Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Red Shift is taking away my sanity
Red Shift, all moving away from we

Hurrah, a new shipment of Fail has arrived!

Just in time, for stockpiles of Stupid were running perilously low!

They say that a man's gotta know his limitations. Down at the Old Entomologist we are fortunate to have head barmaid Evangeline van Holsterin, who lets us know with no room for uncertainty when we reach those limits, and a request for a fifth pint of Old Sheepshagger Beyond-the Pale Ale goes unrequited. Not everyone is so lucky. Thus we commend the editors of a scientific journal when they call in a more suitably-qualified Guest Editor to weigh the merits of a manuscript on the table, recognising that it lies far beyond their own areas of expertise, if not violating the borders of rational thought.
Editorial Board
(artist's impression)
In this case the Guest Editor was Dr Michael Persinger, whose name is familiar to the Riddled readership for his extensive and far-ranging oeuvre of quantum neurology and electro-atmospheric consciousness studies. Who better to edit a cross-species study of biophotons and steer it in the direction of publication?

Alejandro Jodorowsky
invents words LIKE A BOSS
"Biophotons?" you wonder skeptically. "Is that a neologism from a Jodorowsky graphic-novel script?" But you are only fooling, for you know perfectly well that biophotons are a channel of neural communication within the brain. Or else an epiphenomenal side-effect of consciousness, detectable outside the brain in a light-proof laboratory with a sufficiently sensitive image intensifier. Or both [because quantum uncertainty]. If the former is true, it is not clear how each intra-neural biophoton signal is detected when it reaches its destination at the end of a nerve axon; nor how the myelinated axons work as waveguides to discourage the photons from heading off along straight lines as is the custom of light; nor how the brain copes with non-signal background photons (in the form of sunlight scattered through the skull); nor why nerves still bother with electrochemical signal transmission in parallel with this faster and more efficient optical channel of communication. The answer is probably "quantum coherence and non-classical, non-deterministic uncollapsed wave-functions within the neural microtubules". It usually is.
Quantum enmanglement
So it turns out that if you slice up the brains of dead animals and perfuse them with glutamate to trigger some sort of residual chemical activity, there is ultraweak postmortem phosphorescence, with photons in the red-to-near-infrared range. The task of running a control test with slices of different organ meats (to check whether this emission is specific to brain tissue, and to neural rather than glial cells) is left as an exercise for the reader, for true Mad Scientists have no time for your cautious "control" fiddle-faddle. Wang et al. were too busy measuring the wavelengths of these necrophotons with a BSAD (Biophoton Spectral Analysis Device) -- which stripped of its impressive acronym turns out to be a diffraction grating -- and found that the wavelength is species-specific.

Editorial Board (still baffled)
We learn that the photons are red-shifted, the extent of the redshift increasing with the intelligence of the animal, greatest for human brains. It is not clear whether this is a Doppler shift with the slices receding from the experimenters at different velocities; or a gravitational effect, the photons losing energy as they climbed out of a kind of intellectual gravity well before reaching the BSAD; or perhaps a cosmological expansion. And sadly, the authors neglect to tell us what wavelength the photons started with before they were red-shifted, which might allow us to identify the oxidative-stress reactions from which they arose. But never mind, for hey, Peter Hammill!

The overall rigour of the study does not benefit from Wang et al.'s conviction that by measuring the width of the first-order diffracted strip, they are thereby measuring the maximum and minimum wavelengths λmax and λmin of a whole spectral band of photon emissions. No, dudes, that's not how it works... the first-order strip is a simple copy of the central zeroth-order strip, and its width depends on how wide you make the collimator slot.
Coherent biophotons = Brain-lasers
Then to add insult to derpery, Salari et al. come along with a critique of the paper in which they accept these (artefactual) λmax and λmin as genuine, and use them to calculate the coherence length of the quantum entanglement for each animal species. I was left in despair at this point and went outside to sit in the sun for half an hour in the hope that the extra photons, filtering through my skull, would disrupt my brain's intra-neural biophoton signalling and bring swift oblivion.

However, I will forgive everyone involved in this debacle -- Persinger, Wang's group, and the Salari-Bókkon group -- if they get together and perfect their necrophoton technology to the point that they can extract the visual cortex of a recently-deceased individual, and scan the ultraweak emissions from the dying neurons so as to reconstruct the last image that the dead person saw.


fish said...

nor how the myelinated axons work as waveguides to discourage the photons from heading off along straight lines as is the custom of light

Fiberoptic cables duh!

fish said...

as they climbed out of a kind of intellectual gravity well

One might say "gravity of thought"

Smut Clyde said...

"Climbing out of an intellectual gravity well" is illustrated here.