1693: "Oxidation"

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1693: "Oxidation"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:07 am UTC

Image
Alt text: Calm down--there were lots of arthropods living on your skin already. These ones are just bigger.
Ironic that the parts oxidising fast now is everything but the metal frame. Slow oxidation makes me think mostly of the frame.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby philipquarles » Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:52 am UTC

Not my car. I got the tru-coat.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby rhomboidal » Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:06 am UTC

Don't give insurance companies ideas about Comprehensive Oxidation coverage.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby keldor » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:00 am UTC

On the plus side, maybe she finally bought a better camera to take pictures of it with.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby orthogon » Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:29 am UTC

The whole planet's going to be engulfed in a ball of flame sooner or later. Your car's just ahead of the curve.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby Eebster the Great » Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:40 am UTC

there were lots of arthropods living on your skin already.

. . . I hope not. I know lots of arthropods are human ectoparasites, but most people don't have any, do they?

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby JimsMaher » Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:55 am UTC

There are critical thresholds at work here: combustion (regarding oxidation) and being visible to the naked eye (regarding the anthropods).

To be clear, these aren't fluid measures and don't really suffer from Sorites paradox or the like; whereas, for example, a fear of heights might. And I think it's precisely those clear demarcations that make this comic work. There's a similar measure in each pair of concerns, where one side of the issue has the potential to be dismissed without much worrying ... but beyond some crucial tipping point, the problem becomes alarming. Conflate the latter with the former (in the right context) for humorous results.

Here are some others for comparison:
    ·• (Genus) ... (critical threshold).
    1·• Being the subject of nasty rumors ... eventually hearing about it.
    2·• Stubbing a toe ... breaking a toe.
    3·• Getting poor grades ... failing a class or flunking out of school.
    4·• Getting drunk ... dying from alcohol poisoning.
    5·• Swimming in cold water ... "swimming" in frozen ice.
    6·• Livin' on the edge ... falling off said edge and plummeting into a bottomless pit of suffering.
Last edited by JimsMaher on Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:15 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby cellocgw » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:09 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
there were lots of arthropods living on your skin already.

. . . I hope not. I know lots of arthropods are human ectoparasites, but most people don't have any, do they?


You really don't know? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demodex
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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby Eebster the Great » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:20 am UTC

cellocgw wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:
there were lots of arthropods living on your skin already.

. . . I hope not. I know lots of arthropods are human ectoparasites, but most people don't have any, do they?


You really don't know? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demodex

Hmm . . . "research is ongoing," with figures varying by a ton. Seems like "most' might be accurate in this case, though it's not entirely clear. But even in the worst study, three of the 29 patients did not appear to be infected, so the ponytail girl is making some assumptions.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby Eternal Density » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:39 am UTC

Return of the red spiders!
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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:51 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:so the ponytail girl is making some assumptions.
...or knows that the mutated giant arthropod versions could only have come about if there were already normal sized ones in the vicinity of the topically applied Demodex Enhancing Facecream and Bodylotion©®™...

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby Apeiron » Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:36 pm UTC

Ones... the plural of one. Think about that for a moment.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby StClair » Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:52 pm UTC

So, the blonde is a catalyst, then?

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby creaothceann » Mon Jun 13, 2016 2:43 pm UTC

StClair wrote:So, the blonde is a catalyst, then?

No, because she's also oxydizing.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Mon Jun 13, 2016 3:42 pm UTC

JimsMaher wrote:There are critical thresholds at work here: combustion (regarding oxidation) and being visible to the naked eye (regarding the anthropods).
Actually, the reason we don't typically see demodex doesn't appear to be purely a size issue. They're about 300 um across, which is small, but within the real of visibility.

They seem to be translucent and photo-phobic, so I guess that explains why I've never seen them.
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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby StClair » Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:51 pm UTC

creaothceann wrote:
StClair wrote:So, the blonde is a catalyst, then?

No, because she's also oxydizing.

