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Interesting stuff

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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Paolo
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Re: Interesting stuff

#21 Post by Paolo » January 18th, 2011, 8:41 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Dave B wrote:
Nick wrote:Restoring the thread to it's original intentions...

From an answer to my question on Ask a Biologist, I have learned that elephants do not have, as I thought, 4 knees, but 2 knees and 2 elbows. :D

What interesting fact would you like to share with the world?
I wonder if that goes for all quadrupeds? Basic structure of the rest of the mammalian body seems to have a common(ish) configuration.
It is indeed standard for all quadrupeds and indeed bipeds. The only tetrapods (that's the discrete evolutionary group including all of the terrestrial vertebrates) that don't have elbows and knees are the ones that have secondarily reduced or lost their limbs, like the snakes, caecilians, whales, etc.

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Dave B
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Re: Interesting stuff

#22 Post by Dave B » January 18th, 2011, 9:00 pm

Thanks for confirming my thoughts, Paolo. This similarity in bodily structure is one of those things that the relioginstas seems to ignore when evolution is discussed.

There used to be a song that went along the lines of:
"Be nice to our four footed friends,
'Cos that pig may be somebody's brother . . ."

Can't find it , only a paraphrase:
"Be kind to your web-footed friends
'Cause (for) a duck may be somebody's mother."
and other songs in a similar vein of silliness
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
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Alan C.
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Re: Interesting stuff

#23 Post by Alan C. » January 18th, 2011, 9:49 pm

I believe I read (somewhere) recently that humans and chimpanzees are the only two animals that have a prostate gland, the biggest cause of cancer in men.
I stand to be corrected of course.

I might have dreamt it :)
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animist
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Re: Interesting stuff

#24 Post by animist » January 18th, 2011, 11:57 pm

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:Oh, that is interesting. They're the only countries in the world that are doubly landlocked [---][/---] i.e. surrounded by other landlocked countries, so that they have to cross two borders to get to the coast. But that's because the Caspian Sea is itself considered landlocked [---][/---] not a proper sea but more of a big lake. Which seems a bit unfair. Although the water in the Caspian Sea is only a third as salty as most seawater.

And I suppose that if you counted the Caspian Sea as a proper sea you'd also have to count the Aral Sea as a proper sea, which is rather more ridiculous.
especially there isn't much left of the Aral Sea since its rivers were diverted by the Soviet regime. On the other hand, the Mediterranean is virtually landlocked isn't it, but noone calls countries which border it landlocked!

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Dave B
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Re: Interesting stuff

#25 Post by Dave B » January 19th, 2011, 10:19 am

animist wrote:
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:Oh, that is interesting. They're the only countries in the world that are doubly landlocked [---][/---] i.e. surrounded by other landlocked countries, so that they have to cross two borders to get to the coast. But that's because the Caspian Sea is itself considered landlocked [---][/---] not a proper sea but more of a big lake. Which seems a bit unfair. Although the water in the Caspian Sea is only a third as salty as most seawater.

And I suppose that if you counted the Caspian Sea as a proper sea you'd also have to count the Aral Sea as a proper sea, which is rather more ridiculous.
especially there isn't much left of the Aral Sea since its rivers were diverted by the Soviet regime. On the other hand, the Mediterranean is virtually landlocked isn't it, but noone calls countries which border it landlocked!
Ah, the critical word there is "virtually" is it not? Sea water (and all the critters in it) is exchanged via tidal effects through a natural channel between the Atlantic and the Med so they are part of the same system.
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Dave B
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Re: Interesting stuff

#26 Post by Dave B » January 19th, 2011, 10:26 am

Though I would follow up on that last - it is not an "exchange" of sea water but a steadyish 2 knot current (at the surface) flowing into the Med. Seems that all the rivers that flow into the Med. don't make up for the losses due to evaporation.
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animist
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Re: Interesting stuff

#27 Post by animist » January 19th, 2011, 12:01 pm

Dave B wrote:Though I would follow up on that last - it is not an "exchange" of sea water but a steadyish 2 knot current (at the surface) flowing into the Med. Seems that all the rivers that flow into the Med. don't make up for the losses due to evaporation.
though, as you are pointing out, the Med is a "proper" sea, unlike the Caspian, apparently its quasi-landlocked nature makes its tides relatively low

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jaywhat
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Re: Interesting stuff

#28 Post by jaywhat » January 19th, 2011, 2:16 pm

I have only just discovered that the Caspian Sea can be reached from the 'open' sea by canal/river connections.

