Re: Pew Science Quiz

1

People really need to have a better grasp of how lasers work.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:11 AM
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That's not what "pew" means in this context.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:12 AM
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3

Antibiotic addiction is a serious issue, no matter what the "experts" at Pew think.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:18 AM
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Which question did you manage to get wrong, heebie?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:18 AM
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I got them all right, but the OP did prompt me to slow down and think about the atmosphere question.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:19 AM
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The nitrogen one. Same as Witt, so go make fun of HER why don't you.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:19 AM
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I guess Larry Summers was right, after all.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:20 AM
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I had to look three times to make sure I didn't write Larry Sanders. My brain has a limp.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:21 AM
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9

100 percent, suck it STEM nerds.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:21 AM
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10

What does him withdrawing his name from Fed chair have to do with anything?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:22 AM
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100 percent, suck it STEM nerds.

Yeah, well I get summers off.

Not Larry.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:23 AM
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Since we'll all get them all right we need to compare times to complete.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:23 AM
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Results here. The laser question gender gap is the widest - 58% correctly answered for men, 39% for women. Someone needs to give little girls toy lasers for the good of science. The atmosphere one was the hardest. Apparently, only 20% got it right. That one was (I think) the only one I wouldn't expect a reasonably well-informed person to know, since it's not like there are news stories about major constituents of the atmosphere.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:23 AM
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Friggin' nitrogen!!!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:24 AM
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15

Didn't anybody else get the nitrogen one as a trick question in elementary school?

Also, wait, how do people not know that? I bet heebie doesn't even know how to breathe.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:25 AM
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The nitrogen one was the one I missed too.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:26 AM
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I had to look three times to make sure I didn't write Larry Sanders

I think you'd know if you were Garry Shandling.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:27 AM
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Now when I see "HER" in all capitals I assume it's someone attempting to write EHR and getting relentlessly autocorrected.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:28 AM
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Also, wait, how do people not know that? I bet heebie doesn't even know how to breathe.

She's an idiot, babe...


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:28 AM
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15: Maybe because people mare more familiar with pulse oximeter readings that give numbers like 90% saturation?


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:28 AM
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21

-m. Oops.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:29 AM
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God, I feel so good about beating you 12/13 losers. Time to drink some mead from the model of an Unfogged commenter's skull I had made.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:31 AM
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Some of the correlations are interesting. I notice that people get less likely to answer the atmospheric warming question correctly as they get older.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:32 AM
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people mare

I got the question about centaurs wrong, too.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:32 AM
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20: they are? What are you people doing spending so much time with pulse oximeters?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:33 AM
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re: 25

Just hangin' about, oximetering. I didn't know whether to bring out my oximeter on Friday, but since I wasn't sure it was an oximetering kind of crowd ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:35 AM
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13/13 for this humanities person! w00t, victory dance! [/unseemly/


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:36 AM
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28

5 speaks for me, also. I might have missed the atmosphere one had the OP not encouraged me to think it through.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:36 AM
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I also got 13.

re: 22

Bulging forehead, sunken eye-sockets? 47 year old basement dwelling sort of skull?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:43 AM
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30

All correct! I too remember the nitrogen one coming up on lots of quizzes in school.

Kinda makes you wonder too about the folx that only got a couple right. Just a failure of education? Fluoride? People who intentionally answer surveys incorrectly to fuck up the numbers?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:43 AM
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20: ydnew, and I say this with all affectionate respect, you have a totally cockamamie idea of the general level of scientific literacy and healthcare experience of the American public. That is waaaaaaay more information than most people are going to bring to this quiz.

(Every time I've seen it done, the nurse says brightly, "We're just going to take your pulseox!" if they tell you anything at all. I would never have known what it was if I weren't the kind of nosy, pushy patient who asks questions.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:44 AM
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32

I got all the science ones right, but missed the one on my age.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:46 AM
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33

Also, 31 is right. I never even heard of pulse oximetry and I work in a medicalish field.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:48 AM
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Also, wait, how do people not know that?

Agreed, but whatever, I don't want to make people feel bad. What made feel bad was seeing how many people got only a few right. How on earth? Were the respondents, like, five years old?

On preview, pwned by that fucking brainiac Natilo.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:48 AM
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35

I've visited people in the hospital with that thing on their finger, but never asked about it. I would have asked if it were on me, but it seemed rude to pry when I'm not the sick person.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:52 AM
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I've never heard anyone say "pulse oximetry" before, but they do it to me almost every time I go to the doctor's office.

Also, did they occasionally say something like "a class M planet with an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere" on "Star Trek"? Maybe that confused people because of oxygen being first.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:53 AM
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All I ever heard was my own impending death.


Posted by: Opinionated Red Shirt | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:55 AM
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38

I got them all and did not read the OP. Lawyers (except those masquerading as engineers) rule.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:56 AM
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39

But, like, you know the thing where they give somebody pure oxygen, and then you can't smoke around it because it's crazy flammable? "You" in the previous sentence refers to... I don't know. Maybe you!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:57 AM
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38: Damn straight. Another flawless attorney here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:59 AM
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41

Nitrogen: the least interesting element.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 10:59 AM
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42

The pulseox thing is very important to folks who have premature infants or elderly relatives with heart/lung problems. I was coming at it assuming there's no reason (except a good memory and a good education to start with) that anyone would know the right answer, and I said it was the hardest question. I mean, the obvious answer is we breathe air, we need oxygen, air must be mostly oxygen. I was thinking that even if you were taught the answer in high school or college, you might have had an intervening experience that made you remember oxygen associated with a high % value. That's all.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:00 AM
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43

If there was less nitrogen and more oxygen, insects would get huge.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:00 AM
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44

WHAT ARE WE, CHOPPED LIVER?


Posted by: OPINIONATED FLORIDA INSECT COUNCIL | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:02 AM
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45

Huger. Sorry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:03 AM
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46

Whatever, I got 13/13 and you could hardly find a person less like a lawyer than I am!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:03 AM
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47

In the "I am a winner!" column, I got 13/13.

