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Author Topic: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)  (Read 18475 times)

Starver

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #435 on: February 23, 2019, 08:57:21 pm »

I recall a book I read (late '70s, early '80s) in which an individual had a spontaneous mutation that gave him something like particularly aggressive sperm in acid seminal fluid and a 'repackaged' penis (possibly a penile/vaginal combo?) that in all but the most deliberate circumstances made rape (of males, as exclusive preference I think) fatal. When done carefully, though, the introduced genetic material would transform (Crispr-ise?) the recipient into a compatible aggressively-biological hermaphroditic member of the new mutation (now capable of safe mutual impregnation to conceive 'natuural' nu-numans).

This book was from the library, the few shelves of sci-fi/fantasy shelves between the children's section and the mainstream adult fiction room, which I was totally devouring at the time (where I encountered the first couple of Discworld novels, and got hooked*). I suppose it (the shelving) was aimed at what these days would be termed Young Adult. Which doesn't explain how on Earth such a blatantly homoerotically-themed novel found itself within easy reach of unsuspecting readers of delicate ages. One assumes it never survived Clause 28, if it even survived long enough for that without some more prudish reader complaining about it.

(I'd been crossing the corridor into the (age-wise) adult sections of the library for years before I was actually adult - there weren't any borrowing restrictions such as adult/child-specific library tickets. But I'd taken far too long to discover the interesting shelves with the SF on them.)


But as this is the Science thread and not a Reading Matters or Sexuality thread, maybe you could pick holes in the whole fully-formed in-vivo Horizontal Gene Transfer mechanism (and delivery system!) somehow evolving into reality in a single birth. Without deliberate (and competent?) design behind it.



* Plus L Ron Hubbard's fictional works, like the Mission Earth decalogy. Which had some of Elron's stranger ideas I later heard had been ploughed into his 'church' (see also Battlefield Earth) but also some rather extreme scenes of perversion that I probably shouldn't describe beyond the "Earth prostitute becomes sex-tutor on alien world" and "mad (alien) plastic surgeon basically creates human(sic) centipedes", because both those are dodgier than I've actually explained them.  Anyway, all that livened my reading list up, certainly. Better than Piers Anthonthy.
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Max™

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #436 on: February 23, 2019, 11:29:22 pm »

I think you're probably the first and only person to ever make any sort of remotely positive comparison between Hubbard and Anthony and I am baffled because I can't figure out the metacontext in which this makes sense as some sort of ironic joke. I mean Anthony got cheesy as hell at times but nobody compares to someone who failed at writing so hard he decided to start scamming people into joining a cult to make money.

As for science, and science fiction, it's hard to explain exactly why this gives me a feeling like we just unlocked a gamebreaking tech tree: Running an LED in reverse to cool electronics.

That combined with straintronics seems like a great area to invest development points.
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Egan_BW

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #437 on: February 23, 2019, 11:37:08 pm »

oh yeah just hook it up backwards and it does the opposite of what it normally does neat huh
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Ispil

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #438 on: February 23, 2019, 11:40:37 pm »

...y'know, that's one of those things that just seems so stupidly obvious but is actually not, that you're baffled when it actually works that way.

It's cartoon logic goddammit.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2019, 11:43:04 pm by Ispil »
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wierd

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #439 on: February 23, 2019, 11:53:14 pm »

The "over unity" LED is kinda old news though.

(Basically, uses thermal oscillations at JUST under the band-gap energy applied, so that the thermal oscillations provide the energy to kick the electron over, and then emit the photon. This results in more photons generated than can be attributed to the energy applied, along with local cooling of the environment.)

It has some potential in some applications, but since it predominantly emits low-energy photons, its applicability is kinda low.  It might be useful for radiative cooling on a spacecraft or something though.


It's possible that running the LED backwards like this is just the same phenomena as above but with a higher bandgap to overcome.  I would expect it to destroy the LED over time though due to dopant migration.  The "over unity" method would work for very extended period.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2019, 12:03:21 am by wierd »
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Il Palazzo

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #440 on: February 24, 2019, 02:47:04 am »

Very interesting book. Can't remember the title.
Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood. She's generally good.
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Max™

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #441 on: February 24, 2019, 08:53:52 pm »

The "over unity" LED is kinda old news though.

