Science!: Vomit Guns, Nose Spray and Plastic

Science!: Vomit Guns, Nose Spray and Plastic

Does plastic make you fat? Can nose sprays really improve your memory? Read on to find out.

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I often wonder if i'm a little gay or something. I really don't find Megan Fox attractive.

As for the rest of your article. A pleasure as always.

PS. Creepiest picture for an ad I can think of...

image

Holy crap how does that stuff sell!

theultimateend:
I often wonder if i'm a little gay or something. I really don't find Megan Fox attractive.

It may be her thumb.

I am going to get a vomit gun

I will use what little money I have to finance the development of a gay bomb.

Because that would be the funniest thing ever.

Sexual reproduction was always described as a parasitic act by the male half of the species to me. The female produces all the nutrients in the egg and gestation period yet has to share half the genetic information with us males that produce nothing of any real value. Makes me feel really valuable.

Those invertebrates sound a lot like asari...

Re: the military burn laser thing... I was under the impression they were developing it using microwave radiation... so the mild and uncomfortable burning sensation which would disrupt a mob may have unforseen consequences with certain types of metal or electrical objects. Which is why it's not getting through a testing phase.

Seeing how there is possibility for widespread misuse of tasers, rubber bullets and the like, I would fear the day the military gets its hands on more exotic non-lethal weaponry.

To enhance their genetic fitness, bdelloid rotifers engage in "horizontal gene transfer." They recruit foreign genes from bacteria, fungi and even some plants and integrate them into their own genetic code.

Sound more like zerg to me...

I'm totally making that vomit gun. My friends are going to hate me.

grey_painter:
Sexual reproduction was always described as a parasitic act by the male half of the species to me. The female produces all the nutrients in the egg and gestation period yet has to share half the genetic information with us males that produce nothing of any real value. Makes me feel really valuable.

It would be parasitic, except that both individuals benefit from the relationship, so it would probably be a mutualistic relationship if anything

"Scientists believe that the rotifers habitually break down their own genome and then rebuild it using genes from surrounding rotifers and even other species. Another way they receive new genetic information is from the food they eat,"

So they're basically Tiny Tyranids?

Kerr0r:

To enhance their genetic fitness, bdelloid rotifers engage in "horizontal gene transfer." They recruit foreign genes from bacteria, fungi and even some plants and integrate them into their own genetic code.

Sound more like zerg to me...

That is exactly what I thought when I read that, they incorporate their food into their genome. It does sound very much like the Zerg assimilation.

If they ever became vertebrate, we will need to develop firebats.

Or get that guy with the wrist mounted flamethrowers...

grey_painter:
Sexual reproduction was always described as a parasitic act by the male half of the species to me. The female produces all the nutrients in the egg and gestation period yet has to share half the genetic information with us males that produce nothing of any real value. Makes me feel really valuable.

Well, it would be parasitic if males did nothing except have sex, but it's usually the males who compete directly, and in the cases where both male and female raise the young, protect their offspring. Humans, however, don't do a lot of desperate survival, so everthings getting wonky.

And before everybody yells at me with a bunch of exceptions, it's just a general rule, not an absolute.

grey_painter:
Sexual reproduction was always described as a parasitic act by the male half of the species to me. The female produces all the nutrients in the egg and gestation period yet has to share half the genetic information with us males that produce nothing of any real value. Makes me feel really valuable.

That's kind of a half-truth. If it were purely parasitic, it wouldn't survive that easily. There are benefits to our survival that come from the mixing of genes.

There's often questions about some aspects of it though. In principle, it seems like it would make more sense for everyone to be hermaphrodites. (since this would allow anyone to reproduce with anyone else, which makes finding a partner much easier. In principle it even allows mating with yourself, as a last resort.)
But the usual explanation is that the two specialised groups tend to do better at their particular task than one that is capable of both.

The other common issue is why there is essentially a 50/50 split of male/female. This is especially obvious when you look at lions and similar 'harem' groups.
Think about it... A male's contribution to procreation lasts about 5 minutes to a few hours maybe (if you're lucky). A female's lasts at least 9 months (in humans).
As a consequence, in the time it takes for a female to produce 1 child, a male can easily produce dozens, if not thousands.
Therefore, why aren't we in a situation where there is, say, 1 man to 100 women? Which would be perfectly practical from a reproductive perspective?

The answer seems to be genetics, because any gene that causes more males to be produced would be at an advantage when females outnumber males. This would in turn cause a gradual increase in the number of males around, until eventually you reach the point where it's no longer an advantage, which is the point where there's just as many males as females.
Look at lions. One male to 10 females is pretty common. And yet, the other 9 males still exist, even though they don't really serve any purpose in a setup like that.

OK... Enough scientific lecturing. XD.

I am pretty sure that vomit gun doesnt really work, like, as in, the lady did a video and said it doesnt work.

