Reference desk/Archives/Science/2013 September 1

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September 1

Can it be proven that people dream?

Can it be proven that people dream while they are asleep? Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 01:06, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

You mean apart from the evidence of their own mouths? Can it be proven that people are merely hallucinating when they relate the details of an alleged "dream" they just had? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 01:12, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
I have a friend who keeps quoting some unnamed scientist who (according to my friend) says that people just make it up when they wake up. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 01:27, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
So why are you asking us, rather than your friend? What would constitute a proof? Has neither of you ever slept next to someone and noticed them dreaming? Maybe your friend is a zombie, and not having a consciousness, finds it impossible to imagine others having mental states? μηδείς (talk) 01:37, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Because I think he is using it as a way to criticize the scientist. I'm pretty sure that he doesn't doubt that there are dreams, but he criticizes the person who said that they can't be proven (and empiricism - or Positivism). Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 02:57, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Oh, well, thank God for that! There are all sorts of problems with naive and traditional empiricism. David Kelley's Evidence of the Senses is a good graduate/upper class-level treatment of some of the problems with and solutions to empiricist problems--although he deals with perception, rather than dreams. μηδείς (talk) 03:18, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Take two witnesses and you have proof81.218.91.170 (talk) 03:27, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Naturally we have an article, Dream. There's a lot of content there on neurological aspects of dreams that must go pretty close to proof. HiLo48 (talk) 01:23, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
The OP's friend may very well be thinking of Freud's distinction between the manifest and latent content of dreams - it's not actually mentioned in our article on The Interpretation of Dreams, but see Dream#Dynamic psychiatry. Tevildo (talk) 01:49, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
I should think sleep-walking, talking in one's sleep, etc., show that some type of dreaming occurs, unless you think that's all faked, too. Then there's brain scans which show activity in the part of the brain we associate with dreaming. StuRat (talk) 10:15, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
And the visual part of the brain starts working, even though there is no input from the eyes. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 15:51, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Exercise and blood sugar control in diabetes

I just finished reading the novel One Second After. One of the characters has (type 1) diabetes, and eventually dies from hyperglycemia. I am curious why a lack of insulin would necessarily prove fatal if she were fasting (it's a disaster novel) and exercised. Do diabetics reach some sort of wall that prevents their lowering their blood sugar below a certain point, even with fasting and exercise. I always though exercise necessarily lowered one's blood sugar. (Searches on google lead to a bunch of quackery, and if we have a relevant article, I haven't found it.) Thanks. μηδείς (talk) 04:57, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Yes, exercise should lower blood sugar. Are you sure the character didn't die from low blood sugar ? That tends to cause immediate death, whereas high blood sugar causes organ damage that leads to eventual death. StuRat (talk) 10:12, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
I don't see how exercise would lower blood sugar unless you were to use more insulin. People with diabetes who do exercise use more insulin to be able to exercise at a high intensity. Count Iblis (talk) 14:27, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
The character died of distinct hyperglycemia, and a doctor explained to her family what to expect. What confuses me is that if one exercises, one's blood sugar drops, although the body will still produce sugar in the liver from fat. So I am wondering, if one were trim and exercising, wouldn't it be possible to lower the blood sugar to 100 and at that point not have to use insulin, just a balance of exercise and diet?
As our insulin article explains, insulin controls the ability of glucose to get into muscle cells. Without insulin, exercise will not be possible unless blood sugar levels are extremely high, because otherwise the muscles won't get enough sugar to function. Looie496 (talk) 18:10, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
I guess the difference must be between type 1 and type 2, then. My father has type two, and he is fully controlled by having lost 50 lbs and from exercise, and removing rice, carrots and potatoes from his diet. He doesn't have any metabolic issues like muscle weekness. I have only known one person with type one, and I found it weird he was always eating carrots. There seems to be a radical difference between the two types. μηδείς (talk) 18:31, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
If a Type 1 diabetic has no insulin production by the pancreas, exercise alone may not be able to keep blood sugar down to an acceptable level, since insulin is needed for muscles to use the sugar in the blood as fuel. In the novel cited, the Type 1 daughter died after 131 days. In the real world, Elizabeth Hughes Gossett developed type 1 diabetes before insulin was available. Her doctor and a full-time nurse were hired by her rich and powerful father, New York Governor, and later Supreme Court Justice, Secretary of State and Presidential candidate politician Charles Evans Hughes. Her blood sugar was monitored frequently, which would have been quite possible in the novel's scenario, and her diet was restricted to keep blood sugar down to a safe level. This was at the cost of slow starvation, and she eventually after 3 years her weight had decreased from 75 pounds at (34kg) age 11 to 45 pounds (20.4kg) at age 14. She stayed alive and avoided common consequences of high blood sugar (blindness, amputations) had no energy to do any exercise or other activities by then. Then along came insulin, and she, as one of the first patients, lived another 59 years of healthy life. So survival beyond to 131 days in the novel might be possible, and was documented out to 3 years, at the cost of severe starvation, which can also be fatal as well as debilitating. But in an apocalypse novel, someone might be able to get generators etc running in a year or so and bring back some technology, with the production of medicines getting some priority. Edison (talk) 00:53, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Wow, excellent, one of the best answers I have gotten or seen at the ref desk! μηδείς (talk) 01:55, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
The thing is, I doubt if any diabetics have zero insulin production, they just have an abnormally low level (if they had zero then their hearts would stop beating from lack of blood sugar in the cells). So, some exercise is still possible, and still burns blood sugar. StuRat (talk) 00:58, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
But can't the heart use fat as energy? Count Iblis (talk) 02:21, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
Not directly. It must first be converted into blood sugar. StuRat (talk) 08:34, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
But doesn't the breakdown of fatty acids happen inside the cells via Beta oxidation? Count Iblis (talk) 14:02, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
Good point. StuRat (talk) 07:41, 4 September 2013 (UTC)


