Boxes within boxes, clumpy diversity, procaryotes/eucaryotes, sleep/stress/exercise, craziness/depression ... and cantelopes
For previous forum comments, see Archive on course home page.
Name: Diana La Femina
Subject: How small can we get?
Date: 2002-09-16 15:35:18
Message Id: 2710
After discusing how small a living organism can get I was reminded of a theory I had when I was five and that still makes me think today.
Ok, get ready for the insanity that is my mind:
Has anyone else noticed that an atom resembles a galaxy? seriously, we don't have a very good picture of an atom, but they really do look similar. What if a galaxy as we know it is just one big atom, and earth is actually revolving around one of the outer most electrons in this atom and the galaxy-atom we live in makes up someones toenail? Think about it, the world might end if they stub their toe...
I seriously think this class is driving me to a point of insanity I have never previously visited. I'll leave you ponder and with the hope that we are part of someone with very good coordination.
Name: Anastasia Michals
Subject: In response to Diana
Date: 2002-09-16 21:14:32
Message Id: 2712
Well that is the most insane thing I have ever heard of, but the scary thing is that it could be true. How do we know? I mean in reality, most likely, it isn't true. Scientists probably have enough evidence to disprove that theory, but it is kind of scary. Something along the same line that I have always thought about is Big Brother. How do we know that all the events in history really actually happened? Couldn't it just be the government teaching everyone the same things for a certain purpose? It is kind of silly, but it could be possible. All the talk about whether or not we actually ever landed on the moon. Is it possible the the government created those pictures? Just like us being someone's toe, we might not know all there is to know about how our world is really run.
Name: Kyla Ellis
Date: 2002-09-17 13:22:24
Message Id: 2719
Hey Diana, have you ever seen that one movie, Men in Black? My favorite part was at the end when the whole galaxy turns out to be a marble that some alien puts in a bag. Pretty wierd, but kinda cool. Like they say in Contact, there's a whole lot of space out there and it wouldn't really make sense if we were the only living organisms in all that area.
Anyway, so yeah, it sounds like we're getting into the whole Truman Show/1984 thing. That has always creeped me out... I'd rather just not think of it. (By the way, I don't always relate things to movies, I hardly ever watch them, I just seem to be doing that a lot right now). But what if we're just here becase someone else put us here, and here is no such thing as history, free will, etc. Maybe that would be a better explanation to some people, at least it would give us some sort of purpose, if we were put here for the benefit of something or someone else. Maybe that's where religion comes from. It seems that all religions in one way or another give us a reason for being here. I'm not slamming religion, this is just a thought.
Subject: big toes, marbles and the like
Date: 2002-09-17 19:09:18
Message Id: 2733
hahaha, you guys crack me up...mostly because these are the kind of thoughts that also occur to me at 4 in the morning when I could be doing something more immediately productive like sleeping. There isn't anyhting crazy about it at all, though, it's totally natural to question the things around us- for instance, have you ever had one of those days when everything falls into place and it's like the whole world really does revolve around you (you see the guy/girl you like while looking fantastic, the class you always find unbearable gets canceled AND your other profs decide that since it's such a lovely day you shouldn't have to do homework, your friends throw a party at just the moment you're in the mood for one, they serve your favorite meal for dinner, and you luckily get the last used copy of your *ahem* outrageously expensive bio book;)- maybe those days are when the person whose big toe we live on is wearing their favorite pair of shoes. Of course, since these things always seem to balance each other out (random, i think not), the next day they wear a new pair of shoes and get a blister...do you see where I'm going with this? Me neither. My point is: there is organization at so many levels and the levels are so varied, that there is no way to say where the limit is...if we're someone's toenail, maybe they're something else's earwax, and that's someone/thing's itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka-dot bikini- WE'LL NEVER KNOW, but if you let yourself just go with it, the possibilities are endless.
Name: lawral wornek
Subject: little people
Date: 2002-09-18 16:19:44
Message Id: 2754
let me preface this by saying that i babysit a lot.
have any of you ever read/seen "horton hears a who" by dr. seuss? horton, this big elephant, can hear someone talking very quietly. it turns out it's a scientist from a little tiny planet on a piece of dust. throughout the story, everyone makes fun of horton and calls him crazy and all of that. oh, and they try to kill the dustball planet. being dr. suess, the story has a moral at the end. we should be accepting of others even if we don't understand them. how sweet.
so we can totally blame our good/bad days on the shoes the chick whose toe we live on is wearing, but we have to forgive her for them!
