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JyL's picture

Intro and 3 questions

Hello, my name is Janice Lee (JyL) and I am a sophomore at Bryn Mawr College. I've always been fascinated with the definition of the word "life". The dictionary defines it in a variety of ways: "the course of human events and activities"; "the course of existence of an individual"; "the organic phenomenon that distinguishes living organisms from nonliving ones". I know that I am not going to get one straightforward answer that explains what "life" is. Through this course, I hope that I will be able to gain even just a small understanding to what the concept of "life" is through a biological/scientific perspective.

Several questions/ topics I wish to explore:
1. I am planning on being a Linguistics/Language major. In my Introduction to Syntax class, the professor talked about the concept of Biolinguistics, which addresses the language faculty. The language faculty is our biological ability to use language. Human beings are the only creatures that use language, and linguists and others have concluded that we must therefore have some kind of specific biological endowment for language, one which is totally absent, or nearly so, from all other living species: our language faculty. So for this course I would like to try and gain a better understanding about not only the language faculty, but other biological "programs" that we seem to be endowed with that make us such a unique species.

2. With the "Swine Flu" scare, I decided to read up on it, because I realized that I do not actually know what it is. When I read that it is a virus that is usually found in pigs, and that it just mutated and became infectious to humans, I wanted to know about the mutation capabilites of such viruses.

3. Humans all have their own unique personalities and behaviors. Even if we might act similarly, it is not exactly the same, and everyone has their own way of interpreting things. Do different behaviors mean that we all have different brains?

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