Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Science/2013 November 21

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November 21[edit]

Problems developing life forms on planets around orange and red dwarf main sequence stars[edit]

For a while, I thought planets around orange and red dwarf stars the planets around it can develop advanced life forms, more advanced than it can get up to humans. But my teacher told me developing life forms around orange and red dwarf main sequence stars can be harder because of the solar flares. But the thing is orange and red dwarfs stars have 10s or 100s of billion years to linger on main sequence than how can planets around the stars have hard time developing lives. Because some people thinks if at all they can only get up to simple life bacteria on planets around red dwarfs, how come life development is than slim, when small red stars have 10s or 100s of billion years to live on main sequence? Can small orange star planets reach the life forms get up to human types, or its life available on the harbor planets have to be more limited (at most hit up to life developed to Cambrian period? Orange dwarf stars have reduced luminosity, it have 10s or 50s billion years to linger on main sequence. Is the problems reduced luminosity, requiring CHZ to be closer to the parent star, or is it reduced ultraviolet radiation and solar wind, making greenhouse gases hard to escape from planets. Can too little solar wind cause problems on planets making greenhouse gases hard to escape?--69.226.32.110 (talk) 05:59, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

Any answer we give is outrageous guesswork. However, I am suspicious that ultraviolet light plays an important role in getting the ball rolling, because it's a source of direct energy to create different kinds of reactions. See [1] for an example. Wnt (talk) 06:25, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Also note that the greenhouse effect isn't always bad. First, if a planet is so far away or the star is so dim that it would be too cold for life, then some greenhouse effect can bring the temperature up to something better for life. Second, a thick atmosphere helps keep the temperature more constant between day and night, which promotes life. Third, even a case of "runaway greenhouse effect", like on Venus, might tend to favor some forms of life. On Earth we have organisms that live around black smokers and such, where conditions aren't that far off from Venus. StuRat (talk) 07:04, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
In discussing the possibilities of terraforming Mars, Carl Sagan said that we would necessarily have to create a greenhouse effect and global warming there. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:25, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
It isn't just the greenhouse effect. The Martian Atmosphere, according to Mars, has an average surcace pressure of about 600 pascals. Earth has an average surface pressure of about 100 kilopascals, making the Martian atmosphere less than 1% as dense as the Earth's. That's a LOT of gases in general you'd have to import to Mars to get an atmosphere which is breathable, never mind warm enough, for people to survive. You'd need an atmosphere that is about 75-80% inert gas and 20% oxygen to be breathable, and to get THAT atmosphere on Mars is just a lot of matter to get onto that planet. Besides the fact that the lack of a magnetosphere means that the solar wind is constantly stripping said atmosphere away, which is a problem Earth doesn't have. --Jayron32 14:13, 21 November 2013 (UTC)