Date: 2002-09-18 17:42:51
Message Id: 2757
Lawral, you're so right...we all wear shoes that give us blisters sometimes, it's important to forgive:)
Name: Sarah Tan
Date: 2002-09-18 19:49:46
Message Id: 2758
For once I was not only awake in class today but also somewhat alert. I thought that the comparison between the eukaryotic and prokaryotic single-celled organisms was interesting, but it did make me wonder: I learned in junior high "life science" that cells have certain necessary parts--namely, nucleus, mitochondria, and other whatchies whose names or purposes I don't remember. All these components are membrane-bound. But if prokaryotic cells (bacteria) don't have membrane-bound things inside the main membrane/cell wall, then what do they have inside? Just empty plasma (and DNA, I presume)? What determines when a cell is really a cell, if you can't go by the parts inside of it? Also, surely not all single-celled organisms are ameoba-like in their reproduction (that whole splitting into two business. I used to know all these technical names). So how else do they reproduce? Are there male and female versions of single cells? Can you look at a single-celled organism under a microscope and determine if it has the equivalent of XY or XX chromosomes?
I briefly looked through the bio book (which is only the... uh... well, let's just say I haven't spent a lot of time with it), and maybe I wasn't looking in the right places, but I didn't get too much useful information to my questions. In the pictures, it looked like eukaryotic cells are transparent so you can look through them, whereas the prokaryotic cells are either opaque or you can look through them but there's nothing there. I don't know if that's just something with the way the pictues are in the book, if there are cross-sections done, or if that's the way things really are with those particular organisms. There is a diagram showing that two paramecia (parameciums?) are needed to reproduce, but I didn't really understand the caption. There was also something about parameciums eating bacteria, which makes me wonder what the size difference is between the eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. The question of why there aren't multi-cellular organisms made of prokaryotic cells is also definitely worth thinking about, but I'd rather understand how the single-celled ones work first.
Name: Diana La Femina
Subject: differences between cells
Date: 2002-09-18 22:36:45
Message Id: 2762
I think that it doesn't matter if bacteria cells have separate parts in them (that we can see) because bacteria aren't as specialized. Pretty much, don't they just reproduce and consume? I'm not saying that more specialized cells do more than this, but they are larger and they do move around more. Maybe it has to do with not only the size and purpose of the cell but also the membrane on the outside. Could a bacteria cell, which I'm guessing lives a shorter life than, say, an ameoba, have a different makeup to their membrane that makes it more opaque and thus more difficult for us to differentiate through?
Name: Brenda Zera
Subject: evolution of...everything
Date: 2002-09-19 11:58:09
Message Id: 2773
In regards to what Sarah was talking about "The question of why there aren't multi-cellular organisms made of prokaryotic cells", I think that from what we've seen about evolution on this planet, it is always possible that sometime in the future (before our star collapses, or we kill out all life on this planet on our own!) that there will be 'larger' organisms composed of prokaryotic cells. I think that it's probably just a matter of time before our evolution leads us towards that. Or, our planet could simply be set up in such a way that makes multi-celluar prokaryotic life impossible. There really are no answers, just more questions.
Name: Student Contributor
Date: 2002-09-19 14:44:19
Message Id: 2775
"Some people say there are true things to be found, some people say all kinds of things can be proved. I don't believe them. The only thing for certain is how complicated it all is..."
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Jeanette Winterson
I'm reading this book for an english class, but thought this quote applied to the idea that no scientific theory can ever be accepted as absolute truth.
Name: Anne Sullivan
Date: 2002-09-19 21:11:47
Message Id: 2785
A friend of mine recently joined an athletic team on campus which, like most sports, is extremely taxing on one's body. At about the same time she began this activity, she noticed an irritation in one ankle that was later diagnosed as tendonitis. Wanting to fully participate in all the practices and games, my poor friend has been constantly icing her ankle and waiting for a recovery. Me, being the paranoid person that I am, have been urging her to take a break from physical activity in order to let her ankle heal. In the meantime, I decided to find out a little more about this common ailment. Tendonitis, I found, is caused when one's tendon (the connection between muscle and bone) becomes inflamed. It can be caused by repeated overuse of the tendon, obesity, poorly fitting shoes, bone spurs in the affected area, etc. It is characterized by either a sharp, aching pain, swelling, or weakness. Icing is a good treatment, as is serious rest of the injured area. If ignored, tendonitis can weaken tendons, making them vulnerable to ruptures and tears. The usual recovery time for this condition is 10-14 days. It is a fairly common condition among athletes, but should definitely be taken seriously.
Name: kathryn bailey
Date: 2002-09-19 21:30:18
Message Id: 2787
I was so relieved to read Diana's comment about us living on someone/thing's toenail. Since I was little I have had similar thoughts but just blew them off (there is little sense in driving yourself crazy :). Our class discussions about size also got me thinking about Diana's "toenail theory" a little bit too. Does it really matter if we do live on someone's toenail? Would it change our way of life? Of course quite a few religious organizations would have some problems, but other than that, what good would it do to find out if we lived on someone's toe? I admit it would be very interesting, but for me, ignorance can be bliss. Besides, what if the person got athlete's foot? Would our world come to an end? I would rather not know.
