What do you think about the new Polio virus(I think it is or so..) going around in California at the moment?
I’m fascinated by it! I don’t think it’s a Poliovirus right now but it might be a mutation of another enterovirus…the fact that it’s affecting adults and young teens alike is very interesting.
I’m of course no expert to say it’s either enterovirus 68 or 71 (what some patients have tested positive for) but I’m inclined to believe it’s not - all patients exhibited the same symptomology and disease progression, and many people test “positive” for enteroviridae long after they’ve recovered from the illness. I suspect it’s a single virus mutation, but a mutation of a virus that’s not uncommon. Given that some people stop shedding enteroviridae just hours after symptoms cease and that some are still shedding months later, perhaps it actually is enterovirus 71?
I guess we’ll see! Hope no one loses their life, first, though.
So I'm laid up with norovirus right now, and I've had a lot of time to wonder why you throw up and have diarrhea when you're sick. Is that part of the damage the virus does to the body or is it an immune system response or something?
Ew. Well, there are a lot of causes for diarrhea (viral infection, autoimmune attacks, and alcohol being the primary ones in North America), and almost as many for vomiting, but I think I can make a quick post on a few causes…eventually. >_>
At least you don’t have dysentery?
Anyway, yeah, you’re about right, when viruses cause vomiting and/or diarrhea, it’s often due to direct attack to the guts. Norovirus is a gastroenterovirus, meaning it affects the small intestine and stomach.
The thing is, it’s impossible to cultivate noroviruses in the lab, and we don’t *know* if there are enterotoxins coded by the noroviruses (which cause a non-inflammatory but very angry response by the immune system on the intestine), like rotaviruses do. They’re doing something to the intestines, obviously, but the cause for the violent projectile vomiting (as compared to just, like, regular puking in other gastroenteritises) and diarrhea isn’t completely understood.
We just know that yes, it’s a response to an attack on the gut cells - maybe a direct attack, maybe a toxin affecting them, something like that. What’s sort of weird about norovirus is that there are very few infected cells in the intestines, and the Peyer’s patches (kinda like intestine lymph nodes, they release and house immune particles) aren’t activated/affected except in immunocompromised people. Yet the gut is obviously very angry, and people around the world die from dehydration due to these viruses every day.
For anyone into virology or immunology, TWiV did a podcast on Noroviridae back in 2011 and while we know a wee bit more about the animal noroviruses today, our knowledge on human norovirus hasn’t made any huge leaps forward since then.
would you mind explaining oral microbiomes? I don't really get it... is it like preserved food stuck in the teeth?
Actually, it’s not! When we’re able to figure out what people ate before death, it’s usually due to preserved tissue in the stomach. Unless it was a pretty big chunk of food, the stuff stuck in teeth is usually not too helpful…unless it’s part of the decedent’s oral microbiome, apparently.
The oral microbiome is the “micro-environement" that’s formed by our oral anatomy, saliva, immune system, and, most relevant to that story, hundreds of species of oral bacteria. It’s something all of us have, and even though it differs from person to person, depending upon their immune system and diet, it’s not something you can (or want to) get rid of.
Buuuut…when you let it get out of hand, it’s also what causes lots of cavities and caries and bad breath. Plaque is largely dead bacteria, and tartar/calculus forms when that bacteria isn’t removed.
However! It’s good for us that ancient tooth care wasn’t amazing - analyzing old microbiomes can tell us about the diet and health of the individual, and can show us how oral microbiomes have evolved or changed over the centuries.
Odd request but there was a time when radium was in everything. Was it used much in snake oil type stuff?
Very very yes. I actually have tons on that that apparently I haven’t posted (or at least haven’t tagged - I know I’ve had this stuff for a LONG time and I wasn’t great at tagging at first), but I have a bit on radiation…just not much on radium, itself, outside of radium toothpaste.