There are two very distinct questions here:
  1. What is needed for life to initially develop? ...and...
  2. What is needed for it to continue to survive after that?
We know that extremophiles from Earth can live in outrageously nasty conditions (by human standards at least!) - but that only answers part (2) of the problem. Perhaps life needs a very special set of precise conditions to initially develop from inert compounds (this is called "abiogenesis"), but once it has a toe-hold, evolution is certainly capable of adapting initially fragile life into extremophiles who could live in all manner of difficult places. We can say with some degree of certainty that given time to adapt, Earthly life could evolve to survive on the surface of Venus, or even Mars - perhaps in oceans under the ice of various moons, for example.
But the tricky part is (1)...What does it take for life to initially develop? Because science does not yet know (for sure) how that initial abiogenesis step happened here on Earth, we have no idea what conditions were necessary for it to happen. Worse still, we can only possibly know those conditions for DNA/RNA-based lifeforms like all of life on Earth. We can't say what it would take for a lifeform based on some other scheme entirely would need.
Hence, we can discuss with some degree of accuracy whether DNA/RNA life could continue to exist on a suitable planet orbiting at an appropriate distance around a Red Dwarf - but we have absolutely no clue whether life could initially develop there.
Worse still than that, there is an increasing body of evidence for the "panspermia" notion that life didn't even develop here on Earth - but that it was carried here on a meteor or comet from some other place. If that turns out to be true, then perhaps life doesn't have to develop around a Red Dwarf - maybe it develops right here on earth, gets shot out into space following a giant impact early in our history - then sails gracefully through space until it hits a small planet orbiting Proxima Centauri (a red dwarf just 4 light years away) - and survives long enough to evolve to live underground or deep underwater - where it's protected from solar flares or whatever.
When you put together panspermia as a means for life to develop someplace different from where it currently lives - with the "we have no clue" answer to what Earth-like DNA/RNA life took to develop - and toss in the possibility of life based on other forms of biochemistry - then coming up with bold statements like "Life can't exist around Red Dwarfs" starts to look like a completely untenable claim.
Let's go one step further. There is no reason to believe that mankind won't one day soon figure out how to make self-reproducing machines - robots that can mine materials and be powered by solar panels and which can make more robots. That seems entirely possible. It's also quite reasonable to imagine that we could engineer such a thing to live near Proxima Centauri. Now you have to ask yourself whether our definition of "life" (which is exceedingly hard to pin down) should include artificial self-reproducing entities? If so, then an advanced civilisation living on a twin planet of Earth might quite easily have seeded planets orbiting Red Dwarves with this kind of "life" billions of years ago - which may in turn have evolved into advanced beings who are most certainly "alive" by any reasonable standards - and living absolutely anywhere where there is a source of raw materials and sufficient energy to keep them running (albeit very slowly).
The universe is huge, and incredibly ancient - I don't see any reason why life should not exist in every conceivable niche - however seemingly hostile. However, there are very likely to be some fairly strict limits as to where life can initially develop - but we don't have any idea what those limits are, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!
So - feel free to ignore your teacher - let your imagination roam free - and perhaps gently suggest that he or she try to think outside the box for a while before making such bold (and clearly unsupportable) claims.
SteveBaker (talk) 14:50, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
We actually have an article about it: Habitability of red dwarf systems. main problems: low energy output so small habitable region close to the star, planets being tide-locked so no day-night sequence, tidal heating may boil the planets, solar output could vary up to 40% due to sunspots (compared to 0.1% with our sun), massive solar flares could strip the atmosphere... Ssscienccce (talk) 18:08, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
My point is that while this situation might seem impossibly difficult for life to initially form, those problems are not necessarily issues for already-existing life to adapt to. I have no doubt that we (as an advanced civilization) could design a machine that would function perfectly well on the boundary between boiling and freezing on a tidally-locked planet - living in perpetual (but relatively comfortable) twilight. That could sit there absorbing energy from the star until it has enough stored up to take one small step in its life cycle, then go back to absorbing this low grade solar energy until it can take the next step. It could bury most of its sensitive parts below ground, or in pools of whatever liquid may be there - where the solar flares would not damage it. Such a machine could be designed to slowly reproduce itself - it could even be made to evolve as it does so - it could be made functionally indistinguishable from "life".
The sharp temperature gradients between the side of the planet that's boiling lava and the side that's frozen solid are the perfect places to collect free geothermal energy - life could exist on the energy flow due to that temperature gradient without ever seeing daylight on the surface. Buried deep underground, they would be immune to solar flares and could easily find that 'sweet spot' between boiling and freezing. There are earthly extremophiles who survive with far less resources.
Who is to know that some advanced civilisation, living in a more comfortable place, wouldn't go out and seed the planets of red dwarf stars with artificially created (or possibly bio-engineered) life forms that would thrive, reproduce and evolve under those difficult circumstances?
If it's possible (even in principle) for something artificial to survive and reproduce - then we must ask ourselves whether we can rule out the possibility of life ever developing there in the first place. But we absolutely cannot make that determination. We really don't know how DNA/RNA life formed here on Earth, so we can't say what conditions might be favorable and what not. We have even less idea whether other forms of life (based on other chemistry) is possible. So saying "life is impossible here" is ridiculous. There is an energy source (albeit a weak one), there is a source of raw materials - that's all that self-reproducing organisms need if we free them from the need to be fragile DNA/RNA machines. We can't rule it out - we just can't. SteveBaker (talk) 15:19, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
I just did a moment's web searching and found [2]. There are lots of goodies that come up on a search like "red dwarfs" flares lifespan... sometimes for science questions, searching is very frustrating and it's best to ask an expert. But for a field as diffuse and speculative as life on other planets, you're better off casting a wide net and seeing what comes up in it. Wnt (talk) 21:00, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