I wish though.

fix-the-spade:
"Scientists believe that the rotifers habitually break down their own genome and then rebuild it using genes from surrounding rotifers and even other species. Another way they receive new genetic information is from the food they eat,"

So they're basically Tiny Tyranids?

Pretty much my though exactly. We should probably exterminate them while we still can.

CrystalShadow:
Think about it... A male's contribution to procreation lasts about 5 minutes to a few hours maybe (if you're lucky).

If it takes a few hours for the male's "role" to occur, and his "zerg" tactics really took that long, then should he really get that "role"?

What doesn't make you fat, nowadays? I was totally on board whenever people were blaming fast food, lack of exercise and high glucose corn syrup for the extra inches, but lately, it's just gotten ridiculous. I've heard claims that everything from health insurance to credit cards can play a role in causing people to gain weight.

Why doesn't this make sense? Obviously having health insurance doesn't instantaneously cause you to pack on 20 pounds but I could see many people that have health insurance in the U.S. letting them selves go and saying "screw it I'm covered."

The credit card thing makes even more sense. With my debit card I am constantly tempted to buy things that I might otherwise say "screw it" during the time that it would take to go to the bank and take out cash.

I saw a '60 minutes' feature last year about the military developing a heat ray as a non-lethal form of riot control. But the gun featured was huge and mounted on a jeep. If they've gotten as small as a hand-held gun over the course of a year, I'm mighty impressed.

In case anyone's interested here's the link to the article.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/02/29/60minutes/main3891865.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody

Edit:
Fun fact: Bdelloid rotifers aren't the only organisms that can desiccate when water is scarce. Tardigrades (or Water Bears) can survive up to 10 years while desiccated.

Awesome Futurama reference, it distracted me from finishing that last page but I did enjoy it.
That nose spray sounds pretty interesting, I'm sure it'll be all the rage amongst the cool kids at revision time.
I'm a bit dubious about the fattening plastic though, I'm pretty sure these scientists are just getting paid to find reasons why national obesity isn't really anyone's fault.

Anyways, great article again Lauren.

theultimateend:
I often wonder if i'm a little gay or something. I really don't find Megan Fox attractive.

Don't worry, me either. I think Movie Bob sums it up pretty nicely in his review of Jennifer's Body.

KazNecro:
Edit:
Fun fact: Bdelloid rotifers aren't the only organisms that can desiccate when water is scarce. Tardigrades (or Water Bears) can survive up to 10 years while desiccated.

Not just micro-organisms are this hardy when it comes to surviving without water. I've got this little barren ball of twigs sitting here in my room. You'd say it's a dead fern that I forgot to water for months on end, but it's actually still very alive. When I water the plant, it opens its leaves like a blossoming flower and turns green within minutes. It's said it can actually survive hundreds of years in the desert without rain. Unfortunately, I don't remember how it's called.

Those bdelloid rotifers look pretty awesome, though. At first I thought you were going to describe that lizard species where males died out and females clone themselves by inducing ovulation by mimicing sex. It's a whole lesbian lizard species! But bdelloid rotifers are much better than that. I wonder if they can be used for genetic modification? If you grow a good population of them you might be able to isolate a vital gene that's largely expressed by other micro-organisms in its food.

They do look similar to the Asari - that is, if Asari were to eat their mates to gain their genes instead of having sex with them. Although now that I think of it, eating someone's DNA might be a lot easier than getting them to have sex with you. You only need one cell if you want to eat it, but there are a lot more cells involved to make reproduction work.

BDELLOID ROTIFER WILL EAT YOUR DNA AND YOU WILL BECOME A PART OF IT

erm thats just awesome! I wish i knew suff about electronics, i would make a vomit gun.

fix-the-spade:
"Scientists believe that the rotifers habitually break down their own genome and then rebuild it using genes from surrounding rotifers and even other species. Another way they receive new genetic information is from the food they eat,"

So they're basically Tiny Tyranids?

yep we better get the ultramarines to kill them before they kill us.

Another awesome issue! I needs me a Vomit Gun - or at least the reasoning as to how a bunch of LED's glued to a flashlight make you puke.

Plastic makes you fat? Dammit, I knew I shouldn't have eaten all those plastic bags while I was in the womb. Who can I sue?

Also, those rotifers- if they willingly splice their DNA with that of other species, does that make them Splicers? Are we going to be seeing them in BioShock 2?

Seriously, though, how do you classify a species that alters its genetic blueprint on a whim?

I love the pop culture references.

death, by SNU SNU!

I was recently asked to write a report about a type of gene modification technology for biology, and the last article here inspired me to write about Horizontal Gene Transfer. Thankyou Lauren, your legacy shall live on in the form of a brief mention in my 1000 word biology report!

No offense to the new guy, but thank goodness you're still here, since WilsonsCrazyBed went AWOL, apparently--I need to get my weekly nerd humor somewhere. Thanks, and, as always, great set of articles (Especially the vomit Gun! Someone tell the mythbusters, Let them build one, and then show us people spewing once it's triggered!)

 

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