Subject: Comments on everyone else's comments
Date: 2002-09-19 21:40:18
Message Id: 2788
I just finally caught up with the new forum, and I think there is a lot of interesting stuff being tossed around. First, Diana et al: Has anyone else read Piers Anthony's Xanth books? The later ones went a little crazy, I think he was running out of normal puns and had to get caught up in nutty plots. BUT the point is that Iris (I think? It has been a long time) has one or more (?) planets circling her head, and of course, on each of those planets there is another Iris, who is completely different but the same person, and she also has a planet orbiting her head, with another Iris on it... Get the picture? It gets pretty ridiculous, but it's the same basic idea. And of course, the people in the books can only go smaller, but who is to say that they aren't on some other Iris' planet themselves?
Chelsea- I love your description of the good day, and the possible reasons for why. It's nice to think we should just go with it, because it does make the possibilities endless. Of course, then none of us will ever get any sleep.
So then, speaking of sleep... I haven't been getting any! It isn't, amazingly enough, because I'm too busy. For the past week and a half, I just haven't been able to sleep. I lay in bed for hours until I fall asleep, and then I wake up at 5 or 6 in the morning. I'm open to alternative sleeping patterns, so I have tried napping in the afternoons when I'm done with class. I can't fall asleep even then. Insomnia, perhaps? Well that is what I thought, so I decided I would do my web paper on insomnia and see what is going on. (Yay for finding a topic!) I don't have any of the normal problems that would cause insomnia, and the weirdest thing is that I don't wake up feeling unrefreshed, drowsy or irritable. I can go all day on as little as three hours of sleep, and then still can't fall asleep that evening. It is rather difficult to concentrate during the day, especially, say, in French class. But I'm not tired all day, or irritable (more than normal) and I don't ever drift off to sleep in classes. So besides not being able to concentrate as well as I used to, I am not that affected by this. Strange. Nothing that I have found on any sleep disorders has given me an explanation. If anyone has had prior experiences like this, or any other sleeping disorders, I would be interested... especially since I need some help for my paper!
Name: Diana DiMuro
Date: 2002-09-20 00:08:14
Message Id: 2789
In response to Maggie's comments:
I think that even though you are not irritable or drowsy, and that you can manage to function on 3 hours of sleep, you could still very well have some form of insomnia. So it might still be a good idea to try some of the suggestions for getting a better night's sleep, even if you think you don't have all the "required" symptoms. Not being able to sleep could be in response to lots of different things: getting used to your bed at bryn mawr, the temperature of your room, maybe your diet, how close you eat to when you go to sleep, whether you get enough exercise, or whether you exercise too close to going to bed. Maybe you get stressed thinking about what you have to do the next day and can't focus on just clearing out your head and getting some sleep. One thing's for sure. Once you've stayed up a certain amount of hours, you pass the point of no return and are no longer tired. You get your second wind so to speak. So yeah, why not be able to function on 3 or 4 hours sleep? I know a lot of girls who do during the course of the school year. But just because that may be true doesn't mean it's healthy. Although, not everyone needs the same hours of sleep to be well rested. Maybe you can function well on less than 7 hours. Maybe it's not such a bad idea even to go to the health center and ask one of the nurses or doctors on call for some advice. I'm not sure any of these things will work or help you to be honest, since I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping myself. But it can't hurt to try right? Good luck to you maggie. At least your web paper will be helpful.
Name: Adrienne Wardy
Date: 2002-09-20 10:34:16
Message Id: 2790
I was thinking about the issue of insomnia and it sounded like a good argument that certain people can function well on very little sleep. However, even though you might feel fine on the outside, I was thinking that there must be some repercussions inside of the body that you do not see. For example, your body repairs its muscles while it sleeps. Especially if you exercise or do sports, little sleep must be harmful to muscles because you are not giving them enough time to repair. Personally, I also think lack of sleep affects my brain functioning in terms of memory and concentration.
Name: Diana La Femina
Subject: do I really need to put a subject?
Date: 2002-09-20 12:30:15
Message Id: 2793
I've been keeping up with this forum for the entire week. Mainly because I was a little...uh, shall we say hyper when I wrote my first comment? I was afraid everyone would realize just how crazy I am. And here I try to hide it as well as I can. I'm really glad to hear that other people have these thoughts, or understand where I'm coming from. It's reassuring to know I'm not the only person who will write something so crazy on this forum.
