[MUD-Dev] Re: Some thoughts on languages and users - was: Ma

Travis S. Casey efindel at io.com
Wed May 6 14:24:45 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Wed, 6 May 1998, J C Lawrence wrote:

>   One of the more interestingly deadly gases is plain old carbon
> dioxide.  (Yep, the stuff we breathe out).
> There exist a number of locations Africa (for instance) where nearly
> pure CO2 seeps from the ground and collects (its slightly veavier than 
> air due to air's high nitrogen content etc) in hollows.  Any critter
> stepping into such a seemingly pleasant hollow and taking more than a
> couple breaths of is doomed.  The CO2 binds preferentially with
> heamaglobin (that's how it gets to the lungs to get out of our bodies) 
> effectively asphyxiating the poor beast in very short order.

Minor point:  CO2 doesn't bind more strongly to hemoglobin than O2
does -- if it did we'd all shortly suffocate, since the lungs would be
unable to exchange CO2 for O2.  CO, however, does bind more strongly
than O2 -- about 10,000 times as strongly.

Isaac Asimov's _The Stars, Like Dust_ has a small world which has enough
oxygen for humans to breathe, but which has too *little* CO2 -- CO2 helps
to regulate our breahing mechanism, so if there's too little of it in the
air, we won't breathe often enough.  Thus, the characters have to have
canisters which slowly leak extra CO2 into the air around their mouths and
noses.  It sounds unlikely to me, but Asimov had a PhD in biochemistry, so
he's more likely right than I am.

MUD-Dev: Advancing an unrealised future.

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