"When you breathe, you inspire, and when you do not breathe, you expire."
- Confucius

Two "Red Merle" border collies. As you can see, the diluted red and full pigment red scattered across their bodies. (p.s isn't the one on the right sooo cute?!!)
Post #1 - September 28, 2010

What'sRed, Black orBlueall over?

The color of a dogs coat is determined by the number of dominant and recessive genes that are inherited by the parents.
There are 2 different color pigments:
  • Eumelanin (Black [the black or brown])
  • Phaeomelanin (Red)

There are many genes that are involved in the production of the pigments in the cell and therefore the coat color. In order for a dominant gene to be produced, there needs to be only 1 gene present whereas for a recessive color to be expressed, there must be 2.

Homozygous: Two of the same gene
Heterozygous: One of each gene

If an animal is heterozygous, she will, by nature, give her litter 50% of the dominant gene and 50% of the recessive gene to her litter. If an animal is homozygous, 100% of that gene will be passed on.


The Merle Gene

The merle coloring in dogs have been a fascinating development. It's inherited in an autosomal manner; it's not determined by gender therefore can be passed on my the sire or dam.

The merle color is a combination of patches of diluted pigmentation and full pigment areas. The merle gene acts to lighten the color that the coat would have been otherwise. However, this dilution gene does not spread evenly across the dogs coat.

If a dog was carrying a B (black) gene, instead of being the classic black and white, the merle gene will dilute the black into a soft gray, often called "Blue". Same with the b (brown) gene; the coat would not be just brown and white, but a diluted and scattered brown (referred to as "red") and the full pigmentation of the brown, as well.

Bryning, B. (2010). Border collie colors - color genetics. Retrieved from http://www.bryningbordercollies.com/Border-Collie-Colours

Vita-Tech, V.D. (2006). Merle gene. Retrieved from http://www.idexx.ca/docs/diseases/VT_Newsletter_merle_gene_Mar06.pdf

Post #2

"Oh my gosh! Scare. Me. To death. Jeez."

We've heard the phrase "Scared to Death" a million times before, but do you know how or why this occurs?
Well, let me enlighten you!

Yes, in fact someone can die out of terror.
Because of our natural human protective mechanism "Fight or Flight" response. If we're in a life-threatening situation, our involuntary nervous system response is to increase heart rate, blood-flow to our muscles, dilution of our pupils among other things. The hormone used in this situation, named 'adrenaline' sends signals to many parts of our body to activate the "Fight or Flight" response. Though this hormone is toxic in large amounts. It can damage vital organs, such as heart, lung, liver and kidney. Although the sudden deaths are a result of damage to the heart (heart attacks). If the chemical were to damage one of the other organs mentioned, your death would not be instant.

When adrenaline lands on heart muscle cells, it causes calcium channels to open. When the calcium ions rush into the heart cells, it causes the muscles to contract. When there is an overwhelming amount of adrenaline, the muscles will not relax. The heart can go into abnormal rhythms that should not be seen. "If one of those are triggered, you will drop dead." Ventricular fibrillation (an example of a deadly heart rhythm) causes the ventricles to vibrate and reduce the ability to dliver blood to the body.

Although we most often hear about terror being a cause of death, it can also occur with other emotions such as happiness or sadness.

So there you have it!
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend!!

Ballantyne, C., & Samuels, Dr. M.A. (2010). Can a person be scared to death?. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=scared-to-death-heart-attack

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Should Creatine Supplements Be Banned??

1. Analyzing the viewpoints
Those who believe that creatine should still be allowed say that because it's a natural substance that's found in our bodies as well as the foods we eat on a daily basis, such as red meats and fish (tuna, salmon, sashami and sushi). It is said that creatine boosts your performance as well as your muscle strength. However, the side effects of creatine use can be severe. It includes all of the following: kidney damage, dehydration, muscle injury, weight gain, muscle cramps, stomach upset, diarrhea, dizziness, high blood pressure and liver dysfunction. Creatine supplements may prevent your body from producing its natural creatine, though the long-term effects are unknown.
Creatine is converted into creatine phosphate (phosocreatine) and is stored in your muscles for energy. During short exercises (sprinting, weight lifting), it is then converted into ATP.

Therefore, I believe that creatine should be banned! The health risks that come with this should be enough to tell you that it’s not worth winning a race, because you may not win your race with time.

external image moz-screenshot.jpg

Even though he has a very gross looking body, he does have cool hair!

