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Today I would like to remark at the incredible burst of knowledge that occured in the scientific field with the technological revolution. I learned today that the scientist that discovered tubulin is still alive today. That put in perspective to me that so much of what we currently accept as common knowledge in almost all scientific fields are relatively recent discoveries and theories. The growth of technology and advanced methods of experimenting and researching all sprung up in a short hundred years of human history. What amazes me the most is the ability of the science community to adapt and accept the new findings as they accumulate so quickly. The fact that our classes are making common knowledge of things discovered within 20 years is remarkable to me and speaks volumes about the ability of education. I also now ponder that is this is only the beginning of the technological revolution and realization of what that means for science, how much can the future hold? Are we just on the brink on a never-before-phathomed amount of things there are to learn about life and organisms and evolution? I think the answer to the question can only be yes, and that is exciting and terrifying.
Download inkscape to create figure. Go to the design building and walk towards to ground floor lobby entrance by the cafe near the design building UMass Amherst sign. Select a leaf from the small tree that shows phytophagy and place hand behind leaf. Take a photo using an IPhone 8 back camera. Step away from the tree about five steps to allow the sign and background to be clearly visible and distinguishable in the image, capturing the entire height of the tree. Email the photos from the phone to an email account to access them on a computer with Inkscape installed on it. Open the images in the computer and crop them to squares of a size 3022 x 3022 pixels. Open Inkscape and click and drag the cropped photo files into the inkscape page. Organize the pictures with the up close phytophagy in the top left corner at about the size of half the page width in a square shape, leaving some white space on the left and top. Label this image "A" with an A on the upper left side of the photo in black with font Calibria in size 18. To the right of this photo, place the larger phytophagy photo of the exact same size to the exact right. Label this image B on the upper left of the image in the same method as image "A".
Today one of my classes discussed GMOs and my professor purposefully made it a point to tip-toe around the debatable aspects of the modifications and methods of use while teaching the topic. Me being an aries would have prefered the debate, so instead I'll write my thoughts here. Firstly, the FDA finding the GMOs are not inherently dangerous and do not need to be regulated proves that the federal goverment needs more education. I agree that GMOs are not inherently dangerous, but they absolutely should be regulated by genetisists because modifying the DNA of an organism to be grown in exposed fields and allowed to contaminate nature and the endogenous genome of other organisms in the proximatey is highly dangerous. It is known that some species of GMOs are able to cross breed with weeds and like organisms in their original environments. This means that another organism's DNA can be crossed into uncontrolled species in the wild. Also, GMOs can cause very legitimate problems in the diversity of a species. If all the different alleles of a farm grown species were cut down to a single allele that was controlled because it produced the most wanted product, it presents real issues. The possibility of complete wipeout from a new disease or virus that affects the plants is a reality that people need to be aware of.
Assisted suicide. This is widely debated and I have even written a paper discussing the pros and cons and the politics and reality of assisted suicide in medicine. There are only 10 states that explicitly allow physician assisted suicide. I think that number should be 50. Picture this: you are 35 years old, have a teenage son that you raised alone and through hardship, and the bond you have with him is a life-and-purpose-defining bond. You finally just met the love of your life and got married a year ago. You've always wanted to work as a high ranking nurse in medicine, but the pay wall and lack of a degree held you back until 7 years ago when you made the move to get your PhD in nursing. This month you are going to defend your dissertation and graduate. You'll have the work and career you always wanted and the family you always wanted and life will be PERFECT. Then you have a seizure. You don't know why it happened, and it scares you. You recover. Then a month later, another one happens. You black out and wake up in an emergency room. A day in the hospital later, and you know why you have seizures: glioblastoma, or in other terms, the most deadly brain cancer. The next year of your life now looks very different from how you pictured it. Hospital visits, bills and costs, trials and placebos, etc. Eventually, you know there is just no hope, you're given a month to live and all your effort is just in elongating dying. The cancer starts to impact your speech, your motor control, your bladder control. Everything is deteriorating and you are wondering if you're even still you anymore. Why should it be in the hands of a vote in a court room hundreds of miles away to decide the you must suffer to the end as your family, your cherished son who has always loved you, watches you fade into a hospital bed unable to talk, walk, communicate, or even understand whats going on for the last week of your life? Instead, gracefully and debilberately ending the pain, suffering, and torture that bares down on you as you begin to question, am I even percieving the world as it is or is the cancer making me see that, is a more humane way to be in control of your life and experiences in living. Why should a jury decide that for you?
