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MatC
42802.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 9:01 am Reply with quote

Is it generally known that Eric Knight’s original Lassie novel, set in a Yorkshire pit village, was intended as a militantly socialist fable, about the need for the workers to stick together as families and as a class during the depression? Just seems an amusing irony, given the position the televisual and cinematic Lassie went on to occupy in McCarthy-era USA!

 
dr.bob
42859.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:04 pm Reply with quote

tetsabb wrote:
(And I believe it is a myth that sharks never sleep -- woo woo klaxon!)


That might depend on your definition of sleep. Dolphins and whales are famous for being able to sleep half of their brains at a time, so they're never fully asleep. Given that they're mammals and need to breathe air although living under water, it's easy to see why this is important.

According to http://www.elasmo-research.org/education/topics/b_sleep.htm, there's a great deal of uncertainty whether or not sharks actually sleep.

The other myth about sharks is that they must constantly keep swimming or else they'll die. While this is true of some more primitive sharks, such as great whites, more evolved specimens such as the nurse shark have "spiracles" which can force water across their gills even when they're motionless, allowing them to take a break from swimming if they want to.

 
QI Individual
42870.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 1:19 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
From experiments carried out on a small shark called the Spiny Dogfish (Squalus acanthias), we know that the 'Central Pattern Generator' that co-ordinates swimming movements in sharks is not located in the brain, but in the spinal chord. Thus, it is possible for an unconscious shark to swim.

The coordination of the walking motion in vertebrates is also located at a much lower level than the conscious brain. I believe (some of) it is also located at spinal level. Staying upright is much more of a problem of course. Animals floating in water don't have that problem.

 
Celebaelin
42958.  Wed Jan 04, 2006 5:51 am Reply with quote

The 'knee-jerk' reflex (patellar reflex) is spinal in terms of its route and associated with straightening the leg whilst walking.

There's a nice simple (if poorly labelled) diagram for 11yr olds+ here

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/chreflex.html

Quote:
Hit his leg just below the knee with the side of your hand. DO NOT USE A HAMMER!!!!

LOL

and a better one in section 6.2 Figure 11 here

http://science.education.nih.gov/supplements/nih4/self/guide/info-brain.htm

 
Tas
42984.  Wed Jan 04, 2006 7:27 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Didn't a similar scenario crop up in a movie? Might have been A Fish Called Wanda.


The film was 'There's Something About Mary'

:-)

Tas

 
QI Individual
42989.  Wed Jan 04, 2006 7:52 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Interestingly, the input signals to the brainstem do not
need to be complex to generate locomotion. Since the 60s,
we know that simple electrical stimulation of the brainstem
initiates the walking gait in a decerebrated cat, and
progressively increasing the amplitude of the stimulation
leads to an increase of the oscillation frequency accompanied
by a switch from walking to trotting and eventually to
galloping (Shik, Severin, & Orlovsky, 1966). This demonstrates
that the brainstem and the spinal cord contain
most of the circuitry necessary for locomotion, including
complex phenomena such as gait transitions.

Source.

 
tetsabb
43475.  Fri Jan 06, 2006 7:43 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Cats have a third eyelid (I'm sure that some-one will enlighten me as to its correct name which I have forgotten) which is transparent/translucent so it is difficult to see it in use.


These third eyelids are also known as "haws"

 
Jenny
45588.  Fri Jan 13, 2006 9:58 pm Reply with quote

Dogs can smell cancer.

Medical researchers trained five ordinary dogs (three Labrador retrievers and two Portuguese water dogs) to sniff breath samples from both healthy folks and cancer patients. Out of 55 samples from patients with early-stage lung cancer, 31 from patients with early-stage breast cancer, and 83 healthy controls, the dogs identified the cancer patients between 88 and 97 percent of the time.

Cancer cells release different metabolic waste products than normal cells, and dogs can smell these biochemical markers.

Humans have enough scent-detecting cells - about 5 million - to cover a postage stamp: dogs have enough to cover a sheet of paper - about 300 million. Moreover, although a dog's brain is only one-tenth the size of a human brain, the part that processes smells weighs four times more than the same part in a human brain - so 40 times more dedicated to analysing smells.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060106002944.htm

 
Jenny
45589.  Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:00 pm Reply with quote

So - if you had cancer, would you rather trust a lab report or a cat scan?

The lab report of course, because labradors can smell cancer and cats can't.

 
gerontius grumpus
45599.  Sat Jan 14, 2006 6:33 am Reply with quote

Although it's useful for jokes, the term 'cat scan' is obsolete.
CAT stood for computed axial tomography but with helical and multislice volume scanning the axial part no longer applies.
In the field of radiology it was always CT.

 
djgordy
45601.  Sat Jan 14, 2006 6:41 am Reply with quote

gerontius grumpus wrote:
Although it's useful for jokes, the term 'cat scan' is obsolete.
CAT stood for computed axial tomography but with helical and multislice volume scanning the axial part no longer applies.
In the field of radiology it was always CT.


Since laughter is the best medicine I think that every piece of medical equipment ought to be given a name that can be used as the basis for a comedy routine.

 
gerontius grumpus
45602.  Sat Jan 14, 2006 6:43 am Reply with quote

Good idea, any suggestions?

 
samivel
45664.  Sat Jan 14, 2006 2:08 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
Dogs can smell cancer.


There was a fascinating documentary about this on BBC4 not long ago, Can Dogs Smell Cancer?. You can read some opinions about the programme here

 
mckeonj
45680.  Sat Jan 14, 2006 3:21 pm Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:

Since laughter is the best medicine I think that every piece of medical equipment ought to be given a name that can be used as the basis for a comedy routine.

endoscope should amuse the older male sector.

 
Gray
45704.  Sat Jan 14, 2006 5:33 pm Reply with quote

sphygmomanometer is already funny.

 

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