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    Winnipeg, Manitoba
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    Entomology, ornithology, chemistry, environmental sciences, photography, philosophy, politics
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    BSc, BA
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nitroglycol's Achievements


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  1. Interesting; I can't think of any examples of saltwater amphibians either. There were definitely oceans, though. Probably they evolved from freshwater fish for some other reason. Maybe freshwater habitats test their inhabitants more and thus are more likely to produce a lot of evolutionary changes of all sorts, or maybe it was just that the land was there waiting for something to take advantage, and it just ended up being a freshwater species that took advantage. I'm inclined to believe the former, though, because it isn't just amphibians; very few insects live in salt water either.
  2. Presumably decomposers would use gelatinase on animal remains. Just a guess.
  3. I knew someone who said she once did some of that stuff at a friend's place, and her friend went to bed. She went down to the basement, where she eventually intended to sleep, but was unable to do so, so she sat up reading for quite some time. Some time later, she decided to try again to go to sleep, and reached to turn off the light... only to discover that it was already off. Upon discovering this, her brain realized that since the basement was pitch dark, all that she had seen was a hallucination... and suddenly she couldn't see anything. Presumably she had to reread the parts she had "read" as well. And now that I think of it, I recall an interview with the congenitally blind Joe Engressia (aka Joybubbles) in which he reminisced about taking LSD and having auditory hallucinations of aircraft dive-bombing him. No visuals though (at least none he was able to describe as such).
  4. In this article, about a sociologist's predictions for the future, I found this claim: Now, given that tuberculosis is a bacterial disease, I'm not sure how this is supposed to work. But maybe a non-sociologist like me can't understand these things.
  5. Nah, that's kiddie stuff. I'd be much more worried if someone said "How much gelatin would I have to wrap a kilo of caesium in so as to keep it dry when submerged for half an hour?"
  6. Absolutely. Probably the best approach would be to evaporate the water and bring the waste in as a solid. Perhaps you could even dump the solid in a half-empty paint can and take it to your local HHW depot.
  7. I thought Bolivia was also landlocked? Sounds about right to me. Maybe the ones on smaller cars are a bit less; I don't know. It's been a while since I actually picked one up, but they are heavy, and presumably most of that weight is lead rather than the plastic casing, the terminals, or the electrolyte. I don't see why they shouldn't be worthwhile to have a go at. The best kind to use would be the kind with the caps that you have to refill every so often (do they even sell those anymore?) And since they're heavy, pouring it out would not be the best approach (ever try to hold something that heavy in one place for the time it would take?) What I'd do, if I were going to do it (so far I haven't, so keep that in mind) is to first add [ce]NaHCO3[/ce] slowly (i.e. not so fast that the stuff foams too much out of the battery, and I'd remove all caps before doing this) until it's neutralized, then empty the battery by inverting it over a basin to catch the waste. It is likely to contain lead; dispose of it accordingly. That might take a while, but the most difficult part of the operation might well be breaking open the case; those things are solidly made (with good reason). (horrible thread drift) I saw the Jim Rose Circus in Winnipeg, in 1997 or thereabouts, and one of Mr. Lifto's routines involved attaching the terminals of a car battery by chains to separate piercings in his tongue and standing up, lifting the battery off the ground.
  8. Most dangerous stuff I've used was probably 31% HCl or solid NaOH (ok, pretty mild compared to some of the stuff listed above). I've seen way worse things, though, at a hazardous waste transfer station I worked at a few years ago. We got all kinds of lab packs coming in, often packed by non-experts (who else would have put white phosphorus, which has to be stored in water, in the same pack as metallic sodium?) Besides those things we got concentrated mineral acids fairly often, other nasty inorganic compounds ([ce]Na2S[/ce] comes to mind, though I think there were some cyanide salts at one point too) and flammable and toxic solvents (pyridine, for instance). Probably the worst I saw there was a bottle of HF (37% I think). Didn't open that bottle at all, though; we repacked it in a special lab pack of its own and shipped it off to parts unknown.
  9. Q: Why do the English drink warm beer? A: Because they have Lucas fridges!
  10. I know that these serve to transfer electrons from cytosolic NADH to the respiratory chain. I also know that the malate shuttle generates NADH in the mitochondrion, while the glycerol phosphate shuttle generates FADH2, meaning that cells that use the malate shuttle will get more ATP from a molecule of glucose than those that use the glycerol phosphate shuttle. What nobody's been able to explain to me, though, is why any cells use the glycerol phosphate shuttle at all. (And yes, I know that different cells in the same organism use different shuttles). Is it a problem with enzyme regulation perhaps?
  11. I don't think I've ever seen the Newton notation used, actually- just the Leibniz and Lagrange notations.
  12. According to the Wikipedia page referenced above, the colour of a copper flame is variable, dependent on whether or not the copper compound is a halide.
  13. Heck, I'm in my late thirties and still have the same problem. As regards the book, one message rang out loud and clear: I'm nowhere near as smart as Penrose. I was reading a bit, jumping back, trying the exercises, and generally feeling confused. Penrose is a good writer, but the material is really damn tough, and I've set the book down for now in favour of chemistry books (which I have a much easier time with).
  14. I recall reading somewhere that while gallium is generally benign, it is handled with particular care when being transported by air. The problem is, if it were sitting in a hot plane on a tarmac for a few hours, and wasn't properly contained, it could melt and start to alloy with the fuselage skin, creating a weak spot which could have spectacular results when the aircraft is pressurized at high altitude.
  15. Well, actually they're not mild at all, weight for weight; it's just that the amounts are tiny compared to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.
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