As the topics I cover here are far too broad and diverse, I’ve decided to focus more on specific topics. The result is my new fitness blog:

Brain to Body
http://brain2body.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/introduction-from-brain-to-body/

Unlike PTs or supplement companies, I’m not in this to sell anything. I have a full time job already and I’m happy with it. I just want to share knowledge, because that’s what science should be and that’s the kind of person I am.

There’s info there I normally would only share with paying clients back when I used to train people. Everything is scientifically supported – no broscience. 

To those of you who were into the science and religion aspect of this blog, I bid adieu. Seek knowledge and trust not what is told you, but only what you can prove consistently to yourself. 

“Consider that you can see less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum and hear less than 1% of the acoustic spectrum. As you read this, you are travelling at 220 km/sec across the galaxy. 90% of the cells in your body carry their own microbial DNA and are not “you.” The atoms in your body are 99.9999999999999999% empty space and none of them are the ones you were born with, but they all originated in the belly of a star. Human beings have 46 chromosomes, 2 less than the common potato.

The existence of the rainbow depends on the conical photoreceptors in your eyes; to animals without cones, the rainbow does not exist. So you don’t just look at a rainbow, you create it. This is pretty amazing, especially considering that all the beautiful colours you see represent less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum.”

— We Originated in the Belly of a Star, NASA Lunar Science Institute, 2012.

Hey guys, been a while since I’ve done a health post and they always tend to be very long-winded anyway. I’m currently on my lunch break so hopefully that restraint keeps this post more succinct.

I want to address two topics that I’ve had arguments about before with both people more and less experienced than I.

Contradicting information about exercise science:

This is a big topic that I’m going to just generalise as people giving different opinions about how exercise (or nutrition) should be done.

So why does this happen? How do you know what you should be doing if everyone keeps telling you different things?

Firstly, you need to understand that there’s two main reasons this happens. Every human body is slightly different and tempered by genetic predispositions. What works for someone may not necessarily work for you. That being said, there are paradigms that generally work to a good degree (which is usually what advice is). Second, exercise science is a junior field. By that I mean the field of medicine and anatomy, for example, are tried and proven fields with many case studies and lots of research. The studies done in exercise science are not always consistent and worst of all – the sample size is not  statistically significant.

Those of you that studied stats at university might remember this term. When analysing a portion of the population using a sample population (i.e. test subjects), that sample population is not considered representative of the actual population if the sample size is not large enough. Without going into the maths, let’s consider that the vast majority of studies use less than 30 test subjects. Now consider that there are 7 billion people in the world. Yep – huge margin of error.

This is why you will hear a lot of conflicting info but don’t get confused – that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to advice. It just means you need to learn who you are. This is something I promote as a part of becoming the best version of yourself, but it applies to physical health as well. I often encourage friends to experiment during their bulk/cut cycles to figure out what their bodies respond best to.

Finally, I just want to point out that the human body is highly adaptive. You should use knowledge you gain as part of your exercise vocabulary. Maybe 5×5 works best for you but someone keeps telling you to do 4×10. As Elliot Hulse would say, don’t get sucked into the religion of a certain methodology. Try both. In fact, you must, by necessity, do both anyway because if you stick to one methodology your body will adapt and you will plateau.

Ok, this post has already gotten a bit long but here’s the next part.

Lean Bulking

Another hot topic and popularly considered “impossible” in the sense that you cannot gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. In fact, I myself believed this for quite a while until I managed to lean bulk myself. May provide photos later but I’m at work right now.

Anyway, the common argument against lean bulking is quite scientific (on the surface). To gain muscle you require a caloric surplus to fuel growth. To lose fat you require a deficit to force your body to burn more fat for energy. I’ve gone into the body’s fuel sources before but in short – your body burns all 3 macronutrients at the same time but proportionally, much more carbs are burned and much less fat.

Now, we have to get a little technical, and this is where I’ve had most of my arguments. How do you build muscle whilst losing fat if it appears that they require conflicting caloric levels? Diet and meal timing.

“Meal timing doesn’t make a difference, it’s all about what you eat in 24 hours.”

Only half true. The other half is why lean bulking is possible.

As with all arguments, we will start from the simplest, most logical argument and build up (Occam’s Razor). Consider this scenario. You have fasted for a day. It is now night time and your body is completely depleted of glycogen and protein stores. You go for an intense steady state cardio session. Several hours after that session, right before bed time, you eat your entire day’s calories in one meal, comprised mostly of carbs.

