A thread for those questions you wouldn't dare ask in real life/normally!

(415 Posts)
LittleMissGerardButlerfan Sun 02-Jun-13 17:14:03

Please feel free to ask questions and if I know the answer I will tell you, also feel free to answer others questions!

My stupid question is

Would I be able to see nits in my sons very short hair if he had them? (He has short brown hair)?

Carmody Fri 07-Jun-13 16:53:29

Brilliant thread idea!

Our usual world map (called the Mercator Map) distorts the true size and shape of land areas in order to make the map more useful for ship navigation. For example, on the Mercator map, Greenland is shown as huge: larger than China when it's actually a quarter the size. Alaska is shown as dwarfing Mexico (Mexico is much larger) and Europe seems larger than South America (Europe is actually half the size of S. America).

Hasn't this distortion caused problems for land travellers or people who need to accurately size land areas? And why don't schools use more accurate representations of country sizes rather than the Mercator version? Is the distorted picture too set in our minds?

Carmody Fri 07-Jun-13 17:01:16

PS: Don't go here. The equations will give you a brain haemorrhage.

This is much friendlier.

bottleofbeer Thu 20-Jun-13 19:18:34

What is 'nothing'? if you imagine nothing to be a big space then it can't be nothing because there is a space there which must be comprised of...something. I lay in bed as a child thinking about that one.

I'm O negative, where does it come from? why do I have a blood group that, until recently and the intervention of medicine, would have killed off my positive babies? foetus rejection because of blood incompatibility is unheard of in any other species. For what reason? does nature not want negative and positive people to procreate? if not, why not? Other blood groups are accounted for, why not mine? Is it possible that we're a slightly different species of human being, in the way you get different species under the primate umbrella, hence naturally we have problems producing healthy children? science has made this a non issue and + children born to - mothers are perfectly normal so what was the problem in the first place?

Nature has it's reasons for all it does so I do wonder why nature made it so difficult before medical intervention and anti-d.

Why can anybody receive my blood safely? Is there really a registry of us that the government watches? <X-files music> in the event of a major, world changing disaster will we be harvested to transfuse for important people?

The last bit was a joke btw grin <hopes>

QueenStromba Fri 21-Jun-13 10:44:50

The rhesus negative thing looks to me like a case of there being some reason why (historically at least) there has been an advantage to having either one or two rhesus negative genes which is greater than the disadvantage of losing some of your children because of it.

You see this in the case of sickle cell anaemia. Having two copies of the gene makes you sick but having one copy makes you resistant to malaria. The advantage you get from having one copy outweighs the fact that having two copies makes you sick so the gene stays in the population at a much higher rate than it would usually.

A quick google tells me that some people think that toxoplasmosis might have been the reason why there are fare more rhesus negatives about than you would expect.

It's also possible that the rhesus negative gene isn't beneficial at all but just happens to be very close on the chromosome to a variant of a gene that is highly beneficial. Say you have a gene variant that extends your child bearing years by a few years - that means you have a few more children and some of them will have a few more children etc. The number of the people in the population with the gene increases. If one of those people picks up a mutation in the rhesus gene which is right next to the beneficial gene then that will also increase in the population. There might only be a 0.01% chance that those genes will end up on different copies of the chromosome in your offspring so these two gene variants would likely stay next to each other for thousands of years.

While the genes aren't very common in the population you are very unlikely to end up being rhesus negative because both of your parents would need to have the genes so you get all of the benefit and none of the downside. By the time it is prevalent enough that you start getting rhesus negative people you've also got a decent chance of having a partner who has one copy of the rhesus negative gene. Even if all of your babies are rhesus positive it may not be a problem. The effect of having two copies of the good gene may not be entirely cancelled out by losing some babies due to them being rhesus positive or you might just end up a little bit worse off in terms of number of offspring compared with someone who has no copies of the good gene. The latter would be cancelled out by the people with one copy having more children so the genes stay in the population.

alcibiades Sun 23-Jun-13 21:39:05

QueenStromba - that's a brilliant explanation. It really points out that the notion that "the survival of the fittest" doesn't mean what it's often believed to mean. But it also points out that although the media tends to talk about a gene for "this" or a gene for "that", (and, to be fair, scientists are often looking at specific gene sequences), what actually happens in the swapping of genetic material in sexual reproduction isn't always precise.

QueenStromba Mon 24-Jun-13 14:14:25

That's actually how they normally find genes that are involved in a particular disease. They get a load of people, half of whom have the disease and the other half don't. Then they look at a certain number of sites on each chromosome that are known to be variable. Then they see if any of the variants are more common in people who have the disease than in the people who don't. If anything stands out then they can look in more detail at that part of the genome by looking at lots of variable sites in that area. Then it's a case of looking at the genes in that area to see if they can come up with a reason why any of them might be involved in a particular disease and comparing the gene sequence from people with the disease to that of people without it.

QueenStromba Tue 25-Jun-13 15:48:22

To answer Lioninthesun's question.

When mosquitos bite you they inject you with an anaesthetic so that you don't notice them sucking your blood. When a mosquito feeds off a person with malaria they take up immature parasites which go through several stages of their life cycle within the mosquito. When they are ready to infect a person they move into the glands that produce the anaesthetic so they can be injected into a new human host.

HIV doesn't do any of those things. Viruses are small enough that there's the possibility that there would still be a couple hanging onto the mosquito's proboscis if it had very recently fed on someone with HIV but it is unlikely that one or two virus particles would be enough to actually lead to HIV infection.

Silvermoonsparkling Tue 25-Jun-13 15:57:21

I'd like to know what happened to the gold, frankincense and myrrh that were given to the baby Jesus.

Scarletohello Thu 27-Jun-13 11:42:58

I'm not a mum but I have always wondered, what does breast feeding feel like? I mean is it ever arousing...like having your nipples sucked by a partner would be..?

HuggleBuggleBear Sat 29-Jun-13 16:51:55

Regarding memories I was always taught that you can't recall memories from before 2-3 years old.. So memories and language are related. People's earliest memories tend to be about three year old once they have acquired language. I don't know though why some people have memories pre language acquisition tho??

HuggleBuggleBear Sat 29-Jun-13 16:53:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HuggleBuggleBear Sat 29-Jun-13 16:53:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HuggleBuggleBear Sat 29-Jun-13 16:54:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HuggleBuggleBear Sat 29-Jun-13 16:56:30

I posted a load of nonsense there. Basically I did not find it arousing at all but I don't like my partner sucking them. It feels nice to bf. Apart from early days when it's very ouchy.

Sorry for the repeat posts.

themidwife Sun 30-Jun-13 20:17:20

It can feel a bit tingly & arousing to BF, esp when you get the let down of milk. After all oxytocin is the same hormone that causes milk ejection & orgasm!

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