Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Remote Ready Biology Learning Activities

Remote Ready Biology Learning Activities has 50 remote-ready activities, which work for either your classroom or remote teaching.

Topic: Biology

This forum is for discussion of thoughts arising from and extending materials in Biology section. Comments entered here will be automatically posted.

Go to last comment or Post a comment

Serendip's forums sometimes get longer than what can conveniently be accessed and displayed. They are, at the same time, in their entirety an important part of what Serendip has become at any given time (and, of course, particular contributions may well be of lasting significance). To try and balance needs for easy display and those of continuous and permanent record, only this year's forum comments are displayed on this page with earlier comments being preserved elsewhere. To go to the forum for prior years, click on the year below.

Year: - Current postings - 2000/2001 - 1998/1999 - 1997 -

Name: Jacob Ghitis, M.D.
Subject: On SURVIVAL
Date: Sat Jan 3 14:33:32 EST 1998


Living organisms require for their sustenance a frequent supply of nutrients and water. They also require a habitat.
For the survival of their species they must reproduce.

Individual organisms belonging to a higher scale of evolutionary complexity will sometimes find themselves facing situations that demand a 'fight or flight' response. It is a question of immediate survival, of protecting their personal integrity.

There is a second type of only fight response, which is related to long-term survival, when the threat is not to the individual's body but to its basic resources of survival, reproduction and habitation.

If 'badness' is the motor for survival and advancement {at the expense of others}, aggressiveness is doubly needed for the avoidance of becoming a source for the advancement of others.

It has been assumed that the organism feels hunger or a sexual urge as a response to appropriate biological signals reaching specific neural centers. These centers were supposed to make conscious the need to satisfy the corresponding necessities for survival of the individual and for the fulfilment of his reproduction instinct.

Such a simple mechanism was recently made obsolete, when it was experimentally shown that the neurotransmitter dopamine plays an intermediate role in survival-oriented neural messages.
The biological signal generated by the--as yet absolutely unconscious --need for alimentation or for the expression of a reproduction-oriented sexual act, arrive at their specific primary neural centers, where they stimulate the release of dopamine. This chemical subsequently acts on a second center, which in turn gives rise to the conscious sensations of hunger or of sexual arousal.

Putting it in graphic language : 1.- "The body needs food." 2.- DOPAMINE is released. 3.- "You feel hungry."

The previous scheme allows the understanding of several well-known but yet unexplained observations, as follows.
Anorexia not explained by physical illness might be caused by a derangement of dopamine release, due to a genetic-psychologic abnormality.

The appetizer effect of alcohol in low doses is probably related to the stimulation of dopamine release. A similar effect is obtained with low doses of cocaine.

Increasing amounts of alcohol in the brain might cause excessive dopamine release, with resulting unwarranted feelings of sympathy toward others, followed by aggressiveness and subsequently by loss of food and sexual-oriented desires, as happens with cocaine intake.

It is probable that sympathy, love and aggressiveness are also modulated by dopamine, which might also be the target of aromatic sensorial stimuli that enhance food and sexual appetites.

Name: Jacob Ghitis
Date: Tue Feb 3 15:57:42 EST 1998

As explained in About... Serendip, for reasons of expediency I am moving here to continue my work on LINGUISTIC COMMUNICATION.

Name: Jacob Ghitis, M.D.
Date: Tue Feb 3 16:21:38 EST 1998



1b.- SENTIENT:- Interoceptive

These are the body sensations that pertain to the realm of the organism proper. "I am hungry," "My belly hurts," and "I want to sleep," are examples. The last one means "I are sleepy," because if the meaning was intended to be "I want to forgot," then the subject class would be entirely other. Whoever talks a lot about interoceptive sensations is sick, whether hypochondriac or not.

1c.- SENTIENT:- Affective

Relating to emotions (short-term affections) and feelings (long-term). Obvious examples are, "I love her," "I felt jealousy," "She sympathizes with me," "I am bored," and "She bores me," but not "This is boring," for the latter sentence belongs to the next class of subjects. Communication based on affectively charged sentences are of great human interest in general, especially to psychoanalysts, lovers, confidants, novelists, dramatists and the judicial system.

2a.- AXIOLOGIC:- Deontic

This type of value judgment relates to moral or ethical obligations. When you say, for example, "Make love, not war," and your implied intention is "It is immoral to kill; it has been divinely commanded to love your neighbor." "It is good to work the fields," is based on the biblical "Thou shall eat the bread with the sweat of thy brow."

