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Extra resources for Why Don't Penguins' Feet Freeze? And 114 Other Questions
Surgeons are wary of people who are convinced that they will die. Studies have been carried out on people undergoing surgery who say that they wish to die to be reunited with a loved one. Almost all of these people do die. There is very little research on nocebos, mostly for the ethical reason that physicians ought not to induce illness in patients who are not sick. And changing ethical standards have made it difficult to even repeat some of the classic nocebo experiments. The most recent medical review article on nocebo effects was published in 2002 by Arthur Barsky and others (The Journal of the American Medical Association, volume 287, page 622).
John Parry Cowling, North Yorkshire, UK Left in doubt As a left-handed person I was both amused and annoyed by an article in New Scientist which suggested that left-handed people are at greater risk of accidental death. How can this be? Surely a right-handed person has just as much chance of dying accidentally as I do. Or is there some unknown factor involved? Alan Parker London, UK Approaching obstacles, right-handed people will, in general, circumvent them by going to the right, while left-handed people will go to the left.
An accurate formula could be expressed in the standard form: 7x1025H2O+9x1024 C6H12O6+2x1024CH3(CH2)14+ … and so on. However, such a series would fill a book and we cannot possibly identify all species. Metabolism, defined as the chemical and energy exchanges in a living body, means that any such chemical formula is continually changing. Having a chemical formula for a process can be useful. If we find all the elements and determine all the mathematical expressions applying to them, the whole process can be determined.