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  #481  
Old 21.12.2007, 15:41
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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So not true.

That reminds me, one day at work we were doing the typical, "Hey, let's freeze everything we can find in liquid N2" Which is an honored and fun time waster. So the usual, tygon tubing, a couple of plums, a bouncy ball, one of the undergrads fingers etc. When my co-worker decides to freeze one of the ketchup packets you get at McDonalds that has the edges so you can tear it open. We freeze it, he shatters it on the ground and then a couple of seconds later we look at his leg and he's bleeding from a 2 inch slash on his leg. Apparently, one of the edges had cut him pretty good. And all I'm thinking is: "Sweet, we are soooo suing McDonalds because no where on that packet does it say Do Not Freeze in Liquid Nitrogen" I think we coulda had a pretty good case.
Yeah I have played with that. It was amazing - at the time I was like 14 or so and this cool lab dude (co-worker of my moms who looks alot like Doc in Back to the Future) stuck his finger in it (he was pretty quick as I often do these days to test the saltiness of boiling spaghetti water). The coolest was to freeze a rose and see it shatter on the ground. We also froze a banana and I sucked on one of the fragments for a while... fun times
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  #482  
Old 22.12.2007, 16:29
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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I had this nightmare last night...
oh, crappy, i think i might have killed all the fascination and glamour of working in the lab with this single post......
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  #483  
Old 22.12.2007, 16:59
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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I'm guessing you've never had to do a reaction with excess Fe or anything like that. Any of the metall-y types reactions can get nasty to deal with.
I don't think we are talking about the same thing, even.You are talking about compounds that easily precipitate in solution - such as Fe(iii). Obviously,it takes bit more than a large magnetic stirerfor these ones. I meant highly viscous preparations that needs to be heated. These require continous stirring to avoid them sticking to the bottom of the flask.

And by the way, you guessed incorrectly - spent a great part of my PhD doing Fenton reaction. Which was a walk on the park compared to compared to the mineral solutions we need to do for the growth media.
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  #484  
Old 22.12.2007, 20:43
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Re: Ask a Scientist

A friend of mine described how she was caught in an avalanche. In the snow, she could not move her arms and legs, and did not even know which way was up. Fortunately for her, she got rescued.

I was wondering what would be the best thing to have in your ski jacket in the event of being caught in an avalance. Some beacon signal would probably at top the list, but what about ways of extricating yourself? Are there chemical ways of rapidly softening snow?
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  #485  
Old 22.12.2007, 20:52
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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A friend of mine described how she was caught in an avalanche. In the snow, she could not move her arms and legs, and did not even know which way was up. Fortunately for her, she got rescued.

I was wondering what would be the best thing to have in your ski jacket in the event of being caught in an avalance. Some beacon signal would probably at top the list, but what about ways of extricating yourself? Are there chemical ways of rapidly softening snow?
There are suits with airbags for avalanches. Either you''ll stay above it, ot you can deflate them once you've stopped to make air space. I'm not sure how they work.
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  #486  
Old 22.12.2007, 21:38
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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A friend of mine described how she was caught in an avalanche. In the snow, she could not move her arms and legs, and did not even know which way was up. Fortunately for her, she got rescued.

I was wondering what would be the best thing to have in your ski jacket in the event of being caught in an avalance. Some beacon signal would probably at top the list, but what about ways of extricating yourself? Are there chemical ways of rapidly softening snow?

First thing you should have is always an Avalanche transceiver. The most important thing if you get caught in an avalanche is to be found quickly. The survival rate decreases exponentially after 15 minutes of being buried. The only way of this if you are buried is if you and the people with you all have transceivers. The Reco things found in most skiclothes are fairly useless for this purpose, and in real terms will only help with finding your body later on!

Second most important things are a shovel and an avalanche probe. The probe to locate the person more precisely when they are found using the transciever... and the shovel to dig them up. If you are going out of bounds these items are the very minimum that you should carry.

Other things I have come across is the rucksack that Gooner was talking about. This rucksack has a rip cord connected to a CO2 cannister, like in some lifejackets. If you get caught in a slide you pull the ripcord to release 2 airbags either side of the rucksack which is supposed to help you stay on top of the avalanche.

