How Anesthesia Works, and Why It’s So Complicated


There’s a lot more to “going under” than just counting down from ten and then waking up when the surgery is over, although it’s great we can do that. Here’s how anesthesia affects you, what makes it risky enough for your doctor to warn you about it before surgery

The video above goes into the details, but if you can’t watch, here are the basics. There are three main types of anesthesia: regional, inhalational, and intravenous. Regional anesthesia prevents electrical pain signals from going from one part of your body to your brain. Inhalational anesthesia affects your whole nervous system, including your brain and is often used together with intravenous anesthesia to put you under and keep you unconscious during major surgery.

Anesthesia affects your nervous system and brain, but also other vital organs like your heart, lungs, and liver, which is why it is so important the anesthesiologist mixes the right balance for you. They also monitor your vital signs during surgery so they can adjust the anesthesia as needed. Check out the video above for a little more history here, what some of the common drugs used are and where they came from, and more.

How Does Anesthesia Work? | Ted-Ed (YouTube)

from Lifehacker

Mark Zuckerberg is ‘Deeply Disappointed’ SpaceX Blew Up His $95M Satellite 

Mark Zuckerberg is ‘Deeply Disappointed’ SpaceX Blew Up His $95M Satellite 

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket exploded in Cape Canaveral this morning. On board was Facebook’s satellite, which experts estimated cost $95 million.

In a post on Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was “deeply disappointed.” From Zuck’s post:

As I’m here in Africa, I’m deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite that would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent. Fortunately, we have developed other technologies like Aquila that will connect people as well. We remain committed to our mission of connecting everyone, and we will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided.

This story is developing…

from Gizmodo

The 17 equations that changed the course of history


Mathematics is all around us, and it has shaped our understanding
of the world in countless ways.

In 2013, mathematician and science author Ian Stewart published a
book on
17 Equations That Changed The World
. We recently came across
this convenient table on Dr.
Paul Coxon’s twitter account
by mathematics tutor and blogger
Larry Phillips
that summarizes the equations. (Our
explanation of each is below):

Stewart 17 Equations Gauss' Law Corrected
Phillips, via @paulcoxon on Twitter

Here is a little bit more about these wonderful equations that
have shaped mathematics and human history:

pythagorean theorem chalkboardShutterstock/ igor.stevanovic

1) The Pythagorean Theorem: This theorem is
foundational to our understanding of geometry. It describes the
relationship between the sides of a right triangle on a flat
plane: square the lengths of the short sides, a and b, add those
together, and you get the square of the length of the long side,

This relationship, in some ways, actually distinguishes our
normal, flat, Euclidean geometry from curved, non-Euclidean
geometry. For example, a right triangle drawn on the surface of a
sphere need not follow the Pythagorean theorem.

2) Logarithms: Logarithms are the
inverses, or opposites, of exponential functions. A logarithm for
a particular base tells you what power you need to raise that
base to to get a number. For example, the base 10 logarithm of 1
is log(1) = 0, since 1 = 100; log(10) = 1, since 10 =
101; and log(100) = 2, since 100 =

The equation in the graphic, log(ab) = log(a) + log(b),
shows one of the most useful applications of logarithms: they
turn multiplication into addition.

Until the development of the digital computer, this was the
most common way to quickly multiply together large numbers,
greatly speeding up calculations in physics, astronomy, and

3) Calculus: The formula given here is the
definition of the derivative in calculus. The derivative measures
the rate at which a quantity is changing. For example, we can
think of velocity, or speed, as being the derivative of position
— if you are walking at 3 miles per hour, then every hour, you
have changed your position by 3 miles.

Naturally, much of science is interested in understanding
how things change, and the derivative and the integral — the
other foundation of calculus — sit at the heart of how
mathematicians and scientists understand change.

