Andreas Marquis

Biology 111

Imagining the tenth dimension
So this isn't really physical science but it's still something that I really care about: dimension theory. I absolutely love the concept of higher and lower dimensions, ever since I started looking up the stuff online and reading flatland I've never lost interest. There are several videos on YouTube that helped me understand but it's still very confusing if you've never even thought of it. Right now I understand about 8 of them. You see it starts out when you stop and think that if you lived in two dimensions (and not three) and a three dimensional object passed by you, all you would see would be slivers of the object in its entirety at a time.
Like this:external image moz-screenshot.png

This is what a three dimensional person passing through your two dimensional plane would look like.
Now this applies to higher dimensions too! Lets take us for example. We're three dimensional, so we only perceive TIME(the fourth dimension) one sliver at a time as it passed by us. We can never see all of time, the same way that a two dimensional being could never see a whole human, because we can never entirely enter their plane.
If you really want to get crazy it keeps going up. The fourth dimension would be all of time, from the start of the universe to its end, but if you wanted to go to a different timeline in which everything was different you would have to go through the fifth dimension: that's what they do in Back to the future. To be able to see all possible timelines from the start of the universe would be the sixth dimension and to jump to an other possible universe would be the seventh dimension.
That's the start of the insane stuff, If you don't understand its ok, I'm just typing to see myself write now. So the eights dimension is being able to see all possible universe's that can exist and that's where i get lost, I don't understand much after that but I'm sure these videos will help you...maybe.

This is cool, shows the extent of the BP oil spill

9 Have you noticed the weather lately?

I think this is related to my last post, so as we all know the massive burning of fossil fuels by humans this century has been causing the earths temperature to rise and to most of us that's just a statement that we all believe but have never really given much thought. Well at last the results are in! The national climate data centre has been evaluating all the changes which have occurred the past 40 years and they have finally announced what they call the new ''normal'' weather of the up to 10,000 different climate regions of the world. Most of you may have known that this decade was the hottest recorded decade ever and its gonna keep going up. These new regulations will help businesses which are dependant on weather to reorganize themselves or make important decisions.
2000 to 2009:
GISS, NASA, maps, climate change, global warming
GISS, NASA, maps, climate change, global warming

external image full_1291979170giss_temperature_palette.png
1970 to 1979:
GISS, NASA, maps, climate change, global warming
GISS, NASA, maps, climate change, global warming

external image full_1291979237giss_temperature_palette.png
Jervey, Ben. (2011, January 18). What's "normal" weather is about to officially change. GOOD, Retrieved from

8 Saving energy for a rainy day

So many people wonder why we aren't all driving around in big fancy electric cars yet? Almost everyone cares about pollution these days. Some people say it's because of oil companies, others say it's because the electric engines couldn't deliver the power needed. Well big companies do play a big part but we do have the engines.The problem is storing the energy, batteries are way to clunky and big, if they were big enough to hold the power needed to move a car for a few days, they would be too heavy to move in the first place. The problem may be on the verge of being solved though, scientists at MIT and the PNNL are currently working on ways to capture energy in the most efficient way known to man: in chemical bonds.
They're trying to find the best product to turn electricity into chemical bonds and then back in electricity. The challenges faced are that the catalysts being used at the moment are too expensive and so we turn to plants. The enzymes that are used in photosynthesis are far more efficient than any man made products. Once we harness this power all that remains would be to integrate it into the world and all the problems from burning fossil fuels would disappear.

Jervey, Ben. (2011, January 20). Researchers "mimic photosynthesis" to solve the energy storage problem. GOOD, Retrieved from

Here ya'll go, an other random post which is slowly grinding my bio mark down but its cool anyway. GOOD magazine is a wonderful thing that I've been following for quite a while, you can learn almost anything and they have a few really great video's on YouTube. Here are a few of my favourites.

the dangers of nuclear war
countries and their dependance on oil
Hidden costs of the Iraq war
potable water

7 Chinese roundworms
external image roundworm-large.jpg

An online blog called end the neglect a recently brought light to some atrocious extremes Chinese woman are going to.
In several job competitions, woman from the Xiamen area of China ingested roundworm eggs purposely...simply to lose weight! These mini parasites that we learned about are actually being taken to lose fat. Now remember that these aren't the big tape worms that just sit in the intestine absorbing food, oh no that would be too tame. These little guys not only travel the intestines but also leave it to attack other parts of the body such as the lungs, liver and even the central nervous system. They can cause unnatural swelling along with coughing and pneumonia. If you didn't find that gross, scroll down to see all the other great places these things can get...

