Wikipedia:Reference desk archive/Science/2006 October 1

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Food becoming stale[edit]

What makes crunchy foods like crackers and popcorn become stale when exposed to air? Is it a physical or chemical change? I think (correct me if I'm wrong) that bread becomes stale because the moisture evaporates and it looses its sponginess, but it seems like drying out crackers would make them more crunchy, not less. —Keenan Pepper 00:16, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Bread 'dries out' and crackers absorb moisture?--Light current 00:25, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
But if that was true, then we could restore the bread by putting it in extremely high humidity for awhile. I recall an article about this: the bits of liquid starch in bread will crystallize, so bread hardens without drying. IIRC, the article said that refridgeration won't stop this, but freezing the bread will. --Wjbeaty 04:23, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
I believe microwaving stale bread will help to soften it a bit. Frost-free freezers can ruin bread, by driving all the moisture to one side. When thawed, one side is stale and the other is soggy. I believe the high salt content in most crackers also causes them to absorb more moisture from the air. StuRat 12:30, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Interesting. Maybe bread starts out with more moisture than the atmosphere, but crackers start out with less. That leads to another question: do crackers ever get stale in very dry places, say Arizona or Arica, Chile? —Keenan Pepper 00:33, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Crackers are stale to start with. Are you crackers or something? 8-)--Light current 00:39, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
I always thought it had to do with reactions with gases in the air. The less air you have exposed to the food, the longer it takes to get stale. Temperature and humidity matter, but are secondary factors I thought. — X [Mac Davis] (SUPERDESK|Help me improve)08:32, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
No, only the humidity matters. StuRat 12:34, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

So nobody has googled it yet? We could actually get an answer. Google Scholar is godlier than Google. Almost.[1][2][3][4][5] "Bread staling fall into 2 categories: crust staling and crumb staling. Crust staling is generally caused by moisture transfer from the crumb to the crust (Lin and Lineback 1990), resulting in a soft, leathery texture and is generally less objectionable than is crumb staling (Newbold 1976)." The crumb staling is the result of a bunch of chemical reactions. I haven't read them all yet.

Then there is also something interesting I came across: studies on microwave induced staling. You can never put bread in the microwave for a few seconds at a time. For those with time, check 'em out.[6][7]X [Mac Davis] (SUPERDESK|Help me improve)22:39, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

I've personally microwaved stale bread (usually with cheese or something on it) and had it get softer, so I know it works. StuRat 10:27, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Back pain across bra line[edit]

For 15years I have suffered terrible burning pain across the bra line on my back if I stand or work for 45 min utes. No doctor has ever helped except to offer pain pills. Lying down for an hour helps, but then the cycle repeats when I stand leeb60207.200.116.204 01:20, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

You might want to see a musculoskeletal specialist. A herniated disc, which can be aggrivated by vertical pressure on it (i.e., by standing), can cause symptoms similar to what you are talking about. If you have seen a GP already, I am assuming that heart conditions etc have been ruled out. The treatments for back problems can be pretty drastic (surgery), other times it is just pain management. I have had a slightly prolapsed disc in my lower back; doing the stretches recommended to me by a specialist have helped greatly. But obviously, I am not a doctor. I can only recommend that you see a specialist. BenC7 02:01, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

The obvious answer is that the bra may be the problem. If you have particularly large breasts you may even want to consider breast reduction surgery. Perhaps all you need is a better designed bra, that puts more of the weight on the shoulders and less on the back. For comparison, consider belts versus suspenders. Belts are fine for people with small bellies, but suspenders are needed for those with large bellies. StuRat 11:43, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

baby nose color[edit]

As a mother of a 1 yr old healthy boy, his little nose tip is quite orange/yellow. I have not introduced carrots,squash or similar colored foods, so what is doing this? Thanks very much.

