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  #1621  
Old 28.11.2016, 16:47
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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My question is: Of those thousands if not millions of sperm who rushed to infiltrate my mother's egg, one 'won' - and that's me. Supposing however it had been another one would I be the same person?
This verges on a philosophical question! Which is great! It gets to the heart of fate, really. Does the sperm make you, or do "you" make you? Science can't really help with that...

Of course, in a scientific sense, we sort of know the answer - it happens to (fraternal) twins all the time. In that case, a different sperm and a different egg are involved for each twin. But the resulting people are different in many ways, physically and also in terms of having two separate consciousnesses.
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  #1622  
Old 28.11.2016, 20:05
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Dispositions/potential vs what we consciously (or not) do with them?

You aren't even the same person in one second. You will be different than right now, at this very moment. The way the difference will manifest itself, though, is probably pretty idiosyncratic and totally you.
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  #1623  
Old 28.11.2016, 20:34
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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My question is: Of those thousands if not millions of sperm who rushed to infiltrate my mother's egg, one 'won' - and that's me. Supposing however it had been another one would I be the same person?
I guess you will get different answers from scientists, depending on which branch of science they belong to.

From a philosophical standpoint, How would you know, or notice, the difference?

In a sense, you don't really know what it is really like to be yourself (as MusicChick points out), how on earth would you know what it would be like to be someone else?

This is an extension of Nagel's "What is it like to be a bat?"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_I...to_Be_a_Bat%3F
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  #1624  
Old 28.11.2016, 20:43
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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This verges on a philosophical question! Which is great! It gets to the heart of fate, really. Does the sperm make you, or do "you" make you? Science can't really help with that...

Of course, in a scientific sense, we sort of know the answer - it happens to (fraternal) twins all the time. In that case, a different sperm and a different egg are involved for each twin. But the resulting people are different in many ways, physically and also in terms of having two separate consciousnesses.
"Does the sperm make you, or do "you" make you? " Both play a role as do schools, teachers, home environment, parents, friends and life experience.

But anyway who are we?
Do we see ourselves as others see us?
Do others all see the same me?
Do we have layers like an onion and then how many people see down to which layer?
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  #1625  
Old 28.11.2016, 21:43
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Do we have layers like an onion and then how many people see down to which layer?

With the aid of two-photon microscopy and nifty calcium indicators, you can see all six layers!

http://www.pnas.org/content/112/36/11377.abstract
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  #1626  
Old 29.11.2016, 07:17
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Thanks for all the replies. I asked because of a video, which, for some reason I can't cut and paste, which shows a three year old chinese girl playing the piano and reading music just like a pro. I had wondered if any of her potential siblings would also have had this gift.
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  #1627  
Old 01.12.2016, 12:05
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Re: Ask a Scientist

I think this is a question either for a soc anthropologist or a philosopher or maybe a pragma linguist:

Is it better to wish Merry Christmas or Seasonal Greetings? My religion or theirs or none? Why does a concept of PC instead of enriching by benevolent, warm and charitable - simplifies, negates and nivelizes?

Are we gaining or are we losing?
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  #1628  
Old 24.01.2017, 14:36
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Ok, time for a couple of random food questions...

1. How come some foods (for example chicken, or potatoes) have a different taste when they have been reheated, compared to when they have been cooked from scratch?

2. On the subject of redoing things, sometimes food packaging says that the product can be frozen but "once thawed, do not refreeze". Why is that? The irony is sometimes the same packaging says that the product was originally frozen...
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  #1629  
Old 24.01.2017, 14:47
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Ok, time for a couple of random food questions...

1. How come some foods (for example chicken, or potatoes) have a different taste when they have been reheated, compared to when they have been cooked from scratch?
What you are describing is called warmed-over flavour. Food is very dynamic in its physical and chemical composition even after cooking. There are chemical changes and there is also the change in water content. There is oxidation of fat. In short, over a period of time, the chemical composition of the food changes from when it was first cooked. Hence, the change in flavour.