Stem Cell Opinions

Having an opinion about something may be a natural thing to you, but that's not always the case for me. I can usually see both sides of something and have a hard time making decisions and I have to sit there and think for a long while before I can be comfortable with it. Other times it just doesn't come to me at all. BUT, here is what I think about stem cells.

I think that using stem cells from lines is just fine, I mean, they’re already there, so why not use them? Same thing with the discarded ones from IVF clinics; don’t throw them away! Maybe it’s just my small case of hoarding jumping in there, but I’m positive that those stem cells will be of use for something else!! I’m also fine with creating them for research. I’m all for improving our world, saving lives, etcetera etcetera, and if a way of doing that is by creating them, I say “Go for it!” Though the only thing I would be opposed to, I think, would be cloning a human/animal/whatever else. I mean...that’s weird, and terrible, and ... weird. Cool, but not good! I don’t think that when we were born we wanted to be poked and prodded at just to have another one of us. Don’t you want to be unique?!

Alright, I don’t know if that makes any sense...my jumbled brain usually doesn’t do that often. And I have to say, this was a very hard post for me...I swear I typed something then deleted about 20 times!

Post #3

Fainting Goats.

Wait, what? Yes, you heard me, FAINTING GOATS!Don't believe me? Then watch this.

Youtube reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we9_CdNPuJg

Personally, I laughed through that entire video.

Youtube reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_3Utmj4RPU&feature=related
...and this one.

The Myotonic Goat, has an array of names; fainting, stiff-leg, wood-leg, nervous, scared or Tennessee fainting goat. The origin of these goats does not have a great documentation. Basically, it's this: A dude, maybe from Nova Scotia, with a beret and an accent came and sold three or four does and one buck to a doctor who lived in Tennessee, then he peaced town. ...Basically.
Their common name is misleading, though. They don't actually faint. It's a neuromuscular condition that is caused by the hereditary gene myotonia congenita. It causes the goats to stiffen up/contract their muscles for far longer than normal and sometimes fall over when startled or excited. Don't fret, this condition doesn't hurt the goats at all. They are always conscious while they stiffen up. It only lasts a few moments, then they are back on their feet and normal once again...until dinner time, of course. This condition also does not affect the life span or quality of the goat.
Myotonia has also been detected in other species as well, for example, dogs, sheep, mice, quarter horses, "tumbler" pigeons, and even humans. INTERESTING FACT: "myotonia can be induced in humans occasionally by the use of cholesterol lowering drugs."


Gasparotto, S.W. (n.d.). Myotonic goats. Retrieved from http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com/myotonicgoats.html

IFGA, . (n.d.). Breed information: what is myotonia?. Retrieved from http://www.faintinggoat.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2&Itemid=2

Post #4
Baby-Erin, 1994PART 1

As I was thinking about weird conditions, diseases or whatever else I could do a wiki post on, my train of thought came to me. Yes. ME. As a newborn, I was not the healthiest, to say in the least. My mom tells the story and I wonder why did all of that happen? Well, why not research it? Helloooo, funnnn!


This is not a disease, rather, it's a sign that can come up in different diseases. Jaundice is the yellow staining of the skin and sclerae (whites of the eye). It's caused by the chemical bilirubin in your bloodstream. (Moderate levels =yellow, high levels = brown in color). Bilirubin comes from your red blood cells. When those cells get old, they are destroyed. With that, iron is released from the cell, leaving bilirubin in your blood. One of the functions of your liver is to remove toxic waste from your body. FUN FACT: The chemical bilirubin is what gives your poop the brown color. Yes, I said POOP. Anyways, jaundice can occur for multiple reasons, either there is too much bilirubin for the liver to remove, a defect in the liver that prevents it from removing bilirubin or blockage in the bile ducts to move bile (Liver also produces bile to help digest dietary fat) and bilirubin from liver to intestine. Neonatal jaundice (jaundice in newborns) is not uncommon; it occurs in more than half. It will usually, like it did for myself, show up a few days after birth. During that blessed life in the mothers uterus, the blood cells of the fetus contain a hemoglobin that is different of that present after birth. Once a baby is born, it starts to destroy all the red-blood cells containing the fetal-type hemoglobin and replacing them with adult hemoglobin. This floods the liver with bilirubin, and because the baby's liver is not yet mature, it cannot process the large amount of bilirubin and BAM!! Jaundice. But within a few weeks, that process is over, and the bilirubin counts level out.Medicine Net, . (2010). Jaundice. Retrieved from http://www.medicinenet.com/jaundice/article.htm#toca

