Category Archives: Curiosities

Is the Sense of Taste Inherited?

Is the Sense of Taste Inherited? Over time, people often approach their parents’ taste preferences and eating habits. But does that also mean that taste is inherited? is it the genetics?

The question of whether genes or environment are crucial for food preferences is not an easy one to answer. Because, our meals in childhood are largely determined by the same people who are responsible for our genetic makeup.

As is so often the case when it comes to the question “nature or nurture?” The answer is: the truth lies somewhere in between.

Picture of taste receptors on the tongue
Taste receptors on the tongue.

How do taste sensations come about?

In the mouth – mainly on the tongue – there are taste receptors that react to chemical stimuli. Humans have different levels of taste receptors, and their number decreases over the course of life. This changes the intensity of the taste.

The sensation of taste only comes about through interaction with the sense of smell. We don’t like what smells bad either. And when we have a cold, the food usually tastes boring.

How is taste controlled by genetics?

Now to the genes. A popular method in science to distinguish between the role of genes and environmental influences is twin studies. When examining the taste sensation, the focus is not only on monozygotic, but especially dizygotic twins.

Siblings, some of which have different genes, but are sitting at the same dining table. In fact, some studies suggest that the eating habits of identical twins are more similar than that of non-identical twins. This is an indication that genes also have an impact on children’s tastes.

However, our sense of taste is not very specific that one could say, for example, that one did not inherit taste receptors for spinach. According to current research, the taste buds in the mouth can only differentiate between bitter, sweet, salty, sour and savory.

These categories only provide rough coordinate axes for the taste experience. There are definitely people who – for genetic reasons – perceive bitter substances to a greater or lesser extent, or perhaps not at all.

Genetic differences in smell perceptions

While most people have similar genetic makeup that is responsible for developing taste receptors, there are greater differences in the sense of smell.

A variety of genetic combination options ensures that people have a much more individual smell perception. And here too there are indications that there are influences through inheritance when equipped with smell receptors.

But the same applies to both taste and smell: being able to perceive something is one thing, emotional evaluation of this perception is another. The connection of information with feelings only takes place in the brain in the course of life. Education plays a role here – for example through the role model function of the parents.

Cultural influences also come into play. Most children, for example, have an aversion to bitter substances, which means that they don’t like coffee, olives or Brussels sprouts, for example. As a rule, this aversion decreases over the course of life through new, positive experiences and habituation.

So when it comes to the formation of eating habits, parents cannot easily pass responsibility onto their genes. Parents can – as much of the research agrees – influence what their children like or don’t like. In Finland, even educators have been trained to improve taste training.

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What is the Big Bang? A Short Answer.

The Big Bang is massive explosion that according to a scientific theory, gave rise to the universe. This theory indicates that the universe is 13.8 billion years old, expanding thanks to the explosion in question.

What is the Big Bang theory simple?

After the expansion, the universe began to cool down. So the first subatomic particles would have formed and then the atoms. Gravity brought these elements together for the development of stars and galaxies.

The Big Bang relates to the notion of cosmic expansion. In 1927, Georges Lemaître noted that if the universe expanded continuously, there must have been a single point of origin in the past.

That origin would be the Big Beng. The growing separation of galaxies that Edwin Hubble discovered in 1929 also served to support this hypothesis.

Scientists like Roger Penrose, George F. R. Ellis and Stephen Hawking, on the other hand, started from Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity and added notions related to space and time.

These measures allowed them to infer that time and space had a beginning that was finite and that corresponds to the origin of energy and matter.

The current Big Bang theory, combines principles of general relativity theory with several observations about changes in the position of galaxies. This combination allows to extrapolate the conditions of the universe in time.

Following the precepts of the Big Bang, scientists have found that the universe is expanding at a faster rate. This may be due to so-called dark energy.

What was before the big bang?

The short answer is:

nobody knows.

Longer answer:

The Big Bang is considered to be the beginning of the universe we live in. However, many questions surrounding the Big Bang remain unexplained.

For example, it is unknown whether time only came into being at the time of the Big Bang. Or whether there was time before the Big Bang. In the former case, the question ‘what was there before the big bang’ is of course meaningless.