In the "I am a loser!" column, I have not left the couch at 11 AM and have no real schedule for doing so.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:06 AM
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48

13/13 obviously.

53% of people said "false" to "Electrons are smaller than atoms"? Good heavens.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:07 AM
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49

In the "I'm not sure!" column, I am looking at dick pics and listening to Couperin!


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:07 AM
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50

47.2: Couldn't you go to a bar?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:08 AM
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Pleasantly basking in my 13/13. I suppose this means it's time to get back to my grading, though.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:10 AM
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52

Couldn't you go to a bar and do the things in 49?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:10 AM
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53

52 to, sure, 51.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:11 AM
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54

50 is a fair point but do they open before noon?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:11 AM
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I was shocked by how much worse the 65+ crowd was than everyone else. Old people are dumb. Or they haven't picked up any of the newfangled "science" that's been discovered since they were born.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:12 AM
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54: They do here.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:13 AM
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57

My brother got a job by talking to people in a bar. But maybe that only works for lawyers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:14 AM
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54: the week I moved to the bay area there was a SF Bay Guardian cover story on the ten best places to get a drink at 6AM.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:15 AM
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59

57: "Don't drive drunk. But if you do, call me."


Posted by: Cryptic bned | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:16 AM
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58: There used to be a lot of those places in industrial northeast Minneapolis, for the 3rd shift guys, but I'm not sure if any of them are left. Gotta be a couple, you would think.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:16 AM
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59: It was actually corporate defense work.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:18 AM
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Nitrogen: the least interesting element.

If you go scuba diving, nitrogen will get you entertainingly drunk! Then kill you in a number of agonisingly unpleasant ways. It's the John Belushi of atmospheric gases. (Worthy, useful and essential oxygen is the Dan Aykroyd.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:19 AM
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Awesome paper title: "Ignition of the Atmosphere with Nuclear Bombs." Take-away message: nitrogen in the atmosphere is really quite safe.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:19 AM
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64

13 of 13

The only hesitation was over whether sugar dissolving was a "chemical reaction" Ummm...ions...never mind

The rest were answered instantly


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:19 AM
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48: You know, that one made me stop and think. How big is an electron, in terms of volume rather than mass? How big is an atom? Is there really a determinate answer to either question? I shook my head after a couple of seconds, and figured that however you calculated it, given that an atom includes at least one electron and a nucleus, it's going to have to be bigger than the electron by itself (although, come to think, would you call a positively charged hydrogen ion an atom? Because that'd have a smaller volume than an electron, wouldn't it?)

But that's all thinking too hard. There wasn't a better answer, I was just having trouble with whether the best answer was perfect.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:20 AM
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I had a bit of doubt over the size of electrons because I overthought it and started worrying about whether they actually had a size to speak of or were just a sort of probability smear.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:21 AM
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Lawyers (except those masquerading as engineers)

I am right here, Carp. I can hear you.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:21 AM
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I was shocked by how much worse the 65+ crowd was than everyone else. Old people are dumb. Or they haven't picked up any of the newfangled "science" that's been discovered since they were born.

I am frequently startled by the realisation (or rather re-realisation) that plate tectonics was a cutting edge and hugely controversial theory when my parents were at university.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:21 AM
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61: "Don't fill out compliance forms drunk. But if you do, call me."


Posted by: Cryptic bned | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:25 AM
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I was shocked by how much worse the 65+ crowd was than everyone else. Old people are dumb.

I wonder how much of this is not knowing the new science and how much is cognitive decline. Am I going to be that dumb in 20 years? I worry.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:27 AM
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I remember that for some reason they made a big deal out of Nitrogen being the major component of the atmosphere back in elementary school.

13/13, and I'm not even a lawyer.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:30 AM
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There is one risk factor for cognitive decline in old age that I think I can avoid: I have no intention of ever taking up golf. As far as I can tell, an interest in golf can completely take over your cortex in old age, leaving you unable to answer basic questions about the origin of radiation.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:32 AM
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Ok looked at "solution" at Wiki and I am still not happy with the difference between iron oxide bonds and weak hydrogen bonding being considered qualitative and categorical. The bonds I worked with whenn blending plastics weren't always irreversible thermosets.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:32 AM
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70: I bet it's mostly the former (or maybe not having thought about it in decades). Normal cognitive decline is really pretty darn slow until you're, oh, eighty or so.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:33 AM
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Neoliberals and Obama are keeping weak hydrogen bonds from being called "chemical".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:34 AM
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Am I going to be that dumb in 20 years? I worry.

I live in constant fear that my remaining days are going to be like the end of Flowers for Algernon.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:36 AM
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WTF dude , it's redox.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:37 AM
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47.2 In the "I am a loser!" column, I have not left the couch at 11 AM and have no real schedule for doing so.

That sounds so nice. Want to do my job for a while?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:38 AM
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13/13! Ha

I was actually impressed by the American people on this one. Except for the nitrogen one that was clearly there just to trick people not as smart as me, just about every question had a majority of people getting it right. Those constant stories on surveys finding that most people believe in astrology and that global warming is a hoax had me primed to think everyone would be an idiot. Of course, internet, self-selected, etc.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:46 AM
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How big is an electron, in terms of volume rather than mass? How big is an atom? Is there really a determinate answer to either question?

Electrons are pointlike, as far as we can tell. The most straightforward definition of this is in terms of a form factor for the way they interact with light. It's hard to do this in real space so it's usually done in Fourier space. Basically they have charge e and the question is whether, when probed with different momentum transfers, you see different charges. You can write the interaction as a function of the momentum transfer q, expanded as a series in small q, something like F(q) = e (1 - 1/6 q2 r2 / ℏ2 + O(q4)), where r is called the "charge radius" of the electron. So far no measurement has found a nonzero value of this charge radius. (Compare, say, the proton, which is a composite object and has a charge radius of about a femtometer.)

(To any nitpickers: yes, I've omitted details, like the logarithmic q-dependence of 1/e2.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:47 AM
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Except for the nitrogen one that was clearly there just to trick people not as smart as me, just about every question had a majority of people getting it right.

