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  #41  
Old 19.10.2007, 14:55
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Re: Ask a Scientist

1) My poor excuse is that I come from an equatorial land, hence please tolerate my ignorance regarding snow and ice.

From the 'adding salt to boiling water for pasta cooking' discussion, am I right to think that the town council workers put salt on snowy/icy streets to raise the melting point of ice/snow?

2) How do 'snow tyres' work? Are they merely adding traction and weight, or something more?

Thanks in advance.
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  #42  
Old 19.10.2007, 15:00
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Many years ago in a Chemistry class while at high school I had an argument with my chem teacher about the periodic table. She insisted it was complete and there would never be any more elements to add to it whereas I said there was no way she could know that as she could not predict what new scientific discoveries we will have in the future. Which side do you take in this argument?
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  #43  
Old 19.10.2007, 15:23
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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1) From the 'adding salt to boiling water for pasta cooking' discussion, am I right to think that the town council workers put salt on snowy/icy streets to raise the melting point of ice/snow?
Putting salt on the roads lowers the freezing point of water. With the right amount of salt, the water stays liquid instead of freezing.

But it isn't entirely straightforward. Given the wrong temperature conditions, not enough salt can lower the freezing point just enough to make ice/snow melt during the day but freeze again at night, but now it's smooth sheet ice and very dangerous.
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  #44  
Old 19.10.2007, 15:27
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Re: Ask a Scientist

I think the newer elements are all artificially created, after the end of the actinide series they are not naturally occurring (i.e. from 104 onwards).
There aren't any new elements to find before that...perhaps isotopes, but not new elements as the way we define them (i.e. atomic number) has an element from number 1-103 all accounted for.

A proper scientist will be able to explain this better though!
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  #45  
Old 19.10.2007, 15:32
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Another developmental question - why is the male of the species usually larger than the female? There's two angles on that as well...
1. It would help with childbirth if the mother is larger
2. Also with defence of their young, etc.

Then again maybe the male is bigger for combat and mating advantage bla bla bla...
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  #46  
Old 19.10.2007, 15:36
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Totally unrelated question - is it safe to look at auroras (eg Northern/Southern lights)? Or are there so many high-energy particles etc whizzing by that it's better to hide underground for a while?
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  #47  
Old 19.10.2007, 16:45
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Re: Ask a Scientist

I had this wonderful answer all typed out and then accidently closed out the browser, damn it!

Okay, again.

Based upon everything that is currently known/understood concerning the make-up of atoms (everything that is currently considered as scientific fact) it is possible that the periodic table could become longer but there would not be any insertions into the existing set-up of atoms. i.e., we're not gonna all of the sudden have a new atom that fits in between Carbon and Nitrogen.

There are two things that determine the way the periodic table is set-up, the main thing being the sequence in which they are arranged going across a row. An atom is the atom it is with all its inherent properties because of the number of protons it contains. Hydrogen has 1 proton, carbon has 6, oxygen has 8. If you change the number of protons, for example in an atom smasher/particle accelorator, you change what atom it is and it's properties. The number of neutrons can change (hence where isotopes come from) and the number of electrons can change (the cornerstone of chemical reactivity). Currently we have sequential numbering based upon the number of protons going from 1-118. But still missing 113-115 and 117.

The second property is a bit more complex but it has to do with the orbitals which are mathematical representations of where the electrons reside and how many respective electrons they can hold for each. Elements going down a column for the most part also have similar properties and the same number of electrons in their valence shell albeit at different energies.

The beauty of the periodic table as it is currently arranged is that when it was originally developed there were spaces left for atoms which had not yet been discovered, and then when they had they fit perfectly into the gaps.

Hope that answers your question.

And obviously, it is very possible that all of science could be turned on it's head in 50-100 years and they might look back at us and think how cute and quaint and antiquated we all were.


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Many years ago in a Chemistry class while at high school I had an argument with my chem teacher about the periodic table. She insisted it was complete and there would never be any more elements to add to it whereas I said there was no way she could know that as she could not predict what new scientific discoveries we will have in the future. Which side do you take in this argument?
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Last edited by chemgoddess; 19.10.2007 at 16:58.
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  #48  
Old 19.10.2007, 16:54
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Meh. In the grand scheme of day to day exposure of things that aren't good for you, you're not at risk. You most likely get more radiation from an X-ray at a doctors office than standing under that northern lights for a day.

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Totally unrelated question - is it safe to look at auroras (eg Northern/Southern lights)? Or are there so many high-energy particles etc whizzing by that it's better to hide underground for a while?
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  #49  
Old 19.10.2007, 17:00
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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i.e., we're not gonna all of the sudden have a new atom that fits in between Carbon and Nitrogen.

What about Cargen and Nitrobon?

You are totally ignoring my favourite atoms and they are both between Carbon and Nitrogen!!!

Scientists, Astrologists, Faith Healers..... all the same to me.
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  #50  
Old 19.10.2007, 17:03
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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A proper scientist will be able to explain this better though!

"Mr. Chemistry Set"... read the name of the post.
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  #51  
Old 19.10.2007, 17:08
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Re: Ask a Scientist




No thats what I'm talking about!!
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  #52  
Old 19.10.2007, 17:18
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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"Mr. Chemistry Set"... read the name of the post.
Hey! I have a Chemistry A-Level and a degree in Computing SCIENCE ... technically (the best kind of right in science) I am a scientist!
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  #53  
Old 19.10.2007, 17:19
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Another developmental question - why is the male of the species usually larger than the female?
Are they? There are many species where that isn't true.
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  #54  
Old 19.10.2007, 17:23
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Hey! I have a Chemistry A-Level and a degree in Computing SCIENCE ... technically (the best kind of right in science) I am a scientist!

Ctrl+Alt+Delete doesn't count mate.
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  #55  
Old 19.10.2007, 17:28
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Does a candle flame emit enough UV light to give me a tan, however slight?
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  #56  
Old 19.10.2007, 17:37
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Is there any truth in the Dark Sucker Theory?

http://home.netcom.com/~rogermw/darksucker.html
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  #57  
Old 19.10.2007, 22:47
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Just to muddy the water a bit with regards to new elements, where does muonium sit (for 6 microseconds...)?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exotic_atom

Saw a poster of some of these at ISIS when I was last at the Rutherford-Appleton Labs. Nice bird spotting round there, even if it did mean spending most of the day sat in a large hanger doing not very much.
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  #58  
Old 19.10.2007, 22:54
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Anyone following the IGCC at TECO story?
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  #59  
Old 19.10.2007, 23:34
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Are they? There are many species where that isn't true.
Quite right - many hawks have larger females. In sparrowhawks, the female is nearly 50% larger than the male. There are other animals where this is the case. Might have misunderstood your post, but what was the groan for?
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  #60  
Old 20.10.2007, 00:05
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Quite right - many hawks have larger females. In sparrowhawks, the female is nearly 50% larger than the male. There are other animals where this is the case. Might have misunderstood your post, but what was the groan for?
th praying mantis is larger than the male and bites the head off her mate after sex, which solves the snoring problem.
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