Contrary to popular belief, feeding your baby carrots will not make him turn orange. Discoloration of skin is often an indication of some sort of chemical imbalance, which can be caused by diet, but implying that would require me to ask you to take your child to see a doctor and ask him for his educated opinion. (Ignore this comment)  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  06:07, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Jaundice? I had jaundice when I was that age, younger actually. I can't rememeber the experience though... must have been the Men in Black. — X [Mac Davis] (SUPERDESK|Help me improve)08:34, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Nah, it was neonatal jaundice. I remember (based on what my parents told me) that they just took me in the sun for a while for a few days, as the doctor recommended. Haha, look at that loser baby with a tanning bed corset. :P— X [Mac Davis] (SUPERDESK|Help me improve)08:37, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Loser? He's looking pretty pimpin to me! --frothT C 16:31, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

It is very common for healthy babies between 9 and 18 months of age to have a distinctly yellow-orange hue to the skin from dietary carotene from pureed vegetables: squash is the usual source, but carrots and other yellow vegetables as well may do it, as can some vitamin supplements. This is so much more common at this age than every pathologic cause that I suspect she is simply not recognizing the source. Pathologic causes of bad color are much rarer and likely to be accompanied by obvious failure to thrive or other problems. Jaundice at this age indicates severe liver disease, but it produces a greenish rather than orange tint to the yellow and it is most obvious in the whites of the eyes whereas carotenemia does not affect the whites of the eyes. PS: Mac, may I respectfully suggest you include the fact that you are a high school student with your medical answers? Neonatal jaundice is long gone by age 1 and is not relevant to this question. alteripse 10:11, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

I don't see the relevance of your final statement. He gave correct information, and wasn't misleading in the least with his light-humoured comments.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  15:24, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Nonsense. Feeding carrots is one of the most common reasons for a baby to have an orange tint. A yellow-orange tint at this age is not a sign of a "chemical imbalance", but a common finding in healthy infants. Jaundice is a very unlikely possibility in a well child and neonatal jaundice is indeed completely irrelevant to the coloring of a 1 year old. The only thing he said that wasn't either misleading or irrelevant was "see your doctor for an educated opinion." alteripse 17:50, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
I owe an apology to Mac. I missed your signature after the first answer and thought it was all his. Sorry. alteripse 19:01, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Hehe; All is well. — X [Mac Davis] (SUPERDESK|Help me improve)22:16, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I realized my error as well after realizing the active chemical in jauntice was actually carotene, so I guess I'm the one who's sorry. I was a little bit to quick up on that response. I don't see the error in my statement about chemical balance though, for is carotene not a chemical, and carotenemia not a condition signifying a higher-than-average amount of carotene in the body? I also said "is often" and "can be" to protect myself, for there are many conditions resulting in changes of skin color that are caused by chemical imbalance. Regardless, my initial comment was improper, and I'll remember to give the questioner more credit next time.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  05:34, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
The pigment in jaundice is bilirubin, not carotene. While every substance is a chemical in one sense, we usually do not refer to healthy conditions as a "chemical imbalance". That phrase has acquired a clear pathologic connotation in both popular and medical American English of the last 3 decades. The color of carotenemia is classically in the tip of the nose, especially obvious if you touch it with a fingertip. The color of jaundice is usually first obvious in the whites of the eyes and if you saw it in your child you would not mistake it for anything healthy and would not be asking about it here. You can hide behind "often" and "can be", but that was as clear and succinct a description of carotenemia as you will get in a sentence. alteripse 10:14, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Missing posts[edit]

Has anyone else noticed posts going missing on these pages? Like you click on an item in your watch list by UserXXXX, and it aint there? Im posting this msg on all ref desks.--Light current 11:26, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

It is perhaps an unintended effect of an experimental way of archiving – which also has its advantages.  --LambiamTalk 11:38, 1 October 2006 (UTC) · See also Wikipedia talk:Reference desk#Archive dump.  --LambiamTalk 11:41, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Contributors for Pharmacogenomics Wiki wanted[edit]

