Spicy Food for a Happy Stress Free Life

By Anupum Pant

Today I’d like to start with something called Morphine. There is great chance that you already know about Morphine, may be through House MD, or other things. If you do, you could skip if you want to. But reading through a couple of lines never hurt anybody.

Morphine: is one of the most effective drugs used in medicine to relieve severe pain. It acts directly on the central nervous system, relieves anxiety and produces euphoria – intense happiness. That is the reason, it is also widely used illegally as a recreational drug. Wait! It is highly addictive too. But what makes me talk about morphine today?

Endorphins: And then there are Endorphins. Endorphins, short for Endogenous Morphine, is a morphine like substance made by the body – Where endogenous means that it originates inside the body. The amount of it released in the body is completely dependant on how you live your life and the kind of food you eat.

Like morphine, Endorphins have some function in the body too. In simple words, they relieve pain and stress. For instance, in a body builder’s body, these are the natural chemicals which keep them going in the gym, by mitigating pain sensation. And of course, since it is nothing but Morphine occurring naturally in the body, it creates Euphoria, or a state of intense happiness.

Runner’s High: People who are engaged in strenuous activities often have high amounts of Endorphins being released inside their body. As a result, they develop something called a runner’s high – An addiction to exercise and other strenuous activities. May be this is how workaholics are born. I’m guessing, endorphins is the chemical that gives the Tarahumara people the ability to run for 400 miles. And may be Marathon Monks of Japan also have unlocked a technique to produce high amounts of Endorphins in them (meditation!).

Whatever it is, healthy amounts of Endorphins released in the body make you happy, and a greater amount than that only takes you to a super human level. Of course, using morphine without prescription is not legal. But, there’s no law that can stop you from creating it in your own body. After all, it can completely change you as a person.

How to: Now, there are a couple of natural ways you could train your body to make more of it for you. Some of them are – strenuous exercise, a lot of sleep, eating chocolate and meditation (marathon monks!). But, among these techniques, in my view, adopting excessively spicy food is the most accessible and healthy way to go about it. Heck, just eat chillies and be happier. So simple. If you think that is hard, well, the human body can easily be trained

Among scientists, it is a well-known fact that eating chilli peppers can lead to enhanced secretion of endorphins. It is also noteworthy that spicier the chilli, more endorphins are released. And to find the spiciest chillies, you can probably watch the video below…

So, go, rev it up to 16 Million Scoville Scale unit and lead a happier and stress free life. Use science and get addicted to happiness.

Note: Do whatever, but do not over do it. You don’t want to try the deadly cinnamon challenge to be happy.

Do Not Paint Your Walls Pink

By Anupum Pant

Like I’ve told you once, there is no pink. Still, we do see the colour pink and there’s no denying that. Don’t call me a sexist for saying this, but it’s true that the colour pink is associated with femininity. Otherwise the colour is also known to generate feelings of caring, tenderness, and love. If everything we know about pink is somewhat positive, then why isn’t it a good idea to paint your walls pink?

Let me start with a little story.

Hayden Fry and the Pink room

Hayden Fry was an American football player and later he went on to become a coach. In the late 70s he started coaching the University of Iowa football team. Now, the particular thing to note about Fry was that in the year 1951 he had graduated from Baylor with a degree in psychology.

Since he had graduated in psychology, Fry probably knew some good ways that he could use to mess with the opposing team’s brain. And then he decided to paint the walls of the visitor’s locker room at Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium, with the colour pink. The walls, floors, toilets, ceiling and everything else in the locker room was painted pink. As a result, the home team started doing significantly well at football games (later the practice of painting locker rooms pink was outlawed).

Some say, he used pink to paint the visitor’s locker room because he knew that the colour pink had a calming effect on people. But I think he was relying on something deeper. He was probably trying to cash on the results of a study that was done by Prof. Alexander Schauss in the year 1979.

The Effect of Pink Colour

Prof. Alexander Schauss started a study with a couple of volunteers. He divided the group into two equal halves. All of their strengths were measured by asking them to use their arms against a counter-force and by asking them to squeeze a device called a dynamometer.

After this, for a minute, the first half had to stare at a dark blue colour and the other half stared at pink. Their strengths were recorded again.

A remarkable decrease in physical strength was recorded among the people who were given the colour pink to stare at. The participants were not aware of the effect it had on them.

Probably it were those pink walls and pink floors at the visitor’s locker that made the opposing team physically weaker and helped Iowa win.

Conclusion

Colours certainly are one of those subtle forces which change the way we think, feel, and behave. Pink has been proven to make you weaker physically. So, unless you wish to be weaker, you wouldn’t want to paint your walls pink! How about blue? It is a simple choice.

Now I think even writing an article about pink and having your brain think about the colour makes you weaker. Seriously, I feel like I need rest after writing this. Phew!

Hit like if you learnt something.

A Flashlight That Uses Body Heat Instead of Batteries

By Anupum Pant

I talked about a light that utilizes the power of gravity to light up a few days back. This flashlight is a bit similar in a way that, it also doesn’t need any batteries. But the underlying mechanism it uses, is completely different.

The winner of this year’s Google Science Fair, in the age group of 15-16, was a 15-year-old girl from Canada, Ann Makosinski. In her project she created a flashlight that, instead of batteries, uses our body heat to light up. She calls it “Hollow Flashlight”

The flashlight uses 4 Peltier tiles to convert the temperature difference (between body and room temperatures) into energy. One side of the tiles is heated by our body heat and the other side is at room temperature. This temperature difference creates electricity using the Thermoelectric effect. The tiles used for this light need a minimum of 5 degree difference of temperature to work.

Peltier Tiles

Peltier tiles utilize thermoelectric effect to convert temperature difference into electricity. When there is a enough temperature difference, charge carriers move from hot area to the colder area. This separation of charges builds up a potential difference across the height of the tile. This potential difference can be used up for various things. In this case, it was used to light up LEDs.

Advantages: The amount of potential difference produced depends on the material. Peltier tiles are great because they are compact and they do not use any moving parts. Elimination of any moving parts eliminates wear and tear. They last long and do not need a lot of maintainance. However, their efficiency is not so great. So, they are used only where long life is essential.
The Voyager space probe and other deep space probes, where long life is of prime importance, use Thermoelectric generators (another image). The heat there is produced by a radioactive isotope. Implanted pacemakers which require long life also use it as a source of energy. All of them work utilizing the same effect – thermoelectric effect. The eco-fan, a wood stove fan, also uses the same effect in a very creative way.

Thermoelectric Generators have a very interesting history.