Oleg Zabluda's blog
Friday, October 26, 2012
Juggling is easy.
Juggling is easy. 10 years ago, it took me 30 min to learn to juggle 3 balls [1], 1 week to learn to juggle 2 balls, 1 month to learn to juggle 4 balls, and 3 months to do a 5 ball flash [2]. Difficulty grows exponentially with the number of balls, and beyond 5, it's the realm of professionals, taking years of practice, 8+ hours a day.

To give you an idea, world records go like so:

10 balls for 26 catches
12 beanbags for 16 catches

9 balls for 54 seconds
11 beanbags for 25 catches
13 beanbags for 13 catches

To juggle N balls, you need at least N catches.

Other then balls, various fruits and vegetables, eggs, cell phones, bocce and soccer balls, sticks and clubs, etc, my biggest achievement to date is learning to properly juggle 3 soda cans, at the cost of some spectacular carbonated explosions.


[1] I've taught many people since then, some learned in 5 min.
[2] Then I tore my ACL, could not practice for 1.5 years and did not return to practice a proper 5 ball juggling. I should. I could do 9 catches with 5 balls.

Improving #6


"When a Brain Scan Bears Bad News" from Science Magazine
"When a Brain Scan Bears Bad News" from Science Magazine
Studies have shown that as many as 20% of MRI scans performed for research turn up things that seem abnormal but have nothing to do with the study. Called incidental findings (IFs), roughly 2% of these abnormalities require urgent medical attention. Neuroethicists have been publishing papers and convening working groups to develop clearer protocols for researchers dealing with IFs. On 18 October, 28 prominent neuroscientists, clinicians, ethicists, and lawyers gathered in Washington, D.C., to hash out new guidance as part of a working group sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other U.S. and Canadian agencies.


If a Neuroethical Neuroscientist doesn't want to be my Neurodoctor, which I totally understand, since I don't even pay him (he pays me $40), just email me the the damn MRI (or share privately on G+). I will email it to my actual doctor, who will email it to India, where all radiologists seem to be these days, who will email back the diagnosis. If their research MRI quality is not up to production standards, attach the note saying as much, so that my doctor can tell me to get a better one, if needed. If nothing is found that seem abnormal, do the same.

I am not a prominent neuroscientist, clinician, ethicist, or lawyer, and was in Washington, D.C only a couple of times (last time in ~1998), but I solved it in 5 seconds. Send me the time and money I just saved for the esteemed group.

Next thing you know, the buttethicists will start publishing papers and convening working groups to develop clearer protocols to ban mirrors so that I can't stumble upon an incidental findings (IF) that my butt has an abnormality.

Where is the Death Panel cost-cutting when you need it?




Very commendable for the rats.
Very commendable for the rats. Even with free 24/7 open bar, their blood alcohol level was .08% i.e. they could legally drive in most U.S. states.

Originally shared by Sergei Burkov

"consistent moderate drinking can impact our ability to learn new things"


We, just like all other mammals and majority of animals, plants and fungi (go Eukaryotes!), inherit our mitochondria...
We, just like all other mammals and majority of animals, plants and fungi (go Eukaryotes!), inherit our mitochondria from the mother. Spermatozoon does have mitochondria, but it's mostly concentrated near the tail, where it makes the energy to turn the tail to swim.  Tail area almost never penetrates into the egg, unlike the payload (head). In vitro fertilization has to be careful to preserve this behavior. Whatever little paternal mtDNA the head has, is targeted for destruction inside the fertilized egg, and subsequent 4-8-cell stage of embryo development. Whatever survives the destruction, is simply diluted by the much larger (1000x) amount of maternal mtDNA of the egg.

However, the process is not 100% reliable. There was at least one 28-year-old man (in 2002), who inherited 90% of his muscle mitochondria from his father. All his other tissues contained only maternally derived mtDNA

Counterintuitively, far from becoming some kind of a superman, he was a weakling [1].

On the plus side, his father was, partially, also his mother.

Also see
about monkeys with 1 father and 2 mothers by the same mechanism.

These point to an omission in my post

I needed to address the possibility for a man to be his own second mother or grandmother.



Another variation is Heteroplasmy, which may result from a mutation during development which is propagated to only a subset of the adult cells, or may occur when two slightly different mitochondrial sequences are inherited from the mother as a result of several hundred mitochondria being present in the ovum. I will call is "Mitochondrial Chimerism" for now. 

mitochondrial myopathy and severe, lifelong exercise intolerance. He had never been able to run more than a few steps. His cardiac and pulmonary functions were normal, and he was otherwise well. Both parents and a 23-year-old sister were healthy and had normal exercise tolerance.

The myopathic symptoms were associated with severe lactic acidosis induced by minor physical exertion. His plasma lactate level after walking 100 m at a slow pace was 6 to 8 mmol per liter (the normal level is below 2.5 mmol per liter). His creatine kinase levels were marginally elevated in periods of no physical exertion. Biopsies of the right and left quadriceps muscle revealed that 15 percent of the fibers were of the ragged-red type, a result consistent with the accumulation of abnormal mitochondria with impaired respiratory function. Biochemical analysis demonstrated an isolated deficiency of the mitochondrial enzyme complex I of the respiratory chain in muscle. There were no signs of muscular atrophy or weakness. The abnormal findings in muscle-biopsy specimens from both thighs and the finding of severely impaired oxygen extraction when the forearm muscles were repeatedly contracted8 suggested generalized muscular involvement.

Paternal Inheritance of Mitochondrial DNA

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