AND THE ELECTRON ONE WTF WTF WTF


Posted by: cryptic bned | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:47 AM
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Oh, being unemployed in the Bay Area is so, so awesome, you guys. I just took a break from household accounting to slash at my wrists with my kale-chopping knife watch the new Lady Gaga video three times in a row. I think the next step is to squeeze myself into the closet and wait for family members to follow the sound of my muffled voice reading "Minima Moralia" aloud. There should be enough sweaters in there to fight cold and sleepiness.

Adorno was suspicious of slippers, incidentally. You don't have to bend down to put them on. I should actually find this passage.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:49 AM
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80: Huh. So an electron is 'smaller' than a proton by that definition. That I would have gotten wrong if I had been asked.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:51 AM
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You can write the interaction as a function of the momentum transfer q, expanded as a series in small q, something like F(q) = e (1 - 1/6 q2 r2 / ℏ2 + O(q4)), where r is called the "charge radius" of the electron.

This quiz was making me feel smart. Thanks for coming along and putting me back in my place.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:53 AM
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83: what's your reasoning to think the opposite?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:54 AM
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81: I know, crazy, but that one still had 47 percent getting it right and solid majorities among everyone reporting some college+. Seems quite possible that a lot of people just wouldn't know the names of the internal constituents of an atom.

I was disappointed they didn't ask how long it takes for the earth to travel around the sun. Always a good one. If you don't do multiple choice then a surprising number of people miss it.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:54 AM
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Of course, internet, self-selected, etc.

I believe the stats were for a randomized phone survey, not the online survey.

Oh no I'm an idiot and italicized the strikethrough part of the previous comment. What an odd sense of shame. Can someone delete the comment, if you get a chance? Thanks.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:55 AM
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88

No reasoning whatsoever, just vague memory. And maybe some confusion between the sizes of electron orbitals and of the electrons themselves?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:55 AM
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89

Pew should get Essear to write the next quiz. It will DEFINITIVELY PROVE the scientific ignorance of the American people.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:55 AM
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90

Sorry, I didn't mean to make light of the plight of the unemployed, for which I sympathize. Staying home today would have been nice, though.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:57 AM
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The terrible irony is that under late capitalism you only get to stay home when you don't really want to.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:57 AM
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88 And maybe some confusion between the sizes of electron orbitals and of the electrons themselves?

Yeah, that's what I was guessing. But this isn't an intrinsic property of electrons. You can consider an electron in a metal that has a wave function spread out over a big region; it isn't any larger than an electron circling a hydrogen atom, or an electron sitting at rest somewhere in empty space. So it isn't really the size of the electron.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 11:58 AM
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You'd think every Baby Boomer and their parents would remember that (lack of) nitrogen killed the Apollo 1 astronauts. Must be cognitive decline.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:00 PM
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So it isn't really the size of the electron.

That's what they all say.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:05 PM
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Much as I appreciate essear's eggheadery, isn't it enough to reason that electrons, because they are components of atoms but never atoms in themselves, must themselves be smaller than atoms?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:17 PM
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Well, yes, that was my reasoning in 65.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:20 PM
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Ah, but an ice cube is smaller than your freezer... until you heat it up, and it becomes vapor, filling the room!


Posted by: Cryptic bned | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:21 PM
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Maybe there people out there who think quantum mechanics means components of something can be larger than the thing itself.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:21 PM
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But educated people might suspect that simple intuitiions like that might not apply in the eerie world of quantum physics.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:22 PM
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100

I am a simple man, and I demand simple explanations.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:24 PM
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100: Most people feel that way, so they don't worry about the teeny-tiny things.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:25 PM
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Hence, the popularity of that anti-quantum physics tome, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:27 PM
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To 97, an ice cube is not a component of a freezer but rather something contained by the freezer (until it's not). In any case, it seems clear from the rest of the questions that even the most basic understanding of quantum physics is not remotely presupposed.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:30 PM
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The analogy ban meets quantum physics and FWOOM the blog, and the universe, are annihilated.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:44 PM
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13/13 but I had to ask myself which gas the Hindenberg was full of when it exploded, before I could settle on nitrogen.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:46 PM
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106

It was full of safe, nonflammable helium.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:48 PM
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107

...Speaking of FWOOM.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:48 PM
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106 Halford is WRONG it was full of hydrogen.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:49 PM
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106: Which is why the radio announcer's voice got so squeaky.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:49 PM
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110

Maybe there people out there who think quantum mechanics means components of something can be larger than the thing itself.

Is this related to the TARDIS being bigger on the inside than the outside?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:51 PM
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110: Not to mention Hermione's purse!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:52 PM
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Whatever, mcmc, go buy a nicotine patch before you blow us all to pieces.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:54 PM
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I like the chain of gas stations (Shell?) that advertise their gas has NITROGEN! to make it more exciting or something. I guess marketing thinks nitrogen sounds like nitro and wow properties of molecules are not the same as other molecules that might have a few atoms in common.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 12:57 PM
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80: I warn you, he's a Fourierist!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 1:01 PM
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Rfts was telling me last week that "oh, the humanity" was the announcer's way of expressing fear for the crowd below rather than a comment on the existential horror of it all. I think I may be disappointed!


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 1:03 PM
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"Premium gas, now with FLUORINE for extra performance!"


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 1:10 PM
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112: too late FWOOM!!!


Posted by: 112: too late | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 1:10 PM
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116: A foreign substance has been introduced into our precious automotive fluids ...


Posted by: General Ripper | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 1:26 PM
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Plutonium, that's the stuff.


Posted by: Doc Brown | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 1:29 PM
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||

Complete off-topic (except, I suppose, related to aging). There was a Buddy Holly song playing at the restaurant where I got lunch, and it reminded me that I recent read the Rock And Roll HOF bio of Carl Perkins and was surprised by this note (emphasis mine):

In December 1955, he recorded a song of his that would quickly become the signature song of the rockabilly genre: "Blue Suede Shoes." It was a tune so full of hot licks and hipster cool that Presley himself was moved to cover it. "'Blue Suede Shoes' became an anthem for a rebellious postwar generation, embodying its unrest and pride as succinctly as any James Dean film," wrote music historian Art Fein.

