Science in the City, Malta 2018 – all you need to know

Science in the City is an annual event taking place not only in Valletta, but in another 320 cities around the world. This will be the seventh anniversary of marriage between the arts and science. Science in the City, the brainchild of Dr. Edward Duca is now fixed in Maltese cultural calendar.

The message of this year’s event is that everyone starts from zero. Even experts started with no knowledge whatsoever. We encourage everyone and anyone to visit and start or continue to understand, admire and discuss the world around them.

The QA with the folks handling the PR for this event was amazing so I’ll leave it as is, and you can see the entirety of it here.

#scicitymalta #MSCAnight

Here’s a small TL;DR for whoever is lazy in his reading.

Words of Osiris Note: The shows featured are those that cropped up in our Question and Answer session, and should only be taken as suggestions. Feel free to wander around the stands and shows, especially those featured as main events! (Use the App)

1. Crowd Favourite: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

2. New Science in the City App:

  • Map with show time schedules and age appropriateness.
  • Listed Transport arrangements, to avoid parking hassles.
  • Interactive Map of all the restaurants offering a Science in the City discount, great for drinkers and foodies.

Words of Osiris Note: After installing the App myself I could only see two fast food chains advertised around the main show area. The only true restaurant is out-of-the-way, at the Valletta Waterfront. Hope they won’t be the only ones. #moreandhealthieroptions

3. Not for Kids only:

  • Talking Science at Palazzo Ferriera (Facebook event) features topics such as blockchain, biohacking, gender assignment and terrorism amongst others.
  • Honourable mention: Ro-Botanicals: mixing plant tech with delicious cocktails + talks about the future of food.

4. Theatrical and Musical spectacles:

Theatrical

Musical:


Once again the full Question and Answer can be found by hitting this link


This blog post is in no way sponsored and has no affiliation with the Malta’s Science and Arts Festival organisers.


Featured Image: European Science Engagement Association

The Beast from the East – Explained

A massive cold spur hit Europe and here’s why


We’ve all shivered and made snowmen this past days. And when I say ‘we’ I mean mainland Europe. Malta was only hit by some cold winds for a couple of days. Sad thing is that I had to go to work unlike most Europeans.

Anyhow, why did sudden Siberian cold hit mainland Europe?

To answer this, one has to look at the arctic region (north pole) specifically between 10km and 60km up in the atmosphere or what it is known as the stratosphere.

Due to the inclination of the earth (the same reason why we have seasons), the northern pole doesn’t receive sunlight and the temperature differences creates a vortex. This massive stratospheric storm called the stratospheric polar vortex spans as wide as the north pole itself.

 

Since it is so high up we don’t usually feel its effects, but there are instances where this vortex destabilises causing its doughnut shape to morph into two or more doughnuts.

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So, who’s complaining? (Credit: L0nd0ner -Pexel)

Actually Europe’s complaining since this splitting compresses air, heating up the stratosphere violently. So violent, that it pushes the cold arctic troposphere, or basically our weather portion of the atmosphere, disrupting our usually weather patterns.

Then we end up with something like this:

thirty nine
Credit: Paul Townsend – Flikr

If you want to know more please take a look at Simon Clark‘s video which has explained it much better than I ever could.

It’s all thanks to Simon Clark (twitter: @simonoxyphys) that I came to know of this so please do support him

Simon is one of the coolest and newest science communicators found on Youtube.

Do subscribe or give him a cheeky thumbs up.


If you love Science and want to read on more science-y things, click here 


Featured photo credits: Snapwire – Pexels.

Do you even moisturise? Learn the Science of Moisturisers. Tips included!

Moisturisers are a go to for many men and women, especially at this time of year. Slap on some cream, lotion or spread and you’re ready to go. BUT only if you understand how it works will you get the most out of it.


 

Since beauty and lifestyle bloggers are the most abundant, I though why not do a scientific blog with them in mind. So here we go…

There are basically three main types of moisturising ingredients:

  • Occlusives
  • Humectants
  • Emollients
Let’s go in a bit deeper:
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stock.tookapic.com

Occlusives:

Basically these have a ‘fatty’ side to them. Like oils and waxes, fat repels water. In moisturisers, it blocks the passage of water out of your skin. An everyday ingredient which can be defined as ‘fatty’ is petroleum jelly.