Isaac Newton


4) Law of Gravity: Newton’s law of gravitation
describes the force of gravity between two objects, F, in terms
of a universal constant, G, the masses of the two objects,
m1 and m2, and the distance between the
objects, r. Newton’s law is a remarkable piece of scientific
history — it explains, almost perfectly, why the planets move in
the way they do. Also remarkable is its universal nature — this
is not just how gravity works on Earth, or in our solar system,
but anywhere in the universe.

Newton’s gravity held up very well for two hundred years,
and it was not until Einstein’s theory of general relativity that
it would be replaced.

5) The square root of -1: Mathematicians
always been expanding the idea of what numbers actually are
going from natural numbers, to negative numbers, to fractions, to
the real numbers. The square root of -1, usually written
i, completes this process, giving rise to the complex

Mathematically, the complex numbers are supremely elegant.
Algebra works perfectly the way we want it to — any equation has
a complex number solution, a situation that is not true for the
real numbers : x2 + 4 = 0 has no real number solution,
but it does have a complex solution: the square root of -4, or
2i. Calculus can be extended to the complex numbers, and
by doing so, we find some amazing symmetries and properties of
these numbers. Those properties make the complex numbers
essential in electronics and signal processing.

A cube.


6) Euler’s Polyhedra Formula: Polyhedra
are the three-dimensional versions of polygons, like the cube to
the right. The corners of a polyhedron are called its vertices,
the lines connecting the vertices are its edges, and the polygons
covering it are its faces.

A cube has 8 vertices, 12 edges, and 6 faces. If I add the
vertices and faces together, and subtract the edges, I get 8 + 6
– 12 = 2.

Euler’s formula states that, as long as your polyhedron is
somewhat well behaved, if you add the vertices and faces
together, and subtract the edges, you will always get 2. This
will be true whether your polyhedron has 4, 8, 12, 20, or any
number of faces.

Euler’s observation was one of the first examples of what is now
called a topological
— some number or property shared by a class of
shapes that are similar to each other. The entire class of
"well-behaved" polyhedra will have V + F – E =
2. This observation, along
with with Euler’s solution to

the Bridges of Konigsburg problem
, paved the way to the development of
topology, a branch of math essential to modern physics.

bell curve
The normal

7) Normal distribution: The normal probability
distribution, which has the familiar bell curve graph to the
left, is ubiquitous in statistics.

The normal curve is used in physics, biology, and the social
sciences to model various properties. One of the reasons the normal curve shows
up so often is that it
the behavior of large groups of independent

8) Wave Equation: This is a differential
equation, or an equation that describes how a property is
changing through time in terms of that property’s derivative, as
above. The wave equation
describes the behavior of waves — a vibrating guitar string,
ripples in a pond after a stone is thrown, or light coming out of
an incandescent bulb. The wave equation was an early differential
equation, and the techniques developed to solve the equation
opened the door to understanding other differential equations as

9) Fourier Transform: The Fourier transform is
essential to understanding more complex wave structures, like
human speech. Given a complicated, messy wave function like a
recording of a person talking, the Fourier transform allows us to
break the messy function into a combination of a number of simple
waves, greatly simplifying analysis.

 The Fourier transform is
at the heart of modern signal processing and analysis, and data

10) Navier-Stokes
: Like the wave equation, this is a
differential equation. The Navier-Stokes equations describes the
behavior of flowing fluids — water moving through a pipe, air
flow over an airplane wing, or smoke rising from a cigarette.
While we have approximate solutions of the Navier-Stokes
equations that allow computers to simulate fluid motion fairly
well, it is still an open question (with
a million dollar prize
) whether it is possible to construct
mathematically exact solutions to the equations.

11) Maxwell’s
: This set of four differential equations
describes the behavior of and relationship between electricity
(E) and magnetism (H).

Maxwell’s equations are to
classical electromagnetism as Newton’s laws of motion and law of
universal gravitation are to classical mechanics — they are the
foundation of our explanation of how electromagnetism works on a
day to day scale. As we will see, however, modern physics relies
on a quantum mechanical explanation of electromagnetism, and it
is now clear that these elegant equations are just an
approximation that works well on human scales.