Cooper, Rob. "Female Chinese students resort to eating roundworm eggs to ensure they look thin for job interviews." Mail online world news 31st December 2010: n. pag. Web. 12 Jan 2011. <>.
external image roundworm_eye.jpg
external image roundworm.jpg

6 Alien life on earth

A strange new life form has been found recently and some scientist would argue that they would pass as aliens. Until now the only major elements considered for life were carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. This new discovery throws that out the window because this life form feeds on arsenic. It can actually grow with either arsenic or phosphorus so it isn't that strange but still quite interesting. . It was found at the bottom of the arsenic-heavy lake Mono in California and has been dubbed GFAJ-1. The name bores me. What makes this discover so great, especially for NASA is that it could help future scientists identify and recognize new life forms on earth and everywhere. The fact that the bacteria can adapt to survival on arsenic shows that life forms living solely on that could natural occur. This is a major discovery in the field of astrobiology, the study of origin, evolution, distribution and future life in the universe. Further research is being funded by NASA, the US department of Energy and the American national institutes of health.

NASA image of GFAJ-1 grown on arsenic.
NASA image of GFAJ-1 grown on arsenic.

"Microbe that feeds off arsenic alters search for life." N.p., 02 12 2010. Web. 2 Dec 2010. <>.

Hey guys,
I found god.
No big deal.
Seriously ask it even does my math homework

I haven't posted in a while, I hope this makes up:

Stem Cells

This is a very delicate issue and one that I am very uncertain about. Yes we have spent weeks debating and learning about these little godsends but in my opinion, to have an opinion on the subject at this point seems quite naive. I'm a very sceptical person you see and its hard for me to make up my mind about anything simply because I hate assuming, filling in the blanks when I know I don't know all that I could. I learned so much about Stem cells in this section but I still feels that there are so many more points of views and bits of information that I have yet to see on the subject, Ms. Holyoke-Walsh probably doesn't even know ALL that there is to know even though she is very well informed on the subject :) :)
but since I need to have an opinion here you go:
I think that the process of gaining the necessary eggs to create stem cells is such a strenuous procedure that it should never be done on a massive scale. That said, the potential of stem cells is so great that we should pursue research to find ways to create the amount of stem cells needed to help people on a global scale, be it through mass stem lines or maybe some future way of synthesizing cells. I have nothing against the creation of stem cells to heal people, some would see it as playing god. I say why not? Species evolve and grow through natural selection right? Humans became much more adept at surviving in this world by using tools to shape the everything to their needs, by wearing clothes to keep them warm, by regulating their food supply. What could be a better survival skill than using your own DNA to fix problems. Why not go right into what makes a person and change it for the better, harness it, use it to adapt and increase our survivability on earth? I'm sure we would be amazed if we found a species on earth which could actually control the way its DNA was used to build itself up and repair itself quickly no mater what the environment.

That's quite an opinion for such an unopinionated person eh?




Grolar bears!

Polar bear-grizzly bear hybrid photo
Polar bear-grizzly bear hybrid photo

In 2006, a bear was shot and killed in the Canadian north west. This animal apeared very strange although it bore quite a bit a resemblance the common bear. After DNA testing was done, it was concluded that this was a new species: a half polar, half grisly bear hybrid. It's believed that these animals came to be because of a changing climate which causes the grizzlies to venture farther up north. They two species which rarely would have met in the past have had much more contact and in turn have successfully mated. This new species is quite large and powerful and can easily strike terror into anyone who crosses its path, the scientists who analyzed the dead animal were completed baffled that such a thing could occur. The animal is also known as a pizzly bear.

speaks for itself

Roach, John. (2006). Photo in the news: polar bear-grizzly hybrid discovered. National geographic news , Retrieved from



A bubonic truth revealed

Ever heard of the bubonic plague or maybe even the black death? It was an unimaginably horrible plague that swept know because it swept through Europe twice during the fourteenth century. Overall, two thirds of the continents population was decimated! This horrendous diseases would start as a simple sickness that got progressively worse until grotesque black pus filled blisters would start to appear all over the victims body. They would be dead within a week and it was quite a painful and agonizing death.

external image PLAGUE-popup.jpg

The plague was associated with rats who were considered the dirty animals who carried it, to see a rat back then was almost like seeing death personified. It turns out that the diseases was actually being carried by the fleas which lived on the rats, they would hop from rat to rat until l finally at one point ending up on a human and infecting them in the process. That however, is not what this post is about, its about the origins of the plague. Historians always assumed the that plague can across the Mediterranean and along the silk road before it reached Europe but had no evidence. The silk road was not actually a single path but a name for the series of routes which led from Europe all the way to Eastern China that the silk traders of the time followed.