Those of you that have studied nutrition/health science will know what’s going to happen. The rest of you can probably guess. First, you are engaging in catabolic activity with no glycogen or protein stores (all exercise is catabolic – in fact, living is catabolic). What’s going to happen? Well you still have fat so your body will burn that. Obvious right? What you might not know is you also still have protein. Your muscles contain it and your body will break down your muscle to fuel itself to allow you to keep doing your cardio. After exercise, you do not replenish your glycogen and your blood glucose remains low. EPOC continues to burn calories which will be taken from protein and fat (and protein burns in higher proportion to fat). Your body has no amino acids to repair muscle fibre so your neurological response is to let go of that muscle fibre to feed your body. Result? Muscle loss.

Now, you eat your daily 3000 calories in one go. IIFYM right? Wrong. Your blood glucose level spikes like crazy. Your insulin levels must rise rapidly in response (often leading to Type II Diabetes). The insulin shuttles the glucose through your body and replenishes glycogen stores but obviously you’ve eaten more than you can store in your muscle. What happens to unused glycogen? It converts to fat for storage. Fat is a long-term energy source – slow burning and 9 calories per gram (whilst protein and carbs are 4 calories per gram).

So obviously meal timing does play a part.

This post is getting really long now so I’m not going into what you should do – you can just ask me yourself. I’m just here to prove a point. And those of you that have heard otherwise from so and so – well that’s an anecdotal fallacy. Those of you that have heard otherwise from a scientific paper? More credible, but go take a look at the number of test subjects used in that study and refer to my first subheading above.

When in doubt, trust the most foundational, unshakable concepts in science. You can argue all you want about whether a plane or a rock falls faster depending on what angle they drop, but you can’t argue against the fact that gravity is what’s making them fall.

 

Hey guys, been a while since I’ve posted and a lot has changed. Specifically, I ended a long term relationship with my beautiful ex and have been riding the back of an amazing transformation. I honestly hope that my ex is growing as a person because I am and that’s what I wanted for her.

Now down to the nitty gritty. It came to my attention recently that there’s a lot of social stigma surrounding the concept of “Game”. For those that don’t know, that refers specifically to the art of picking up girls. While I can understand the social construct that would lead one to such a conclusion, I would also like to remind people that they are not in a position to judge anything that they have zero experience or knowledge of. While there are parts of “Game” that I disagree with, I have to say there is a concept that I learned from it that has helped me grow as a person. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it Game, although people refer to it as “inner-game”.

Now I’m a competitive person by nature and I strive for perfection because that is my code. As a result, I’m a bit hesitant revealing things that could comparatively make me lose my edge. However, I am not apathetic to the plights of the common man and am willing to give you this much. Inner-game is basically improving yourself. By becoming an awesome version of yourself, you will naturally attract more people (girls included). This is not menacing, degrading or negative in any way. It should be celebrated. But unfortunately, society has this stupid concept that you should always “be yourself”, and by that logic self-improvement is fake and frowned upon. I think this is the most self-destructive, redundant and idiotic thing I’ve heard in a while.

Be yourself.

A redundant, meaningless tautology. You can only ever be yourself. There is no possible way to be somebody else. Think about it, if you are the kind of person to try and strengthen your weaknesses, you are not “being somebody else” by trying to change, you are displaying a characteristic of your existing personality. A damned fine characteristic I might add.

The human condition is not so simple that you can only ever be one thing. You have your good days and bad days, you have multiple emotional states, you have interests, joys, fears, and different levels of energy. Self-improvement/inner-game is bringing out the best version of you. You are always yourself. You should just try to be the best that you can be.

I’ve even heard people giving “advice” say that “You’re not that kind of person so don’t try”. How defeatist is that? What they’re saying is “I don’t believe you can achieve any kind of progress to your life condition so just give up”. There could even be some tall-poppy syndrome where people are jealous of your potential to surpass them and try to hold you back. I won’t get into that – let’s just assume everyone has each other’s best interests in mind.

Specifically to the topic of attracting girls – are you willing to accept the fact that there are only a certain, predetermined few girls in the world that will ever like you, and that it’s futile to try and get a girl who is not on that list? If you’re willing to give up and accept this bleak philosophy on life, I have news for you. Your inner-game is weak and you are an unattractive person. Can you honestly say you believe somebody who has that low self-esteem will ever be attractive to a woman? There’s a reason why everyone will tell you to be confident.

Be confident.