Is there a reason why dogs and cats and other small mammals kept as pets seem to enjoy placing themselves in confined areas like boxes and shoes? Is it a learned trait or could it innate and possibly offered some sort of benefit in the wild? Thanks!
Caves are safety! When your surroundings are small and confined, you know you can defend the entrance and keep an eye on your surroundings. Nothing ambushes you from behind when it’s a closed space!
For most pets, it’s just a matter of comfort, but it can also be a fear response (in an unfamiliar environment or during disruption or loud noises), or a bizarre obsession (see: Maru). In addition, most of the smaller animals we keep as pets are burrowers - they live underground or in rock crevices, and like things that mimic their natural habitat.
ETA: Unfucked reminded me of scale errors (as found in infants and toddlers) possibly being an aspect of this - it’s obviously not the case when it’s a self-protective thing, but Maru’s tiniest boxes and his love of jumping out of them makes me think that it might be an aspect in some animals.
A trick I discovered to deal with static electricity during the winter is to quickly rap your knuckles on the object you're going to touch. I know it sounds like quackery, but it's really cut down on the number of shocks I've gotten.
If you come into contact with a non-metal surface that’s NEAR a metal surface, that works too. Also keeping your skin moisturized apparently helps.
And maybe don’t spend an hour brushing your cats every day. That helps too. (personal tip)
I've read that a person's hair type is also connected to the type of earwax that they have (dry or wet). Besides hormonal (pregnancy, etc.) what are the possibilities of either changing?
Actually, that’s not really true - as far as “hair type” goes, the traditional differentiations of hair (coarse/fine, kinky/curly/wavy/straight, textured/untextured) are fairly unrelated to earwax type, though it’s rare that people with non-straight hair have dry earwax.
Caused by a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) which is autosomal dominant for “wet” type (meaning two copies of the gene are required for dry earwax), dry earwax is common among most Native American tribes, and among most East Asian peoples (aside from the Ainu of Japan). It’s believed to have developed in response to the constant cold climate of their ancestors, but it may just be a random mutation. Either way, the earwax type has been used to determine migration patterns, in the absence of genetic testing.
One thing that earwax IS correlated with is sweat odor - the decreased lipid output of the modified apocrine sweat glands in the ear is linked to decreased output at non-modified sweat glands. Sweat odor is caused by bacteria that eat those compounds, so when there’s less of them, there’s less of a chance for those bacteria to grow.
I keep on getting these electric shocks whenever I touch something made of metal that's connected to the ground. It seems as if I'm charging myself or something but idk if that's even possible... I went to take a snack outside of the room and I opened the door (which has a knob made of metal). I got the snack and not even thirty seconds later I touched the metal knob again and got a violent shock again... The vending machine didn't shock me though. Any ideas?
Not just for kids - a good explanation of static in general.
Winter is DRY - cold air holds less moisture to begin with, and combine that with the fact that it’s harder for the air to gain moisture, and you have some really dry conditions, especially when it gets quite cold out. Dry air makes it easy for static to build up. I bet you’ll notice static happening with other metal objects (even those that aren’t connected to the ground) if you keep observing.
Haha, not at all - I’m only 5’0” ;P From an informal poll of “friends who were online who were not creeped out by the question”, only two were taller than you.
Between 12 and 17, the margin of error of heights-by-age and heights-by-weight is the greatest that it gets until you hit 55 or so. So…drink yo milk? And/or outlive everyone else who’s taller than you.
do you know where a good place to find scientific illustrations of flies would be? specifically their faces? I am making an art piece and I need some good refs to use
Outside of Wikimedia Commons, I can’t find a good source for scientific illustrations of their faces, but if you have a solid internet connection, there’s always the CSIRO fly atlas, at least for, like, houseflies. Wait for the lens to load up and click on Calyptrate, and click on “anterior” after the lens loads again.
There’s almost certainly something at Diptera.info, but I don’t really wanna go through allllll the damn flies. THERE ARE TOO MANY FLIES.