There are orchids in all climate zones. But the orchids on sale in western Europe are a smaller choice. Some orchids don't give flowers anymore after one year at home. Are they any tricks? Thx --Chris.urs-o (talk) 08:36, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

This site is probably the best you can get, and here is what they recommend. --TammyMoet (talk) 11:14, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Thank you --Chris.urs-o (talk) 11:52, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Orchids in all climate zones? Is this a joke? CambridgeBayWeather, could you pls. verify? (talk) 00:43, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
I know, I'm often surprised by my own lack of knowledge. Isn't nature amazing! Richard Avery (talk) 06:44, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Coupled atoms

Consider a chain of identical atoms (with mass M) that are connected by springs with alternating spring constants K1 and K2 and nearest neighbour separations of a/2.

Write down an expression for the force experienced the atoms, considering longitudinal motion only and construct a pair of differential equations describing the system.

I find this question puzzling. Is it even solvable, given that there are infinitely many atoms? In the finite case, you have a differential equation for each mass. Why do you only get two differential equations, rather than an infinite number? (talk) 14:11, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

You need to number your atoms (atom 1, atom 2, atom 3... along the chain), then you can write an equation for the force on (and hence the acceleration of) atom n in terms of the positions of atom n - 1, atom n itself and atom n + 1 (you could the positions xn-1, xn, and xn+1). This looks like one equation, but it can be regarded as an infinite number of equations, one for each integer value of n. Actually, since the spring properties alternate, there will be two such equations, one for odd n and one for even n. --catslash (talk) 15:21, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia does not seem to have an article on waves in periodic structures (which is an unfortunate omission). However Léon Brillouin wrote a famous book on the subject, which covers exactly the problem you describe. --catslash (talk) 15:45, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
It's easier to solve when you impose periodic boundary conditions, because then the system is invariant under translations. It is helpful to denote position of the atoms by x_1, y_1, x_2, y_2 etc. so that all the atoms at the positions x_j interact in the same way with their nearest neighbors and also the atoms at the positions y_j interact in the same way with their nearest neighbors. If there are 2N atoms, then the periodic boundary conditions imply that x_{j+N} = x_j and y_{j+N} = y_j. The two sets of differential equations that Catslash mentions can then be solved by performing a Fourier transform, you put:
If you substitute this in the differential equations you obtain a decoupled set of differential equations for the v_q and w_q. Count Iblis (talk) 16:29, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
OK, Thanks. I get
Assuming the atomic motions can be described by periodic functions of the form , derive
How do you do this? (talk) 03:05, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
The second derivative w.r.t. t brings down a factor omega^2, and you also have that x_{j+1} = exp(i k a) x_{j}, and similarly for the y_j, so you get two ordinary equations for the two amplitudes of x_j and y_j (the factor "A" should be taken differently for y and x). If you write this in matrix form, then the determinant should be zero. If the determinant is not equal to zero, then you have a unique solution, which is the trivial solution where both amplitudes are zero. If the determinant is zero, then there is no unique solution to the linear equations which means that the amplitudes are not fixed, which means that the system has a vibrational degree of freedom when choosing the omega and the value for k in that way. Count Iblis (talk) 14:00, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Gravitational time dilation in black holes