This advice clashes with the philosophy of “be yourself” and that’s why most people fail at being confident. It’s “fake” because they’re just going through the actions because they heard they should. No, true confidence is the unshakable certainty in yourself that you can only achieve after dedicating your life to self-improvement. Until you understand yourself, accept yourself and try to better yourself, you are not confident. You are just acting. Women are emotionally sensitive creatures – they will feel the insincerity of your acting. “Fake it ‘till you make it” but if you ever get into a room with a truly confident man, you will realise that it’s a completely different level.

She only likes X-type guys, give up.

A girl does not like a guy because he is a gym junkie, or because he is a workaholic or because he is a gangster. Those are so superficial that they have nothing to do with the person themself. What women are attractive to is the characteristics that are associated with that kind of person. A gym junkie typically has a good looking body, puts hard work into looking good and is passionate about health and life. That is attractive. A workaholic has career potential, a sense of responsibility and the ability to shoulder burdens. That is attractive. A gangster is confident, takes control of the situation and is wild and unpredictable. That is attractive.

Get the gist? Anybody who tells you to give up has no idea what they are talking about. Is there any emotion that literally does not exist in you? I doubt it. We are all capable of feeling confident, responsible, energetic and humorous. We just display these emotions in different levels depending on our surroundings. Again, self-improvement is about having control over these emotions so you can display them in the best way that you can, given your situation.

This stuff doesn’t work on girls.

A friend once told me “if you want to catch a fish, you ask the fisherman not the fish”. I agree to some extent. I think a girl’s opinion can be useful for trying to understand the emotions behind a response but her idea of what you should do is coloured greatly by social paradigm, personal expectations and conflicting emotions.

But let’s simplify this. It doesn’t work on girls? Being the most awesome version of yourself doesn’t work? Then what – you be the lamest version of yourself?

Nope. Doesn’t work that way. You will never get 100% of what you want but how can you possibly think being the best you can possibly be will have a negative impact on your attractiveness?

What happens when you get the girl? Do you just go back to being normal?

That’s the whole point of self-improvement. Your “normal” is not the same normal as it was before you improved yourself. You are literally a more attractive person now because you have worked on yourself to be that person.

Your interactions can be different but you are and always have been yourself. The best version of yourself. The “strongest version of yourself” as Elliott Hulse would say.

There are two types of people when it comes to self-improvement. Those that wish and those that chase. Not everyone who chases their goal will reach it. In fact, when you set a goal like mine (perfection – literally) you set it knowing full well that you cannot achieve it. I have smaller, more realistic goals for sure but my code is perfection because I can imagine nothing better that I can be and I do not want to live life under a ceiling that I could potentially reach and stop growing.

Those that wish but do not chase get nowhere.

So what kind of person are you going to be? The one who doesn’t improve and tries to teach people they shouldn’t try to improve either? Or the one who adds meaning, vibrancy and energy to their life by trying to improve?

The end result is always a better version of yourself, but the very act of chasing it will earn my respect, and the respect of those who are insightful enough to see what you are doing. Some people will only see the end result. They will be haters until you achieve your goals. Then they will be suck ups. Don’t falter in the face of adversity. Focus on speeding past it.

It’s not about anyone except you. Be the best version of yourself.

Loosely quoted from Star Talk Radio:

“It seems to me that science is the only human collaboration that transcends human boundaries. The results you find are independent of what country you come from, what religion you believe in, what government you have. So when you think of what is the future that could possibly unfold in a world that is divided by politics, by religion and by any other reason people give to kill another person for crossing a line in the sand, it tells me that the only hope we have is to search for the truth that we find through the research conducted by science.”

Contrary to what many of you may be thinking, this is neither a movie review nor an analysis of the text. No, I’ve analysed The Great Gatsby enough for a life time during my years as an English tutor as the text was quite a popular choice for school curricula.

No, this is not an analysis. It is a confession. A reflection. A soliloquy. As I have no idea how long my pensive mood will last, I will pick my brain in as orderly a fashion as I can muster and let this post flow where it will.

Confession. I cried twice in this movie. There is still social stigma against a man displaying tears but I am confident enough in my masculinity to admit it proudly. It has been said that just because a man does not show emotion does not mean he does not feel. I will go one further to say that men of a certain calibre feel more – so strongly that their emotion enters the realm of the profound.

Something that few people can appreciate is that when I say I cried, it was not a ‘boohoo, waaah’ kind of sobbing cry. It was a deep ache of sadness that constricted my throat and pierced down into my heart. It was the kind of pain that made my eyes water until I blinked, and a single tear rolled down my left cheek. Profound and meaningful. What meaning you say?

