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Everything posted by Skye

  1. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Wittgenstein is another one that's relevent to science.
  2. To be honest I don't know much about it, although Australia has reciprocal arrangements with other countries with universal health care to provide basic care to their cizizens in Australia. But I'll assume aside from that that you're right. Right, but how much does this cost? 20 million is a lot of people, and would cost a lot of dollars, but it is less than 7% of the US population and they are only getting emergency treatment so the contribution would be some fraction of that. The US apparently spends 132% more a person than Australia on health care, so while I wouldn't completely discount it, it can only play a minor role. I think these are better lines of thought in terms of figuring out where the money is going.
  3. This is a diagram of health care spending vs life expectancy for some nations. http://blogs.ngm.com/blog_central/2009/12/the-cost-of-care.html The US is at the bottom end of the developed nations for life expectancy, but it isn't separate from them. I don't think it's reasonable to say that the US necessarily has the worst care based on this outcome, there's a fair amount of variability in the outcomes for other developed nations and the US could simply be the victim of poor social factors. On the other hand US spending is completely distinct from other developed nations. They range between US$2500 and $4500 a person a year, the US spends over $7000. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, health care is arguably one of the better services to spend your money on. Yet given that the US spends so much more and doesn't seem to have so much better, perhaps even worse, outcomes than developing nations, it makes you wonder where the money is going and whether it could be better spent.
  4. Well I guess we'll find out soon enough. http://www.popsci.com.au/military-aviation-space/article/2006-12/semper-fly-marines-space
  5. The conscious control of breathing is separate from the involuntary control, it is controlled by the motor cortex rather than the brainstem, and has separate neural pathways through the spinal cord. Humans have a fairly good voluntary control over breathing, probably because it's important to speaking.
  6. It's not circular, it's iterative. Anyway they provide an explanation for the book: Which boils down to: since natural selection is misused by pop psychologists it must be wrong! Idiots.
  7. Yeah, that's right. The only snag is that protozoa and protista are gradually being phased out as classification terms. They don't fit the requirement to be monophyletic that's required by modern classification schemes. They are still used a lot to describe groups of organisms though.
  8. Fertiliser isn't itself all that dangerous. However run off can cause cyanobacteria or dinoflagellate blooms. These produce toxins that can kill people and animals. Cyanobacteria are also called blue-green algae, and that cyanobacteria blooms are often called algal blooms, despite cyanobacteria being bacteria rather than algae. However dinoflagellates are actually algae.
  9. npts, I think you're answering a different question. You're right that phase changes are defined thermodynamically, and I don't think anyone is disagreeing with you. However the question seemed to be about the behaviour of solids, and ways that they are similar to liquids.
  10. The thing to note here is that altruism towards closely related members of a social group is only a step away from caring for and protecting offspring. So it's not starting with "zero" altruism. It's starting with self-sacrificing behaviour towards offspring and extending that to members of a social group. Also, social animals often police each other so that selfish behaviour is discouraged. Even worker bees will physically punish other workers for selfish behaviour.
  11. There are several methods to provide the initial chemical compound to work with. Natural products are compounds derived from nature, mainly organic molecules used for defence from being eaten. Given that biochemical pathways that produce classes of molecules are known, and the apparent need for defence can be estimated, organisms can be collected from nature with a reasonable chance of finding defence molecules. Also since the class of molecules are known, generally molecules can be isolated based on what properties you'd expect them to have. Aside from that you have combinatorial chemistry, where huge numbers of different molecules are produced. These will generally be based on known drugs so you have an idea of how they are supposed to work. There's also the goal of being able to work from the other direction, using models of the active sites of a protein that you wish for a molecule to interact with to provide the basis for the design of new drugs. This is still something in development though. Once molecules have been isolated it's a process of elimination based on how effective they are against side effects caused. For example, a number of compounds will be screened against cancer cells of various types, the ones which kill the cancer will then proceed to a next stage which might be the side effects caused in rats and so on up until a drug is ready for human trials. The initial stages are often caried out in universities, once you get to the latter stages, especially human trials, the money required and money to be made, means that private companies are more involved.
