Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Diet, Health & Food-myths Part III (Red Bull)

    Red Bull doesn't give you wings, except if you're an F1 driver. 

    Myth - Red Bull gives you wings (and angel-wings if mixed with Vodka)

    Truth - Red Bull contains one ingredient that will make you a bit less tired, and that is caffeine. That's it! The rest is just sugar, B-vitamins, Glucuronolactone and Taurine. And while Taurine have many biological functions none of these will prevent sleepiness in any degree.
    Well the caffeine then, I hear you ask. It's got so much caffeine it's like drinking 10 cups of coffee!
    Well no, unsurprisingly it doesn't contain more caffeine than coffee. It's about the same or a little less (around 32 mg/100ml) than a normal cup of black gold. And we're not real clear on when your caffeine intake stops having this effect anyway, perhaps the fourth cup doesn't do anything to help with  keeping you up.

    But, I now hear you ask in unison, we've all heard that mixing energy drinks with alcohol is a deadly mix. Surely than can't be a myth.
    But of course it is, it's an absolutely ridiculous myth. Even if there was one chance in a thousand that you'd die I would have died at least ten times. And I haven't...I think.

    I did sleep in a coffin once, but that was during the Interview with the Vampire years. 

    So why do people think it's so dangerous to drink a RBV? Probably it's a mix of what everyone thought Red Bull was in the beginning, that it was borderline cocaine and had lot's of different magic elf-dust that made you smell unicorns

    It tastes like purple 

    and some reports in the media about people who has died after a night of drinking Red Bull cocktails.
    What we fail to take into account is the sheer number of people drinking RedBullVodka every night all around the world, and the few people dying. It's tragic but it's unrelated to RB. One story in the Telegraph was about a 21-year old woman who died after a night out drinking RBV. Turned out she had a heart-condition, was on epilepsy meds and had an abnormally large heart. She had an autopsy and the coroner ruled natural causes.
    There maybe a slight risk of drinking a bit more alcohol than usual when you mix with RB due to the caffeine but then again, there is a slight risk of drinking a bit too much beer sometimes too...


    You know you are just above the perfect amount of drunk when you make the toilet pass out

Diet, Health & Food-myths Part IV

Now we all know that we can eat chocolate, drink Red-Bull, use normal salt, have some sugar and not to spend all our money on protein bars and amusing shake-bottles. But there are many many myths left out there that will limit the possibility of an easy and wonderful life with the overflow and variation that even Kings couldn't enjoy just a couple of centuries ago. Here are some short facts you can take with you:

  • Microwave your food doesn't contaminate it with radiation
  • Eating late at night doesn't make you fatter than eating at any other time. It's the total calorie intake that counts.
  • Cravings aren't your body telling you what it is missing, it's your mind craving something.
  • Raw-food isn't unequivocally better for you, a lot of vegetables need cooking to loose some bad substances or make nutrients accessible. 
  • Fasting isn't needed to cleanse your body from toxins, it doesn't work like that. 
  • Enemas have no advantages and many perils (unless given by doctors for medical reasons)
  • Muscles doesn't turn into fat if you stop working out, it's different tissue. 
  • Coca-Cola will not dissolve a tooth in a night or melt your stomach
  • Glucuronolactone is not dangerous and has not been banned in relation to brain-tumors
  • Cold water after a meal will not solidify the fat in your stomach
  • Margarine isn't made of plastic
  • Synthetic vitamins have the same effect as natural. It's the same molecule. 
  • No one has ever caught a cold by being cold, the name is misleading. 
  • Absinthe was never hallucinogenic, just cheap and strong. 

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Diet, Health & Food-myths Part II

                                                                                                   Photo by: Alexander Butler
Prepare your cells to be redoxed

    Myth - ASEA water is magic potion

    Truth - ASEA is salt water.
    This is not so much a myth as it is formula 1A snake oil. You might not even have heard of it, since it's not really sold in normal hippie-stores but rather is part of an elaborate pyramid scheme to make a couple of ruthless scoundrels rich while easily fooled, innocent and naive people tries to sell their useless, nicely boxed, aggressively marketed crap. They use a lot of nonsensical taglines like they always do.
    Since it's not really a myth it might not fit this subject but I think it's close enough.
    So what do they claim ASEA water does? Oh what doesn't it do, let your eyes feast on these claims:

    - ASEA is the first and only stable, perfectly balanced mixture of Redox Signaling reactive molecules that exists outside the body
    - ASEA is trillions of stable, perfectly balanced Redox Signaling Molecules suspended in a pristine saline solution—the same molecules that exist in the cells of the human body.
    - Boosts efficiency of the body's own antioxidants by up to 500%
    - Completely native to the body.