Reflection. Why did I cry? There must be meaning for a man to shed profound tears. It was not the movie. Baz Luhrmann’s adaption of the classic text was one that approached from an easy angle. He played the text as a love story – which it was – but neglected many of the other morals and themes of the original text. However, I do not fault him in his choice and I applaud him for his interpretation. The movie was a writhing current of human emotion, and I think this is important in a way you will soon understand. Overall, I recommend the movie, but do not expect too much from it. Perhaps it was because I already knew what was going to happen, but honestly, the movie had only two moments in it that really struck a chord with me.

So what was it? Why did I feel so stricken by these two moments in the movie? The line (loosely quoted) that started this was first spoken by Jordan Baker.

Coincidence? No, don’t you get it? Gatsby bought this house on purpose so that he could be close to her. He threw these parties hoping that one day she would wander in. Everything he’s done is for her.

I cried because I remembered a time where I too loved so strongly and so innocently. It also reminded me that I can no longer love like that anymore. Finally, it personified a struggle that I feel that only men can understand (I’m generalising here but it’s mostly true).

Soliloquy. Now, because of the kind of person I am, I must apply my knowledge to this perplexing rush of feeling I have experienced. There is so much to say and I don’t really know where to begin. I suppose I shall start by qualifying my last statement.

The struggle that only men can understand is a pursuit of perfection. Again, I do not wish to sound misogynistic – I am generalising – but this is an emotion more strongly felt by men than women. Why? Some might attribute it to pride. I think pride plays a large role, and we all know that men are prideful creatures. But there’s more, and this is something I feel as though I always knew but only now bothered to think on.

Carraway describes Gatsby as:

The single most hopeful person I have ever met, and will likely ever meet.

Why? An odd compliment to give to someone. Unless you thought (mistakenly) that he was an optimist. No, it has nothing to do with that. Carraway is describing the struggle I have mentioned – the pursuit of perfection. Gatsby’s hopes were to accomplish a dream, and his dream was so grand, precise and perfect that to chase it could only be described as exceedingly hopeful. In essence, Gatsby was chasing perfection. He built himself from the ground up, from absolutely nothing to an icon of the city. He did it for a woman, yes. Daisy was a large part of his motivation, but there was more.

The movie diverges a bit from the book at this point by adding  some embellishments to Gatsby’s mysterious past, but the essence of it is that Gatsby met Daisy and they fell in love. Real, innocent and pure love. But she could not be with him because he was penniless, something that he knew at the time but she did not.

So Gatsby forged a perfect dream  and obsessed over it. He overcame incredible things to  make himself “good enough” to be with her.  That’s important, remember that.

As a man, I have always dreamed of success and wealth. But why? Again, generalising, but men are often more ambitious, more academic and more driven to wealth and success. This stems, in part, from patriarchal values (which is why in our liberated world, women are increasingly becoming successful) but I think it goes further back than that. In short, it is evolutionary. Why do men strive for perfection? For success? To breed.

Love is a social construct. We will not get far in discussion unless we accept this. There is no room for Disney romance in here – in a purely animalistic sense, love does not exist. However, that does not mean it is not real. But why do we do what we do? Because  only the best of men could mate in the wild and this was our first order imperative – and still is. Men mate so that the species thrives, and to be able to mate requires success. We now live in a time where it is no longer just physical success that determines which men get to mate, but nevertheless success in something is required.

I have heard it said “Don’t chase women, chase the money and the women will come.” I would correct that to “Chase success” because success is not limited to just money, but if you become the best at anything worth being the best at, you will attract attention and women.

So this explains the impulse in men that makes them more likely to be ambitious and pursue perfection, but what about the lazy ones that don’t? Men need a catalyst. We’re designed to react, like a chemical compound, but we need a catalyst to cause that reaction. For many men, if not all, the strongest catalyst is love.

Love can be for many things. Love of country. Love of family. Love of life. But for those of us that are lucky (or perhaps cursed), it is love of a woman that really sets off the explosions. Gatsby had always dreamed of success but it took Daisy to make him achieve it. And personally, I know that I was a lazy, unmotivated slob back in my younger days. It took the unbearable thought of someone more successful than me stealing away my love to really make me work for success. What drove me to almost obsess about my “plan” for the future was her. I wanted to be able to support her, keep her happy, keep her attracted and just … keep her. But this is not as naive as it sounds. I do not believe in “the one” but I do believe in reactions. People cause reactions in each other all the time, some for better and some for worse. She has caused the best reaction in me out of all the girls I have been with. Everything I do, I do for her.

Now, why is this a struggle? Why did I cry over this? Because I feel a great deal of inequality in the plight of men compared to that of women. And now feminists are going to be crying for my blood, but that’s not the point. I am not talking about social disparity of genders. I am talking about love. I believe love should be equal, but I also know now that such an idea is just fantasy. Very few organic things in the universe are capable of being equal – if any. I know for a fact that I put more into our relationship than my partner does, and that is no fault of hers. It is no fault of anyone’s. It just the struggle of a man, and it is why I felt so connected to Gatsby’s struggle. Everything he did was for her, and all she did was:

smash up things and creatures and then retreated back into her money, or her vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept her together, and let other people clean up the mess.

Biological evolution will explain why we men struggle like this. As we are shaped by social constructs, love represents the epitome of our evolutionary goal. It is why we struggle. And as Daisy says:

The best thing a girl can be in this world is a beautiful fool.

Because once you are no longer a fool, you would understand the suffering we go through and would be dragged into it too.

One last thing to qualify – I said I also cried because I know I can never love like that again. There is a saying amongst men that the first girl to break your heart is the one that changes you and turns you into a man. If there isn’t such a saying, there is now because I say it a lot. And it’s true.

Women are wretched things that love carelessly and dangerously. You are all free to dispute me on this but there will never be a scientific or statistical representation confirming either claim. However, I say from my own opinion, vast wealth of knowledge and empirical data (I’m trying to be humble here) that men are the ones that truly fall in love. 

Ask a woman what the top 10 traits of an ideal guy are. I guarantee the majority of women will mention something external to the man – money, belongings or status. Women are not satisfied with just the person, they want more. They always want more. Now ask the same thing of a guy. What are the top 10 traits of your ideal woman? I guarantee the majority of guys will only say things internal to the woman. They love the person. Men do not care about what is around her, what she belongs to or what she owns. Men love the person herself. 

Again, I am not being misogynistic. I am being honest. I hold none of this against either men or women – this is simply reality. But the fact is, almost all guys will love as purely as Gatsby until they’ve had their hearts broken.

When you have your heart broken by a girl it’s not something you ever forget. It changes you profoundly. To be more of a “jerk”. More selfish. More cynical. More jaded. Or as I like to see it, more lucid. You see reality more clearly. It is not worth loving that purely because humans are not made to handle something that pure. To protect yourself, it is more wise to keep yourself at an arms-length to every girl and question whether “the one” is even real.

I cannot ever love like Gatsby again, because I know better. But at times I wish I still could. 

Nevertheless, that does not diminish “real” love. Real love is not pure because we taint it just by being human. But it is no less valid and no less strong than pure love. It is merely different.

Real love is a mix of emotions. I told you this was important. It is not ideal like Gatsby’s. Real love is pain and happiness. Greed and selflessness. Because humans have too many emotions for pure love to ever exist. But how do you know it’s love then? I mentioned earlier that Gatsby was qualifying himself to Daisy. He did not return to her right after the war because he was penniless, and he put so much emphasis on his successes when meeting both Nick and Daisy that it was blaringly obvious that he needed them to understand that he was now qualified enough to be with her. War hero. Oxford man. Wealthy. Famous. He needed these things for Daisy. Partly because she would not have accepted him as just a penniless suitor, but partly because he needed himself to be good enough before he would be happy chasing her. I think part of love is when you change for a woman.

Don’t get me wrong. Women always try to change their men. That’s wrong and a fruitless endeavour. No, when the man wants to change. When he willingly and obsessively chases perfection to qualify himself, that’s love.

There’s more though. This pursuit of perfection becomes inseparable to us men. We can lose the woman but still chase the dream because that dream has already become a symbol of our love. Women, you are not that special – to put it harshly. Don’t make us do all the work. A driven, obsessed man will leave you in the dust and still chase his dream because his dream will have a woman in it but it doesn’t have to be you. If this sounds harsh or unfair to you, then you are most likely the kind of woman that does not pull her weight in a relationship. Relationships are hard work, so when you make the man do all the work and he realises that he can do all the work, you better be careful because he might realise that he can leave you behind.

Unfortunately, this works both ways. Gatsby had a chance to be with Daisy. He could have avoided everything but his obsession and hopefulness ruined him. Daisy gave him a chance to run away together. But he could not accept. He had worked too hard for everything. His dream was bigger than just her, though she was the centrepiece. He needed his success, his wealth and his status with Daisy, and could not bear the thought of separating them. Because they were all his dream.

You can never be anything but yourself, but there are many aspects to the human psyche. You can be vastly different but still be you. But which you do you want to be?

If Gatsby’s missed opportunity says anything, it is that he lost sight of his original goal. He changed to much and forgot what was really important.

In his younger days, he hesitated when he approached Daisy because he knew that if he fell in love with her, he would feel wed to her. He could not do that because that would forever change his destiny – and he was destined for greater things. Later, he returns with only one piece missing from his dream but in the end, she smashes it all.

There is a message here that could be slightly misogynistic. I consider it mostly true. Women are a huge distraction that can limit your potential. But at the same time, they can cause you to reach your potential. That is for you to decide.

But for me, I feel pensive and melancholy because Gatsby was a part of me – and I suspect a part of all men. He was a naïve younger self that loved too purely. A dreamer with too much ambition. And an obsessive pursuer of perfection. These are all parts of me that I can relate to and Gatsby embodies a failure of these endeavours. To me, there is nothing more painful than seeing the purest and strongest of a man’s dreams broken by a woman he loved too much.

I have never seen a cinema as quiet and depressed as when I left after this movie.

But for me, that blinking green light has slipped too far that I cannot reach it. It is but a memory of a time when I dreamed too carelessly and loved too strongly.

 

 

So I was asked by my university to do a survey about my experience at UNSW and I decided to give them a little bitch slap. Any student should relate to this somewhat, though it was not put as eloquently as possible due to the word limit. I’ve long wanted to do a post on the failings of education and this in no way comes close to what I want to say, but as I’ve been increasingly lazy lately, this will have to do.

——————————————————————–

As a student I shared a relationship with many of the young minds that this university’s goal should be to nurture. Unfortunately, I feel as though that particular endeavour was a failure. This may not be a problem unique to UNSW but there was an overwhelming sense that the only indication of success was whether your answer was correct. There was limited discussion and what discussion that did occur was limited and slanted in approach. As opposed to a forum of intellectual thought, rote learning appears to be parading around in the guise of education. It got to the point where I literally did not know any student who had not cheated in exams at least once. In the words of Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson “When Students cheat on exams it’s because our School System values grades more than Students value learning.” This was largely the opinion of my university experience and it is a view shared by many.

I am not naive or unreasonable enough to neglect the fact that the university is a business and thus has restrictions, but it is quite sobering to witness. I do not feel as though marks reflected intellect, nor do I believe any student approaches university as an opportunity to learn.

I have read that new approaches to higher education around the world is taking on a new form – one that is increasingly discussion based where classes are a forum of intellectual exchange. I hope the university embraces this approach. There is no merit, for example, to memorising dozens of equations for one exam because that completely misses the purpose of the course. Some of the general education courses I took that were newer were more focused on discussion and I believe they imparted information far more effectively. I believe this reflects the way tradition obstructs progress, and realistically, I think the best I can hope for is that some of the older courses get a revamp to a more modern and effective teaching method, and that education once again becomes about learning not marks.

Apologies for being so inactive. Work really kills a lot of your motivation to do other things.

I’ve only felt like doing short posts of late and as some of you may have noticed, the posts I tend to do here are long. Anyway, I still engage in scientific discussion when the chance arises and typed this one out recently – thought I would share it. I typed this on my phone by the way, so forgive any grammar/syntax/punctuation errors.

Damn this is getting frustrating. Time to drop some knowledge bombs.

Antimatter is NOT dark matter. Dark matter is matter that we have not discovered and have literally no idea about – hence dark. We know it exists because it affects light and other properties in the universe in a way that currently known matter cannot describe (i.e more light curvature than one would expect given how much known matter there is – hence that means there’s more “stuff” out there than we know). Dark energy is used to describe the accelerated expansion of the universe. Remember, what’s dark mean? It meabs we don’t know. So we expect expansion to be slowing down but it’s actually increasing so there must be some energy we don’t know about. Those of you that actually UNDERSTAND Einstein’s equation E=mc^2 will know energy and mass are the interchangeable, so dark energy and dark matter are essentially the same thing.

Now ANTImatter is not dark. What does that mean? We KNOW about it. What is matter made up of? Particles. So antimatter is a broad term for a whole bunch of particles called antiparticles. Every particle theoretically has an antiparticle with the same mass but opposite charge, therefore when they come into contact with each other they annihilate each other and cause decay (into other forms of energy/particles). Carl Anderson discovered the POSITRON. It is the antiparticle of the ELECTRON. Both are known to exist and scientists can create them at will. No, it’s not the end of the world. Positrons ONLY annihilate electrons. All elementary particles have a known antiparticle. 

Further reading for you if you’re interested is CP Violation which explains why there’s more matter than antimatter in the universe.

Boom. Science bitches.

On a side note, I think I will begin every scientific explanation I give with “Time to drop some knowledge bombs” and end it with “Boom. Science bitches.” from now on. Sound good?

I had a thought and felt compelled to jot it down before I forget it. It’s not yet very well thought out so I’m going to write things down as they occur to me. Apologies in advance if this post becomes a bit messy.

The topic is the universe, its origin, the possibility of other universes and their relation to quantum mechanics. As some of you might know, I’m a big fan of the zero-energy universe. The idea that something cannot come from nothing is an idea that has become outdated due to quantum mechanics. As Lawrence Krauss said “If you observe nothing for long enough, something will appear”. What he is refer to is known as quantum fluctuations.

Quantum fluctuations are a phenomena where if you have a vacuum with absolutely zero particles and energy in it and you observe/measure it over a period of time, you’ll find that something does in fact appear out of this nothingness. These are known as virtual particles and without getting technical, basically they appear and disappear in the nothingness leaving real energy signatures that affect their surroundings. Essentially, we are getting energy out of nothing. Now I’ve heard people argue “oh, well that’s not nothing then”. A debate on Q&A comes to mind and as usual, it was a theist trying to cast doubt on science (rather hypocritically). I’ll save that rant for another time, but suffice to say if you have a vacuum with nothing in it – that’s nothing. You can’t say it’s not nothing because the nothing you’re trying to describe doesn’t exist. When you find evidence of such a nothing existing, you can come back and say something. Old habits die hard – these people love claiming things exist without any evidence.

So how does this tie in to the universe? Well quantum mechanics still hasn’t been unified with general relativity, but it does provide an explanation for the origins of the universe. The zero-energy universe is one such idea, but the gist of it is that a singularity (from which the big bang and universe occurred) is so tiny that it falls within the realms of quantum mechanics. As a result, it doesn’t violate any laws by appearing out of nothing. Quite simply, the universe could have created itself out of nothing.

That got me thinking – why did the singularity keep expanding rather than dissipating and leaving an energy signal like most other virtual particle? The go-to answer for expansion is dark energy, but drawing from the Poplawski universe model and the torsion-rebound theory, I thought of another possibility.

What if all virtual particles contain universes? What if quantum fluctuations are a universe birthing mechanism?

Well, obviously the next question is, how does this work? I’m not going to sit here and claim things without providing proof – that would make me an idiot.

Let’s go through it step by step. At first, we have a singularity. Where did it come from? For this concept (I say concept because a scientific theory has been tested mathematically and experimentally, which I cannot do) we are considering the possibility that the singularity, as a subatomic particle, appeared via a quantum fluctuation as a virtual particle. Now from what we already know, this singularity exploded, known as the Big Bang, releasing large amounts of energy and expanding well beyond the speed of light. Here’s where my idea reaches a fork and would require further research.

First, we consider that virtual particles do release energy. The argument would then be made that these energy levels are tiny compared to the big bang. However, one must also consider perspective. From our universe’s perspective, the energy released by the virtual particle is small, but if that virtual particle contained another universe, relative to them, that amount of energy would be the absolute maximum they could ever attain. This gives rise to the idea of a staggered multiverse, where there are greater universes with more energy and vice versa.

Second, (consider this a different option unrelated to the one above) the effects of travel beyond light speed is unknown. However, if one considers the virtual particle contains a similar universe to ours (i.e. of similar energy levels, and thus similar mass, and thus similar gravity), then the moment that virtual particle experiences a “Big Bang” it has reached levels of gravity many times that of a black hole and is inflated beyond the speed of light. From the outside nobody knows what that would look like. But we can take a good guess. Black holes are known to distort time. We can never peer into a black hole because the gravitational tides distort both light and time. As a result, we can never travel out of one if we get caught in its event horizon. In essence, the inside of the black hole is almost like a separate universe to ours – we cannot see inside, journey inside or journey out of (if we ever got in), and time freezes as we approach its singularity. Additionally, time slows as we approach light speed. Theoretically, at light speed time would stop so an external observer could stare at you for an eternity and never see anything. Again, this has the effect of isolating something from the rest of the universe – you become unobservable because time has stopped.