There is also a thing called an Avalung which is a snorkel like mouth piece that you put in your mouth and it is supposed to help you get oxygen out of the snow around you. I question how you can get it to your mouth and keep it there while you are sliding through the snow.

If you want more information, the book 3x3 by Werner Muentner (only in german) or the Powder Guide by Tobias Kurzeder are very good reads. If you are going out of bounds yourself I would also highly recommend doing an Avalanche safety course.
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  #487  
Old 27.12.2007, 09:43
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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First thing you should have is always an Avalanche transceiver. The most important thing if you get caught in an avalanche is to be found quickly. The survival rate decreases exponentially after 15 minutes of being buried. The only way of this if you are buried is if you and the people with you all have transceivers. The Reco things found in most skiclothes are fairly useless for this purpose, and in real terms will only help with finding your body later on!
[...]
No, the first thing you should have is good knowledge of the weather and snow conditions so you don't get into a dangerous situation in the first place. Nothing will save you if you go out into conditions that allow an entire mountainside to slide over your entire party, like what happened last year with the Swiss army group that got buried. They had gone out just after a fairly heavy storm.
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  #488  
Old 04.01.2008, 07:18
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Time for a new question. It's more medical than science-y.

These days it seems that everyone has got a cold or the flu. Does taking cold medication actually prolong a cold? For example, a fever is the body's way of dealing with infections, and taking drugs to lower the body temperature must cause that process to take longer.

Similarly, I heard somewhere that a runny nose is an indication that the body is battling a bug and is discarding the dead bits of bugs via the sinuses. Taking a drug that dries up the sinuses can't help.

Then again, cold medication helps deal with those sucky general cold symptoms (sneezes, snot, photosensitivity etc) and makes life tolerable...
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  #489  
Old 04.01.2008, 07:55
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Time for a new question. It's more medical than science-y.

These days it seems that everyone has got a cold or the flu. Does taking cold medication actually prolong a cold? For example, a fever is the body's way of dealing with infections, and taking drugs to lower the body temperature must cause that process to take longer.

Similarly, I heard somewhere that a runny nose is an indication that the body is battling a bug and is discarding the dead bits of bugs via the sinuses. Taking a drug that dries up the sinuses can't help.

Then again, cold medication helps deal with those sucky general cold symptoms (sneezes, snot, photosensitivity etc) and makes life tolerable...
Yes, cold medication only relieves symptoms.
You can't cure a cold: it's a virus.
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  #490  
Old 04.01.2008, 09:32
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Here's a question for you scientists in EF:

When I pour hot water into a few spoons of capuccino powder mix in a mug, why does it sound hollow when I lift the cup and tap its bottom through the emulsion with a metal spoon? (If it's just water, it sounds solid.)
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  #491  
Old 04.01.2008, 09:59
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Re: Ask a Scientist

On the subject, there's a lot of b*llox surrounding the art of making a good cup of tea, for example: use fresh water that has never been boiled before; use water that is slightly off boiling; put the milk in first (or was it last?); don't tap the tea pot...

Does any of this have a grounding in science, or is it just the Twinings of this world trying to create their own English tea ceremony?

One story I heard was that adding milk to tea actually scalds the milk, and changes the taste. So maybe there's some logic to that. However I struggle to see the value in using never-before-boiled water...
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  #492  
Old 04.01.2008, 10:23
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Time for a new question. It's more medical than science-y.

These days it seems that everyone has got a cold or the flu. Does taking cold medication actually prolong a cold? For example, a fever is the body's way of dealing with infections, and taking drugs to lower the body temperature must cause that process to take longer.

Similarly, I heard somewhere that a runny nose is an indication that the body is battling a bug and is discarding the dead bits of bugs via the sinuses. Taking a drug that dries up the sinuses can't help.

Then again, cold medication helps deal with those sucky general cold symptoms (sneezes, snot, photosensitivity etc) and makes life tolerable...
I think the idea that treating a virus might _prolong_ it might have something to do with people who still work like hell but drug themselves so they can get thru the day. Ultimately, when faced with a virus, all you can do is rest, and if you don't get rest, you can weaken your immune system and then you get sick all the time.