Watching a Carl Perkins performance of the song with that in mind is fascinating. He is confident, but also vulnerable and anxious in a way that is completely different from Presley -- all of the lyrics about being beat up and being abused have an interesting emotional kick.

|>


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 1:31 PM
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Well, in a sense, the "size" of an atom is exclusively due to the electrons, so it wouldn't be totally wrong to say that the electron and the atom are the same size.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 1:35 PM
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I was a physicist before I went over to the Dark Side (computer science). I had the same doubts that others did about the "size" of an electron. It seems to me you can make an argument for all electrons being the size of the Universe -- the probability function never goes to zero.

So I answered the way I took the SATs lo these many decades ago -- gave the answer I thought the test writers would think was right, no matter what I thought. Worked both times.

My old freshman advisor might have an opinion on this; pairs of electrons under certain conditions are named for him. Also Sheldon on BBT.


Posted by: Bob Munck | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 1:51 PM
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Well, in a sense, the "size" of an atom is exclusively due to the electrons, so it wouldn't be totally wrong to say that the electron and the atom are the same size.

The size of the atom is determined by the region over which the electron is localized, yes. But this is very different from the size of the electron itself.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 2:05 PM
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What's the size of an atom in a plasma?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 2:06 PM
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||

Federal Judge Declares Texas Anti-Abortion Law Unconstitutional

Woot!

|>


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 2:09 PM
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Anyway, I think the size of an atom should be determined by the volume occupied by one mole of the element divided by 6.02*10^23. That might require more specifications, especially for gases, but it seems conceptually straightforward to me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 2:10 PM
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In the defense of those who thought atoms are smaller than electrons, they might have been Democritus.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 2:12 PM
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||

Nothing convinces you that we are a nation of confused, elderly shut-ins like calling likely voters.

|>


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 2:13 PM
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122. In addition to light scattering, which indicates no internal structure and no measurable radius, electrons scatter off of each other in a way that's inconsistent with extension.

In addition, there's the spin, with as far as I know all measurements of electrons in magnetic fields consistent with extensionless particles.

Atomic physicists have produced a bunch of interesting systems and results-- Rydberg atoms, laser-cooled clusters of Bose-Einstein condensate atoms, more.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 2:15 PM
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Bose-Einstein condensate atoms

Atoms with really expensive speakers?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 2:17 PM
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130: Also toroidic.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 2:19 PM
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I got them all right. I was forewarned on the nitrogen one, but I think I would have gotten it right thanks to Bill Bryson.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 2:20 PM
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128: Is there a land-line/cell phone bias effect magnifying that?


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 2:22 PM
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But, like, you know the thing where they give somebody pure oxygen, and then you can't smoke around it because it's crazy flammable? "You" in the previous sentence refers to... I don't know. Maybe you!

That was my feeling. I thought people would be more inclined to know science that involves firey death. That might explain the gender gap.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 2:23 PM
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The size of the atom is determined by the region over which the electron is localized, yes. But this is very different from the size of the electron itself.
I drove to Buffalo this year, so the size of my car is the length of I90... laydeez.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 2:25 PM
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We're going to need some string theory to answer these questions.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 2:34 PM
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Or maybe quarks. I can't remember which one was bullshit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 2:35 PM
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70: I wouldn't worry too much just yet. If the national stats are anything like PA, over-65s are much less likely to have attended college (and are also disproportionately female, compounding the effect).


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 4:05 PM
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re: 130

< minor hi-fi snob >
Not really that expensive but quite shitty for the price speakers, no?*
</ minor hi-fi snob >

* I gather that their top-end speakers [which checking the price aren't that expensive by hifi standards] aren't really half as bad as hi-fi snobs sometimes paint.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 4:25 PM
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You're asking the wrong guy. The nicest speakers I ever bought came with a computer by default.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 4:30 PM
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Woo hoo! Perfecto!

Huh? The conversation has moved on? Drat!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 5:47 PM
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And Apollo 1 for me too.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 6:03 PM
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Apollo won, but I got Adrian and sequels.


Posted by: Opinionated Rocky | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 6:24 PM
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I was forewarned on the nitrogen one

So was I, by the OP. And still, as I hesitated and suspected, I chose wrong. ly.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 6:46 PM
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I was able to answer the electron vs. atom question thanks to the help of my handy home fission kit.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 6:57 PM
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Wait, were we supposed to hesitate over the electron vs. atom size question? I did! But it was pretty obvious what the quiz was after: do you generally know that electrons are inside atoms, and are therefore smaller than them? Yes, yes you do.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 7:03 PM
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I hesitated long enough to make a note to make a weak fission joke later.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 7:11 PM
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I got them all right, to add another data point.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-28-13 9:50 PM
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I'm with bob mcm, but also with whoever said 'pick the answer that they're expecting'. As a former secondary school science teacher (13/13, phew) the chemical reaction question annoyed me. You could argue that they're all chemical reactions if we're talking about making and breaking bonds, it's just whether or not we're drawing a line between intermolecular forces and ionic/covalent bonds. Pah.


Posted by: seeds | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 12:51 AM
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I got them all right, and was annoyed by the weasel wording of the question about global warming.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 6:30 AM
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||
The "Orson Welles War of the Worlds panic was newspaper hype to discredit radio" article is actually a Slatepitch done fairly well. In Slate.
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 6:57 AM
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150: Has a lawyer failed to get a question right yet? I think not.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 7:26 AM
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I got them all right, not really the most difficult quiz in the world.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 7:40 AM
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152: I got one wrong. (What the fuck is "nitrogen"?)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 7:43 AM
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F*cking nitrogen. How does it work?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 7:46 AM
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F*cking nitrogen is kinky, it has three bonds.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 7:47 AM
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Damn you, Urple!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 7:53 AM
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Isn't that the gas that dentists use? The most abundant gas in the atmosphere is laughing gas?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 7:53 AM
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That's nitrous oxide.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 7:55 AM
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158 should forever taint all lawyers.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 8:09 AM
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157: I think you guys should at least get an asterisk.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 8:29 AM
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Lawyers are old, and the Pew results show that old people don't know science. Maybe some of these lawyers here with their eclectic ways did OK, but all of them?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 8:40 AM
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"old people don't know science."