I woke up to my alarm. I pondered that I had gotten more sleep or slept for more consecutive hours than I did the past five nights. I checked the weather: cold enough to wear pants. I responded to two snapchats. After getting dressed, I got my backpack together with all the notebooks I needed, noting that today only required my laptop. In the kitchen, I started making my breakfast. I had planned to make a nice full meal for Friday morning so I did; I got out all the ingredients and went to work. The fire alarm promptly went off and I sprinted to stop it. My roommates probably woke up. I finished making my breakfast, left my apartment, locked the door, walked through the woods to my bus stop, got on the bus, started playing music in my headphones, and ignored the eye contact of a semi-friend semi-acquaintance so we wouldn’t have to deal with the small talk that came with it. I got off the bus and called my friend back who had called me while on the bus. We talked while I walked to my lab and then as I sat down in my low seat I ended the call to remain professional.
List of categories
Social Exposition Paragraph
The social interactions I made in a day consisted of different forms of interacting with people: in person, over the phone, avoiding interaction, and shared experiences and cause and effect without direct contact either physical or verbal. I am the first to wake up in my apartment, and today I accidentally set off the fire alarm twice while preparing my breakfast. While my roommates remained in their rooms silently, I include this as an interaction because my activities impacted their day, likely waking them up earlier than they wanted, disturbing their sleep and effecting the rest of their day. Then I consider phone calls, text, and social media messages to be interacting too. I called my friend from highschool back on the phone after I had to decline her call on the bus. We conversed as I walked to my lab in the morning from the bus stop. I also avoided saying hello to a person on the bus whom I only know in glacing passes.
For my project, I am interested in photographing the phytophaging subject of a caterpillar web in a tree where the caterpillars eat the leaves. I have witnessed this phenomenon many times at home in my backyard, while driving on the highway staring out the window, and in the apple orchards in my grandparents' yard. The trees can be bright green but the small clusters of caterpillars devour the leaves in there nest so that they turn brown and decay. This has not been observed on campus so the project subject may have to be a different matter. First taking pictures of greenery on campus that has evidence of phytophagy and then decidingwhich to use for the figure might be the approach best suited for the project. After collecting pictures, they will have to be analyzex to ensure the presumed phytophaging happening is actually phytophagy evidence. The format for the figure will include the first photo of phytophagy with a hand or finger in the frame for scale on the left upper corner and next to it with little spacing the distant photo with arrows highlighting the examples. Both photos will be squares and then the map will be oriented on the right upper corner and will be rectangular as to accomadate the shape of the UMass campus. The process of obtaining a guaranteed original map may be of issue, so Inkscape will be used to create an original image representing the campus by usage of reference photos of similar maps of the campus. The map will include symbols or images of places of reference on campus and the photo of the phytophagy itself at its location taken.
My initial ideas while developing my project are that I would like my phytophaging subject to be a caterpillar web in a tree where the caterpillars eat the leaves. I have witnesses this phenomenon many times at home, while driving on the highway staring out the window, and in the apple orchards in my grandparents' yard. The tree can be bright green but the very small caterpillars devour the leaves so that they turn brown and decay. Unfortunately, I have never seen this on campus and that means my subject may have to be different matter. I suppose I will first take pictures of trees/greens on campus that have evidence of phytophagy and then decide which to use for my figure. I will also research my specimen in the photos to ensure that I did in fact take images of eaten plant matter and not just some dead leaf. The format for the figure will include the first photo of phytophagy unlabeled on the far left upper corner and next to it with little spacing the distant photo with arrows highlighting the examples. Both photos will be squares and then the map will be oriented on the right upper corner and will be rectangular as to accomadate the shape of the UMass campus. The process of obtaining a guaranteed original map may be of issue, I might consider using illustrator to create my own image with reference photos of other similar maps of the campus. That way the map can include symbols or images of places of reference on campus and the photo of the phytophagy itself.
