Author Topic: Episode #585  (Read 2643 times)

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Offline Steven Novella

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Episode #585
« on: September 24, 2016, 11:53:02 AM »
Forgotten Superheroes of Science: Mary Elizabeth Barber; News Items: Tardigrade Radiation Resistance, Resistant Lice, Evolving Bacteria, Moon Formation; Who’s That Noisy; What’s the Word: Superfecundation; Your Questions and E-mails: Lightning Strikes; Science or Fiction
Steven Novella
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Offline lonely moa

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2016, 08:40:57 PM »
Jay should read this:

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/02/24/172688806/ancient-chompers-were-healthier-than-ours

or this:

http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/02/17/prehistoric-plaque-and-the-gentrification-of-europes-mouth/

Or watch this:

http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/3816207.htm

The Rogues could stop regurgitating the myth of "nasty, brutish, and short" for hunter gatherers and restrict it to agrarian societies like ours anytime, IMHO.  Otzi was a member of one of those semi agrarian societies.

Quote
His partially digested last meal suggests he ate two hours before his grisly end. It included grains and meat from an ibex, a species of nimble-footed wild goat.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2016, 09:29:37 PM by lonely moa »
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Warren Zevon

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2016, 09:24:52 PM »
So Ötzi had bad teeth and and died from an arrow through his back... and no one thought of Deliverance?
Amend and resubmit.

Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2016, 09:46:55 PM »
I'm not certain that it can be said that Ötzi had Lymme disease.  Just because they've recovered 2/3 of the genome of Borrelia burgdorferei from his remains doesn't mean he had Borrelia burgdorferei.   He could have had a different bug causing a different disease other than Lymme disease.  Or perhaps no disease at all.

They're a long way from fulfilling Koch's postulates.  They haven't proved that he definitely had the right bug in the first place.  Or that he had the typical clinical picture of Lymme disease.

Offline 303

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2016, 10:19:17 PM »
Jay, I'm disappointed, I went to the SGU store and there is no SGU branded mouthwash! You've missed a great bet there, I'd buy some :)

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2016, 09:15:26 AM »
How many diseases are there that we could eradicate through sheer organizational effort? I've been thinking that we could get rid of all STIs by having a date (and time in UTC) that divides the human species in two, with no one born before that point having sex with anyone born on or after. Or something equally unachievable, like a club that you can sign up for and join after a sufficient quarantine period of no sex so that it can be determined that you have no traces of STIs, and after that you can only have sex with other people in the same club. Which some people might refer to as marriage, but I think the lifelong monogamy aspect makes that even less workable on a species-wide level.

What would happen to the flu season, if everyone stayed within their own country for one full year?

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2016, 11:26:51 AM »
... Or something equally unachievable...

Yep. Unachievable actions could solve lots of problems. We could end poverty if we just decided to share. We could make a dent in the rise of atmospheric carbon if we just stopped burning fossil fuel. We could end traffic jams if we just agreed to drive only when the car was at 75% passenger capacity or greater. We could virtually eliminate traffic fatalities if we took the advice of the late lamented Tom Magliozzi and never drove faster than 35 mph. There's no limit to what we could accomplish if we didn't have to contend with reality.

Speaking for myself, I'm opposed to reality. Don't like it one damn bit.
Daniel
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Offline mabell_yah

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2016, 02:14:27 AM »
I don't think you need to shave everyone's head to drive lice into extinction. Seems like you would get the same result by having everyone go through the 30-minute blow-dry ritual for a week. Make it a month just to be sure.

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2016, 04:39:02 AM »
Sounds painful. I'd rather shave.

Offline gebobs

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2016, 01:10:07 PM »
I liked how the noisy was replayed after the reveal and wish they would do that each time. Are the noisies available to listen to somewhere other than during the show?

Offline gebobs

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2016, 02:42:27 PM »
How do we submit those pesky science topics that we can't wrap our heads around?
« Last Edit: September 27, 2016, 03:20:54 PM by gebobs »

Online werecow

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2016, 05:56:30 PM »
Well I'm just going to leave mine here for now. I like the idea of learning more about field theory, because that seems to be one of those topics that is really central to a lot of physics. Symmetry would be another key concept that I'd like to hear more about. On that note, a couple of more specific physics questions come to mind.

