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Everything posted by Gaylord

  1. Here's a new story about the importance of our moon. http://news.discovery.com/earth/weather-extreme-events/blog-what-if-the-moon-disappeared-130425.htm#mkcpgn=emnws1 Our planet is rare in the extreme.
  2. Some proteins can refold back into their original conformation. The slower that the protein is cooled, the more likely it is that it can return to its original conformation. It varies from protein to protein. Some can never regain their original conformation. Only a fraction of those that are capable of will fully restore.
  3. This is easy. We did not evolve in an environment of plenty. We evolved in an environment of scarcity. Our tastes have not evolved as fast as our agriculture. We have six basic tastes, sweet, salt, sour, bitter, umami (protein) and fat. We crave sweet, salt, umami and fat, because we need all of those to survive. First of all, sweet. Sweet indicates safe, high calorie food. A very good things a few thousand years ago. Fat indicates high energy, which was a precious commodity. Protein is always in short supply. And salt is quite rare in most of the world. Just look at how far wild animals will travel to find a salt lick. Roman soldiers were once paid in salt (hence the name salary). Our kidneys are designed to conserve salt. So, we find most vegetables unsatisfying as most are typically deficient in such nutrients. On the other hands, we are actually programmed to reject most vegetables. Every plant on Earth is toxic. And our taste buds respond to these phytotoxins by registering them as bitter. It's evolution.
  4. Celibacy won't allow you to live forever. It will just seem that way.
  5. Extraterrestrial fossils found in a meteorite? http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/150417-astrobiologists-discover-fossils-in-meteorite-fragments-confirming-extraterrestrial-life?
  6. Here's a link about the stabilizing influence of the moon. Note that Mars' axial tilt occilates from 10 - 60 degrees because its moons are so small. I doubt that life as we now see it here would be possible if Earth's axis occilated so wildely. http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2011/05/who-needs-a-moon.html
  7. If Earth isn't unique, it's darned unusual. Before life could be possible, a solar system would have to form in one of those rare regions of a galaxy that is not bathed in radiation. Before life could be possible, a planet would have to form with just enough carbon and carbonates to give life a chance to evolve and generate enough CO2 early in the planet's evolution to protect it from icing over. Before life could be possible, a very large moon would have to form. Our moon stabilizes our axis so that we do not have extreme climatic occillations. Our moon has been gradually drifting away from the Earth and in a few hundred million years, it will be too far away to stabilze our axis. Our disproportionately large moon also gives us tides that would facilitate the evolution of land based life. Before life could be possible, a solar system with distant gas giant planets would be necessary to stabilize the asteroid belt so that the inner, life nurturing planets, are not getting pounded with giant asteroids so frequently that complex life would not have time to evolve.
  8. If you did have wings, they wouldn't do you any good, unless approximately half your body weight was in your pectoral muscles.
  9. I think that part of the confusion regarding global floods arises from semantics. Ancient people typically defined "the world" as that part of the planet that they knew. Alexander the Great was said to have conquered the world, which would have come as a great surprise to the Chinese. So when an ancient people's world suffered a flood, it meant that the world they knew was flooded. Anyone lived in eastern Washington 10,000 or so years ago would have had the world they knew flooded when lake Missoula emptied. The same would go for any one living on the Snake River plain when Lake Bonneville emptied.
  10. Gaylord

    Higgs Boson

    I think it means that non-tenured string theorists will have to start refreshing their resumes.
  11. This probably wouldn't work. Scientists have tried using very high voltage pulsed electric fields to kill bacteria in food products and have have very little success.
  12. Check with your local BioMerieux rep. He or she could help you out. One issue with API is that you have to have an idea of what you're looking for so that you can use the proper selective media before you use the API strip. There are other metabolic technologies out there, such as Biolog. You could also contact a university that genotyping or ribotyping. One with medical school or a veterinary school might have such services available. Many years ago, I had a gram positive rod ribotyped for about $200.
  13. Browning in fruits and vegetables is often caused by the enzyme polyphenoloxidase. This enzyme can be inhibited by the addition of an antioxidant, such as ascorbic acid, or by blanching or heat denaturation of the enzyme itself. Browning can also be the result of Mailard reactions, which is a reaction between reducing sugars and amino groups. In food preservation, a combination of strategies is used, blanching, leaching out sugars and addition of antioxidants. Another problem you might be encountering is photooxidation. Exposure to light, especially sunlight and fluorescent light is damaging. It's the ultraviolet spectrum tha does most of the damage. Have you talked to the folks who preserve insects and flowers in lucite? They must have some tricks that are not available to food scientists.
  14. Could epigenetics have anything to do with this? According to epigenetics, experiences can influence gene expression for generations.
  15. Gaylord


    I suppose that a rogue chemist could take what he learned making insecticides and apply that knowledge in his basement garage. I'm also just interested in toxins in general. Few people realize what a toxic world we live in. I get a kick out of vegetarians when I tell them that every plant on earth is toxic. Most are not acutely toxic to humans or even mammals. Most are aimed at insect predators. And some of those toxins we actually seek out. Caffeine and nicotine come to mind. Another under appreciated class of phytotoxins is the phytoestrogens and phytoprogestins. These act as birth control pills that reduce the reproductive activity of the predator. Neurotoxins are the most interesting though. Acetylcholine esterase inhibitors and acetylcholine mimics especially.
  16. Gaylord


    On a related subject, what influences the potency or species specificity of organophosphates. As I understand it, all organophosphates act as non-competitive, irreversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. But some work very well on arthopods but have little effect on humans. And, of course, some organophosphates are so lethal to humans that they make particularly ghastly chemical weapons. What distinguishes insecticide organophosphates from military organophosphates? How closely are developers of insecticides supervised by governments? The idea of rogue organic chemists getting product development jobs at agricultural chemical companies is the kind of thing that makes me nervous.
  17. I am pleased that this has generated some discussion from real physicists. I ask this because the possibility of faster than light information transmission should permit instantaneous communication with distant satellites and make unmanned interstellar exploration feasible. We still have to get the probe there and that would take time, but with entangled particles we could receive and transmit information instantaneously, with no loss of signal strength.
  18. Gaylord


    I see that neonicotinoids are getting much of the blame for crashing honeybee populations. Originally, they were touted as a safer alternative to organophosphate insecticides. Can anyone help me out as to the molecular mode of action for neonicotinoids and the biological activity and environmental persistence of neonicotinoid metabolic products?
  19. I am not a physicist. I don't begin to have the math aptitude to become a physicist. But I think about it a lot, from a philosophical perspective. I read in the news recently about a method for generating fairly large numbers of entangled particles. Here is a link to a New York Times article on the topic: Billions of entangled particles advance quantum computing. Because the entanglement does not require that the particles be anywhere near each other, doesn't that make it possible to use entangled particles to transmit information instantaneously and therefore, faster than the speed of light?
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