Ah, true. I suppose that moves her into the realm of accelerants.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby JimsMaher » Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:51 pm UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote:
JimsMaher wrote:There are critical thresholds at work here: combustion (regarding oxidation) and being visible to the naked eye (regarding the anthropods).
Actually, the reason we don't typically see demodex doesn't appear to be purely a size issue. They're about 300 um across, which is small, but within the real of visibility.

They seem to be translucent and photo-phobic, so I guess that explains why I've never seen them.


I hadn't considered precisely how we don't see them. My best recollection of learning about them in Freshman biology was just that they live on our skin and hair, and are typically unseen.

Apeiron wrote:Ones... the plural of one. Think about that for a moment.


Can we say that ones, being the plural of one, means "many individuals"? Or is this just snarks? With "snarks" referring to multiple instances of snark, of course.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby cellocgw » Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:52 pm UTC

Apeiron wrote:Ones... the plural of one. Think about that for a moment.


Not really. If you have a box full of numeral-shaped candles for birthday cakes, how many "one"s do you have?
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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby Keyman » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:14 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:
Apeiron wrote:Ones... the plural of one. Think about that for a moment.


Not really. If you have a box full of numeral-shaped candles for birthday cakes, how many "one"s do you have?

What you might could say is just a couple few.
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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby Eebster the Great » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:45 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:so the ponytail girl is making some assumptions.
...or knows that the mutated giant arthropod versions could only have come about if there were already normal sized ones in the vicinity of the topically applied Demodex Enhancing Facecream and Bodylotion©®™...

Or maybe she found insects that only eat Demodex mites and they naturally crawled up onto her eyes.

Apeiron wrote:Ones... the plural of one. Think about that for a moment.

Yep, pronoun or noun, still takes the standard plural. Even though it sounds weird.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:26 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
Apeiron wrote:Ones... the plural of one. Think about that for a moment.

Yep, pronoun or noun, still takes the standard plural. Even though it sounds weird.

I've always considered "ones" to be prime candidate as one of the apostropheless possesives, in the "one"==(me, you, he, she, it) sense of "ones"==(my, your, his, her, its). But apparently not.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby vodka.cobra » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:06 pm UTC

If you heat iron, does it rust faster?
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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby Mikeski » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:44 pm UTC

vodka.cobra wrote:If you heat iron, does it rust faster?

Of course. Check the inside of any well-used barbecue grill. Heat accelerates many chemical reactions.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:07 am UTC

vodka.cobra wrote:If you heat iron, does it rust faster?


Heat it enough, and it burns.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:30 am UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:
Apeiron wrote:Ones... the plural of one. Think about that for a moment.

Yep, pronoun or noun, still takes the standard plural. Even though it sounds weird.

I've always considered "ones" to be prime candidate as one of the apostropheless possesives, in the "one"==(me, you, he, she, it) sense of "ones"==(my, your, his, her, its). But apparently not.

It's kind of nice that it doesn't work that way, since it allows you to distinguish the plural "ones" from the possessive "one's." The case of "its" is also nice, since it allows you to distinguish it from the contraction "it's" (though it also does lead to confusion; I guess there would be confusion either way).

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby JimsMaher » Tue Jun 14, 2016 2:51 am UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote:Actually, the reason we don't typically see demodex doesn't appear to be purely a size issue. They're about 300 um across, which is small, but within the real of visibility.

They seem to be translucent and photo-phobic, so I guess that explains why I've never seen them.


I just did a more thorough check and it seems their size (0.1-0.4 mm) is right at our threshold of visibility. They are microscopic to say the least.

Check out this article about our mite-y companions, and pay close attention to the images of follicles. Could you really identify them with your naked eye? If they were large enough to distinguish from any other speck, no matter how realistically shy or transluscent, wouldn't we be commonly aware of them in our everyday experience.

Look at your own hair follicles and tell us you could determine wether or not a demodex was traveling between the them. They're so tiny!