The ingredient petrolatum is best at holding water in, followed closely by lanolin and mineral oil.

Humectants:

These act like water sponges. They usually suck up water from deep into your skin to the upper-most surface. They do absorb water from the air but  to a much lesser extent, especially if the air is dry.

The most common examples are glycerin, honey, panthenol (a Vitamin B5 varient), sorbitol (also used an artificial sweetner), pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (PCA) and urea.

These ingredients while beneficial can cause water to escape from the surrounding non-creamed areas. Look out for these ingredients and be sure you cover a much wider area than just the dry spot!

Emollients:

These are simply there to fool you in thinking the moisturiser is effective. After the drying of the skin, certain proteins are broken down leaving you with crackled skin. Ingredients like dimethicone  fill these gaps of broken protein us making your skin feel smooth.

Even though urban legends says alcohols dry up your skin and have little place in moisturisers, ingredients like octyldodecanol are excellent emollients.

Honourable Mentions:

Vitamins:

A morphed Vitamin A (Retionic acid) is used in anti-wrinkle creams – In moisturisers as retinyl palmitate is good but less effective than the former.

Vitamins C (absorbic acid) – most probably is rendered useless in contact with the air.

Vitamin E – if the vitamin is mentioned as tocopheryl acetate, the body doesn’t make use of it. So it doesn’t do anything other than its use as a preservative.

Lactic Acid: 

Heavy Duty Humectant – to handle with care, usually used for skin over heel or calluses. Most products containing this ingredient gives you a stinging feeling after application.

Final note:

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The best way to moisturise is not to buy the most expensive product, but to keep up with your recommended daily water intake. In other words, DRINK WATER.

Remember, the products you buy don’t create water from thin air but helps the body cope with instances of dryness.

Second on the list, is to try to stay away from dehumidifiers and air conditioners. They both dry up the air around you and consequently your skin.

 


 

Hope you enjoyed this post!

If you want to see more please leave a comment telling me what you think! 😀

 

References:
Dobos, K. (n.d.) ‘How Do Skin Moisturizers Work? – Chemists Corner’, [Online]. Available at http://chemistscorner.com/how-do-skin-moisturizers-work/ (Accessed 17 February 2018).
Harvard Health Publishing (n.d.) Moisturizers: Do they work? [Online]. Available at https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/moisturizers-do-they-work (Accessed 17 February 2018).
Featured PictureH Matthew Howarth

Human Cloning

As usual I was scrolling through my WordPress reader, and bumped into this:

With ethical dilemmas, developing technology, and practicality issues, it is no wonder people’s opinions on the subject are so divided.

via Thoughts on Thursday: The Possibility of Human Cloning — Megan Roylee

Then I just felt like writing some thoughts of mine, so here we are.


Megan thinks of cloning as creating a foreign or even some sort of creature. While ethically, human cloning is considered wrong for religious or spiritual reasons, cloning other animals is not.

South Korea has been on the cutting edge of this replication process for the past decade, if not more. Certain companies actually offer a service of cloning your beloved pet for a hefty price tag.

 

As it says in the video, genetically the pet will be identical but you won’t have the exact same dog. Environmental factors will influence the character/characteristics of the new born puppy. No two drops in a river are exactly the same.

Anyway, hopping back to humans, cloning ‘John’ won’t bring him magically back to life. Think about the clone as ‘John v.2’ and if you call him ‘Andrew’, he will be like a much younger twin to ‘John’.

Yes, some twin have the same genetic material, and yet end up to be quite different. These are called ‘true twins’ and factors like nutrition, exercise and exposure to different psychological events will help you tell them apart. Hopefully they’ll reply to a different name as well.

twenty eight 2.jpg

Therefore, you can’t bring back anyone from death and therefore a second element of people’s perception comes into play.

Some think of clones as a possible gateway to organ donation. My ethical standards forebid me to think of another human being as an organ stepnee. Imagine coming to this world, and once you grow up you’ve been told that you’re just a spare wheel for another guy. Clones for human testing, or clones being treated differently in any other way, would make no sense.

As time goes by, the organ donor debate through a clone is dying down. New technologies are making it able to grow an organ in the laboratory.

