Science For Real Life

For the discussion of the sciences. Physics problems, chemistry equations, biology weirdness, it all goes here.

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insperatum
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Science For Real Life

Postby insperatum » Sat Oct 17, 2009 2:49 pm UTC

Okay, so the point here is to bring together some advice that science would give for a range of real-life situations, and preferrably go into the actual theory behind them.

For example:
  • What are the individual causes for the various symptoms of hangover, and how can you reduce each of them?
  • What are good foods to eat when learning material, say for an exam? And how about food for on the morning of an exam to aid recall of those memories?
  • How can I get rid of hiccoughs?

So post your Q&As here. It would be good to have a nice list of science's responses to old wive's tales, largely because it's very useful for real life and largely because it's one of the few ways you can use science to impress your unlike-minded friends.

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Woofsie
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Re: Science For Real Life

Postby Woofsie » Sat Oct 17, 2009 3:04 pm UTC

insperatum wrote:]What are the individual causes for the various symptoms of hangover, and how can you reduce each of them?


One of the causes is dehydration, and you can reduce this by drinking a large amount of water before going to bed (~1 pint?). I think another is depletion of vitamins and minerals, so drinking things like orange juice or tomato juice in the morning also helps.

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Kow
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Re: Science For Real Life

Postby Kow » Sat Oct 17, 2009 7:05 pm UTC

http://cocktails.about.com/od/healthsaf ... 101a_2.htm

Regarding learning: Probably any (or all) of the B vitamins. Also: http://www.yourfamilyclinic.com/nutriti ... boost.html

Regarding hiccups: I've never actually had to try to get rid of them. They usually go away after 5 or 6 hiccups. Try drinking water, holding your breath or just occupying your mind on something else.
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Mokele
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Re: Science For Real Life

Postby Mokele » Sat Oct 17, 2009 7:21 pm UTC

For hiccups, the trick is to interupt the reflex arc, which is dependent upon feedback from the spasming diaphragm. This is why holding your breath, controlling your breathing, or drinking will stop hiccups - they force either voluntary control or other involuntary control regions to over-ride the system producing the hiccups and, deprived of feedback, the hiccup cycle winds down and stops.
"With malleus aforethought, mammals got an earful of their ancestor's jaw" - J. Burns, Biograffiti

chocolate.razorblades
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Re: Science For Real Life

Postby chocolate.razorblades » Fri Oct 23, 2009 7:17 pm UTC

I would say the best breakfast is something with plenty of complex carbohydrates (glucose is the brain's primary source of energy), B-vitamins (to use that energy), and omega-3 fatty acids (to increase memory retention). Personally, I have cereal with flax meal and rice milk.

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Velifer
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Re: Science For Real Life

Postby Velifer » Fri Oct 23, 2009 7:42 pm UTC

insperatum wrote:Okay, so the point here is to bring together some advice that science would give for a range of real-life situations, and preferrably go into the actual theory behind them.


1) Pay attention. Observe, define and measure. Quantify whenever possible.
2) Come up with plausible explanations. See if anyone else has.
3) See if those explanations can be used to make predictions.
4) Test the predictions.

SCIENCE is a collection of tools, ways of knowing. Some people use SCIENCE to figure out subatomic phenomena, some use SCIENCE to understand cells. You can use SCIENCE to figure out what works best on a hangover.
Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies have nothing to lose but their chains -Marx


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