Curing the Common Cold

You need to read my posts about sleep and brain entropy before diving into this. 

So here’s the theory: that colds could be a symptom of low brain entropy. Think about it, how do you increase the entropy of a system? If you restrict air flow, pressure would increase. So what if the sniffles or your inflamed throat is only your body trying to raise it’s pressure naturally.

If the brain has an equilibrium state, and you’re there, but you just eat and do basically the same thing every day. The fall temperature change will affect two things: the temperature will go down so you will burn more calories doing the same tasks. And because the temperature goes down, your brain entropy goes down. Let’s say you were at equilibrium before the temperature change. After the temperature change, your brain entropy will be low, if nothing else changes. So as always, the body adjusts. In this case, it restricts air flow. By closing the nasal passages and throat, the brain has less airway, and the entropy in nearer is equilibrium state.

Everyone knows that a warm shower and soup work wonders when you have a cold. This would explain why. 

What is the common cold?

Well, we basically call it an upper respiratory tract infection, caused by any number of viruses. It’s best defined by it’s symptoms:

  • stuffy nose or nasal drainage,
  • sore or scratchy throat,
  • sneezing,
  • hoarseness,
  • cough,
  • low-grade fever,
  • headache,
  • earache,
  • body aches,
  • loss of appetite
  • fatigue.

If all this is true, what is the theoretical cause of the cold?

1. Your head grows, but your brain entropy stays the same. The gap created by the change of volume causes a need for heat. The need for heat is the basis of the cold. [I can’t think of a practical application of this reason.]

2. Your brain entropy goes down. The best way I can think of it is that sleep cools your brain. If sleep cools your brain, and you hibernate in the winter, your brain will be much colder. As before, the lack of heat would be the basis for your cold.

So how can low brain entropy explain these symptoms? Pretty simple: if the brain strives for equilibrium, when it gets too cold [low entropy] there are only a couple of ways to combat it.

  1. Restrict air flow. If you restrict air flow, you raise the temperature. So your nose is clogged, throat is sore, and you’re coughing and sneezing is a result of that.
  2. Fever. If you don’t take any action, your body will heat the brain from the inside.
  3. Add humidity. Humidifiers help mitigate cold symptoms. Humidity raises the entropy of the system. So if you breathe in the more humid air, it would ease some of the work your brain/body has to do to equalize the pressure.
  4. Sleep less. If sleep cools the brain. Too much sleep [without a fever], will keep your brain entropy too low. The sun sets earlier in the winter, so people may start going to sleep earlier. If you go to sleep earlier and wake at the same time, and do the same things during the day, your brain has more time to cool. And this pattern of hibernation produces lower and lower entropy over time.

Quick sidebar: Did you know that older people sleep less than younger people? Did you know that your body temperature decreases as you get older? Think about it: if sleep cools the brain, and when the body is hot the brain is hot. People with cooler brains would need less sleep. 

So why does colder weather make us sick?

The cooler weather does some of the work normally done by sleep to cool the brain. So essentially, we need less sleep in cooler weather. Sleeping longer than necessary for a season, and your brain may get too cold, and take it’s own action to heat back up.



Busting Pain Tolerance

Years ago, Mythbusters explored pain tolerance. First off, women proved to have a higher pain tolerance than men. Secondly, women who had given birth without painkillers had the highest pain threshold of all. 

I think this is a very interesting result, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Why? Because the nature of the test assumes that everyone perceives time at the same rate. If that is true, you have a valid test. But we that is not true. The way we perceive time is based on a wide array of stresses, and changes throughout the day. So their experiment measured two things:

  1. The individual’s pain threshold
  2. The individual’s time perception

The slower time passes for any given individual, the longer it will feel like they have been subjected to the pain. And the opposite is also true: the faster time passes for any individual, the shorter will feel like they have been subjected to any pain. So two people with the exact same pain tolerances in different mental states would have very different results in this experiment.



Hacking Hypersleep

It may be possible. Here’s why:

Basically, if we view the brain as a single point of electrical output, and look at the frequency as the subject’s degree of stress and the inverse of that stress as the subject’s perception of time [read my post on sleep for more detail]. Essentially, the slower you can get the resting brainwaves, the less perceived time will pass. The slower “delta” waves the better.

