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Comment Termites? (Score 1) 4

I wonder what the big difference is between this creature and termites? Both digest cellulose (wood) into sugars and use them for energy, right? Gut bacteria do this in termites. Sounds great, but I suspect there's a long road from here to easy biofuel production from cellulose. Otherwise, I'm thinking we'd have come up with an system based on termites already.

Comment Re:Apples and Oranges (Score 5, Informative) 17

Depending on the power line, it's likely the line in TFA was at least 880 volts (what the lines running along the road in a residential area carry), and likely much more. Apparently, New York's subway only runs 625 (here) and DC's Metro trains run 750 V (here). According to this, even a millimeter gap in a conducting stream (like someone's urine) would require around 3000 V to jump it. It's quite likely the pole this guy took down with his car was carrying at least 4000 V (here).

So it looks like the Mythbusters were fine, as far as they went. An electric fence or third rail is very unlikely to be able to electrocute someone through a urine stream because of the air gaps, but there are plenty of electrical transmission lines easily capable of it.

Comment Re:Your body doesn't have a 100% conversion factor (Score 1) 978

Even how and how much your food is cooked affects its caloric and nutritional content. Cooking makes a lot of molecules easier to absorb, whether that's energy molecules like carbs and fats or vitamins and minerals. That's a big part of what a guy named Richard Wrangham wrote about in a recent book. 'Course I haven't read the whole thing mind you -- just heard interviews, etc. Interesting stuff that we don't usually think about, though.

Comment Re:wouldn't be allowed to develop? (Score 1) 509

I agree with the semi-serious argument that all anti-abortion advocates should have to sign up to adopt all the children that their cause prevents being aborted.

As someone opposed to abortion, I also agree. I think most people opposed to abortion would, too. Infants born in the US do not generally have trouble being adopted. In fact, there are so many more people trying to adopt in this country that many go through immense expenditure of time and money to adopt from outside the country.

The bigger adoption problem is unwillingness to adopt older children. They didn't get where they are by growing up in foster care from infancy, but because of some other problems in their lives, so that's a totally separate problem from abortion vs. adoption.

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