These are questions that may not have definitive answers but where the pleasure resides in contemplating the question. What deeper meaning lies therein?
As an aside, the question "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" may sound Talmudic but actually has a totally different origin, see here.
The source of the 120+ Talmudic Questions we have to date? Notably, about one in four comes from aficionados among our readers, and we are mighty glad of it. Those are among the very best. The rest often popped up in our heads at night during moments of wakefulness.
From time to time, we will reprint samples of some of the Talmudic Questions that have received the most comments.To see these comments, click on the question’s number.
Talmudic Questions on Ecology
TQ #4 What if all the bacteria and archaea on Earth decided to go on strike and stop their metabolism all at once? Which of the global cycles of matter would be affected first? How long would it take for life as we know it to come to a stop?
TQ #8 Can you think of a place on Earth where there is free water but no microbes? (A sterile flask of nutrient broth in a lab or an IV bag in a hospital don't count.)
TQ #19 You are stranded on a desert island. During a walk on the beach, you stub your toe against a bottle, which rolls against a rock and breaks. A genie is liberated, eager to grant you one wish. You ask for a microbiological laboratory fully equipped to your specifications. The genie grants you that but with the condition that you can study only one sample. What sample would you collect for study, what would you do with it, and why?
TQ #75 What would the world be like without the Archaea?
TQ #115 Is global warming likely to result in a significant net increase, decrease, or no substantial change in the microbial biomass on Earth?