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Differences (excluding Herrings)

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55005.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:00 pm Reply with quote


(And anyone else who may be listening).

I agree with you about DEATH and DOGS. In retrospect, however, I would, perhaps bizarrely, consider both of those 'concrete' subjects and think they are better spread about.

DIFFERENCES however is so broad that it can contain the pleasingly mad variety of subject matter that suits the show best. I am sure there are other such 'headers' that will spring to mind...

55065.  Fri Feb 24, 2006 4:58 am Reply with quote

Yes, that's a fair point.

I can't believe the forum didn't explode up its own arse on Garrick's post!

55501.  Sat Feb 25, 2006 8:24 pm Reply with quote

The difference between alligators and crocodiles is that alligators don't shed tears, whereas crocodiles don't either.

Pliny (Natural History, Book 8, 37-38) and other ancients give accounts of the crocodile's wiles, but the notion of crocodiles crying insincerely as they eat people dates from medieval travellers' tales: Sir John Mandeville writing in 1356, asserted, "In many places of Inde are many crocodiles ('cokadrilles') -- that is, a manner of long serpent. These serpents slay men and eat them weeping." Sir John Hawkins makes the same statement in 1565. Some writers suggest that he's crying from remorse, others that he's upset that there are bits of the corpse which he can't eat, others that the crying is a ploy to entice the victim into approaching the croc in the first place.

Crocodiles do have lachrymal ducts, but they discharge straight into the mouth, so no tears are visible externally. The origin of the legend may be in the proximity of the throat to the glands which lubricate the eye, which may cause the eye to water a little from the effort of swallowing.

The real difference is that crocs have a longer, narrower snout, eyes further forward and their fourth tooth sticks out from the lower jaw rather than fitting neatly into the upper jaw; in alligators only the upper teeth can be seen with the jaws closed (in contrast to true crocodiles, in which upper and lower teeth can be seen).

Crocs prey on 'most everything, but they make an exception for a bird called the Egyptian plover (Pluvianus aegyptiacus), which feeds on parasites inside the croc's mouth.

Apparently it may not be the case that crocs store their kill under water until it rots, to make it easier to eat:

Several prey animals have been found wedged under submerged branches and stones, leading to reports that the crocodiles store unwanted prey until a later date. However, crocodiles will certainly avoid rotting meat. When feeding, a number of individuals will hold onto a carcass with their powerful jaws whilst twisting their bodies. The anchorage provided by the other individuals allows large chunks to be torn off for easier swallowing. A few lone individuals have been reported to wedge prey between branches in order to provide the anchorage necessary for such actions to be effective, which could even be claimed to be a form of primitive tool use.

Is this generally known? I would have asserted that they do do this, so maybe there's a GI aspect to this. Chris, are you able to fill us in? Do crocs really keep underwater larders?

An adult hippo can bite a croc in half. There are 14 species of crocodile, 2 alligators (American & Chinese), 5 caimans (South American), and 2 gavials. Some crocs can be found in salty water, but alligators generally live in fresh water.

Since Aristotle and Pliny's time it has been commonly asserted that the croc has no tongue. Actually it does, but it's attached along its whole length, so he can't stick it out at you. They are unusual in that they open their mouths upwards (ie by moving the upper jaw, not the lower). Their bite is extremely strong (3,000 lbs /sq inch) but, as mentioned in the first series, the muscles for opening the mouth are very weak - if you can hang on, you can hold its mouth shut yourself.

The urban myth about alligators living in the sewer system is impossible because they can't survive without UV radiation, which enables them to metabolize calcium. The story can be traced back to a New York Times article on 10th Feb 1935 which reported that some boys had dragged an alligator out of a sewer in Harlem and beat it to death with shovels. This one perhaps swam up a storm conduit after falling from a boat.

A good summary of the differences, with comparative pictures, is at

Last edited by Flash on Sun Feb 26, 2006 9:52 am; edited 2 times in total

Frederick The Monk
55512.  Sun Feb 26, 2006 2:46 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:

Crocodiles do have lachrymal ducts, but they discharge straight into the mouth, so no tears are visible externally.

So a crocodile might be crying on the inside and we'd never know. How tragic!

55540.  Sun Feb 26, 2006 8:26 am Reply with quote

What is the difference between a raven and a writing-desk?

or, rather:

How is a raven like a writing-desk?

The Mad Hatter

Enquiries have been so often addressed to me, as to whether any answer to the Hatter's Riddle can be imagined, that I may as well put on record here what seems to me to be a fairly appropriate answer, viz: 'Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is never put with the wrong end in front.' This, however, is merely an afterthought; the Riddle, as originally invented, had no answer at all.

Lewis Carroll

There's a B in both and an N in neither, and each begins with E.

