134 thoughts on “What is this?

  1. Does it has to do with the effect of duck droppings on the pH of ponds? The acidity goes up….as when you add NaOH

    1. Good answer. I don’t have one but since others have posted explanations to other esoteric answers, there’s a Maillard reaction in biochemistry, involving the amino group of amino acids and the aldehydic carbonyl of reducing sugars that’s relevant in bread crust browning and certain pathologies. Since it requires an un-ionized amine to attack the carbonyl carbon, it’s enhanced at elevated (basic) pH.

        1. Actually, even tho my uncle was a chemist (and on the Manhattan Project), and even had a paper in J Biol Chem, I never had a chemistry set as a kid.

          But, I’ve spent many happy hours doing chemical (Edman) protein sequencing.

      1. I posted as fast as possible and didn’t see that Ben beat me to it (by 4 minutes) His answer is better anyway – the “just” really ties the room together, to borrow a phrase.

  2. Aren’t Chinese thousand year eggs made with sodium hydroxide? And they’re often made using duck eggs. So is this a thousand year duck? Looks pretty good for his age.

  3. You say “What’s this?” and I say its a photo of a duck with NaOH printed on its body. Now, you can’t possibly say its not the right answer. Can you?

      1. [i]Who’s the boss of this website?[/i]

        You mean blog.

        I say it’s photoshopped. I can tell by the pixels, and I have seen many pixels in my lifetime.

      2. “Whose the boss of this website?”

        Ultimately? Ceiling cat, not you. And it is She, the all mighty, who controls the site through you, acting on the quantum level. And you can’t prove me wrong. So there, take that one on the chin.

  4. Not sure what it is now (although I like the Mallard BASIC answer), but I know what you’ll have if you leave duck, NaOH and water together for any length of time: a geoduck.

  5. It’s a recipe for century eggs,or “pidan”: the ph of the egg is raised, turning the yolk green, the white brown and releasing some interesting flavours. Never knowingly used as quack medicine. I thank you.

    1. Hmm, that’s what I got making pickled eggs, by lowering the pH.
      I’m almost tempted to try “pidan” for myself. “Interesting flavours” doesn’t actually imply “nice”, does it?

    1. Base canard is the right answer! Congratulations to “J”, who’s clearly savvy as he/she shares my initial.

      There were some good answers, though: my favorite was sodium hy-duckside. Never underestimate the cleverness of readers here!

      Sadly, all the other answers, funny as they were, are WRONG!

  6. “The common drake (Anas boschas), after the breeding-season, is well known to lose his male plumage for a period of three months”
    Darwin, Descent of Man Ch. 13

  7. After breeding, wildfowl shed all their flight feathers at the same time, which prevents them from flying for a short period of time (3-7 weeks) and survive by keeping in cover on marshes or at sea…
    hence the NaOH sign on the wing I guess.

    1. Ok my bad, I thought NaCl instead of NaOH and it would have to be on the tail anyway … so the mystery still stands

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