You can read more about laboratory cultivated organs…here.

twenty eight

Clearly, at this point in time, I see no point in cloning humans. A clone would be just a
person who happens to have the same genetic material like someone else. Might as well have kids the old fashioned way, instead of going through the hassle of creating an exact copy of someone. Plus, the old fashioned way is way more fun.

 


What do you think after reading this?

Comment down below or re-blog your thoughts, share them with the world.

 

Raw Water

Another product deemed to be natural, gives you what nature is all about in one cup.

TL;DR: There are no studies showing the health benefits of ‘raw water’. What we do have are studies the dangers of raw or untreated water.Background.For thousands of years, water was deemed a necessity for the human species. We build cities around it, used it for cooking and drank it.

Today we’re going back thousands of years and drinking ‘raw water’. What we really don’t understand is that at those times drinking water was deemed dangerous. That is why the inventions of beer and the production of wine was a crucial step for all of man-kind.

Raw water is water which is not pasteurised or filtered. 

Disease:Background

Water in itself is a harmless liquid. Found in nature, it can be riddled with heavy metals and in some cases parasites and diseases. I don’t know if water-borne diseases ring any bells to you, rings a couple for me:

Turning water in beer and wine made water safe for drinking. Now we think that untreated water is better for our health, but is it worth the risk? Click on the above links and judge for yourselves.

One might say that they are tested bacteriological. While companies claim as such, the process of treatment makes sure that all the water sold gets the scientifically proven treatment to be safe.

Testing is always done on a very small sample size and is only indicative of the whole batch. Treatment is there to ensure a quality product anytime and every time. In addition to that, testing on all known water-borne diseases should be carried out, which, is highly unlikely that this is happening.

Raw water doesn’t get boiled or treated with any chemicals which actually keep our water safe. Even nowadays beer is pasteurised to ensure nobody suffers any harm from water-borne diseases.

Heavy Metals:Background

Another problem with this craze is the possibility of water containing heavy metals which can seep in from industrial waste or leach naturally from minerals.

In my studies, I came across a case study of the problem India’s potable water supply
had. After turning  to tube wells due to their disease infested rivers, arsenic started leaching out of the rocks close to the aquifers.

seventeen
Arsenic poison killed thousands of people in India

Any contamination was denied by the government and millions of Indian people ended up suffering from the increasing levels of arsenic in their bodies.

The arsenic contamination was remedied only after government actions were put in place to regulate digging of wells, together with the installation of appropriate filters in village water pumps.

Found a recently published BBC article, that sadly confirms that the people of india are still suffering the consequences.

Final thoughts:Background

Many people live away from the above stories and disease. We are only shielded from them because we live in first world countries which have measures to ensure the safety of their people.

Trying to avoid these precautions, like pasteurisation and filtration, doesn’t make any sense. As I said in my ‘Shall we care for a bear?’ post, nature is anything but kind. If we’re thrown in the wilderness there are thousands of dangerous we would face, and our early demise is certain.

Claims that Fluoride is of any risk have been debunked in so many studies and yet, years old accusations still plague society. The latest reports of fluoride safety were made in Australia, read to believe. Here’s an excerpt from their final report:

The evidence shows that water fluoridation at current Australian levels reduces the occurrence and severity of tooth decay. Water fluoridation at current Australian levels is associated with dental fluorosis. In Australia, however, most dental fluorosis is very mild or mild, does not affect the function of teeth and is not of aesthetic concern to those who have it.

There is evidence that water fluoridation at current Australian levels is not associated with cognitive dysfunction, lowered IQ, cancer, hip fracture and Down syndrome. There is no reliable evidence (1) of an association between water fluoridation at current Australian levels and other human health outcomes.

(1) The phrase ‘there is no reliable evidence’ is deceitful.  Yet it is used since science is based on evidence searching studies. When no evidence is found, it means that any studies on fluoride showed that it is completely safe. Of course, science is always inquisitive and will keep an open mind towards any risks, and many studies keep trying to proof it is unsafe for the greater good. 

To conclude, we didn’t end up having a life expectancy of more than 60 years because we disregard scientifically proved practices. We’re here after thousands of people strived for a better and safer life to live. Don’t let them and yourself down.