I didn't see this in your FAQ, but I'm just curious (no idea why or how is it relevant). How old are you?
Glurrg, why does everyone keep asking this lately? Do I seem particularly young, or old, or some shit?
I’m 25ish. Don’t attach any meaning to that number. I’m not too young to understand “real life”, and I’m not too old to understand “kids these days”, or whatever people tend to attack others about for their age. Also, because it somehow continues to surprise people every time I post a pic or use pronouns, yes, I’m a female.
Many people only see turkey vultures as nasty pests; lowly, ugly scavengers undeserving of our respect. But these bald-headed badasses may have saved thousands of people over the years because of their amazing guts.
Turkey vultures have such strong stomach acid that they can digest bacteria and viruses that would kill other animals, such as E. Coli, anthrax, and botulism. You may have heard me spout this fact before, but I want to further express how critical this ability is. A single crystal the size of a grain of sand of the botulism toxin, for instance, is potent enough to kill 9,600 people. When vultures consume carcasses with this toxin in it, they are not only immune to its effects but they remove it from the ecosystem. This means that when that turkey vulture dies and another scavenger eats it, the scavenger will not be subject to the toxin and will therefore not die!
Abilities like this put vultures in an undeniably important position when it comes to maintaining the health of an ecosystem (and of people!). If you still do not believe we need vultures, look to India as an example. The Indian and Indian white-rumped vulture populations have declines by 97% in the last decade because of a poisonous anti-inflammatory drug used on Indian cattle.
Without these vultures to consume the carcasses of dead animals, the population of stray dogs has skyrocketed. More stray dogs means more rabies, and therefore more rabies victims. Because of the decline of Indian vultures, which rabies has no effect on, India has become the number one country for rabies related deaths. 20,000 people per year die from rabies in India- that is more than 1/3 of the worldwide death toll!
If the connotation associated with turkey vultures does not change soon, and if use of lead shot is not banned (lead poisoning in the number one cause of turkey vulture deaths), a similar process may occur with something like botulism here in America.
yes, a thousand times yes.
not historical, but so important. do not discard vultures. they are critical to our environment. our vaccination rates are nowhere near high enough to consider us to have “herd immunity” to rabies anywhere in the United States and most of north america, especially where coyotes or feral dogs and raccoons intermingle.
killing off coyotes has proven to lead to huge surges in CWD and other deer and elk diseases, some transmissible the cows and horses that share their ranges. total culls of racoons are almost impossible, and inadvisable (thanks to their passive control of norway rats and their parasites in metro areas, and their ability to easily take over woodland areas, respectively).
again: vultures cannot carry anthrax or hog cholera, despite rumors and urban legend. in fact, they are immune to both diseases.
turkey vultures may be ugly, and they may be considered “pests”, but they clean up our roadways far more efficiently than crows, and do not pose any threat to our livestock.
Zoology: "Zo"-"ology" or "Zoo"-"ology"? It's my hugest pet peeve to hear it pronounced like it has 3 consecutive O's. I know language evolves and yadda yadda, but imo, there's room for selective linguistic breeding when it comes to this word. Or should I just take a deep breath and embrace the future?
Both! The evolution of language often leads to simpler translations, and more understanding between cultures (sort of? true story: once got into an almost-violent argument that English was NOT actually linguistically derived from Latin in high school).
According to the OED, it’s the other way around. I personally think that both get across the same concept, and don’t confuse the listener, even at a fast pace of speech.
Lots of word pronunciations in science should probably be as regulated as Latinised names or the names of stellar bodies. That would of course lead to the difficult debate of whose is “best” or the most understandable pronunciation, and whether the Eastern countries that are having an increasing influence in science these days should have an equal say in how global pronunciation is codified, but for now, I think that the way we say “zoology” is far from the most important fight we have on our plate. :P
[I use a bastard amalgamation of the two pronunciations in my own discussions…]