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Biology Help Desk: Volume 2^3

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  • How does skin protect against intrusion of chemicals? How can detergent kill bacteria, but not hurt skin cells? One answer, I'm guessing, is that skin cells are serviced from within. Bacteria depend on outside influence for oxygen, water, and food.
    • The answer is elegantly simple: it dies. We replace every skin cell on average every 48 or so [nih.gov] days, and there are a lot of them. It does help that nutrients from blood are consistently and reliably available, too, as this means it's much easier for skin cells to recover after damage, but honestly it's mostly just shedding. On top of that, many detergents and other cleaners are designed specifically to interfere with features unique to the normal functioning of bacterial cells, so they're just generally much
      • Wow! Thanks, Samantha. That subject is very interesting to me. I would like to know even more. I will visit the OHSU library and download the paper to which you linked.

        What can I do for you? I know an exceptionally nice man who is serious about marriage who is looking for a wife, if you aren't already married. (I'm a full-service friend. -grin-)
        • Thanks for the sentiment, but I've already got that sort of thing planned out. Also even if I didn't, I think there'd be a waiting list.
          • A problem in talking about these things is that the talking challenges everything people think they know.

            Yes, he is friendly with a lot of women. However, it is very, very difficult to find a woman who is serious about marriage. Most just don't want to do the work. He and I talk about that a lot. I'm now happily married, but I looked for 42 years in 33 countries before I found her in Brazil. I'm trying to make it easier for him.

            If a woman meets an interesting man, the immediate issue is not whether or
            • While I appreciate your candidness and flattery, this is still not an appropriate venue for pursuing or facilitating the pursuit of romantic relationships, and I'm still taken.
              • by tibit ( 1762298 )

                I'm reading this thread and I'm wondering: is this *really* happening? I'm glad, in a way, for not being a geek female. I'm worried for my daughter, just a bit.

                • This is probably the fifth or sixth time since I started posting on Slashdot actively two or three years ago. However, it is the first time someone has... solicited on the behalf of another, and the first time the inquirer had the forethought and considerateness to post directly (and insistently) on a very visible and irremovable journal entry rather than a private email or an obscure story comment.

                  As most of these messages seem to come from older people, I remain optimistic that this kind of thing is conti

                  • by tibit ( 1762298 )

                    Asymptotic background level, if any, has to go to the very bottom of the waiting list, then :) I enjoy your posts, keep it up.

                • I'm reading this thread and I'm wondering: is this *really* happening? I'm glad, in a way, for not being a geek female. I'm worried for my daughter, just a bit.

                  Agreed and seconded.

                  I currently work at a university well known for it's engineering programs and I would be *very* scared to send my daughter here. The ~ 15% female population is alternatively fetishized and objectified, but also not expected to succeed in any highly technical endeavors. My daughter is 3 years old, I'm hoping to teach her to code when she's a little older (project Alice or something similar), but only if she also learns some sort of asymmetric self-defense such as Aikido first. . .

                  • It's hard to know if that'll be entirely necessary. I understand as a father you feel a profound need to protect, but it actually is getting better. You might want to consider sending her to another university, however; schools with an overall more balanced program tend to have an easier time drawing women to more polarized fields.
                    • Oh, of course! I really enjoyed going to a school that had a much more balanced range of academic programs, and I guarantee all my engineering friends very much appreciated that environment as well, especially being able to meet motivated and smart people with very different and varied interests.

                      But even then, the number of female Ph.Ds or faculty members in, say, math, physics, or computer science is a tremendous problem, and noone believes for an instant it has anything to do with innate ability, it's cl

                    • This [genderbiasbingo.com] exceedingly well-informed (and justly so) guy pretty much covers and has experienced everything there is to say. Perhaps the most bizarre thing is how deep the bias about perceived skill runs; Barres argues that seemingly well-adjusted people will unconsciously view a female scientist's work more critically simply based on gender (although his own anecdotal experience is hardly under rigorous control and it's possible he really did get better.)

                      On the other hand, when I got to graduate school and was g

                    • There was a study in PNAS within the last year that was eye-opening, especially in that female faculty were just as biased against a fictional resume for a lab manager (read gap year student technician) if the name was feminine rather than masculine.

                      http://www.pnas.org/content/109/41/16474.full [pnas.org]

                      Of all the numerous commentaries on why this might be so, I think the above-average but not stellar academic credentials (B+ student) is what did it. For a normal
                      (read male) evaluation, the narrative might be "this gu

                    • Increasingly female faculty are reading studies like this and taking corrective action, but you can imagine there's still lots of room for improvement. As Barres articulates, the meme responsible for the overall disparity is that men have a broader variation than women in intelligence (which, sadly, I myself have believed in the past), but this goes back to some very flawed and old IQ test results that, unsurprisingly, can be influenced by your level of self-confidence! If you go through his slides (and I r
  • I am not sure if this is completely on-topic, but how did humans evolve such complex, and often disfunctional, psychologies/behaviors/I'm not sure what to call them?

    I can understand if an eating disorder developed as a side-effect of beneficial adaptations, but I've read that somewhere around 1 in 6 people have suffered from depression. How did this happen, and how did humans make it this far despite what seem like fairly debilitating mental issues affecting so many of us, from eating disorders and depressi

    • I'm not a psychologist (and Slashdot just ate half my post), but I might be able to satisfy your curiosity on this matter.

      Evolutionary psychology is an ideology that holds that most human quirks were, at some point, useful. Usually this involves some romanticized neolithic society, and it's been shown many times that it's probably mostly garbage and definitely depends on circular reasoning in some cases, but there are some things that can be somewhat explained by it. Depression seems to be one of them.


      • Thanks for the super in-depth reply. As always, your responses are always really interesting. How did you get the idea to start this Q&A thing anyway?

        I never knew how country-specific a lot of these disorders were. I think I follow how depression and BPD could arise and how Stockholm syndrome could help. I don't really understand how schizophrenia could be linked to more analytical minds, but I guess our brains and bodies ARE a bunch of spagetti code, so I'll have to look into that.

        I also see how obesit

        • You're welcome! I started doing Q&As after I kept getting random off-topic bio questions on news stories. They've dried up a little, but clearly people are still checking for these journal entries, despite not asking for them, since you and several other people found this one.

          Stockholm syndrome is actually a coping mechanism that prevents depression. If you love your captor, that distracts you from the fact that you're imprisoned and being abused. BPD tends to manifest following a lot of deep shattering

Old programmers never die, they just become managers.