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John Cuthber

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Everything posted by John Cuthber

  1. Since I can deem the tap to dispense whatever I want I will have it dispense 10%v/v alcohol. Not only does that mean that to get 9 pints of water all I have to do is fill the 10 pint jug (OK there's something else there too, but it's 9 pints of water.), but I can get pleasntly pickled later on and start thinking about numerology.
  2. "My approach was to assume that the temeperature of the star's surface is about the first ionisation energy of Hydrogen (13eV)" Why?
  3. There seem to be several debates going on here. Should we ban smoking in public? Is there evidence of harm from second hand smoke? Is there evidence of harm from very short exposures. Well, here's my 2d worth Pangloss, when you say " I think you know better than that. I have no problem with your objections to noxious odor and discourteous behavior, by the way. By all means, object on that basis. I support your right to take your business elsewhere, 100%." I think you have missed the point; I shouldn't have to move to make way for the smokers. It should be the other way round. They are the ones doing something offensive; not me. OK, I know that the health risk from someone elses smoke is not huge; there are studies that show evidence of harm and it is scientificly reasonable to make an argument like this Smokers are known to have high rates of cancer. While this may be due to some other effect (perhaps the lighters or matches are the problem) it is reasonable to say that smoke causes cancer in smokers. Unless someone can explain how the smoke "knows" that is is in the lungs of the person who lit the cig then it is reasonable to assume that smoke will cause cancer in non smokers too. There may be a cutoff point below which there is no effect but there would need to be a mechanism proposed that "turns off" the carcinogenicity at low levels. AFAIK there is no such mechanism so I do not believe that there is a "safe" exposure. There may well be a level where, compared to the other risks in life, the risks from second hand smoke are negligible. I don't know what that level is. It will certainly depend on other things. This makes it look like any smoke is "harming me a little bit" by raising my risk of cancer (and where I have written cancer there are other health problems to which the same logic applies). There is also the question of the fact that smoke stinks. When someone farts in a lift nobody bothers to complain about hydrogen sulphide toxicity. It's simply not socially acceptable; proof of physical harm doesn't eneter into it. On the other hand I'm not sure I agree with the statement that it's not OK to harm me a little bit. OK, I realise that seems odd, but I know that the kids next door make a lot of noise and it annoys me; that probably raises my blood pressure and therefore in some (tiny) way it is detrimental to my health. I also know that the parties I host from time to time do exactly the same to my neighbours. Neither of us sues the other for damages because we both know (1) we are as guilty as each other and (2) we wouldn't get anywhere; the jury would decide that noisy kids or the odd party are reasonable things to put up with. If I were hosting parties every week that might be another matter. In particular I could get taken to court over it and fined (or even jailed if I carried on) for causing a nuisance. Whether or not having to put up with other people's smoke is "reasonable" or not is a decision made by society as a whole. At least in principle, in a democracy that's where the laws come from. Society here in the UK seems to have decided that, while it was acceptable to smoke in public in the past, it is no longer acceptable. OK the laws are not a perfect reflection of societies view- they cannot be since different people have different views but we chose governments and thereby we choose laws. If we don't like it it's our own fault (please don't turn this thread into a "the legal system doesn't work because... debate. I know it doesn't so feel free to start another thread about it) OK that's why theres a law coming in about smoking in the UK. Now can we get back to the question of whether or not it is scientifically valid to clain that short exposures to second hand smoke are a health risk? How would you construct the experiment to answer that question and would it be possible to perform the experiment? Alternatively, is there a valid theory that gives rise to a mechanism for such an effect. I think there might be in principle. It's the old idea that "it only takes one cancerous cell to grow into a cancer and it only takes one carcinogenic molecule to turn a cell cancerous because there's only 1 (nuclear) DNA molecule in a cell for it to interact with". I'm not at all sure about the second clause there.
  4. How do you interpret Insane alien's comment that "they cause hayfever. histamines are nasty and toturous" without thinking that someone claimed "hayfever is caused by histamine "? or do you accept that it may be a FACT that the claim was made? Another reasonable hypothesis (albeit not really a FACT) is that if the histamine response didn't do more good than harm evolution would have dumped it long ago.
  5. This debate has gone on a lot longer tha I thought it would. As I see it, if people want to smoke then let them. On the other hand the assumption shoulkd be that places should be smoke free unless otherwise specified. There needs to be a good reason to let people blow toxic fumes at other people and "because I want to" isn't an adequate reason. I have yet to see a pub with an adequate segragation of smoking and non smoking areas- you can still smell the smoke in the non smoking rooms. Why should a selfish group of people be permitted to polute any area they chose; surely the default state should be smoke free and only specified areas set aside for smoking? Since these areas, as far as I have seen, cannot be in the same building as non smoking areas they need to be entirely separate or outside.
  6. Well, I like the Bulgarian entry but I doubt it will win. My money would be on Ukraine.
  7. There are plenty of full-scale electricity generating stations that run on methane. At the moment it is natural gas but, if the price of methane from, for example, sewage or landfill gas, became cheap and plentiful they could easilly use that. A search on "biogas" will give you more info.