(Basically, uses thermal oscillations at JUST under the band-gap energy applied, so that the thermal oscillations provide the energy to kick the electron over, and then emit the photon. This results in more photons generated than can be attributed to the energy applied, along with local cooling of the environment.)

It has some potential in some applications, but since it predominantly emits low-energy photons, its applicability is kinda low.  It might be useful for radiative cooling on a spacecraft or something though.


It's possible that running the LED backwards like this is just the same phenomena as above but with a higher bandgap to overcome.  I would expect it to destroy the LED over time though due to dopant migration.  The "over unity" method would work for very extended period.
Different thing, this is literally cooling something by having a DEL close enough that any infrared photons emitted end up absorbed and pushing electrons back the wrong way.
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wierd

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #442 on: May 01, 2019, 03:20:17 am »

Microscopic (and basically useless) robots are now a thing.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/30/science/microbots-robots-silicon-wafer.html

Got some ways to go before this has any real practical application, but the research has produced "mobile" flipper bots out of thin silicon slices.  Paramecium is pretty large though, so keep that in mind.
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Greiger

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #443 on: May 01, 2019, 04:31:15 am »

Pfft the government has been putting those in your water to control your minds for decades.  They are constantly fighting with the microbots corporations put in your food to make you impulse buy, and our own microbots from the chemtrails that we use to mess with your brains and make it so that you are incapable of visually or tactility processing our tails or scales so we appear human.
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Telgin

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #444 on: May 01, 2019, 09:34:27 am »

That's pretty cool, but I think we're still a very long way from many useful applications.  Decades probably.  Especially anything related to biology, like disease treatments or the brain monitoring mentioned in the article, since that's an extremely sensitive environment and I can think up a whole lot of ways things can go wrong.
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scourge728

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #445 on: May 01, 2019, 04:54:12 pm »

You act like the government would CARE about things going wrong, as long as it's not them or their donors getting affected

Telgin

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #446 on: May 01, 2019, 06:07:57 pm »

Jokes about malicious and uncaring governments aside, the process for getting medical devices and treatments approved is very rigorous, at least in the US, so the government is kind of obligated to care even if the individuals maybe don't.

Not to mention if the things cause strokes because they block capillaries in the brain, that's going to lead to expensive lawsuits so even the money grubbing corporations have reason to be cautious.
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Trekkin

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #447 on: May 01, 2019, 06:18:08 pm »

Plus which, we already have inherently biocompatible (or at least tunably immunogenic) nanoscale machines that can be oligomerized into arbitrarily large (for the cellular scale) structures: peptides.

Actually, this reminds me of something I saw at Columbia five years ago on putting nanoscale radio transmitters (trench-covered silicon cubes, really) into vesicles and tuning the pulse frequency by adjusting the membrane permeability. Optogenetics supplanted much of their utility, as I suspect they will here; the fabrication advantage is considerable.

The battery refurbishment use seems more plausible to me.
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Eric Blank

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #448 on: June 12, 2019, 12:13:35 pm »

So there was some news published back in early May, there are multiple articles covering it, some quite sensationalist.

Apparently the fossil record on the island of Aldabra in the Indian ocean reveals that a species of rail, believed to be direct descendents of the still-living white-throated rail of Madagascar, lived on the island up until ~136,000 years ago, when the island was submerged completely. Since these birds were flightless, because of a lack of incentive to fly, they all died. But 20,000 years later they reappeared again; as in, white throated rails once again colonized the now-vacant island and the colonizers once again adapted to identical living situations by losing the ability to fly, producing the modern Aldabra Rail, which is nearly identical to the one that went extinct.
Amusingly, many of the article titles and summaries on Google seem to read as if the mighty evolution gods enacted a divine miracle and resurrected these poor dead birds. The sciencemag article originally posted May 14 was edited to correct that very mistake; "*Correction, 17 May, 11:45 a.m.: This article has been updated to reflect the fact that the repeated evolution of flightlessness by the white-throated rail on the Aldabra atoll produced two subspecies thousands of years apart, and not a single subspecies that disappeared and reappeared."

But the title of USNews' article still says: "Extinct Bird Re-Evolved Itself Back Into Existence On"

CBS News posted "An extinct bird species has evolved back into existence, study says"

News Atlas used the phrase; "Extinct bird resurrected as evolution starts over again"

CNN also used "Extinct species of bird came back from the dead, scientists find"

It's almost like they're trying to to communicate, but their language is stupid, and I do not speak it. :P
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