Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Science/2015 June 26

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June 26[edit]

What happened to the INSC?[edit]

Please answer me at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_United_States_Government#INSC. --Ysangkok (talk) 12:28, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

I am not convinced that the International Nuclear Safety Center ever existed. The history pages at the USDOE (here), which go into considerable detail about its activities ("November 25, 2002. The Department's Los Alamos National Laboratory fires two security guards and places three employees accused of theft on paid administrative leave."), make no mention at all of this organization. Tevildo (talk) 23:21, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
Some more detailed searching has revealed the existence ([1]) of an "International Nuclear Safety Center Database", hosted at the Argonne National Laboratory in the mid-90's. Tevildo (talk) 23:40, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

Determining gender of parrot from behaviour[edit]

Is a male parrot likely to be more sociable towards human females, and a female parrot more sociable towards human males? Enough so for it to be a reliable indicator of the parrot's gender? People keep saying this, but I'm not sure if it's true. Something to do with pheromones? But I'm not sure if those even work cross-species. Thanks. -- (talk) 14:57, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

What kind of parrot? Some types of parrots have sexual dimorphism, but many don't. For monomorphic species, there may be some behavioral tendencies that can provide evidence that would support one sex or the other, but it is never fully reliable and accurate. Even for species that are normally considered monomorphic, there are often subtle differences. See here [2] for a guide on sexing African Grey Parrots (Determining the sex of an animal is called "sexing", and you can find guides more easily by google searching /sexing [species]/). But even those are not 100% reliable, just good enough for a casual interest. Nobody would set up parrots for breeding based only on visual or behavioral cues, but it's good enough to confirm that your lovely pet Sally is at least most likely a female.
The only reliable ways to sex birds with no obvious sex-distinguishing characteristics is to have a surgical exam done by a vet, or do DNA testing. These days if people want to know for sure, they usually just send off a small blood (sometimes feather) sample to a lab for DNA sex testing, as it is less risky for the bird than anesthesia and surgery, and roughly equivalent in price. There are many such services, this is one I just found via google [3]. I can try to find more info on behavioral evidence if you'd like, but I can't do that without knowing what kind of parrot you're interested in sexing. SemanticMantis (talk) 19:38, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
It was more of a general question. The 'male parrots like women, female parrots like men' is a factoid that I see parrot owners on the internet repeating sometimes - hell, there are still people who use *dowsing* to determine their parrot's gender! It's seems to be quite common for people to own parrots without actually knowing what gender, or even what *species* their bird is. -- (talk) 17:45, 28 June 2015 (UTC)

on waking[edit]

I ask this out of curiosity only. I take a low dose (10 mg) of of Doxepin as a sleep aid. This drug is especially helpful with the later hours of sleep. The curious thing is that sometimes I wake up with a wonderful sense of peace and relaxation. I'm in no hurry to get up, I feel very positive about the day. However, most of the time this is not the case at all. The contrast is very pronounced. I wonder why? -- (talk) 15:00, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

Talk to the doctor who prescribed your medication and/or consult the fact sheet that came with it, to read about possible side effects. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:10, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
It's an Anticholinergic, and has many mental effects. It's not surprising it could do that. Is your question why it does it sometimes, and sometimes not? I don't know the answer to that. Ariel. (talk) 23:05, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, I didn't realize I wasn't logged in on my original post. Yes, that's my question. Thanks for the information. I wonder if the pleasant effect might be due to oxytocin? --Halcatalyst (talk) 18:31, 27 June 2015 (UTC)


Question moved to "Metrophobia" on the Language desk. -- Ariel. (talk) 23:08, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

Where in the body the water we drink is absorbed?[edit]

Where in the body the water we drink is absorbed? Is the water even manage to get on their way to the small intestine? What place in the digestive system is 'terminus' to absorb water? (talk) 23:19, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

Water is absorbed in several places along the digestive tract; because water acts as a "universal solvent", anywhere other nutrients are absorbed, water takes the trip too; so as the bulk of nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine, lots of water gets absorbed there; though some water gets to the blood stream at every stop along the starting in the stomach. See here (page down to absorption) or here, which notes that 80% of water which will be absorbed has done so before reaching the large intestine. --Jayron32 00:04, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Yet one of the major functions of the large intestine is to reabsorb the water from the bolus before it is excreted, else one suffers diarrhea. μηδείς (talk) 02:28, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
True, but that doesn't mean that, proportionally, most of the water hasn't already been absorbed. --Jayron32 14:15, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Thank you. But maybe you know where is the last place of the absorption of the water in the GI? (talk) 22:29, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
The Large Intestine. After that, it isn't in the GI tract at all. It's in your toilet. --Jayron32 02:41, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
To clarify, water is still being absorbed in the rectum (see this paper), but not in the anal canal itself. The actual terminal point is the pectinate line. Tevildo (talk) 09:13, 28 June 2015 (UTC)

Is there a medical term that describes the non knowledge of the mechanism of disease?[edit]

The term "idiopathic" is given when the cause is not known but I'm taking about condition that the cause is known and just the mechanism of this cause is not known. Is there? (talk) 23:52, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

I assume you mean "The term "idiopathic" is given when the cause is not known" because that's what idiopathic means. There is a two-word phrase, "unknown mechanism", which could meet the requirements you seek. This seems to indicate it is widespread, and I can't find any other single word. --Jayron32 00:10, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

Thank you, I edited it. (talk) 01:03, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

"Idiopathic"" literally means having to do with a self-caused illness, so that is a way of using Greek so as not to say unknown cause. (It doesn't really cause itself. It is just that the physician doesn't know what causes it, and does know a Greek term.) Robert McClenon (talk) 21:57, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
  • It would be helpful to describe a specific situation where the cause of a disease is known but the mechanism is not known. A purely hypothetical situation would be okay; I'm just trying to figure out exactly what you mean by this. Looie496 (talk) 11:36, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
    • Eating merkleberries makes you grow an extra head. I.E. we know the cause, we know the disease. Quite how it works is beyond us. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 00:19, 1 July 2015 (UTC).