12) Second Law of
: This states that, in a closed system,
entropy (S) is always steady or increasing. Thermodynamic entropy
is, roughly speaking, a measure of how disordered a system is. A
system that starts out in an ordered, uneven state — say, a hot
region next to a cold region — will always tend to even out, with
heat flowing from the hot area to the cold area until evenly

The second law of
thermodynamics is one of the few cases in physics where time
matters in this way. Most physical processes are reversible — we
can run the equations backwards without messing things up. The
second law, however, only runs in this direction. If we put an
ice cube in a cup of hot coffee, we always see the ice cube melt,
and never see the coffee freeze.



13) Relativity: Einstein radically altered the
course of physics with his theories of special and general
relativity. The classic equation E = mc2 states that
matter and energy are equivalent to each other. Special
relativity brought in ideas like the speed of light being a
universal speed limit and the passage of time being different for
people moving at different speeds.

relativity describes gravity as a curving and folding
of space and time themselves, and was the first major change to
our understanding of gravity since Newton’s law. General
relativity is essential to our understanding of the origins,
structure, and ultimate fate of the universe.

14) Schrodinger’s
: This is the main equation in quantum
mechanics. As general relativity explains our universe at its
largest scales, this equation governs the behavior of atoms and
subatomic particles.

Modern quantum mechanics and
general relativity are the two most successful scientific
theories in history — all of the experimental observations we
have made to date are entirely consistent with their predictions.
Quantum mechanics is also necessary for most modern technology —
nuclear power, semiconductor-based computers, and lasers are all
built around quantum phenomena.

15) Information
: The equation given here is for Shannon
information entropy
. As with the thermodynamic entropy given
above, this is a measure of disorder. In this case, it measures
the information content of a message — a book, a JPEG picture
sent on the internet, or anything that can be represented
symbolically. The Shannon entropy of a message represents a lower
bound on how much that message can be compressed without losing
some of its content.

Shannon’s entropy measure
launched the mathematical study of information, and his results
are central to how we communicate over networks today.

16) Chaos
: This equation is May’s logistic
. It describes a process evolving through time —
xt+1, the level of some quantity x in the next time
period — is given by the formula on the right, and it depends on
xtthe level of x
right now. k is a chosen constant. For certain values of k, the
map shows chaotic behavior: if we start at some particular
initial value of x, the process will evolve one way, but if we
start at another initial value, even one very very close to the
first value, the process will evolve a completely different

We see chaotic behavior —
behavior sensitive to initial conditions — like this in many
areas. Weather is a classic example — a small change in
atmospheric conditions on one day can lead to completely
different weather systems a few days later, most commonly
captured in the idea of a butterfly
flapping its wings on one continent causing a hurricane on
another continent

17) Black-Scholes
: Another differential equation,

describes how finance experts and traders
find prices for derivatives. Derivatives — financial products
based on some underlying asset, like a stock — are a major part
of the modern financial system.

The Black-Scholes equation
allows financial professionals to calculate the value of these
financial products, based on the properties of the derivative and
the underlying asset.

cboe stock options trader
Here are some traders in
the S&P 500 options pit at the Chicago Board Options
Exchange. You won’t find a single person here that hasn’t heard
about the Black-Scholes equation.

REUTERS/Frank Polich

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from SAI

This Wooden Star Trek USS Enterprise Rocker Is a Good Reason to Start a Family


It’s never too early to start fostering a deep, almost obsessive love of Star Trek in your children. So while your toddler is innocently rocking back and forth in this lovely wooden USS Enterprise rocking horse, they’ll have no idea they’re secretly being groomed as a future Trekkie.