From a science perspective, we have no observable evidence that life exists outside earth. No "I love Lucy" episodes have beamed in. We speculate where life "might" be but the uniqueness of our own condition means we could easily be overconstraining it or underconstraining it as life boundaries and mechanisms are too unknown. Could life live on a comet? Could it use different chemistry? Could it depend on the energy available? what does "extreme" mean? What is "alive"? What is intelligent? There are so many constraints, assumptions, guesses an possibilities that it is ultimately unknowable until/unless actually found. It's like playing the game "guess what number I'm thinking" with a range of 1 to 1 trillion with the possibility that I'm thinking of a letter (if you guessed 42, good try). So yes, life could exist anywhere because we have no reasonable way to constrain it and no, life may be unique to earth because we have no way to know whether life could exist elsewhere. These questions sound sciencey but they are really more philosophical. "Are we alone?" "Is there a God?" all point to the same place of a certain amount of faith and philosophy that science is simply not ready to answer. --DHeyward (talk) 05:44, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

Yes, exactly.
We cannot rule out the hypothesis that we're completely unique and alone - and we also cannot rule out the possibility that life exists around 90% of all stars - or even that life exists between the stars.
Let's be clear about this though. The fact that we haven't detected "I love Lucy" coming from outside of our world doesn't tell us much about life around other worlds.
If we're talking about omnidirectional broadcasts (like our TV's, cellphones and most other radios) - where the signal spreads out in all directions, then it's important to note that our radio receivers (even radio telescopes) simply aren't sensitive enough...if you took the most powerful radio transmitter we've ever built and put it on the nearest star to our sun (Proxima centauri - 4 lightyears away), our most sensitive radio receiver would be unable to detect it. So the only signals we're likely to spot with current technology are those aimed directly at us (like a laser beam)...and that is unlikely to happen because nobody "out there" could have known we were here more than maybe a hundred years ago. That means that only civilizations on planets within 50 lightyears of us could have had time to send us a message. There are only 1875 stars within 50ly...so all we know is that statistically, less than one in 2000 stars have civilizations with either ungodly powerful radio transmitters or insanely sensitive radio telescopes who actually care to talk to a clearly warlike, potentially space-faring people like us. In another 100 years, there will be 15,000 stars within range - and after 1,000 years about 1.8 million of them. So we should certainly keep looking and not give up just because we didn't find anything yet.
But consider this: We know that (for example) dinosaurs existed at the top of the food chain for 135 million years - and never got smart enough to come close to making even the simplest stone tools - let alone building radio telescopes. Whales and dolphins have similar size brains - they've been around for 55 million years - and also, not so much as a stone axe. Yet mankind went from apes to radio telescopes in less than 1 million years. So we know for sure that it's easily possible for species of large, impressive animals to get stuck in an evolutionary niche without the prospect of ever becoming intelligent tool-makers to the degree necessary to communicate between stars.
So we shouldn't be surprised that life on other worlds isn't beaming us episodes of "I love Phhttaargh".
Which is hardly any indication that there are no bacteria (or giant insectoid monsters for that matter) on some planet orbiting a star a hundred lightyears from here.
SteveBaker (talk) 13:56, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

