Advice for New Students!!

I have learned a lot this year about Biology, my study habits, and myself. I wanted to share with you some tips that I learned that may be helpful!

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CNN Health: You Don’t Yawn Because You Are Tired

Every time we see someone yawn or even think about yawning, we just can’t help but yawn too. In fact, I am yawning as I am typing this sentence! I always thought that we yawned solely because others were yawning–a mimicking reaction. However, an article featured in CNN Health, reports that scientists at the University of Vienna found that the only strong predictor of yawning was…Temperature of the Brain!! Studies showed that people are more likely to yawn when the temperature of the brain is too hot. When one’s brain temperature is too hot, studies show that yawning helps to immediately decrease brain temperature. Other factors, such as age, humidity, and hours of sleep the night before, do not have signifiant effects on one’s likeliness to yawn.

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Article: http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/08/health/time-yawn-brain-hot/index.html?hpt=he_t3

More about the experiment: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031938414001784

Pictures: http://www.bubblews.com/news/2148234-yawning-explained, http://nyocommercialobserver.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/man-yawning.jpg

KQED: Should Water be a Commodity or a Right?

In science classes, we learn that water is the source of all life. Without water, people become dehydrated and other serious health problems follow. People cannot live without water. However, the amount of water sources that are drying up around the world are growing, which serves as a problem.This problem has brought up questions of whether the price of water should rise, giving people an incentive to conserve water. This would only give the wealthy an advantage over the poor.i-heart-water

I strongly believe that clean and filtered water should be available to everyone, regardless of class, race, where they are from, etc. Because water is essential to all life, people everywhere have a born right to have access to clean water. No law nor price increase should limit others from the one thing they need to survive. People should view water as a right, certainly not a commodity. However, with that said, I feel that it is important to be conscious of the fact that we do not have unlimited access to clean water. We should conserve water, not because a price increase forces us to do so, but because it is the right thing to do and is what needs to be done to allow others to have access to water as well.

For more information: http://blogs.kqed.org/education/2014/04/29/should-water-be-a-commodity-or-a-right/

Picture: http://green-mom.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/i-heart-water.jpg

KQED: Nature vs. Nurture

Scientists have identified that nature and nurture can influence a person and who they will become. Nature refers to your innate qualities and genetics and nurture refers to your personal experience and environment. The question is, which factor is more/less dominant? Scientists have already found that in fruit flies, a male’s aggressiveness can be controlled due to  tweaking  a gene on a neuron (can make fruit fly more aggressive or less aggressive). This leads me to believe that aggressiveness and other behaviors ARE controlled by genes. Therefore, a lot of human behavior is also controlled by genes, but may also be aggravated/soothed depending on a person’s experience and environment.

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Learning about the effect of genes on a person’s behavior, I am concerned about people abusing this information. i.e. If someone commits a crime, they may easily be able to blame their actions on their genes–something that is out of there control. Therefore, they may be seen as innocent (or a helpless, aggressive person), instead of receiving a punishment that would be given, without this genetic information.

This information would surely change the courtroom and the way people are seen in society.

 

For more information about Nature Vs. Nurture:  http://blogs.kqed.org/education/2014/03/05/how-much-is-behavior-based-on-nature-versus-nurture/

KQED: Should We Kill One Species to Save Another?

A new controversy has sprung in the Pacific Northwest and has asked  the question, should we kill one species to save another? The northern spotted owl, native to the Pacific Northwest, is threatened by the non-native barred owls. The barred owls caused the northern spotted owl population to become endangered. The barred owls are larger, more aggressive and are outcompeting the northern spotted owl for food and nesting areas. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services  has since conducted experiments on how to kill the barred owls in regions where the northern spotted owls are in danger.

(Below Left) Barred Owl 

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This experiment creates the discussion of whether it is right to kill off a non-native species to preserve the lives of other species. Some argue that the government does not have the right to kill off a species, but  should  let nature run its course. Others argue that humans have the right to help threatened species.  

(Below right) Northern spotted owl

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I believe that, in this case, we should not let nature run its course and the government should  intentionally kill off the barred owl species. We should not  let barred owls take over the land and kill off the northern spotted owls because the barred owl species is non-native and will kill off all the Northern spotted owls. If Norther spotted owls are killed, who knows how this drastic change will effect the population?! For this reason, I would morally allow the non-native species to be intentionally killed.

Works Cited:

http://blogs.kqed.org/education/2014/02/04/invasive-species-predator-kill/

Picture Works Cited:

http://blog.explore.org/owls-of-north-america-spotted-owl/

Inspiring Young Girl Advocates for Equal Opportunities in Education in Pakistan #DoNowMalala

Last year, Malala made headlines as she was shot in the head and the neck by the Taliban for advocating  girls’ education in Pakistan. Since she has healed, she has taken the chance to educate the world on the discrimination that girls face in the education system in Pakistan, and why girls’ education in general, is crucial to the health of a society.

From the article, I have learned the importance of girls’ education to society. Girls, who are educated, can increase a family’s income by 20% each year. Education also decreases child marriage and birth rates. All of these reasons can positively impact girls’ lives and leave a lasting affect on them.

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Coming from someone who has gone to private school my whole life and who currently attends an all girls high school, I believe strongly in education for young women. Not only does education personally and emotionally effect girls by giving them a sense of self-confidence and self-achievment, but also benefits them and society economically. By educating women, women are able to get jobs and to provide for their families–potentially lowering poverty rates by increasing a family’s income. However, in societies that were once or are currently based in traditions that look down upon women, the task of women’s rights for education is difficult. This is the reason of why Malala’s promotion of equal education opportunities is essential in challenging society’s values and making a change.

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I feel as though myself and other high school students, do not fully appreciate or completely understand the importance of the education we are receiving. Reading about Malala’s story and her stories of discrimination, I have come to realize that education is essential for the human spirit and EVERYONE, not just women, but also men, has the right to eduction and is something no one should ever take for granted.

Works Cited Source:

http://goo.gl/KRjlhh

Works Cited Pictures:

http://goo.gl/zlqPIo

http://goo.gl/aLYLLv