Ask A Science Question!

Chat about anything and everything
User avatar
Lyah
Owner of the Raven
Owner of the Raven
Posts: 3645
Joined: 03/08/10

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Lyah » 05/30/13

I wouldn't begin to know, this is better asked of your doctor!

User avatar
Scrappers
Resident
Resident
Posts: 483
Joined: 12/20/12

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Scrappers » 05/30/13

Lyah wrote:I wouldn't begin to know, this is better asked of your doctor!
I did... he isn't sure. He just told me to eat 6 times a day, smaller meals, and they'd keep an eye on it. The stomach surgery I had last year is a possible cause if there was unintended nerve damage to the pancreas, or it could be a symptom of diabetes beginning to develop as it does run in my family. Still, I'm not overweight so that lowers my risk factor. It could also be cancer or enlarged beta cells in the pancreas, though I don't show any signs of that that they can detect so far...

It's just frustrating to go with the wait and see if it gets worse approach. If it's something bad then I wana catch it early while I'm young so my body can recover easier and adjust.

Anywho, thank you for taking the time to respond Lyah. *hugs*

User avatar
Tregarde
Practically Staff
Practically Staff
Posts: 7810
Joined: 08/14/06

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Tregarde » 05/30/13

Something I've wondered - if global warming continues and the Polar Icecaps melt completely, along with all the snow and ice on mountains, etc... how much would the world's water level raise?

Yeah, I can probably Google it, but it's more fun to ask here.

User avatar
Lyah
Owner of the Raven
Owner of the Raven
Posts: 3645
Joined: 03/08/10

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Lyah » 05/30/13

Tregarde wrote:Something I've wondered - if global warming continues and the Polar Icecaps melt completely, along with all the snow and ice on mountains, etc... how much would the world's water level raise?
Two things I want to note before answering:

These days we call it "Global Climate Change", because it's a bit more accurate. While, yes, the temperature will rise, it's a lot more complicated than just that, and a lot more will happen than just a temperature rise.

The other thing is that 99% of all meteorologists and climatologists in a recent survey agree that Global Climate Change is a fact, not a theory. 90% of them believe that there's a significant man-made component of it. Numbers like that, applied to say, the dangers of smoking, long ago ended any debate about its health hazards. Yet people still insist on engaging in debate about this, turning science into politics. I, personally, find this pretty stupid. The people best qualified to talk about this have spoken, in one pretty loud voice. I think it's fairly silly to call it fringe environmentalism at this point.

Current scientific research shows that climate change will lead to substantial sea-level rise along much of the U.S. coastline. Sea levels have already risen between 10 and 25 cm over the last century. Global warming will accelerate these rates, with sea levels projected to rise by 50 cm by 2100.

That's about 20 inches of sea level rise, or a foot and a half. Which doesn't sound like much, but... major coastal cities such as New Orleans, Miami, New York, and Washington, DC, will have to upgrade flood defenses and drainage systems or risk adverse consequences. We're also looking at trillions of dollars in flood damage over the next century.

Plus an increase in tornadoes, hurricanes, and other climate events. Will it be Waterworld? No. But our cities and coastal regions are very delicate, relatively speaking, and cannot withstand the kind of damage that's coming.

Take a look at the damage one tornado recently did in Moor, OK. As a nation, we're prepared to handle several large disasters per year, it's part of the plan. Now up the chances of those kinds of disasters. Up the chances of flooding. Even going from, say, 3 major tornado disasters in a year to 4 is a significant cost to us. Now move it up 5, then 6, and toss in some more hurricanes, doing more damage.

People tend to think of the effects of climate change in terms of massive flooding, or huge changes. But it's just the increase in what we have that is the real danger. More of everything, more cost, more economic hardship.

There's a lot of cost to the environment over the long haul from climate change, but nothing that will kill the Earth. Climate change impacts humans way more than the planet, because of the cost we'll be paying in terms of the economy.

Changes in climate will not only increase damage from severe storms, they will impact crop surpluses, what can be grown where, when seasons start and end. The overall effects of these are also economically devastating. People complain about the cost of going green, but that cost is short term, and a net savings, compared to the cost of doing nothing, and risking economic ruin in decades to come.

