Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Science/2010 January 1

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January 1[edit]

Full Moon on New Years[edit]

This New Year's Eve is a full moon. I can't find a calculator that will calculate for me when the next time that will occur. Can anyone help me out (or know where I should look)? Shadowjams (talk) 00:33, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

In the USA, 2018 according to this calculator, but in my location it will not be totally full till the following day. SpinningSpark
Thanks for the link. Don't know why I thought it would be so much further out. 2028 looks like the next closest to today. Thanks. Shadowjams (talk) 00:55, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Oops, sorry, you said New Year's Eve, that was for New Year's Day. The next one would appear to be Dec 31 2028 at UTC time zone. SpinningSpark 00:57, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
The next full moon after that, by the way, is on January 29, 2010 and it will be a close perigee to Earth. Mars will be close to opposition and peaking in brightness at magnitude -1.3, with the Beehive Cluster in between the two. I think WolframAlpha is a good calculator for calculating astronomical events such as this. ~AH1(TCU) 01:39, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
What is a "close perigee"? Does the distance at perigee vary? If so, why? --Tango (talk) 01:43, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes it does vary, here's a table. The moon is effected by other solar system bodies besides the earth, primarily the sun. The effect is greatest when apogee or perigee coincide with a new or a full moon. And even greater when that coincides with the Earth at perihelion. SpinningSpark 02:36, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Is this a solution for gravity?[edit]

Big Bang has the Expansion of the Universe occurring through space, but that doesn't work. The expansion of the Universe is through Time.

The mistaken assumption here is that an object (planet) stays the same size while magically pulling stuff toward it (gravity). This assumption makes the Big Bang "universal dispersal" idea seem perhaps even obvious. If things stay the same size while mysteriously pulling things to them while they all race away from each other in the night, then you'll get your big bang. Included in that scenario though are two huge mysteries:

  • A. Why do things mysteriously pull things toward them? (gravity) and,
  • B. Why is the universe expanding with all the galaxies racing away from each other?

So there we've got two huge mysteries and a Big Bang that ultimately does not work, at least according to mathematics.

On the other hand though, if we abandon our fixation on maintaining objects at the same size during the forward progression of time, and reversed our thinking on where the force of gravity is originating, instead of planets pulling things toward them, planets can be seen as pushing outward against things. Getting bigger in time doesn't mean getting bigger in space, it just means moving forward in time. So the expansion of our planet isn't an expansion through space, but through time. Pushing outward makes a whole lot more sense than magically pulling something to you. There's no magical mystery at all to gravity when it's viewed as pushing something (spaceship, car, etc.). Gravity is really just the forward progression of time.

So then, there are two answers to question B. Why is the Universe expanding? Time, and Gravity.--Neptunerover (talk) 01:43, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