I've read/heard on a number of occasions that electric and magnetic forces have been unified into a single fundamental force, which we call the electromagnetic force. Likewise, these together with the weak force have been unified into the electroweak force, and efforts are being made to unify these with the strong nuclear force and gravity. It's never really become quite clear to me what that means. Does it mean that the forces literally become the same single force at the unification energy? If they are at that point completely indistinguishable, what is it that physicists think initially broke the symmetry between them during the early moments of the universe? That is, why did they "fracture" into separate forces? Were they really distinct all along, but just not measurably so? And finally, I've heard vague explanations of this, but perhaps you guys know a clearer answer: why is it so much harder to unify gravity and the strong/color force with the others?

Here's another one that I don't think I have a good handle on: What, if anything, "is" completely empty space, if you take away all the things in that space such as the matter and the fields that permeate it? Can such a thing even exist, or does space only exist by the grace of the things (clearly not matter, but maybe fields?) that are in it? If we can talk about spacetime, does that mean that time is the same kind of "thing" as space, except that we can only move through it in one direction? If not, what's the difference?
Mooohn!

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2016, 06:27:50 PM »
...
I've read/heard on a number of occasions that electric and magnetic forces have been unified into a single fundamental force, which we call the electromagnetic force. Likewise, these together with the weak force have been unified into the electroweak force, and efforts are being made to unify these with the strong nuclear force and gravity. It's never really become quite clear to me what that means. Does it mean that the forces literally become the same single force at the unification energy?

Yes.

As to the rest of your questions, I don't have the vaguest idea. But that one is pretty clear. Certain forces become one above a certain energy, and break apart below that energy.
Daniel
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Online werecow

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2016, 09:21:52 PM »
Does it mean that the forces literally become the same single force at the unification energy?

Yes.

As to the rest of your questions, I don't have the vaguest idea. But that one is pretty clear. Certain forces become one above a certain energy, and break apart below that energy.

I think I should perhaps be a bit more specific. What I'm really asking is: are they literally the same single "entity" at that point? Or do they just look the like the same thing because we somehow lack the "resolution" to tell them apart, if you catch my drift? For example, in the following graph, the two dashed red lines converge onto the same y value in the limit, but the underlying equations are clearly different, and for anything but the limit there will always be an infinitesimally small difference between their values:



Are the unified forces like these lines, where there is an underlying fundamental difference and they just look identical because the differences are too small to measure (in which case I could maybe sort of understand symmetry breaking a little bit better, but it would lose some of the elegance), or is the similarity not just superficial, but do they in fact somehow become the same single thing (if one can even distinguish between those two options)?
Mooohn!

Offline DamoET

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2016, 03:43:01 AM »

 Regarding the lightning strike, I compiled a fairly lengthy reply for last week only to take a little too long post, and my log in timed out!  Bugger!

  Anyway, just a quicky this time.

  It takes around 30mA across the heart to cause fibrillation.  Voltage is nearly irrelivant as long as there is enough to pass the current required across the heart.  As there is a 'fair' amount of resistance through the body (compared to conventional wiring) there needs to be in the order of 50V to do the job.  Obviously it will take a fair amount more current than this across the chest to get 30mA across the heart specifically, and more again from one foot to the other in the lightning strike senario.  The same for the voltage.
  Step voltage is the correct term as Steve pointed out, and can be as much as (or as little as) 10,000V per meter.  So as the voltage propagates away from the strike (given the right conditions) it can be lethal for upto 10s of meters.  But this will greatly rely on ground composition, and amount of damp soil/dirt/ground at the surface v's the conductivity of the deeper ground.  Usually the deeper you dig into the ground the lower the resistance to 'ground' becomes.  If there is a high resistance to proper 'ground' the more likely you will get the conditions needed for mass deaths from a strike, especially if the surface resistance is low.


Damien
Do not fear God, fear ignorance.  For ignorance will lead you to fearing 'God' (and a whole bunch of other whacky shit!)

 

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