Anyway, what do these 3 states have in common -
the republic of San Marino, the Vatican and the Kingdom of Lesotho ?

Fia
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Re: Interesting stuff

#29 Post by Fia » January 19th, 2011, 2:49 pm

They are all mini states inside others I think... The first 2 in Italy, the last in South Africa?

Gottard
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Re: Interesting stuff

#30 Post by Gottard » January 19th, 2011, 3:02 pm

and did you know that the Swiss territory includes an Italian enclave? Its name is Campione (close to Lugano).
http://www.campioneitalia.com/index.php?lang=en
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animist
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Re: Interesting stuff

#31 Post by animist » January 19th, 2011, 3:51 pm

before we get bored with borders, does anyone want to think of islands which have one international border? - eg Ireland is one, but I know of a couple more.

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Dave B
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Re: Interesting stuff

#32 Post by Dave B » January 19th, 2011, 4:03 pm

animist wrote:before we get bored with borders, does anyone want to think of islands which have one international border? - eg Ireland is one, but I know of a couple more.
Does the Indonesia/Papua New Guinea border count? What is the limit in size to qualify for being an island?
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jaywhat
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Re: Interesting stuff

#33 Post by jaywhat » January 19th, 2011, 4:22 pm

Fia wrote:They are all mini states inside others I think... The first 2 in Italy, the last in South Africa?

Yes, they are landlocked by only one country; so, yes they are mini states inside others.

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Sel
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Re: Interesting stuff

#34 Post by Sel » January 19th, 2011, 4:50 pm

animist wrote:before we get bored with borders, does anyone want to think of islands which have one international border? - eg Ireland is one, but I know of a couple more.
Haiti/Dominican Republic
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Nick
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Re: Interesting stuff

#35 Post by Nick » January 19th, 2011, 5:34 pm

animist wrote:before we get bored with borders, does anyone want to think of islands which have one international border? - eg Ireland is one, but I know of a couple more.
Portugal

How about Canada?

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Dave B
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Re: Interesting stuff

#36 Post by Dave B » January 19th, 2011, 5:37 pm

Nick wrote:
animist wrote:before we get bored with borders, does anyone want to think of islands which have one international border? - eg Ireland is one, but I know of a couple more.
Portugal

How about Canada?
Er, was not islands part of the qualification, Nick?
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animist
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Re: Interesting stuff

#37 Post by animist » January 19th, 2011, 5:57 pm

Dave B wrote:
animist wrote:before we get bored with borders, does anyone want to think of islands which have one international border? - eg Ireland is one, but I know of a couple more.
Does the Indonesia/Papua New Guinea border count? What is the limit in size to qualify for being an island?
yes, NG is definitely an island - anything surronded by sea is an island which is not a continent, I think


Gottard mentioned an enclave; the only one I know offhand is the part of Russia which is sort of surrounded by Poland and the sea - it contains the city of Kaliningrad. Any more? Actually, the one I mention is an exclave rather than an enclave

thundril
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Re: Interesting stuff

#38 Post by thundril » January 19th, 2011, 5:58 pm

Hmmm. Now Spain/Portugal is almost an island in the Mediterranean, which is almost an inland sea. Is there a special word for an actual island in an actual inland sea. And does anyone know of any?

Nick
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Re: Interesting stuff

#39 Post by Nick » January 19th, 2011, 6:00 pm

Dave B wrote:How about Canada?
Er, was not islands part of the qualification, Nick?[/quote]

Ahhh....

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animist
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Re: Interesting stuff

#40 Post by animist » January 19th, 2011, 6:08 pm

thundril wrote:Hmmm. Now Spain/Portugal is almost an island in the Mediterranean, which is almost an inland sea. Is there a special word for an actual island in an actual inland sea. And does anyone know of any?
not at the moment, but the Japanese call the sea south of Honshu the Inland Sea - it is a sea almost surrounded by the islands of Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and smaller islands

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Alan C.
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Re: Interesting stuff

#41 Post by Alan C. » January 19th, 2011, 6:30 pm

I'm learning more geography in this thread than I learned in 4 years at "Richmond secondary modern" :smile:
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