User avatar
Tregarde
Practically Staff
Practically Staff
Posts: 7810
Joined: 08/14/06

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Tregarde » 05/30/13

That was a nicely detailed response, but it doesn't answer my question. =P

User avatar
Lyah
Owner of the Raven
Owner of the Raven
Posts: 3645
Joined: 03/08/10

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Lyah » 05/31/13

Tregarde wrote:That was a nicely detailed response, but it doesn't answer my question. =P
It does't?
Current scientific research shows that climate change will lead to substantial sea-level rise along much of the U.S. coastline. Sea levels have already risen between 10 and 25 cm over the last century. Global warming will accelerate these rates, with sea levels projected to rise by 50 cm by 2100.
I guess you wanted me to be very specific...
Tregarde wrote:Something I've wondered - if global warming continues and the Polar Icecaps melt completely, along with all the snow and ice on mountains, etc... how much would the world's water level raise?
Global warming would never melt the polar ice caps completely, that wouldn't happen.

If some other force melted all the ice in the world, though, the oceans would rise 220 feet. 200 from the South Pole ice, and 20 feet from the North Pole ice.

User avatar
Scrappers
Resident
Resident
Posts: 483
Joined: 12/20/12

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Scrappers » 06/03/13

Lyah wrote:I wouldn't begin to know, this is better asked of your doctor!
Update: In the interest if science I thought I would post this. While being treated for a pinched nerve, it looks like my neurologist may have accidentally stumbled on the cause of my screwy blood sugar issues. I have a vitamin B6 deficiency. That particular vitamin effects the nervous system as well as gluconeogenesis (sp?) Err releasing glucose from glycogen. I suck at chemistry so I'm not really sure on the particulars. In the coming months I'll be taking an OTC supplement and he'll be keeping tabs on it so we'll either prove or disprove the hypothesis.

User avatar
Lyah
Owner of the Raven
Owner of the Raven
Posts: 3645
Joined: 03/08/10

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Lyah » 06/03/13

What's he doing for the pinched nerve? This is what I have, and literally makes every waking moment agony for me. I'm curious how he treated you!

User avatar
Scrappers
Resident
Resident
Posts: 483
Joined: 12/20/12

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Scrappers » 06/03/13

We're starting out with steroid injections, upping my Neurontin dosage, and the vitamins. I'm still fairly early in the treatment process. But I'll keep you informed as things go along. Maybe we can compare notes.

My biggest problem is that it has slowed down my typing speed considerably, and a lot of pain and numbness in my left hand, arm, and back. The numbness is starting to spread to other parts of my body.

User avatar
Lyah
Owner of the Raven
Owner of the Raven
Posts: 3645
Joined: 03/08/10

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Lyah » 06/03/13

Scrappers wrote:We're starting out with steroid injections, upping my Neurontin dosage, and the vitamins.
You're going to love having a long needle pushed into your spine. Not.

Actually, on a good session, it's overy VERY quick. Unfortunately, they stopped working for me, so I am on a lot of anti-inflammatory drugs, and a norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitor. They don't work as well, but I have good days and bad.

Posture is going to become your best friend. Also look into weight training. Weight loss and muscle strength are going to be your #1 aids to recovery. Get a gym membership. PM me, and we can talk weight training.

User avatar
Lyah
Owner of the Raven
Owner of the Raven
Posts: 3645
Joined: 03/08/10

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Lyah » 10/01/13

The Leidenfrost effect occurs when liquids come in contact with a substrate much, much hotter than their boiling temperature. Rather than immediately boiling away, a thin layer of the liquid vaporizes and insulates the bulk of the liquid from the heat. This essentially turns droplets into tiny hovercrafts that skate over the surface. If you use a rough surface with rachets, the Leidenfrost drops will self-propel toward the steepest part of the rachet. The vapor underneath the drop is constantly trying to flow away, and the rachets in the surface prevent the vapor from escaping in the steeper direction. The vapor instead flows out the shallower side and—thanks to Newton’s third law—creates thrust that pushes the droplet the opposite direction. Here students from the University of Bath have used these effects to build a maze through which the droplets fly.

phpBB [media]

User avatar
Tregarde
Practically Staff
Practically Staff
Posts: 7810
Joined: 08/14/06

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Tregarde » 10/01/13

Here's something I've wondered about for some time...

What exactly IS "escape velocity"?

I don't mean "how fast is..." I mean WHAT is it? The way some books/shows/etc. go on about it, it's almost like there's some invisible barrier that you need to punch through to get to space. But that doesn't make sense. Seems to me as long as you can achieve positive thrust you will continue to pull away from gravity, it just will take longer to reach space at 60mph as apposed to 12,000 mph.