On a slightly related note, I've discovered why I was so hyper on Monday and, consequentially, why I've been getting such good sleep. One word: Exercise. You've all heard how much exercise helps you sleep better, feel better during the day, but I never realized how true it was! I never really had anything to judge it against, but this summer I didn't really have the time or the resources to work out like I wanted to. I came back to school and have been going to the gym religiously. Since then, I've gotten more sleep, better quality sleep, and I have more energy during the day (except for those two hours or so after I've worked out, my body's tired then, and in the morning because I am NOT a morning person). So, there is truth to the exercise theory we've all had drilled into our head by coaches and gym teachers and health official alike. Yay, it's not just a ploy by the gym enterprise to get us to spend money to join them!
Subject: The Bean Trees
Date: 2002-09-20 14:42:25
Message Id: 2797
Has anyone ever read The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver? I keep thinking about it in class...there is a part in it where she talks about Wisteria vines and how they depend on rhizobia. It says in the book, "wisteria vines, like other legumes, often thrive in poor soil. Their secret is something called rhizobia. These are microscopic bugs that live underground in little knots on the roots. They suck nitrogen gas right out of the soil and turn it into fertilizer for the plant." (this is found on page 305 of the Bean Trees) I was reminded of this when we were discussing the definition of a living organism. It is also interesting to think of this when discussing plants and animals. Plants are autotrophic and animals are heterotrophic; but does it matter that the little bugs help out the autotrophic plant? Anyway it's a neat example. Kingsolver goes on to discuss how humans have their own support systems in each other, blah blah blah. That's her metaphor and the reason the book is called the Bean Trees.
Name: Kate Amlin
Subject: Will our present conceptualizations "evolve" too?
Date: 2002-09-20 18:46:27
Message Id: 2805
Today's class discussion made me think about the ephemeral nature of scientific theories. In 2002, the "Great Chain of Being" theory for diversity seems extremely out-dated and simple (even if we do assume that it holds some small residual fleck of truth). We (ok, at least some of us...) take the tenets of Evolution as absolute truth and scoff at the idea that an alternate hypothesis for diversity exist. I think it's fascinating that what we believe is "true" today will probably be refuted in the future. Who will disprove Darwin and on what grounds? It seems silly that we base so much of Biology on a conjecture that can't be proven. But since absolute truth doesn't seem to exist I guess I won't rip that "Darwin is God" bumper sticker off my car just yet.
Name: Erin Sarah Myers
Date: 2002-09-20 19:37:07
Message Id: 2808
It seems stress sets in earlier and earlier with each consecutive semster that you are at Bryn Mawr. I know that stress is psychological but I wanted to know about happens biologically in your body when you are stressed.
Stress is your body's reaction to what is perceives as danger. Virtually all systems (eg, the heart and blood vessels, the immune system, the lungs, the digestive system, the sensory organs, and brain) are modified to meet the perceived danger. Stressors can be either external (adverse physical conditions such as pain or extreme temperatures) or internal (physiological or psychological).Stressors can also be defined as acute (short term) or chronic (long term). In the case of acute stress once the acute threat has passed, the response becomes inactivated and levels of stress hormones return to normal, a condition called the relaxation response. Chronic stress results from on going stresses when the common response to threat: to flee or to flight is suppressed.
Your bodies first response to stress is activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) system in part of your brain. The HPA system triggers the production of steriod horomones including the primary stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol helps organize all the systems in your body to deal quickly with the threat.
The HPA system also releases certain neurotransmitters particularly dopamine, norepinephrine and adrenaline. These chemicals activate the amygdala inside your brain which triggers an emotional response to the stressful event. They also trigger the hippocampus (nearby in the brain) to store the event in your long-term memory, and they suppress activity in areas at the front of the brain concerned with short-term memory, concentration, inhibition, and rational thought, while hindering your ability to handle complex social or intellectual tasks and behaviors. These all help you deal quickly with the threat. These reactions of your body are often life saving during physical stress.
The problem is, I'd say most of my stress is psychological. I stress because I have too much work and too little time. At the end of the month I have too little money. I care about my grades and good grades are hard to get. I don't know what I'm going to do next year. I don't know what I really want to do next year. I woke up one day and I was 21! When psychological stress strikes your body does the exact same thing, but increased heart rate, blood pressure, circulation, and breathing with the loss of short-term memory, concentration, inhibition, and rational thought doesn't help you during an exam, or at the atm when you thought you had $100 and you only have $30. It makes the situation harder to deal with and seems to delay the relaxation response.
It's important to have a healthy way of dealing with stress so it isn't repressed and doesn't become chronic. You can jump on a trampoline, punch a pillow, do yoga, do breath excercises, meditate. It's very important to have a method of dealing with stress to avoid the health problems that can arrise from chronic stress (muscle tension, high blood pressure, heart disease, supressed immunity, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, sleep problems, and eating problems).
Name: Laura Bang!