Available from Etsy seller GandGRockers for $195, there’s some wonderful detailing on this miniature version of the Enterprise including warp engine nacelles, a tiny deflector dish beneath the saucer section, and the ship’s call sign branded on top of it.

The only reason not to order one before they sell out is that this Starfleet ship can only accommodate a single crew member, and they can be no larger than a five-year-old. So don’t even think about trying to beam aboard.

[Etsy via Nerd Approved]

from Gizmodo

A Genius Toddler Presented The Most Ratchet, Perfect Solution To One Of Philosophy’s Biggest Ethical Quandries


The trolley problem has long stumped ethicists and moralists alike since it was first proposed by Philippa Foot in 1967.

It goes something like this. A runaway train is barreling down the tracks about to kill five people tied to the rails.

You stand at a switch. If you throw the lever, the train will be diverted away from those five people, but it will be sent down another track, where one person is tied down. That person will die.

Do you throw the switch and kill one person? Or do nothing and let five die?

For the longest time, there was no right answer to this question. Until today. Until a genius toddler solved it.

Move the first person to the track with other five. Kill them all. Let God sort it out.

This toddler is smarter than Peter Singer.

[Via Reddit]

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Fun Video Edits Together Your Favorite Movie Characters Into One Awesome Bathroom Scene



As a continuation to last year’s classic video edit Hell’s Club, where Antonio Maria Da Silva of AMDS Films stitched together famous movie characters into one tremendous club scene, comes this epic bathroom scene. Characters like Tony Montana from Scarface and Tyler Durden from Fight Club can get into a brawl, while Jack Torrance from The Shining breaks down the door to peer in on Arnold in True Lies fighting some damn monster. Oh yeah, and Mr. Bean is over there trying to pat himself dry.

It’s a fantastic edit using various bathroom scenes taken from all genres of movies. There are many iconic characters in the mix, and they sometimes interact with each other so well that you’ll find yourself wondering where one movie ends and the next one begins.

from Gizmodo

Sphero’s BB-8 Controlling Force Band Now Lets You Wield an Imaginary Lightsaber Too


Sphero’s Force Band accessory has come a long way since it was first revealed at CES back in January. But now that the design and feature list has been finalized, calling it an accessory doesn’t do the wearable justice. It can do a lot more than just control the Sphero BB-8 toy, even if you don’t have a tiny droid.

At CES only an early prototype of the Force Band was demo’d, and in February we got a better idea of what the wearable would look like when it hit stores. The finalized version is even cooler with a weathered finish that looks right at home in the Star Wars universe.

The Force Band’s adjustable nylon strap uses a patch of velcro to maintain its size. But so you don’t have to re-adjust it every time you put the Force Band on or take it off, the wearable also features an additional magnetic latching mechanism that makes it easier to secure, but is strong enough to ensure it doesn’t go flying off your wrist.


In addition to being able to steer BB-8 by simply moving your wrist, you can also send the droid scurrying away, or summon it back to you, using Force-like gestures. It’s incredibly satisfying, especially if you’ve spent a lifetime only imagining what it would be like to wield the Force. The Force Band can be used to control Sphero’s other products, like the SPRK or Ollie, but it also has standalone functionality if you don’t already own any of those toys.

There’s a mode that has the wearer feeling around for collectible holocrons, relying on the Force Band’s haptic feedback to determine where they are, that then unlocks additional functionality in the app. But most interesting is the Force Band’s Combat Training Mode which allows the wearer to wield imaginary weapons like blasters and lightsabers with sound effects triggered by specific movements and gestures. Which should make your old flashlight lightsaber much cooler than it used to be.

Best of all, we now know when we can get our hands on the Force Band. It will be available starting on September 30 at stores like Best Buy, Amazon, The Disney Store, and the Apple Store for $80. And if you don’t already have a Sphero BB-8, or want a version that more closely resembles the droid seen in The Force Awakens, you can also get the Force Band bundled with the Special Edition battle-damaged BB-8 for $200.


from Gizmodo