2b.- AXIOLOGIC:- Telic

Meaning goal-oriented. Here something has value because it is instrumentally useful. To exploit the above given examples: "War is bad because it is instrumental in destroying life and property, while love serves to create neighborliness and people." Again, "Working the fields yields produce."

2c.- AXIOLOGIC:- Intrinsic (aesthetic)

In this subgroup of axiologic (value judgment) subjects, sentences convey the message that something has or lacks a value in itself. "War is not good because people suffer, while love gives pleasure and other joyous affections." And, "It is pleasant to work the fields; you fell creatively alive." This is boring," instead of "This bores me,' is an intrinsic value judgment. Dialogue based on this class of subjects leads to mutual identification or alienation.


Dialog of this class proceeds through sentences that convey ideas. These sentences are essentially analytic, dealing with science, whose concerns are demonstrable entities (facts) or philosophy, in its various approaches to undemonstrable yet clearly understandable thought matters. Theologic --non dogmatic-- themes are also included.


These are mostly related to being-existing and to doing. Like, "She is a mathematics teacher," "I am writing," "The patient is in coma," and "He is a dreamer," (also a value judgment). "She is a good mother" combines also an axiologic aspect.

*** If you state, "Me Tarzan," you are exchanging information, you have established a very simple verbal communication and even, by means of gestures, may have initiated a nonverbal communication. But let us remember that the present writing deals with linguistic communication, which is the usual basis for dialogue.
Precise, rich language is required for effective 'external' dialogue (with people) and for effective 'internal' one (with oneself) --that is, for fruitful thinking and reasoning.***

Name: Jacob Ghitis, M.D.
Date: Sat Feb 7 08:05:29 EST 1998



A personal overview. What one talks or writes about and how


Sentences are expressed in the following moods: declarative, interrogative, imperative, and conditional.

Sentences are also expressed in the following tenses: past, present and future. Still, from a linguistic analysis point of view, I suggest adding an 'indefinite' tense, as exemplified further on.

"I wish to paint a beautiful picture," is a sentence in the declarative mood, present tense, which means: "I have an (affective) urge to realize an (ostensive) act resulting in an (axiologically aesthetic) object (exteroceptively) perceived by the sense of vision."

"You cannot imagine how good she was," probably means, "She was extremely good." Such sentence would be abstruse if the intention were, "Her goodness was of a divine, ethereal quality which can not be grasped by the mind." Analytically put, the sentence conveys the following message: "I am stating - in a declarative mood, past tense - that she had outstanding - axiologic - qualities." Now you are left with the option of believing that: a) she was (deontically) faithful and pious, b) she was (telically) very good at cooking, c) she provided (aestethically) much satisfaction and pleasure as a wife, and d) she had all those qualities.

"Should I give away this picture?" is a sentence in the interrogative mood, and in an 'indefinite' tense, which may just deal with the ostensive act of giving away, or may have affective or axiologic connotations, the latter being of an intrinsic (aesthetic) nature if you consider that the picture is not pretty, or telic, if you ponder over its monetary value.

"I might decide to buy this painting for a thousand dollars," is a conditional mood, 'indefinite' tense sentence containing an intellective component ('decide' after deliberating) and an ostensive act ('to buy'); 'for a thousand dollars' is axiologic -since the conditional clause ('I might') denotes uncertainty about the right price. Indeed, there is the implied question, "Perhaps I am being ripped off at that price (deontic), or, "I wonder if I'll be able to sell it for a profit," (telic), or yet, "I am not sure that it is really that pretty (aesthetic).

"Tell me your opinion about the President," is an imperative mood, indefinite tense sentence, dealing with intellective, axiologic and affective matters. Like, "Is the President good?" meaning perhaps, is he (deontically) a faithful husband? where a positive answer might (intellectively) be construed by you as indicating that the President has not the daring to be (telically) an effectively human leader, or perhaps you'll be (affectively) attracted by precisely such attribute in the President, and do not care much about his intellectual qualities.

Name: Jacob Ghitis, M.D.
Date: Sun Feb 8 11:45:21 EST 1998



A personal overview. What one talks or writes about and how

Sentences in the imperative mood are uncanningly in the 'indefinite' tense. "Don't do this!" "Don't do that!" appear to refer to the present but also the future - and might even imply the past. These are the sentences that come to the mind when one thinks of the unconscious. The id behests: "Do!" and the superego commands: "Thou shall not!" The one shouts with the howling shriek of the instincts, the other speaks with the stern voice of parents and teachers. The preconscious ego cringes and asks itself with a whining tone: "What shall I do?" Reality solemnly declares: "This are the limits of your enactments!" And so, the preconscious ego finally says - falsely assertive: "I might as well."
All these processes, taking place in the hidden recesses of the mind, - in the viscid, proteiform protoplasm of neurons by the billions - finally give birth to a so-called 'decision' of the conscious ego.