  8. The idea that, because antihistamines relieve (some of) the symptoms of hayfever, it follows that hayfever is caused by histamine doesn't quite wrok. I woke up this morning with a headache and I took a couple of asprins. They made the headache go away. The headache was not caused by a shortage of asprin; it was due to too much whiskey last night.
  9. I run my cooker on it. It is a multi billion dollar industry. What do you mean by alternative?
  10. histamine does not cause hay fever, an allergic reaction does.
  11. One form (calcite) is stable at low temperatures and the other (aragonite) at high temperatures. Whichever form is more stable is less soluble at any given temperature. Since the transition temperature isn't excessive you can get both forms in shells. The proteins that the organisms add also affect the crystalisation.
  12. I'm no theologist, but I think the Christian version of the explanation is pretty much the same (no suprises there). Of course it's equally possible that this explanation was put forward by a bunch of priests who didn't want the masses coming up with logic as a reason to disbelieve the priests and therefore remove their power. Can anyone thing of a way to distinguish these 2 possible reasons for the statement that "God is beyond any human's understanding and beyond logic"? It could be true or it could be a good cover story.
  13. This is an example of the sort of question that proves that omnipotence is meaningless. Another classic example is Can God set himself a task he acnnot acomplish?" There is the related matter "Does God know of question to which he doesn't know the answer?" which proves He's not omniscient too. All this is great fun, but the theologists got there first and redefined omnipotence to exclude questions like this. Devout believers just ignore the fact that their omnipotent omniscient God is neither.
  14. As far as a levels are concerned I think that only tertiary alcohols react with hydrochloric acid to give alkyl chlorides. Secondary alcohols also require a catalyst. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucas_reagent
  15. I understand that, so far, where the ban has been brought in (Scotland Ireland, France and others) it is accepted and complied with. It's interesting to note that most of the smokers I know are quite happy with the ban. They know they should give up or cut down and this is a great incentive to do so. If they get that desparate for a smoke they can always go outside. (Incidentally many of them only or mainly smoke when they are out drinking so this will be a major reduction in their overall exposure to smoke.)
  16. Has anyone considered the idea that the French might want to vote for a right winger because they feel that the left wing has gone a bit far? Could it be that in this matter, both sex and America are not important?
  17. Here in the UK the government has introduced legislation that will prohibit smoking in pubs and clubs in a couple of months time. They are not doing this because smoke annoys people. They are doing it because the people working in those pubs and clubs are being unnecessarily exposed to toxic chemicals while they are at work. Personally, I don't think people should have to put up with being poisoned at work for no good reason. I also accept that, while cars do produce pollution, they also provide a substantial benefit. By the way, I have seen many restaurants with no smoking areas; unfortunately the smoke seems unable to read the signs. As someone once pointed out, "Having a non smoking area in a cafe is like having a no pissing area in a swimming pool." Of course, if someone wants to say "passive smoking for just 20 mins might be bad for your health" then it's only fair to ask them to provide the evidence. If they cannot prove their claim is true (or at least reasonable) then nobody will trust them next time. This will not help their career.
  18. I'm not sure what you are looking for. If it's a chemical reaction that t butanol does but nothing else does then I think it's a lost cause. If you are just trying to distinguish it from the other butanols then it's a lot easier.
  19. I suspect that their "right wing" candidate will have policies that are to the left of our "left wing" prime minister. Mr Blair. Also, while it spoils the telegraph's story, surely the French have addressed this problem before? The French word for teacher is masculine; not all teachers in France are men.
  20. "ternary compounds isn't on wiki.........." How hard did you look? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ternary_compound "Baking powder is one of them, I`m beginning to wonder, are you guys trying to bake a Cake or something?" I hope they don't plan to put any ionic fluorides in it. I also think they might be asking about the reaction product(s) of chlorine (a halogen) and sodium hydroxide (an alkali, rather than a metal)
  21. Given that the answer to 40 is a fairly common liquid, is it really true to say that it has abnormal behaviour? Normally I sugest Google but for #14 I'd try wiki and see what it can tell you about ternary compounds. I'm a long way from convinced about your answer to #5 Someone said "If you mean alkali metal, then look no further than your kitchen for a compound that is formed between an alkali metal and a halogen.". What about if you don't mean that?
  22. Here's another 3 to help you with your "clean sweep"; again, all you need to do is work out which is which. Bleach Hydrogen peroxide solution Soap
  23. I think it's fair to assume that, if you need to ask those questions, you are not going to be doing that experiment anytime soon.
  24. The fact that it goes dark at night imposes an interesting set of limits on the (early) universe.
  25. "you realise the distinction is an artificial one? if you agreed with the IRAs struggle, then they'd be a bunch of civillians mass-resisting. if not, then they're a bunch of terrorists. Exactly, which makes my point." I thought the difference was that, if the majority took part in the mass resistance it was legitimate and if it was some small self-interested group then it's terrorism. The talk of the IRA is largely irrelevent; the gun laws in the UK (and N Ireland) are so tight that many of their attacks were with bombs and most were with baseball bats. "in the middle of no-where, you could get away with it. so i don't think your example is that good, tbh." Err? in his example they didn't get away with it; the cops got them. Peter Blake is still dead and he's still dead because he tried to act the hero (of course, if he were trained and well practiced it might have been different, but there would still have been dead people).
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