User avatar
Lyah
Owner of the Raven
Owner of the Raven
Posts: 3645
Joined: 03/08/10

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Lyah » 10/01/13

Tregarde wrote:What exactly IS "escape velocity"?

I don't mean "how fast is..." I mean WHAT is it? The way some books/shows/etc. go on about it, it's almost like there's some invisible barrier that you need to punch through to get to space. But that doesn't make sense. Seems to me as long as you can achieve positive thrust you will continue to pull away from gravity, it just will take longer to reach space at 60mph as apposed to 12,000 mph.
Once you break out of atmosphere, and do not experience friction, you no longer move at a constant speed. If you had "positive thrust", the thrust it would take to propel you to 60mph on Earth could eventually get you to light speed if you waited long enough.

But, put simply, we do not have unlimited positive thrust. Rocket engines run out of fuel and shut down. But gravity is always on.

So, "escape velocity", at its simplest, is the speed which you need to be going before you can "coast" into orbit around the earth. If you don't make this speeed, gravity is going to pull you down before your craft reaches a high enough altitude to fall into a steady orbit.

So, there's no physical barrier, but there's a numerical one.

Or, to put it even simpler... if you could throw a baseball hard enough, you could put it into orbit, even though it has no thrust of it's own.

User avatar
Lyah
Owner of the Raven
Owner of the Raven
Posts: 3645
Joined: 03/08/10

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Lyah » 10/01/13

Gwen pointed out a correction, since I was not paying attention. Escape velocity is what you need to break free of a gravitational body. Which is different, and greater, than "orbital velocity", which you need to simply go into orbit.

The principal is the same. Since thrust cannot be constant due to fuel limits, you have to be able to achieve X velocity by Z height in order to escape or orbit.

Thanks to Gywn for the catch, and for sending it to me in a PM to keep me from looking the right fool.

User avatar
Lyah
Owner of the Raven
Owner of the Raven
Posts: 3645
Joined: 03/08/10

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Lyah » 10/02/13

Modern physics has taught us quite a lot about light and how it behaves, but some of what we thought we knew might not be entirely accurate. A team of scientists from MIT and Harvard have been herding photons through a cloud of super-cold atoms in an attempt to get them to do something that was once considered impossible — bind together. According to a new paper, they may have succeeded in creating a new form of matter entirely from photons.

Conventional wisdom holds that photons are massless particles that don't interact with each other, so how can they form molecules? The key was to create a special medium in which photons can interact strongly enough that they attract one another as if they have mass. This so-called "photonic matter" has been theorized for some time in scientific circles, but only in the abstract.

The team used a vacuum chamber filled with rubidium atoms to facilitate the formation of photonic matter. The cloud of gas was cooled to within a few degrees of absolute zero using (fittingly) lasers. Short laser pulses were then used to send individual photons into the cloud where the chilled gas sapped energy away from them, causing the photons to slow down considerably by the time they exited the cloud. If more than one photon was sent in at the same time, the researchers found the particles would lose so much energy that they emerged together as a single molecule.

The Harvard and MIT scientists believe this newly observed interaction between photons could be of great importance in the field of quantum computing. Photons have been studied as a medium for doing quantum calculations, but one of the principal challenges has always been that they don’t interact with each other. Well, now there might be a way to make that happen in the context of a quantum computer. The process still needs to be refined, but it's an exciting proof-of-concept.

User avatar
Lyah
Owner of the Raven
Owner of the Raven
Posts: 3645
Joined: 03/08/10

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Lyah » 01/31/14

It's been a while, ask something. :)

User avatar
Vela
Honored Resident
Honored Resident
Posts: 681
Joined: 03/01/12

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Vela » 01/31/14

I watched the Andromeda Strain yesterday and I have one question. Is it true all living organisms have enzymes?

User avatar
Lyah
Owner of the Raven
Owner of the Raven
Posts: 3645
Joined: 03/08/10

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Lyah » 01/31/14

Vela wrote:I watched the Andromeda Strain yesterday and I have one question. Is it true all living organisms have enzymes?
Enzymes are a biological version of a catalyst. Catalysts are things that speed up a chemical reaction. Without enzymes to help along the chemical processes in the body, everything would go too slow for life to function. Most enzyme reaction rates are millions of times faster than those of comparable un-catalyzed reactions.