Post #5

Baby-Erin, 1994PART 2

Petechiae (Puh-TEE-kee-eye)

This skin condition is referred to small red or purple bumps on the body. This is caused by minor hemorrhaging (broken capillary blood vessels). This can be caused by physical trauma, like coughing, vomiting or crying. Or when you're being shot out of a birth canal. (The words the nurses used when mom asked what was the red spots all over me, they said "You try coming out of a birth canal that fast, and you see what you look like." Pleasant people, I guess.) Petechia may also be a sign of low-platelet counts or clotting factor deficiencies. (ouuuu, interesting! Gotta read PART 3 now!)

Poor little baby.

Petechia. (2010). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petechia

Post #6

Baby-Erin, 1994



Is a deficiency of platelets. What are platelets, you might ask? They have the ability to coagulate blood if you should get cut or a bruise. High counts of platelets (thrombocytosis) could lead to stroke, and low counts (like myself) can lead to excessive bleeding. Thrombocytopenia takes place when bone marrow doesn't produce enough platelets or when too many platelets are being destroyed. When this happens, bleeding of the skin and bruising occur. In some cases, you will need a blood transfusion.

Platelet counts should be around 140,000 - 440,000. Though with thrombocytopenia, the counts are usually around 50,000 (Mine was 40,000).

At first, bleeding of the skin will occur, then petechia (part 2 of the Baby-Erin series) will show up. Even the most minuscule injury will show up as a bruise. Gums may bleed, blood may be present in stool or urine and bleeding can be difficult to stop.

If the platelet count drops, the severity of bleeding worsens. This may cause a loss of large amounts of blood into the digestive tract and brain, even though there are no injuries.

But this is what happened to me.

Neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia.

The maternal antibodies (that of my mother), destroyed the fetal platelet antigens while in the uterus. Therefore, when I was born, I had hardly any antigens thanks to my so-called loving mother. ;) This of course, caused the excessive bleeding and bruising (I was turning black, my mother reports.) The nurses would take my blood every 20 minutes to see if I had started producing any more platelets, but because I had this condition, my blood would not clot. Whatta mess. I was within the 0.1-0.5 percentile of babies who have had this condition. It is a very rare condition and at the time of my birth, I was one of one hundred cases. Yippie! I'm in the medical history books!
With having this condition, it can cause death or the need for immediate platelet transfusion, but I didn't do either of those! Yay life :)

In conclusion, I am alive. These conditions did not kill me, make me hate my mother for trying to kill me, or give me a sour outlook on life. I am awesome, and that is all.

Niki, Foster. (2010, October 10). What are platelets?. Retrieved from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-platelets.htm

Moake, J.L. (2006, May). Thrombocytopenia. Retrieved from http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/sec14/ch173/ch173d.html?qt=thrombocytopenia&alt=sh#

Roberts, I, & Murray, N. A. (n.d.). Neonatal thrombocytopenia: causes and management. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1721612/pdf/v088p0F359.pdf


I've got Wikipost Ideas!!


Heyo, I was watching Dr. Oz the other day and they briefly talked about that website. Although I haven't had time to go check out the things they have on there, it seemed pretty cool and helpful! Lots of great wikipost topics!

p.s did you know that red beans have more antioxidants than blueberries?!

and this has nothing to do with bio at all, but I was watching Oprah (I am confused by where I found 2 hours to watch tv...)and 25% of men travel with a stuffed animal...weirdzo, I know.

Oh, I guess this sorta has something to do with bio....3% of people (a poll done by Oprah, so not very accurate in terms of general population, but...) clean/do chores NAKED.

again, weird..I know. Oprah thought so, too.

Meh, screw the english essay.....
Post #7



You got me, I'm not actually "smart", it's just because I'm happy!
Neurological studies show that happiness produces creative and broader thinking skills, which - here's a bonus - reduces stress! Also, those with positive outlooks produce more Immunoglobin A which is an important protein to the immune system that can help defend against respiratory illness.