The primary measure of concern is size, and these microscopic anthropods suggested by this comic are just too small to be aware of. At their scale everything can be called a "speck", if visible enough to point to anything at all. I'll stick with my original classification of them being not visible with the naked eye.

That being said, hiding in the base of follicles at times and not having flashy coloration certainly helps keep them under the radar. Not sure how truly translucent they are. Micrscope smears aren't a good basis of casual comparison with unaided vision; altho, if densitometric measurements are available (!) ... Also, not sure how much time they spend hiding in follicles and out of sight. If you have any of that research, I'd like to see it.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Jun 14, 2016 3:06 am UTC

What frequency-range of pipe would a hypothetical pied-piper need to play, then, to lure them away out of the town gates? And how much stamina and patience would said individual require to accomplish this?

Enquiring mind demands to know... ;)

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby ijuin » Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:26 am UTC

Given how prevalent they are, and that they have likely been living on humans since before modern homo sapiens, it would seem that they are pretty harmless most of the time--if they caused eye or skin irritation much, then we would be more aware of their presence.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby JimsMaher » Tue Jun 14, 2016 5:31 am UTC

Perhaps they're the largest ubiquitous species living on us due to the limit of our awareness, to include their typically unnoticed effect. Consider the rate of dermatological problems associated with them as compared to how common they are. Correct me if I'm wrong, but a minority of the populous has any of the ailments noted as exacerbated by these little buggers, yet purportedly they're everywhere.

Unlike macro-organic parasites, they are not even big enough to pick and eat the way some primates do when grooming fleas. Overall, we don't notice them enough to have radical cause for their eviction in most cases, atleast beyond washing and itching as we do. The next time you have an itch on your eye lid tho ... remember these tiny anthropods.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby orthogon » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:03 am UTC

JimsMaher wrote:The primary measure of concern is size, and these microscopic anthropods suggested by this comic are just too small to be aware of. At their scale everything can be called a "speck", if visible enough to point to anything at all. I'll stick with my original classification of them being not visible with the naked eye.

That being said, hiding in the base of follicles at times and not having flashy coloration certainly helps keep them under the radar. Not sure how truly translucent they are. Micrscope smears aren't a good basis of casual comparison with unaided vision; altho, if densitometric measurements are available (!) ... Also, not sure how much time they spend hiding in follicles and out of sight. If you have any of that research, I'd like to see it.


There are many examples of relatively large organisms being able to conceal themselves from human sight using a very wide range of strategies. For example, it's well known that elephants can hide in a bowl of custard by painting their feet yellow and floating upside down.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby Echo244 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:30 am UTC

I love Ponytail's approach to life. Connected to reality enough to realise she *needs* a defense; sufficiently disconnected to think that this one might work...
Unstoppable force of nature. That means she/her/hers.
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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:32 am UTC

orthogon wrote:There are many examples of relatively large organisms being able to conceal themselves from human sight using a very wide range of strategies. For example, it's well known that elephants can hide in a bowl of custard by painting their feet yellow and floating upside down.
Also hiding up in the branches cherry trees, this time by using a couple of swipes of red paint. Elephants are sneaky like that. And cherry-picking should only be undertaken by experts.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby hamjudo » Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:39 pm UTC

I have itchy eyebrows now, and I blame xkcd and its community. Well that, and my extreme suggestibility, which I inherited from my mother.

Oddly, my suggestibility only applies to some symptoms. Any time I feel like there is something crawling on my skin, it is because there is something crawling on my skin.

We have a bumper crop of ticks in the area (fortunately, these are bigger ones, not the little ones that carry lime disease). I know quite a few people who have been bit. Not me. When there is a tick on me, I feel it long before it has a chance to inject its local anesthetic.

[Typed on a mobile device that is trying to embarrass me. Each time I type the possessive "its", autocorrect turns it into the contraction. My internal spell checker annoys me by hyperfocusing on errors in other people's writing (or in this case a thing's writing), but will not deign to report my own errors.]