If around a black hole the time stops to us external viewers, a black hole to us would never collapse into a singularity but the matter would stop around event horizon and (to us) would never form a singularity! So the idea of a nude singularity would be wrong (becuse to us would not even form a singularity) and a a black hole would never evaporate (the famous stephen hawking radiation) to us (and to all external universe) because the negative energy's particle would never enter (to us) the black hole! Can someone explain to me this paradox? (talk) 16:48, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

There are two possible answers here, explained in detail in this article. Count Iblis (talk) 16:59, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
That doesn't matter in the least. Hawking radiation actually comes from the neighborhood of the B-hole, not the B-hole itself and the negative energy particle will add negative energy to the B-hole even if it never reaches it because from the external point of view all the mass surrounding the B-hole must be added to the B-hole's mass in order to calculate the total gravitational effect. In effect, from the external observer point of view, the mass of the B-hole itself is always zero since nothing ever reaches it. Dauto (talk) 01:20, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
That's true - but all of the mass would arrive within a tiny fraction of a millimeter in short order - so the gravitational difference between it all being at the singularity and it all being frozen into a perfect spherical shell just above the event horizon is pretty minimal. Especially since any observer getting close enough to tell the difference would be in more or less the same reference frame as all of the frozen material. SteveBaker (talk) 15:24, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

And why is written that all black hole's mass is concentred into a singularity? (talk) 21:58, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Because General Relativity is not a compulsory school subject. Count Iblis (talk) 23:35, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Because from the point of view of an object falling in a B-hole matter does indeed reach the singularity after a finite amount of time. Dauto (talk)
And (perhaps more importantly), from the perspective of the black hole itself. SteveBaker (talk) 01:04, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

