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About GDG

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  1. Well, in my dictionary there was no other "part" of the definition. If you are going to communicate an idea, you must perforce use terms in a way that will be understood by the receiver. If you do not know the receiver that well, you had best use terms according to their commonly-accepted definitions. As a moderator, you should be well aware of this concept. Fields of endeavor often develop their own terms ("terms of art"), which usually have specific meanings known to people in that field, but generally unknown to the lay public. For example, in law we often use the term "constructiv
  2. From Merriam-Webster: "Devise: 1 : invent, 2: plot". You are postulating that a non-conscious entity can "devise", and that evolution has a "specific function or end." I think you are stretching the definitions of terms past their breaking point. We cannot have communication through language unless you and I can each understand a word to have a particular meaning, and to agree on that meaning. You keep insisting on using terms that, at least to me (and I think to most others here) imply the action of an intelligence. To design (v) requires planning, a consciously thought-out series of steps. A
  3. I'm not sure we can extrapolate from the peripheral nerve axon diameters to the CNS neuron sizes. Smaller animals probably have a smaller number of brain neurons. Intelligence may be more a matter of how they are connected.
  4. I do a fair amount of literature and patent searching as part of my job. In terms of search strategy, I first try to think of terms that are "characteristic" or specific to the topic you're trying to retrieve. Start by determining if you have a "term of art", i.e., a name or phrase that is used specifically (and, ideally, only) by the professionals in the field you are searching. I suspect that both "feedback" and "intervention" are widely used terms, across numerous fields. For example, if you google "feedback", you'll get references to (I assume) acoustics, music, circuitry, biofeedback, aut
  5. I think the term "design" by definition presupposes a conscious designer. Considering the recent (and continuing) idiocy regarding "intelligent design", I prefer to avoid use of the term "design" when talking about anything other than the actions of intelligent, conscious beings. Thus, I would not say that river rocks are "designed" by the river, or that clouds are "designed" by the wind and atmosphere. Similarly, I will not say that organisms are "designed" by evolution. If you want to redefine the term idiosyncratically, you can deal with the confusion and misattribution that results.
  6. Dr. Syntax, you may want to take a look at the Wikipedia entry on phases of ice before you run off to the USPTO.
  7. Here are a few more references: T.A. Iudna et al., "Cell biology and life cycle of the testate amoeba Corythion delamarei" Tsitologiia (2000) 42(7):613-23 (finding that C. delamarei undergoes sexual reproduction); and P. Pernin et al., "Genetic structure of natural populations of the free-living amoeba, Naegleria lovaniensis. Evidence for sexual reproduction", Heredity (1992) 68:173-81 (finding evidence for sexual reproduction in N. lovaniensis) Don't know if they're considered social or not. You are correct that most of the literature states (or assumes) asexual reproduction for most
  8. Just as a point of clarification, homeopathy is not the same as traditional medicine. Homeopathy was invented in 1790 by someone who took the medieval idea of treating "like with like", i.e., that if your illness was characterized by particular symptoms, you should administer a substance that produces the same symptoms. Of course, those substances are often noxious, so they are diluted to an extreme degree. When I say "an extreme degree", I mean that the substance is serially diluted so many times that there is only a very small chance that even a single molecule remains in the formulation. In
  9. See H. Urushihara, "Cultivation, spore production, and mating" Methods Mol Bio (2006) 346:113-24, which mentions sexual reproduction in Dictyostelium (the slime mold amoeba); and H. Urushihara et al., "Genes involved in Dictyostelium discoideum sexual reproduction" Eur J Cell Biol (2006) 85:961-68.
  10. Duh, from Bose-Einstein statistics.
  11. 1. Antibodies are fairly large proteins, and are not typically internalized by cells (although this does occur in certain disorders). Why can't cells make their membranes permeable? Making the membrane permeable enough for antibodies would probably be enough to kill the cell (after all, this is how complement kills cells): most large proteins that are internalized are taken in by specific mechanisms. Typically, the virus-infected cell may no longer be in control of its "operating machinery", because it has been hijacked by the virus, so defenses that require the cell to change somehow would be
  12. IIRC, both. Epithelium lines the insides of lumens (like the inside of the intestine) and the outside of organs. Your skin is a form of epithelium.
  13. Not exactly: as long as you have reproduction with variation, and selection based upon reproductive success, you will have evolution. Consider microorganisms that reproduce by division: does the "parent" die? Of course, having your ancestors continue to hang around, competing for resources, may not benefit offspring. As for "why" we didn't evolve immortality, the question supposes that there is a reason. It just didn't happen.
  14. No, just the distance between the genes. Imagine a chromosome: ----*------------------------*------------------- I've flagged two genes at random (*) for purposes of illustration. Assume that crossing-over can occur at any point (-) on the chromosome. In the illustration above, there are 24 units (arbitrarily assigned) between the two flagged genes. If crossing-over happens in between the two *'s, they get separated: otherwise, they are inherited together. If crossing-over happens to the left of the first one, or to the right of the second one, they get inherited together. Now
  15. Fermions are particles that have a spin of N/2, where N is an odd number. Electrons, quarks, protons, and neutrons are all spin 1/2 fermions. In other words, all of the fundamental particles that make up matter are fermions. The other category is "baryons", which are particles that have 0 spin or an integer spin N, where N is an integer. Photons are baryons.
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