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MatC
287363.  Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:18 am Reply with quote

I thought a thread might be useful for very small effs, things that are too slight to support topics of their own.

For instance, while I was researching bumblebees for the animal book last year I read that they engage in a practice known as “futile cycling.” I can’t understand what it is, but who could deny that is has an exceptionally funny name?

 
Flash
287377.  Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:27 am Reply with quote

I like to put little snippets like that into only slightly-related notes on Stephen's cards because it gives him a way to spin the conversation off in a different direction. Occasionally it also coincides with a train of thought which one of the panellists pursues by happy chance, in which case it gives the impression that Stephen is totally omniscient and feels like a conjuring trick.

For example, if we do a question on firemen's poles I'll include a note about two Poles winning gold & silver in the pole vault in 1980; and the futile cycling will be a good note for a question on the Tour de France.

 
Flash
287383.  Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:30 am Reply with quote

Can Will (or anybody else) explain this:
Quote:
In the flight muscles of European bumblebees, high activities of fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase (FbPase) relative to phosphofructokinase (PFK) have suggested a thermogenic `futile cycle' important for regional endothermy.

?

http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/abstract/207/5/749

 
Flash
287391.  Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:34 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Any sequence of enzyme catalysed reactions in which the forward and reverse processes (catalysed by different enzymes) are consititutively active.

Oh, I see.

 
WB
287526.  Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:08 am Reply with quote

Flash, If your really interested I could wake my brother up (the biochemist one) and ask him. But in a very basic way: reactions within cells generate the energy for us (or bumblebees) to move about. Sometimes though the reactions within cells 'oppose' one another and the net result is very little useful energy being created, or the energy created is lost as heat (thermogenesis is the creation of heat). These reactions are known as 'futile cycles'.

There now you feel much better!

 
Flash
287535.  Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:15 am Reply with quote

OK, it's like biology spinning its wheels. Somebody tell the folks over at the Intelligent Design Institute.

 
Flash
287540.  Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:16 am Reply with quote

Actually that's not right, is it? In this case the futile cycle is helpful in that it regulates heat.

 
MatC
287547.  Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:22 am Reply with quote

Usefully futile? Well, that can't be right, can it? The Oxymoron Theory of Natural Selection ...

 
MatC
289965.  Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:14 am Reply with quote

In the spirit of small, notey bits, something which might attach to a question on Fossils or Fatality: a "death assemblage" is a geological term.

 
MatC
289970.  Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:20 am Reply with quote

Not sure where this might fit, if anywhere, but there was a letter in Fortean Times 230, quoting from an academic, which mentions “the 38 laws of nature.” Does anyone know what this refers to?

 
Flash
289980.  Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:33 am Reply with quote

I was thinking of futile cycling as a side-note to a question on the Tour de France (Why do racing cyclists shave their legs? - can't remember if I've mentioned that topic before) but maybe it's the next question in itself (What's the point of futile cycling?) if we can come up with an intelligible answer.

The Death Assemblage sounds good too, like a Goth Metal band. What does it mean?

 
eggshaped
289996.  Tue Mar 04, 2008 8:01 am Reply with quote

In that case, I should remind everyone that "Furious cycling" is explicitly mentioned in the UK as a crime – with a set fine of £200.

The same maximum fine can be handed out for being drunk in charge of a bicycle (this time with an added 1 month prison sentence)

http://www.criminal-solicitors.com/bicycles.htm

 
MatC
290002.  Tue Mar 04, 2008 8:06 am Reply with quote

The "certainty of fate" (which I posted under Fate) might also fit here.

 
MatC
290634.  Wed Mar 05, 2008 5:50 am Reply with quote

“A cyclist who caused the death of a man he crashed into on the pavement at 25mph was facing jail yesterday after he admitted wanton or furious cycling.”

S: Western Daily Press, 6 Oct 07.

So - it’s not just archaic, it is still used. (Not bloody often enough, though, in my opinion ...)

 
MatC
291307.  Thu Mar 06, 2008 7:38 am Reply with quote

From an article about potato blight, I learn that there exist, in the world of Fungi, things called oospores. I know nothing about them, other than that their name makes me laugh ...

 

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