Hi, I am fully not sure if here is the right place for looking for contributors or helpers for If it is wrong, please displace this post to the right section in the wikipedia. Fact is, that it would be great, if my team and me could find here some guys who could help us in the english version of the mentioned wiki link Helpers have the possibility, to become admins at this wiki then. This project is supported by a german university and two german companies.If somebody is now interested, please don not hesitate to contact me. Contact possibility can be found on the page itself. In principle we need someone, who is familiar in dealing with the wiki software itself and optimising the general structure und the administration, It is not necessary, that you bring in specific knowledge for the topic PCG. Thanks a lot for your help, and again sorry for the topic here if it should be on the wrong place ... Waiting anxious for answers, regards MoritzE 12:07, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Is that site in German ? If so, I would post any request to the German Wikipedia, or at least to the Language Ref Desk. StuRat 14:39, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
So. there is actually a german and an english version. As teh german version is from the structure and function almost complete, i am looking for people helping for the english section.

MoritzE 16:36, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Hairy back[edit]

Why do the hairs on my back cuase such itching? Or is it the hairs at all?--Light current 12:22, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Ingrown hairs can cause lots of itching. Those can happen especially if you shave your back. I've also notice that stretching my skin tight makes it itch. StuRat 12:37, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
How the hell do you shave your back, may I ask? With a remote controlled razor? Or do you have double jointed elbows/shoulders and a head that can rotate 180 deg? 8-)--Light current 01:18, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
That makes three of us. I'm quite hairless though so I always blame dry skin. It's difficult to clean the back properly when showering, and I also tend to sweat quite a lot on my back during the summer months. Some kind of lotion really helps. A cool side-effect of frequent scratching: I can almost grab my elbows behind my back.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  15:39, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
What do you mean almost grab your elbows? You mean like... grab your elbow? I'm guessing not everybody is that flexible? — X [Mac Davis] (SUPERDESK|Help me improve)02:53, 2 October 2006 (UTC)~
Yes! I can't grab my elbows though, only about 3/4 the way up my forearms. I can also spin my arms in different directions, and make a clover-leaf with my tongue!  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  07:31, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Sorry but as men are notorious for lack of hygene and sskin care knowledge, let me give you a better answer. Exfoliate vigourously and often and the itching will stop. Removing the layer of dead skin cells is important to keep the pores unclogged and prevent itching. Doing as most men do by swiping a bar of soap across your body is not enough. Get a loofah or a backscrubber of some type so you put some friction on the skin. Of course this works all over, but the back is most often neglected since it is harder to reach. pschemp | talk 19:17, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

So you reccommend a scrub with the loofah daily? Ill try anything once. Like the chap who went to the doctor with a steering wheel slipped over his penis. He said 'Doctor you gotta help me. This thing is driving me nuts!'--Light current 21:04, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
A vigourous scrub. Need to do it everytime you shower to make a difference. pschemp | talk 21:07, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand, but I can put my arms behind my back and hold each elbow with the hand on the other arm. I don't know if that's what you mean by 'grab your elbows' though. Vitriol 23:05, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Ah, when you put it like that it sounds pretty silly doesn't it? I meant with one arm behind my head, and the other across my back and up. I assumed that was the kind of image that was produced when saying "reaching behind the back".  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  12:59, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

In tides, why is the eighth wave always the largest?[edit]


When waves strike on shore, the eighth wave is always larger than those previous to it. Why is it always the eighth one? Thanks! Robinoke 14:20, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