13/13, and 68 years old.


Posted by: Bob Munck | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 9:08 AM
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I was distracted by the fact that the OP promised that the quiz was only 13 questions long, but it's 16 questions long.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 9:17 AM
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154 and 158 are the most surprising questions I have ever seen urp ask this blog.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 9:25 AM
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164: Including the demographic questions, I guess?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 9:33 AM
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150: I took it to be less "weasel words" and more "LET US REMIND YOU THAT THIS IS SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS... AGAIN."

OT: I can't seem to stop being horrified that there is a polio outbreak in Syria. Why that after all the other atrocities, I don't know. I recall that other people were interested in heebie-geebie's proposed operetta about compartmentalizing...


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 9:34 AM
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urple lives on a planet where the most abundant gas in the atmosphere is laughing gas. It seems plausible.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 9:42 AM
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168: And where they maybe use base 7.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 9:43 AM
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Why that after all the other atrocities, I don't know.

Disease outbreaks very commonly follow atrocities because things like medical care and sanitation are actually necessary.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 9:44 AM
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urple lives on a planet where the most abundant gas in the atmosphere is laughing gas. It seems plausible.

And genuinely novel.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 9:46 AM
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166: are they not questions?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 9:53 AM
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I got one wrong. (What the fuck is "nitrogen"?)

It's the hormone they give women in HRT. (A lot of people confuse it with easterogen, which is the hormone that causes you to rise from the dead.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 9:54 AM
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12/13. I slatepitched myself on lasers, because of the noise they make in James Bond and Austin Powers movies, EVEN IN SPACE.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 9:57 AM
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170: that is, "why should that be the thing I find upsetting after all the other atrocities?" Not that my feelings particularly matter, and advice on any other goddamned thing to do beyond compartmentalizing is as welcome as ever. Since it's seemingly always hopeless, though, I tend to go for the direct request for opiates.

On preview, 174 is awesome.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 10:02 AM
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Sometimes architects get to play little jokes on their clients.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 10:06 AM
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The dentist's office contains nitrogen-fixing bacteria which serve to convert, or "fix," atmospheric nitrogen into laughable form. To increase populations it is recommended to sow your dentist with symbiotic organisms such as beans or peas. These bacteria are also found in select non-dental contexts such as household whipped cream; this is why they sell Whip-It canisters at head shops, and is also the origin of the phrase "get a fix."


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 10-29-13 10:16 AM
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It doesn't surprise me that people forget stuff they learned in school over the years, particularly stuff they haven't had occasion to use recently. So the drop-off in the 65+ category makes sense to me. As someone who did math and science tutoring with high school and college students for a few years, I was struck by the amount of stuff I had to go back and review. How many people, who haven't either taken preCalc recently or worked with students who have, can remember Decartes' Rule of Signs, or the formula for cosine of sum of angles, off the top of their heads?

(The flip side is that it is a lot quicker to relearn stuff the second or third time than it was the first. I'm convinced that the main purpose of studying this stuff when you are young is to burn the pathways into your brain so you can get it back relatively quickly if and when you actually need it. That, and giving you a mental roadmap that these bits of knowledge actually exist, so you have a clue where to go looking for them.)

I'm still surprised by the number of people who got the laser question wrong, though. That's one that people see every week at the supermarket checkout stand. Do they not realize that they are witnessing lasers in action?


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 4:49 AM
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You can hear the checkout laser beeping and humming! It uses sound to focus light! It stands for Let's All Start Exploding Robots!


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 5:02 AM
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Cosine of sum of angles is easily derived by multiplying exp(i x) by exp(i y).

Descarte's rule of signs I'm forgetting, but isn't it basically just keeping track of how many times the function switches from increasing to decreasing and using it to bound the number of zeros there can be? It seems like it could be reconstructed with slightly more thought.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 5:02 AM
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I don't actually remember how to long-divide, and on the rare times where I have to do it, I have to reinvent it. But the Pew questions aren't in that category. It's more like people forgetting that the Earth goes around the Sun.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 5:20 AM
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How many people, who haven't either taken preCalc recently or worked with students who have, can remember Decartes' Rule of Signs

That's the one about how many billboards there can be along the interstate.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 6:06 AM
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Organize the terms in
Descending order of exponents
Number of sign changes tells you
The number of positive segments
Burma-Shave


Posted by: Cryptic bned | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 6:12 AM
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Ace of Base had a popular song about that.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 6:13 AM
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Errata: Please change "segments" to "components".


Posted by: Cryptic bned | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 6:14 AM
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Also, you spelled your name wrong.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 6:16 AM
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I thought maybe it was like btock lamerf, the spelling changes in the name quantifying the degree of drunkenness.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 6:18 AM
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Btock's rule of pseuds


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 6:24 AM
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It's way too early for that. Except in Europe, I guess.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 6:25 AM
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The Missouri Rule of Signs states that all billboards for pr0n shops must be followed (less than 1/4 mile) by ads for Jesus.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 6:25 AM
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184. Crypto-nazi anthem, unfortunately.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 6:26 AM
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It's more fortunate than if a song that wasn't unmistakeably horrible was a crypto-nazi anthem.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 6:27 AM
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179: Thanks, tierce! It makes perfect sense! (I'll admit now to having gotten the laser question wrong too. But I knew about nitrogen!)