Subject: Artificial Intelligence
Date: 2002-09-20 21:07:24
Message Id: 2811
First, I would like to say that everyone has made some really interesting comments this week! It's so much fun to see what other people are thinking about what we're learning. This is one of the coolest science classes I have ever taken because it makes me think in a much more fun way than memorizing facts, etc. does.
So I was trying to think of a paper topic last week, and I don't recall quite how, but somehow I stumbled upon the topic of artificial intelligence (AI). It is a really fascinating (and controversial!!) subject, and there are SO many different aspects of it. I decided to focus on the aspect of AI that is attempting to create humanistic AI, that is to say robots like ourselves. What struck me the most in my research was how far back the quest for AI goes. The first automaton that fully replicated human form was created in A.D. 1525! Of course, AI is still far from resembling the imaginative creations of the science fiction genre, such as Robby, C-3PO, and HAL, but progress is definitely being made. One of the most interesting things I did in my research was have an online chat with an AI computer. While I was chatting with the AI computer, I was expecting it to make a lot of mistakes that would reveal it as a machine, but the AI computer made far fewer mistakes than I had expected. It was really fun and interesting. And although it may seem strange, I got the most interesting information about AI from the movie website for Spielberg's AI:Artificial Intelligence. That is where I had the chat with the AI computer, and also they have a really good timeline of the history of AI (although they go up to the year A.D. 2126 with stuff that happened in the movie, I guess). They also have some really good links.
Subject: clumpy diversity
Date: 2002-09-21 11:19:28
Message Id: 2824
Okay, so I understand the clumpy diversity concept, and why we think it is a real pattern and not just an artifact of human observations. But I have some problems with it. Since humans created the categories that things fall into, it is hard for us to know if clumpy diversity is or isn't due to our preconceptions. For example, once the differences among plants, animals, and fungi were explained to her, a little kid would definitely think that fungi fell outside of our regular categories, falling into the grey area between two clumps. But then we hear about those differences in every science class after that, so it becomes ingrained. Once something is fairly well embedded in our minds, I think it is impossible to decide if it is natural or contrived. We will always be able to draw distinctions between different organisms, so how are we supposed to decide if they are clumpy because of the characteristics we use? Or because nature/supreme being/evolution/etc made them that way? Or because we just make new categories for everything new that we come across?
Oh, and thanks for everyone making me feel even more guilty for not exercising this year! *laugh* Maybe I should force myself to start again, and see if my sleeping improves.
Name: Diana La Femina
Subject: clumpy diversity
Date: 2002-09-21 13:11:28
Message Id: 2829
I agree with Maggie. I think that the only reason that we have clumpy diversity is because we look for it. If we looked for another categorization where there were all these grey areas, how would we categorize? Categorization, by it's very definition (which I'm too lazy to look up right now) means that you have to look for the differences between one thing and another. If there are any grey areas, of which fungi is a perfect example, we make another category for it. Hence the clumpy diversity. I am not, however, saying that clumpy diversity does not exist and that humans are just making it up. The fact that we've found it proves it exists for whatever reasons, whether it's because some greater creative force has no originality (or a sense of humor in the case of the platypus), or whether Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest truly holds true and thus there are no hairy fish, I don't know. However, the one question that comes to mind: If a fish WERE hairy, what would want to eat it?
And I think it's great that we're pressuring each other to exercise. Peer pressure at it's best, eh?
Name: Chelsea Phillips
Date: 2002-09-22 01:18:22
Message Id: 2832
hey girls! (and guys) Maggie, I think one of the reasons you've been able to function so well on three hours of sleep is that you aren't getting into REM sleep, so it's enough to recharge your energy stores, which is great, but like Diana (maybe someone else, sorry!!) said, there probably are adverse effects, like your body not getting to repair itself (not that there's anything wrong with being broken;). Anyway, I guess that isn't exactly helpful, is it? I'm sorry! But, I've been going to the gym this week too, and am sleeping pretty well, so maybe that would help you... By the way, thanks for what you said:) And to whoever wrote the thing about athlete's foot- hehehehehehehehehehe...you funny!
Name: Katie Campbell
Date: 2002-09-22 09:19:25
Message Id: 2833
So let's see, we have sleep, categorization, stress, exercise, and crazy creation theories to choose from in this forum.
I think I'll go with the topic closest to myself on this Sunday morning which is stress, which then relates to sleep and exercise.