Dreamliner takeoff distance[edit]

What is the Boeing 787 Dreamliner's minimum takeoff distance when it's carrying the minimum possible weight, including very little fuel? The article talks about its minimum takeoff distance when fully loaded, and this news article does too, but nobody seems to talk about whether the airplane in the article could fly to its intended destination if they unloaded it and moved the freight to the destination airport by road or a smaller airplane. 2001:18E8:2:28C9:F000:0:0:A11E (talk) 14:37, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

I was wondering that too. But it wasn't a 787 doing the delivering, right? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:36, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Indeed not, it's a modified 747 cargo aircraft. Page 9 of this paper gives the critical runway length (that is, if one engine fails during take off, something they have to worry about) for two different 747 variants, at 3000m and 3500m respectively (it's about 75% of that as long as all the engines work okay). That variant is different, and may be a bit heavier due to its larger fuselage, but that's the rough distance. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 16:03, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Although those are MTOW (maximum take off weight) numbers. I don't know if they publish minimum weight numbers. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 16:06, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Indeed, they do - they define the legal and safe weight and balance envelope. The pilot in command of the aircraft must crunch the numbers to ensure that the airplane weighs enough - if it is too light, or if the weight is improperly distributed, the aircraft will be aerodynamically unstable. In such circumstances, when a large aircraft ends up at a tiny GA airport, or the length of the runway with respect to the takeoff roll is doubtful, the aircraft may not be legally certified to take off. The aircraft operators then file for a ferry permit with the local FSDO (part of the FAA), who may allow the aircraft to take off below its legal minimums - or outside its ordinary category envelope - provided that it is actually capable of the flight. If it's marginal, the operators may wait for a much colder and windier day (with a lower density altitude and a solid headwind) to bring the takeoff roll even shorter. Nimur (talk) 16:22, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
And the runway at Colonel James Jabara Airport is 1,860m. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 16:07, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
In the United States, we measure runways in feet: AAO has a 6101'x100' runway. Normally I advocate the SI system of units, but there are times when it is inappropriate to require a unit conversion, such as during the landing of a large aircraft. The POH specs takeoff rolls in feet; the FAA's charts and data sheets spec airfields and elevations in feet; the altimeters are measuring in feet, the radio communication uses feet. Nimur (talk) 16:32, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
The aircraft concerned is a Dreamlifter, not a Dreamliner. Very different (and very different from a normal 747, too). - David Biddulph (talk) 16:34, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
If they're going to want to unload it (I don't think I've seen a news report that says whether it is loaded) then that would prove a logistical challenge too. The gigantic DBL-110 "Dreamloader" is "half the width of a football field", putting it about 20m wide - it'll be very hard to get one of those to the airfield. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 16:59, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Oh, it's far worse than that! The aircraft is too large to turn on to a taxiway! It's still on the runway, which is why the FAA filed this NOTAM:!AAO 11/009 AAO RWY 18/36 CLSD 1311211440-1311212200. The runway is shut down for all other landing or departing aircraft! Nimur (talk) 17:08, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
This report says that the tug to turn the aircraft around has arrived, that they can take off, and that they intend to do so "around noon" today (an hour or so from now). -- Finlay McWalterTalk 17:18, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
That article says that after takeoff it "will then land at McConnell Air Force base and unload, as planned." Thincat (talk) 17:36, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
I never heard of a Dreamlifter before, so I guess I misread the original news article. But doesn't "half the width of a football field" mean bigger than 20m? When we Americans talk about something being the size of a football field (or half, or whatever), we normally mean its length. Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter has a wingspan of 211 ft 5 in, which is a width vaguely close to half of an American football field's length of 360 feet. 2001:18E8:2:28C9:F000:0:0:A11E (talk) 17:37, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
It's the Dreamloader, the machine they use for loading the Dreamcarrier (with bits of Dreamliner), that's about 20m wide. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 17:50, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
The article that Finlay linked earlier actually specified: "The longest in the world at 118 ft., 1 inch, this loader was designed and built in less than 15 months by TLD at its facility in Sherbrooke, Quebec." I wonder if Boeing managed to make Québécois use feet and inches, or if 118'1" is "conveniently close" to 36.0 meters!