I strongly recommend that you take a step back from your own 'home-grown' theories and study the works of the experts. The mathematics of the big bang work out just fine and there is a large (and growing) pile of observational evidence to back it up. No, planets don't "push" (I drop a rock - it falls to the ground - it doesn't fly off into space! We don't need to revise any of our current thinking - sure, there are still some puzzles - but this isn't one of them!
You are making the astoundingly common error of assuming that the expansion of space is a movement of objects through space. It is not. It is space ITSELF stretching. The reason we know this is because every object in the universe appears to be receding from us. If it were merely objects moving - then it would be a totally gargantuan coincidence if we happened to be at the precise center of that expansion. But if space itself is stretching, then from every point in space, this same phenomenon would be observed. Since space is stretching, all of your issues with gravity having to push objects around are of no concern. Besides, if the universe is infinite, gravity pulls identically in every direction because the mass of the universe is (on the average) uniformly spaced around us...if gravity pushed instead of pulling, there would be no net change in direction.
I'm sorry - but your grand thesis here is rooted in a total misunderstanding of how the expansion of the universe is working. Please study some more before posting this kind of diatribe against the work of a very large number of very smart people. SteveBaker (talk) 01:57, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
How can the universe be infinite? Bus stop (talk) 04:07, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
"How" is hard to answer - and we're not sure whether it's actually infinite or not. Read Universe#Size, age, contents, structure, and laws for example. SteveBaker (talk) 02:29, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. That's pretty interesting reading. I would as much object to an assertion that the universe were finite as to an assertion that it was infinite. I just can't accept either notion. Bus stop (talk) 02:24, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
I've studied many experts through their works, which I often find overly complex.--Neptunerover (talk) 03:34, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
That's unfortunate - because until you understand the current theories - you are pretty much doomed because anything you come up with is essentially certain to be inferior to the rather complete and elegant theories that we currently have. How are you going to explain the cosmic microwave background? Can you explain the precession of the orbit of mercury? Does your theory explain black holes and why they 'evaporate'? If not - you have a lot to understand about the current theories which explain those things rather nicely. If you're going to be a cosmologist - your first job is to study and understand the current 'state of the art'. SteveBaker (talk) 03:43, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
So I guess you haven't read my book. What is it you want explained? --Neptunerover (talk) 03:50, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
The Cosmic Background Radiation is easy enough: It only has two dimensions to contend with. It doesn't know 'space.' --Neptunerover (talk) 04:04, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Please feel free to try and disprove it mathematically. BTW, have lots of fun.-- Neptunerover (talk) 02:44, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
You may not understand the expansion of the universe, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work. It is a perfectly consistent theory, just one that is a little difficult to get your head around. --Tango (talk) 02:22, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Thank you Tango, I forgot to mention earlier. It seams you may have answered my question of the section title while I was caught up trying to defend my right to ask a question here. --Neptunerover (talk) 14:33, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Neptune, you fundamentally misunderstand the Hubble flow (the dominant component of the universe's expansion). It is not an active process at all. There are no special force making the universe expand, magical or otherwise. Envision an explosion. Initially the explosive fragments and the associated cloud is small, but it is imparted with an initial velocity that causes it to grow larger with time. The Hubble flow is exactly like that explosion. The universe is expanding because its constituents were given an initial velocity by the big bang, and mere inertia causes it to grow in size. Everything started together but some parts received a greater initial velocity. Those parts with greater initial velocity persist in moving faster and consequently are now farther away. The net effect is that the further away we look, the faster things are moving relative to us. General relativity adds a variety of details and refinements, but the basic principle is the same. The core of the universe's expansion is merely the inertia it has carried as a consequence of the initial velocities imparted by the big bang, nothing more and nothing less. Dragons flight (talk) 03:33, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Okay, so Olbers' Paradox would be because of time. We see darkness in the night sky because we're not riding high enough on the time wave. If we were to go the speed of light through time, then we would be a Buddha, and there would be no darkness. In any case, how can this big bang you describe have done all that. I think they still aren't too clear on that. But maybe if we give them a bunch more money they can confuse us some more.--Neptunerover (talk) 03:46, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

