Helping the world by becoming selfish

Have you ever asked yourself what would happen if we were all selfish? Not in the common way we currently think of selfish, rather what I’m thinking about is how we can all become selfish in order to help the world we live on grow together in innovation and technology.

It’s been a while since I last posted, lets begin by once again focusing on something new, something that could actually help the world. A recent video posted by the YouTube channel, Kurzgesagt (In a Nutshell) visually depicts what can be described as egoistic altruism.

The words Egoistic can be defined as “being centred in or preoccupied with oneself and the gratification of one’s own desires” (source)

Altruism can be defined as “the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others” (source)

Together, egoistic altruism is clearly a oxymoron as both contradict one another. However, what if this was a good thing? What if being selfish was in fact a positive thing?

As described in the video, around 0.1% of all of human history can be described as a positive sum world, something which described humans and how we’ve developed over the past few hundred years.

By innovating and growing each and every market, from pharmaceuticals to agriculture, we’re able to increase productivity and enhance the way we live. – This being what the video points to as being an egoistic.

As the positive sum world continues, making sure to allow everyone in the world access this technology and innovation can further enhance the way nature of the world. This being what the video points to as altruism.

The video mentions this beautifully as it describes that the more people are well off, the better your life is. This done through innovation as well as the supply and demand for a service or product.

Ultimately, the more people we have capable of innovating, the larger the supply and demand for most things like research in different cancers to space travel! Watch the video yourself and tell me what you think.


The True Power of CRISPR

CRISPR or Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats has been getting a lot of attention recently. The power of CRISPR allows for a number of different and exciting things to happen; this includes genetic engineering to biomedicine.

The power of CRISPR can allow for us to disable or correct genes for certain diseases and disorders from ever appearing in someone, although complicated, it is a very promising technique which can be used in multiple beneficial ways. The recent YouTube video by Kurzgesagt explains CRISPR and some of it’s history, as well as the power it holds in improving life for the future.

The video above describes CRISPR and it’s benefits. However, with techniques like these, there is always a problem in terms of it’s effectiveness as well as the law, rules and ethics involved in utilising the technique in a useful way.

Nevertheless, with any such techniques, there are many more positives compared to negatives, therefore as time goes on, and as more tests and research is done, I believe the technique will be the key within genetic engineering.

So what are your thoughts on CRISPR and it’s future? Go ahead and comment, lets chat.

Growing Plants in Space

Space, the final frontier. Space is a dangerous yet wonderful aspect of the planet we live on. To experience the vast nature of space, we would need to be launched up approximately 62 miles (100 km or 380,000 feet) high. However, to be able to stay up there, you would need to bring along food and water for your time there.

The ISS (International Space Station) is at a 248 miles (400km) orbital height along with a number of amazing individuals piloting the ISS. One of the great things we take for granted in the fact that Earth is covered in plantations. From large and small trees, to beautiful flowers.

Space is a whole different story, there are zero plants in space which generally means that the chances of life being discovered is very low. One amazing thing the folks at NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) are doing is experimenting with plant growth in space.

Specifically, the folks under the APEX (Advanced Plant Experiment) umbrella are working on experimenting on the cultivation and growth of plants in space. They have already learned a great deal and gotten some interesting surprises, specifically how plants grow from a seedling into a full fledged plant in conditions much different to those in Earth.

The video covers some of the things researchers Robert Ferl and Anna-Lisa Paul of the University of Florida have learnt.

This study points to future studies, mainly if plants can actually grow on other planets. With all the theories going around, the future is near, even within our lifetime. There are multiple aspects that can affect the growth of crops and plants on a planet, the first is water and the second depends on the type of planetary soil.

Lots of evidence has arisen in the past decade pointing to multiple locations on moons and planets where water or frozen ice is available. However, do these planets provide the correct rock, climate, topography, time and biota?

Nevertheless, what are your thoughts on the growth of plants in space? It’s definitely one of the key steps in the overall journey for humans to go even further.

The Five Senses and Neuroscience

Have you ever wondered how we as humans work? How we feel, taste, see, hear or even smell? Well, there are some great resources available to read which are just a Google search away. If however, you wanted a couple of videos which can explain and get you up to speed on how we as humans we interact with our surroundings, then 5 videos below will definitely be of help.

The videos below cover all the five major senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. They were produced by Neuro Transmissions/Alie Astrocyte.

How do we see?

If you’ve wondered how we see, Alie explains everything involved in the visual system as well as how information that comes from light is translated into something useful using your brain.

How do we hear?

A very informative video explained by Alie on how our ears translates all sound in our surrounding and how we use it in everything that we do.

How do we smell?

Scent is very important, it allows us to distinguish between different things even when we’re blindfolded. Alie explains everything about smell and the nitty gritty of how it related to neuroscience.

How do we taste?

Taste, one of the major sensory functions in our body, it allows us to distinguish between something that tastes totally disgusting to something nice like ice cream. Alie explains everything from the amazing receptors and how they can detect taste.

How do we feel?

Fantastic video which covers everything from touch to feel. Touch is a very important factor, it is what keeps is safe from harm such as something that may be too cold or too hot. Alie cover it all in this great video.