Not only smiling, but also giving. Giving to anywhere or anyone, whether it be money, time or picking up something someone may have dropped is compared to "runners high", you know that amazing feeling of all the endorphins rushing through your body? Now, I want you to do this. (Wait, only the ones that exercise...because if you don't, then this will be stupid) Close your eyes. (okay, I guess you have to keep them opened to read this....) Imagine yourself after a great run, game (that you won!), dance, or what have you. You're out of breath (just the perfect amount). You're smiling (because you're improving your health:)) How do you feel? Amazing, right? I thought so, too. Okay, now imagine yourself in that moment of time, feeling the greatest you can feel...for a long, long time. That's what giving can do for you! Aside from feeling great, giving can also improve your immune system, relieve stress, decrease pain and boost postive thoughts (which in turn makes you happy and smile, therefore improving your helth! My goodness, this is awesome!!)

And not only that, those suffering from a heart attack recover faster than those who don't give. Have I not conviced you yet? Maybe this will...those kind, giving people out there have a death rate 2.5 x less than those who don't! Lemme hear a "HECK YA!"

Now that's somethin' to smile about!

So now when I tell you to smile....DO IT.
And be an awesome person and give back to someone you know, or even better, to someone you don't!

Have a great weekend and make sure you smile!! :):):)

So fitting :)

Roizen, Dr. M. (2010). What are the health benefits of being a giving person?. Retrieved from http://www.sharecare.com/question/giving-gives-back-health-benefits

Post #8


The Rhino is a beautiful creature that is known for their bulky bodies, tree stump-like legs and either one or two dermal horns on their face.
They have well developped hearning and smell senses, however their eye sight is poor. Because of this, they cannot make targeted attacks.
Just like any other species, to mark their territory, they deposit piles of dung.
They only leave their watering holes and become active during the night and early in the morning.
They sleep both standing and laying down and are often found by muddy pools and river beds.
rhino's are traced back to historical times, as the cavemen made paintings of them. Back them they were widespread in the African savannas and the tropical forests of Asia. However, today they rarely survive outside reserves and national parks.

There are five rhino species.
Three of those species are found in Asia and two are found in Africa.

  • Javan
  1. Vietman
  2. Indonesian island
  • Sumatran
  • Indian
Javan and Sumatran rhino's are listed as critically endangered and the Indian rhino is listed as endangered.
  • Black
  1. Eastern
  2. South Western
  3. Southern Central
  4. Western
  • White
  1. Northern
  2. Southern
Javan Rhino

Sumatran Rhino

Indian Rhino

Black Rhino

All subspecies of the black rhino are listed as critically endangered other than the western black rhino, as they are thought to be extinct.

The white southern rhino is the most plenteous of all the species. Saying that, though, they are listed as endangered.
The white northern rhino is listed as critically endangered.
Even though the rhino's are not doing so well on their own, the southern white rhino and the Indian rhino are doing well in sancturaries.
The numbers of these two species, as well as the Black rhino are increasing, however their numberes aren't nearly what they were five decades ago.
WWF, . (n.d.). Rhinos. Retrieved from http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/finder/rhinoceros/rhinos.html

Post #9

Classical vs. Operant Conditioning

Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning is a process in which and animal learns to associate one event that comes immediately after another event. The animal does not have to do anything in order for this association to take place.

Classical conditioning was discovered by the russian scientist Pavlov. In his lab, Pavlov brought food to dogs. When the food was shown to the dogs, they began salivating. Then, Pavlov preceded the food with a ring of a bell. He rang the bell and immediately brought the food. He repeated this several times. It went in the order of ringing the bell, bringing the food, dogs salivating and he did it again and again and again.

Now here's the cool part. Pavlov then decided to ring the bell without bringing the food and guess what? The dogs still salivated.
How did that happen? you might ask.
The dogs had leanrned the association between bell and the food. Since the bell was rung, the food must be coming - hence, saliva.

Classical conditioning happens all the time, for instance when the door bell rings, those of you who have a dog, they run to the door barking, most likely, right? That's because they have made the association the door bell or the knock on the door with the showing up people. Or what about the rattle of the cookie jar. They hear the delicious cookies and know that they're most likely going to get one of them really soon.
How about us and say, the rustling of a chip bag. Most of us will turn our heads..at least I do. No shame :)

Classical conditioning can be used for behaviour modification in the process of counter conditioning. We can deliberately make an association between two events in order to create a positive association between them

Toffee learned to criteria of the aframe using Classical conditioning

Operant Conditioning

Operant conditioning refers to the process in which an animal behaves in a certain way and by the way the environment reacts to this behaviour. It decides whether to engage in this behaviour again or not.

Simply put, the dog acts in some manner and checks the consequences. If the consequences are good or beneficial to the dog in someway, he will have he tendency to act in this manner again. If the consequences are bad, he will have the tendency to avoid acting in that manner.