With Gravity and Time being equal, there would have to be Time Waves then. Have the experts ever postulated those or studied them? Perhaps they have tried to detect them? (which are legitimate question for this page, I believe, even though I have my own "home grown" reasons for asking them) --Neptunerover (talk) 02:57, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Gravity and time aren't equal - they aren't even remotely similar! Saying that they are doesn't even mean anything! A clock is ticking - measuring time...I drop a ball onto the table, it falls due to gravity - if I measure the force exerted on the ball, it's proportional to the mass of the planet you're standing on. What the heck could you possibly mean by saying that time and gravity are "equal"? It's just meaningless babble. So everything you say after that may safely be ignored.
You deeply misunderstand the scientific method. It doesn't work by some random individual stringing science-sounding words together and then demanding that people disprove whatever conclusions are guessed at! Doing that puts you firmly in the 'nut job' pile along with the loonies who come up with ideas like the Time cube.
Science is actually the process of coming up with a clearly stated hypothesis (which you have partially done) - then coming up with the proof that it is true (which would entail you carefully examining ALL of the evidence - doing some math - and using your hypothesis to explain ALL of the currently known related phenomena). Once your hypothesis has all of that theoretical and practical backing - it's time to present it to the world. If it contradicts even one of the currently know facts that the current theory explains - it's busted. When you have every little detail nailed down, you may try to get your work peer-reviewed and then published. Then - and only then - are you going to be taken seriously. Science doesn't advance by people just coming up with crazy thoughts and demanding that other people "prove" them. Even people like Einstein who come up with ideas so stunning that revolutionize the way the universe is imagined - are building on concrete observations and seeking explanations for things that are not already well explained. Einsteins theory did three major things that made it widely accepted:
  1. It did not inhibit our understanding of already-understood phenomena (eg Newtons laws at experimentally measurable velocities).
  2. It encompassed some known phenomena for which did not fit with the theory of the time (eg the constancy of the speed of light).
  3. It made some testable predictions that would not have been true with existing theory (eg the bending of light from a distant star by the gravity of the sun).
Your ramblings do none of those things - if you persist in this manner, serious scientists are going to ignore your ideas and place you firmly into the same mental category as the Time cube folks.
SteveBaker (talk) 03:38, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Time cube? I wish you hadn't given me that link. The last thing I want to do is try to twist my mind into a little box. That was horrible, whatever it was. If you even tried to comprehend that, then I should pay no attention to you. That was like a right hook. --Neptunerover (talk) 04:23, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
But the thing is - your writings seem to a scientist just like the Time-Cube junk seems to you. That's why scientists aren't going to pay the slightest attention to your ideas. The problem with both your writings and the time-cube stuff is that neither are following the scientific method. What you are doing isn't science - and no amount of science-sounding words stuck in there will make it so. SteveBaker (talk) 02:22, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
I already know it's true. Why should I bother with the math? I don't do math. We have specialized humans for that work. I am a mere theorist with a vantage from outside the box attempting to help. I don't believe I'm trying to force my opinions on anyone. Why should I madly bang my head against a scientific community who are firmly invested in the status quo? --Neptunerover (talk) 04:00, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
If you're are satisfied with your belief system and don't try to impose it on anyone then that is fine, but if you want anyone to take your theory seriously so that it can be verified and added upon and mathematically developed, then the burden of proof rests upon you to convince people that this is worth doing. In other words, your theory will (most likely) die with you unless you can show that it is scientifically superior to current theories. To do this you will have to do the math, because that is how science (especially physics) is understood.
The theorists are the ones who do the math. If you aren't doing math and you aren't doing experiments (and at least some statistics) then you aren't a scientist - period. I can't think of any scientist every in history who didn't do math. You might (maybe) lay claim to being a philosopher - but those guys are a waste of quarks. SteveBaker (talk) 02:22, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
The reason that the scientific community is so firmly invested in the status quo is because the current theories explain everything better than anything else we know of. This is evidenced by the fact that we have computers, lasers, the internet, gone to the moon, etc... If the current theories were significantly wrong, then how were we able to figure this stuff out? This is not to say that our theories are perfect, we know of several flaws, but any new theory will have to explain all of the phenomena explained by the old theories, and explain something that wasn't explained before. This means every equation and formula from the current theories that explains some observed phenomena correctly will have to fall out of the new theory in some form (of course, the old formula might turn out to be just an approximation to the real formula). It will be simply incredible if you manage to stumble on something that does this without doing any of the math yourself. Jkasd 05:58, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Neptunerover, you appear to be using the reference desk to advocate for your own theory of the evolution of the universe. The reference desk is not intended for advocacy. Rather, we seek to provide factual answers rooted in accepted scholarship. I'd suggest you review the big box at the top of this page and the reference desk guidelines. If your goal is to discuss new theories of your own invention, I'd suggest that you would be better off going to other websites and web forums, but that the Wikipedia reference desk is not really an appropriate place for new research or theories. Dragons flight (talk) 04:46, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Wow, you're not biased at all. Especially since I'm only asking science questions, as far as I know. You certainly don't need to read my questions if you personally find them disagreeable. I've heard this is a free place. --Neptunerover (talk) 05:13, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
On the contrary, I don't believe you have asked a science question. You posted some cosmological claims without any evidence, and later demanded that we disprove them. As Dragons flight stated, that is not the purpose of the reference desk. It is the purpose of Usenet. Comet Tuttle (talk) 06:20, 1 January 2010 (UTC) -Craig Pemberton 07:25, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

I posted a question pertaining to one of the huge mysteries of science, and so I am afraid Comet Tuttle that I do not understand where you are coming from with your irrelevant 'not a science question' remark. As well, I certainly make no demands of anyone who doesn't first make some demand of me. If you personally do not think my proposal is a valuable one, then answer my question with a no. If you're looking to argue about something, I suggest taking it outside. It's all in your attitude. I am just a mirror. --Neptunerover (talk) 10:37, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
But it's not a mystery. We have perfectly good theory for all of that stuff. Just go and read about it! SteveBaker (talk) 02:22, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Please can you re-state your original question, perhaps more succinctly ? I have read this thread, but I am afraid I cannot see what your question is. Gandalf61 (talk) 11:13, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Besides, you can't ask the Rain man to put down on paper a mathematical model explaining the details of how he was able to determine the number of toothpicks there are, and especially not without even counting the toothpicks for yourself. Although I suppose one could try. And if you don't like counting toothpicks, then be happy that you are free to not count toothpicks, but don't go pointing fingers at the Rain man just because you don't like counting toothpicks. He wouldn't either if he had to count them that way. He just had a question (secretly hidden in the section title). Go ahead and ignore him; I promise he won't mind. --Neptunerover (talk) 11:20, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

