a minor point but I don’t think there is anything minor about.

So did infinite monkeys create the first cell?


Maybe it was space aliens.

But who created them?

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