It sounds like you have two different frequencies of waves, with one being 8 times as long as the other, and reinforcing it. I'm not sure what causes this, however. StuRat 14:36, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Is this a question about tides or waves? I don't know where you got this idea about the eighth wave, but I can find no support for it. I suppose it could conceivably be a local phenomenon somewhere? Or you may be thinking of spring tides and the lunation cycle?--Shantavira 17:43, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Indeed. Why would the 8th be the largest? It is probably a local event, as suggested. --Proficient 02:41, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
See Sneaker wave which says the common belief is that the seventh wave is the large one. (Love is the Seventh Wave from The Dream of the Blue Turtles by Sting, etc.) Rmhermen 03:49, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
But surely I'm not the only person to have seen this? I really dont think it's localised -- I've seen it all over Britain, but then again, not in Florida. Could this be because Florida waves are constructive (low, I think) and British are destructive (where they rise up and crash, dragging the beach back with them)? User:Rmhermen might be right, maybe it is the seventh one. Regardless, the article on sneaker waves claims it is an unscientific claim, but i'm seeing it happen whenever I walk down the shore. What's going on? Robinoke 14:15, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I can picture two bodies of water coming together, each with different frequency and magnitude waves (caused by different winds), to produce this effect. For example, large, long frequency waves may come in off the Atlantic Ocean, and combine with small, short frequency waves off the English Channel. StuRat 17:09, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, that explains things a bit more for me. Thanks guys. Robinoke 21:11, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

PAL I vs. PAL BG[edit]

I wonder if a camcorder purchased in Hong Kong, where the PAL I system is used, can be utilized without any adaptation in countries where the the PAL B/G system is in use.

-- 14:20, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Sperm in Facial Treatments?[edit]

Does anyone have any information on the practise of using sperm not necessarily human in skin care remedies, face creams etc?--14:26, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Never heard of it. They do, however, sometimes contain urea, a component of urine. StuRat 14:31, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
You're not confused with this, are you? DirkvdM 19:34, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
From Lewis Black's Wikiquote page: "You ever read the ingedients in sunblock? I've never seen those words anywhere. You don't even know what you're putting on your face, do you? You go, 'Oh no, the sun's out!' It could be zebra cum; you don't know. You may not like that joke, but you don't know." --jh51681 21:20, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
There's a myth that male ejaculate is good for the skin. I recall a website where someone put semen on the same spot of their face for a couple of weeks and on the opposite side left blank or applied with some professional skin treatment (I can't remember which) and they found that the semen made the skin drier. Boys will tell their girlfriends anything. AEuSoes1 23:42, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Drier is good? Didn't you get that the wrong way around? I've heard of moisturisers, not drierisers. DirkvdM 07:59, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
Er – well that's why it's a myth, i.e. wrong. Does this need adding to the old wives' tale article?--Shantavira 08:29, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I don't remember the last time old wives discussed this subject seriously. — X [Mac Davis] (SUPERDESK|Help me improve)11:35, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

primary colours[edit] 15:51, 1 October 2006 (UTC)please can you tell me which of the three primary colours is likely to fade fast in daylight or flourescent lighting, and which is the strongest pigment→ : blue , red, or yellow. (I need this for my homework and can`t find an answer anywhere.) Thank you, pamela

First, this obviousley depends on the type of ink used. Some ink resists fading due to light well and some less well, and if you paint something outside, you better take a good ink or paint. Nevertheless, there is an obvious answer. Have you ever looked at old posters in windows e.g. of stores closed long ago? Or just as any poster that has been hanging outside for many years? It is always the same colour which is missing. Now, as this is a homeowrk question, I stop here, forcing you to a walk through your neighborhood to look for an old poster. Simon A. 16:06, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Oh, and one more thing: It's true that painters tend to consider red, yellow and blue the primary colors, event though they use more different pigments than just these three colors (see pigment). Printers however (at least for posters (as in my example), magazines and so on, not for high-quality artwork), mix (or rather: dither) there colors from magenta, yellow, cyan and black (see CMYK). Simon A. 16:09, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Or the ones in between, the famous rgb. See also colour spectrum. DirkvdM 08:14, 2 October 2006 (UTC)


I was reading a previous post on here and I don't understand why weed seems to be so bad for us. Is it really all that harmful? I've read the Cannabis page... but it doesn't really say. Cathycat790 19:18, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