I think I seem to have an over abundance of non-stress stress. And I think that's due to the fact that I'm on Cross Country and therefore I get consistent exercise and that exercise wears me out and I then get deep sleep at night...but this all happens while the worry of schoolwork, grades, acheivement in extra curricular activities, the pressure of keeping up with people back home, that reading I didn't finish two weeks ago, and my unfolded laundry swirls around in my mind. So as Erin talked about all of the horrible effects of stress and I am discovering my lax attitude about it all because I have some sort of release in my exercise and sleep, I started to wonder...Do we all need some form of stress to keep us operating? The deadline looming, the mother nagging, the huge phone bill, your good friend pressuring you to come out on a Saturday so you have to do all of your work on Friday (or Sunday I suppose), they all push us to keep moving in someway. If we were stuck with nothing else to do but one thing, would we get that one thing done? By no means am I advocating stress for us or a high strung life style, but maybe there is a balance of non-stress stress. As Emily Breslin wrote in her article for The College News she talked about feeling extremely busy, but not quite overwhelmed and stressed. I wonder if there is a way in which we can balance our plate to realize, yes everything needs to be done, but none in replacement of rejuvinating ourselves with things we enjoy, in my case exercise, sleep, choosing that movie on Thursday night rather than a few pages of reading. But even when we choose those other things, we can still be motivated by the stress of having a list of things to do...
Oh it's a cycle I suppose...
I just hope the cycle for me doesn't lead to the numerous horrible things Erin mentioned...But then again, as was so discussed in my hall bathroom late last night, it seems everything these days causes cancer, heart disease, or something else to go wrong, may as well live life to the fullest so your excuse won't be just one thing, instead the excuse for problems will that you were truly living...
Date: 2002-09-22 10:01:53
Message Id: 2835
Sarah Tan, in response to your questions about prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, the only conclusion that I can come with is that prokaryotic cells cannot handle specialization. Given that there is all that "stuff," (I too used to know all the big names, but have now forgotten them) in eukaryotic cells, it seems to me at least reasonable that a cell with a neucleus is more able to diversify and can contain for info manuals on how to perform different tasks.
That being said, I can see how there may have been multi-prokaryotic organisms, but since living cell would be limited in its capacity as to what it actually can do, I would tend to think that most (if not all) or such organisms "evolved" to the point where they then had eukaryotic cells.
This may not work, but I think that as a theory, it might be something to ponder.
Name: Heather Price
Date: 2002-09-22 10:10:25
Message Id: 2836
maggie, don't beat yourself up about not sleeping, sometimes that can make it worse. actually, you probably have what i like to call "bryn mawr insomnia". hahahaha. the longer i've been here, the more i realize how taxing this school is not just on your mind, but on your body as well. this school instills a marvelous sense of guilt in most of us that can easily keep you up all night, no joke.
this also goes back to the stress thing as well i guess. stress is the number one cause of a lot of problems at here, sleeplessness being one of them. it's a sad day when you wake up from a two hour nap, only to be racked by instense guilt because you should have been working on you bio web paper... not that'd i'd know or anything... i personally like the mantra "this too shall pass" or another favorite is "nothing lasts forever" (which i'm liking less, the closer i get to being a senior... proving that i indeed do still like this place). So, maybe just realizing that Bryn Mawr turns us all into a bunch of guilty, stressed-out, sleep-deprived masochits could all help us get a little more perspective on what we're doing, and maybe make us worry a little less about catching some sleep.
Date: 2002-09-22 10:25:03
Message Id: 2837
We all are categorizing based on concepts that we have been taught. The question is can we remove ourselves from these well-learned lessons to learn that perhaps our categories are all wrong. Scientists continue using the same guidelines for centuries on end until they find a huge contradiction. Why is it that the small contradictions are not given more attention instead of being placed in a whole new category or instead of being the ever so popular exception to the rule? One day we may discover that trees and fungi are more alike than we think then we will have to rewrite the biology books.
Name: Elizabeth Damore
Date: 2002-09-22 11:43:30
Message Id: 2839
It's difficult to think that maybe we could come up for definitive, unquestionable categories for every living thing. The nature of life is diversity, which makes it impossible to pigeonhole every plant and animal into a neat category. While this is frustrating for those in a biology class, that diversity is also what makes the study of life interesting.
Name: Amanda Maclay
Subject: clumpy diversity
Date: 2002-09-22 11:43:54
Message Id: 2840
In response to Maggie's comment about drawing a distinction between what is natural and what is contrived and how we can assume that the categories we make are not just preconceptions based on a limited view of perception, I just want to say that I think it is important to note that while we are making assumptions on a limited view of perceptions, these perceptions do exist and therefore allow for a fair amount of credibility. While yes, there may be some aura that we cannot percieve that surrounds all living things, living things will still reproduce, sustain energy etc. So, if there was something about living creatures that was impercievable to us, that would just be another way of categorizing. It may be easier to understand, it may be easier to use, but it would not make our observations so far neccesarily false.