Aldous Huxley

55542.  Sun Feb 26, 2006 8:46 am Reply with quote

The difference between centipedes and millipedes:

Millipedes have two pairs of legs per body segment whereas centipedes have one pair per segment. Millipede legs are short and underneath the body, whereas centipede legs are long and stick out along the sides of their bodies. There are some species of millipede with 750 legs but most have between 80 and 400. Centipedes generally have about 50 legs, but may have 200 or more. As far as I can make out, centipedes are carnivorous whereas millipedes are vegetarian, but I haven't confirmed that. Some centipedes live on cave floors underneath bats; when a baby bat falls from the cave ceiling, the centipedes swarm over and envenomate it before eating it.

55550.  Sun Feb 26, 2006 9:35 am Reply with quote

The difference between mass and weight:

Mass is the same wherever the object is, whereas weight depends on location. Mass is an intrinsic quality of matter, whereas weight is a force that arises from the action of gravity. Technically the kilogram is a measure of mass, not weight (the measure of weight is the 'kilogram-force'), but for practical purposes the one stands as a good proxy for the other because the Earth's gravitational effect is virtually uniform across its surface. On the Moon your mass is the same as on Earth, but your weight is about one-sixth of your Earth weight.

In a descending lift you experience a reduction in 'apparent weight' - that is, a set of bathroom scales will tell you you weigh less because the 'opposing force' of the lift floor decreases as it accelerates away from you.

The Body Mass Index is widely used as a way of harassing stout people into eating fewer chocolates, but it's very inaccurate because it doesn't take anything into account other than height and weight; for example, muscle is denser than fat, so a slender but very muscular person can end up in the 'obese' category (BMI of 30 or more) on a simple BMI assessment. This happens to me all the time.

The U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 1994 indicates that 59% of American men and 49% of women have BMIs over 25 (ie are defined as 'overweight' or, according to the WHO, 'pre-obese'). Extreme obesity — a BMI of 40 or more — was found in 2% of the men and 4% of the women.


It's calculated by taking your weight in kg and dividing it by the square of your height in m, and was invented in the mid-19th century by a Belgian named Quetelet, working on the basis of his intuition rather than by experimentation.

55551.  Sun Feb 26, 2006 9:45 am Reply with quote

The difference between standard and premium grade petrol:

This is quite interesting. It's an American article - can anyone say whether the situation would be any different here?

In most of the U.S., regular gas has an octane rating of 87, midgrade gas is 89, and premium is 91 or 92. ... Contrary to widespread belief, the octane rating doesn't indicate how much power the fuel delivers; all grades of gasoline contain roughly the same amount of heat energy. Rather, a higher octane rating means the fuel is less likely to cause your engine to knock or ping. Knock, also known as detonation, occurs when part of the fuel-air mixture in one or more of your car's cylinders ignites spontaneously due to compression, independent of the combustion initiated by the spark plug. ... Instead of a controlled burn, you get what amounts to an explosion--not a good thing for your engine. To avoid this, high-octane gas is formulated to burn slower than regular, making it less likely to ignite without benefit of spark.

The majority of cars are designed to run on regular gas, and that's what the manuals tell the owners to use. Higher-performance cars often require midgrade or premium gas because their engines are designed for higher compression (higher compression = more power), and regular gas may cause knock. If your car needs high-octane gas, the manual will say so.

Using high-octane gas in a car designed for regular accomplishes little except more rapid combustion of your money. Some refuse to believe this, claiming, for example, that premium gives the family Toyota better mileage or more power. These people are in dreamland.

55556.  Sun Feb 26, 2006 10:08 am Reply with quote

The difference between apes and monkeys:

Order: Primates
Suborder: Anthropoids ('higher primates')

within which:
Monkeys - have tails (mostly)
Apes and hominids don't

Monkeys - run along the tops of branches
Apes and hominids can swing from branch to branch (because different structure of shoulder bones)

Apes are more intelligent than monkeys
Hominids distingished from apes by being predominantly bipedal

55564.  Sun Feb 26, 2006 10:50 am Reply with quote

What's the difference between left and right?

I think this is a much better way into this topic than via 'dexterity'. Material at post 22775 et seq.

55573.  Sun Feb 26, 2006 11:15 am Reply with quote

The difference between germs, bacteria, and viruses:

'Germ' is an informal term for a pathogen (a pathogen being a biological agent which causes illness to its host).

A 'virus' is a submicroscopic parasite, acellular and without its own metabolism; it has to use its host's metabolism to achieve self-replication. Viral populations do not grow through cell division (local doubling), but instead each infected cell becomes a virus factory that is capable of producing thousands of copies of the invading viruses. Some examples of viral illnesses: colds, smallpox, AIDS, herpes - perhaps also in some way involved in some cancers. Treatable by vaccination and by treating specific symptoms, but not by antibiotics.

