Ask urodacus!


Right. Sorry Lili, for not answering yours sooner, but you’re a first time asker, and you had to made to wait. Everyone else has also had to wait ages before I answered, the slack bastard that I am, so I figured I’d make you wait too just so you didn’t feel special, or superior, or something.

So, where are we?

Um, water that gives you the squits. … Thailand (back in the good old days), India, Tanzania, and maybe Washington, I would have my doubts, but drinking the water occasionally while taking tablets, brushing the teeth, rinsing out after spewing in the sink at 4 am after a big night at the Speakeasy, are all OK in Taipei. That’s OLD Taipei city, mind you, DEFINITELY not New Taipei Shitty. Not even if you come from Nw York… your immune system’s not gonna be strong enough no matter where you come from.

Just make sure you have a good understanding of what’s died in the tank on the roof. I did all of the above for years in Taipei with no ill effects. It was only after we left that someone discovered the dead pigeons in the tank, but I was already gone by then.

Right, about hangover food: egg and bacon and cheese sandwiches (on English muffins, with lots of bacon fat, pepper, and ketchup) have been known since long before the birth of time or the evolution of the pig as the perfect food, not just for hangovers. the reason as to why is nonetheless a mystery. Perhaps it has to do with the provision of all five food groups in the perfect ratio: bacon, egg, fat, salt, and pepper.

and as for seaweed? perhaps introduce a small amount each day, hidden in the ketchup, to your breakfast roll. slowly you’ll shift taste perception and association, and you’ll end up craving it.

It’s not all the same, by the way. Sometimes it tastes like crap, like those big kelp twists (any food that you have to boil for six days is probably not very good for you), but sometimes they can be quite nice, like the little brown filament ones here in Okinawa deep fried in tempura, the sea lettuce in the miso soup in Japan, or best of all, the ones they somehow manage to distill into Laphroaig and Caol Ila and Ardbeg. Unlike food, any drink that the manufacturer distills for six days is definitely awesome for you.


[quote=“urodacus”]I’d be plumping for no more than two sheets at a go in my own apartment, unless the place was high up in the building and you could get a good flush going. If it blocked up, it’s be on someone else’s floor and not your concern.

If it was not my own house (like, say, McDonalds), I’d be using the whole damn roll.

And yes, Yuli, I’ll take some of that fine Lagavulin off your hands for you. Thanks.[/quote]
Thank you for your good advice, since I live on the tenth floor I’ll just keep going on as usual.
I have one more question thou, why is Mahjong so addictive???


Mahjong is so addictive because the tiles are made from pure Chinese opium. In fact, that was the main reason behind the ceding of Hong Kong to Britain way back in 1897. The British introduced Mahjong to Hong Kong (it’s just a faster game of Gin Rummy, if you hadn’t noticed) because they were using those imported mahjong sets to smuggle in the opium. The idea caught on like any good narcotic will, and the whole place was hooked. Britain saw an opportunity to barter their strangle hold on the opium trade into a permanent foot hold in China, and started the opium wars. If you look closely, you will see that much of history is based on either mahjong, opium, or both (religion being the opium of the masses, of course).


May tap water is a brown color when turning on the faucet after not using it for a day or two. The man in charge of building administration says the joints of the water pipes are probably corroding…

Two questions.

  1. Is there a health risk drinking tap water containing rust, even if I let the water run for a few minutes and then first filte it with a BRITA filter and then boil it?

  2. Now idea how those joints look like (they are inside the walls, of course), but is there any way to know how long it will take before the water leaks into the wall? The building is 11 years old.


Rust is slightly toxic, but is really not much of a problem. In the amounts you would see in water from a rusty pipe, especially since the rust particles are not very soluble but settle out, you’d be fine. Filtering (particle AND active charcoal or gel ion transfer systems a la Brita) will eliminate almost all of the rust, to levels way beyond what would be cumulatively dangerous. Anyway, your body changes the affinity it has for scavenging iron out of your diet according to how much iron it has on board. it’s actually MUCH easier to OD on iron by taking multivitamins than from rust-specks in water…

Boiling has absolutely no effect at all, but will kill microorganisms that may also be present in the pipes (especially if the roof tank is old and dirty).

as for how long before the water leaks into the wall through the rusted join, it’s hard to say. You can tell if you find a damp patch on the wall, but otherwise it’d be really hard to know.

We had the upstairs neighbours really annoyed at us when we somehow forced them to dig up their bathroom floor and replace their pipes which were corroded and dripping into our apartment, in a place 20 years old.


Thanks for the answers, uro!


I need to know about that “mixture of bacteria and algae growing in the festering silt at the mouth of those lovely drains that feed the local rivers. The ones that make gasses by fermenting the crap they feed on, which makes the clump rise to the top, then the bubbles pop and escape and the clump solidifies, probably eventually getting so dense that it sinks again,” or rather more specifically about the bubbles. What sort of gas are they composed of? If you held a match to them would they burn? Like a fart or brighter, or lighter, or not at all or what exactly.

This is important to my research. Thanks!


they’ probably burn quite nicely.

I’m guessing here, and there’d be no way to tell without using a gas analyser on the stuff, but maybe it’s oxygen from the algae, and other gasses from the bacteria, such as methane and hydrogen sulfide.

quite possibly the species that live together in these mats assist each other a bit (breaking down chemicals the other can’t, and sharing the bounty), and most definitely the actual species that survive there depend on the mixture of chemicals available in the drain.


Thanks. It becomes an anaerobic system doesn’t it? (aside from the oxygen you mentioned that might be in the bubbles.)

There is some system (forget the name) whereby the cold watrer of the arctic pushes a warm northernly current down into the deep ocean and brings oxegen to the bottom. This system ciculates around the whole world. If the system falls apart because the arctic ocean warms too considerably there will no oxegen in deep ocean and this will promote anaerobic slime to eventually take over the entire ocean. It will release methane and hyrogen sulfide into the atmosphere and turn the sky purple.

Is there anything at all to what I just said? That my bacteria mats and festuring goo globuels are what the OCEANS could turn into as a result of global warrming?

I do little river walks with my students these days and would like to think I had some concept. The little creek I am doing runs through farm country so I am guessing fertilizers are playing a role here somewhere.

Again, thanks


Revive this topic? Yes.

Not sure if the urodologist is still posting here, but I have a burning question.

When exiting an MRT Station and swiping the EasyCard at the barrier, usually it’s just one beep, but occasionally, it’s three loud beeps. What is that all about? I always wonder if I did something wrong.

To clarify, I know that people with special cards get three beeps, but I use a normal card, and I don’t think someone else is sweeping at the same time at another gate.


Some people hear one beep, and some people hear three beeps.


I now feel guilty for asking discobot questions that in a bygone era would have gone to urodacus.

MRT cards: my beeps more aggressively when I’m under $100. But I’ve never measured its level of aggression.


Hey! We’re alive again!

Three beeps because you’re running out of credit on the card?

Lostinasia, don’t sweat it.


No, that ain’t it. I have NT$1,000 on my card. Maybe it’s a warning “Don’t lose your card with all that value on it!”


Or so people with more money on their card can gain face.


It’s therefore also called a “face value-stored card” :wink:


Nice thread.

@urodacus, what kind of scientist are you? and with this I just want to know what field you focus on. If any.


I have degrees in neuroscience, chemistry, and pharmacology.

I have also worked in field biology/ecology and in molecular biology/biotech.

Now I develop curriculum at a science grad school…

Next question!


Holy shit. That’s very cool. Interesting stuff!


Dr. @urodacus

If you could be a tree, any tree, what kind would you be? And why?