I joke, but only partly: confusion between metric and "standard" Canadian units was the reported root-cause for the 1983 Gimli glider fueling mishap, one of the most famous aviation incidents in Canadian history. Nimur (talk) 18:43, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
... and we should draw a veil (or shroud) over the Mars Climate Orbiter. Thincat (talk) 19:05, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Update on KWCH's front page: they got the plane off successfully, and it landed safely at its intended destination :-) 149.160.168.94 (talk) 20:21, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Well...I'd say that the U.S.-metric confusion was a root cause, but far from the only one. When something goes that impressively wrong in commercial aviation there's often a bunch of technical and human failures that stack up, the absence of any one of which would have prevented the incident; this is definitely true for the Gimli glider. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:27, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
It being Kansas, which is pretty much flatland, and depending on how far apart the airports are, it might be easier just to close off the roads for a while and drive it there. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:21, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Err.. that sounds right. Ground control: OK, now you are approaching a cross-roads with a no-left -turn so hang a right. Pilot: Is that starboard or port? Ground control: RIGHT!!!! Pilot: Repeat; is that starboard or port? Ground control: The hand with which one writes with!! Pilot: Well I'm left handed... so is that port or starboard? Ground control: See the little green light on one of you wing tips... turn that a way. Pilot: Affirmative, err.. De other wing with de red light has just knocked down some street lights!!! Hey,.. derr is a beefy looking law enforcement officer walking my way with-a-dog. Do you think he is going to search my plane for drugs? Ground control: Plead guilty, If you've driven at over 25 mph with no license plates nor a Mc Donald's drive-through family meal on board, then I think that is your best option! --Aspro (talk) 21:24, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Bugs: That is a dumb answer. You really imagine that there are 200'-wide unobstructed roads leading all the way from one airport to the other? 20-lane highways with no median ditch, no center light poles and no crash-barriers are not exactly commonplace! This thing is so big, they couldn't even find a taxiway wide enough to tow it off the main runway - let alone out of the airport perimeter. You really have to get out of the habit of answering questions that you don't actually know the answer to. SteveBaker (talk) 14:53, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
And that's a dumb retort. If they weren't able to take off, I'd like to know what you think would be a better answer. As it is, it's moot, because it was 90 miles from its proper destination, which would be tough to negotiate driving, and it was able to take off safely anyway. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:19, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
If the airplane can't take off, the most likely alternative would be to partially disassemble the airplane in place and move the parts to a suitable hangar (say, one at McConnell) for reassembly, as is alluded to in this article. (This isn't as unreasonable as it sounds: removing the wings of an airplane is a fairly straightforward operation, and once you've got the wings and tail off, moving them and the fuselage is the sort of thing that oversize-load specialists handle all the time.) --Carnildo (talk) 02:32, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
If it landed, it can take off. The landing roll out would be much larger than a short-field takeoff. The issue is obstacles after it takes off. Short field configuration, same weight, stay in ground effect as long as possible and then climb. As long as the terrain and obstacles are flat there would be no problem. The fact that it landed and didn't take on additional fuel means it should be good to take off. Maximum takeoff weight greatly exceeds landing weight due to structure and rollout. The bigger issue would be damage to the runway, takeoff abort procedure, headwind, etc. They like the 10,000 runways not because they use the full length to rotate, but if they decide not to commit to a takeoff they can stop before the end at near takeoff speed. That's the safety margin they gave up here. The calculations were probably about the go/no-go spot and whether the runway could support the weight. BTW, the 6000'x100' runway is probably a spot on illusion for a 10,000'x150' or 12k'x200' runway. I wonder if they considered a touch and go when they realized they were in the wrong place (or when they knew). The runway lighting would be completely different. They are lucky they didn't wreck the runway pavement. was it the same crew that took off? Somehow, I think not and probably a Boeing test pilot came in. Oh, and driving on a regular road would destroy the road. Even empty, it would exceed the roadway weight limit over the area of the main gear. Runways have very tough criteria and specs for aircraft weight. It's not just a road. --DHeyward (talk) 06:21, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

