Embarrassing Questions

I'm sure each of us has a huge list of unanswered questions. Here's a blog for archiving all such questions. It would potentially serve to get us and others some answers which have been eluding us for a long time. The answers can come in the form of comments. Please note that we should stick to questions we had honestly asked when we were in school, or pre-university college. We are strictly barred from trying to find answers to our research problems!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Does it stop somewhere??????

Hi!

Everything is "within" something!!! We are in a room, room's in a building, building in a colony, colony in a city, city in a country, country in a continent, continent on Earth, Earth in solar system, solar system in a galaxy, galaxy in the universe.............what's beyond that? Is the Universe in another BIGGER entity? If it is, where's that BIGGER entity housed? Do we stop somewhere????

Pritesh

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Chicken

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Mind's I

This is one wonderful book. If you have not read it/ read any chapters from it, take my word - you will enjoy it.

Following is a short excerpt from the introduction from this book-
It does seem (doesn't it?) that if your brain were transplanted into another body, you would go with it. But are you a brain? Try on two sentences, and see which one sounds more like the truth to you:

I have a brain.
I am a brain.

Sometimes we talk about smart people being brains, but we don't mean it literally. We mean they have good brains. You have a good brain, but who or what then, is the you that has the brain?

...

Our world is filled with things that are neither mysterious and ghostly nor simply constructed out of the building blocks of physics. Do you believe in voices? How about haircuts? Are there such things? Wgat are they? What, in the language of the physicist, is a hole -- not an exotic black hole, but just a hole in a piece of cheese, for instance? Is it a physical thing? Latin still exists, but it is no longer a living language. The language of the cavepeople of France no longer exists at all. The game of bridge is less than a hundred years old. What sort of thing it is? It is not animal, vegetable, or mineral....

In one of the essays, the author ponders upon the physical location of mind in the human body. He hypothesises an experiment. It goes like this -

Assume that the medical technology has reached to an incredibly sophistication. 'They' can now track and monitor every single neuron of the human brain and can actually kind of 'tap' the brain. The experimental setup involves none other than yourself! They have taken the brain out of your head (believe it or not!) and by means of electrical wires they have connected your brain to your nervous system. You are perfectly alright even now. You can control all your limbs - you can see and hear. Just like a normal being. Only difference is that the brain has been taken out of your head.

Having taken out the brain, and successfully isolated your body from your brain, they have decided to keep it in one glass jar (like those in science fiction movies).

The question to answer is if the brain is kept in a jar that faces the rest of the body, and if your eyes can actually see your brain, can you still say that mind is different from the brain? Where are mind's signals originating from?

Now, come come - I can already hear you all saying, "hey are you out of your mind or what?". Well I am not, just to be on the record :)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Some more interesting questions!

Well, the contributions from Ajit and Sujju are rather nice! :) I agree. It's quite strange that the solar-system seems to have some peculiarities. And still, it seems to be in some sort of an equilibrium state........but now, I shall shift from astronomy to Biology (an all time favourite subject of mine).................

Q1: What makes plants think? They don't have a formal centre of thinking called brain. If each cell's nucleus is to decide what's to be done, then, aren't there likely to be conflicts? Afterall, not all cells will think alike. So, what makes the plants "tick"?

This question has haunted me for quite some time now. There was a talk by Prof. Mahadevan where he talked about "conscious bacterium". Without any such thing as a "brain", the bacterium seems to modify itself from time to time to adapt to its surroundings! But there, we were talking about ONE cell. Whereas in case of plants (including mammoth trees), we're talking about billions and trillions of cells that seem to work together without any apparent conflicts!!!!

Any intelligent guesses?????????

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Here we go!

So, here's the first question.
Why doesn't the electron fall into the nucleus?

Some answers, some more questions

Sujju, I don't exactly know why the electron doesn't collapse into the nucleus, but I'm sure there are mathematical equations that try to answer this question!!!! And something to do with centrifugal force being balanced by the electrostatic attraction explains the elecron's going around the nucleus endlessly and tirelessly.....

My question:

1. Why are the sizes of the planets non-uniform (as in not following a particular order, ascending or descending)? Mercury and Venus are small, Earth and intermediate planets are reasonable big and then, Pluto is again small? Why this?