    Basically it transforms your whole body, and the future.... of everything. I can't believe how mankind has survived for so long without Redox signalling molecules.
    Well, we haven't. We have loads of the little buggers. As Science-Based Medicine puts it:
    "Redox signaling is a process whereby free radicals, reactive oxygen species, and other compounds act as biological messengers. Nitric oxide, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon monoxide can be classified as redox signaling molecules"- Basically electron Reduction/Oxidation communication.
    Bask in the glory of my magnificence as I insert a sciency picture from Wikipedia. You are welcome.

    The ASEA makers claims that we humans stops producing these molecules early on in life and will benefit by getting more of their signalling goodness. They also say that they have found a way to transform the salt into new chemicals. In their own words:
    "ASEA is a mixture of 16 chemically recombined products of salt and water with completely new chemical properties. It is no longer salt or water just like table salt is no longer chlorine gas or sodium metal."
    So what you are really drinking according to them is....who knows? "Completely new chemical properties" doesn't really fill me with confidence. If a Vodka-maker have recombined the carbon, hydrogen and oxygen to have new chemical properties of unknown effect I'd steer clear.
    But don't worry, ASEA is expensive salt water and if your wallet is bigger than your confidence you should be okay to drink it and feel "excited about the new paradigm and awareness we now have with ASEA and its ability to transform human health" Link

    But if they actually have found a way to change salt to biological signaling molecules, would it work?
    I'm not a doctor, a chemist or a Medical Atomic Physicist (as Gary L Samuleson on ASEA:s payroll is being marketed as) but it sounds pretty daft doesn't it? If you drink brain-cells they wouldn't travel through your body up to your brain and get to work, high-fiveing their new colleagues. They would be dissolved by your stomach acid and whatever nutrients salvageable would be transported to your liver and then onwards to your cells and tissue.
    If it would work like they claim I'd be two thirds wine by now and by testicles would look like grapes.

    That explains a lot


    Myth - Hyperactive children during a sugar-rush
    Truth - There are no sugar-rushes. At all.
    This is one of the myths scientists themselves are become a bit fed up with, the myth has become so lodged into our society nobody believes you when you are trying to tell them.
    So why won't people just drop this nonsense? Well, it's actually a bit of bad parenthood (uh-uh, now I'm in trouble), some parents judge their kids more harshly, criticize them for smaller offences and gets generally annoyed by them when they play very much like every other kid play. In one study the asked a bunch of parents if they had noticed a difference in behavior with their children after having consumed a high amount of sugar. Those who said yes got put into two groups, one where their kids was said to be given drinks with extra sugar in, and one where they would get sugar-free drinks.
    After playing together the parents where told to fill out a survey on how their children behaved.
    Those who where told their children got the high-dose sugar drinks said the kids where hyper.

    Guess the control-group

    In reality they all got the same sugar-free drink. This was also videotaped and what was apparent was that the mothers in the group that thought their kids was very sugar-sensitive shadowed their kids, criticized them and generally got along badly. The other group had a much more harmonious time. 

    So what's the deal? Probably just parents who fulfill their own erroneous fears. And kids that pick up on their parents anxiety and act up a little more. This is probably even more common among control-freak parents who interprets every little detail with the preconceived image of a hyperactive, sugar-doped little demon. Confirmation Bias in effect.

    Oh and since there is no Sugar Rush, there is no Sugar Crash either. So next time you see the worst of the American sit-coms with canned-laughter and old tired jokes (more often than no starring Charlie Sheen or Jim Belushi) there will be an episode with sugar-rush jokes. Don't laugh, it's not funny. It's boring, uninspired and scientifically inaccurate (except for when Peter Griffin drinks Red Bull, milks a cow and the friction from his hyperactive hands sets the udders on fire. That shit is hilarious!)

