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Friday, March 27, 2009

Epigenetic Effects

People who have taken a course in cognitive science learn that humans have more than five senses. Besides touch we also have sensors for heat. What is less well know is that plants also sense heat and cold. They remember them though an epigenetic mechanism aptly called vernalization. In humans the mechanisms are more complex. Memories may be stored in the hypocampus, but the effects of oxitocin can mediate whether particular events are remembered or one has amnesia. It is in this peculiar way that hugs affect socialization. It seems strange that researchers need clinical trials injecting people with oxcitocin to figure this out. Most people never give me a hug, but I seem to remember most that do. My search as to what I should do about the stress I feel this week somehow led me to this stuff. Maybe I just need a hug from someone who is not angry with the world. I mercifully left out the stuff I found out about KAP1-mediated Epigenetic Repression.

Happiness is being thankful.

Red Meat, Egg Yolks and High Glycemic Foods

Excessive consumption of red meat, egg yolks and high glycemic foods leads to abnormal clotting of the blood, joint destruction, cancer, as well as, arterial disease leading to strokes and heart attacks.

AARP initiated the largest study ever to confirm what hundreds of other studies have shown since the 1960's, namely that an unhealthy diet kills you. Do you eat the equivalent of one hamburger a day like the people who died during the study? The mechanism has been widely publicized and ignored by a public that prefers to believe in conspiracies and unfounded theories promulgated by people who want to make a fast buck selling junk food or suing large corporation. They eat their pizzas with 12 grams of salt piled high with red meat on a crust made with high glycemic flour and see no relationship to their joint problems, obesity, arthritis, heart attacks, strokes and cancer. Click here for more details on the study.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Trilayer Graphene

Trilayer Graphene is really interesting. It has some conduction bands like single layer (two almost linear) and some like bilayer, viz., four parabolic bands. The breaking of mirror reflection symmetry leaves just two bands in the vicinity of zero energy increasing minimum conductivity. One has to wonder about the puddling of excitons at concurrant one third filling of all three layers. Will the excitons form a Bose Einstein condensate when you apply comparable currents in opposite direction between the inner and outer layers assuming the Zeeman energy, temperature, density imbalance, layer spacing and applied magnetic field are reasonable? If so, it seems like this might be very useful in energy storage and making sensors. The more layers the flatter it gets!

Frequency Doubler

How to build a good frequency multiplier.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Usual Warnings about Salt

Salt is an essential part of the human diet. It is especially important to replenish electrolytes lost during exercise. The intake of salt needs to be balanced with the intake of other nutrients as is hopefully done in sports drinks. However consuming more sodium than the body can handle is often a severe, but unnoticed problem for many people. Sodium makes the body hold on to fluid. Also, too much salt can worsen symptoms like swelling and shortness of breath and cause weight gain. If those symptoms become severe, the person may need to be admitted to the hospital.

Physicians often recommend keeping salt intake below 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day for most people. However, for people with heart failure, recommended sodium intake is no more than 2,000 mg per day.

To estimate the benefit of making small reductions in salt intake, investigators use the Coronary Heart Disease Policy Model, a computer simulation of heart disease in the U.S. adult population. The model can be used to evaluate the impact of policy changes on the health of the nation, and has previously been used to project the future of heart disease in the United States given the current rate of childhood obesity.

Researchers used the model to estimate the impact of an immediate reduction of daily salt intake by 0 to 6 grams on the incidence of cardiovascular disease and deaths between 2010 and 2019. In that period, the model suggests that more than 800,000 life-years could be saved for each gram of salt lowered. Larger reductions would have greater benefits, with a 6 gram reduction resulting in 1.4 million fewer heart disease cases, 1.1 million fewer deaths and over 4 million life-years saved.

Salt is also a risk factor in some cases of essential hypertension. Approximately one third of the cases of essential hypertension respond to a reduction of sodium intake. Obesity may be an even larger risk factor in essential hypertension. Hypertension also contributes to kidney failure and dementia, according to the World Health Organization.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Excitons and biexcitons are related to Chern-Simons Theory.
Macroscopically ordered (Bose Einstein)exciton states exist in gallium arsenide and aluminum gallium arsenide.
Vortex Splitting

* Excitons can be created by the absorption of a photon.
* Excitons can bond with pairs of vortices in a transverse magnetic field.
* Excitons interact with phonons.
* There are three dark and one light exitron in carbon nanotubes.
* By changing the transverse magnetic field on a two dimensional system, you change the filling factor. The filling factor is the ratio of particle density to vortex density. By changing the filling factor across the critical filling values of one half or one third, you can induce the corresponding phase changes. Think of all the devices you could make with a little graphene! What is even more exciting is bilayer graphene.

Tower of Bable:
Vortex = Quantum of Flux
Valley = Pseudospin
I use the words beginning with "V" unless I am playing Scrabble.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Food for the Body

The secret to good nutrition is very simple. Eat three balanced meals per day giving thanks for each one. The meals should contain the all the nutrients recommended by the nutritional researchers in the proportions and amounts they recommend. They only exception is during periods of illness when you should follow the recommendations of your doctor or specialist.

The biggest myth about food is that there is some scientific disagreement about what nutrients humans need. It is this myth that companies use to make huge profits selling cheap, junk food. Only a tiny fraction of the population gets enough of the vegetable protein, omega-3 fatty acids,nuts,fruits and vegetables that they need to remain healthy. People get hundreds of messages per day to eat junk food and unhealthy fad diets, but only one from their doctor to lay off the red meat and eat more fruits and vegetables. The fad diets all promote the myth that it is fattening to eat the fruits, vegetables, etc. needed in a healthy diet.

Food companies would have an advisory panel of nutritional researchers and a laboratory to analyze the food's chemical contents if they cared about the health of the consumer. Instead they spend the money on advertising to sell their defective products which contain who knows what.

Food for the Mind

Here are my favorite online courses, conferences, etc. The podcasts on Low Dimension Electron Systems are exciting with much information on graphene, graphane, etc. Sidney's lectures now have sort of a cult status. In many the blackboard is too bury to read, but Harvard affiliates can get the DVDs which are clearer. The wireless mike he uses sometimes picks up intelligible radio chatter. Sidney's videos are not in color. This adds to the feeling of a bygone age. It is wonderful how Standford University, MIT, etc. have the lectures from a number of their courses on YouTube.

KITP Podcasts:

Sidney’s Lectures on Quantum Field Theory:

Segre Lecture in Physics - Mildred Dresselhaus

3.091 Introduction to Solid State Chemistry

Fall 2004

University of Cambridge - Lectures on Superconductivity

Berkeley Webcasts/Courses:

2008 Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau

Berkeley Center For Cosmological Physics



Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Little Miracle

This post is just a reminder to myself to be thankful for a certain tiny miracle that occurred this week. One that no one else will notice, but which means a lot to me.