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Investing in science pays off thousands of times

I had a short talk a couple of months ago, on June 21st 2015, in Brașov, Romania, about science and secular humanism. I argued that science gave us mobile phones and television and some kids from the last line started laughing: “how could science give us TVs”?

Well, how could it? Did you know that older CRT TVs, or tube TVs as they are called, are using an electronic cannon? It is not sci-fi, as I’m talking about the hot cathode which generates electrons because passing currents through it make it get so hot that it releases electrons inside the tube.

The science that goes in a simple CRT display is incredible and it is almost 100 years old, since the first CRT TV set was released in the 1920s.

In the video from above you can see that the MIT has created technologies in the 80s that we use now on a current basis, like touch screens, e-ink, GPS. And the science work paid off as there are billion dollar industries which use that tech today.

And why is science so powerful? I’ll let Vsauce answer that. I’m just adding here that science’s power relies on out endless curiosity and on our power to work on abstract problems which do not seem to have a practical meaning. But there is a goal to all this:


Vsauce – Juvenoia

“Juvenoia is an exaggerated fear about the influence of social change on children and youth” (University of New Hampshire – PDF). Vsauce aka Michael goes on to investigate if and why is there a generation gap. Was this gap in there for ever? Did something happen in the last centuries? Do these fears have any real reasons?

From the video Vsauce has created you will see that the term teenager didn’t even existed until the industrial era, when children had been moved out of the workforce and onto the school benches.

This is when the children have been setup as a different category with it’s own needs. This is when marketers started targeting children and teenagers as this new generation could now buy things without the approval of their parents.

Teens and adults have been all times at odds. There is nothing new under the Sun. Teens have always thought they know better and adults have always told these teens that their time was better.

In light of these findings juvenoia is true and has always been true. This exaggerated fear that society has influence over the teens had always been there. The generations gap has always been there because both groups have helped build it.

So, no, the kids these days are not nastier or worse than you were back in your time. Just that you don’t remember exactly what you did.


Vsauce: messages for the future

Vsauce investigates how humanity tries to communicate with aliens. We have already send a gold platter with the Voyager missions and we have tried to explain who we are and where we are.

Nobody knows if we will ever find aliens or if aliens will find the space probes, but at least we tried. Vsauce explains the difficulties of sending a message to another culture or race when you don’t even know who they are and how they even speak. The video is totally worth your time.

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If you were to move at light speed, would you see the lights from your headlight?

Vsauce ventured into giving us a proper reply to this question. No, you won’t see any light because you would not experience time or space for that matter. Given the fact that the special relativity has some math formulas, we can conclude that at light speed c the space is infinitely contracted and the time is infinitely dilated.

If you were light you would travel for billions of years and feel no movement and no time passing as for you in exactly 0 seconds you would have got from one corner of the Universe to another.

So, no, you won’t see the lights from your headlight if you’d move at light speed.


What would happen if we would live on the Moon?

Well, not many good things actually, as there is no air in there, sun’s radiation would boil everything and the nights cold would freeze everything. Also, the gravity is three times smaller than on Earth and this would mean bone mass loss and inherent health issues.

We could live underground, in craters, but it would not be a very fortunate tale to tell. In any case, we will need a Moon base in the future, whether we like it or not, so we need to get used with the idea that some of us will have to live up there.

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Vsauce about us being morbidly curious

Vsauce goes once again into the depths of the human psyche and tells something about us: our curiosity drives us to look even at despicable scenes not because we like them, but because we dislike them and because we are darn curious. Also, when we see painful scenes we empathize with the victims, try to put our selves in their shoes.

Being curious to see bloody scenes is in the human nature, who we are, but making this a habit is not good for us. Best to keep bad things somewhere outside our heads.

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What is Earth worth?

Michael Stevens, from Vsauce, asks: what is Earth worth? Well, Earth could be valued at 5 quadrillion dollars or at 7 quadrillion dollars, based on the resources on it. If we would to sell the entire planet Earth, what is on it and in it, based on the chemicals it contains then Earth would be valued at 15,8 sextillion dollars.

A fun fact: in 1300 years Earth travels 1 light-year through the Galaxy. But if we would to value Earth on the galactic markeplace, then it wouldn’t be that valuable. Maybe if we could sell Earth based on the technology and the civilizations are on it. That would fetch a better price 😀

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Vsauce dord: a few lessons about English language won’t hurt

Dord is an unintentionally invented word from the Websters Dictionary which exited for 13 years (1934 – 1947) before they saw the mistake. Dord meant simply “D or d”, the abbreviation for density, in the Chemistry section. Vsauce aka Micheal Stevens goes then to explain what the collateral adjectives are and how English has a ton of language adventures as things might easily get complicated in this language.

You may say that orange doesn’t rhyme with anything, but it does. However other words do not have rhymes like: comment, penguin, empty. And, interestingly enough you can use only the word “police” to create an eight word sentence like this: Police police police police police police police police. Which means, basically, that the upper levels of the police institution need to police the smaller levels.

English is interesting, eh?

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Vsauce: only 1 in 1000 000 people is truly “normal”

That is interesting. Now that I know that un-normal is the norm and that truly normal people are only one in a million, literally, I can say that does not surprise me. Science studies use about 36 factors to count normal humans and only few of us really fall into that category.

I am glad to know that Vsauce aka Micheal Stevens took the time to research this thing and put the myth of “normal people” to rest. Check out the video from above to learn a ton of new stuff.

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Vsauce: we don’t we all have cancer?

Yeah, why? I always asked me that question. No, I didn’t, but Vsauce did and also answered to it too. While our cells would be happy to divide like crazy and make us a big clump of cancer blob, we actually have mechanisms that check is the cells are nor developing as they shouldl and then it kills them.

About 1 million cells die every second in out body, but we have more than 10 trillion cells in us the dead cells are constantly replace with new ones so don’t be scared. Vsauce did a great research on cell death and we now know that 5.5 grams of our skin dies every week as we are literally covered with dead skin cells (the epidermis, which is about 1mm thick). 80% of the dust you see floating in your house is dead human skin.

Find out more int he video from above.

Also, if BRCA1 gene mutates in our body then cancer shows up. BRCA1 is meant to regulate the speed at which cells divide and, if it does not work well, then we can be the victims of cancer. That gene have many variants and not are created equal. Some BRCA1 genes might work better against cancer, some not. Check the video from below for more info: