What happens when we sleep?



Sleep, a real necessity in life, is a fascinating phenomenon that occurs at least daily in our lives.
Before now, sleep was thought to have been an inactive state in which both the brain and the body shuts down in order to rest from the day's work. But scientists have found out that sleep in itself is an activity in which the Brain is most times more active than when we're awake.
Sleep has an immense influence on our physical and mental well-being.
Understanding what happens during sleep is the main aim of this article.

THE SLEEP CYCLE

 
We've got to know that sleep is a series cycle each consisting of 4 stages. These stages can be classified in 2 parts, the first 3 being non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and the other being rapid-eye movement (REM).

Sleep begins at NREM-1. it's that point where we cross from wakefulness to sleepiness, you know that point where your eyes starts making slow movements and you're having a hard time keeping it from shutting? that's the 1st stage of sleep... NREM1 is that kind of sleep you're getting into right before the Usher taps you in church. 

On to stage 2 where the sleep goes deeper than stage 1. At this point, breathing becomes relaxed, Neural activities are decreased and body temperature drops.
stage 3, is what is known as the ''deep sleep stage''. This is a very difficult stage to wake a person.
Stage 4 sees a transition to REM sleep, the part where most of our dreams occur.
the whole cycle goes between 90-120minutes then we're back to stage 1 again. each stage vary in length, so as the night goes on, the time for NREM decreases while time for REM increases, this could explain why most times, we are in the middle of a dream when we are awoken for the day, that is because REM sleep becomes very long towards the later parts of the night.

SOME INTERESTING THINGS THAT HAPPEN DURING SLEEP


The time we sleep, is the time the brain takes to do maintenance work on the body. Growth hormones are secreted at that time, also hunger hormones are secreted too. There is a general clean up of the body system where toxic waste are cleared away for excretion.
Also, during sleep, the brain sorts out information received during the day. We go through the whole day receiving information from different sense organs of the body, while we sleep, the brain filters out the information not needed while the important information gets 'cemented in' , this filtering process is sometimes reflected in our dreams. 




Speaking of dreams, ever wondered why we don't usually act out our dreams no matter how real things might look? well that's because we are literally paralyzed during our sleep. Only muscles in the eyes are allowed to move (that's why it's called Rapid Eye movement sleep). Muscle paralysis is a method employed by the body to prevent us from scoring the World Cup winning goal, hitting the lecturer who decided to punish us for late coming, and other wild activities we dream of. Although the paralysis is temporal, it is totally important for obvious reasons.
for Parasomnias e.g. sleep walking, sleep talking. . . this occurs during stage 3 (deep sleep stage). During that stage the body is less responsive to external stimuli and that's why it is usually difficult to get  the sleep talker to shut up during his conference meeting. Unfortunately, just like other sleep disorders, Scientists have no good clue as to why they occur.
As a matter of fact, much of what we know about ''Sleep'' is from studies based on sleep deprivation, but there is hope as more researches are made and with advancement in technological methods, we might be able to study more deeply the wonderful state called Sleep.

The new body-armour in town: turns bullets into dust

The 13 seconds clip you are about to see is not a cut-scene from a super-hero movie, but it is actually a test for the new armor plating developed by scientists in North Carolina State University.
 

The material used is so strong that it could literally turn an Armour-piercing bullet into dust on impact.
Afsaneh Rabiei, a Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University, who has spent several years working on Composite metal foams(CMFs) said the bullet could be stopped by the armour at a thickness less than an inch, while the indentation caused by impact was less than 8 millimeters.
The armour plating which is a breed of CMFs and traditional metal plating is said to hold potentials that could make it useful in other fields like space traveling and transportation of nuclear waste. This is as a result of earlier research which has shown that CMFs could withstand extremely high temperatures, ward of x-rays, gamma rays and even neutron radiation.
Now that's what I call a body armour!   

oh...by the way, the bullet used in the video presentation(for those concerned about figures) is a 7.62 x 63 millimeter M2 armour-piercing projectile, and it was fired in standard testing procedures for armour testing.

8 facts by science on love and romance.

Disclaimer: I will not be held responsible if at the end of this article you have a rethink about the source of love and emotions ; the heart or the brain.


1. Two strangers can fall in love by looking into each other’s eyes


Eye contact is a scientifically proven way of making a person fall in love with you. Looking someone directly in the eyes causes their body to produce ‘phenyethylamine’ a chemcial capable of igniting love feelings. So, except for a person you really like, don’t tempt ‘brother Cupid’ by your visual actions.

2. The ‘butterflies in the stomach’ effect is your body reacting to...you know…


This effect, known as ‘fight-or-flight’ response is due to increase secretion of Adrenaline into the body system, which causes you to start experiencing funny feelings in your stomach. Unfortunately, these activities can be triggered by the sight of someone you’ve falling for...the same feeling you get before writing a test. Damn!

3. Why take Cocaine when you can fall in Love?


Research shows that falling in love triggers the same sensation of euphoria people experience when they take cocaine. The guys who carried out this research also proved that ‘love at first sight’ is real. Hmmm… this leads to the next point

4. There is a scientific explanation for the ‘temporal insanity’ people exhibit when they’re in love.
We all know the infamous song GRENADE by BRUNO MARS, where a full grown man was signing his death warrant by his lips because of a girl who cared little about him.
I'd catch a grenade for you
Throw my hand on a blade for you
I'd jump in front of a train for you
You know I'd do anything for you
Oh, I would go through all this pain
Take a bullet straight through my brain
Yes, I would die for you, baby…………

well, study shows that people who are in love exhibit the same characteristics with those suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive disorder; a medical condition in which people are unable to control their thoughts or activities for a period of time. This is as a result of activities triggered in four areas of the brain – media insula, anterior congulate, striatum, prefrontal cortex. 

 

5. Cuddling can treat headaches like painkillers do.
Oxytocin, a very powerful hormone is released from the brain into the body during a cuddle. And research shows that a dose of oxytocin could work as a treatment for frequent headaches reducing it significantly. Infact, 27% of the patients who partook in the experiment reported that the headache was gone after 4 hours. If only Michael Jackson knew…
6. Holding hands can soothe stress and ease pain
A research involving 17 couples has given insight into some long-standing puzzles. It showed that couples with strong affection on a long-term relationship, soothe each other in stressed situations or painful experiences by simply holding hands.
So the next time your partner is feeling all stressed out, reach out, and hold their hands...you’ll be doing a lot of good.

7. Thinking of love influences creative thinking while thoughts of sex influences analytic thinking


Weird right?

The basic idea in the published journal is that, people in love have their focus on a long-term perspective and this enhances inter-connected thoughts. Thereby leading to creative thinking.

On the thoughts of sex, the focus if on the present, concrete details and as such, analytic thinking is enhanced.

No comments on that one :-x
I’d like to end on a sad note…
8. ‘He broke my heart’ should be taken literary.
Research has given substantial evidence that traumatizing events, such as break-up or Divorce could cause real physical pains in the heart and even lead to to cardiac consequences.
Broken heart syndrome, medically known as stress-induced cardiomyopathy/ takotsubo cardiomyopathy has little to do with one’s health. Tests show that the broken heart syndrome exhibits similar symptoms as a heart attack, the only difference being; no evidence of blocked heart arteries in a ‘broken heart’
so guys, stop mocking your fellow guy when he’s finding it difficult to move on after his relationship hit the rock...he is willing, but the heart is broken!
 

Why you can't 'normaly' dodge a bullet!


StoryLine:
You just finished watching the movie-The Matrix and you're feeling so high, you practically want someone to shoot you so you could dodge the bullet. But then you have second thoughts, "let me go consult EdScienceBlog before i set out on this task".

Action!!!

You: Hey yo! I want to try out this scene...what do i need to know?






EdScienceBlog: LOL...forget about what countless hollywood movies would have you believe. Dodging a bullet fired at you is almost impossible.

You: But why?

EdScienceBlog: (remind me before the end of this meeting to explain the bolded word -'almost')
you are up against some factors, let me define them.

Muzzle Velocity: The speed with which a bullet leaves a gun.
For modern rifles, the average muzzle velocity is about 1,200meters per second. i.e. within a second, the bullet has gotten to 1,200 meters from where it was fired. . .think about that!

ii Reaction Time:   The elapsed time between the presentation of stimulus and your response to it.
The average reaction time for humans is 0.25 seconds for visual stimulus, 0.17 for audio stimulus and 0.15 seconds for touch stimulus.

so, you'll need a cue, like something to alert you, for you to react- by dodging.

something you need to note here is that, due to the muzzle velocity of the gun, it would be practically impossible for you to see the bullet leave the gun, so that strikes out relying on visual stimulus from your list.

You: So what can i rely on?

EdScienceBlog: er...we have touch stimulus there, you could rely on the sense of touch from the bullet! oh wait...you'll be dead in an instance. LOL

You: Be serious jhor... how about the sense of sound?

EdScienceBlog: Ah...yeah! there could be a possibility with that, lets see.
It is scientifically proven that the speed of sound in air is 343 meters per second. Unfortunately, the muzzle velocity of an average gun is far greater than the speed of sound, meaning the bullet would have hit you before you can even hear the gun sound. . .sorry man!

You: Wow! then imagine the shooter is using a silencer, like the type James Bond uses in movies, that means no sound at all...chai!

EdScienceBlog: Argghh!! Hollywood again!
firstly, it's officially called a SUPPRESSOR. Secondly, it doesn't make the gun as quiet as Hollywood would make you believe...but then, thats a digression.

You: hmmm...so you said i should remind you about the word 'almost'

EdScienceBlog: I did?

You: yes.

EdScienceBlog: Why?

You: I should be asking you that!

EdScienceBlog: LOL... i'm just pulling your legs.
Depending on the distance of the shooter from the shooted, one could possibly dodge a bullet. (Note; not a bullet from a sniper o!) as shown by MythBusters in one of their videos. But bear in mind that the shooter has to be very, very, very far away, and you have to react before he pulls the trigger in order for you to successfully stay alive in this experiment. How you'll achieve that. . .na you know!

You: Thanks! I think i'll look for something better to do with my life.

EdScienceBlog: You welcome! please, click the share button below to share this post with your friends who are also having this thought of committing suicide!


 

4 Scientist's whose works were not appreciated until their death.


They say you know a person's worth when he's gone, this statement applies to the men in the article, their works were only appreciated, years after they died.

1. GREGOR JOHAN MENDEL

 An austrian-born scientist whose experiments gave birth to the laws of inheritance as we know it. Growing up, Johan struggled with his education due to illness and financial constraints. He became a Friar and took on the name Gregor so he wouldn't have to pay for his education.
while serving as a monk, Mendel started conducting experiments with pea plants to study seven major traits of plants.
From the results of his experiment, he proposed the Law of Segregation and the Law of Independent Assortment
A study that took 7 years and about 28,000 plants was criticized greatly as biologists at that time held on to the theories of blending inheritance which is now obsolete.
well, it wasn't until 1900, 16 years after his death that three different researchers, each from a different county, published their work which proved that Mendel was right after-all.

2. IGNAZ PHILIPP SEMMELWEIS

 An hungarian Doctor, pioneer of Antiseptic procedures, ''savior of mothers'' . . . sadly, these titles were attributed to him, after his death.
Semmelweis worked in a clinic were the mortality rate was high in comparison to a second clinic in the area due to puerperal fever that was rampant at that time.
Comparing the working conditions of the two hospitals, Semmelweis discovered that the difference between the two clinic was that, while the hospital he worked in involved doctors carrying out Autopsy, the other clinic was for midwives only. And due to the death of his friend who was accidentally poked with a student's scalpel, Semmelweis was able to conclude that the high mortality rate was due to Contaminations from the doctors.
He then made a policy that student doctors wash their hand with chlorinated lime after autopsy work and before examination of patients. The result was a 90% drop in the mortality rate in the clinic.
Unfortunatey, Semmelweis's hypothesis that the only cause of the puerperal fever was uncleanliness on the part of the medical practitioners was both rejected and ridiculed at the same time. Infact, some doctors took offence at the suggestion to wash their hands and Semmelweis was consequently dismissed from the hospital for political reasons, and with harrassment from the medical community in Vienna he was forced to move out to Budapest.
Semmelweis began to write open letters against the doctors of his time, calling them 'irresponsible murderers'. His wife and other friends thought he was running mad and so they took him to Assylum where he died 14 days later (possibly as a result of severe beating from the guards)
Semmelweis's findings where later accepted after Louis Pasteur developed the germ theory of disease which explained all Semmelweis had been saying.

3. JOHANNES KEPLER

 A mathematician and Astronomer, he proposed an heliocentric solar system. Kepler found it difficult to convince people in his era that the sun, and not the earth, was at the centre of the solar system.
This rejection was due to religious beliefs by the Church at that time, and also, partly due to common sense- the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, surely, it goes round the earth.
well, Kepler made further progress on Copernicus's work, but it wasn't until decades after his death that his work formed part of the bases on which Sir Isaac Newton proposed his laws of gravitation.



4. AMEDEO AVOGADRO

We all probably know Avogadro's law which states that equal volumes of different gases contain an equal number of molecules, provided temperature and pressure are kept constant.
This observation was published by Avogadro while he was working as a physics teacher at the college of Vercelli. As a result, he became the first scientist to realize that elements could exist as molecules.
Avogadro's work, unfortunately, was ignored until 4 years after his death when another Scientist Stanislao Cannizarro presented them at a conference which was called to look into some scientific confusion at that time.
Even after the presentation, it took a decade for scientists to totally agree with it. Now Avogadro is a force to be reckoned with in Chemistry.



History made as Solar powered plane completes circumnavigation of the earth.



Birthed by a vision to harness the most abundant renewable energy to bring about a revolution in transportation, Solar Impulse II has completed its circumnavigation of the earth powered solely by the sun.
What started as an idea in 2004 by Bertrand Piccard, a Swiss Psychiatrist and Baloonist was brought to reality 12 years later after the plane returned to Abu Dhabi where it had taken off in 2015.
Together with Andre Borschberg, co-founder of the Solar Impulse project, and co-pilot of the aircraft, the journey of 40,000km kick started from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
Great feats like crossing the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, flying 4-days straight to Japan thereby creating a record of the 'longest solar-powered flight' were achieved without any use of fuel or emission of environmental polluting gases.
However, the Plane experienced technical difficulties that halted the journey for over 9-months. The aircraft's batteries reached critical operating temperatures, and due to Piccard's persistence to continue with the mission, the batteries suffered irreversible damage which led to delay in takeoff from Hawaii as engineers were working out replacement parts for the aircraft.
Solar Impulse II resumed journey in April 2016, and went on to complete it's circumnavigation on 26 July 2016, 16 months after it begun it's journey.

This is surely a great feat in the aviation sector, according to Andre Borschberg " To build an airplane of the size of a 747 with the weight of a car, something which was considered impossible by the aviation industry, we had to develop the right mindset in order to push the limits of the technologies. With Partners who believed in the same vision we developed solutions to make our airplanes very energy efficient. All these technologies can be used today in other applications to make our world more energy efficient as well."
The team of over 80 engineers are not slowing down yet. Building on the success of the solar Impulse project, there is work to develop other solar aircrafts which includes a solar powered drone.


  • In Piccard's words "Our ambition for Solar Impulse is for the worlds of exploration and innovation to make a contribution to the cause of renewable energies. We want to demonstrate the importance of clean technologies for sustainable development; and to place dreams and emotions back at the heart of scientific adventure.”
Indeed there is no limit to what we can achieve!

Nature's Stylus - The carrot




Today I was at my study table, and there were some carrots closeby (don't ask me how they got there...) 
With the way they were looking, I decided to take one in my hand and it felt comfortable like a pen, my phone was in the other hand and in unwitting fashion, I tried using the carrot as a stylus and BAM! It worked flawlessly.
So I logged on the Internet to find out what was going on, and I'll like to share some interesting things I learnt in the process.

First, we must know that there are two major categories of touchscreen displays: the RESISTIVE touchscreen display and the CAPACITIVE touchscreen display. Most phones in the world make use of the latter category.
A capacitive touchscreen panel consists of some layers, two of which are of importance to this article. It consists of a Conductive layer which stores electric charges uniformly across the panel and on top of that, we have an insulated layer (like glass) which does not allow the free flow of electricity.
What happens when we touch the screen is that we've created a distortion in the electric field of the screen, and so, instead of the electric charges in the capacitive layer to keep flowing in uniformity, they begin to flow towards the point were we placed our touch. So that if we slide our fingers across the screen, the electrons in that path would move along in attraction to the finger. All these processes are being monitored by a processor which can read and record the point[s] were the distortions were created.
(Here's a YouTube video that'll explain the whole touchscreen process https://youtu.be/SzLoWDkBKXk )

How all these grammar take concern Carrot?
LOL... Our body is able to control the touchscreen because it is a conductor of electric charges.

And apart from the fact that carrots are the most nutritional/healthy food known to man, they can also conduct electricity too. . This is due to the presence of Potassium in the vegetable. - The element Potassium is a metal, and metals are good conductors of electricity due to their valency.
You don't believe me? go ahead and try it out! Nature's Stylus!










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