Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Finding the origin of humanity (such as it is)
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Whilst accidentally sloshing boiling water onto my left hand this morning, I wondered why humans have the ability to withstand hot water for short periods of time.? It's not a usual environmental hazard, so why is there this adaptation? And why is there so much frikkin' tea?

I foresee a film in which one of the characters, makes the same mistake a realises that humanity has been genetically engineered to provide hot drinks for our now-vanished overlords.

Once that realisation is made it's not long before he makes the connection with pyramid teabags, being obviously some race memory of the time of the overlords.

He then takes off in a star-ship with Noomi Rapace (bastard!) and they attempt to find out what happened. Was it a leaky samovar that brought down the alien's ships...or a lack of scones? Dodgy sequel already in the planning...

not_morrison_rm, Jul 28 2012

Peeps http://www.marshmallowpeeps.com/
It's an Easter tradition. The site may burn out your eye sockets, though. [RayfordSteele, Jul 31 2012]

Slightly less hard on the eyes... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peeps
[RayfordSteele, Jul 31 2012]


       Why the spelling?
Phrontistery, Jul 28 2012

       // why humans have the ability to withstand hot water for short periods of time //   

       Because it takes a little while for the water in our skin cells to heat up, which is why people can walk on hot coals and wave their fingers through a candle flame. I used to perform a very foolish trick in which I would heat a small piece of metal (such as a hex nut) with a torch until it was glowing, then toss it from hand to hand until it cooled. This is a little more challenging than fire-walking, as it requires excellent manual dexterity, very thick calluses, and a certain degree of stupidity.
Alterother, Jul 28 2012

       //Why the spelling?   

       Prome(tea)us. it's all about the tea...or is this a laps(ang souchong) of my usual standard?
not_morrison_rm, Jul 29 2012

       Ah. But now I have to ask, are you drinking tea or smoking it?
Phrontistery, Jul 29 2012

       No, but I do snort Ovaltine from time to time.
not_morrison_rm, Jul 29 2012

       How did you know?
not_morrison_rm, Jul 29 2012

       /then toss it from hand to hand until it cooled./   

       video please. Of your first attempts after 32 years of not practicing. I think back and forth five times then into a wine glass 1/3 full of gasoline.
bungston, Jul 29 2012

       I may provide a video at some point, time and bandwidth allowing, though the trick has been banned by spousal mandate because it was a foolish act of pointless machismo and occasionally resulted in small 2nd-degree burns.   

       Also, the word 'tossing' was not the most apt term I could have used, since it implies catching the object. 'Batting it from hand to hand' would have been a better description. The point, really, is that bare skin can survive brief contact with very hot things because it contains a lot of water.
Alterother, Jul 29 2012

       I have to tell you, I think you're just playing with fire there.
not_morrison_rm, Jul 31 2012

       A good example for this is placing a paper plate full of water in a campfire. The plate will not burn until the water has boiled away. If you keep adding new water then the paper won't burn at all.   

       <shades of elephant man> I am not a paper plate...
not_morrison_rm, Jul 31 2012

       Not playing with fire. Playing with a very hot piece of steel. Do try to keep up...   

       Look, when my back heals and I get my shop set up again, I'll tape a finalé performance and upload it from somewhere that has high-speed internet. 'Kay?
Alterother, Jul 31 2012

       [Alterother] Tossing a small piece of metal from one hand to another is very different from walking on hot coals. Metal has a high specific heat capacity and most metals are good thermal conductors, so tossing the piece of metal from hand to hand works because the metal is in contact with your hands for a very short amount of time. Coals, on the other hand, have a relatively low heat capacity and are poor conductors. So they may be at a very high temperature but they don't contain much heat energy and are poor at transferring that heat into your feet when you walk across them.

You can withstand hot water for a very short amount of time because it takes a finite time for the water to conduct heat into your skin. Hot water is dangerous because it has a very high heat capacity - i.e. it stores a lot of heat energy. Even more dangerous are liquids like boiling sugar which have a high heat capacity, are at a higher temperature than boiling water and stick to your skin, allowing them ideal conditions to transfer heat energy into your skin.
hippo, Jul 31 2012

       '<shades of elephant man>'... elephants are grey... 50 shades of grey... 50 shades of elephant man... Some trains of thought really should be derailed.
Phrontistery, Jul 31 2012

       [hippo]: I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to ask you for your point, as I seem to have missed it. I'm well aware of the difference between the two, having performed both (walked across the shorter bed of coals at Glastonbury Pagan Festival, too chicken for the long one, which was really long!), but I'm reasonably certain they involve the same principles. Yes, the metal is in contact with my skin for much less time, but it is much, much hotter. If I were to miss and it hit the thinner, more tender skin of my wrist, I'd get a nasty burn.   

       Please correct me if I am wrong.
Alterother, Jul 31 2012

       No, you're absolutely right: the metal is 'hot' (i.e. contains lots of heat energy) is at a high temperature, and is a good conductor, so you can only touch it for a short time. Coals are at a similarly high temperature but contain much less heat energy and are much less conductive, so you can have your foot on them for much longer.
hippo, Jul 31 2012

       Brilliant! Please pardon my partial indignance.
Alterother, Jul 31 2012

       [Hippo], that reminds me of an incident with Peeps substituting for campfire marshmallows, one I advise nobody to repeat... unless you like molten bird stuffing burns.
In No Particular Order, Jul 31 2012

       What in god's name is a Peep?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 31 2012

RayfordSteele, Jul 31 2012

       It's a vaguely bird-shaped marshmallow covered with colored sugar, typically only sold around easter. T.G.F.J. is a fiend for them. I would imagine the burn quite nicely.
Alterother, Jul 31 2012

       Those dioramas are truly disturbing.
Phrontistery, Aug 01 2012


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