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H6

                                                                                           design by Jakob Wagner

What gorgeous classic retro-futurism
Made from anodized aluminium and cowhides from New Zealand B&O has created another
classic piece of beautifully crafted engineering.

Available from May 2013 from around 400 Euro 

Diet, Health & Food-myths Part I

  • Photo by: Bevan Goldswain
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away, the dentist on the other hand... 

    This area is one of the most treacherous you can choose when you wanna bust myths. People have a lot of strong opinions and feeling about food, and many want that placebo feeling when they stuffing Asian kelp into their faces or spending half their salary at a little scruffy farm-shop filled to the brim with organic roots and manned by a wild-haired nature-woman dressed in a linen curtain. There are several reasons it's a touchy subject, often due to contradictory information and a massive market selling you a lifestyle. We also have a lot of old myths we have inherited from our parents from the time people genuinely thought that you'd get cramps if you'd do anything physically straining after dinner.

    Myth - Chocolate gives you acne.

    Truth - Acne Vulgaris is a condition which most teens gets. It's natures way of trying to stop teen pregnancy's by making you look like a zombie thrown up in your face at the exact moment you develop sexual feelings without the experience to not put a baby in everything that says yes. When your testosterone levels go up (on both boy dudes and girl dudes) your sebaceous glands start to produce more sebum (skin grease) than they used to do. That'll leave you one sexually frustrated, physically unappealing chaotic mess. Chocolate may be your only joy in life, might aswell enjoy it.


    Myth - Bro', do you even lift?  Well you're gonna need protein supplement

    Truth - Protein is important, 10-35% of your daily intake of food should be protein. When we discovered meat some 2.3 million years ago our brains took a giant leap in size and complexity and our bodies changed from vegetable-digesting processor to ripped warriors.

    My food craps on your food.

    But, do we really need to spend a lot of money on protein-shakes when we lift some heavy object three times a week?
    As long as you get an adequate amount of proteins you don't need expensive powder drinks in special containers with cool logos on. Eat well and all that extra protein won't change anything but the mood of those selling it.

    But without this, who will know that I attack ? They may think I'm a body sneaker!


    Myth - Himalaya rock salt is magic

    Truth - Sodium Chloride (NaCl) is salt and salt is good for us. We need it to function, fries tastes rather bland without it and Salt'n'Pepa would just be Sandra Denton. The salt we buy in little containers are either "Sea Salt",  which is simply evaporated sea water, or "Rock Salt" which is mined by one of these little monsters:

      Bro', do you even mine?

    There are a lot of claims made my both sides that their preferred salt is the best, but the wildest claims comes undoubtedly from the people selling Himalayan Salt. Google it and there are almost no limits to the magic:
    - Balances acidity in brain-cells (sounds very fishy)
    - Works as a strong antihistamine (can't find any support of this anywhere)
    - Help you sleep
    - Stabilize irregular heartbeats (if you have that, go see a doctor)
    - Reduce signs of aging
    - Protect you from cancer, asthma, rheumatism (sure it does)
    - Maintain your libido (tent pitched all night)
    - It contains 84-92 minerals in exactly the same proportion as your body (it doesn't and it doesn't)
    - The salt is hand-mined from underground caves (that sounds like the worst job ever)
    and many other fantastically imaginative things.

    And it doesn't even stop with all the wonders it does to you when you eat it, you can also buy Himalayan Salt-lamps that apparently (I kid you not) balance electromagnetic radiation, create healthy ions and oxygenate the air. I'm not even gonna bother with debunking those claims, if you believe that you are at the wrong place and nothing I say will change your mind.

    What I will explain is why Himalayan Rock Salt (HRS) is just salt, nothing more but actually something less. Even though they claim to contain a lot of stuff you need it doesn't contain Iodine (which is added to refined table-salt for a reason) and you do want that. And all those other "minerals" HRS contains, do you really want them?
    Every time you put some salt on your potatoes you'll get Uranium, Wolfram, Strontium & Cadmium. The only way that could be good for you is if you're aiming to be a cartoon super-hero

    I am Salt-Boy, I'm here to stabilize your heart irregularities and make your boners rock-hard

    Oh, and it's not hand-mined from underground caves, it's industrially mined in Khewra Salt Mines, the worlds second largest salt mine in the world with an annual output of around 385 000 tons. It's likely that the salt your city is using on the streets during winter is from Khewra. 

