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Archive for February, 2012

Baby Mama

February 29, 2012 5 comments

Hey everyone! So this blog post is not about actual Baby Mamas. But if you have seen the move Baby Mama with Tina Fey, then you know it’s about a supposed infertile women using surrogacy to fulfill her dream of being a mother. Surrogacy is a relatively recent method of creating a family, and evokes mixed feelings and concerns from people. However, it can currently take years for a woman to be able to adopt a child, and if she can not get pregnant on her own, should she be forced to never have children?

Stem Cell Research has been a very controversial issue here in America in the past few decades. I was reading the Blog “Popular Science” when I came upon an article titled “Scientists use stem cells to generate human eggs in the lab”. So this could potentially mean that one day, scientists could remove stem cells from woman with fertility problems, and create and develop the eggs in a laboratory. This also could open up possibilities for research of the effect of nutrition and various medicines on the eggs.

I am neither agreeing or disagreeing with Stem Cell Research, I merely think it is fascinating that science has come so far in recent years. I’m also very interested in hearing what other people have to think about the future of Stem Cell Research, and various methods of becoming parents? Do you agree with all of these alternative methods to the traditional pregnancy? Or do you find it all a little Sci-Fi and out of the ordinary?

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The T-Rex’s Smile Revealed

February 29, 2012 1 comment

http://scienceblog.com/52408/t-rexs-killer-smile-revealed/

I’m sure some of you had that fascination with dinosaurs when you were younger (or still do!) I went through that phase, and for about 7 months had all the names and species memorized, along with time periods and dates of the world they lived on. I still have some of that fascination and awe, and so whenever I run across articles with new information, I just have to read to indulge that part of me.

This article talks about how until only recently, scientists had only varying sizes of the T-Rex tooth, and could only guess at some of the order of the T-Rex smile. Scientists at the University of Alberta have now also discovered that the teeth vary greatly in size AND in the serrated edges of the teeth. These varying edges help to serrate the meat better, and the angles at which they are placed helped to direct the food into the T-Rex’s mouth.

Paleontologists at the University of Alberta analyzed the teeth of the T-Rex and other dinosaurs, and found that it’s the dinosaur with the greatest variation of teeth, both in size and shape. It was concluded that “T-Rex‘s front teeth were designed for gripping and pulling, while the teeth along the side of the jaw punctured and tore flesh, and teeth at the back of T. rex‘s mouth not only did some slicing and dicing, they also forced food to the back of the throat.”

Happy Pills

February 29, 2012 5 comments

From junk food to fast food, a majority of the population today does not get the nutrients and vitamins necessary for healthy day-to-day living. In order to lead a healthy life we need calcium, vitamin C etc. so that complications don’t arise later on in life. A very small percentage of people today are concerned with the future, so they put anything in their mouths, which most of the time contains a lot trans fats and sodium. This perplexes me but I am done questioning the decisions people, especially Americans, make today.

My mother always says “everything in moderation,” which is completely true, but not many people realize the validity in this statement. McDonald’s and microwavable meals makes life easier, especially for college students because they’re so cheap; but no matter the inexpensiveness, we need daily nourishment.

People are not gonna change the way they eat, so that is when things like supplements come into the picture. I just started taking a multivitamin and already feel the difference. Many think the benefits of supplements are mythological, but I am one example of many that prove they are not. I don’t eat junk food and still take them, so I suggest no matter what you consume just add one sole multivitamin a day because you will notice the difference. I mean don’t people want to be healthy? This is not an alternative to eating healthy or working out but it is a benefit to a healthy life style. Try it, you will see.

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I spent the pas…

February 27, 2012 2 comments

I spent the past 62 hours living and breathing ballroom dance. I’m part of the GW team and this weekend we attended a regional competition. It’s nearly impossible to describe the alternate universe that the competitors, if only for a short time, inhabit. The lights, the tuxedos and dresses, the music that has me taking study breaks to waltz through Gelman are completely alien to most people. Naturally, I dreaded this discussion period, if only because I couldn’t imagine a less scientific environment to inspire an academic revelation. I tried everything to focus my mind in a more studious direction; even turning my ipod onto an angsty heavy-metal playlist which no-one, under any circumstances, could ever dance to, but it was all useless. It was only when I tried to reconcile my passion for dance with this assignment that I got accomplished anything. 