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:03 pm UTC

hamjudo wrote:I have itchy eyebrows now, and I blame xkcd and its community. Well that, and my extreme suggestibility, which I inherited from my mother.
*waves hand, mesmerically and intones with an echoing monotone* You are no longer extremely suggestible! *snaps fingers*

Cured? If so, just send me twenty currency units to cover my costs, and be happy...

:P

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby Western Rover » Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:35 pm UTC

This comic reminds me an old Wizard of Id:
Rodney: The soldiers have discovered a marijuana field.
King: Tell them to burn it.
Rodney: They are. Ounce by ounce.

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby PsiCubed » Tue Jun 14, 2016 6:41 pm UTC

JimsMaher wrote:Could you really identify them with your naked eye?


If I caught them moving - easily. A moving 0.3mm speck is very easy to spot.

So I'll say that "shyness" is critical for these little buggers to remain undetected. Their small size helps too (no need for complex camouflage mechanisms when you can avoid detection simply by staying put).
Image

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby fibonacci » Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:41 am UTC

Apeiron wrote:Ones... the plural of one. Think about that for a moment.


A: Got change for a ten?

B:Sure, would ten ones be OK, or would you rather two fives?

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby JimsMaher » Wed Jun 15, 2016 4:28 am UTC

PsiCubed wrote:
JimsMaher wrote:Could you really identify them with your naked eye?


If I caught them moving - easily. A moving 0.3mm speck is very easy to spot.

So I'll say that "shyness" is critical for these little buggers to remain undetected. Their small size helps too (no need for complex camouflage mechanisms when you can avoid detection simply by staying put).


I think you need to bare in mind that things at the limit of the eye's resolution aren't necessarily identifiable. Something no larger than a pixel in an uncompressed, relatively noiseless hi-res video would be difficult to point out, let alone ID, without zooming in and enhancing. Even if that object were highly contrasted against its background and moving in some obvious manner.

But ok, let's conduct a survey then. It could be of use for comparison in researching their habits. I'm trying my best to constrain the wording here; as it seems likely at that scale to potentially misidentify the creature. Demodexes aren't the only animals at that size who might crawl on our skin occasionally.

Are they so shy that they would never be seen? or how much time do they spend outside of the follicle? How quickly can they hide when given motivation? What level of light is enough to scare them into hiding? ... Anyway, here's a survey:

1: Have you ever seen a speck, no larger than the width of a hair, moving on or between hairs on the human body? ("Yes" or "No")

2: If so, was that speck definitely an animal? ("Yes, it was definitely some animal" or "No, it could have been something else")

3: If it was definitely an animal, could you identify it as a demodex? ("Yes, it was clearly a demodex" or "No, it could have been something else")

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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:01 pm UTC

They have a top speed of 18 cm/hour, or .05 mm/s or 1/6 body length per second. I'd say you'd have to stare really hard to notice a spec moving. I just watched some videos under magnification and they barely appear to move even then.

In terms of mis-identification I'd say dead skin is probably the biggest risk of mis-identification. Since this thread has been started I've been noticing 1/3 mm long cylindrical junk on my face, but that's probably just seeing patterns.
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Re: 1693: "Oxidation"

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Jun 15, 2016 9:56 pm UTC

300 um is very small, but it's definitely not microscopic. "Microscopic" doesn't mean "difficult to notice in most real conditions," it means "impossible to see with the unaided eye." And they clearly aren't. After all, hair is quite visible and is rarely more than half that width (and sometimes much less). A silk fiber is (barely) visible at a mere 15 um, and some spiders spin even thinner silk which you can still see in the right conditions. Granted, these are only visible when fairly long, but they are still twenty times thinner than Demodex.

And there are more examples. Ant legs are scarcely 50 um in diameter. Aluminum cans are less than 100 um thick. And so on.

The reason Demodex are so difficult to see is not just because they are small but because they are transparent and hide in thick hair and because we rarely really look for them.


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