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  #51  
Old 01-26-2008, 01:36 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

I've heard of superheating water in the microwave.

Superheated Microwaved Water
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  #52  
Old 01-26-2008, 01:38 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

That's exactly what I was thinking of, ES. Great minds, eh?:chestram:

Edit: Oh, and I'd forgotten how much I love these "Ask TLR" threads.
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Old 01-26-2008, 01:40 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

I know. I want to go to school where he teaches.
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  #54  
Old 01-26-2008, 01:42 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Yes. Under the proper circumstances, you can heat a liquid to well above its boiling point without it boiling. Then even the slightest disturbance will cause it to boil in an instant.

One of my chemistry professors claimed he once accidentally did this with a microwave oven. He said he put a mug of water (evidently, very pure water) into a microwave and, unsure of the microwave's power, let it run for several minutes. He then tried to pour some cocoa powder in to make some hot chocolate, but it boiled over as soon as the first flakes of powder hit it, scalding his hand.




As an aside, it would rain and snow a lot less often were it not for dust particles in the atmosphere. Dust particles act as condensation nuclei for water droplets/ice. That's why "seeding" clouds with silver nitrate or other such chemicals will sometimes trigger rain.

Ironically, if the air is too clean, it can't rain or snow.

Cheers,

Michael

[ETA: Oops, too slow! ES beat me to it.]
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  #55  
Old 01-26-2008, 01:48 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

In my Zoology class, I've been explaining about reproduction. I mentioned lizards of the genus Cnemidophorus in which no males are known to exist, yet the lizards nonetheless must actually go through the mating process in order to produce eggs. So, two female Cnemidophorus will take turns mating with each other, that each of them can produce eggs -- first one plays the "male," then the other.

Also, in explaining anisogamy, I quipped that "a sperm cell is just genetic material with a motor attached."


I heard later that the students have been enjoying telling "Dr. P" (one of the Chemistry professors) about the "lesbian lizards," "sperm as genetic material with a motor attached," and other such things they're learning in Zoology.

Cheers,

Michael
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  #56  
Old 01-26-2008, 03:11 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Can you imagine if you could get pregnant from lesbian sex! :ohnoes:
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  #57  
Old 01-26-2008, 07:35 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Whoa, the mind boggles.:whoa:

Purple baby clothes would be more common...
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  #58  
Old 01-29-2008, 02:52 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Here are a couple of neat videos illustrating supercooling and superheating.

In the first video, a bottle of water has been cooled to below its freezing point. Watch what happens when it's shaken. As soon as the guy shaking it agitates it enough to get an air bubble into the water, it freezes:



In the second video, some water has been heated in a microwave to above its boiling point. Watch what happens when it's disturbed:


Cheers,

Michael
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  #59  
Old 01-29-2008, 09:38 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Lone Ranger View Post
Yes. Under the proper circumstances, you can heat a liquid to well above its boiling point without it boiling. Then even the slightest disturbance will cause it to boil in an instant.
I accidentally made a coffee cannon this way. The cup that I was making foldgers crystal coffee (eww, I know) in was to tall to put in the microwave so I boiled a cup of water to poor in it. After forgetting it once I added time to it, took it out and dumped it into the tall slender coffee cup and boom out comes coffee all over the counter and the wall. Luckily it was pointed away from me.
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  #60  
Old 01-29-2008, 02:56 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

That is so awesome!

I like the quick freeze on the fiji bottle, too. Question: Does the ice look different or have a different structure when it freezes that quickly?
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  #61  
Old 01-29-2008, 03:30 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

I was wondering that too, I thought that perhaps it ends up becoming a vitrified amorphous structure.

How do you supercool a bottle of water? Do you dip it into an extremely cold solution for a few minutes?
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  #62  
Old 01-29-2008, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

When water freezes slowly -- as tends to happen when it's at or only a little below the freezing point, it tends to form sharp, needle-like crystals. Those will easily pierce cellular membranes and kill any organism that freezes slowly.

By contrast, when supercooled water freezes, it tends to form flat, hexagonal crystals that are much less likely to pierce and rupture cells. That's why you can drop a very small organism (say, an embryo) into liquid nitrogen and "instantly" freeze it without causing formation of the needle-like ice crystals that will rupture cellular membranes and kill the organism.

Some small animals actually take advantage of this phenomenon. Some insects can empty their "blood" (strictly speaking, insects don't have blood) of almost all "impurities" and then allow themselves to supercool. When they eventually freeze, the freezing happens so fast that the needle-like crystals don't form, and so the animal's cellular membranes aren't ruptured. When it thaws in the Spring, it's good to go.

