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  #841  
Old 19.10.2009, 19:48
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Thanks Nev

Next stupid question... TV detector vans. Did/do they ever use them in Switzerland? And can they tell the difference between a TV and eg a PC monitor? Can they detect an LCD or plasma TV? I would have thought they would be geared up to detect some sort of RF fingerprint that was specific to tube/valve devices...

Not that I've got anything to hide, mind...
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  #842  
Old 19.10.2009, 19:53
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Which leads us to the subjects of complexity and emergent behaviour.
The next Deepak Chopra will make sacks of cash peddling warm fuzzy explanations of people's behavior and how to succeed based upon the buzz words of 'complexity' and 'emergent behavior'.. Or maybe DC will....
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  #843  
Old 01.11.2009, 17:47
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Does winter seriously impact on Switzerland's electricity generation capacity? As a substantial amount of the electicity is generated through hydroelectric stations, does this change substantially due to varying water flows, frozen waterfalls or lakes etc?
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  #844  
Old 07.11.2009, 17:42
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Re: Ask a Scientist

A question about laundry. These days there are many laundry detergents out there, some of which claim to yield very good cleaning results even at low temperatures. For example, the company that produces Ariel Excel Gel claims that the product works very well even at temperatures as low as 15°C. This sounds very good for the environment, but I'm concerned about the hygienical aspect: does washing at low temperatures with these products yield hygienically satisfying results that are comparable to washing at higher temperatures (40°C, 60°C), or is the claim only about the "optical cleanliness"? In other words, do they get rid of bugs (at an acceptable level) or do they only address the problem of stains?
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  #845  
Old 07.11.2009, 23:47
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Re: Ask a Scientist

I think, perhaps wrongly, that the main problem in washing clothes is getting rid of those unsightly stains. The manufacturers use shedloads of different enzymes to attack fat, congealed protein and all other manner of dirt. This task is the part which is difficult to do without hot water.

Killing bugs is, IMHO, the easy part. Washing with soap is pretty efficient.

Therefore, I think that the new Ariel will be just as efficient at bugkilling as the old one.

Personally, I don't wash clothes to stop them fermenting . Bacteria are everywhere. There's no hiding from them.
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  #846  
Old 08.11.2009, 18:40
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Re: Ask a Scientist

The following article on Pubmed appears to corroborate your thesis: Effect of water temperature on bacterial killing in laundry. Thanks!
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  #847  
Old 08.11.2009, 21:32
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Re: Ask a Scientist

I've a question.

I vaguely understand that DNA controls how parts of the body develop. What I don't know is how different parts of the body turn up in the correct place.

How does a cell "know" it is part of a finger, rather than part of a nose? And then, how do finger cells "know" that the finger is the right length and that they shouldn't join the end?
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  #848  
Old 09.11.2009, 10:25
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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I've a question.

I vaguely understand that DNA controls how parts of the body develop. What I don't know is how different parts of the body turn up in the correct place.

How does a cell "know" it is part of a finger, rather than part of a nose? And then, how do finger cells "know" that the finger is the right length and that they shouldn't join the end?
I wonder if such a complicated matter can be answered in the forum in a few lines. Thousands of Genes and proteins are involved for simple tasks of body and only in last decades some lights have been shed on it.
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  #849  
Old 09.11.2009, 23:48
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Re: Ask a Scientist

The question is certainly difficult, but I think there is always something simple to say, even if it's incomplete. First, it's not really a of DNA. All cells have all the organism's genes (DNA), so they do not differ in that. So it's a question of switching some genes on and others of. That's called epigenetics.

Seems that different kinds of cells differ by certain proteins in their outer coats, so they can recognize those that are similar and those that are different. Similar ones stick together.

There are a couple of bits, but as the previous poster said, the full subject is incredibly complex and I don't know enough about it to say more. I already had to mug up Wikipedia to get this far .

Where are the hotshot cell biologists?
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  #850  
Old 10.11.2009, 00:12
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Here's a social psychology question: how do people instinctively know when they are being looked at? Or is it a myth?
I once heard that the SAS were trained never to look at their enemy when sneaking up quietly for an attack. Anyone ever heard the same story!?
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  #851  
Old 10.11.2009, 08:00
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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I've a question.

I vaguely understand that DNA controls how parts of the body develop. What I don't know is how different parts of the body turn up in the correct place.

