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Enigma

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Flash
154103.  Tue Mar 06, 2007 7:28 am Reply with quote

Scaffolding, I imagine.

Also, some cranes erect themselves, telescope-wise.

 
dr.bob
154469.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 6:13 am Reply with quote

One posed by my better half as she was flicking through a holiday brochure last night:

"Why do so many different places around the world have hotels named 'Bristol'?"

Possibly some seafaring/trade connection?

Or (more boringly) just a chain of oddly named hotels.

Inquiring minds want to know!

 
Flash
154974.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:45 am Reply with quote

Garrick sends this:

Quote:
I don't have an answer for this one. I can't find any answer to it online and don't really have time to conduct a meaningful experiment, but I thought it might be a good primer for discussion. I've part-scripted it, because it needs a bit of explaining.

Stephen: "Now, then. Anyone here keen on houseplants? Good, good. So, have you ever grown anything from seed? You have? That's excellent. So you stick a seed in a pot of earth and water it, and eventually a shoot appears. Stop me if I'm getting too technical.

And eventually, you have a full grown plant in a pot of mud. This is where it gets a bit complicated.

Water is oxygen and hydrogen, isn't it? We all agree on that?

And a plant isn't made of just oxygen and hydrogen, is it? It's got other stuff in it. Like chlorine ... Haven't you heard of chlorophyll, Alan?

So the plant must be getting all that stuff from somewhere. And it must be the soil. So the plant's fry weight (minus water) must be made up of stuff it got from the soil. So ...
... why is it that the soil in plantpots doesn't go down?"

(I dare say that this is based on a logical fallacy. Any takers?)

 
MatC
155007.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:52 am Reply with quote

Not sure I understand that ...

1. The plant gets light, as well as water and air.

2. The soil/compost level in pots does go down (though I tend to put that down to compaction).

3. Isnít it quite likely that the soil level (ignoring 2 for the moment) does go down, but not appreciably, since all the plant is taking from it is micronutrients?

4. Or have I missed the whole point?

5. Shut up, that was a rhetorical question.

 
Flash
155015.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:01 am Reply with quote

Actually, I'm with you on that. As I said to Garrick, all we put into my first son was powdered goat's milk and water, and when he'd doubled in size that didn't make him half-goat.

No, what made him half-goat was ... (amusing punch line drowned out by audience hilarity).

 
Gray
155018.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:07 am Reply with quote

Strange, though, how you always find archaeological remains underground. It's like the surface of the Earth is burying itself constantly, out of shame for its occupiers. "Nothing to see here."

Like the surface of the Earth generally, in fact, in the much larger scale. Except for here, even more weirdly. Mantletastic.

 
Flash
155020.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:13 am Reply with quote

Some archaeological remains are at ground level, of course - and some would be in mid-air were it not for the obvious structural problems associated with such a position.

 
MatC
155329.  Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:06 am Reply with quote

Cranes - link to post 58701, and thus to eponyms.

 
Frederick The Monk
156752.  Thu Mar 15, 2007 7:43 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
Garrick sends this:

Quote:
I don't have an answer for this one. I can't find any answer to it online and don't really have time to conduct a meaningful experiment, but I thought it might be a good primer for discussion. I've part-scripted it, because it needs a bit of explaining.

Stephen: "Now, then. Anyone here keen on houseplants? Good, good. So, have you ever grown anything from seed? You have? That's excellent. So you stick a seed in a pot of earth and water it, and eventually a shoot appears. Stop me if I'm getting too technical.

And eventually, you have a full grown plant in a pot of mud. This is where it gets a bit complicated.

Water is oxygen and hydrogen, isn't it? We all agree on that?

And a plant isn't made of just oxygen and hydrogen, is it? It's got other stuff in it. Like chlorine ... Haven't you heard of chlorophyll, Alan?

So the plant must be getting all that stuff from somewhere. And it must be the soil. So the plant's fry weight (minus water) must be made up of stuff it got from the soil. So ...
... why is it that the soil in plantpots doesn't go down?"

(I dare say that this is based on a logical fallacy. Any takers?)


I think this derived from a post-grad quiz set in the US a few years back (at Harvard I think but I'm guessing) where one question asked simply where does most of the mass of a tree come from? The answer of course is that whilst there's obviously some water from the ground and some nutrients fromt he soil, by far the majority of a tree's mass comes from the air via photosynthesis in which carbon dioxide is broken down to form oxygen and a bit of water to release the carbon from which the tree is largely made.

Personally I think it might make quite a good question - the fact that trees are largely made from air.

 
Flash
156776.  Thu Mar 15, 2007 8:44 am Reply with quote

Yes - I didn't know that.

 
Jenny
156795.  Thu Mar 15, 2007 10:00 am Reply with quote

A relevant paragraph from pp21-22 of Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma:

Quote:
At its most basic, the story of life on earth is the competition among species to capture and store as much energy as possible - either direction from the sun, in the case of plants, or, in the case of animals, by eating plants and plant eaters. The energy is stored in the form of carbon molecules and measured in calories. The calories we eat, whether in an ear of corn or a steak, represent packets of energy once captured by a plant. The C4 trick* helps explain the corn plant's success in this competition. Few plants can manufacture quite as much organic matter (and calories) from the same quantities of sunlight and water and basic elements as corn. (Ninety-seven percent of what a corn plant is comes from the air, three percent from the ground.)


Emphasis mine.

* I can elucidate this if necessary.

 
MatC
156798.  Thu Mar 15, 2007 10:09 am Reply with quote

Yes, very interesting - I would've assumed light was more nutritious than air, so this would all be new to me.

 
DELETED
156876.  Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:49 pm Reply with quote

DELETED

 
Flash
156879.  Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:57 pm Reply with quote

Comedy - the only job where, if you're no good, nobody laughs at you.

 
DELETED
156880.  Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:58 pm Reply with quote

DELETED

 

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