An international team of medical geneticists recently sequenced 17 strains of Yersinia pestis(the bubonic plague bacteria). They went from mutated patogen to mutaden patogen by building a family tree. Eventually, the strains were tracked down to China, where the root of the tree is situated and all bubonic plague waves have their origins. It was confirmed this Sunday that the Black Death actually originated in China more than 2,600 years ago.

The full article can be read at:

Wade, Nicholas. "Europe’s Plagues Came From China, Study Finds." New York Times (2010): n. pag. Web. 8 Nov 2010. <>.


Bacteria in numbers!

So we've all been learning about Bacteria this semester. Their simplicity, the pili, the lack of a nucleus, we all know this stuff. One thing however that I don't think we all have is just how prosperous these little things actually are! I'm always hearing people

say: "Oh there are billions and billions and billions * of bacteria everywhere". We you really get a good mental picture from that.

Well listen up

You have at anyone time five species of bacteria living in your eye at anyone time. This is actually the lowest density of bacteria in your body. Your mout
h actually carries a whopping 600 different kinds. The hands of men usually have about 120 sorts and women carry 180.
If that wasn't enough then get this: three pounds of your weight is actually from the over 400 species of digestive bacteria living in your gut.
Once every little guy has been counted, it turns out that they greatly outnumber our own body cells in numbers (and not mass luckily) 9 out of 10 cells in your body are bacteria.

These little guys have been known to travel across oceans carried by storms and it has been hypothesized that they could even travel around the world. If you took a teaspoon of earth, you would find 1 billion bacteria, if you took a teaspoon of yogurt, 20 million! To top all of these, if you looked into one and a half gallons of water, there would be more than 7 billion bacteria and that's more than all the people currently living in the world.
Its a good thing that most of them help us in our daily lives.

          • 5,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (estimated bacterial population worldwide)

"They're everywhere." Science Illustrated. Oct 2010: 74-75. Print.


What's the benefit of two nostrils?

Most large animals on this planet have two nostrils. They can be used for many tasks including breathing, smelling and regulating body temperature, but have you ever wondered why they come in two? Some would simply say that it is because everything else comes in two, this does not answer our question. In 2006, researchers at the university of California at Berkeley discovered that two nostrils on humans are more useful at locating the origin of smell.

external image smell-nostrils-nose-olfaction-perception_1.jpg

You see each nostril can reccord its own smells and then brain can then compare the two and have a much more detailed idea of what its smelling. Also smells sometimes take time to disolve and registered while some simply whiz by and are picked up instantly. The two nostrils can alternate taking in air at different speeds to be able to register all of these different molecules. Double Nostrils help out the noses function as catcher of moisture lost while breathing out and warming air coming into the body. Finaly the inside of our nose is covered in millions of hairlike cilia which trap intruding objects such as dust or bacteria. The resulting cavity needed to connect the two nostrils give much more open surface area, covered with invader trapping cilia.

"What's the benefit of two nostrils?." Science Illustrated. september/october 2010: 26. Print.



How Smokers Think about Death

If you've ever walked into a convenience store, then you probably saw the large anti-smoking signs on the walls with gruesome pictures of rotting mouths, revolting fingers and decaying gums. These signs are put up to warn people of the health risks of smoking... but do they really help?

external image moz-screenshot.png

James Arndt, a psychologist at the university of Missouri conducted an experiment which had students completing a short questionnaire reminding them either of death or the chance of failing an exam. The students were half casual smokers and the other half were heavy smokers. Everything from the amount to the intensity of puffs was mesured. The results were very surprising because the casual smokers did take fewer drags when reminded of their morality. However when the heavy smokers were put through the the questionnaire, they began to take stronger drags from their cigarettes? It was thought that this behaviour was caused by the smokers trying to cope with the idea of death with a comforting activity they liked, such as smoking. This brought up the question of whether or not the labels reminding people of the deadliness of smoking are really as effective as claimed.

Schrock, K. (2010, september 28). How smokers think about death. Scientific Americain , Retrieved from