By the way, nobody knows exactly what time actually is, so it may still take some time before this question is answered.

It is often assumed that the Big Bang not only represented the origin of matter and energy, but also the origin of time and space. Still, there are theories in which space already existed before the Big Bang. Some physicists even speculate about the existence of a complete universe before ‘our’ Big Bang.

In any case

If there was anything before the Big Bang, we will never be able to observe or measure it in our universe. As far as that is concerned, it may well be an academic question.

Read about our website curiosity guide here.

Dog barking and snarling when you are not there may be a sign of stress

The fact that barking and snarling when you are not there may be a sign of stress and anxiety. Due to the fact that the dog is too dependent on you and becomes nervous when you are not there.

Dog barking and snarling sign of stress

This I say on the nose. To really understand the situation you should know the history of the dog before being adopted. was being mistreated?

  • Did the dog have a mom or was you abandoned when you were a few days old?.
  • Did he have other owners before you?.

All this together with the observation of the dog and your behavior with him allows you to identify the problem. Then you can establish a line of intervention aimed at involving other family members in the care of the dog. This helps to reduce anxiety the animal. All this should be done with a professional and not here on the internet.

The fact that he does not stand guard depends on the nature of the dog

There are dogs who are hypersensitive to noise and territorial stimuli and others who are calm. The kennels are full of dogs bought to stand guard or for other reasons which later proved unsuitable for the task because they had a different character from what was wanted. Some time ago I was reading about a dog who was abounded and welcomed in a kennel. The dog was a sleepyhead. And not very responsive to stimuli. Generally the setters are not like that. So she had been bought as a hunting dog but did not have the personality for that task. It happens.

Your dog is what it is, you can only accept it

The fact that he sleeps in your room is not a good idea. I did the same with my dog ​​and saw that when I moved the dog’s bed to another room he took confidence and assumed more autonomous behavior. This is because, despite the current fashion, dogs need their spaces to feel confident.

I also understand that you should involve other family members in dog management. Allow to take him out and feed him. If the dog does not eat patiently, remove the bowl and ask your sister to put it back after 12 hours. So he gets used to it and becomes less and less dependent on you.

Although, I repeat, all this should be done with a professional in the sector.

Then I don’t know it’s difficult to say from here. Surely barks and snarls are a symptom of stress mainly because they occur only when you are not there.

Related

For more curious questions and answers 

Active and Passive Immunization – What is the Difference?

Difference between active and passive immunization: The aim of active vaccination is to establish long-term effective protection. For this purpose, the body receives inactive or only fragments of pathogens. Weakened pathogens can no longer cause serious illness.

So, the vaccine simulates infection. The body reacts by producing antibodies and so-called memory cells. If a person is infected in the future, these can quickly become active and ward off the disease.

In many cases, several doses of vaccinations are necessary to build up the immune protection. This is basic vaccination. The individual vaccination dates are are the so-called “vaccination schedule”. With some vaccinations protection lasts a lifetime, others have to be boosted at regular intervals. Booster doses for adolescents and adults serve as a reminder for the immune system. They prolong the protection of the vaccination.

What is the difference between active and passive Immunisation.

Passive vaccines:

For some diseases there is the possibility to build up a fast protection through passive immunization. Therefore this may be necessary if:

  • A person has currently come into contact with a pathogen.
  • There is insufficient vaccination protection against this disease.

For this purpose, however, it must be noticed that you have been infected.

In passive vaccination, the body receives antibodies. These antibodies usually come from people who are immune to the disease. In contrast to active vaccination, passive vaccination offers immediate protection. However, it only lasts for a short time – about three months.

vaccination.

A single vaccination is often not enough. The vaccine loses its effectiveness over time due to the decrease in antibodies. Which makes them exposed to pathogens again. In most cases it is not necessary to be vaccinated individually for each disease. Current combination products combine several vaccines.

  • In passive immunity you undergo an administration of ready-made immunoglobulins that protect you from the antigen for which they are specific. Therefore only limited to their duration. After their destruction you are no longer immune.
  • In active immunity, the immune system recognizes the antigen and produces antibodies on its own. (and not only) until the antigen has been deflated. often remaining “memory” of the infection, other times lasting only a few year.