'Bacteria' are simple but cellular, the most abundant of all organisms. Many are benign, but bacterial illnesses include tetanus, typhoid fever, pneumonia, syphilis, cholera, food poisoning, leprosy and tuberculosis. Treatable with antibiotics. For heaven's sake don't let's get started on bacteria again, but apparently they have the ability to perceive the concentration gradient of stimuli to a resolution of one part per 10k (equivalent to a human being able to discern between two coin-filled jars, one filled with 9,999, the other with 10,000).

One of the first people to postulate that some diseases were caused by the presence of some kind of very small 'seed' (the original meaning of 'germ') that germinated or multiplied in the body to produce the disease was Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian doctor, practising in an obstetrics ward in the 1840s. He noticed that the death rate of the impoverished women attended by the nurse midwives was many times less than that of the wealthier women attended by the doctors. His observations led him to conclude that it was a matter of cleanliness. The doctors, on their schedules, went directly from the morgue to the obstetrics ward without washing their hands. When he presented his findings to fellow doctors, they discounted his theory, unable to believe in what they could not see. It wasn't until the 1880s and the work of Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister that the truth of germs finally surfaced and was accepted by the scientific community.


Last edited by Flash on Sun Feb 26, 2006 11:35 am; edited 1 time in total

55577.  Sun Feb 26, 2006 11:32 am Reply with quote

The difference between a cold and the 'flu:

The common cold ('acute nasopharyngitis') is a mild viral infectious disease of the nose and throat; the upper respiratory system. Symptoms include sneezing, sniffling, nasal congestion; scratchy, sore, or phlegmy throat; coughing; headache; and tiredness. Colds typically last three to five days, with residual coughing lasting up to three weeks. There is no treatment that directly fights the virus; treatments aim to relieve the symptoms. In 1914, Walter Kruse, a professor in Leipzig, Germany, showed that viruses caused the common cold: nose secretions of a cold sufferer were diluted, filtered, and introduced into the noses of volunteers, producing colds in about half of the cases. These findings were not widely accepted, until they were repeated in the 1920s by Alphonse Dochez, first in chimpanzees, and then in human volunteers using a proper double-blind setup. Yet in 1932 a major textbook on the common cold by David Thomson still presented bacteria as the most likely cause.

Colds differ from influenza, a more severe viral infection of the respiratory tract that shows the additional symptoms of rapidly rising fever, chills, and body and muscle aches.

Influenza is so-called because it was thought to be caused by the 'influence' of the planets.

Jo Brand does do a riff on the subject of 'man flu', the idea that men tend to inflate colds into flu, unlike women.

55579.  Sun Feb 26, 2006 11:39 am Reply with quote

The difference between table tennis and ping pong:

The difference between ping pong and table tennis is that 'ping pong' is a trademark (belonging to J Jaques & Son in the UK, and sold by them to Parker Bros in the US), so it's only ping pong if you're using their kit.

The international rules were changed in 2001 so that all tournaments played under official auspices are now to 11 points, not 21. You're allowed to have different types of surface on the two sides of your paddle, but the international rules state that one has to be red and the other black so that your opponent can see which side you're using. On the serve you have to throw the ball up at least six inches, and you aren't allowed to volley - the ball has to bounce before you hit it. Serves alternate every two points (not five).

None of these rules is observed at Flash Towers.

Table Tennis was the basis of the first commercially-successful video game, Pong.

In the 1936 World Chanmpionships in Prague one point lasted over an hour. Saints alive, that must have been dull.

Table tennis was banned in the Soviet Union from 1930 to 1950 because authorities believed the sport was harmful to people’s eyes.

post 36532

'Ouija Board' is also a trademark of Parker Brothers - post 37642.

55585.  Sun Feb 26, 2006 12:27 pm Reply with quote

The units of weight are Newtons. To get the weight of an object, you multiply its mass (m) by the acceleration due to local gravity (g).

On Earth, this is roughly 9.8 m/s/s (i.e. for every second an object is left to fall, its speed increases by 1 m/s). So 1kg has a weight of 9.8N.

The difference between you and me? Humans can differ in their genetic makeup at over 1/3 of the gene locations in our DNA. But not all at once, of course. If 1/3 of my genes were different to yours, I'd be approximately a broad bean.

55682.  Mon Feb 27, 2006 5:59 am Reply with quote

"Jo Brand does do a riff on the subject of 'man flu', the idea that men tend to inflate colds into flu, unlike women."

And very fucking dull it is, too: cliched, bewhiskered, unoriginal, laboured ... as funny as a 1970s routine about fat mothers-in-law. (Listening to one now, I mean; not nearly as funny as listening to one in the actual 1970s).


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