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About andycap

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  1. We in live a universe for which we have been able to create mathematical models to describe & predict its behaviour. Some of those models are quite complex. I can see how we've evolved skills to handle basic maths. But how is it that for some individuals those skills can handle, for example, the Standard Model. That doesn't seem to add much evolutionary advantage. To re-phrase, why is H. sapiens clever enough to understand the universe.
  2. Look at it as an evolving system. In biology it's generally reckoned that if the clock was to be wound back to some point & then set running again, we'd end up with a different set of species in any one niche & the species themselves would be different. 'How different' then becomes the question. One of the factors would be the degree of chaos in the system. So for the topic in hand which factors would turn developments on or off & which factors are likely or unlikely to occur. e.g. as the Romans had waterproof concrete why did they not make other similar advances? So as noted above - dumb luck (probably).
  3. andycap


    Why are we fascinated with making anthropomorphic robots? The design of H sapiens is an historical accident, not a refined considered engineering project. Instead of trying to design out all the inherent weaknesses wouldn't it be cheaper/easier to design purpose built robots? That way they can be more effective in the chosen field. I presume the fascination is due to some sociological factor (we like to play god) but I was wondering if there was an engineering reason.
  4. Yes we do have protective mechanisms & the culture process does generate large numbers. But I don't see the risk. If he's trying to culture B subtilis then he won't get E Coli or Pseudomonas (or other Gram negatives) to grow very well. (If present what are they doing on his hands anyway!) The other Gram positives would be Staphs (food poisoning), Streps (sore throat) or other Bacilli sp. See my comment about aseptic technique. I assume that Ben, once he's grown the bugs, won't stick his fingers in the culture medium! However back to the first reply - doing the work in a real laboratory would be a) safer, b) much more rewarding & interesting.
  5. 1. The question would be better phrased to cover the other options - environmental factors, developmental factors (in utero & later), epigenetics, culture, & possibly more. 2. We've got the genetics of eye colour sorted out but practically everything else is complex. This, I reckon, is because evolution has worked out that there's a balance between hard coding everything in genes ( so benefiting from inherited characteristics) & being very adaptable (nothing is fixed) but passing nothing on. So the answer is that it's not 'either /or'.
  6. I beg to differ. If pathogens are present on your skin in dangerous amounts then I'd have to ask how you avoid harm when you eat with your hands or cut yourself? It should be fine so long as you follow aseptic technique & dispose of the culture material as contaminated material. If you don't know what the former is or have access to the latter then don't try. BTW how are you going to assure yourself that you have B subtilis & not some other bacillus (which could be really interesting!).
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