What is science simple definition

What’s special about science? Knowledge can be of different types.

  • Knowing where the nearest store to your house is, is empirical knowledge.
  • A herbal remedy is traditional knowledge.

There are some who say that a divine being can reveal knowledge to you.

But when it comes to distinguishing what’s true regardless of any circumstances or beliefs. There’s a special type of knowledge: scientific knowledge.

Science has not always been like we know it today.

Even though in ancient times, Aristotle and Hypatia already investigated the the natural world. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages when Alhazen and Roger Bacon proposed that, for achieving true knowledge we need to start from evidence; not from ancient books.

During the Renaissance, Galileo got himself in big trouble because his claims, based on observation. And mathematics contradicted prevailing beliefs.

The scientific method became important in the 17th century thanks to people like the great Isaac Newton. and also that it proposes explanations based on logical reasoning. Also, science is universal.

So what is science simple definition?

  • Observation of regularities and even the formulation of theories.
  • Explanations and even discovering Laws of Nature.
  • Characteristic that distinguishes science is that it corrects itself.
  • It never arrives to definitive truths, but only provisional explanations.
  • It is possible that in the future evidence will emerge, improving or contradicting current knowledge.

Science is not always neutral.

Some have even used science as an excuse to justify racism or exploitation. Or as a source of technologies that can harm human kind.

But it has also served for enhancing our health, communication. And mostly to spectacularly and overwhelmingly enrich our conscience about ourselves. And the cosmos we’re part of.

It’s because of these amazing power that we could think science is entitled only to a few special beings.

When we don’t see them as crazy people eager to destroy the world. We think of scientists as extraordinary people. Something like priests who bring knowledge down from that unusual world they live in.

What is science simple definition and explanation. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

Why Coronavirus Mortality Rate is Lower in Germany?

Germany ranked 5th in terms of infected with SARS-CoV-2. However, the death rate from Coronavirus in Germany is much lower than in most of the countries affected by the virus.

The world anti-leaders in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic – USA, Spain and Italy have more confirmed cases. Germany has more than 108,000 confirmed cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), just over 2,000 people died. So, Why Germany’s coronavirus death rate is so low?

For comparison, in Italy more than 139,000 coronavirus cases were detected, while more than 17,000 patients have died. Spain, where the coronavirus claimed the lives of more than 15,000 people, has over 150,000 confirmed cases.

Location Confirmed Cases Death Rate
Bavaria 28,827 2.2%
North Rhine-Westphalia 21,961 1.7%
Baden-Wurttemberg 21,603 2.4%
Lower Saxony 6,804 2.1%
Hesse 5,242 1.9%
Rhineland-Palatinate 4,336 1.2%
Berlin 4,202 0.9%
Hamburg 3,320 1.3%
Saxony 3,261 1.6%
Schleswig-Holstein 1,932 1.8%
Saarland 1,693 1.4%
Brandenburg 1,578 1.9%
Thuringia 1,351 1.5%
Saxony-Anhalt 1,075 1.5%
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 572 1.9%
Bremen 445 2.5%
Total Cases / Average Death Rate 108,202 1.73%

How the Germans manage to control the spread of Coronavirus?

First, German scientists developed a test for the new coronavirus before the outbreak. The first two victims of the virus in Germany became known on March 9. A 78-year-old man died in Heinsberg; an 89-year-old woman died in Essen. Both cities are located in North Rhine-Westphalia. At the time there were 484 cases of infection in this part of Germany. In total, German doctors diagnosed 1,112 people nationwide.

On January 27, in Bavaria, a 33-year-old man was diagnosed with coronavirus. The man was an employee of Webasto. The patient had previously been in contact with his colleague from Shanghai. His parents had traveled to visit him from Wuhan, the city that became the focus of the spread of Covid-19. This is the world’s first recorded case of transmission between people who are not relatives, outside of China.

The next day, January 28, coronavirus was detected in three other Webasto employees. Two days later, three more people affiliated with the company were diagnosed with coronavirus. By February 11, several more employees of the company, as well as some members of their families, became ill.