Sending probes to other systems

Do we currently have the technology necessary to send a satellite to another star system and put it in orbit around an exoplanet? I'm not looking into whether we have the exact parts necessary but more the knowledge and know-how to do it. (Yes, I know it would take hundreds of years to get there.) Dismas|(talk) 18:40, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Not even close. The current farthest man-made object from Earth is the Voyager 1 probe, which is currently 18,700,000,000 kilometers from Earth, and has taken about 36 years to get there. At that speed, if it were actually aimed at the nearest star system to Earth (Proxima Centauri), which is a distance of 40,000,000,000,000 kilometers from Earth (give or take), which, if my calculations are correct, is roughly 2,100 times farther than Voyager 1 has yet traveled, and thus it would take such a probe 75,600 years. While some technology has improved in the 36 years since voyager has left Earth, there hasn't been enough changes to make a significant dent in sending an object that far. Even if we could cut that down by an order of magnitude, that would still leave us with a 7,500 year voyage. For comparison, going back in the past 7,500 years is older than the oldest known writing, back to the dawn of civilization. If you were to go back 75,600 years, humans were still living in caves trying to kill mammoths with pointy rocks and outrun sabre-toothed tigers. So, no, such a voyage, even by an unmanned probe, is outside our current practical technology to do within a reasonable amount of time. --Jayron32 18:53, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
That's not a fair assessment. Voyager wasn't designed to do that. It was launched on a Titan III rocket - nowhere close to the most powerful rocket we've ever made - the Saturn V can launch almost 10 times the payload to LEO. Also, those are all-in-one launches. If we made a dozen Saturn V launches - and using the orbital assembly technologies we now have - we could assemble a garganutan booster stage in orbit. Voyager is also a LARGE device by modern standards. Miniaturization could shrink the weight considerably. Besides, our OP clearly doesn't care if it takes time to get there.
There are really two big problems:
  • Communications. The multi-year communications delay would require a much more autonomous device...and having the power to transmit a signal from orbit around another star back to earth and the receiver sensitivity to detect our commands to it are beyond what we can currently do. So we could get the probe out there - but getting any information back from it would probably be impossible.
  • Slowing down at the destination to get into orbit. Carrying enough fuel to do that deceleration would be extremely problematic - and using tricks like atmospheric braking would be insanely difficult given how little we know about the atmosphere (or even the existance) of planets that we might use for that! Autonomously deciding those things would be very tough indeed.
SteveBaker (talk) 19:22, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
If you have the 80,000 years you need a space craft which has a propulsion system which can be restarted after 80,000years I would go for ion engine where you only have to store gas. It has to produce energy for this propulsion best with solar panels because RTGs go only for a few half-lives. The ageing of the material by cosmic rays especially the computer chips might be the most challenging thing. I have no clue what the ageing is like but voyager is still working. The only thing will be sending back the data you collect. A signal strong enough might be a little complicated, but I think even this you might get to work. I would think it would be a very costly but with the 50b$ it might be a funny project.--Stone (talk) 19:25, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that's certainly another problem. Most electronics have some minimum storage temperature, and if they are allowed to get colder than that, they'll stop working even if they are warmed up again. If the craft has to drift through deep space for tens of thousands of years then it's hard to imagine any power source that would keep the electronics warm enough to prevent them from dying. Voyager is kept warm by RTG's - so it'll certainly get cold and die before it reaches a few light years from here.
The NASA Innovative Interstellar Explorer (IIE) project could get a probe to the nearest star in 25,000 years - but that's engineered for a particular cost - and in particular, a cheap rocket launch. If our OP doesn't have cash restrictions, then I think we can do much better.
We clearly need two orders of magnitude of speed improvement over Voyager or one and a half orders over IIE, so we can get there in under a thousand years. One order of magnitude can certainly be had by using a bigger rocket and assembling it in orbit - and we know how to do that. A Saturn V rocket, assembled in LEO would give us vastly more delta-V than the Titan III (launched from earth's surface) did for Voyager. Another order of magnitude can probably be had by shrinking the size of the satellite and using a small ion motor in the final stage - a device like that needs a tiny amount of propellant and can be powered by solar panels or from a large laser in earth orbit...and we know how to do that too. We also know how to get more speed using various slingshot maneuvers that were not tried for Voyager.
So I don't think it's impossible to get the craft there in under 1,000 years - and a sufficiently large RTG could keep everything warm for that long. Our Radioisotope thermoelectric generator article suggests that Americium-241 (with a half-life of 430 years) could possibly do the job - but that issues with shielding would make it difficult to use. Radioisotope_thermoelectric_generator#RTG_for_interstellar_probes says that NASA have been working on exactly that in their Innovative Interstellar Explorer project. In our case, we only need to shield the sensitive electronics - and whatever heavy lead shielding was needed while close to the Earth could

be ejected in the acceleration phase of the mission.

In the end, money is the single limiting factor to doing what the OP wants.
I believe that all of the technologies we need are there...although communications with the satellite when it gets there will likely be impossible...and if that's the case then I can't see anyone wanting to spend the money to do it. But that's not what we're being asked here.
SteveBaker (talk) 15:18, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Years ago I read an article in one of the technical journals devoted to rocket science. The article probably was published in the fifties. The author analyzed a possibility of reaching other stars in a reasonable time span of roughly 80 years. His assumption was that the craft (with people) will accelerate half of the way and decelerate during the other half. He came to the conclusion that the only (theoretical) option was to use antimatter/matter annihilation and the mass of the fuel (antimatter/matter) required would be equal to the mass of the earth. He clearly showed that it is impractical.

