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  1. G

    What's the difference between the capsule and cell wall?

    It helps Bacteria adhere to tissue or other surfaces. Many bacteria can stick to specific substrates (like a specific type of host cell), and they can also adhere to other bacteria and then form biofilms.
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    Modafinil as the closest thing to the limitless drug

    Any drug that resembles the drug from Limitless to the user is more likely affecting confidence rather than actually increasing cognitive ability. I think a true cognitive enhancer would increase mental flexibility (in other words, the ability to change your mental state to suit the task at...
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    Is it possible that white people are genetically older than

    Ahh yes mixed the names up. Yesterday I wanted to buy some (melatonin pills that is), but the government here has lowered the allowed amount that can be sold legally (100x less than it was before), so I suppose I'll go to sleep without it (although I was never quite certain if it actually did...
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    Is it possible that white people are genetically older than

    I'm sure that I get things wrong sometimes and I don't mind it when people point that out. I'll be the first to admit that I don't exactly post with citations and references... However, I do mind when someone tell me I'm wrong, but doesn't even take the effort to point out what he doesn't agree...
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    Is it possible that white people are genetically older than

    There are differences between animals in their ability to synthesize vitamins (or not) and their requirements. Species can lose the ability to synthesize certain compounds, if they can easily get them from their food. At that point there will be no need to maintain the gene. Meat in general is a...
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    The Origin of Life, the relationships between life and Energy

    Like said before, this can be done. Information about metabolic rates can for example be used to make estimates about biodiversity and biomass in relatively isolated systems (for example deep water reefs). The sun might not necessarily have been the primary source of energy for the first...
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    Why aren't microspheres and protocells living beings?

    You could conceive that in the future humanity may posses such advanced technology, that it will be possible to create individual carbon-lifeforms that do not mutate or procreate, but are capable of indefinitely maintaining themselves by intake of energy. At some point defining biological...
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    Evolution of mind

    Perhaps another way to think about this is that we can use several modes of thinking. I would argue that scientific reasoning does not so much rely on developing an advanced intelligence, but rather has more to do with learning how to suppress otherwise useful modes of thinking in favour of...
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    Evolution of mind

    Society has evolved. Our ability to pass on knowledge to the following generations. As people have said before you vastly overestimate the importance of factual knowledge (semantic memory) to everyday functioning. There is more to our brain than that. Is it though? This reminds me of a quote...
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    "What colour is this dress" craze

    I would say gold/light purple... definitely closer to gold/white than blue/black for me. I'm not really sure how people could see black in it.
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    Is it possible to scientifically discuss the dream world?

    I think this question is similar to (if not the same as) the hard problem of consciousness ( Personally I doubt that it is a question that can be answered in a way that will satisfy most people asking it. It's much like asking what our...
  12. G

    Evolution through mutations

    As humans we tend to be very biased towards what we find important as humans. 'Modern' traits like culture and language are very important to us and these traits are related to biological changes in brain structure and size. However, that does not necessarily imply that the amount of genomic...
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    About endosymbiosis

    Those arguments tend to rely on statistical methods. Keep in mind that the following two sentences are not the same: - all current eukaryotic life derives from a single ancestor which resulted from endosymbiosis between two lifeforms - endosymbiosis between life forms, resulting in an eukaryote...
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    Evolution, short term or long term adaptation?

    Epigenetics? These are heritable adaptations that might be considered short-term adaptations. If you are strictly talking about the genome, I can think of some examples that influence the chance a gene is maintained in the future: - genes can acquired multiple, distinct functions - genes may...
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    Can we prolong our lifespan and even achieve immortality?

    Death from old age does not have a single cause. It is simply a by-product of the fact that from an evolutionary point of view, there is no significant advantage to invest in indefinite lifespan. Any evolutionary change that adds to longevity always requires investment and past a certain point...
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    Origin/fitness effect of brain coral's grooves? A recent article related to this topic.
  17. G

    Viruses alive in period of finding host?

    Interesting question... I would not be surprised if not all that much is known about this. Anyway, my guess is that even if virions degrade quickly (for example because of UV-light), the sheer number of viral particles released is enough to ensure that at least some will encounter a new host to...
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    Why can't babies walk?

    Why would they need to walk? Clearly it's not needed, babies survive just fine because they have parental care. I imagine a baby that tries to walk would probably just endanger itself. And if humans needed to be capable of walking at birth, that would require some kind of trade-off. We are born...
  19. G

    Stratification of species

    Human males with XYY sex chromosomes (normally XY) and females with XXX (normally XX) exist and are usually fertile. Because the Y chromosome contains few genes (most of them are involved in sperm production) and extra X chromosomes are mostly inactivated, these people are relatively healthy...
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    Stratification of species

    Wanted to add some wiki pages you might find interesting to read:
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    Stratification of species

    Fish are not a discrete class in an evolutionary sense, it's just the word we use to describe a specific type of animal that lives in water. If you look at the phylogeny of fish, it's not a monophyletic group. In other words, the common ancestor of all fish is also the common ancestor of many...
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    Gut biome of old, productive, healthy people, things in common?

    >If we looked the gut biome of old, productive, relatively healthy people, would their biomes likely have things in common? Similarities in their diets? Depends on their living conditions. In general Actinobacteria become more common in the elderly, which are also more common in infants. There...
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    Asexual reproduction

    In insects, parthenogenesis is often caused by bacterial symbionts. The bacteria Wolbachia are especially well known for this, but there are others. These bacteria are transmitted from mother to offspring, but not father to offspring, so it is more advantageous for them if they skew the...
  24. G

    Why haven't other organisms evolved humanlike intelligence?

    Humans were originally endurance hunters. We might not have claws, speed or raw strength, but few animals can run as long and far as we can. You think a chimp can run a marathon? The traits that make us good endurance hunters have also contributed to our specific intelligence: Walking upright...