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 6:34 AM
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So, I know the dude from Ace of Base used to be quite the enthusiastic neonazi, but I still don't get 191. The lyrics of that song are nearly too stupid to be about anything, but they definitely don't seem to have any nazi subtext that I can parse.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 6:37 AM
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Now I'm recalling that there was once an epically drunk btock comment that had me laughing so much I was gasping for air and kind of in pain, but I can't remember how to find it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 6:40 AM
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I have a paper where we use Descartes' rule of signs!


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 6:44 AM
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It's like you guys are on their side.


I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes I saw the sign
No one's gonna drag you up to get into the light where you belong
But where do you belong

plus the dude's past plus some interview that was sure to be authoritative, the sign in the song is the fascist cross! Too bad because it's catchy and fun.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 6:47 AM
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I don't know what "the sign" is, but it certainly isn't catchy and fun. If I want a catchy, fun song from Scandinavians, I'll get some ABBA.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 6:50 AM
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Or Roxette, if you'd like something timely and not dated.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 6:55 AM
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And there's this part:

I saw the sign and it opened up my mind!
And I am happy now living without Jew


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 6:55 AM
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catchy swedish pop:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSVgv02ALDI


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:02 AM
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Catchy Swedish Norwegian pop. Close enough, right?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:09 AM
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13/13 but the electron question is bullshit. The chemical reaction question is iffy too.

Also I can easily imagine someone who knows how lasers work not noticing the word "sound" in the laser question and assuming that the question is about whether lasers work by focusing waves. I mean, if you read "Lasers work by focusing _____ waves", you wouldn't expect to find "sound" in the blank space.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:15 AM
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A better question would have been:

Lasers work by:

a) amplifying sound waves
b) focusing sound waves
c) amplifying light waves
d) focusing light waves


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:16 AM
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I like Annie more than I care to admit in polite company.

But this is where it's at, obviously: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djV11Xbc914


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:16 AM
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Also the gender question should at least have had an "other" category, the age question should have had an under-18 category, and the education question should have asked about grad school.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:19 AM
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but the electron question is bullshit

Noooo it's not.

The chemical reaction question is iffy too.

I mean, obviously, they're all physical reactions. What is this "chemistry" nonsense?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:19 AM
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Fact: "Peter, Bjorn and John" isn't just the names of the guys in the band. It is a subtle reference to the three "martyrs of white Sweden" who were arrested for bombing a synagogue in 1934.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:20 AM
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What is this "chemistry" nonsense?

Don't go all Randall Munroe on us, essear!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:20 AM
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Or this! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksHFw9wz_DA


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:20 AM
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How many guys in Sweden aren't named Peter, Bjorn, and John?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:21 AM
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203, 207: I don't understand what was wrong with the chemistry question, assuming we're talking about the one where the correct answer was about rust.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:22 AM
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211: Well, there's Lars, and Oscar, and Joakim, and Johan, and...


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:24 AM
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207: "Which is more massive?" would have been a reasonable question. But "Are electrons smaller?" is a trick question.

Someone who answered "False", reasoning that the volume of an electron is not a single well-defined quantity that can be compared with the volume of an atom, would not be getting a basic science literacy question wrong.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:24 AM
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212: Never mind, I'm wrong about the sugar one. I was confusing it with salt.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:25 AM
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I did that once at a diner. Who the fuck puts salt in something that big?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:27 AM
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Answer: Waitresses at place where the food tastes really bland.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:30 AM
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So I can understand why someone would think the electron question was undefined (i.e., it's not so unreasonable a notion that "size" is not a notion that should be extended to quantum scales), but I don't see how you could possibly conclude that for any reasonable notion of size atoms are smaller than electrons.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:32 AM
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I wasn't sure why salt dissolving wasn't considered a chemical process. Though it was obviously a worse answer than the right one.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:32 AM
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Yea. I don't get that either.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:33 AM
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"An" electron or "an" atom are abstractions also-- anyone unhappy with discusiing extension (which is ambiguous for atoms as it is for electrons) should be simlarly unhappy with number. Number of particles is not defined for coherent quantum states, it's conjugate to phase.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:33 AM
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Isn't it because Na-Cl is still bonded? And not bonded to the water molecules except in passing?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:35 AM
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NaCl contains ionic, not covalent bonds. Usually, chemical reactions are defined as breaking or forming covalent bonds. Dissociating ionic bonds doesn't really fit the basic definition.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:35 AM
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220 to 218. And it was sugar, not salt.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:35 AM
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"Peter Bjorn and John" the band doesn't have a comma in the name, because commas are a degeneracy that ruin the purity of true aryan sentence construction.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:36 AM
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I'm looking right at the question. The choices are water boiling, sugar dissolving, nails rusting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:37 AM
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Uh, spoiler alert?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:37 AM
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So the takeaway is that the lawyers (mostly) are too dumb to get any of the questions wrong?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:39 AM
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223 definition still explains sugar. No change in covalent bonds, although you can make some arcane arguments that disagree with that.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:41 AM
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it's not so unreasonable a notion that "size" is not a notion that should be extended to quantum scales

Yes, it is.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:42 AM
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I PWNED THE CHEMIST! Actually I have no idea if I pwned the chemist or not, because it never would have occurred to me to use the words ionic and covalent. Something added value something.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:43 AM
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More plausible actual reasoning of people that said electrons are bigger than atoms, "Well, I remember they said atomic power was going to be the biggest thing ever, but electricity still seems a lot more common, so I'm going to say the electro thing is bigger."


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:44 AM
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229: Good to know. I thought somebody above was saying that the answer* was only right because it was sugar, not salt. I didn't understand that either. I always figured there was a pretty clear distinction between dissolving something and a chemical reaction.

*Rusty Nail is the answer to a lot of questions for me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:45 AM
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231, heebie your answer is more correct for sugar than salt. Dissolving salt does break up the associated ion pairs, and they end up farther apart than what I'd call a bond. Because it's an ionic bond, it doesn't fall under the definition of chemical reaction, though. Using salt dissolution would be a trickier question than sugar.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:50 AM
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I thought filtering the salt out of saltwater* was so damn hard precisely because there was some sort of chemical reaction involved. Filtering sugar out of water is easy.