How do we accomplish this? Deprive the senses. People deprived of light, sound, and human interaction, have gone down for a “quick nap” and slept for thirty hours. The lower the external stress, the further they can travel in the same amount of perceived time.

Did Pirates Cure Seasickness?

[Alternate titles: Were Pirates Epileptic?  + Seasickness is flicker vertigo is photo epilepsy.]

I think they did.

So why did pirates wear eyepatches? Mythbusters says that it was for dealing with the low light of conditions below deck. I think it’s because seasickness is a mild type of photo epilepsy, and covering one eye helps mitigate seizures. Let me try to prove it to you.

Let’s start with some facts about photosensitive epilepsy: Photosensitive epilepsy is a form of epilepsy in which seizures are triggered by visual stimuli that form patterns in time or space, such as flashing lights; bold, regular patterns; or regular moving patterns.

  • For about 3% of people with epilepsy, exposure to flashing lights at certain intensities or to certain visual patterns can trigger seizures.
  • More common in children and adolescents.
  • Becomes less frequent with age.

So essentially, flickers cause seizures. But there is thing called flicker vertigo.

Flicker vertigo is an imbalance in brain-cell activity caused by exposure to low-frequency flickering (or flashing) of a relatively bright light.” It is a disorientation-, vertigo-, and nausea-inducing effect of a strobe light flashing at 1 Hz to 20 Hz, approximately the frequency of human brainwaves. The effects are similar to seizures caused by epilepsy (in particular photosensitive epilepsy), but are not restricted to people with histories of epilepsy.

So…what if these are the same condition? Obviously nausea is not the same as a seizure, but seizures can cause nausea. Let’s keep looking. 

What is motion sickness? This is when people get sick in cars, planes, boats, space, and even in front of screens. The jury is still out on what causes it. Here are some facts people agree on.

  • It’s most common in children and pregnant women. 
  • It’s more common in people who get migraines. 
  • Asians are very susceptible. 
  • Medications can cause it.


  • One ear plug technique. Why in the world would this work?
  • Caffeine has shown to be effective against it. 
  • Closing your eyes has been shown to effective in mitigating symptoms. 


So seasickness is a type of motion sickness. How is this similar to photo epilepsy and flicker vertigo? If you look at the sky and ocean as contrasting patterns, the waves beneath you would create a “flicker” of sorts as your head bobs with the motion of the boat.

The frequency of ocean waves is 4-15 waves per minute And the boat will rock up and down on each wave. And every time your bobs, you’d see sky and ocean. And the faster the boat goes, and the more frequent the waves, the more people will find themselves hanging over the side. 

It would explain why staring at the horizon would help. It would help eliminate some or all of the person’s “flicker”.

And why cloudy days make things worse. The contrast with the sky and the water is greater, and more wind means more waves.

What about body language? This article tied seasickness to body sway. The scientist had people broaden their stances, and reduced their seasickness. It makes sense. The less you sway, the slower the sky/ocean cycles in your vision. But with this theory, he can only predict seasickness sixty percent of the time. Why? Because he ignores the other factor that seems to induce the same nausea: sounds.

So why would an ear plug help? Because your eyes are not the only things sensitive to these vibrations. Ocean waves have infrasonic sound frequencies from 0.4 to 16 hz.

Deaf people do not get motion sickness. This is important, but only to show that when the brain is impaired, you don’t get nauseous. So the nausea is a healthy reaction to the stimuli.

Why would pregnant women get motion sickness more often? They have added physical and mental stress. And the physical stress is the key. The baby bump changes the mother-to-be’s center of gravity, making them less stable, and more prone to swaying.

In summary, seasickness is a type of photo epilepsy. Pirates didn’t just wear eyepatches because it made them look tough, or so they could see in the dark. They wore them to prevent abdominal seizures that we call seasickness. 



Proving the afterlife

Energy cannot be created or destroyed. It’s the first law of Thermodynamics. And it’s important here. 