Personally, decongestants work like speed on me (although I've never taken speed...) I feel nervous and can't sleep!

on a related topic, I asked a med-student friend of mine about bringing along antibiotics while traveling thru China. She said that the best thing to do about bacterial infections is to just let them take their course, since most intestinal types don't last too long. But then again, I've known people to be sick for a long time, and, let's face it, it's not so convenient.
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  #493  
Old 04.01.2008, 10:25
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Yes, cold medication only relieves symptoms.
You can't cure a cold: it's a virus.
But I think he means if he takes medicine to treat the symptoms, will it ultimately cause the symptoms to last longer.
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  #494  
Old 04.01.2008, 10:32
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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However I struggle to see the value in using never-before-boiled water...
I think I read that the oxygen content of water changes after it's boiled. Also, the minerals precipitate out and change the taste. I've also heard people complaining that boiled water, after it's cooled, tastes kind of flat.

Are you a tea connoisseur?
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  #495  
Old 04.01.2008, 10:39
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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On the subject, there's a lot of b*llox surrounding the art of making a good cup of tea, for example: use fresh water that has never been boiled before; use water that is slightly off boiling; put the milk in first (or was it last?); don't tap the tea pot...

Does any of this have a grounding in science, or is it just the Twinings of this world trying to create their own English tea ceremony?

One story I heard was that adding milk to tea actually scalds the milk, and changes the taste. So maybe there's some logic to that. However I struggle to see the value in using never-before-boiled water...
Here's the BBC's "idiot's guide" to the perfect brew... http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/h...tea/html/1.stm
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  #496  
Old 04.01.2008, 10:39
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Here's a question for you scientists in EF:

When I pour hot water into a few spoons of capuccino powder mix in a mug, why does it sound hollow when I lift the cup and tap its bottom through the emulsion with a metal spoon? (If it's just water, it sounds solid.)
What's EF?

If you just add the cappuccino powder, you're not adding much mass or volume, so you won't change how the cup vibrates. A few tablespoons of water change the mass quite a bit more.
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Old 04.01.2008, 10:48
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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On the subject, there's a lot of b*llox surrounding the art of making a good cup of tea, for example: use fresh water that has never been boiled before; use water that is slightly off boiling; put the milk in first (or was it last?); don't tap the tea pot...

Does any of this have a grounding in science, or is it just the Twinings of this world trying to create their own English tea ceremony?

One story I heard was that adding milk to tea actually scalds the milk, and changes the taste. So maybe there's some logic to that. However I struggle to see the value in using never-before-boiled water...
As someone who cannot stand the taste of boiled milk, I can say that adding milk to tea can spoil the taste, but not if you let the tea cool off a little first. A cold earthenware mug can cool the tea enough off boiling point to avoid scalding the milk, but an enamel tin mug won't.

On the previously boiled water thing, try sipping a bit of distilled water or sucking an ice cube - it's a definitely different taste.
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Old 04.01.2008, 11:00
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Here's the BBC's "idiot's guide" to the perfect brew... http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/h...tea/html/1.stm
Here's George Orwell's method.

In contrast to the BBC's recommendation, he's a milk afterwards fan, arguing that you can more accurately gauge the amount of milk required. Now, I would agree with him if you are making a one off cuppa with a teabag in the cup, because you want the boiling water to hit the teabag, but with a proper pot brew any regular tea drinker will know from experience how much milk to put in a cup according to their own taste.

But Orwell is dead right about the sugar thing. A normal cuppa with milk does not need sugar!
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Old 04.01.2008, 11:12
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Re: tea and slightly off-topic

So what about lemon? I hate milk in tea but love lemon--is this a major faux pas?
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Old 04.01.2008, 11:16
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Re: Ask a Scientist

I'm such a fussy tea drinker that I don't normally like other people making me a brew unless I know they can do it my way (how awful is that?!). It stems from my first job where the guy who made the tea used the same spoon to stir ALL the drinks and often it was caked in instant coffee and sugar.

My Dad is worse in the fact he only makes his brew in a brown pot (like they had on the BBC link I posted earlier). He reckons tea doesn't taste the same from a "flowery fanickety pot" or made with a bag in a mug.

I'm turning into my father...
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