As long as this whole idea is recognized as originating within the free space of Wikipedia, then I really have no other concern. Wikipedia can never be left out no matter who works it out in a mathematical proof, which would not be a meritless task for whoever did that, I believe. Me, I don't do math. --Neptunerover (talk) 11:54, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Hmmm. So I think your question is "Can the phenomena normally attributed to gravity be explained by assuming there is no attractive force between matter, but instead every astronomical body is expanding in volume at an accelerating rate that depends on what we conventionally call its surface gravity ?" Answer - no. Reasons - many. Here are three:
  1. We can detect movements in the Earth's crust of the order of a few mm per year. We would certainly notice if the distance between London and Sydney were increasing at any significant rate at all, let alone an accelerating rate.
  2. If the Earth is expanding then in the past it must have been smaller. To avoid quickly reaching the point where the Earth was nonexistent, you must assume that the rate of expansion in the past was much slower than it is today. But that leads to a much lower effective surface gravity in the past, which would mean no atmosphere, no oceans and no life on Earth.
  3. Gravity acts at a distance, and this property is required to explain the dynamics of the orbits of the Moon, the planets, and even the stars in a galaxy. The planetary expansion model only replicates the effect of gravity at a body's surface; you would need some entirely new and different mechanism to explain orbital dynamics and tidal forces. Gandalf61 (talk) 13:07, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Thank you Gandalf61. I see where my solution is hung up. Time. Thanks. Peace out.--Neptunerover (talk) 14:53, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Off-topic discussion moved to talk page. --NorwegianBlue talk 21:37, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

El Nino Southern Oscillation[edit]

Hi. My previous question on this subject did not receive an answer. If anybody has an answer, please provide it here. Also, as an aside, is it common for oscillations such as ENSO, PNA and AO to result in storms that have a rapid and significant effect on global ocean currents and circulation? Thanks. ~AH1(TCU) 01:47, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

I did try and find an answer last time you asked but could not turn up anything definitive. This book would appear to have a map showing what you want but Google books seem to have failed to scan it properly, you may have to go and get it from a library. Note that they are using the more modern term "Peru current" instead of "Humboldt current". If you use Humboldt current el nino or Peru current el nino as a search term in Google books you will get a lot more with descriptions of this phenomenon. They all seem to agree the upwelling is pushed west, but where exactly it ends up there is no clear statement. SpinningSpark 12:30, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Ah, I can now see the map on Amazon "look inside". Unfortunately there is little point posting the link, you can only use "look inside" if you have an account with Amazon with a recent purchase on it. The map shows the whole Peru current levered westward by the El Niño current and ending slightly further West and South in the direction of Tahiti (but not getting anywhere near Tahiti before it meets the South Equatorial Current). Hope that helps. SpinningSpark 12:41, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Hi. Thanks for that answer, but is there any idea where the cold upwelling ends up after meeting the S. Equatorial Current; does it pushed underneath? Where does the colder water appear to end up in the current condition of El Nino? Also, this will probably be more difficult to answer, but do El Nino and the other oscillations have a mutual effect if huge storms are produced in the anomalous weather patterns and sea surface temperatures, then the storms themselves in turn have an effect on SSTs and ocean currents? Thanks. ~AH1(TCU) 19:51, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

The never dying fruitcake[edit]

We often make our Christmas Cake and Christmas Pudding in late December/early January for consumption the following Christmas and save some for the following Easter. What gives these and other types of fruitcakes their longevity (Wedding cakes have been to known to still be edible decades after the event)? Is it perhaps the concoction of the mixture itself, the added alcoholic content, the icing on the cake or a bit of all? Nanonic (talk) 02:11, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Fruitcakes last longer than sponges anyway because of the high sugar content, and low water and fat. On top of that, Christmas cake is often properly doused in alcohol, which, as you say, has an effect. Instructions on keeping a cake for a long time usually tell you to feed it at regular intervals, topping up the evaporated alcohol. Proper storage will also help. I'm not convinced that the icing increases their longevity, since the cake lasts so long un-iced. But certainly if you iced it with fondant or buttercream, rather than marzipan and royal icing, the icing itself would degrade much sooner, and possibly take the cake with it. (talk) 02:22, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
The high sugar content (from both added sugar and the sugar in the fruit, I suppose) relative to the amount of water results in a low water activity, which makes it very difficult for bacteria to grow. (Or something along those lines.) --Tango (talk) 02:29, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Some website or magazine article once said that the longer a plum pudding is kept, the better it is. I believe there is one in the back of a shelf in the kitchen which has been lurking there for several decades, so it should be very good indeed, unless someone threw it out in a fit of cleaning up. Sugar, like salt, alcohol, freezing or desiccation , can be a preservative, moving a food outside the comfort zone of bacteria. Now to rummage through the kitchen shelves. Edison (talk) 03:17, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Don't forget the Rum Sauce! If the pudding has any problem that'll fix it! Misc-tpvgames.gif-- (talk) 08:57, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
We will not provide medical advice. ~AH1(TCU) 19:38, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Lunar exploration and Moon rock[edit]