Now hear this: The above written sentences might be construed by you as dealing with a abstruse subject, therefore unsuitable for linguistic communication. Or else, they might be understood as dealing with intellective matters - suitable for communication and therefore for dialogue. Should you find them unintelligible, probably the subject is not appropriate for your tastes or interests.

Knock, knock! she raps at the door: non-verbal information indicating that there is somebody asking for the door to be opened. The man responds, opening the door: non-verbal response. Dialogue is about to begin.
She smiles and cheerily says "Hi!" This is now a verbal expression (with the non-verbal, body-language smile) meaning, "I wish to obtain something from you." Dialogue starts in earnest when the man dourly answers, "Yes?" with all its significance.
She explains, "I am selling encyclopedias and I'm meaning to sell you one." He gruffly responds, "I don't wan'a buy no encyclopedias from nobody!"
Dialogue, that is, purposeful linguistic exchange of information, started and ended.


Name: María Elena Torres Olave
Subject: Need information Notonecta predator of mosquitoes larva
Date: Wed Jun 24 20:58:34 EDT 1998
I´m need documents of Notonecta predator of mosquitoes larvas and biologycal control of mosquitoes (Bti) Tanks
Name: María Elena Torres Olave
Subject: Need information Notonecta predator of mosquitoes larva
Date: Wed Jun 24 21:01:21 EDT 1998
I´m need documents of Notonecta predator of mosquitoes larvas and biologycal control of mosquitoes (Bti) Tanks
Name: Maria Elena Torres Olave
Date: Wed Jun 24 21:05:52 EDT 1998
Please, send me information on follow topic : Meleagris gallopavo ectoparasites, Gracias!!!!
Name: amie kershbaum
Subject: Evolution
Date: Mon Sep 7 18:36:05 EDT 1998
I think evolution's critics are most disconcerted by the notion of continual change, not arguments against Creationism. In Darwin's time the Bible was considered allegorical, not historical fact, by most sects, excepting the Puritans. And Darwin was not the first to suggest that man had developed from some lower organism. What was novel, was the doctrine of "survival of the fittest", which illustrated the necessity of positive adaption. I think people were more trouble by the implications for the Nature of man, in that Man's "virtue" could more difficulty be attributed to inherent goodness in lieu of the phenomenon of adaption.
Name: Lily Nonomiya
Subject: "Study Links Low Cholesterol..." article
Date: Tue Nov 3 23:58:59 EST 1998
The article, "Study Links Low Cholesterol to Violent Death" was really interesting, and I recommend others take a look at it. It takes about a minute to read. The article made me think about how many misconceptions about scientific discovery there must be in the world, and why people have not done much to fix society's stereotypes about such things. The article showed that we, as the general public, have to read about scientific breakthroughs with extreme caution, and cannot even take reports on scientific breakthroughs (something we always thought were reliable and "are always true -- just because.") as seriously as we always have. The article made me think about why scientific discoveries become so falsely represented to the public: are the representations intentional? Or does science present the "truth" as it is, and we manipulate it (intentionally or unintentionally) as the general public? Why is it that we have always thought that high cholesterol (not low) has led to death? Where have we gotten the impression that fats are bad, when really they aren't. One would be inclined to say that the media is largely responsible for this, and if so, why is this message sent to us in the first place? I wanted to know what other people thought about the reliability of scientific discovery. Please share your thoughts. Sorry this is not that coherent…am a bit too tired to respond fully now…
Name: anonymous
Date: Thu Nov 26 16:59:09 EST 1998

Subject: research
Date: Thu Jan 21 13:42:13 EST 1999
Hello I am an Alevel student who is in desperate need for some help. I am currently in the process of investigating'how the effect of prey density on the handling time in Notonecta'' I was wondering whether you could help me with some reseacrh material inorder to make my invetigation good. I would be really grateful if you could send me some information on how Notonect life in they attack they prey and so on.. I truly would appreciate your help. Yours Faithfully Miss Bhavna G

Go to first comment or Post a comment
| Biology Forum | Biology | Serendip Home |

Send us your comments at Serendip
© by Serendip 1994- - Last Modified: Wednesday, 02-May-2018 10:53:16 CDT