Rollerball ink splodges[edit]

Why do some rollerball pens produce occasional splodges of ink even if they're fine most of the time? What corners have been cut? --129.215.47.59 (talk) 16:01, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

In my experience, what happens is that unused ink builds up in a lump at the edge of the ball housing, which then falls off, creating the splodge, when it gets too big. I'm not sure this is a design fault, it's just something inherent in the operation of the ballpoint pen. Tevildo (talk) 21:28, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Some are most definitely much worse than others. I always assumed it was due to a poor fit of the ball in the housing leading to a rapid buildup of surplus ink. Of course, the opposite also occurs when the ball is too tight and the ink does not flow smoothly or writes too weak a line. SpinningSpark 22:21, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
Well that was my OR explanation, here's a ref with a different answer,

Rollerballs use water-based ink, which provides smoother, finer lines. They are available in a wider array of colors and require less pressure to use. But their inks tend to dry slowly on the page, can easily smudge and bleed, and can dry out in the pen itself.

So apparently ballpoints and rollerballs are distinguished by the type of ink they use (oil-based or water-based respectively). SpinningSpark 22:29, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

artificial sweeteners[edit]

Do artificial sweeteners turn to formaldehyde in the human body? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 170.142.177.85 (talk) 20:23, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

Aspartame does - see Aspartame#Metabolites. Saccharine, sucralose and cyclamate don't. Tevildo (talk) 20:39, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

Phlegm bacteriotherapy and exotic bacteria[edit]

If you had smoke particles from a fire stuck in some ones lungs than could bacteria that consume those elements be able to consume what’s in the lungs? I doubt the bacteria would survive the environment of the lungs, though I've no references to say they couldn't temporarily, or if frozen. I imagine building and vehicle fires involve a lot of different elements, so you would need a wide variety of bacteria; but if you had such a bacterial Noah's arc, than would this be theoretically possible? Also, is there seriously no academic journal that even suggests the idea of phlegm bacteriotherapy, I can only find references to fecal bacteriotherapy. CensoredScribe (talk) 20:52, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

Particulate matter in smoke is mostly carbon (soot). Toxic gases will usually be deadly long before the PM reaches dangerous levels. Carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide would be the most important ones, and sometimes sulphur oxides and hydrogen halides that will form sulphuric, hydrochloric and other acids when coming in contact with moisture in the lungs. The heat of the inhaled air may also do damage. I'm not sure there are bacteria that would consume soot particles. Ssscienccce (talk) 21:15, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

According to [3] there are "no" flora in the lower respiratory tract. Another reference that came up in a quick search called them "scanty" [4]. Our article on smoke inhalation describes mostly heat and chemicals as the culprits anyway. Though I'm a bit confused - silicosis says the particles go in the lower lung, coalworker's pneumoconiosis says they go in the upper, but the latter article says they look the same on X-ray. I might have to spend more than five minutes searching to unravel the truth about where any inhaled particles from a fire actually end up. :) Wnt (talk) 21:11, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

They both say "upper", no? Now I'm confused too.. Ssscienccce (talk) 21:22, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Well, that explains it... I was just confused. :) It's the upper lobes of the lung, but the lung is in the lower respiratory tract, and somewhere along the line I didn't read carefully. Wnt (talk) 01:44, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

As there is no page by that name currently, unlike fecal bacteriotherapy could I create it than put nothing in there just to prove the concept exists until someone finds a reference? CensoredScribe (talk) 22:13, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

