Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chapter 4

The chapter was dead on when describing climate change and global warming. Kolbert didn't just show graphs of increasing temperatures, instead she applied climate change to animal life. She displayed how there is evidence for climate change by simply examining the living habits of butterflies. She noted that butterflies, once thought to only live and thrive in specific areas, are now surviving outside of their native grounds due to the change in climate. In my opinion, this was a great way to apply the consequences of global warming.

Kolbert, showed climate change through the natural processes of nature, from mating habits to blooming seasons. I think she chose this method to depict the consequences of global warming because although graphs and studied suggest evidence for global warming, the change in nature vividly shows its effects, whether it's a change in mating habits as in the case of the common frogs or changes in the ability to survive on non-indigenous grounds.

Once again the only thing I don't like is Kolbert's character descriptions. They seem oddly placed, one minute she's talking about butterflies and then next she's describing a biologist that who resembles Ethan Hawk. Maybe its because I'm readied the book like a typical text book, I am thrown off when she goes off on descriptive tanginess.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Reading Chap 2 & 3

In chapters two and three, Kolbert introduces a variety of reasons that support the theory of global warming. In the beginning of chapter two she talks about the heightening of the earths surface temperature or the natural green house effect and how if unbalanced this natural occurrence can cause the earth to heat up. She points out that green house gases, at times, emits radiation absorbed by the sun back into the earth, as opposed to emitting the radiation in space, contributing to global warming.

Kolbert also provides findings from the work of Swedish chemist, Svante Arrhenius, to support the theory of global warming. Arrhenius concluded that industrialization is closely linked to climate change, he was the first to make this association.. This reminds me of all the “go green” initiatives we take today to try to undue the centuries of coal and fossil fuel emissions that have added to the Co2 build up. I love when Kolbert writes “Perhaps just because he was Scandinavian, he anticipated the results would be, on the whole, be salubrious.” Subtle sarcastic remarks like this can make the reading slightly more enjoyable for people not interested in global warming. However, Arrhenius didn’t foresee the harm that increased Co2 would incite, since he praised the process for the “abundant crops” that would grow as a result of warmer climates.

The different graphs and tables were also instrumental in displaying climate change and it’s effects on the earth. One thing I didn’t like or found distracting as a reader was the description of Jay Swally, the NASA Scientist. Kolbert writes “He is short and stocky with a round face and mischievous grin.” Unless his grin emits Co2 that contributes to global warming, I didn’t feel that details like this were crucial in explaining or understanding the severity of global warming.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Questions and Observations pg 1-34 Kolbert

1) The authors note immediately caught my attention, not because it’s one of the first pages, but because of what it said. The author writes, “The language of science is metric,” it reminded me of something I heard a while back which is that math is the language of heaven (space) and earth.

2) I also like the scene setting lede that Kolbert used in the preface that leads into the first chapter. She opens by talking about the lack of adventurous things to do in Greenland. Also when she talk about the reason why she wrote the book and how it got its start. By doing this, she develops a connection with the reader and makes herself more personable as opposed to her being a science write that readers can’t relate to. I feel that by making herself more personable to the reader she has gained the readers trust, ensuring that they will continue reading.

3) Questioin- Can animal life survive in the active layer like plant life ? Ie frozen frogs.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Q&A Blog: How do abortions work?

Warning: Disturbing topic, sorry if people are offended.

You’ve just had what you thought was the best sex in you life. Lying next to a woman you consider the rebound from you last relationships, she says “I have something to tell you...I’m pregnant.” Your response is “So what are you going to do?” eager to find the nearest coat hanger.

Abortion is a touchy subject, it can be put in the "do not discuss" category next to finances and in between religion and politics. Most people would agree and say that a man should never propose abortion as an option, but does any one ever wonder how abortions actually work? I do.

People say "it’s like a vacuum that sucks 'it' out," turns out they were right.

Although there are other methods to abortion such as a pill one can take, the Suction and Curettage method sparked this blog.