Here's a quote from one article I read:
Now we've found a reaction that – again, in the absence of an enzyme – is almost 30 times slower than that. Its half-life – the time it takes for half the substance to be consumed – is 2.3 billion years, about half the age of the Earth. Enzymes can make that reaction happen in milliseconds.
There is no life, as we know it, without enzymes. Enzymes impact every aspect of life like, energy production, reproduction, and everything else. Enzymes are used in the transcription process from DNA to RNA to protein and without transcription we wouldn't exist.

Here's another useful quote:
This building up and tearing down takes place in the face of an apparent paradox. The greatest majority of these biochemical reactions do not take place spontaneously. The phenomenon of catalysis makes possible biochemical reactions necessary for all life processes. Catalysis is defined as the acceleration of a chemical reaction by some substance which itself undergoes no permanent chemical change. The catalysts of biochemical reactions are enzymes and are responsible for bringing about almost all of the chemical reactions in living organisms. Without enzymes, these reactions take place at a rate far too slow for the pace of metabolism.

The oxidation of a fatty acid to carbon dioxide and water is not a gentle process in a test tube - extremes of pH, high temperatures and corrosive chemicals are required. Yet in the body, such a reaction takes place smoothly and rapidly within a narrow range of pH and temperature. In the laboratory, the average protein must be boiled for about 24 hours in a 20% HCl solution to achieve a complete breakdown. In the body, the breakdown takes place in four hours or less under conditions of mild physiological temperature and pH.
Even the simplest form of life we have, the virus, has enzymes. For example, retroviruses encode the enzyme reverse transcriptase which allows them to transcribe their RNA genome into DNA which can be integrated into the genome of the host cell.

Life, in theory, is possible without enzymes, but it would not be OUR kind of life. That's one of the things that makes Andromeda so shocking and terrifying as an organism.

Also... tell me you were watching the original movie, not that craptastic remake they did a few years ago?

User avatar
Vela
Honored Resident
Honored Resident
Posts: 681
Joined: 03/01/12

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Vela » 01/31/14

Cool thankyou :D I asked my biology lecturer the same thing this morning and she gave me the rabbit in the headlights look before slipping off. Yup, original movie all the way and it was superb, then we watched Silent Running and then Moon. But Andromeda Strain was the best :)

User avatar
Lyah
Owner of the Raven
Owner of the Raven
Posts: 3645
Joined: 03/08/10

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Lyah » 01/31/14

Vela wrote:Cool thankyou :D I asked my biology lecturer the same thing this morning and she gave me the rabbit in the headlights look before slipping off. Yup, original movie all the way and it was superb, then we watched Silent Running and then Moon. But Andromeda Strain was the best :)
I will admit I made sure to double check that we hadn't found some exotic life without enzymes, but no, nothing works without them. Honestly, I would have expected the biology teacher to field that one pretty easily.

User avatar
Vela
Honored Resident
Honored Resident
Posts: 681
Joined: 03/01/12

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Vela » 02/01/14

To be honest I think she could too, but your token foreign student in class coming up to you and babbling something in a thick accent about enzymes is probably very off-putting for a lecturer :(

User avatar
Yezra

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Yezra » 02/01/14

I've got one. In a cold climate (say at temperatures around 30 to 45 degrees Farenheit), is it better to:

A) Be wearing clothes that are soaked through with water

or

B) Be wearing no clothes at all? (or any other kind of covering)

I know wearing wet clothes at cold temperatures can give you hypothermia, but I've always wondered if it's preferable to nudity if you have no other alternative.

User avatar
Shizouka
Honored Resident
Honored Resident
Posts: 500
Joined: 03/12/12

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Shizouka » 02/01/14

Typically, when you get soaked in cold weather, you want to remove the wet clothing.

Its a matter of physics. Heat is conducted faster through liquids and solids, than through air. clothing soaked through will leech the heat right out of you fast because you have a liquid conducting the heat rather than regular air.

Even worse, as the liquid evaporates from your clothing, it will suck even more heat out.

User avatar
Lyah
Owner of the Raven
Owner of the Raven
Posts: 3645
Joined: 03/08/10

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Lyah » 02/01/14

What she said!

User avatar
Vela
Honored Resident
Honored Resident
Posts: 681
Joined: 03/01/12

Re: Ask A Science Question!

Post by Vela » 02/02/14

Naked hiking is a thing, even past -15C ;) People sunbathe on the frozen lake here too. Weird nords. But yeah running about nude in the snow isn't really an issue until you get to Antarctic levels of cold.

Post Reply