- Alex174.52.14.15 (talk) 03:44, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

That might be about right - the amount of energy if the earth was annihilated in a matter/antimatter reaction would be 5.4×1041 Joules (see Orders of magnitude (energy))- if the craft weighed more or less what the Earth weighs (assuming the craft itself weighed almost nothing compared to the fuel) then it would be 5x1024 kg. To accelerate (and decelerate) it at 1g would require (F=ma) a force of 5x1025 newtons to be applied over the whole 4 light-years (4x1016 meters) - which is (Work=force x distance) 2x1042...about five times the amount of energy you'd get from annihilating the earth in that matter/anti-matter explosion. However, that's not quite right because as you use up fuel, the craft gets lighter - so you'd save a lot of energy towards the end as the mass gets used up - so I could believe that one-earth-mass is enough to keep us going at 1g.
HOWEVER: Applying a constant force of 1g only makes sense if you want to take people there. What you really want to do to take a satellite there is to apply a very brief, intense acceleration at the beginning and end of the trip. If some variation of atmospheric braking can be used to slow you down at the end - then you just need one gargantuan kaboom to achive solar escape velocity - and then you can coast to the destination.
By accelerating much faster at the beginning, your peak velocity can be much lower but your average velocity be exactly the same - and still get there in the same amount of time - but using a lot less energy. Hence you need less fuel...and less fuel means less mass...which means less force...less energy...and less fuel. We also have a vastly smaller craft because we're not taking people, food, water, oxygen, etc.
So with an initial big push, you can get places with vastly less energy than if people are on board and demand 1g acceleration all the way.
That means that what you read wasn't so far from the truth - but it's not applicable to our OP's problem.
SteveBaker (talk) 17:56, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
That seems like the perfect job for an Orion drive for the initial 12% c acceleration and then eject the Orion drive and (hopefully because of Oberth effect the efficiency will increase) use the beamed core antimatter drive to accelerate to 70% c. Then, at the destination star system, use their star to do reverse gravity assist (and even aerobraking using the star atmosphere) No one will be interested to fund a too long mission (talk) 04:31, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

SteveBaker, you are very knowledgeable, it is interesting to read what you wrote but overall I believe humankind will never try to reach other worlds manned or unmanned way. It will be just too expensive and too risky. Half of missions to Mars have failed historically. And they cost so much that even the United States had to wiggle to make them less expensive. Without calculations just on intuition it seems the cost to build a probe for interstellar travel will be three orders of magnitude higher. And the risks will be three orders of magnitude higher as well. No, this is a totally absurd idea in my opinion. Nobody will give a dime to make it happen if they are in their sound mind.

- Alex174.52.14.15 (talk) 02:33, 4 September 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:32, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

Oh - absolutely! I don't think it'll happen anytime soon - perhaps never. Clearly humanity's quest into space has already peaked and is in sharp decline. It's technologically feasible - but the scientific merit and economic benefits seem to be utterly overwhelmed by the cost.
IMHO, (and I've spoken about this idea in detail in the past) - the only way to explore the universe is with robotic craft. Perhaps we can find a way to encode our brains onto silicon neural-networks and treat our psyche's as a bunch of software - and then we can fire a probe off to the nearest star - and with the CPU clock ticking once a year, experience the trip to the next star system in a few hours. When we get there, we can transmit our thoughts and findings back to Earth and tell our friends what happened.
This may happen by scanning brains and emulating the wet-ware using software - or it might be that in enough generations, Artificial Intelligences are accepted as first class citizens and treated as sentient beings. With acceptance of those "people" as our equals, we can send an AI human to the stars much more easily than a wetware human. Software minds can be transmitted via radio or laser links at the speed of light - we can slow them down to avoid boredom and resource utilization on thousand year space trips and speed them up when we need to put the world into slow-motion. We can have immortality if that's what we wish and we can archive our minds to be awoken ten thousand years into the future.
I think that's the future of humankind...and it solves nearly all the issues of spreading throughout the universe and over all of time. I give it a hundred years to happen. SteveBaker (talk) 14:52, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

"Element analyser"