One reference for such phenomenon in meat - http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/bk-1983-0215.ch013

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2. On the subject of redoing things, sometimes food packaging says that the product can be frozen but "once thawed, do not refreeze". Why is that? The irony is sometimes the same packaging says that the product was originally frozen...
In theory, you can refreeze and thaw as many times as you want. The problem is how long does the food stay in the temperature zone (5-57 C) that encourages microbial growth. Another issue is the change in texture etc. that accompanies thawing and freezing. So, better safe than sorry
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  #1630  
Old 24.01.2017, 15:19
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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In theory, you can refreeze and thaw as many times as you want. The problem is how long does the food stay in the temperature zone (5-57 C) that encourages microbial growth. Another issue is the change in texture etc. that accompanies thawing and freezing. So, better safe than sorry
Thanks for that. I was just curious as to how big food companies could thaw and freeze products with impunity whereas Joe Public couldn't. For example, the label on some supermarket chilled fish products may state that it was prepared from fish that was previously frozen. The consumer instructions however state that it can be frozen but do not refreeze... I guess it also comes down to industrial blast freezers and ice crystal formation etc...
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  #1631  
Old 24.01.2017, 15:24
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Thanks for that. I was just curious as to how big food companies could thaw and freeze products with impunity whereas Joe Public couldn't. For example, the label on some supermarket chilled fish products may state that it was prepared from fish that was previously frozen. The consumer instructions however state that it can be frozen but do not refreeze... I guess it also comes down to industrial blast freezers and ice crystal formation etc...
I am sure you know this -

The first freezing that happens to the fish is on the boat itself. This frozen fish can be thawed, cooked and then immediately refrozen as fish product. Beyond this, thawing and rerfreezing brings about all the issues we talked about before.
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  #1632  
Old 28.01.2017, 09:59
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Why are men's buttons and button holes put on the opposite side of the shirt to women's? I've never understood why it should be different.
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  #1633  
Old 28.01.2017, 10:13
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Why are men's buttons and button holes put on the opposite side of the shirt to women's? I've never understood why it should be different.
The standard answer is that historically men usually did up their own buttons (sometimes, perhaps, in a hurry) so they're optimised for right-handed use of the wearer, whereas ladies would always have a servant to dress and undress them, so their fastenings are designed the other way round.
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  #1634  
Old 05.07.2017, 14:11
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Why are men's buttons and button holes put on the opposite side of the shirt to women's? I've never understood why it should be different.
Clearly ladies clothes are made so that men can undress them easily using their right hand.
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  #1635  
Old 05.07.2017, 14:16
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Not a question, but news that huge ice berg is about to break away from Antartica. The area is larger than the cantons Valais or Bern, but smaller than Graubunden,

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-40492957
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  #1636  
Old 15.07.2017, 16:31
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Another random question... are there any volcanoes (dormant or extinct) in Switzerland? There are plenty of thermal baths and hot springs in CH so I guess the Earth's crust is fairly thin in places...
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  #1637  
Old 19.07.2017, 15:04
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Re: Ask a Scientist

I just went outside to put the bins out and was hit by the heat (have it nice and cool in the apartment!) at first it felt nice, like getting into a warm bath, but I was starting to feel uncomfortably hot already before I'd even made it back to the door.

According to my phone the temperature is only 30 degrees. My body temp must be around 37. Also my question is,

Why does an ambient temperature of around 22 feel just right; why does even 32 feel very warm instead of too cold? If our temperature is 37 then why dont we find ambient temperature 37 comfortable? Hmmm...
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  #1638  
Old 19.07.2017, 15:22
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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I just went outside to put the bins out and was hit by the heat (have it nice and cool in the apartment!) at first it felt nice, like getting into a warm bath, but I was starting to feel uncomfortably hot already before I'd even made it back to the door.

According to my phone the temperature is only 30 degrees. My body temp must be around 37. Also my question is,

Why does an ambient temperature of around 22 feel just right; why does even 32 feel very warm instead of too cold? If our temperature is 37 then why dont we find ambient temperature 37 comfortable? Hmmm...
It's harder for your body to lose heat the warmer it is. If it's 22C then it's easy for your body to maintain its temperature. Your body is constantly producing its own heat which must be got rid of and if the ambient temperature is already warm, it's more difficult.
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  #1639  
Old 19.07.2017, 19:04
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Another random question... are there any volcanoes (dormant or extinct) in Switzerland? There are plenty of thermal baths and hot springs in CH so I guess the Earth's crust is fairly thin in places...
No volcanoes in Switzerland. You don't need a volcano for a hot spring, just geothermal heat. Fun reading here: http://www.mountainnature.com/geology/HotSprings.htm

And a list of volcanoes around the world here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_volcanoes
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  #1640  
Old 19.07.2017, 19:40
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Why do we laugh when being tickled?
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