How does a cell "know" it is part of a finger, rather than part of a nose? And then, how do finger cells "know" that the finger is the right length and that they shouldn't join the end?
I don't think biology can answer that to the accuracy that they can look at a genome and predict the development of an organism from the egg to birth or whatever. But there do seem to be some general features that are well understood.

I don't think "different parts of the body turn up in the correct place" happens in the sense that, somewhere in the developing embryo, a cell says "I'm part of an eye" and heads towards the address of where the eye is supposed to be. It's more that as the number of cells increases, the blob of cells undergoes structural changes in certain regions and at the same time stems start to locally specialise. It's thought that the local chemical environment influences the activation and suppression of certain genes. It's from this kind of process that specialised structures arise.

From memory, HOX genes play a part, controlling things like how many vertebrae, how many legs, etc. Not sure, but I think HOX are universal in animals. Maybe in plants and fungi also. Which, if you think about it, is mind blowing.

Search the 'Net for embryology and stem cells and see what turns up. Look for osme of the things they have done to Drosophila fruit flies.
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  #852  
Old 07.12.2009, 21:26
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Great thread! My impression however is that social sciences are completely underrepresented. Any sociologists out there?
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  #853  
Old 07.12.2009, 22:10
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Great thread! My impression however is that social sciences are completely underrepresented. Any sociologists out there?
just ask the question, then hundred EFers will become sociologists (like all those Minaretologists)
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  #854  
Old 07.12.2009, 22:27
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Great thread! My impression however is that social sciences are completely underrepresented. Any sociologists out there?
Er, no.

This is a thread for scientists.

Not beardy knobheads in polo neck sweaters who make it up as they go along...
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  #855  
Old 07.12.2009, 22:30
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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just ask the question, then hundred EFers will become sociologists (like all those Minaretologists)
This caused me to laugh, of the 'stuccato' variety.

In one sentance, you summed up my own thoughts to a tee.

Not just on here, it's prevalent everywhere.

"Everyone's" an expert these days even Sir, knighted and beloved D. B.

Last edited by Rampion; 07.12.2009 at 22:32. Reason: saw the next post and edited accordingly.
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  #856  
Old 08.12.2009, 13:23
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Re: Ask a Scientist

I am not a embryologist/biologist, but I am fascinated by the homeobox genes (which are the same in all animals, fungi, plants...) and the formation of the body plan during embryonic development. Which I what I thought the question someone posted earlier was about. Here is a quick intro:

http://www.hhmi.ucla.edu/derobertis/...ci_Am_1990.pdf

I learned about it from "Das Werden des Lebens" by Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard.

Here is a quote from the internet on her contribution:

"In the late 1970s, German biologists Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Eric F. Wieschaus sequenced the homeotic genes controlling the development of the fruit fly's body. They observed that in each of these genes a particular DNA segment 180 bases long was virtually identical. This DNA sequence, called the homeobox, translates into a protein sequence 60 amino acids in length. This protein sequence binds to DNA and switches on and off the process of transcription, the expression of genes into proteins. By controlling the transcription in all cells, homeobox (Hox) genes act as master switches determining cell fates, growth, and development. For their work on the homeobox genes, Lewis, Nüsslein-Volhard, and Wieschaus received the 1995 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine."

Last edited by eos; 08.12.2009 at 13:30. Reason: adding a quote
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  #857  
Old 10.12.2009, 14:37
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Re: Ask a Scientist

About your genetic questions:
One picture says more than 1000 words:
Attached Thumbnails
ask-scientist-genetic.jpg  

Last edited by Macchiato; 10.12.2009 at 14:59.
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  #858  
Old 10.12.2009, 15:29
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Great thread! My impression however is that social sciences are completely underrepresented. Any sociologists out there?
Perhaps we need an "Ask a Pseudo-Scientist" Thread.

Why is there no "Ask an Economist" thread?
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  #859  
Old 10.12.2009, 15:58
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Why don't Swedish Physicists do Physics Stuff???

instead of pratting around with linguistic analysis...
.
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  #860  
Old 10.12.2009, 16:05
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Perhaps we need an "Ask a Pseudo-Scientist" Thread.

Why is there no "Ask an Economist" thread?
Economists are not there to "solve" problems, but explain problems and give them fancy names and keep the lay man from understanding them
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