  12. There seems to me to be three main issues here: 1. The tendency of industries to consolidate in free market conditions. 2. The interconnected nature of the finance industry. 3. The uneven distribution of risk within the finance industry. The second two points are what this figure is looking at, but I think the first one is most important. If we assume continued consolidation then the above figure could realistically contain three or four companies at some point. The failure of any company would be almost impossible for the industry to withstand or for the US government to be able to bail or buy out. The failure of larger, less risky companies is less likely. However it is a likelihood, and over a long enough time scale failure would (probably) occur. So even with an even distribution of risk due to well thought out regulation the system would be arguably be more prone to catastrophe, unless the process of consolidation is resisted or ideally reversed.
  13. The lagging unemployment rate could easily drag retail sales back down again over the six months. So there's some speculation that there will be a W-shaped recession, with an apparent recovery for a few months, then some poor results for a few months, then the actual recovery starting March-ish next year.
  14. Body hair is due to both the level of androgens, including testosterone, in the body and the response of cells to that body hair. So hairyness could be a sign of higher testosterone, or it could be due to the cells response.
  15. Here's a report on forest wildlife and plants after a cyclone: http://www.wettropics.gov.au/res/downloads/cyclone/NigelTuckerCycloneLarry.pdf Stick insects and moths seem to be fairly heavily affected.
  16. The problem then is, what is complex? You're assuming that we are complex, and in many ways we are, but in other we are simple. Metabolically, like I said in that other thread, for example. So you have to specify what you mean by complex. Is it the structure of the cell? Multi-cellular life? Behaviour? Senses? As far as a mechanism of how complexity emerges, this has been studied and thought about a great deal. Stephen Jay Gould was good at explaining this sort of thing, here's an interview with him on the subject giving his view: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/science/gould_11-26.html Eukaryotes have features of both archaea (nuclear chromosomes) and the prokarya (cell membrane and plasmids, like mitochondria and chloroplasts). So there must have been some degree of mixed parentage, such as fusion, symbiosis or a sort of failed attempt to engulf and digest another cell. Also, genetic elements from viruses are common in the genomes of eukaryotes.
  17. Or you could argue that evolution is slowing down. During the first two billion years three domains emerged, during the next two billion years no new domains emerged. It depends on which pretty arbitrary metric you use.
  18. The mechanism for generating a lot of the change is errors in replication, some of which are bad, and too many bad ones can't be tolerated. Also complex multicellular life control these mutations to prevent cancers. So the ideal state is a best compromise between the bad effects of some mutations and the need to adapt to a changing environment. And note that since the environment varies, then the ideal state isn't at a given rate of mutation.
  19. Plus it doesn't take into account other forms of diversity or change, such as metabolism. Prokaryotes have much greatre diversity of metabolism, and much greater rate of change. See the ability of prokaryotes to rapidly evolve (over the lifetime of a human) metabolic responses to anti-biotics.
  20. I get the same thing, you get used to it.
  21. From a hygiene point of view it's better to keep crapping, bathing and food preparation areas seperate.
  22. Medicine in the US, mainly through the American Medical Association, has opposed reforms that undermine the rights of private practitioners since these sorts of ideas started to spread from Europe in the early 20th century. This opposition is partly dependent on self-interest, private practitioners being more wealthy than employees generally, but also ideologically. The ideological opposition has not just been founded on opposition to socialism, early attempts to promote state medical insurance modelled on the German system were undermined by WWI.
  23. Yeah it was a poor answer by me. It depends how you view the reaction. Often, like Fuzzwood says, it's considered to a positive change in free energy in water, since energy is released. But really this energy comes from the better stability of the ADP molecule in water, with the formation of hydration bonds.
  24. It takes energy to break the bond but as the bond breaks it releases energy. More energy is released as the bond breaks than it takes to break the bond, and this energy is available to other molecules.
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