Subject: Depression and diabetes
Date: 2002-09-22 11:50:41
Message Id: 2841
I also just wanted to comment on depression. I think it is strange how the "experiment" by Profesor Grobstein was prooved because everyone truthfully everyone should have raised their hands. At one point in everyone's life, they will suffer of be affected by depression. Also, it is so common nowadays that I'm guessing everyone knows at least one person with depression. It is interesting how powerful social implications are in society.
Also, I was wondering if diabetes and depression could have any links? I know someone with diabetes and whenever they don't eat at normal scheduled time, they get extremely moody. I know it is due to their blood sugar, but I wonder what causes the abrupt moodiness and extreme change in personality?
Name: sarah frayne
Subject: sleep at bryn mawr
Date: 2002-09-22 11:56:59
Message Id: 2842
This may be my own weird affliction, but I'll throw it out to you guys anyway... I sometimes find that I sleep less at bryn mawr or find it harder t relax because there really is no seperation between work/social space and relax/sleep space at school. I mean, when you go to bed, your work is sitting a couple feet away from you. I do readings in my bed, write papers, etc. I think that is one of the reasons being at school is so taxing, because you never leave the realm of school. Its an omnipresence. anyway, I've read articles that say it is imortant to cosider the use of certain spaces and rooms wthin a house becase if you assocate a spae wit a certain activity, work that stresses you out or socilizing that hypes you up, then it will be harder to sleep in those areas....
Subject: Ramblin' Man
Date: 2002-09-22 15:13:50
Message Id: 2845
I was really interested by someone's comment about how maybe humans are little cells to some larger organism. I immediately thought about what I posted last week about the Gaia Principle. Imagine if humans were the cells of the Earth, or even something smaller like the mitochondria or ribosomes. It's very easy, as this forum has proven, to think about how endless our universe is. Sometimes I feel the need to ground myself though, and focus on the more relative things in biology and how they connect to me. So this week's posting for me will consider something that happened to my cousin this past week. Apparently he had been having chest pains and trouble breathing so they took him to the hospital and found that one of his lungs was 10% collapsed. He's fine now, recovering quickly. However, it got me thinking: "What makes a lung suddenly collapse?" and "How does it 'reinflate'?". It makes me think about the wonder that is the human body. We are so evolutionarily (real word?) adapted that the smallest decrease in lung size leads to discomfort and pain, and further collapsing can kill a person. If lungs collapsed more frequently, would natural selection create humans with larger lungs, or more elastic lungs? And the fact that it only takes a couple of days of R&R for the lung to return to its normal size is astounding. There is so much going on in our bodies, semiautonomously (yeah science words), that hold our life in such delicate balance. Some things make me wonder why we aren't more durable, and then others make me realize just how tough our bodies are.
Subject: Francis Bacon
Date: 2002-09-22 15:16:52
Message Id: 2846
This week I've been seeing some major connections b/t two classes I didn't even think were related: 17th Century Intellectual History and Biology. In 17th C. (take it if you're interested ... it's a schlep to UPenn, but it's a really cool class), we've been reading Francis Bacon's Novum Organum. In it, Bacon talks a great deal about ideas about science that are actually a lot like ideas that we've discussed in our bio class. He discusses the importance of observation and inductive reasoning over accepting the word of established authorities, and he seems to believe that though the scientific approaches he advocates can yield strong evidence that something is likely true, they can't establish definitive "truth."
Date: 2002-09-22 17:18:56
Message Id: 2847
Michele's completely right about the stigma surrounding depression, and mental illness in general. We're all perfectly comfortable with treating emotional imbalances as legitimate illness when it involves another party, but rarely comfortable claiming ourselves as sufferers. And, I count myself as guilty of the same prejudice as well. Part of me cannot rationalize that "depression" truly exists, that it's a legitimate chemical disorder. Maybe that's just the natural frame of mind for some people. Maybe it's indulgence.
Of course, then there are the people, the friends and family members who serve as proof against that justification.
But...after echoing her comments, what I actually wanted to pose was a question regarding treatment. Do we treat depression and anxiety disorders with pills (the dreaded SSRIs), like most Western medicinal practices? Or do we solve the problem with a more holistic approach, involving counseling and exercise, for example? Personally, I'm wary of the pills. Certainly, they can serve as a crutch and ultimately be discarded once the depression has run its course. But they also have the potential to be abused (then again, what doesn't?). People can become too dependent upon them; I've seen it happen to friends, watched the dosages get higher and higher and then the prescriptions change. And, besides, isn't it stronger to solve these problems on your own, without the aid of medication? To become more content through self-reflection and diligence rather than with a pill? But, perhaps others need the catalyst that the medicene is.
Clearly, I'm rambling. And the answer regarding treatment depends solely on the individual, as well. But, it is slightly interesting to note that perhaps my bias against medication stems from the same biases we've been discussing and that Prof. Grobstein observed.