What if the same were true for virtual particles? If it contains a universe, its gravity and speed of inflation would separate it from our universe. The small energy signature could be residual or leakage from the contained universe. A black hole releases radiation (Hawking Radiation) so that is a detectable verification of this idea, but one would say a black hole’s radiation is much higher than that of a virtual particle. Well, a black hole isn’t expanding faster than light – it’s shrinking. Combining the gravity and the inflation could potentially have the effect of not only isolating the interior from the rest of our universe (as a black hole does) but displacing the entity itself from our dimension. Essentially, the moment the virtual particle disappears (leaving behind a weak residual energy signature) it has experienced its Big Bang and as a result, has separated itself into its own dimension, creating a universe with it. Alternatively, it could be in the same dimension, but due to the isolating effect of gravity and super-light-speed travel, we cannot observe it, nor can it affect us.

It’s not new to say that the universe created itself out of a quantum fluctuation, but it should be new (unless somebody thought of this before me again – just like with the Poplawski theory) to say that quantum fluctuations are in fact creating universes and we are in fact seeing that happen when virtual particles appear and disappear. Not only does this build on an existing theory – the zero-energy universe model (and thus all the evidence, research and experimentation that has gone with it), but it bridges the gap where one could ask how this universe continued to expand when most virtual particles disappear and leave energy behind.

The exciting thing is this is testable to some degree. Many string theory supporters have been hoping the LHC will launch a particle at sufficient energy levels to send it into another dimension. Basically, the particle would “disappear” and we’d have a missing energy signal. If we do achieve this, that would potentially be evidence of further dimensions and be a whole new platform for us to work science on.

I think I should also mention at this point that Dr. Tyson mentioned something somewhat related to this topic. He asked that if it was possible that someone was launching particles from another dimension (like we would at the LHC) and they are appearing in our dimension as quantum fluctuations. This was during the 2011 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate for those interested – entertaining to watch, just YouTube it.

Well, I would like to rephrase his point because it was sort of laughed off as a joke. What if it wasn’t “someone”? It’s entirely likely that higher dimensions have higher states of energy. For example, their universal constants might have a higher value and their speed of light could be greater or it could be possible to exceed light speed. In that case, it’s entirely likely that such an occurrence could happen naturally. No, not someone launching particles into our dimension – just a natural occurrence at higher energy states. This would provide an interesting approach for string theory scientists, as well as address the mystery of quantum fluctuations.

Anyway, that’s my random shower-time theory. It’s been a while since I’ve had one of these but it always gets me excited when my brain starts trying to connect separate pieces of knowledge that I’ve acquired.

 

 

Another quick medical post – a friend of mine mentioned he was getting nose bleeds during his workouts and suspected it was due to the pre-workout supplement he was taking (C4). I took a quick look through the body building forums and it doesn’t look like anybody knows why,with most people using anecdotal evidence like “well I’ve never had that problem, therefore it’s not the pre workout. I hope you guys know better than to take anecdotal evidence seriously – for a quick brush up on logical fallacies click here.

Anyway, since nobody knew the answer, I decided to take a look at the ingredients (which was actually surprisingly difficult to find). The product is advertised as mostly Creatine Nitrate, so I had a hard time finding the other ingredients. Interestingly though, Creatine Nitrate isn’t the most common ingredient of the product. It contains more Beta Alanine than Creatine Nitrate. That’s fine though, they’re both amino acids and there’s no big harm in amino acids.

One suspicion my friend had was the caffeine content. However, C4 has 100mg of caffeine whereas 1MR (another pre workout) contains 300mg. It’s unlikely that, with such a huge gap between products, caffeine is the problem – though it could contribute to the problem. The reason is, if caffeine was the sole cause of this issue, a product with 300% the caffeine would have a large amount of customers complaining about nose bleeds.

The nasal membrane is quite thin so even mild trauma or dryness can cause them to crack open and result in a nose bleed. In this regard, caffeine is a stimulant and thus raises your heart rate and blood flow. However, there was another ingredient in the C4 that I found: Xanthinol Nicotinate.

Xanthinol Nicotinate is a vasodilator – which means it expands blood vessels. When blood vessels dilate, it increases blood flow due to reduced vascular resistance. As mentioned above, this increased blood flow could make it much easier for you to end up with nose bleeds.

Now the purpose of having a vasodilator in your pre workout is mainly because by increasing blood flow you can pump more blood and thus nutrients to the tissues and organs that need them. I don’t want to get more technical or this’ll end up as a long post so I’ll just leave it at this: your nose bleeds are probably caused by the increased blood flow resulting from Xanthinol Nicotinate in addition to caffeine. It’s not necessarily a bad thing in the short run, though it is definitely annoying having nosebleeds when you’re trying to workout.

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