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Shared atoms among humans


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Covid is transferred on droplets. Those droplets were once part of another human. The atoms of the virus were also once part of another human. And covid isn't the only virus. 

If you smell my fart, your nose has trapped atoms from my body. Your lungs would also retain some of the fart atoms or fartoms, as they are know by biologists.

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1 hour ago, runninglama1130 said:

Atoms that are part of one’s physical make up (muscles, fat, bones, nerves). Frequent contact does not include shared body fluids.

Still so many variables! We radiate a lot of molecules even if we aren't exchanging fluids. Does sweat from moist hands count as a fluid exchange, since it could be one way only? How long ago did you bathe? Are you looking for skin cells left behind from shaking hands, and other bits of someone else you might wash off, or are you looking for bits from someone else you've accidentally incorporated into your own system?

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8 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Still so many variables! We radiate a lot of molecules even if we aren't exchanging fluids. Does sweat from moist hands count as a fluid exchange, since it could be one way only? How long ago did you bathe? Are you looking for skin cells left behind from shaking hands, and other bits of someone else you might wash off, or are you looking for bits from someone else you've accidentally incorporated into your own system?

 If you think in a family home, there will be an exponential number of human-derived particles on every surface and in the air. You don't need physical contact to collect lots of 'samples' from other people. 

Edited by StringJunky
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I wouldn't worry too much about 'loan atoms'. Forget about atoms; they're pretty abstract thingies. The way they combine into macromolecules to form self-molecules, vs non-self molecules is far more significant. Whatever 'I' is, it's to do with information, and that's in how atoms hang out with each other, not in atom Sally meeting atom Tom.

There are far fewer alien cells in your organism than there are self cells. Think about it.

Quote

A 'reference man' (one who is 70 kilograms, 20–30 years old and 1.7 metres tall) contains on average about 30 trillion human cells and 39 trillion bacteria, say Ron Milo and Ron Sender at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and Shai Fuchs at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada.

So, what's the big deal about 'foreign atoms'? There are 39 trillion non-self things living in you.

I hope that doesn't give you nightmares, and I hope it helps.

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4 hours ago, mistermack said:

Covid is transferred on droplets. Those droplets were once part of another human. The atoms of the virus were also once part of another human. And covid isn't the only virus. 

If you smell my fart, your nose has trapped atoms from my body. Your lungs would also retain some of the fart atoms or fartoms, as they are know by biologists.

Scratch the surface of any science buff and you will discover an inner twelve year old.   Fact.  Or "farct," perhaps.

Some years ago, I read an article that said every breath I take will have some atoms that DaVinci breathed out.  I looked around, couldn't find the exact one, but this gives you the idea:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg15020308-500-the-last-word/

The article is too delicate to suggest we are also breathing Leonardo's farts, but it does seem inescapable.   Given that the laws of atmospheric chemistry also force us to absorb the flatus of all the scoundrels as well as all the geniuses, I guess we should find other sources of..... inspiration. 

Edited by TheVat
Excess gas
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  • 5 weeks later...

For the last 3 years I have shared a small office with a colleague. We do not eat or drink after each other, and there is no sharing of body fluids. Approximately how many atoms of his cellular makeup have become part of my cellular makeup?

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1 hour ago, runninglama1130 said:

For the last 3 years I have shared a small office with a colleague. We do not eat or drink after each other, and there is no sharing of body fluids. Approximately how many atoms of his cellular makeup have become part of my cellular makeup?

Relatively few, I should have thought. The only ways material can be incorporated in your cells are via respiration and metabolism, i.e. what you breathe in and out and what you eat and drink.  Since nothing you eat and drink comes from your colleague we are really talking about breathing, specifically how many atoms from the CO2 and H2O you each exhale becomes incorporated in the other's cells. Since CO2 and water you breathe in does not become part of your cells to any significant extent, it would be the CO2 and H2O converted via photosynthesis to O2 and carbohydrate that you might subsequently breathe in or ingest. So if you want to minimise any exchange of atoms, get rid of all the office plants, and do not, on any account, eat any office-grown tomatoes.  😁

But as for numbers, it would be a difficult exercise to do, a huge range of assumptions would have to be made and the resulting telephone number would be essentially meaningless. 

 

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3 hours ago, runninglama1130 said:

For the last 3 years I have shared a small office with a colleague. We do not eat or drink after each other, and there is no sharing of body fluids. Approximately how many atoms of his cellular makeup have become part of my cellular makeup?

This seems to be a repackaging of the OP question you asked, which was extensively answered by several of us last month.  You replied to none of them, nor absorbed apparently any of their points.  Why the hell should I bother with this again?  

 

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21 minutes ago, Arthur Smith said:

And nobody has mentioned Avogadro's number yet. (6.02214076×1023 mol−1)

That was deliberate on my part, once I had decided that generating a telephone number, via a series of ad-hoc, wild assumptions, would be too tedious and ultimately fairly meaningless. But do feel free to have a go........  

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9 minutes ago, exchemist said:

That was deliberate on my part, once I had decided that generating a telephone number, via a series of ad-hoc, wild assumptions, would be too tedious and ultimately fairly meaningless. But do feel free to have a go........  

I'm more interested in where the edges of a human lie. Topologically we're distorted doughnuts so gut contents don't count? Bladder contents? Dead skin cells?

13 minutes ago, exchemist said:

via a series of ad-hoc, wild assumptions

Ah, I see your point. :)

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31 minutes ago, runninglama1130 said:

Thanks for the intriguing points made thus far? What about cells that I might invest from my coworkers sneezing or coughing? Might particles from those cells become part of my cellular make up?

Well yes, to the extent that you swallow some of them and digest them. But that is going to be an infinitesimal proportion of your dietary intake.

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