Even before the virus had spread beyond China, German researchers began working on a new SARS-CoV-2 test. Already in mid-January, the Institute of Virology at the Charite Hospital in Berlin created the first test. Christian Drosten, who in 2003 was researching SARS, led the team of scientists who developed the test. Today, he is the country’s most authoritative person on pandemic issues.

Coronavirus pandemic in Germany

Unlike many of his colleagues, Dr. Drosten showed pessimism in assessing the risks of the coronavirus pandemic. He estimated that the virus will infect up to 70% of the German population. On the other hand, Drosten is positive about the steps the German leadership took so far.

Drosten noted that Germany had early on introduced special measures to protect its citizens. There is no guarantee, however, that a new wave of infections will not change the situation for the worse.

German doctors launched an efficient coronavirus detection from the very beginning. This is one of the reasons why many consider this a success story in terms of coronavirus control and prevention. At an early stage of the pandemic, laboratories conducted research and quickly determined the presence of coronavirus in patients. Doctors made operational decisions to isolate them.

German diagnostic capabilities are much more efficient than in other countries, according to Dorsten.

50,000 tests per day to control coronavirus lethality

The Germans perform more than 50,000 SARS-2 tests each day. Experts consider Germany as the leading country in Europe in terms of testing. This is the main reason behind Germany’s low infection and loss of life.

Additionally, health authorities conducts tests to determine whether a person has antibodies for coronavirus. The test indicates whether the body is familiar with this particular virus. Doctors can determine not only the presence (or absence) of the immune response, but also its strength. Immune response intensity is a good indicator of infection timing. A negative result, however, does not mean that a person is healthy, since he can still spread the virus.

Britain performs only about 14,000 tests daily. The British government speaks of the need to increase testability to 100,000 per day. However, at present it has not been possible to even approach this figure.

German scientists warn the government: in order to successfully fight the virus, more tests need to be done. Germany is now able to conduct 500,000 tests per week. To consolidate success and stop the spread, it is necessary to test a million people, scientists say. That is, to conduct 200,000 tests per day.

Dr. Drosten mentioned complaints about slow coronavirus diagnosis and its inaccessibility in some parts of the country. More than ten health workers from different regions of Germany have confirmed that the number of tests is still insufficient.

Healthcare system characteristics

2,107 people died in Germany due to COVID-19. The average age was 82 years according to the Robert Koch Institute.

Young people still rarely need emergency measures. When they do, its mainly due to chronic diseases such as, asthma, sarcoidosis, hormonal disorders or autoimmune problems. In this case, the coronavirus acts as a trigger.

Other characteristics of the German health system contributed to the success in controlling the pandemic. First, Germany learned from other countries. The German authorities took measures in a timely manner. For example, clinics organised isolated areas for coronavirus patients at an early stage. Secondly, almost all patients in Germany have healthcare insurance and family doctors are highly accessible. In Italy, it is more difficult to reach a family doctor.

Why Coronavirus Death Rate is Lower in Germany?

Ofcourse, German discipline plays a major role in the outcomes. German citizens do everything that doctors advise them to. Indeed, the German measures are far from being the most stringent. Similar to other countries, people are not allowed to gather, schools and restaurants are closed. In certain parts of the country more stringent bans are applied. In general, however, people can leave home for a walk or to work. Similar measures are now in effect in Britain.

Doctors believe that other factors also influence the final result. For example, an important problem in the healthcare system in some countries is the almost complete absence of preventive measures. Due to coronavirus, many people are likely to learn about their chronic diseases. Such diseases like asthma can develop for years until a person becomes completely ill. Germany tests adults over 35 years old every two or three years as a preventive measure. This information, helps doctors to act quickly and make decisions in case of infection with COVID-19.

Doctors without protective equipment

In Germany, as in other countries with large number of confirmed cases, there are shortages of protective equipment for doctors. For example, there is a limited number of masks, protective suits and disinfectants in some hospitals.

The German Medical Association (GMA) distributes protective equipment. There is a priority to supply protective equipment to doctors which people primarily turn to. Family doctors, infectious disease specialists, pulmonologists and, clinics where there is a large flow of severe patients.

