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Today I learned that most turkeys eaten on Thanksgiving are hens, while toms are generally turned into deli meats.

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Today I learned that male turkeys are called Toms 

Edited by iNow

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Today I learned that the surface tension of mercury can overcome the force of Earths gravity and form almost perfect spheres when small enough instead of flattened out blobs when theyre larger:
 

 

Edited by koti

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46 minutes ago, Ghideon said:

Today I learned the term aphophenia: seeing significance and meaning where there is none. It has interesting examples in for instance finance and statistics that I did not know had this common term.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apophenia

 

On the opposite end of the spectrum today I learned the term callipygous, which will allow me to comment on my wife's friend's figure without her knowing what in the hell I'm talking about.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/callipygous

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Shame on you , Zap. ;)

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I learned about Bufflehead Ducks from a friend of mine. It’s a small duck I had never heard of, much less seen. He said they apparently come down to Virginia's eastern shore from the arctic region during the winter. He said he had been watching a small group of about a dozen or so feeding in the water, that most all of them would dive under at the same time to feed except for one who apparently acted as a lookout. 

Edited by Cynic

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Today (well, a few days ago) I learned that, in the observable universe, a quarter of the volume in cubic meters corresponds to the amount of particles with mass: 10^80

I assume it would look something like this as an equation:  0.25 * V = P

If this is wrong, blame google 😁

Edited by QuantumT

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1 hour ago, Cynic said:

I learned about Bufflehead Ducks from a friend of mine. It’s a small duck I had never heard of, much less seen. He said they apparently come down to Virginia's eastern shore from the arctic region during the winter. He said he had been watching a small group of about a dozen or so feeding in the water, that most all of them would dive under at the same time to feed except for one who apparently acted as a lookout. 

I recently learned about Muscovy ducks. We were trying to figure out what to do about the flies that gather around our chicken coop and were told about the Muscovy's, which are excellent at catching and eating flies!

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2 hours ago, zapatos said:

I recently learned about Muscovy ducks. We were trying to figure out what to do about the flies that gather around our chicken coop and were told about the Muscovy's, which are excellent at catching and eating flies!

They eat mice too apparently but they can also fly. They are slow growers, relatively poor egg layers and arten't the best meat birds.

 

Edited by StringJunky

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The Facebook counter terrorism team is larger than the entire counter terrorism team of the US Department of State

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That makes me wonder who's side they're on?

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People who want to prevent terrorists from using these platforms to grow and spread their hate 

Now, if only they could do the same with fake divisive political posts...

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Posted (edited)

Today I learned that skills improved by participating here on scienceforums can, at least in some minor way, be helpful in the current virus situation. I joined a local initiative where students studying from home can ask about math and physics. Debating science here has made me more confident regarding mainstream science and how to respond with useful hints (instead of solutions) to homework questions. 

 

Edited by Ghideon
grammar

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Had to sign in just to give you a +1 for that.

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Today I learned that the song Tom's Diner by Suzanne Vega was the first song converted to MP3:

Quote

The song "Tom's Diner" by Suzanne Vega was the first song used by Karlheinz Brandenburg to develop the MP3. Brandenburg adopted the song for testing purposes, listening to it again and again each time refining the scheme, making sure it did not adversely affect the subtlety of Vega's voice.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MP3

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Posted (edited)

-Today I've learnt about: Einzel lenses and viral load in aerosols.

Indebted to: Swansont

-Today I've learnt about: colour-entangled W states

Indebted to: Studiot

-Today I've learnt more details about: quaternary-structure protein dymers and palindromic character of RNA sequences

Indebted to: Dagl1 and CharonY

-Today I've learnt about: Intricacies related to atmospheric CO_2 absorption by weathering at the Himalayas

Indebted to: Area54 and Studiot

-Today I've learnt about: phenomenological/heuristic aspects of cosmology in general

Indebted to: Mordred

-Today I've learnt about: geons

Indebted to Strange

There's quite a bunch of 'todays' there. And I'm still learning. And counting...

Edited by joigus
mispelled 'Swansont' and forgot Strange

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I meant,

-Today I've learnt about: geons

Indebted to MigL

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Today I learned that not only do cells incorporate retroviral RNA and pass it on, but they can exploit the retroviral genes for various functions. There is one that is essential for creating long-term memory and has been tamed, to produce virus like particles synapses. This allows one neuron to control protein synthesis in another neuron at the opposite side of its synapses.

But also, some viruses have developed from retrotransposons (DNA sequences that can copy themselves around the genome). And retrotransposons have come from retroviruses. 

Forget that "tree of life" nonsense.

 

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Today I learned that orbits in more than 3D space are unstable. Dramatically so once you get above four spatial dimensions:

 

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20 hours ago, Strange said:

Today I learned that not only do cells incorporate retroviral RNA and pass it on, but they can exploit the retroviral genes for various functions. There is one that is essential for creating long-term memory and has been tamed, to produce virus like particles synapses. This allows one neuron to control protein synthesis in another neuron at the opposite side of its synapses.

But also, some viruses have developed from retrotransposons (DNA sequences that can copy themselves around the genome). And retrotransposons have come from retroviruses. 

Forget that "tree of life" nonsense.

 

that seems interesting but it goes far over my head. Could you expand about your "Forget that "tree of life" nonsense."?

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37 minutes ago, michel123456 said:

that seems interesting but it goes far over my head. Could you expand about your "Forget that "tree of life" nonsense."?

It was a bit of hyperbole. But it is common to present the evolution of species from as a tree structure with each species branching from common ancestors. This picture is complicated because as well as this "vertical" transfer of genes from generation to generation, there is also "horizontal" transfer between individuals of different species. This is, maybe, more common among bacteria and other single celled organisms (and even viruses) but it happens at all levels. So we have genes we have acquired from viruses. Which they may have got from some other organism they infected in the past.

And, in some cases, those genes have really important functions.

And then there are higher level borrowings, like chloroplasts in plants and mitochondria in animals that probably originated as separate organisms that became symbionts and then fully part of the organism.

So it is not a tree of life, but a complex graph or network.

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9 hours ago, Strange said:

It was a bit of hyperbole. But it is common to present the evolution of species from as a tree structure with each species branching from common ancestors. This picture is complicated because as well as this "vertical" transfer of genes from generation to generation, there is also "horizontal" transfer between individuals of different species. This is, maybe, more common among bacteria and other single celled organisms (and even viruses) but it happens at all levels. So we have genes we have acquired from viruses. Which they may have got from some other organism they infected in the past.

And, in some cases, those genes have really important functions.

And then there are higher level borrowings, like chloroplasts in plants and mitochondria in animals that probably originated as separate organisms that became symbionts and then fully part of the organism.

So it is not a tree of life, but a complex graph or network.

I think that goes a bit far. Horizontal gene transfer does indeed make certain things complicated, but there are conserved elements that can be used to re-create relationships somewhat reliably, even among prokaryotes. The issue is only there if you want to figure the history of a specific locus, rather than that of the whole organism. I.e. you can still construct neat (i.e. reconstruct relationship) if you want.

The part that is probably the most problematic ones are likely the transition to eukaryotes. The high likelihood of endosymptiotic events makes their history quite messy at that point.

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Today, I learned this from @Strange

 

Quote

 

... waves/particle/fields are not what these thing are, they are just how we describe them. 

The map, not the country

 

+1

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