***

The way to supercool water is to purify it as much as possible (any impurities can form condensation nuclei), to put it into as smooth a container as possible, and to prevent any sort of disturbance. Sufficiently pure water in a sufficiently smooth container can be cooled to as much as about 40 degrees C below freezing without actually freezing.

You can do it in your freezer, if you're careful.

Cheers,

Michael
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  #63  
Old 01-29-2008, 06:43 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

A number of videos I've seen are people that live in evil cold places (like up north in the US) and just leave the bottle out overnight or however long it takes the water to get below freezing.

I've tried it in the freezer but except for a few accidents I normally get a bottle of frozen water and not super cool liquid.
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  #64  
Old 02-29-2008, 05:29 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

I posted a story in my blog yesterday about a block of beeswax from a 300 year old Spanish shipwreck that washed up on the Oregon shore. The article says that Spain had to import beeswax to the New World because there were no native honeybees.

From the article"The Catholic church required the use of beeswax," he said. "There were no native honeybees in the New World. The churches in Mexico had to get wax from someplace and the large Asian honeybees produced a lot of beeswax."


Is that true, do you know? It boggles my mind because they're such an integral part of the ecosystem now that their recent mysterious decline has a lot of people dismayed.
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  #65  
Old 02-29-2008, 06:38 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

There are some 20,000 or so species of bees, but the true "Honeybees" comprise just 7 currently-recognized species in the genus Apis. The genus appears to be native to southeastern Asia. The most commonly domesticated species is Apis mellifera, the Western or European Honeybee.

There are about 4,000 species of bees native to the New World, but honeybees aren't one of them. Since none of our native bee species have the favorable traits that honeybees do (living in large colonies that will produce economically-viable amounts of honey and wax, relatively benign temperaments), there's been no real effort to domesticate any of them.

The first honeybees were brought to the Americas in the 1600s. Since then, they've become quite important in North- and South-American ecosystems, though that's not entirely a good thing. Many of our native flower species evolved to be pollinated by native bees, and cannot be pollinated by the non-native honeybees. That wouldn't be a problem, except that our native bee species have been devastated, and many are in serious danger of extinction.

Between losing most of their habitat to agriculture and other human activities, being killed by pesticides, and competition with the non-native honeybees, a great many of our native bee species are in serious trouble. This is a matter of considerable concern not just to entomologists and ecologists, but to lovers of our native wildflowers. There are efforts to try to preserve habitat for native bee species, and one commonly-cited reason some people encourage "natural landscaping" and planting of wildflower gardens is to help preserve native bee populations. The Xerces Society is an example of an organization dedicated to educating people on the value of native invertebrates, and to promoting conservation of native bee species.

Cheers,

Michael
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  #66  
Old 02-29-2008, 06:40 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Fascinating, Michael, thank you. I've been lumping all bee species together, I see. I'd love to have a native flora garden. Not only do the plants provide for local creatures, vertebrate and non, but they require much less maintainance and watering, something that's hugely important right now in my droughty neck of the woods.
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  #67  
Old 02-29-2008, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Yup! Planting native flora is an excellent idea for a number of reasons. You can also buy or make nest boxes for native bee species.

Cheers,

Michael
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  #68  
Old 05-18-2009, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

thread bump for another episode of, Ask the Lone Ranger.

My friend found this plant at a local farmers market and no one can seem to tell her what it is, combined with many of the growers not speaking much english has left her perplexed. The pods have a raddish like taste,

Photos,


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  #69  
Old 05-18-2009, 06:49 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Looks like Rat-Tail Radish.

Latin name might be Raphanus sativus, but I don't really know.

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  #70  
Old 05-18-2009, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

She doesn't know what it is, yet she put it in her mouth?

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  #71  
Old 05-18-2009, 07:04 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

What, you mean you don't try strange vegetables offered by people you can barely understand?
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  #72  
Old 05-18-2009, 07:06 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

I have done that in my diarrhea-riddled past :crap:
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  #73  
Old 05-18-2009, 07:10 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Looks like Guatemalan Insanity Pepper to me. Or, at least, that's always what I wind up with when I buy vegetables I don't recognize form non-English speaking strangers.
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  #74  
Old 05-18-2009, 07:26 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeP View Post
:gooduse:

And btw, the Wikipedia page on inflammation has some truly lovely photos. You should not visit it.
Why did I click on the link?:huh?:
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:14 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wandering Wonderer View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeP View Post
:gooduse:

And btw, the Wikipedia page on inflammation has some truly lovely photos. You should not visit it.
Why did I click on the link?:huh?:
I'm guessing Satan made you do it?
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