Questions From Readers (Part 10)

Questions From Readers (Part 10)
Questions From Readers (Part 10)

Is there water on the Sun, is it true that the right hemisphere of the brain is responsible for logic, and the left one for creativity, is there absolutely gravity in space and other questions in our anniversary issue.

Rick and Morty

Is there water on the sun?

Marina L., Novosibirsk

Yes, there is, and there is quite a lot of it. Water has a very simple formula: it only needs hydrogen and oxygen to form. There is plenty of both on the Sun. But the main thing is that a water molecule is one of the most durable in nature (unlike, for example, a DNA molecule, for which the Sun also has a “material”, but its temperature will not allow the necessary atoms to form a molecule). Despite the fact that water makes up an insignificant fraction of the mass of the Sun, there are more fresh water reserves in our luminary than anywhere else in the solar system. "Sun" water is located mainly in sunspots, as they are the "coolest" places in our star.

Is it true that the right hemisphere of the brain is responsible for logic and the left for creativity?

Irina Gavryushina, Sosnovy Bor

This is only partly true. It is impossible to say unequivocally which of the hemispheres is responsible for what, since this leads to a strong simplification of ideas about how the brain works. Our entire brain takes part in certain mental processes, and not its individual parts. Nevertheless, there are tasks in the solution of which one of the hemispheres is more involved. So, in solving spatial problems, the right hemisphere makes a greater contribution, although the left also plays a significant role in this. If you need to write a summary, you first need to understand its content, and this process will involve both the right and left hemispheres. In the very composition of the text, the left hemisphere will be more involved. The distribution of tasks performed by both hemispheres also changes with age.

Tell us about the greenhouse effect on Venus

Igor Malyutin, Khabarovsk

The greenhouse effect is what makes Venus different from other planets. It is defined as the difference in temperature on the surface of a planet with the atmosphere and the temperature that this planet would have if it did not have an atmosphere. That is, the greenhouse effect is created by gases, aerosols and clouds that are in the atmosphere. On Venus, the greenhouse effect is about 500 degrees. This is a huge figure (on Earth it is about 30-40 degrees), which is created by an extremely dense atmosphere and carbon dioxide. The latter has a huge number of very strong absorption bands in the infrared region, which prevent the planet from cooling through the radiation of the infrared spectrum range. That is why the surface of Venus heats up almost to the "red heat".

I heard that pretty soon we are in for a "decline of antibiotics" - when they stop curing diseases, as the latter adapt to them. New antibiotics have not been manufactured since the 1980s. What to do?

Roman L., Pavlodar

The situation is really very serious, and so far there is no unequivocal solution to it. Experts, however, believe that it is not hopeless. Today, vaccinology, various hygienic and preventive procedures are actively developing, so there is an opportunity to make more efforts to avoid diseases. The possibilities of antibiotics themselves are also far from being exhausted. Combinatorial chemistry and systems for testing potential drugs are being improved. Molecular modeling methods make it possible to create antibiotics that act simultaneously on several bacterial life systems, and the so-called prodrugs, that is, substances that turn into an active form only when they enter a whole microorganism. It is much more difficult for microbes to adapt to such "superantibiotics". But in order to realize all these possibilities, according to experts, it is necessary to correct the existing economic dogmas in pharmacology.

Is it true that there is no gravity in space at all?

Oleg A., Stavropol

It is not true.It seems to us that if the astronauts on the ISS are in a state of weightlessness, then Earth's gravity does not act on them either. But this is not at all the case. Moreover, the gravity on the ISS is almost the same as on Earth. Judge for yourself. The force of gravitational attraction between two bodies is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the distance between them. The orbital altitude of the ISS is about 10% greater than the Earth's radius. Therefore, the force of gravity is only slightly less there. And astronauts experience a state of weightlessness, because they seem to fall to the Earth all the time, but miss. Modern theories of gravity are geometric. That is, massive bodies distort space-time around them. The closer we are to the gravitating body, the greater the distortion. But how exactly you move through curved space is no longer so important - it still remains curved, that is, gravity does not go anywhere.

Why do oncological diseases appear most often in old age?

Karina Z., Moscow

In fact, in the body of every healthy adult, millions of cancer cells that are in balance with the body are constantly identified and destroyed by the cells of the immune system. But with age, the number of all kinds of errors in the execution of the genetic program grows, and at some point the amount of stress exceeds the capabilities of damage control systems. It is then that the cancer cells are chosen “free”. The danger is that, by all indications, these cells are defined as cells of the same organism. At first, they have practically the same genetic code as all other human cells, so the defense systems do not have time to recognize them at the moment when the disease can still be prevented.

Why did the Neanderthals die out?

Anton I., Pavlodar

There are several theories. Many people think that they were supplanted by our immediate ancestors - Cro-Magnons, but this is a rather controversial issue. Firstly, the Neanderthals were physically stronger, and secondly, it seems, almost no stupider than Homo sapiens. The most popular point of view among experts is that the number of Neanderthals was crippled by natural disasters. One of them was the eruption of the Toba volcano in Sumatra (73, 5 thousand years ago), which reduced the supply of solar heat to the planet and contributed to the decrease in the number of Neanderthals, but at the same time formed their hyperarctic appearance.

To a greater extent, perhaps, the Neanderthals were knocked down by other eruptions of a much smaller scale that occurred about 40-42 thousand years ago. That is, the Neanderthals, apparently, were not so much inferior to the Cro-Magnons - they simply had no luck with the place and time. And when the Cro-Magnons once again looked into Europe, they found that there was practically no one there and it was possible to settle in empty territories. In this regard, it is possible that the Cro-Magnons only "pushed" the few Neanderthals to the brink of death, but it is not at all a fact that they were the main reason for the disappearance of our "brothers".

How much smarter have we become compared to ancient people?

Mikhail Petrochenko, Ufa

The answer to this question is ambiguous. It is important what we mean by the word "smarter". Modern man has conquered space, but can any one of us make a pebble chopper, kill an antelope and survive surrounded by hyenas and saber-toothed tigers? The second point is who should be considered ancient people. If we are talking about Homo habilis, which lived 2-1, 5 million years ago, then since then, of course, we have become much smarter. If we compare us with our later ancestors, the question becomes more complicated. Every Cro-Magnon of that era was a universal: he knew how to use weapons, was a builder, physician, historian, hunter, seamstress, astronomer, etc. in one person. In addition, since the Upper Paleolithic, some lobes of our brain have increased, but some (for example, the occipital, in which the visual centers are located) have even noticeably decreased.

There are no bad questions, there are bad answers. Send us your questions to [email protected]

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