What else do you need to know? That the soul exists, and it’s pure energy. We know that your mind and body don’t go anywhere when you die. We can see that. But there is one function of human consciousness that we don’t observe: how fast we’re vibrating. [Yes, you read that right]

So if we can assume that the soul exists, and it is pure energy. Literally a frequency and a magnitude. If your soul is pure energy, and energy cannot be created or destroyed, there is an afterlife. 

And the craziest part of all, is that we control the speed that we vibrate. The more stress you put on the human body, the faster it vibrates and the faster it ages. You have a unique frequency, and a unique amplitude, and it’s made up of the stresses that have made you who you are.

Why Can’t DB’s catch?

Hint: It’s the same reason that Shaq couldn’t consistently make free throws. It’s the difference between the start and the finish of the 100-meter dash. 

Their instincts are to chase, to disrupt, to defend. They are typically quicker than the receivers, but can’t catch a cold. Why is that?

It’s because of their mindset. They are in fight-or-flight mode. And the catch is a delicate maneuver.

Receivers have a set path, and a plan of attack. The defensive strategy is entirely reactive, based on what they see from the offense. So thinking quickly is part of their programming. The problem is that thinking quickly does not help you catch a football.

Think about it…receivers catch more passes when they are hit in stride, and don’t have to react or adjust to a bad throw. It’s because the act of changing the path and reacting to an off-target throw takes more energy, and the time is the same.

Look at the catch rate of these receivers. Does it remind you of the free throw percentages in the NBA? It should. Receiving stats look just like free throw stats. The best catchers hover near 90%, and the worst are around 50%, some even dip below 40%. And you know what they call receivers that catch less than 50% of their passes: defensive backs. 



Decoding Free Throws

Why can’t some NBA players shoot free throws?

It seems simple. But when you dive in, you realize that it’s a much more intricate problem. We know that countless teams have had infinite time and money to solve this problem, but you still have superstars that can’t shoot any better than someone chosen at random in your neighborhood gym. 

Let’s rule out some arguments. 

It’s not because they are tall. The NBA is filled with tall people that can shoot. Look at Kevin Durant or Dirk Nowitzki. 

It’s not genetics. We’ve already dug into genetics. Gene’s change over time, anyways. There may be some portion that is inherited, but it shouldn’t prevent anyone with twenty years of experience from shooting 70% from the line. 

It’s not the amount of practice they put in. These athletes have dedicated their lives to the sport, so it’s not fair to say that practice is the difference. I think it’s safe to say that Shaq spent at least as much time shooting free throws in practice as Steve Nash. 

Your best athlete is never your best free throw shooter. Unless, you just don’t have any above average shooters. The mindset of an athlete is fast. And the faster the mind, the better the athlete. But at the solitude of the stripe, accuracy and reproduction of the stroke are key, and just like pitchers are endurance athletes, your best shooters will be endurance athletes as well.

Think about it: LeBron, Kyrie, Iverson. Not to mention Russell Westbrook and John Wall, who are shooting under 70% from the line.  They certainly shoot at a higher clip than you or me, but they will never touch Steve Nash or Steph Curry.

Why couldn’t Shaq make free throws?

It’s because these strong guys typically have much more energy than the shorter guys. When they run the court, it takes them longer to settle in. Basically, he uses more energy to do the same amount of work, in part, because he’s big, but also because he’s quick. The faster his mind cycles during his dash down the court, the longer it will take it to slow down enough to shoot. And they don’t give him any more time to shoot just because he’s bigger or pushing himself harder than anyone else. So he has to shoot before he’s ready. Before he’s comfortably at rest. So he flips a coin. 

Shaq, Deandre Jordan, and countless others know only one speed on the court, and that’s full speed. Maximum exertion. The problem is the free throw line rewards those who play in the opposing mindset. We’ve explored how pitchers are endurance athletes. The best shooters are endurance athletes as well. Not because shooting free throws takes any kind of aerobic capacity, but the higher the capacity, the lower the energy of the player when he starts shooting. And that means a shot that’s easier to replicate, and more accurate. 

What is your typical rate of play? How much do you exert yourself to play at that speed? The more efficient and effortless your movement is, the less added strain you’ll have when you go to the line after getting fouled. And the less time you’ll need to settle in to a state of mind that can sink free throws with more precision.