First of all it is usually smoked, which has roughly the same bad effect that tobacco has on the lungs. Worse even, per quantity, but then one doesn't normally smoke over 10 grams per day (hell, even one gram would be too much). And that indicates an important thing about how bad something is for you. It depends on quantity. There's lots of stuff that is good for you in the right dosage, but bad if you get too much of it. Such as vitamin a. Or too little, like vitamins in general. In the Netherlands, over the last few decades, nederwiet (Dutch marijuana) has been turned into what is now considered a hard drug because of its high THC content. Which brings me to a more useful distinctyion, between hard use and soft use. I suppose one could use opiates without really suffering much adverse effects. It's just that drugs usually come in too concentrated a form and thus make overuse too easy and tempting. Which is at least in part caused by the widespread illegality of many drugs. I assume that during prohibition in the US spirits became more popular (anyone know?).
And now I'm going to light a joint (not kidding). DirkvdM 19:43, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
It's a bit of a minefield at the moment. On the one hand there are lots of people who sincerely (if ignorantly) believe it's dangerous, and lots of politicians who know better but also know it's political suicide to say so. On the other hand there are thousands of young people who believe it's entirely harmless even though there's very good evidence that it causes psychosis in a significant minority. Rentwa 20:47, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Pardon me, but that seems to be a bit of a one-sided view. Aside from doing really stupid things while high (eg trying to drive), it's well known that inhaling smoke damages your lungs and greatly increases the risks of lung cancer. So, yes, cannabis use is 'dangerous' in that it increases the chances that you will become ill and die. However, the risk increase is often outweighed in the user's mind by the good feelings they get from using it, and that's their choice - we live in a free society, after all. It works the same way as, say, a skier who accepts the increased risk of injury as a tradeoff for the enjoyment of skiing. But saying that "cannabis isn't dangerous" is incorrect, it's not a "consequence-free high", you have to understand its effects and make a decision to use it (and how much), or not, based on that. — QuantumEleven 12:54, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
Marijuana is extremely cheap when it is not illegal, and the price is a lot more when it is illegal. Might this have something to do with the legality? — X [Mac Davis] (SUPERDESK|Help me improve)02:43, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
If the government were to legalize it, they could tax it. ;) --Kurt Shaped Box 11:08, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
There's pretty good support for the claim that its use is linked to depression and other mental illnesses in later life. Aaadddaaammm 06:34, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I'll say it again, just shorter. Anything can be good or bad, depending on the quantity. DirkvdM 08:02, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Giant Redwoods and their cells[edit]

What kind's of cells compose a Giant Redwood?

– — … ° ≈ ± − × ÷ ← → · § Allie: 21:04, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

At the top of the page it says to do your own homework you know. ;) Based on the Coast Redwood article, Sequoias are conifiers, which are softwood. You can take a look at leaves and roots, pith, periderm, phloem, secondary phloem, xylem, secondary xylem, vascular rays, vascular cambium, heart wood, sap wood, bark, early wood, and parenchyma. It would probably be easier to read the page or two in your book or just look at the diagram, but check the links if you are interested. — X [Mac Davis] (SUPERDESK|Help me improve)22:26, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

conifers? Lukas 01:23, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Indoor Plants[edit]

Now that fall is upon us, and winter is approaching. I am thinking about growing some typically spring/summer plants inside. Ive done some research for mimicing the sun cycles and the amount of time the sun is up beginning in the spring (8-10hours) and then to summer (10-12) and then back to late summer/fall (8-10). What I am wondering is what if I just kept some artificial light on the plants 24 hours from the beginning? Would that have an adverse or positive effect?


Are some plants immortal?[edit]