Hello, I want to know

  1. how to purchase moon rock. Here is a site offering moon rocks and other extraterrestrial rocks for sale. Is it genuine? Do I require any license or something like that to possess a rock of extraterrestrial origin?
  2. what will be the cost of an Apollo 11-type lunar exploration where one man will descend on the surface of the moon, collect rocks and return to earth? --Qoklp (talk) 05:23, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Our article Moon rock says the Apollo moon rocks are "currently considered priceless" but the Lunar meteorite article says that rocks ejected from the Moon which landed on Earth are sometimes available . It claims that one out of every thousand newly discovered meteorites is a lunar meteorite (but that statement has no citation). To your second question, this report from the GAO says the Constellation program moon mission will cost US$97 billion through the year 2020, but the report says in the same breath that the cost is quite uncertain what with the changing mission objectives. I'm not actually certain whether the $97 billion number includes the manned mission. Comet Tuttle (talk) 06:09, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
  1. (ec*2) If it is genuine, they are almost certainly lunar meteorites.
  2. According to our article Apollo program, the cost of the Apollo spacecraft and Saturn rocket was about $83 billion for one trip. The cost of doing something similar to collect rocks would be comparable. Jkasd 06:15, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, the site is selling broken up pieces of meteorite, not rocks brought back by Apollo, despite the suggestive pictures in the advertising. I would also point out that although they claim the rocks to be guaranteed genuine lunar rocks, the guarantee comes from "fellow members of the International Meteorite Collectors Association". That is, it is not an independent guarantee. The huge cost of retrieving rocks from the surface of the moon is shown by this: if gold bars were stacked up on the surface of the moon all ready for transport back to earth, it would still not be an economic proposition to go and get them with an Apollo type mission. Even bringing back a thousand tons of gold would not cover the costs, and Apollo was only capable of bringing back a few pounds of material. All the moon rock brought back in this way is being used for scientific purposes. The only Apollo moon material that has found its way on to the open market, as far as I know, is in a painting by Buzz Aldrin who mixed into the paint some moon dust found in his personal belongings. SpinningSpark 13:10, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Correction, the painter is ex-astronaut Alan Bean of Apollo 12, not Buzz Aldrin. SpinningSpark 17:56, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Bringing back 100 tons of moon rocks would also severely distort the market and likely cause the price to shrink considerably. Googlemeister (talk) 16:29, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

yield for reduction of amides with LiAlH4[edit]

It seems to me that the critical step (during the tetrahedral intermediate stage) that the tetrahedral intermediate could go both ways. A C=O bond is thermodynamically more stable than a C=N bond, but I know there are kinetic effects at play. I'm thinking -- if the amino group gets expelled, it remains a good nucleophile and it's hard to pick up a proton in an LiAlH4 environment, so it reattacks the carbonyl, which is activated because the oxygen is bound to aluminum. Whereas if the oxygen gets expelled -- the amino group can lose a proton and the imine can become relatively resistant to the Al-OH nucleophile? If I were to carry out such a reaction (assume simple amides, e.g. an N-acylated amino acid but say the amino leaving group is large enough not to evaporate), what sort of yields should I expect? John Riemann Soong (talk) 10:53, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

P.S. aluminum hydroxide is actually acidic, right? I can't tell on our Wikipedia page whether the pka is for the conjugate base (as R2Al-O-) or the conjugate Lewis acid (R2Al+) HOH. I suspect the former.

Diesel automobiles without diesel particulate filters[edit]

I want a list of the currently produced diesel automobiles which aren't available with a diesel particulate filter. -- (talk) 11:33, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

This source states "According to one auto parts catalog, from 1960 to 2002, over 25 Manufacturers have made at least 236 different passenger vehicle models with diesel engines." and provides a list of manufacturers and models. One way to compile your list would be to survey all these models; an easier way might be to investigate which vehicles are marketed in the U.K. and approved under the London low emission zone diesel pollution regulations. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 01:05, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Gluten free bacon[edit]