If the conseuqences are good - it's called reinforcement. Reinforcement is everything that makes a behaviour repeat. IF the consequences are bad - it is called punishment. A punishment is everything that supressses a behaviour.

There are four possible consequences
  • Positive reinforcement
Something good happens right after the behaviour. The dog does something and immediately after he gets something he likes - a treat, toy, hug, kiss, etc. The dog will want to do whatever he just did before recieving his reward.
  • Negative reinforcement
There is a relief to the dog. Something bad is taken away. By taking something bad away, you are rewarding the dog. For example, your dog is laying in the sun, where he is very hot. He will get up and go to the shade. Something bad (hot sun) was taken away from the dog. Now, he will perform this action again when it becomes too hot.
  • Positive punishment
Something bad is actively happening to the dog. This can anything your dog doesn't like done to him - the obvious is being hit, choked by choke chain, being yelled at, etc. The dog will tend to avoid doing the behaviour that immediately preceded the bad thing that happened to him.
  • Negative punishment
Something good is being taken away from the dog. For example, when you arrive home, your dog jumps up to greet you. You then turn your back and walk away without interacting with you from him. You took something good (your greeting) away from him. The dog will tend to avoid this behaviour (jumping up).

It is important to keep in mind that in order for those operant conditioning principles to work, you must apply them consistantly and in good timing. If you fail to be consistant, your dog will fail at understanding the association. Ifyour timing is off, your dog may associate a behaviour you did not intend him to. In order for learning to take place, the consequence must come immediately after the behaviour. Otherwise, the dog cannot make the correct association.

Hope you guys enjoyed the quick dog training tips ;) Although I talked all about dogs, this can be used for people, as well. In everything we do, there is a consequence and that determines whether we act on the behaviour again or not. ...Or whether you care enough :)

She used clicker training (Classical conditioning) to train all these tricks.

Impressive, no?

Davenport, J. (2009). Classical vs. operant conditioning

Post #10


  • Defined as difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep
  • Can affect every age group
  • Women are affected moreso then men
  • Intentional daytime naps are difficult to initiate
  • Finding the cause of your symptoms is the best way to cure your insomnia.

Insomnia is classified on the duration of the problem:

  1. Transient insomnia: symtoms lasting for les than a week
  2. Short-term insomina: symtoms lasting from one to three weeks
  3. Chronic insomnia: symtoms lasting for longer than three weeks

Transient and short-term insomnia causes

  • Jet leg
  • Shift work
  • Stressful life situations (EXAM PREP!)
  • Losing a loved one
  • Hospitalization
  • etc.

Chronic and Long-term insomnia

This type of insomnia is usually linked to an underlying psychiatric or physiologic (medical) condition.
Psychological Causes of Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
This is me everynight. Also, it's fitting that I'm doing this late at night. Yay insomnia!

Physiological Causes of Insomnia
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Acid reflux disease
  • Nocturnal asthma
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • etc.
Other Causes of Insomnia
  • Stimulants: Caffeine and Nicotine
  • Alcohol
High Risk Groups for Insomnia
  • Adolescents and young adult students
  • Travelers
  • Seniors
  • Pregnant women
  • Drug abusers/addicts
  • Alcoholics

  • Diffculty falling asleep
  • Waking up during the night
  • Poor concentration and focus
  • Difficulty with memory
  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Impaired or irritability social interraction
Nabili, S.T. (2010, October 22). Insomnia. Retrieved from http://www.emedicinehealth.com/insomnia/article_em.htm

Post #11

Fin's Wake

I was flipping through one of our Science Illustrated magazines at home (yes, we're cool) and I came across the Shark Fin soup Holyoke was talking about.

The high demand for these fins, a lot of which from Hong Kong, has put dozens of species of sharks at risk of endangerment. These fins are mostly destined for shark fin soup, which is somehow a delicacy in China and Japan. This soup is served with a cachet of caviar, too. This 100$ meal has driven the sturgeon almost to extinction. The fishermen kill around 73 MILLION skarks each year and then just toss the poor, mutilated shark back in the ocean to die. How sad and atrocious! :(

Poor little guy :(

Ah :( Animal abusers

You'd have to have zero heart for this not to bother you :(

A sidewalk in Hong Kong.

There's actually a Shark Fin shop.

How could someone eat that?! It doesn't even look appetizing!

Stop The Madness!!

Science Illustrated, (2010, Nov/Dec). Fin's wake. 16-17.