The procedure is generally carried out with in the first trimester or the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. During the procedure doctors dilate the cervix which is the opening of the uterus; after the cervix is widened, doctors insert a tube that is about the same size of a pencil, the plastic tube is hooked up to a suction machine. When the doctor flicks the on button, it’s on. The fetus and placenta are suctioned out in the tube, some times whole, sometimes in pieces.

After the suctioning process doctors then use a curette to scrape the walls of the uterus for any remains of the fetus or placenta. After the walls have been wiped clean, the doctors suctions one more time, just to make sure he’s go it all.

If you found this blog graphic, use protection.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Q&A: How Does In Vitro Fertilization work?

Purchase the miracle of life.

In today’s age women can now buy the power to give birth, thanks to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Although the reproductive process is “man made,” as babies are created by humans; the process of IVF gives a new definition to the term “man made,” as fertilization lies in the hands of doctors.

Doctors have figured out how to force the hand of nature and usher in the miracle of life. During the process of IVF, eggs are extracted from the woman’s ovaries and fertilized, in a laboratory dish, with the active sperm extracted from a man’s seamen. The process of assisted reproduction, where the eggs and sperm are joined at the hands of doctors is known as in vitro fertilization. If fertilization is successful, pre- embryos will start to grow. These pre-embryos are then incubated in a “special mixture,” that acts as the inside of a woman’s fallopian tube.

Still fertilization is only half of the battle. After the incubation period, embryos are formed ready to be implanted. The implantation period consists of doctors transferring embryos through the woman’s cervix into her uterus, using an instrument knows as a catheter. Doctors usually implant more than one embryo in the hopes that at least one would be successfully implanted.

After implantation the woman is given hormones (Progesterone) to assist in the implantation’s success. If the implant is successful the eggs will attach to the uterine wall and the woman is now officially pregnant.

According to Dr. Majorie Greenfield, “On average, each cycle of treatment can cost $4000 to $10,000. And many couples take more than one cycle to get pregnant.”

The most popular case of IVF is that of Nadya Suleman A.K.A Octomom who gave birth to Octuplets (eight children) due to IVF.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stephen Hawking Is Making His Comeback -Discover Blog

The lede was a great scene setting lede. The writer captured the environment and feel of the seminar. It drew me in as a reader in the sense that I can envision the seminar and felt almost like I was there. I specifically like his use of words like “rocketing to stardom,” as it provided some connotation between Hawkings real life and his career. It was a great way to use space terms in describing a person.

The content of the article was both interesting and informative. Though out the article many questions are raised in one sentence and answered in the next. It was also a nice hybrid between Hawking’s medical condition and his life long work. At times I wondered, why is the author speaking extensively about Hawking’s medical condition. However after fully reading the article I understood that speaking about Hawking’s condition lends a needed background to the story and eventually coincides with his work as hawking had to find new methods of carrying out his work when his condition made it nearly impossible.

The article was organized in a way that let it flow easily. It was broken into different sections with the use of sub heads, making it easier for the reader to understand what he/she is to get out of reading a specific section. Also one section transitions into the next section effortlessly as the story progresses.

I thought the style of writing was particularly simple given the complicated subject matter. The writer talks about various equations and scientific terms that can easily confuse any one, how ever he extracts all the jargon and puts it in plan English for the reader. He didn’t allow the complex nature and languages of the subject to complicate his story or confuse his readers.

Essentially the writer explained the science in his article in a way that didn’t feel like a science lesson. He used vivid descriptions that assisted in the understanding of the scientific matter. For example when talking about black holes the author writes, “One particle can fall into the black hole while the other feeds on the gravitational energy of the hole and flies away to safety,” the simplicity of this statement is present through out the entire article.

Overall I would give this article an A as it was very fulfilling and educational (with out feeling like it).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The American Crow scientifically referred to as Corvus brachyrhynchos isn’t really a new species to me and Plattsburgh isn’t the first place I’ve ever seen a crow. However, while living in Macdonough hall I couldn’t help but notice that the building is constantly surrounded by black crows, to the point where they’re parked outside my window (on the 3rd floor) and won’t even flinch when I yell out the window. Since I am extremely annoyed by these huge birds, I decided to dedicate my nature blog to them.

