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Scientist Says Yoda Could Be Our Best Bet As An Energy Source

Scientist Says Yoda Could Be Our Best Bet As An Energy Source

“The right side join – power have got we”

While the villains of the new trilogy are taking their time between part VII and part VIII to get anger management lessons (hopefully) and to construct a new weapon, bringing total destruction all over the galaxies, and our heroes are exploring the power of Force, let us leave them alone and get back to the original movies.

You may have thought that after so many times re-watching them you’d gotten all life lessons you could get from these pieces of art – but Randall Monroe and his entertaining and fascinating research on Yoda in “What If? : Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions” may just prove you wrong. Perhaps this little green Jedi Master is not able to teach us the ways of the force. But we just might learn the ways of using his powers as an energy source.

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Scientifically Accurate Jedi Master

Mr. Monroe did some rather thourough scientific calculations on Yoda’s strength – and it took wits to accomplish it.

He discovered that Yoda’s greatest power is telekinesis, and he demonstrated it at the highest level when he lifted Luke’s X-Wing from a swamp. After several dozen re-watching sessions, Randall managed to figure out the approximate mass of the X-Wing (5,600 kg), the speed this vessel was rising at (0.39 m/s) and the gravity on Dagobah (which is 0.9 g). Finding the power of the force after that was easy – he simply multiplied mass, speed and gravity, and here comes the knowledge: the great Jedi Master’s maximum power output is 19.2kW.

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Not So Cheap – Multiple Ways of Use

Not impressed? But you should be! According to Monroe’s research, this amount of power is enough for a block of suburban houses. No one can say that Force cannot be measured now. In fact, there are many ways to measure it: 19.2kW equals to 25 horsepower. So, now we know that it would take one Yoda to run the motor of the electric-model Smart Car and 49,76 Yodas to power one of the fastest cars in the world – Hennessey Venom GT.

Spider-Man might have only gotten the half of it – with great power comes… great price. Considering current electricity prices, Yoda’s Force would cost about $2/hour.

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Yoda and Alternative Sources of the Force

However, you may ask – what about alternative sources of energy? Yoda was not the only one with the Force, after all. Palpatine surely was crafty when it came to use of lightning, and though we cannot be sure about its nature, we could assume it was similar to the lightning Tesla coils produced – and it draw almost 10 kilowatts.

Does that make the Emperor a weaker energy source than Yoda? Unlikely, because Tesla coils worked in many short pulses – and Palpatine (judging by the last movie of the original trilogy) could sustain a continuous arc of energy, which means that his power could be measured in megawatts. However, it doesn’t mean he would be a better alternative than Yoda – he uses the dark side of the Force, remember? Not going to be of any use to us, simple humans.

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What about Yoda’s apprentice Luke? He is no alternative, unfortunately. His highest output of power was estimated as 400W. That’s pretty low in comparison with his teacher, so Luke is no more acceptable as energy source than the Emperor (though for entirely different reason).

How Many Yodas Does It Take to Spread Light in the World?

So it looks like Randall Monroe was right after all: Yoda does sound like our best bet as an energy source – choosing from all the alternative carriers of the Force. Still, with the current level of world electricity consumption that reached 2 terawatts, we would need a hundred million Yodas to satisfy our demands. So, even if Yoda would like to lend us a hand with power production, it would be most wise to decline his kind offer. His padawans need him more than world energy systems do.

Featured photo credit: Yoda in the Woods/ Reiterlied via flickr.com

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

In 2011, the Finnish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing ‘product’. They sought to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan “Silence, Please”. A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, “No talking, but action.”

Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media for VisitFinland.com said: “We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing”.

Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world around becomes increasingly loud and cluttered you may find yourself seeking out the reprieve that silent places and silence have to offer. This may be a wise move as studies are showing that silence is much more important to your brains than you might think.

Regenerated brain cells may be just a matter of silence.

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     A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice.[1] The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.

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    The growth of new cells in the brain does not necessarily translate to tangible health benefits. However, in this instance, researcher Imke Kirste says that the cells appeared to become functioning neurons.

    “We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system.”

    In this sense silence can quite literally grow your brain.

    The brain is actively internalizing and evaluating information during silence

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      A 2001 study defined a “default mode” of brain function that showed that even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information.

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      Follow-up research found that the default mode is also used during the process of self-reflection. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran et al. wrote, the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.

      “When the brain rests it is able to integrate internal and external information into “a conscious workspace,” said Moran and colleagues.

      When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world.

      The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way.

      As Herman Melville once wrote,[2]

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      “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”

      Silence relieves stress and tension.

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        It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.

        A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech. 

        “This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise – even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans,” Evans says.[3]

        Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise. While noise may cause stress and tension silence releases tension in the brain and body. A study published in the journal Heart discovered that two minutes of silence can prove to be even more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. They based these findings of changes they noticed in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.[4]

        Silence replenishes our cognitive resources.

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          The effect that noise pollution can have on cognitive task performance has been extensively studied. It has been found that noise harms task performance at work and school. It can also be the cause of decreased motivation and an increase in error making.  The cognitive functions most strongly affected by noise are reading attention, memory and problem solving.

          Studies have also concluded that children exposed to households or classrooms near airplane flight paths, railways or highways have lower reading scores and are slower in their development of cognitive and language skills.

          But it is not all bad news. It is possible for the brain to restore its finite cognitive resources. According to the attention restoration theory when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input the brain can ‘recover’ some of its cognitive abilities. In silence the brain is able to let down its sensory guard and restore some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise.[5]

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          Summation

          Traveling to Finland may just well be on your list of things to do. There you may find the silence you need to help your brain. Or, if Finland is a bit out of reach for now, you could simply take a quiet walk in a peaceful place in your neighborhood. This might prove to do you and your brain a world of good.

          Featured photo credit: Angelina Litvin via unsplash.com

          Reference

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