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Sascha VongehrRSS Feed of this column.

Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙], physicist and philosopher, studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory) at Sussex University... Read More »


Why take something for free and feel cheap if you can pay half a grand and support quackery? Precisely! Hangovers from alcohol are almost entirely due to dehydration, read: too little water in your body. Although you drank a lot of water along with the spirit, the alcohol made your body dehydrate; no matter you didn’t even dance enough to break a sweat. Our bodies also do not like the alcohol metabolites, the main problem being acetaldehyde from the action of the liver enzyme alcohol-dehydrogenase, and then acetic acid. I wrote about these and why Asians should be especially careful with booze in “Alcohol in China and Enzyme Evolution”.

Matter annihilates antimatter, mostly resulting in light (no, not “pure energy”, whatever that is supposed to be). Matter and antimatter can also come into existence together via a process that is the reverse of annihilation. Yet our universe has almost no antimatter. How can such be if they come into existence in exactly equal amounts, each particle together with its antiparticle?

Trimethyl-Xanthine (spoken: Zanthine) is a bitter, white crystalline alkaloid. It is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it is naturally synthesized as a pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants. Having evolved for no other reason than to kill a wide variety of animals, it should not come as a surprise that some of its effects on our human bodies are less than desirable.

In the parallel world where bonobos* developed into those that took over the earth with the help of technology, they never insisted on an absolute nature of time in the first place. Einstein came along and discovered that since we use light as the most basic measurement tool, there should be a certain relativity. They experimented and confirmed that proposal. It was useful, too, and interesting, and nobody called relativity evil, so nobody made defensively a dogma out of it either. Bonobos accepted that relativity can be the emergent symmetry of an Einstein ether in case it is not fundamental all the way.

I do not usually shoot of little posts re-tweeting stuff I found, but the total destruction that is David Albert’s New York Times book review “On the Origin of Everything” reviewing “A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing” by Lawrence M.

That relativity theory or quantum mechanics are only important at huge velocities or incredibly small distances and so on is a common misconception. In fact, the yellow color of gold and the stickiness of fridge magnets are relativistic effects. One thing that only works because of quantum mechanics is that a gecko can walk along the ceiling, which is quite astonishing to watch for the first time. I remember washing myself in Thailand, finding beautiful white geckos above me. Not knowing how secure they are up there on the moist ceiling nor whether they were potentially dangerous, this was a quite strange situation, making me jump every time they moved.