December 13th, 2006

Air purification by fungi?

Just recently, my biology teacher mentioned that fungi absorb nutrients mostly from air. And went to explain how eating mushrooms that grow within city limits or especially near or in undustrial zones are highly poisonous, simply because they've absorbed so many toxic minerals or whatnot from the air (heavy metals, for example).

My question is: Would it be plausible to implement air purification with fungi? With large patches grown in or outside the chimneys (possibly some heat resistant variant) or at least the immediate surroundings of such or any other source of airborne pollutants. The fungi probably wouldn't survive being in the chimney itself, so I'll assume that was a bad idea to begin with. Maybe using some biologically engineered fungi especially suited for the task?

Since this apparently hasn't been suggested anywhere, I take it it's impossible or extremely costly to maintain, or possibly too harmful for the machinery itself? I also assume the fungi would have to be culled occasionally of the toxic filled ones to allow new "clean" fungi to grow in their place.

And yes, this is in the real world context of modern science and (bio)technology.
concerned, curious, empathetic, Bioware, encouraging
  • cmzero

Demon hair

Not exactly about facts, but I've read dropped mentions in various works of fantasy that possessing a lock of demon hair does... something. It's apparently the act of a reformed demon to hand over a lock willingly, but there's implications that something mystic is going on and nothing I can find says exactly what. Of course, there's nothing stopping me from creating my own mythos on the subject for my universe, but there's nothing stopping me from making, say, vampires who are are immune to all the normal stuff either -- it's just bad form in both cases if the reader expects otherwise. So does anyone know what other stories have to say on the subject?

Small mammals and body parts thereof.

New here, and a probably very silly question. But that's what this comm's for, isn't it?

I'm currently writing in a furry fandom, as you can tell by the icon. In a parody fic I'm thinking vaguely of, some of the furry characters (all small rodents and mustelids) end up spending a day as humans. (Parody of all the annoying Sues who drop in from human Earth.) I'm trying to get in as many details as possible about the transformation and I have the obvious ones (off-balance because of missing tails and smaller feet, teeth and jaws feeling funny, etc). One thing I was wondering about, which is the odd question;

I have heard that, in small mammals, the males don't have nipples. Is this true? If so, is it true for all species or just a few? I'm pretty sure all male primates have them, but other species, I'm not sure of.

Told you it was a strange question. I'd look it up myself, but I don't have access to any of the species mentioned and I am not willing to type "rodent nipples" into Google. God knows what'd come up.

Thanks in advance if anyone can help me.
  • uhlrik

Period Ships In Icy Waters

Here's a question for the nautical types.

This is for a low-fantasy world with a technical level very roughly matching the renaissance (say, 16th century or so).

In a very cold north-facing coastal harbor area (something like Churchill, Manitoba for example with regards to latitude) that is prone to icebergs, what would seamen likely do with wooden ships during the winter time if they had no intention of making voyages over the dangerous winter? Would they be likely to leave them at anchor in the harbor, ground them on the ebb or put them into dry dock? For that matter, was the practice of using something like a dry dock even in practice in contemporary technological periods?

Most of the ships I'm thinking of are something like galleons (carvel-built planking, square sails, multi-masted and straight-keeled) or the dutch fluyt in design, and are broadside-equipped war vessels. Also present but a bit out of place in this sort of water (given the weather patterns) are a number of galleys rather like square-sailed bergantins.

Also, if they did employ dry dock or grounding methods, how quickly would they be able to get these vessels afloat again in an emergency, assuming access to plenty of capable hands? The time frame in question for emergency reentry is late winter/early spring.

I'm trying to cover a wide variety of possibilities here.