from the world's big
The inside of a proton could be the most extreme environment in the cosmos
In a sense, a proton acts very much like a star.
What’s the environment like inside a proton? Even the most science-minded are unlikely to have considered such a prospect. A team of physicists recently measured the pressure that can be found there and the results are astounding.
"The particle’s center withstands a billion-billion-billion times the pressure found at the bottom of the Mariana Trench," according to New Scientist. Researchers at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, in Virginia, made this discovery. Physicist Volker Burkert was a co-author. He told Science News, “It’s really the highest pressure we have ever seen.” He and his colleagues’ findings were published in the journal Nature.
You might remember that the proton is positively charged, and one of the fundamental particles in the quantum world. They can be found in the nucleus of atoms and are themselves made up of tinier particles, which include quarks and gluons. Quarks are electrically charged and very social. Yet, they’re never found wandering off on their own, since gluons apply the force that keeps them together. Protons, being one of the most stable particles, help keep the universe stable, and a hospitable enough place for its contents—including us.
One of the biggest questions in quantum mechanics has been, what makes a proton so stable? Turns out, it’s a balance between two intense forces. The outward facing pressure inside a proton is approximately 10^35 pascal (Pa), 10 times stronger than the force found within a neutron star. A neutron star is a city-size celestial object, with a mass 1.4 times our sun's. They were once massive stars that ended in supernova, then collapsed into a small, dense core. These are the densest object in the universe, and a proton’s internal force is even stronger than that! Previously, scientists surmised a proton may contain intense pressure. Yet, this is the first time it’s been proven.
Artist’s impression of a neutron star going supernova. Image credit: NASA/ESA/JHU/R.Sankrit & W.Blair, Wikipedia Commons.
So how did they measure the pressure inside something so small? It all started with Burket and colleagues working in the CLAS: the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility Large Acceptance Spectrometer, at the Jefferson lab. This emits an energy beam (6 billion electron volts) that acts like a light particle—a photon. They fired the beam into liquid nitrogen, which is chock full of protons. Then they examined the goings on at the subatomic level. When the physicists zeroed in and shot an electron beam straight into a proton, the beam, acting like a photon, bounced off a quark, where it became absorbed.The quark released a subsequent photon, as a result.
Researchers measured the original electron, the photon it absorbed, and the one released. By assessing the collision and momentum of each particle, they were able to understand where everything was inside the proton. From there, they could make a 3D map of the quarks contained within its core. But that doesn’t tell us what forces were present there. To do that, the physicists would have to find a graviton—the particle that lends things gravity. Yet, none were discovered.
For want of a graviton, researchers studied the two photons present in the experiment. According to Burket these photons, the one initially absorbed and the other emitted after the collision, equal one graviton. One would think you could just measure the force of the gluons. But even the CLAS can’t do that. Much more energy would be needed. So a proton can’t currently be fully examined. This was a 2015 experiment, but new evaluation techniques allowed the physicists to review the data in a more comprehensive way, and tease out this approximate estimate for the internal pressure of a proton.
We seem to forget that these forces are going on inside of us all the time, too. Image credit: Finches & quarks, Wikipedia Commons.
The physicists also detected a force outside the proton, most likely caused by gluons, to counteract that which was pushing outward from the inside, allowing the particle to remain stable. Should the inward force give way, the proton would explode. Scientists say an Electron-Ion Collider, a type of particle accelerator, is in the works. It should be able to give us a better look at how gluons keep a proton together.
To learn more about the proposed Electron-Ion Collider, click here:
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.