Perhaps one of the most interesting things that this class has made me consider is that science and art may not be as segregated as I’d always thought. Visually, audibly, tangibly, there is an art to science and a science to art. While it may sound obvious, up until recently I hadn’t given a thought to how my brain responds when I go through my routines on the competition floor. That was until I read the following article called “So you think you can dance?: PET scans reveal your brain’s inner choreography” posted on the Scientific American blog;

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-neuroscience-of-dance

It really should have occured to me earlier: taking physics in high school had improved the quality of my technique exponentially, but hey, we’re only human and I guess I was still reluctant to aknowledge science’s role in performance art. I had always thought that people’s instinct to dance was just that: something involuntary that had everything to do with passion and little to do with the “calculated, clinical” nature that I had attributed to science. As it turns out, this instinct actually occurs when certain subcortical brain regions converse, bypassing higher auditory areas. This is what causes us to tap our feet when we identify a rhythm. As I watched championship level dancers sweep effortlessly across the ballroom, I could not help but marvel at their perception of space and their aptitude for choreography. Reading this article later, I learned that this requires specialized mental skills that are developed simultaneously as they train their movements- unconscious entrainment. There is one part of the brain that houses a representation of the body’s orientation. This interacts with another part of the brain which acts as a synchronizer; one which enables us to pace our actions to music. The two allow dancers to move through space in perfect synchronization with a piece of music. 

The article hypothesizes that dance is a fundamental form of human expression that evolved together with music as a way of generating rhythm. I’d certainly agree with this. It is truly remarkable what we are physically able to accomplish, especially when considering how much of the communication that occurs internally is completely sub-concious. Every movement, whether it’s dancing a foxtrot, playing a concerto, or painting a landscape, involves a complexity of response that is truly remarkable. In a way, I’ve accepted that this is the science of expression- that our most personal experiences are conveyed through a beautifully delicate web of neurological explanation. 

 

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Cheating Hearing Loss

February 27, 2012 4 comments

Have you ever left an event or show and noticed that incredibly annoying ringing sound in yours ears? Well if so than you’re most definitely not alone as was I and the many other concertgoers around the world on Saturday night (the damage done to my ears that night was probably as close as I’ll get to knowing what it feels like to know what it’s like to get hit with a flash bang grenade). This irritating sound is caused by over excitation of a part of the inner ear called the cochlea. Once the cochlea becomes too stimulated from the extraordinarily loud sound or music you were listening to the nerves that carry auditory information to your brain die and thus causes ringing in your ears or tinnitus. For those of you that are constantly exposed to loud music or noise this is probably old news and if it isn’t it’s probably a horrible feeling to find out how bad the shows you enjoy so much are for your hearing. However there may be hope http://elizabethlinehan.suite101.com/cochlear-implants-a114998 (<- I instinctually turned my music down to close to zero volume while reading this)

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Science and Sociology

February 27, 2012 3 comments

On Thursday night I attended a lecture by Dr. Trevor Pinch of Cornell University, as an extra credit assignment for my astronomy class. I was prepared to suffer through some boring lecture, most of which I probably wouldn’t understand, and write my reflective paper. However, I found the talk to be extremely interesting. Dr. Pinch, before receiving his Masters degree and PhD in physics, recieved a BA in Sociology. His lecture was focused at pulling the fields of science and sociology together, to help explain the role society plays in science.

Various topics were discussed, some of which have already been mentioned on our blog. He discussed the importance of hands on work in science in order to develop skills, rather than just reading a book. He gave the example of performing an operation. You could read a thousand textbooks about how to make an insicion, but when it comes to actually cutting into someone, only actually doing the task will help you learn to do it better. Dr. Pinch also brought up the idea of the language used in scientific writing. Often it is very straightforward and undescriptive; however by leaving out the intricate details of an experiment or observation, you could actually be taking away from the actual event.

I found this lecture to especially reach me, because as a psychology major, the way I perceive things in science are probably much different than a chemist would. Dr. Pinch’s lecture helped me see the connection between the fields, and how in some ways my way of thinking could be beneficial to my understanding of science.

What do you guys think? Is there a place for sociology in science or do you picture the two fields as seperate?

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kiss, germs and saving babies

February 27, 2012 6 comments

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/6471483/Kissing-was-developed-to-spread-germs.html

Hello, how are you?

This article is about the research on kissing. the scientists have figure out that kissing is an act of spreading germs from one person to another. And the result of  kissing is pretty phenomenal.  This doctor from University of Leeds said that the purpose of kissing is to trade saliva, and to build up immunity. it is also the part of  protecting pregnant women and its babies from diseases.

I would like to believe that most of our social actions such as handshakes and kisses and hug have a scientific explanation why we do them.  There are decent amount of psychological explanations in out social behaviors, and we all know Mr. Floyd. This is probably the first time I have read that explains our social behavior by biological explanation.

Do you think we some how knew that kissing prevents infection to the baby like by an instinct?

What other social behaviors that you guys can think of which are more like biology than psychology?

 

If you are germ-phobic I am so sorry, but  I still encourage everyone to kiss their friends, family and  their loved ones.

 

 

 

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