Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The Atkins Diet: Why it makes sense (from even an evolutionary point of view).

While working three years at a relatively low-movement job, I managed to avoid gaining weight, but all the same accumulated a bit of fat in places none too flattering (a visual discomfort made worse because I had little fat elsewhere on by body). I started a no-carb diet (commonly known as the 'Atkins Diet') in mid-June, and two weeks later, that normally hard-to-eliminate fat is gone now.

The introductory line to the Atkins Diet Wikipedia article sums the science of the program up quite nicely: "The Atkins diet involves limited consumption of carbohydrates to switch the body's metabolism from metabolizing glucose as energy over to converting stored body fat to energy." I hadn't realised until now that the body's metabolism phases were so simple, yet when looking back at the evolution of human diet, this makes perfect sense.

One must remember that before the Neolithic age (around 10,000 BC), processed carbohydrates were almost non-existent in human eating habits. Until then our diet consisted mostly of meat, berries, roots, fruit and other greens that could be consumed 'as found' from their plant source. The agriculture developing around then produced wheat (bread and beer), rice, maize and later potatoes (south America only until the 16th-century colonisation there) - all of these are the main source of our modern carbohydrate-rich diets. So, in considering the 200,000-year evolution of the modern human, one can easily assume that the diet most adapted to the human body is a low-carbohydrate one.

The consumption of carbohydrate-rich food (and sugars, but carbohydrates in reality are sugars), transformed by our digestive process into glucose, triggers a production of insulin in the human body; insulin 'deals with' carbohydrates (and sugars) in the bloodstream by forcing fat tissue to take up excess glucose, and by transforming glucose into glycogen that is stored in muscle and liver. So, in this light, could insulin be considered almost as a defence mechanism against 'modern' eating habits?

If there is little or no glucose present in the bloodstream, the body enters a state of 'ketosis', or when ketone bodies produced by the liver (because of a lack of glycogen therein) begin breaking down fats into a form ('good' cholesterol and glycogen) usable by the human body. The state of ketosis is seen as almost abnormal today, but could it once have been the standard for the human metabolism? Or, in other words, is the Atkins Diet simply a return to our eating habits of 10,000 years ago?

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Everything is Light - A few simple Rules.

It's been a while since my last post, but since then I have found no other solutions more satisfying to me than my earlier conclusions. In short, I am of the opinion that:

  • there is no 'ether' (a mysterious substance limiting speeds at which energy/matter can travel)
  • I still retain my doubts about 'time dilation'.
  • I am still persuaded that it is indeed possible to attain velocities higher than the speed of light.
  • I am still persuaded that matter is basically light energy whose frequency surpasses its forward momentum.
  • I am still persuaded that reducing time in quantum mechanics equations to the constant 'C' (the speed of light) would simplify things greatly.

If, at the beginning of the universe, there was a great explosion from a single source, all energy/matter would be projected at a maximum velocity of C. All energy whose frequency surpasses C would form matter (quarks), group into our most basic atomic form (hydrogen) and slow (hindered by the gravitational attraction of other mass-bearing elements), and energies below 'C speed' would travel, as light, at light speed, away from the epicentre of the explosion. In other words, no energy or matter was projected from the singular point of emission (the explosion) at a speed superior to C, an event that agrees with Einstein's conclusion that an energy source will always emit its rays at a speed of C, no matter what velocity it is travelling at.

So from the 'point of observation' of the big bang explosion, C was the fastest velocity that this universe knew. We seem to be stuck on the concept that that limitation - from that singular point of observation - is the fastest speed possible. I can't disagree more: if there is no 'ether', there should be no speed limit. Just because the big bang didn't create light-emitting bodies travelling at speeds at, above, or near C, doesn't mean that such a phenomenon isn't possible.

I am still persuaded that the velocity of waves emitted from a moving source should be C plus the velocity of the source itself. If the source was moving towards a (stationary) observer, the wave frequency would seem higher (in accordance with the Doppler effect), but only because, relative to the viewer, the waves are arriving at speeds superior to C. This phenomenon can be observed in the spectrum 'light shift' of stars; it is used to calculate whether the light-emitting object in question is moving towards or away from us (yet, don't forget, relative to the light-emitting object, the rays produced are still travelling at the constant C).

The problem is that, in order to test this theory, we would a) have to accelerate a light-emitting object at speeds close to C and b) devise a way of measuring the speed of the rays emitted from that object (that are at speeds superior to C). At present, even with our latest and greatest particle accelerators, we are only able to accelerate elements to a speed of C - which is the maximum speed we can attain relative to ourselves.

Calculating the energy created by colliding near-C-speed objects.

If we were to apply the above to two colliding objects, let's say photons, it wouldn't be the relative speed that would be centre of any calculation, it would be the relative frequency of the colliding elements that would predict the outcome of such an encounter. Let's take, for an extremely simple example, two equal-frequency photons colliding from exactly opposing directions (although a such collision, to this date, has not yet been created): from the point of view of one photon, the other would be travelling at twice the speed of C. This would mean that the resulting energy would be the frequency of each photon multiplied by their relative speed. If the frequency of either or both the photons was high enough, the created frequency would surpass C, meaning that matter would be created. This theory is already being actively researched through two-photon physics.

So imagine the energy created by the collision of two mass-bearing elements travelling at speeds close to C. Already our present-day space programs have problems dealing with micro-fissures caused by particles travelling a super-high speeds (some near-atom-sized particles can penetrate even the thickest metals), so imagine if we actually managed to accelerate an object, say a bullet, to near-light speeds towards another: were the combined energy (frequency) high enough, the result could be close to — or even be, were the energy created high enough to overcome the atomic structure of one or both of the colliding objects - a nuclear explosion! With all the micro-junk our universe contains, this would make near-C-speed space travel very problematic.