    There is no reason to change from your iodine-enriched table salt unless your friends are pretentious douche-bags that only eat hand-mined salt from the untouched ancient caves high in the Himalayas. If that's the case you should really get new friends. 

Monday, 8 April 2013

Do not go gentle into that good night - Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night, 
Old age should burn and rage at close of day; 
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right, 
Because their words had forked no lightning they 
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright 
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, 
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, 
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, 
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight 
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, 
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height, 
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray. 
Do not go gentle into that good night. 
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

- Dylan Thomas

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Brain Myths

Can you hear Zombies drooling? 

While thinking about more myths most people believe (or choose to believe cause it sound cool, is comfortable to believe or is uncomfortable with to question said belief) my mind wandered to my mind. Brains are the target of many myths, partly because it's still quite a lot of mysteries left to solve, partly because we want to live in a world where our brains are super-genius computers just a command from being unlocked to their fullest glory. And this is not entirely untrue, but some of it is and some of it need further clarification.
Some stuff you've heard is wrong though, listening to Mozart doesn't make you smarter, you won't buy more Coke if an image is spliced into a movie and you will not kill yourself if somebody tells you to do it backwards on a heavy-metal album. When we choose to believe these things we forget how we work.

What I'm gonna address here though are clear myths (or misunderstandings that is applicable as myths here today)

Myth 5 - Alcohol kills brain-cells en masse

Truth - Alcohol doesn't actually kills brain-cells no, it damages dendrites.

That's how cells communicate. After dendrite breakdown it's all family therapy and trust leaps. 

Dendrites are the tips of the neurons that sends the nerve-signals so without them it's a bit of an echo-chamber, the thing is that this damage is reversible. So while being an alcoholic is pretty bad for you, there are no reason to not shape up and have a vitamin-shake (because most of the damage your get while being alcoholic is actually a lack of nutrition and thinking Jackass is comedy gold )

Myth 6 - You only use 10% of your brain

Truth - I hesitated about doing this myth, since it's so old and dumb hardly anybody believes it anymore. But perhaps we can put it to death in a couple of more people. This myth survives because it's a vehicle for people believing in the supernatural, they can make bold claims about tapping into the other 90% and that is allegedly where nature has chosen to store our telekinesis, ESP and savant-skills (without the social hassle of being autistic or having brain-damage).
This one of the myths common sense should have triumphed over a long time ago, nature doesn't design a brain as big and complex as ours and then use a tenth of it. The reason we are total idiots as children is because if we'd been born as ready as most animals women would have needed a uterus like a sleeping bag and the childbearing hips of an elephant. Our brain consumes 20% of our total energy despite having only about 2% of our total mass.
To add to the stupidity of the myth, do you really think you could function with only 10% of you brain working?

Myth 7 - Left handed people use the right part of their brain and are therefore more creative

Truth - This is not entirely true, and not entirely untrue. The basic premise is false though, because first of all creativity isn't something isolated. To write a book, compose a song or invent a machine you will need a lot of brainpower and many different centers that are spread around both hemispheres of the brain. You can, if you will, simplify the brain into a left logical and right creative hemisphere but it doesn't really work. Most of us use our Corpus Callosum (the highway between west-coast and east-coast brain-gangs) all the time to solve stuff. One study published in Scientific America (Found here) mentions something called the Interpreter Phenomenon which states that the left hemisphere made up stories about what the right hemisphere where doing. That's pretty creative of boring old logical lefty, eh!
Besides this there is not a clear definition of left-handed or right-handed. We usually mean which hand we prefer to use while writing, but that can differ from how we eat, use an ice-hockey stick and throw a ball (called mixed-handedness, about 30% have this).
Also there is no scientific solid correlation between left-handed and right-brained or vice versa, so there is that. 

About Me

My photo

Member of the band Colony 5, also producing music under the names Moonboy & 200OK.
Rides a Kawasaki ZX6R
Loves movies, books, whisky, pipes and an open fire. 
Father of two girls; Enya & Leia 
Fiancé of Malin