Professor Sarah Pallas gave a seminar lecture earlier this week I believe on Monday, and I unfortuately did not attend, but coworkers of mine did and described to me the study she presented to discuss. She works in zoology and neuroscience, and so her topic was the canibalistic behaviors of hamsters. In short, female hamsters often eat their mates, cohabitating hamsters will eat each other, and mothers often eat their young. As a biology major who has studied the evolution and psychology, this had me baffled; A mother hamster eats her offspring. Evolutionarily, typically organisms form behaviors that benefit their own survival and the survival of their progeny. In complex organisms, children will be prioritized: A mother will give her life for a baby. Paternally its a different story because its not such a guarentee that the offspring is genetically theirs. Anyway, so the offspring should be valued above self because that is the ultimate goal of life. If the progeny don't survive, then the individual's genetics will never live beyond their own live, and all lives being finite, it will not pass on its genes to the species population. This all goes completely out the window when considering the canibalism of a mother eating her kids. She has put in her physical energy into these beings for them to expand her genetic outreach in the species and live past her own generation, but she turns around and consumes her fruit to be of seemingly no evolutionary benefit. Its much more worth your time to find food than grow a child for dinner. I begin to wonder the short-term benefits of this that may drive this behavior. A food source, less competition for one offspring if the others are killed, and thats it. The take aways are significant: no futured genetic line. Without offspring it diminishes the point to continue living to simply staying alive for oneself. This would be worth it if the mother had significant fertility remaining, but the offspring that are on the cusp of pubescence are going to be more fertile and have far more chance to reproduce than an already-parent would, and considering that the offspring would pass on the genes of the parents to yet another generation seems like the children should be spared when food is scarce. This question of "Why" extends far beyond hamsters though, considering the news articles and horror stories written about human behaviors of parents killing their own kids. One specific one comes to mind: Casey Anthony. This case involved the extreme addiction of the mother to drugs, alcohol, and partying, so much that it came before her daughter's life. This psychology, unfortunately, happens a lot. Addiction can overrule many a benefitial behavior and there are endless examples party to that statement. This case with the hamster however is driven by the need to basic survival, not a rewiring of the brain to demand one thing over the hard-wired other, but an organized behavior built-in. Its very interesting, and I still don't get why it happens, so I should have gone to the seminar.
My topic for this blog is again medically related because that is my interest. I'm thinking about the social and economic hinderences in getting into medical experiencial opportunities. Firstly, through word of mouth about how people I know have obtained shadowing positions and other low-level hospital jobs that provide them with basic knowledge and exposure to the medical field, most people get it through family connections. Examples I know include an uncle who runs an ER, a parent who knows a friend that is a cardiologist, a close family friend thats a nurse, having parents that are both doctors, giving away a dog to someone who works high up at BayState, the list goes on. Knowing somebody in the medical field extremely increases your likelihood of being considered for experiential opportunities and gives you an advantage in the field, boosting your future and youre resume. Of course, people who make careers in the medical field are often well off because it requires money to go through schooling and education to obtain those types of jobs. This alone creates an economic barrier on the ladder to the top, the metaphorical top being, say, being a doctor. If you come a lower class family, you are less likely to have connections with well-off families that could afford to send children to medical schooling. Of course, there are always acceptions, and contemporaneously there exists programs and funds to send the less fortunate to schools, and opportunities are becoming more even. This still exists however, because the system has always benefitted on the lower class and that hasn't changed. And so, if the top is hardest to reach, the entry level is more difficult than you might initially think. You might think that an easy way to be involved in medicine is EMT-ing. It is one of the classic go-to jobs for undergraduates trying to get hours and exposure and experience. This requires nearly a thousand dollars towards the class, not to mention time and effort to study, learn and pass. Then on top of that you need hundreds of dollars to take the state and national exams to become certified to work after passing the class. Everything has a pay wall.