*"Desalinating", for the pedants.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:53 AM
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Oh well.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:54 AM
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Is filtering salt out hard? I assumed they just evaporated the water and then recondensed it elsewhere, like a coffee pot.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:55 AM
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Is it actually easy to filter sugar out of water?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:55 AM
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Or a teleportation device.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:55 AM
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221: Now you're being needlessly pedantic. Number isn't well-defined for all states, but you can give a sharp meaning to a state containing a single electron and there's nothing wrong with talking about that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:56 AM
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I mean, I know it's hard because they don't do it very often, but I didn't know it'd be easier if we had sugar oceans.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:56 AM
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221: Now you're being needlessly pedantic. Number isn't well-defined for all states, but you can give a sharp meaning to a state containing a single electron and there's nothing wrong with talking about that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:56 AM
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237: yes, that's what you have to do. As opposed to just running the water through a simple filter.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:56 AM
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Oops. I got a weird error message about rebuilding the page when I tried to post 240, so I posted again thinking it hadn't gone through.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:57 AM
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What does "simple filter" mean here? Because you can't run sugar water through a filter paper and get the sugar out, unless the solution was oversaturated or something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:58 AM
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Shorter most of my comments in this thread: stop trying to make quantum mechanics more confusing and weird than it has to be!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:59 AM
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And let me out of this box.


Posted by: Opinionated cat | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 7:59 AM
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248

Actually, nevermind, the science of google tells me that if it's well dissolved, a filter won't get sugar out of water either. Although I'm not sure I believe that, though. I know frmo experience that a good filter can filter plain water out of can of soda. Doesn't soda contain sugar?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:00 AM
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I mean, you'll clog the filter quickly, but it will do it. Whereas you can't get salt out.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:01 AM
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No, soda is mostly nitrogen.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:01 AM
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If it isn't diet soda, yes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:01 AM
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240,242 way to make the point about labelling ambiguity.

I'm agreeing with your 230-- I usually think about scattering processes as a way to define size of quantum objects. The circumstances in which thinking this way are unreliable exist, but they're exotic.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:01 AM
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Actually desalination is mostly done my reverse osmosis rather than evaporation and condensation. Reverse osmosis involves applying high pressure to salt water on one side of a filter material with pores smaller than the size of the sodium and chlorine ions but large enough to let water through. You end up with concentrated salty water on one side and nice clean fresh water on the other.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:02 AM
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I know frmo experience that a good filter can filter plain water out of can of soda.

Tell us about this experience.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:03 AM
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So reverse osmosis is...using a fancy filter?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:04 AM
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I just use my cheap but trusty sound-laser.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:07 AM
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255: Not according to wikipedia:

Reverse osmosis (RO) is a water purification technology that uses a semipermeable membrane. This membrane-technology is not properly a filtration method. In RO, an applied pressure is used to overcome osmotic pressure, a colligative property, that is driven by chemical potential, a thermodynamic parameter. RO can remove many types of molecules and ions from solutions and is used in both industrial processes and in producing potable water. The result is that the solute is retained on the pressurized side of the membrane and the pure solvent is allowed to pass to the other side. To be "selective," this membrane should not allow large molecules or ions through the pores (holes), but should allow smaller components of the solution (such as the solvent) to pass freely.

Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:08 AM
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I know frmo experience that a good filter can filter plain water out of can of soda.

...Whoa.

I suppose that a really good filter could, if you mean something like a reverse osmosis membrane as in 253. I really hope that's what he means, rather than a coffee filter (which probably does work to filter water out of soda when it interacts with the urplefield).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:08 AM
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Reverse osmosis isn't just working on the basis of the filter though. It must have something to do with the number of moles on each side of the filter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:09 AM
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257: it may not be filtration strictly speaking, but it's still using a membrane that lets some things through and not others, which is the common definition of a filter.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:10 AM
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I'm assuming something like a Britta water filter? I haven't tried, but it doesn't sound absolutely implausible. (I have read that a water filter will turn bad vodka into good (that is, tasteless) vodka.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:11 AM
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I think Britta and related filters actually absorb some of the nasties rather than just filtering them out, but I could easily be wrong.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:13 AM
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259: water likes to flow from areas where there's lots of water (eg pure water, or water without much dissolved in it) into areas where there isn't much water (ie lots of stuff dissolved in it). That's why if you put wilted lettuce in water, it crisps up: inside the lettuce tissue there's not much water and lots of dissolved stuff. Outside there's just water. As the water flows into the tissue, the tissue gets pumped up and becomes crisp. That's osmosis. Lots of water and not much dissolved stuff = high osmotic pressure; lots of dissolved stuff = low osmotic pressure. And water flows from high to low pressure.

Now, say you want the reverse to happen - reverse osmosis - you want water to flow out of the tank of sewage into the tank of pure water. The water wants to flow the other way; so, in order to get it to flow the way you want, you have to apply a mechanical pressure to overcome the osmotic pressure that's pushing the wrong way.

Clear?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:14 AM
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Aren't Britta filters basically how Ydnew was telling Natilo to get the funk out of the flooring?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:14 AM
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248, I think the filtration removes caramel coloring and other less polar compounds. I think the colorless liquid if you filtered Coke would still be sweet (quick Google suggests this is right). The properties of table sugar are very similar to the properties of water. The same is true for the vodka filtration - the bad-tasting impurities are usually pretty different in structure than water.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:15 AM
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264: yeah.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:15 AM
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263: I just like to say "mole."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:16 AM
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264: Yes. Same thing.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:16 AM
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I've done it with this.

That's not good for the filter, obviously, but the "test kit" that comes with the filter is just blue food coloring/dye. You're supposed to filter blue water to make sure it comes out perfectly clear, to confirm the filter is working correctly.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:17 AM
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So instead you tested it on soda? There's more to this story, isn't there?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:18 AM
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if you put wilted lettuce in water, it crisps up

Wait, what?!


