Eiron’s Archives 08

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You can trigger a response from Eiron with a question via his contact page

Twitter feed : @Eiron_Foyer

[ With kind regards to The Right Honourable Joseph Addison, c. 1709 ]

Dear e55pression

You ask “how to modify roses to make them glow in the dark”. There are a number of ways of doing this. I shall describe two for you.

I suspect that you may be thinking about the genetic modification route – the technique involves transplanting genes from naturally occurring luminescent animals – say algae or jellyfish – into your organism of choice. ( you may have seen the famous ‘glowing mice’ ) Unfortunately, although technically fairly straightforward it should, with respect, most definitely not be attempted by novices, such as yourself.

The second, less hazardous, method would be to somehow systemically inject luminescent material into the plant. Florists frequently use a similar technique to produce outlandish colours in their wares. In this case, one simply stands a flower in a container of water laced with the appropriate dye. If you were to try this with a phosphorescent or luminous chemical of some kind you may have limited success, at least in the short term. It must be said though, that the roses may not be completely overjoyed to submit to your tamperings.

Without wishing to discourage you in your scientific research, can you not think of any other ways of extrapolating your joie de vivre ? I am reminded of the famous quote by Rodin, who believed that any artist who tried to improve upon nature by adding “ green to the springtime, rose to the sunrise, carmine to the young lips, creates ugliness – because he lies ”

Nothing personal.

Dear KayToneUnderLyme

Yes, I too have also noticed a lot of gripings in the media about the latest ‘round the world’ yacht race.

The complaints centre about the definition of ‘around’. The route taken by the latest attemptee, was it has to be said, far from straight. But then it would be wouldn’t it ?

With the use of this helpful graphic which I have had produced, at my own expence, from Lithoplottage (S.A.) , Zurich ( invoice attached) , you will immediately be able to see that there is no ‘straight’ route ‘around the world’, except for a very thin band which passes between Cape Horn and Antarctica.

Bearing in mind that this route would be very much shorter than the circumference of the Earth at the equator, I’m sure you would agree that it could not possibly be considered a ‘round the world trip’ in the usual sense of the phrase. Indeed, though impressive, and no doubt arduous, it would amount to little more than a circumnavigation of Antarctica.

No doubt someone will attempt it soon.

[ I think you’ll find it’s already been done many times – but there’s no prize. p.s. sorry we can’t reimburse you. Ed. ]

Dear Hobb_6_flat

Hobb_6_flat writes in with an enlightening statement rather than a question. He/she points out that old chewing-gum can easily be re-invigorated by mixing it with a little toothpaste. How refreshing. I must point out though that chewing-gum ( the noun and the gerund verb ) is far from appreciated in many parts of the world. For instance in Singapore, where its public use is prohibited by law.

The country has recently reformed the legislation though, to exempt chewers who need to use it for medical purposes. Specifically, those who are trying to give up smoking by the use of nicotine-laced gum.

It occurred to me that we could widen Hobb_6_flat’s observation by postulating the notion that spent nicotine gum may also be revived by mixing it with a little cigarette tobacco ?

The idea is purely theoretical at the moment, and I would strongly discourage anyone from trying it before more research is carried out. Perhaps Hobb_6_flat would like to volunteer ?

Dear Lufthez_M.

You enquire whether 2′,4′-dihydroxy-6-methoxy-3′,5′-dimethylchalcone is likely to inhibit KDR tyrosine kinase phosphorylation.

Before I answer your question, I’m sure that my editor will appreciate if I make a general observation about such queries. Whilst I respect and value your interest in the subject of pharmacology, and am greatly flattered by the implication that you think I may be able to enlighten you, it’s my duty to maintain this column in such a way as it may be stimulating to the general reader.

In that light, I should like to throw out a two-part rhetorical counter-question –

1) How many people, aside from yourself, do you think may be interested in the answer ?

2) Furthermore, what percentage of the people who are interested will be likely to read this column ?

When you have mentally extrapolated the two logical statements above, perhaps you will ███████ for me, would you ?

By the way, the answer is ‘Yes’.

Dear PTWelsh02

A UK resident contacted me with the query : ‘I am thinking of starting a family, does Britain have any poisonous creatures I should be aware of ? ’.

Normally, confronted with a question this common, I would point you in the direction of the nearest encyclopaedia or prompt you to visit the local library ( if you still have one ) – and look it up.

I will refrain on this occasion though – because the answer you will find in the reference works will be wrong. Invariably, you will be informed that the Adder is the UK’s only poisonous creature – it is not. They are overlooking, for example, the common honeybee.

Although a sting from a bee is ( to most people at least ) just a minor inconvenience, I would like to point out that contemporaneous stings from many very determined bees is a very different matter indeed.

I can vouch this from personal experience, I was once viciously attacked by a swarm on a visit to the UK. [ Errrr. . . Who was visiting, you or the bees ? Ed. ] I was attempting to examine a mediaeval gargoyle atop St. Davids cathedral. The bees were evidently of the erroneous opinion that I was bent on destruction of their impromptu hive. I must tell you that I was very lucky to escape the ordeal alive, bearing in mind the very significant danger of multiple bee-venom injections ( compounded, on this occasion, by a great height ).

The point I am labouring somewhat to make is this. When mildly poisonous creatures gather together in sufficient numbers, and have one common goal in mind – then the combined result can be very much more dangerous than one lone attacker – even when that individual is quite severely toxic.

That reminds me – I think there will shortly be an important government election coming up in Britain – don’t forget to vote.

Dear Karlo60120

Your query has caused me to ponder a great deal, and I shall answer it in the best way that I can. Yes, on one level it is true that a bottle of Château Haut Brion Pessac-Léognan 1982 is “just a blend of chemicals” and therefore not worthy of the great respect which wine lovers across the globe afford to it.

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