After watching the above videos, I learned a lot, especially how the five senses all related greatly to neuroscience, on top of which the videos are very well done and very informative. If you feel like you’ve learnt a thing a two, tell us in the comment section. Be sure to subscribe to the Neuro Transmissions YouTube channels if you want to see more amazing science videos.

So you know, I’m not associated with the channel or person, I liked the videos and the wealth of information they provide, so felt like sharing these.

Science Podcasts are Great, Here’s Why

Podcasts are great, they provide a lot of great information to the listener. Depending on what you listen to, there is always something available for everyone. I’ve recently really got into listening to them, from science based ones to others which tickle my fancy.

Science-based podcasts are amazing, they provide me with information on the latest information regarding scientific discoveries to bleeding-edge work on the work I’m interested into.

Here I’ll be listing a few that I listen to, or have recently discovered and find to be amazing worth sharing.

BBC Inside Science

BBC Inside ScienceI have actually been listening to BBC Inside Science for a while now, Dr Adam Rutherford and guests are amazing at telling the listeners all the latest mysteries, challenges and controversies that surrounds science that’s changing in our world. Every episode is around 30 minutes, which is fully packed with information that the listeners cares about. If you are into science, and the latest information that surrounds the world of science, then you will definitely like this podcast.

BBC Inside Science’s latest episode covers “Genetics and education, Eyam plague, Pint of science, Labradors and chocolate”, if you’d like to listen to it, go ahead by clicking here.

The Science Hour

BBC Science HourThe Science Hour by the BBC is another great example of a podcast which highlights science, health and technology news of the week. If you are like me, then getting a curated piece of information right in front of you is something that is great, this podcast does this. Like the Inside Science above, this is a weekly podcast which is a great example which I listen to very often.

Science Hour has a large number of episodes, it’s  latest episode covers “Genetics and Educational Attainment”, if you’d like to listen to it, click here.

Science in Action

BBC Science in ActionAnother from the BBC see’s Roland Pease and guests discussing the latest science research and news stories from all over the world. Many of the episodes are rich and packed with information about all things science. Science In Action covers all the recent outbreaks and news, such as the Zika Virus and so on. Science In Action, like many other podcasts, tries it’s best to keep on track with the latest science as well as bringing in a range of great guests.

Science In Action covers a vast variety of topics, it’s latest podcast episode covers “Arctic Warming Could Be Changing Bird’s Shape”, which can be listened here.

These three podcasts from the BBC will usually cover all that I require, but there are many more different types of podcasts which covers many different topics. For example, Niel deGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk Radio covers all things about science, comedy and pop culture. Discovery from the BBC World Service covers the world of science in half-hour episodes too.

Another is the BBC Radio 4’s The Infinite Monkey Cage which is run by Brian Cox and Robin Ince in a witty, irreverent look at the world through scientists’ eyes. The Guardian’s Science Weekly is another fantastic podcast which covers everything with analysis and interviews from individuals in science and technology.

One which I have heard quite a lot about is Nature Podcast. If you are a scientist, then you must have heard of Nature, one of the biggest and long running journals covering everything from astronomy to neuroscience. I’ve not had the pleasure of listening to the episodes, but it’s on my que to listen to.

Similar to Nature Podcast, I’ve also not had the chance to listen to a couple but have heard a lot of good things about them. This includes, TEDTalks Science and Medicine, which discusses everything in these topics. Science Friday (SciFri) covers everything from outer space to the tiniest of microbes.

With such an extensive list of amazing podcasts to listen to, it can take some time to listen to them all. I use the app PocketCasts which is available on the web, Android devices and Apple devices. If you have a favourite podcast that you listen to, or one that I’ve mentioned and you’d like to talk about. Go on, comment down below and let’s talk.

Hugs help protect against Colds by boosting social support

Lets get psychological for a second here, the folks at Cornegie Mellon University tested whether hugs act as a form of social support, aids protecting stressed people from getting sick such as a cold. The findings were published in the Association for Psychological Science journal.

Sheldon Cohen and his team chose hugging as a social support example because they’re a marker of having a more intimate and close relationship with another person. They already knew that those who have some social support are partly protected from the effects of stress on the psychological state of the individual, such as depression and anxiety.

On the 404 healthy adults tested, a telephoned questionnaire was done whereby these adults are asked during a 14 day period their state is. This included the frequency of conflicts and receiving hugs. These participants were intentionally exposed to a common cold virus and monitored in quarantine to assess the progress of infection, and if they develop any signs and symptoms.

The results showed that those who had social support had a reduced risk of infection associated compared to those who were associated with conflicts. It also showed those that were infected, those with greater social support and more frequent hugs results in a less severe illness symptom.

Cohen mentions “that being hugged by a trusted person may act as an effective means of conveying support and that increasing the frequency of hugs might be an effective means of reducing the deleterious effects of stress”. He goes on to also state, “The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy.”

So to conclude, those who receive more hugs are generally more protected from infections, even if it allows for skin to skin contact, it psychologically aids in improving the well being of that individual. Give a hug, get a hug.

Free Hugs

Source: Hugs Help Protect Against Colds by Boosting Social Support

Image: Free Hugs