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:19 AM
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If you go to any decent barber, they have a tank of blue water for you to use. Also, anybody filming a diaper commercial.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:20 AM
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Lettuce, urple. It's a green vegetable.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:21 AM
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271: try it! (Use cold water.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:21 AM
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Does that also work with wilted pumpkins??


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:21 AM
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Use cherry Kool-Aide and the lettuce looks like it has blood vessels.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:22 AM
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275: Please try and report.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:22 AM
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My parents religiously wrap a head of lettuce in a wet dishtowel and leave it in the fridge for a day before eating it. Also they eat iceberg lettuce every night with dinner.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:22 AM
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My parents religiously wrap a head of lettuce in a wet dishtowel and leave it in the fridge for a day before eating it.

Judaism is a lot odder than I thought.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:23 AM
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Anyway, you only need your pumpkin to last 36 more hours before a 14 year-old smashes it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:24 AM
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279: You've never heard of a heejab?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:24 AM
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That joke may not have worked.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:24 AM
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276: nice one. I will try that.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:25 AM
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I've only seen it done with celery. I know it works there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:26 AM
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Use cherry Kool-Aide and the lettuce looks like it has blood vessels.

And tastes like death!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:26 AM
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That might be in improvement over what iceberg lettuce tastes like ordinarily. Anyway, use Dorthy Lynch dressing and whatever you put it on will be fine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:27 AM
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David Lynch Dressing would be appropriate for lettuce with blood vessels. Or possibly David Cronenberg Dressing, if the lettuce also screamed when you bit into it.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:31 AM
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264 get the funk out of the flooring

Quincy Jones, right?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:31 AM
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285: Beet juice?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:31 AM
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David Lynch Dressing would be appropriate for lettuce with blood vessels

That sure looks like a human ear, doesn't it?.


Posted by: Opinionated Detective John Williams | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:45 AM
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A Britta filter is usually an ion exchange resin and some activated charcoal. The former exchanges out nasty ions for good ones (usually sodium), and the latter removes relatively non-polar organic molecules (which was usually responsible for color and aroma).

Hiking filters are usually just filters with really small holes, such that even amoebae and bacteria can't fit through.

I'd be surprised if either removed sugar from water, though.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 8:57 AM
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Sugar is smaller than a bacteria, I'd think. Even though both contain electrons.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:02 AM
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So how do they remove other chemical pollutants that are dissolved in the water?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:03 AM
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(I'm arguing from experience rather than any understanding of the science here. I don't have a clue why or how, but I'm sure you can filter the sugar out of your water with the filter linked in 269. An ordinary brita filter may not do it.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:05 AM
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Activated charcoal works by adsorption - non-polar compounds stick to the surface of the charcoal. Sugar is a) too polar, b) too small and c) not an ion, so none of the three filtration methods could remove it.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:05 AM
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Hey, wait... is there maybe an important chemical distinction between sugar and HFCS?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:10 AM
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Not in this conversation.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:12 AM
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Well, then I don't know what to say.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:14 AM
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No chance you were thinking of diet soda? Heaven knows I don't know what I'm talking about, but maybe artificial sweeteners are larger molecules?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:17 AM
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Did you filter the soda, taste it, and find it not so sweet?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:19 AM
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Isn't HFCS an artificial sweetener? Regardless, yes, it probably was diet.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:20 AM
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No chance you were thinking of diet soda? Heaven knows I don't know what I'm talking about, but maybe artificial sweeteners are larger molecules?

The electrons in diet soda are smaller than those in regular soda.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:23 AM
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HFCS not artificial in the sense that it's naturally occurring molecules from a farmed source (although the exact mixture is arguably unnatural)
Artificial sweeteners are different molecules, and typically larger and less polar.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:24 AM
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HFCS is mostly fructose, which qualifies as a natural sweetener under most definitions. It is after all made from corn. So maybe not natural by paleo standards, but by everyone else's it is.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:24 AM
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HFCS is not a non-caloric sweetener.

I could imagine some artificial sweeteners might be removed by activated charcoal.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:25 AM
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Does diet soda fit inside regular soda? It's skinnier, right?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:25 AM
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No, diet is larger which is how it can suck the calories out of you because diffusion.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:28 AM
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I suppose it's true that if you run diet soda through a filter, what comes out won't have sugar in it.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:28 AM
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So you mean something could actually advertise that it contains "No artificial sweeteners" and yet contain HFCS?

If so, that's deceptive.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:29 AM
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309: Haven't you seen the ads for HFCS where they say it's all natural?
Table sugar is sucrose. Fructose is a simple sugar that is more abundant in plants, so it's cheaper per kilo to extract from big agricultural crops like corn. Sucrose comes mostly from either cane sugar or sugar beets. Fructose isn't as sweet per gram, but it does enhance sweetness of sucrose. If you use lots and lots (as in, high fructose), you get very sweet flavor.

I'd totally believe you could separate aspartame from water in diet soda.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:37 AM
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I don't think of that as being deceptive. HFCS is just corn subsidies meets regular old sugar, put in food in gigantic quantities.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:38 AM
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We actually turn glucose into fructose to make HFCS using enzymes. I think these enzymes are from genetically engineered bacteria. So natural in a sense but very not natural in another.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:43 AM
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Naturally an outcome of farm subsidies.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:45 AM
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Absolutely.

The only sugar we get from corn is corn starch, which only contains glucose. But glucose isn't as sweet as sucrose, so we turn some of it into fructose, which is sweeter, and the overall mixture tastes sweeter than an equal amount of sucrose.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:47 AM
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Does US Coke, the HFCS version, also contain aspartame? Because, to my taste buds, when I was drinking it last week, it did. I may just have been picking up on a generic 'chemical' taste.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:50 AM
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My error, should've looked it up. Didn't realize there was a glucose to fructose step in manufacturing.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:51 AM
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315: Not "Coke" coke. Maybe you had a "Coke zero"?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 9:58 AM
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No, it was definitely Coke coke. I expect I was just picking up on the un-natural chemical taste compared to Coke made with sugar.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 10:14 AM
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A polar sweetener


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10-30-13 10:15 AM
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