I've been thinking about some of the really old trees in the world - some of them are thousands of years old, right? Is there any reason why these trees could not live 'forever', provided no external factor (e.g. fire, chainsaw) results in their destruction? Are they, in effect, immortal? --Kurt Shaped Box 22:37, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Don't forget disease! The oldest trees are around 2000 years old, but they pale in comparison to the oldest bushes. The King Clone has been dated as over 11500 years old, and the King's Lomatia in Tasmania is dated for at least 43000 years. However trees come back in again and The Pando's roots are believed to be over 80000 years old. These clonal colonies are respected as organisms, but I don't see how you couldn't count each tree/bush as a single living organism, and give the title to Coast Redwoods. The only thing that could really get them is disease. They survived thousands of years of shit, and they are pretty tough. — X [Mac Davis] (SUPERDESK|Help me improve)22:44, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Trees get to at least 5,000 (not 2,000) - see Prometheus (tree), a bristlecone pine. Rmhermen 03:41, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I was talking about currently living trees. — X [Mac Davis] (SUPERDESK|Help me improve)07:14, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
Life forms with no set life span can certainly live for a very long time, but not forever, for two reasons:
  • Probability dictates that, so long as there is any possibility they will die in any given year, and there are a finite number of life forms, then they will all die eventually. In practice, this seems to work out to be thousands of years, but not millions or billions.
  • Eventually some cataclysmic event is likely to kill all life forms on Earth. This could be the Sun going red giant, a "big crunch", proton decay, etc.
StuRat 03:35, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I think the Sun going red giant will make the big crinch irrelevant here. :) Also, if all plants live in the same place then a meteor will probably hit that spot or somewhere close enough before that. Or a volcanic eruption. DirkvdM 08:32, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I was allowing for the possibility that some trees would survive, perhaps by being relocated to a safe location by us. StuRat 10:09, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
That is pretty cool though. --Proficient 05:06, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I've seen the term "functionally immortal" used. "Immortal" like Tolkien's elves are immortal. Guettarda 03:47, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I could be immortal too if I just kept on cloning myself. Though those are some pretty bad-ass bushes for figuring out how to do that naturally.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  06:14, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
Fascinating. Even though the examples given so far dwarve the Bodhi Tree it's worth adding it as a very well-known example to the list. The Bodhi Tree is said to be the tree under which the Buddha was sitting when he was enlightened. Even though the tree tied, clones still exist, and even thoigh one cannot prove that Buddha indeed sat under their clonal parent, they are clearly quite old. And have been cloned artificially. Simon A. 07:09, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
Relevant aricles should be Maximum life span and Longevity, but they seem to discriminate against plants. Shouldn't we have an article on oldest life forms? DirkvdM 08:32, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
Ah, but we do. List of long-living organisms. — X [Mac Davis] (SUPERDESK|Help me improve)11:34, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I bet there are some bacteria or fungi that don't change genetically and should therefore count as a single life form. Or what about this one? I once heard about bacteria (probably) that had been captured in the salt of a dried up lake, were kept 'safe' there for hundreds of thousands of years (or 'thereabouts') and were revived. They had just been 'asleep' or something. The standard terminology (like 'sleep' and 'single life form') seems to break down here. As usual, when you explore the extremes of something, you just find yourself redefining what you thought was clear. Which is one of the most educative things one can do. DirkvdM 08:41, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, they're "dormant." Kind of like hibernation, or how frogs can freeze during the winter. — X [Mac Davis] (SUPERDESK|Help me improve)11:34, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

I don't count clones as the same life form. After all, if you could clone yourself, would you consider your clone to be you ? I don't think identical twins ever consider themselves to be the same person, either. StuRat 09:54, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

It is a clonal colony. They are part of the same "organism." I don't get it either. Maybe they're just wrong. — X [Mac Davis] (SUPERDESK|Help me improve)11:34, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I would definitely require that, to be considered one life form, the organism must be contiguous. So, clones are not one organism, under that definition. StuRat 11:46, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I'd agree. However, it seems that the example given for a record-holder in age, namely the quaking aspen known as Pando (tree) shares a root system and hence may be considered as one organism. Simon A. 17:59, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I think the missing info here is that a clonal colony has a single root system - which may be cut artificially, but not by the plant itself. I read about it in a study on a bush in Yucca Valley (in the Mojave). The roots of one bush were connected to another one, which was connected to another one, and so on. After mapping out a lot of the bush connections, it became apparent that there was only one root system spiraling out from the center where assumably the first bush began. --Kainaw (talk) 18:07, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
Don't fungi also consist largely of 'roots' that can extend over huge areas? how old do fungi get? The article doesn't say. DirkvdM 19:19, 2 October 2006 (UTC)