My two (2) cents on viruses

The word virus comes from the Latin term for poison. I mean, that’s not a good start. Most people don’t believe that viruses are a life form. In biology, living things are divided into 5 kingdoms: bacteria, protists, fungi, plants, animals. Viruses are not included because they lack a fundamental characteristic of living beings: the ability to reproduce by themselves. Put a virus on a table and don’t let it get in contact with anyone and it stays there without moving or changing. But in contact with the right cell, there it “animates”, reproduces and spreads. Then it can be trouble. But the luck lies in the fact that viruses are extremely specialized: a given virus only attacks certain types of cells of certain living beings. And it can also be useful to human beings…

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I still believe in Santa

IMG_7893I used to feel Christmas as a kid a lot. I’m not talking about the happiness of receiving gifts and phrases like “we’re all nicer to each other and merrier today”. Even then I felt that there was something special, something that I still like today. My son now keeps saying that Santa Claus doesn’t exist and that we put the presents under the tree. He’s “exposed” us a while ago, that’s normal. But my wife insists on the Santa story, she wants to keep some magic in him. And I agree, also because the “magic” of Christmas has always existed and despite the consumerism and the stereotypes, it continues to exist.

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Inertial frames of reference

inertialI have very fond memories about my high school maths and physics teacher. He is the one responsible for my love for science and the first who tried to teach me how to use my own brain and think freely.

He stressed the subject of inertial frame of reference, a kind of “independent observation point”, quite a lot. Think of when your sitting in a train and the train next to you moves: you have the impression that the train you’re on is moving. From the inertial frame of reference of the guy on the platform, it is clear which train is moving. My high school teacher loved to bring up Galileo’s struggle to convince his contemporaries that the Earth was revolving around the Sun, not the opposite, as most believed at those times.
My physics teacher told us that they were actually both right, both points of view had their own reasons based on physics if you observed them from the correct inertial frame of reference.

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Be an artist, right now!

I am very fond of the ideas the Korean writer expressed in this TED talk. I play lead guitar and vocals in a rock cover band. Often I had to hear sly comments about it, referring to teenage behavior, to ungrown kids, to the uselessness of the whole thing – who will ever care about you guys? Well, the point is completely different. We do it for ourselves. Everyone should do it, go our and practice their own art. It is not necessary to make a job out of it. We are born artists. Kids do art spontaneously. Then we teach them to grow, they have to study, find a job, take up responsibilities. Art is for artists. But why? It would be healthy if we practiced some art side by side to our own duties. It would be good for our mind and soul. The ones who do it have less problems in carrying on with every day’s life. I speak by direct experience…

So I strongly advice you to go on and read Young-ha Kim’s own words, not mine, in this excerpt from his TED talk, or watch the whole video above.

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Great Pacific Garbage Patch

“…For many people, the idea of a “garbage patch” conjures up images of an island of trash floating on the ocean. In reality, these patches are almost entirely made up of tiny bits of plastic, called microplastics. Microplastics can’t always be seen by the naked eye. Even satellite imagery doesn’t show a giant patch of garbage. The microplastics of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch can simply make the water look like a cloudy soup. This soup is intermixed with larger items, such as fishing gear and shoes.”

 
Read the entire article on National Geographic