I bought my usual bacon yesterday which comes from a local company and noticed that it had a selling point on it that said "Gluten free". After looking at the ingredients of that and the big name (Oscar Mayer) brand, I couldn't figure out where the gluten comes from or went. Is this just an empty statement like a bottle of water claiming "Sugar Free!" or some such thing? (talk) 15:02, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I think it's an empty statement. I can't see why there would ever be gluten in bacon... Sausages, sure - they sometimes contain bread crumbs - but not bacon. --Tango (talk) 16:07, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
It's not really an empty statement, there are loads of things that are obvious when you think about it but that label makers put on to highlight their product. "Lactose free" for any kosher parve item is an example. DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 16:15, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
It's not necessarily an empty statement; see for example this discussion thread. Among other possible routes for gluten is via 'seasonings' added to the meat. Apparently some manufacturers may incorporate soy sauce (which often contains wheat, and hence gluten) in their flavouring mix. Some companies (e.g. Kraft, of which Oscar Mayer is one of their labels) have a corporate policy to always indicate wheat- and gluten-containing ingredients on their packaging: [1]. Some other companies may have different policies; it's important to do your homework on this one. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 17:33, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Bacon may contain maltodextrin, a sugar commercially obtained in the EU from wheat or maize. This may be added to sweet-cure bacons such as 'maple-cured' bacon to impart a palatable sweet flavour without actually having solely to use maple syrup, which is rather expensive and may not be familiar to European tastes. I am unclear as to whether or not this could provoke an allergic reaction in those sensitive to wheat and gluten additives, although products containing maltodextrin are commonly labelled as having containing wheat products in the EU. You might wish to try plain, unflavoured bacon products, which are not labelled as having containing gluten. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:00, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Maltodextrin is a highly processed polysaccharide, and regardless of what it's made of, contains no gluten, which is a protein. It's therefore generally considered safe for those with celiac disease (though some individuals with celiac avoid it anyway). I don't know anything about wheat allergies, and had a hard time making sense of the information I found, so I don't know the story there. It'd seem to be safe to me, but I'm no expert. Other "malted" or "malt flavoring" ingredients are usually made of barley, and can contain gluten. "Natural flavorings" also may or not be trouble. So yes, plenty of sources of hidden gluten, and if a product contains none of them, there is a market segment (people with celiac who must avoid all gluten, people with wheat allergies who ditto, and people with neither who avoid gluten for other reasons) who may be more likely to purchase said product if the hard work of label reading is done for them. Marketing device? Sure, but useful for some folks, and sometimes less obvious (what goes into a hot dog?) than others (there's no wheat in a banana...der). The "gluten free" label on the front of a package is not the same as the "CONTAINS: WHEAT" at the end of the ingredients list, which is required by law for all foods sold in the United States (though a food can contain no wheat and still be chock full of barley). Some jerk on the Internet (talk) 17:31, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...[edit]

It just hit me -- what in the word does this opening line of all the Star Wars films even mean? Certainly the story depicted didn't happen a long time ago, or else we'd have records of it? The technology is far greater than we will ever see in reality. Wouldn't it have been better to have said, "Sometime in the future, in a galaxy far, far away..."? Granted its not as poetic, but I'm sure Lucas could have thought up something nicer. DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 16:13, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

If it happened in a "Galaxy far far away" then the information travelling at the speed of light may not have made it to us. I suspect he put it in the past instead of the future to give it a more historic rather than speculative feel. Most people ignore that sentence completely. RJFJR (talk) 16:22, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
This is the reason that all articles at Wookieepedia are written in the past tense. Staecker (talk) 16:25, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
So you're saying that our planet was in the outer rim to such an extent that we were not involved in the Republic? Seems implausible. And the fact that most people ignore that sentence doesn't make it any less canon and therefor damning in terms of the overarching ramifications it has on the story line. DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 16:34, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Note that he says "In a galaxy far far away". A close galaxy is Andromeda Galaxy, and it is two million light-years away. So if he said a galaxy that is not close ("far, far away") that could mean hundreds of millions, or even billions of light years away. We could have been warm slime in some ancient ocean when the "events" took place, and we still wouldn't be able to detect any remnants of their civilization. J.delanoygabsadds 16:41, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
There are a lot of sci-fi "futuristic" stories that are set in our past. (Battlestar Galactica also comes to mind.) The general idea is often that we are meant to be descendants from those people, but we've lost out on our history. As to how it actually works out, canonically, I don't think that is meant to be spelled out explicitly (and would be pretty boring). As for not having records of it, there are a million plausible ways for that to be the case (e.g., earth humans were "seeded" and did not come here knowingly or voluntarily). (As for whether the tech is plausible or not... that's pretty much not the point of Star Wars.) --Mr.98 (talk) 16:45, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Hmmm...OK, that's a good response. J.delanoy's post was particularly helpful :) DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 17:05, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