Name: Diana La Femina
Subject: treating depression with a pill
Date: 2002-09-22 18:32:28
Message Id: 2848
Ok, I seem to be posting a lot this week, but this is something I have a very strong opinion about (like there's something I don't have a strong opinion about...)
I know someone who goes to a very large college. This person is someone I am very close to, have been for years. Due to whatever reasons, they became depressed and basically had a breakdown before winter break. Due to the size of the school, and the time of the year, the counselor they went to gave them a perscription fo Zoloft, which is an anti-depressant. Now, all this I can understand. It's a quick way to get them through the crazy finals time, when many people are in need of counselors and so my friend could not get the treatment they needed.
My problem: They never stopped taking the anti-depressant.
For six months this person took this anti-depressant, without any form of counseling except to get the perscription filled yet again. They became a different person, had mood swings to the two exremes of the spectrum. And yet, they didn't know why they were taking these pills, what was causing their problems.
I've known some other people who went on anti-depressants, but they needed it. They went through years of therapy, trying everything other than changing their body chemistry to heal their mind as well as they could so they could function. The point is that anti-depressants are being given out like a miracle drug. I've even heard of people taking them because they might lower risks of breast cancer or something like that. DOES NO ONE CARE THAT THEY ARE CHANGING THEIR BODY CHEMISTRY, THAT THEIR BRAIN IS SUFFERING FOR THIS?!?!?! An anti-depressant changes the chemicals that work with your brain. Some people biologically need these pills, but the only real way to find this out is to go through years of therapy and rule out every other option. I think it's disgusting that anti-depressants are being given out so frivilously by people who should know better. Our minds are complex areas that can only be understood by the person who owns it. Everyone's is different, everyone has different factors effecting it. And thus, what is good for one person is not necessarily good for another. Anti-depressants, and most drugs also, should be a last resort if at all possible or there may be some horrible consequences to face.
Subject: melon mania
Date: 2002-09-22 19:27:56
Message Id: 2850
Wednesday morning at breakfast, I was discussing the benefits of canteloupe with my teammates. We were complimenting the dining hall's selection that morning, when suddenly one person yelled out, "That's not a canteloupe! That's a musk melon!" We were all a little taken aback, but I decided to do some research to find out where the discrepancy originates. This issue makes me think about our classification on Planet Courtyard. We might be calling a certain plant grass, when it has a very specific and different name. Classification is important to know what's what. So, I want to know exactly what I was eating Wednesday morning!
I searched for musk melon on the web, and came up with a historical answer to my question. Apparently, both musk melons and canteloupes are members of the Cantelupensis group of melons. However, in historical usage the musk melon generally refers to the very thin skinned, often netted group of melons, of which the nutmeg would be a member.
The canteloupes are named for Cantelupa, a papal estate outside of Rome where this type of melon was first introduced from Armenia in the 15th century. These melons have a very thick, sometimes warted rind. By the beginning of the 19th century these types of melons went by the name of Rock melons, again, referring to the very thick rind. You can still find a canteloupe call Black Rock that falls in this group as well a number of other types. The best known canteloupe today is probably the Charentais.
The Nutmeg melon is a green fleshed, netted melon that is first listed in this country by Bernard McMahon in 1804 and, according to Peter Henderson in Gardening for Profit (1867), is still the premium melon for home use in this country at that time.
There is a lot more to know about a simple 'canteloupe' than I ever expected. Now, what does this mean I ate on Wednesday morning? I'm still not sure! Science really does demand constant questions! Napkin Note anyone?
(The above information is from www.gardenweb.com)
Name: Diana La Femina
Subject: musk melon
Date: 2002-09-22 20:32:08
Message Id: 2851
...is anyone else a little disturbed that we're taking the time to research melons? I mean, it's interesting and I feel enlightened, but...we're researching melons...and finding it interesting...and I thought I was crazy for posting what I did in the begining of the week. Now, I know I'm getting crazier...because I actually liked the melon information...
Name: Laura Silvuis
Date: 2002-09-23 00:54:56
Message Id: 2854
Wow, I feel so dead this week! I haven't had the time to post yet and now I feel all lost! About the excercise thing, I know how you mean where it simply improves all the areas of your life - I find that, after excersising, I can study harder (hah hah, what a laugh) and sleep better, I'm more alert and everything just seems so much ... better!
I hate it when people, especially girls (not so much at this school, but in other places) feel like they have to loose weight and be stick-insects, to use Bridget Jones-terms, in order to feel even remotely attractive. So they starve themselves and do these crazy excercise regimes so they can get down to 115 pounds. Does that strike anyone else as crazy? I knew a girl in high school who went on a 1200 calories-a-day diet, and after two weeks she looked, in lay-men's terms, like shit. I mean, don't you need like 2,000 calories a day just to survive? That, to me, is just insane.
Just my thoughts ...
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