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Drake's equation

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51449.  Wed Feb 15, 2006 10:45 am Reply with quote

Northern races? The Massai drink/eat (or used to) cows milk mixed with blood as pretty much their staple don't they?

I've heard of widespread 'lactose intolerance' in China etc but is there a North/South element as well?

Which reminds me, what do the Chinese use as a source of calcium them?

51503.  Wed Feb 15, 2006 12:20 pm Reply with quote


51520.  Wed Feb 15, 2006 12:37 pm Reply with quote

Dietry source, particularly important during pregnancy (osteoporosis implications, if the foetus can't get its calcium to form his/her bones from elsewhere (s)he'll drag it out of the mothers' bones).

Last edited by Celebaelin on Wed Feb 15, 2006 12:38 pm; edited 1 time in total

51522.  Wed Feb 15, 2006 12:38 pm Reply with quote

Don't they eat crushed animal bones, or is that only medicinal?

Quaintly Ignorant
51527.  Wed Feb 15, 2006 12:46 pm Reply with quote


It's a list made for pet owners but I'm sure it works well for people too.

51572.  Wed Feb 15, 2006 1:22 pm Reply with quote

Looking around I find this surprising news about calcium in milk (although it's not just the calcium, it's vitamin D too)

I'm sceptical but it bears considering.

Some research suggests that having more than an average of 1.5mg per day of vitamin A over many years may affect our bones and make them more likely to fracture when we're older. If you eat liver (which is a very rich source of vitamin A) or liver products such as pâté every week, you are likely to be having, on average, 1.5mg of vitamin A per day.
Other sources of calcium include fortified breakfast cereal, dried figs, okra, curly kale, rice pudding and baked beans.

This site recommends dairy as a calcium source.

A Beeb report from 2001

While the girls were taking the supplemented fruit juice, their bone density improved by 1.2%, but two years after treatment, researchers found the bone gain had reversed. This underlines the need for children and teenagers to take plenty of milk in their diet if they are to build bone strong enough to last a lifetime. Professor Richard Eastell, National Osteoporosis Society. This pattern is not observed with calcium obtained from milk, researchers from the National Osteoporosis Society (NOS) concluded.
There are 600mg of calcium in one pint of milk, but other good sources include tofu, spinach and dried fruit.

The Vegetarian Society believes a diet without meat and dairy products need not be deficient in calcium.

Samantha Calvert from the Vegetarian Society said: "Vegetarians are no more likely to be lacking in calcium than any other sectors of society.

"There is no reason why teenage vegetarian girls will be deficient in calcium as long as they're taking a balanced diet."

51608.  Wed Feb 15, 2006 2:29 pm Reply with quote

More outstanding research on dolphins here:

GAINESVILLE, FL—Although dolphins have long been celebrated for their high intelligence and for appearing to have a complex language, a team of researchers at the University of Florida reported Monday that these traits are markedly less evident on dry land.

"Dolphins have a popular reputation for being excellent communicators," Lindell said. "But our study group offered only three types of response to every question we posed: a nonsensical, labored wheezing, an earsplitting barrage of unintelligible high-pitched shrieks, and in extreme cases, a shrill, distressed scream."

51609.  Wed Feb 15, 2006 2:32 pm Reply with quote

That is extremely spooky, in that I had just been looking at 'The Onion' myself, and at that story!

QI Individual
51703.  Thu Feb 16, 2006 4:38 am Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
No, that's exactly the wrong way around. The intelligence is the adaptation, and it was co-evolutionary with hands and tools.

Eeeehhhh.... I believe that's exactly the point I stressed in the second part of my posting.

51742.  Thu Feb 16, 2006 6:37 am Reply with quote

Dietry source, particularly important during pregnancy (osteoporosis implications, if the foetus can't get its calcium to form his/her bones from elsewhere (s)he'll drag it out of the mothers' bones).

When pregnant with me, my mum lost two teeth for the same reason....she needed more calcium in her diet, obviously.



53892.  Tue Feb 21, 2006 7:46 am Reply with quote

Under a headline that I amusingly misinterpreted ("Top stars picked in alien search") an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution has named the ten starts most likely to harbour life, and at which we'll be aiming our plumpest telescopes.

There's an interesting section on the criteria for selecting stars from the 'bazillions' that are out there:
For stars to be considered in the shortlist, they had to be at least three billion years old - long enough for planets to form and for complex life to develop.

"Fully formed advanced civilisations don't just spring up overnight. On planet Earth, it took billions of years for civilisation to arise."

Candidate stars also had to have at least 50% of the iron content of the Sun. If the atmosphere of a star is low in iron, it is likely there were not enough heavy metals present early in its existence for planets to form.

Dr Turnbull threw out variable stars prone to lots of flares because they tend to be young.

Stars more than 1.5 times the mass of the Sun do not tend to live long enough to produce so-called "habitable zones".

This is the area around the star where a planet within the zone can support copious amounts of liquid water on the surface - a key requirement for life.

Put the planet too close and the heat will evaporate the water, put it too far away and any water freezes.

53907.  Tue Feb 21, 2006 8:07 am Reply with quote

I imagine the habitable zone to be VERY narrow, cosmologically speaking. It would matter quite a bit, just where in the habitable zone the planet is. A few hundred thousand miles here or there could change the temperature quite severely by Earthly standards. Too cold, and the higher lifeforms will be very different. A little hotter, and I would suspect that reptilian creatures would be top of the food chain, or at least those adapted to hot, more desert-like conditions (assuming that the planet is not dominated by a jungle enviroment). On a chilly planet, the equatorial regions might only be considered temperate on Earth and so on.

*sigh* I wish I was around long enough to see the first life supporting planet outside the solar system...

Oh well. I will just have to hope that I will be re-incarnated at the right time, I guess.



54023.  Tue Feb 21, 2006 12:55 pm Reply with quote

"Fully formed advanced civilisations don't just spring up overnight. On planet Earth, it took billions of years for civilisation to arise."

Assuming it has arisen.

54044.  Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:48 pm Reply with quote

In a book I read recently, The Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon, the true nature of civilisation is explored in great depth, using many different fictional alien species as examples.

For instance, a race of sentient life evolved from moving trees yoyos in its civilisational orientation from a 'normal' active state in which much is accomplished and a much more vegetable state from which they arose.

Another race of bipeds derived from starfish centre their civilisation and communities on the pheromones secreted in the tribal areas and the smells and feelings created. The smaller communities in the early ages of civilisation had a hige amount of community spirit, verging on being a single organism, but as communities grew over the planet it became hard to keep the same tribal spirit and the creatures became dissolusioned and were wiped out.

The state of 'perfect' civilisation is a matter of great debate right up to the end and is never quite solved.

54319.  Wed Feb 22, 2006 7:48 am Reply with quote

What a strange coincidence - I've just this minute come across that book as the origin of the concept of Dyson Spheres.

I've found that other book I was talking about too: here:

If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens... Where Is Everybody? Fifty Solutions to Fermi's Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life
by Stephen Webb.

Catchy title.

Last edited by Gray on Wed Feb 22, 2006 7:54 am; edited 1 time in total


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