According to the Adirondack Almanac the American crow has been in the Adirondacks at least since colonization. They also prefer open areas with nearby trees. The only feature I like about crows is there jet black color that has a glossy and slightly iridescent look.

Some interesting facts about crows, they weight about 450g and about 20% of male crows are larger than female crows. Also, young crows are roughly the same size as adult crows but their eyes are blue and their mouths are pink, both the eyes and mouth darken as the crow gets older.

American crows are sometimes confused with common ravens. However, I know that it is crows that surround Macdonough hall because of the glossy iridescent feathers.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Is Jupiter's Bizarre Moon Our Best Hope for Finding Extraterrestrial Life?

Lede- The crackling radiation would kill you in 10 minutes—that is, if you did not first asphyxiate in the nearly nonexistent atmosphere, die of exposure to the –300 degree Fahrenheit temperature, or plunge into a thousand-foot-deep icy crevice. Jupiter’s moon Europa is a forbidding world, yet NASA intends to devote billions of dollars over the next decade to getting there. At the center of this effort will be the most complicated orbital explorer ever built, each of its components carefully armored against the deadly stream of particles in Jupiter’s massive wake. The orbiter will require six years to reach its destination. Then, when it arrives at Europa, engineers will consider the mission successful if it survives for just three months of exploration before shorting out.

I chose this lede because I am a fan of all things space. However, even if I wasn't intrigued by our solar system, I still would have chose this lede because the first line of the lede immediately jumped out at me and caught my attention, "The crackling radiation would kill you in 10 minutes," as a reader I wanted to know if I was in danger of being killed by crackling radiation. The lede then proceeds to tell of other ways one can be killed by the natural elements of another planet. I felt as if the lede was both eye-catching yet very informative, the writer manages to provide the reader with interesting facts all while pulling them deeper in to the article.

The article as a whole was satisfying. I never knew that there were frozen oceans of one of Jupiters many moons, or any where in our solar system for that matter. I immediately thought of the phrase, "where there's water there's life," which is basically the topic of the article, can there be life of Europa simple because there is water?

The writer also talks about an "orbital explorer" that will be built to tour the icy moon. I assume it's similar to "Rover Spirit," which captured images of Mars while roaming the planet. The mission is tentatively titled, "Europa Jupiter System Mission," so catchy. Like most NASA missions, Europa Jupiter System Mission, is a long time coming as it is slated to take place around 2026. I should be alive around that time.

Another interesting fact that the writer points out is that, "The 9,000-pound NASA probe will bristle with a dozen specialized instruments designed to see, smell, and explore Europa from a choice vantage point 60 miles away." I can understand seeing the moon and taking pictures of it but I couldn't imagine that a probe would be able to smell a planet.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Nature Blog II

Adelges tsugae better known as Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is an invasive species that Destroys Eastern hemlock trees. The funny thing is that these insects arrived in the U.S. accidentally in shipments from Asia. The species was found in the 1920s in the West Coast and in the 1950s in the East Coast. Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Is commonly found in China, Japan, and northwestern North America.

Scientist say that Wooly Adelgid kills its host rapidly in a matter of years, stripping once luscious green Hemlock trees of all green. Hemlock woolly adelgid can be transported long distance on planting stock (as it did from Asia to the U.S.) The species can also spread from planted stock to native trees.

An interesting fact provided by the USDA Forest Service says that “In their native range, these populations of HWA ( Hemlock Woolly Adelgid) cause little damage to the hemlock trees they feed on as natural enemies and possible tree resistance has evolved with this insect pest.”

Science times Lede

An Odyssey From the Bronx to Saturn’s Rings

Lede- It is twilight time on Saturn.Shadows lengthened to stretch thousands of miles across the planet’s famous rings this summer as they slowly tilted edge-on to the Sun, which they do every 15 years, casting into sharp relief every bump and wiggle and warp in the buttery and wafer-thin bands that are the solar system’s most popular scenic attraction.