And in any case, the poetic nature of it is mostly the point. Star Wars is a classic Hero's Journey in a scifi setting: it's supposed to be like an old legend that happened once upon a time. The opening line tells you how to process the story you're being told. (talk) 17:04, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
The "outer rim" signifies that we are in the same galaxy. According to the sentence, we are not. Since they don't really leave their own galaxy in Star Wars, this should provide some continuity. Awickert (talk) 17:05, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
[citation needed] for the claim most people ignore the sentence. I don't consider myself a major Star Wars fan but I was well aware that the Star Wars universe was supposed to be in the past. The Weird Al Yankovic song probably helped as did the fact one of my brothers went thru a phase of watching Star Wars a lot but it's not like it's that confusing, there's no earth after all. I never really thought of the ramifications in depth, although I did sometimes think may be we were supposed to be the descendents or maybe just a different people that for some strange reason look the same... I don't really see any reason to presume most people who paid any attention weren't similarly aware of this. Obviously some people (perhaps even 'most people') wouldn't have been aware as they don't know much about the story universe and background because they didn't care and ignored most of it including the long time ago thing. And I'm sure some people did find it confusing and so ignored it, but I don't see any reason to presume it's 'most people'. In any case of all the implausible things in Star Wars that requires major suspension of disbelieve (Ewoks anyone? Death Star design? And we haven't even gotten to 1-3) it seems to me that "long time ago, galaxy far, far away is a very minor thing". Nil Einne (talk) 18:24, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Instead of speculating, why not look in Wookiepedia who may actually have the answer. In their time travel article they say:
  • Time travel was also a plot device used in Alien Exodus, a canceled and thus non-canonical novel. In Alien Exodus, the humans of the Star Wars galaxy are revealed to be the descendants of a group of refugees from Earth whose ship accidentally traveled through a wormhole. This wormhole took them not just to another galaxy, but to another time, billions of years in the past: in other words, they found themselves "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away."
Strangely, they appear to have had an article A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away at one time but it is now deleted. Maybe RJFJR is right, most people, including Wookiepedia, ignore it.
SpinningSpark 18:16, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
They do, however, still have the article Galaxy Far, Far Away. --NorwegianBlue talk 21:32, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
I believe the Lego Star Wars figures are closer to the real Star Wars and that human like figures were only used in the films to cut down costs. In one of the Star Wars games there is a bonus level where they act out being in a galaxy far far away on a planet that looks like Earth. ;-) Dmcq (talk) 00:32, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Measuring vitamin C[edit]

How would you measure how much Vitamin C is in a sample? There was an article that mentioned some high school students tested commercial fruit juice and when the results didn't match the packaging the company got in trouble; so it shouldn't be too hard (but it could be 'send sample to lab and wait six weeks.') If it's really easy then I'm curious how much vitamin C there is in my cup of nettle tea. RJFJR (talk) 16:25, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

It looks like one test is a fairly straightforward titration against DCPIP: [2]. Another variation noted in our article (ascorbic acid#Determination) uses titration against iodine in the presence of starch. Both of those assays are based on straightforward colour changes, so you don't need any specialized equipment. (Getting DCPIP may be more difficult.) I will note that extended heating and exposure to air will both oxidize ascorbic acid, which may mean that your apparent yield of vitamin C depends quite a bit on your tea brewing process. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 17:19, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Here's a guide to using iodine:[3] Fences&Windows 17:21, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Hmm, I thought there would be a problem of selectivity, e.g. the issue of false positives (if there are other antioxidants involved), but I guess the fact that a test fails even with nonselective tests damns the companies more. John Riemann Soong (talk) 21:16, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Testing for vitamin C content isn't that uncommon in school I believe since it can be a fairly simple test particularly with DCPIP . I did it in my A-level biology for example and think it's also done sometimes in Malaysian form 4 or form 5 (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia level). Incidentally, in the Ribena#Vitamin C content case you're thinking of, iodine was evidentally used [4]. Note I expect it is highly unlikely the results from the 2 schoolgirls or any similar amateur results would have any standing in court, particularly if the company produces professional results which show something else. However they may be enough (as they were in this case) to convince regulatory authorities or consumer affairs organisations to look in to it and conduct their own tests or pay for a professional test which will. Ideally the company themselves will look in to it and take action themselves when they find out you were right (which didn't happen). Nil Einne (talk) 18:44, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Slim elderly people[edit]

Most or perhaps all very elderly people I can recall seeing seem to be slim. Is there any evidence that this is due to either a) only slim people surviving to a ripe old age, or b) even formerly overweight people losing weight as part of the process of becoming very old? (talk) 21:19, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

You may be interested in this SpinningSpark 22:21, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Selection bias. All the very elderly people you see in public are the most healthy and athletic (more likely not to be overweight). Looking in homes and hospitals you see the rest. You get the same selection bias with smokers who acquire emphasema and drop out of public view. Polypipe Wrangler (talk) 22:43, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. It's selection bias. You may come from a fairly slim family to begin with, so your older relatives are therefore slim. If you want wp:or, a grandmother on my side and another on my wife's side were both overweight and both lived into their 80s. If you want more notable examples, Marlon Brando lived to 80 and was overweight. Jack Nicholson is 72 (don't know if that counts as "elderly" for you) and is overweight. Dismas|(talk) 23:43, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Plus, you can add in the factor of increasingly overweight populations in developed countries, which affects the younger groups more than the older groups. On top of that, it is pretty common for people to lose weight if they develop dementia, as they forget to eat properly. (talk) 03:57, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

"Very elderly" people to me would be people in their late eighties, nineties, and beyond. (talk) 12:45, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