In a TV programme I watched, they had a hand-held gadget that they called, I think, an "element analyser", or something like that. When held against a metallic sample, this displayed the percentages of each element in the sample (e.g. 75% Ag, 23% Cu, 2% Pb). It seemed pretty neat. How might it have worked? Would it be able to detect any element, or only a few common ones? How accurate might it have been? (talk) 19:16, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Some of the sensors used on (for example) the mars probes can do things like that. They use the principles of a spectrometer to look for spectral lines in the light emitted when the target material is heated with a laser.
The Curiosity (rover) does this exact thing with four different instruments: See Alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, CheMin, Sample Analysis at Mars and so forth. I don't know whether hand-held versions of these things exist (or are even possible given radiation hazards, etc) - but they are small, light and don't use much power - so I suppose it's possible. SteveBaker (talk) 19:30, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
(ec) Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy is one way to do it, as is laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (used by the Curiosity rover) and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (used by Curiosity, Spirit and Opportunity). There's also various mass spectroscopy based methods, if you don't mind volatilizing the surface of the sample. You can also take a look at List of materials analysis methods for other possibilities. -- (talk) 19:31, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
None of the mentioned with the exception of the APXS is a hand held device. Some use vacuum some use high voltage others use large optical systems. But you can not buy APXS it because it has a little curium inside.--Stone (talk) 19:41, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
An ICP-AES spectroscope could be used as an "element analyzer" for ALL of the currently known elements, but it's not handheld -- the smallest of these instruments is the size of a large briefcase. Also, this instrument requires you to dissolve the sample before analyzing. (talk) 00:39, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Correct Location for "Ethno" Medicines

I'm wondering where the correct place for mentioning "ethno" medicines would be. Would it be under the organism that is used, the illness it is believed to treat or under the tribe which believes in this practice? I wasn't really sure where to ask this question as it concerns often religious views towards biological organisms which may be based on facts already established by other societies. CensoredScribe (talk) 02:48, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Traditional medicine is our main article. I'm not really sure what you're asking, though. As an example, the use of rhino horn in traditional medicine is covered in our Rhinoceros article, and (provided you can provide reliable sources for the information), you can add similar information to any other animal's article. Is there a specific animal/disease/tribe you're interested in? Tevildo (talk) 23:14, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

There is this Chilean Rose tarantula used by the Chola Maya to make a tea to treat atrial fibrilation and cardiac arythmia. [1] So basically the only animals and plants that wouldn't have an established traditional medicine usage by at least one tribe; would be those deep under ground, in the deep sea and at the poles; places no humans have ever lived?

Why would you assume that every plant and animal that people could access would have a "traditional medicine use"? Falconusp t c 14:06, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
This is the reference cited above. (And it's the Mexican red rump tarantula, Brachypelma vagans, not the Chilean rose tarantula, Grammostola rosea, incidentally). This certainly could be added to the article. I'm not sure the second question can be answered. Tevildo (talk) 01:15, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
James Wong describes himself as an "ethnobotanist" so presumably ethnobotany would be the scientific field for this. --TammyMoet (talk) 08:33, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
With respect to a major medical disorder, one needs a proper secondary source to justify inclusion. In general secondary sources are required. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 00:36, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
Describing traditional practices is not a medical claim of efficacy and no such depth of sourcing is required. Wnt (talk) 14:20, 3 September 2013 (UTC)


Black and white races in sports and science

Template:Hat Seems like black people are better than white in most athletic sports. I've been told by several people that black people have more advanced muscles, but that their brains are smaller and thats why very few of them are successful scientists. I tried googling and "black supremacy in sports" gives a lot of results, while "brain size difference between whites and blacks" mostly gives links to different racist websites, so I was wondering if it is true that blacks are better at athletic activities than us because of the muscle differences and is it true that we have bigger brains? And if these thesis are racist, as some people suggest, then why are black so much faster and why are white people so much better at scientific achievements, fine literature, arts and so on? Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:14, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Who is "us"? I would delete this post. Bus stop (talk) 22:21, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
There are so many things that can be commented on here that I'm not going to start. Instead, I'll just direct you to Race and sports and you can explore from there. Dismas|(talk) 00:08, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
The question should be deleted. It contains " I was wondering if it is true that blacks are better at athletic activities than us because of the muscle differences and is it true that we have bigger brains?" Who is us and who is we? Is this the Reference-desk/Science for white people? Bus stop (talk) 00:27, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
The bottom line is, while blacks do in fact have more physical strength and endurance, and whites and Asians do in fact have a higher IQ (on average, of course), nobody at this time knows for sure what causes these discrepancies -- whether genetics, upbringing, or whatever else. And no, this question SHOULD NOT be deleted -- it is a legitimate question (although poorly phrased), and deleting it would serve no purpose except for advancing the same politically correct agenda that is currently preventing any meaningful research on this subject. (talk) 00:32, 2 September 2013 (UTC)