I chose this lede becuse I am a solar system fanatic. I love everything about space from our 8 planets to the unexplainable. I felt like the lede in this article shared my enthusiasm about the solar system and space. I like the opening line "It is twilight time on Saturn," as it hints that something special or unusal will be happening on Saturn, usually something that will happen once in a life time. I also love the description that the writer used to describe the illustrious rings of saturn. Overbye writes " every bump and wiggle and warp in the buttery and wafer-thin bands," I like this description in particular because it is a different take on a stale topic, so to speak, (every one knows that the rings of saturn are beautiful.) However the writer manages to use descriptions that I would never associate with Saturn like "buttery," and he makes it all work.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Walk Outside- Japanese barberry

Japanese barberry scientifically known as Berberis thunbergii is an invasive plant in the Adiorndacks.

The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program says that the non native plant should not be sold or planted in the Aidorandacks and that people should rid the area of the invasive plant.

Japanese barberry can be found everywhere, especially in median plantings around parking lots. They also keep deers at bay, since deers don't like to feed on Japanese barberry some planters outline their plants or bushes with the invasive plant.

Japanese barberry is both sun and shade tolerant and can thrive in both places.

The major concern with the plant is that the berries are ingested by birds and then excreted in the woods and other open places. evidence also suggest that
Japanese barberry can alter soil pH, nitrogen levels, and even disrupt the soil’s biological activity.

Pretty but deadly

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Blog Report Week 3

Tool to Offer Fast Help for H.I.V. Exposure

This article sound like it’s up for debate, but if scientific research backs it up, who am I to disagree.

I actually heard about this treatment a while back, while it was still in the “experimental phase.” People who thought that they may have been exposed to the HIV Virus were urged to take part in a clinical study (within 3 days of exposure) that would prevent them from becoming infected with the virus.

This article is a testament to the fact that scientist are breaking barriers in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Although it’s not a cure it’s the next best thing. Nowadays we’re all about prevention and catching things before they severely affect us.

The article basically talks about a new computer application (Not available on the iPhone) that screens patients, who may have been exposed to HIV, to see whether they are candidates for post-exposure prophylactic treatment. The application also “provides specific information about the 28-day course of antiretroviral drugs.”

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Blog Report week 2

"Finding a Scapegoat When Epidemics Strike."

This article is packed with historical and scientific facts and yet it's still ENTERTAINING! The writer possesses a hypocritical/sarcastic tone that make the reader laugh while seeing the questionable ways of many countries.

The article itself doesn't talk extensively about the fatal effects of epidemics such as the Black Death or the H1N1 Swine Flu, instead it talks about how theses deadly plagues get/got their names and the origins of the first know cases; many of which don’t coincide with their given names. For example The Spanish flu originated in Kansas not Spain.
It was also interesting to see that over the years many epidemics have been given names that suggest they originated in one place when they in fact originated elsewhere. The last one to shift the blame often gets the name.

So much for he who smelled, it dealt it...

Blog Report week 1

"A Doomed Planet, and Scientists Are Lucky to Have Spotted It."

This article was very informative and would satisfy the hunger of any astrology lover (like myself.) It tells of an extra-solar planet that an international team of astrologers have found called WASP-18b (the name alone is so Sci-Fi, I love it) which is a part of the Hot Jupiter’s, an extra-solar system beyond ours whose planets have a mass close to or exceeding that of Jupiter. The catch is that the planet is on its way to self destruction. Astronomers believe that the planet (WASP-18b) who’s orbit around its star is 22 hours, 35 minutes, 41.5 seconds (meaning that a year on WASP-18b is less than a full day on earth) will crash into its star in less than a million years. Astrologers are unsure of why WASP-18b is falling inward to a fiery death.

This article was a great read because I enjoy anything about astrology, it always amazes me how astrologist are constantly finding new planets and other things in space and the weird names they come up with.

Hope you enjoy it as well !!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009