  • The term used in the literature is "oldest old". Being underweight probably reduces life expectancy among people over 70, but being obese may not, though the literature is mixed on the question (obesity will certainly reduce quality of life and increase medical costs). One recent study found that "low BMI (<22 kg/m2) increased the risk of fracture by 38% (hazard ratio = 1.38, 95% CI 1.11, 1.73) and all-cause mortality by 52% (hazard ratio = 1.52, 95% CI 1.30, 1.79)."[5] Another found that "obesity has little effect on life expectancy in adults aged 70 years and older. However, the obese are more likely to become disabled. This means that obese older adults live both more years and a higher proportion of their remaining lives disabled."[6] This is supported by a review that concluded that "Obese seventy-year-olds will live about as long as those of normal weight but will spend more than $39,000 more on health care."[7] Another study found that "Modifiable healthy behaviors during early elderly years, including smoking abstinence, weight management, blood pressure control, and regular exercise, are associated not only with enhanced life span in men but also with good health and function during older age".[8] Also see this review that argues that obesity does shorten life expectancy (although the effects of weight on longevity might not be the same at each stage of life). Fences&Windows 17:41, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Oh, and see this: "The average body mass index among survivors decreased by age."[9] Those above claiming selection bias (with no reference to the literature, come on guys) might be wrong. Fences&Windows 17:46, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Some of my elderly relatives experience pain in chewing and/or difficulty swallowing, which dramatically diminishes their desire to eat. In some cases depression and/or dementia also seems to diminish their appetite. -- Coneslayer (talk) 12:43, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Triple point[edit]

If you put a substance at its triple point, which phase would it look like if you had a large enough amount to see it? It can't look like a solid, liquid, and gas all at the same time, can it? -- (talk) 23:11, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Sure it can. It looks like a mixture of solid and liquid at the bottom of your vessel, and the gas phase at the top. That's exactly what it is. I guess that you are probably confusing triple point with a critical point. At the triple point, three different phases (solid, liquid, and gas; or, generally, any three distinct phases) coexist, but differ in their structure and properties. At a critical point, two distinct phases (usually liquid and gas, or two solid phases) become indistinct. --Dr Dima (talk) 23:21, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
So some of the material is in each of the three phases, rather than the whole substance being indistinct? -- (talk) 14:22, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Exactly. --Tango (talk) 14:47, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
I find it hard to believe that no energy is needed to change phase. That implies that the actual phase of a substance at its triple point depends on the direction from which it was brought to the triple point. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 23:29, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Why would that be hard to believe? Many real life situations are not symmetrical with respect to time. (talk) 01:04, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
A substance at its triple point is in dynamic equilibrium - bits are constantly changing phase in all directions with the total number of particles in each phase staying approximately constant and the energy changes all cancel out (temperature refers to the average energy, the energies of individual particles are constantly changing). An arbitrarily small (but non-zero) change in temperature or pressure can break that equilibrium and make the whole substance change to one phase. I'm not really sure what you mean by "no energy is needed to change phase" - a substance at its triple point won't be in one phase, it will be a mixture of all three, so you can't change the phase. The proportion of each phase will depend on the route taken to reach the triple point. --Tango (talk) 01:43, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
What Cuddlyable3 is saying is that by adding or removing energy to/from the system the amount of substance in each phase will change accordingly and he is right. Not only that. The total volume of the system can also change by (de)compressing it without changing its pressure and the total amount of substance in each phase will change accordingly. Dauto (talk) 01:56, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Carcinoma in Situ[edit]

I have been searching for some information about Carcinoma in Situ, via Google search-Carcinoma in Situ-Treatment-and I haven’t got any information on how long will the Carcinoma take to become a true cancer? One of my family members has it, initially existed, and I’m wondering if it is too late? Perhaps it progressed into a true cancer and we still don’t know it! How much time do we have before its too late? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:39, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia has an article on carcinoma in situ which may provide some background information. However, Wikipedia's editors cannot offer you advice or speculation about the diagnosis or prognosis of any particular person. By far your best source of information is your family member's physician or oncologist, and I would strongly encourage you to go there with your questions. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 00:02, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Manifestation of carcinoma-in-situ and its progression to metastatic disease differs between the various types of malignancies -- as such, much like life itself, this is not a simple question and thus cannot be solves with a simple answer. If you would put a more specific diagnosis, you'd likely get a more specific response -- but then again, a more specific diagnosis would only exacerbate your question's violation of the "no requests for medical advice" on the reference desk. Thus, I'd agree with Ten above and suggest you speak with your oncologist, unless you're unhappy with him or her. In that case, speak to another oncologist (or at least a pathologist). DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 13:54, 5 January 2010 (UTC)