In spite of the shortcomings, Germany continues to be a leader in Europe in many ways. The scientific journal Intensive Care Medicine estimates that Germany has the largest number of intensive care beds in Europe. 29.2 beds per 100 thousand people. In Italy there are only 12.5. In addition, in Germany there are about 25,000 ventilation devices. There are 8,175 such devices in Britain and 5,000 in Italy. Germany ordered another 10,000 ventilation machines, which they promise to produce in the near future.

The danger from this virus is when it comes to the hospital, the nursing home or the hospice. Countries should protect the vulnerable population, by avoiding to spread the virus among them. For example, nursing homes staff are subject to regular testing.

The virus is widespread in Germany. This is a good sign according to German experts. Mainly because despite the increase in the number of infected, clinics are still able to accept patients. That means the German health system has the highest levels of capacity.

Why Germany is a success story?

It’s true that Germany – at least for now – maintains a lower percentage than other countries. Scientists are still investigating the reasons behind these results. One possible explanation are the affected age groups. The virus almost did not affect older people in Germany, the disease spread among young people who returned from skiing. In addition, it is known that a considerable time passes before the condition of infected people is getting critical.

Despite optimistic statistics, German doctors admit that the peak incidence rate in the country probably has not yet arrived. Therefore, hospitals continue to prepare. For example, they cancel planned operations, if possible, and expect a crisis by the end of April 2020.

What is time?

What’s time? It’s hard to explain. Time is actually a sequence of moments. Time has always been there, and originated at the beginning of everything. It’s hard to explain, I know. Time can be measured, with a clock, a sundial, or an hourglass. But is that time right?

זמן קריאה משוער: 4 minutes

Measure time?

In the past, people tried to measure time using the position of, for example, the Sun and the stars. The movement of the Sun along the sky gives us already a time, solar time. Around noon, the Sun is at its highest point in the south, and we know that it is then in the middle of the day. You’ve already measured a time then. Now put a stick in the ground, and you get a shadow. Mark the point where the shadow falls at noon with a sign, and you already have a clock. Do this every hour, and you have a real sundial.

24 hours?

The Earth rotates around its own axis, and that’s why we can see the stars passing through the sky. Our planet rotates from right to left, and therefore the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west. The Earth rotates around its own axis every 24 hours, and that’s why we have a 24-hour time distribution. But… this isn’t quite right. The Earth orbits around its own axis every 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.1 seconds. So we’re missing almost four minutes every day! Where are they?

Leap Year

The Earth orbits the Sun every 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45.1814 seconds. So not exactly 365 days! If we don’t care about the difference and complete a year in 365 days, then after four years we are almost a day short. So once every four years there is an extra day, which is the leap day on the 29th of February.

Time zones

An imaginary line runs across England. This is the line that indicates Greenwich time. The Earth is divided into 24 time zones, all of which have a difference of one hour. They start counting in England. The difference with the Netherlands is 1 hour. If it is 10.00 hours in the Netherlands, then it is 9.00 hours in England. In Beijing (China) it is then 8 hours later than in England, so it is 5 in the afternoon there. In Argentina it is a lot earlier, namely 5 hours. There it is 4:00 in the night. On this website you can see all time zones.

Jet lag

If you are in a plane, for example to China, and you leave at 12:00 Dutch time, it will take you about 10 hours. So you should arrive at 10 o’clock in the evening, but you go through a number of time zones, and therefore arrive at 3 o’clock in the afternoon! So you miss a number of hours. For you it is already 10 o’clock in the evening, but the Chinese time is 3 o’clock in the afternoon. That is why you are already tired in the afternoon, and want to go to bed. This is called jet lag. If you fly to America now, it’s exactly the other way around.

Can you travel in time?

Many scientists, including the world-famous Stephen Hawking, don’t think so. But a lot of them think you can. So, what’s going on? I’ll try to explain. Light travels at 300,000 km per second. Imagine if you’re in a rocket that goes faster than the light, then you’re overtaking the light. People then think that your biological clock, the clock that actually is in your body, goes slower compared to the clocks on Earth. Everything in the rocket then goes slower. And because you catch up with the light then, you also catch up with time, and you travel in time. If you have a twin brother or sister who stays behind on Earth, they will be much older than you when you return!