What is this nonsense? Are you entirely unaware of how wikipedia works? Where did you get the idea that we create articles randomly based on bullshit until they are deleted? Do you need to be blocked from editing on a temporary or permanent basis? Stop vandalizing this service. WP:OR, etc., μηδείς (talk) 23:01, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't know what's bothering you, but this is a perfectly valid, interesting idea. For example, diatomaceous earth is at least potentially a cause of silicosis, and its breakdown can be accelerated by bacteria. [5] It may be less worrisome, though, to figure out something with the purified enzyme than raw bacteria. I encourage the OP to continue exercising his considerable creativity, and to ignore the other stuff. Wnt (talk) 01:39, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
However, I should also point out (politely) that Wikipedia doesn't actually start articles on things until WP:reliable sources support them. See WP:GNG for the standard. You can, however, keep a draft containing things related to the topic in your userspace for such time as you find enough to support it. Wnt (talk) 02:46, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
Phlegm bacteriotherapy is not a known medical treatment. However, it has been speculated[1] that probiotic delivery of normal microbial flora to the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis could potentially prove beneficial in a manner analogous to fecal bacteriotherapy. Over 100 genera of bacteria are known to occur in the lower respiratory tract, a substantially wider diversity than is present in sputum samples: the most common are Streptococcus, Prevotella, Moraxella, Haemophilus, Acinetobacter, Fusobacterium, and Neisseria.[2] Absence of normal lung flora in germ-free mice leads to increased inflammatory activity, which can be reversed through the recolonization of a complex mixture of flora from SPF mice.[3] Advocates of probiotic approaches have noted that normal lung flora tend to include Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes while pathologic states tend to include more Proteobacteria.[4]
Oh, and I should also note that gavage is more likely to retrieve a wider range of bacteria; literally using phlegm is (among other things) not as good a source. Wnt (talk) 18:42, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
  1. ^ "Microbes Identified In Healthy Lungs Sheds Light On CF". 
  2. ^ Raúl Cabrera-Rubio, Marian Garcia-Núñez Laia Setó Josep M. Antó Andrés Moya, Eduard Monsó, and Alex Miraa. "Microbiome Diversity in the Bronchial Tracts of Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease". PMC 3486223Freely accessible. 
  3. ^ Tina Herbst; et al. "Dysregulation of Allergic Airway Inflammation in the Absence of Microbial Colonization". Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 
  4. ^ Eva S. Gollwitzer; Benjamin J. Marsland (2013-08-19 (online publication)). "Microbiota abnormalities in inflammatory airway diseases — Potential for therapy". Pharmacol Ther.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
I suspect that many will misinterpret User:Wnt's sentence, "Over 100 genera of bacteria are known to occur...", as applicable to healthy lungs, when the cited source is a study of people with COPD, who have recurrent lung infections. It remains unclear whether there is a sound basis for the proposed therapy, and there is no credible evidence that it is beneficial. Interesting notion, but fraught with peril (transferring organisms between people is a risky business). -- Scray (talk) 21:47, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

Black colors on white people?[edit]

Are there Europeans or ‘white’ people who are born with black patches on their skin? --66.190.69.246 (talk) 20:58, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

There is a condition called “vitiligo” where a suntanned European can 'appear' to have dark patches but this is in contrast to the pink patches caused by this condition.--Aspro (talk) 21:49, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes I'm one. I have a birthmark that looks like an almond on my back. --TammyMoet (talk) 22:42, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
See also Hyperpigmentation. Alansplodge (talk) 12:37, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
My son (who is caucasian) was born with a birthmark that was a whiter patch of skin (hypopigmentation) - so the opposite can happen too. (Whoever decided that "hypo-" should be the opposite of "hyper-" should have been hit over the head with a clue-stick!) SteveBaker (talk) 14:45, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
It's all Greek to me. Alansplodge (talk) 17:20, 22 November 2013 (UTC)