Welcome to Grace's Biology Wiki


Post #10

8 Of the Most Unusual Plants in the World

Since we didn't have the time to learn about plants this semester, I thought that I would do some sort of post that had something to do with them. So, I decided to do it on some unusual plants!

1.Rafflesia arnoldii: this plant is a parasitic on that develops the world's largest bloom, which can grow over three feet across. This flower has a fleshy color with spots and does not smell good. It has a hole in the center that can hold between sox and seven quarts of water. It also doesn't have any leaves, stems or roots.

external image RafflesiaArnFlw1.jpg

2.Hydnora africana: this plant has an unusual color, and is a parasitic flower that attacks nearby roots of shrubbt in arid deserts of South Africa. Also, the smell of the putrid blosson attracks herbs of carrion beetles.

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3.Dracunculus vulgaris: This leaf-like flower smells like rotting fles, has a burgendy color, that projects a slender, black appendage.

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4.Amorphophallus:The name for this plant comes from the shape of the protruding black spadix and it means "shapeless male genetalia.

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5.Wollemia nobilis: Before 1994, this weird looking tree was only known from 120 million year old fossils leaces. In the wild, fewer than one hundred exist in the wild. Their bark is strang looking that looks like bubbles of chocolate, multiple trunks, and leaves that grow in spirals which kind of look like fern. They can grow to be 125 feet tall.

external image Wollemi-track-002.jpg

6.Welwitschia mirobils:This plant only has two leaves and a stem with roots. It's leaves grow until they look like an alien life form. Rather than getting higher, the stem gets thicker, although, this plant can grow almost as tall as six feet high and twenty-four feet wide. They grow in Namibia, they are thought to be a relic of the Jurassic period and their estimated lifespan is 400-1500 years.

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7.Drakaea glyptodon (an orchid): These plants are pollinated by male wasps and are the color and smells like raw meats.

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8.Wolffia angusta:This is the world's smallest flower. A dozen of these plants would easily fit on the head of a pin, and two plants in full bloom are able to fit inside a small printed letter "o".

external image Wolffia-angusta.jpg

Nakamura, M. (N/d). Eight of the world's most unusual plants. Retrieved from http://www.divinecaroline.com/22167/37205-eight-world-s-most-unusual-plants

Post #9

5 Most Dangerous Animals in the World
Number 5: The Crocodile
The Crocodile is one of the world's deadliest animals and can mostly be found in Africa and Australia. They have an extreme speed and they also have a bone-crushing jaw force. Since one meal will last a crocodile a while, they can wait under water to plan their next attach.

Number 4: Big Cats
Lions, tigers and jaguars fit into the catagory of big cats. They have amazing speeds, and if you take the risk to run, you will be caught. If you get into a situation with a big cat, look them in the eyes and make yourself seem big.
Number 3: The Scorpion
Even though scorpions are smaller than most creatures, it is its venomous sting that kills. Because of the fact that they live in isolated habitats, scorpions most likely cause more fatalities than recorded.

Number 2: Venomous Snakes
There are more than 450 species of snakes that are venomous and 250 of them are able in killing a man. Because more than half of them are capable of killing, it increases the chance of an encounter with a snake extremely dangerous. Most attacks happen in Asia and Africa. Since humans have a bloodstream, it makes them great prey for venomous snakes. Once the venom is injected into the body, it runs throughout it.

Number 1: The Mosquito
Personally, I wasn't expecting the mosquito to be the number one killer; I expected it to be a much more vicious animal. Reason why the mosquito made it to number one is because its ability to spread diseases with an alarming efficiency. It is best known for spreading Malaria, but it can also spread elephantiasis, yellow fever and the West Nile Virus.

When I think about it, I believe that humans are the number one most dangerous animal. They kill aniamls and also other humans.

Sheena, E. (2009). 10 most dangerous animals in the world. Retrieved from http://scienceray.com/biology/zoology/10-most-dangerous-animals-in-the-world/
Post #8Hunger Pains

As I was sitting here trying to think of an idea to do a wiki post on, I got hunger pains, and my stomach started to growl. I thought to myself, why do I can such pains when I am hungry? What goes on inside my stomach to let me know that I need some food? So, I decided to research it. As everyone knows, hunger pains, also known as hunger pangs, are our bodies way of telling us that we need some nutrients and is upset that we have left it unfed. The pain is related with the desire and need for food. psychological factors or physiological factors or both can be the cause for the hunger.

The psychological factors are an active role in causing hunger pains. Eating habits that most people have learned through out their life are rooted in our subconscious. A number of people have the tendency to become hungry because of the behaviour and patterns they have become accustom to over time. An example of this is how some people become hungry because it is lunchtime. Others will eat not because they are hungry, but because eating during a certain activity has become a routine.

Physiological causes for hunger pains are not completely understood, but most people believe that it has to do with stomach contractions or lowered blood glucose levels. Another thing that can cause these pangs is a lowered body temperature, which could possibly help explain seasonal weight gain.

Something else that is known to cause hunger pains are the five senses - the strongest sense is sight.

Sight- When a food commercial comes on TV, hunger may be triggered even if you were not feeling hungry before. (Don't you hate when you see a fast food commercial, then you start to carve that food, even though you know you shouldn't have it... I know it happens to all of us.)
Smell- When people smell their favourite food, or something that is related to it, it can trigger hungers pangs. Even if something smells good, and delicious, it can make you crave that food, and feel hungry.
Taste- Obviously the sense of taste can trigger hunger pangs. When someone tastes a small portion of food, and they like it, they will develop a desire for more. Most likely, not everyones tastes triggers are the same, but for most people, sweet and salty foods will get more of a result than bland foods.

Something I find quite odd, and I'm sure a number of other people do to, is that different colours can also trigger hunger pains. The most known colours to do this triggering are green, yellow, red and orange; this can explain why a lot of popular restaurants use those colours in their logo. There are also colours that are known to suppress ones appetite such as blue.

Normally, a number of different factors, both physiological and psychological, can trigger hunger pains. Even though hunger pains can be distracting and annoying, try not to cave into them if you have just eaten and know you have eaten enough. Try to drink a big glass of water and wait a few minutes for the pains to leave.
Piggy, G. (2009). What causes hunger pangs. Retrieved from http://www.weight-loss-center.net/weight-loss-blog/2009/03/what-causes-hunger-pangs/ Post #7Why do people sweat?
Everyone sweats, or another known as perspire. It is just a matter of why some people sweat more than others. When a person sweats, it is a natural way for their body to cool itself off. The sweat that appears on the skin evaporates causing the body to cool down to its normal temperature. Everyone has a different sweating pattern and how much you sweat is affected by gender, genetics, age, fitness level, and environment. The human body contains as many as 2 to 4 million sweat glands and normally the more you have the more you will sweat. When the body temperature rises when doing physical exercise, in a stressful situation or when the air temperature is higher than what is comfortable for the body, we will perspire, that is the bodies way of cooling down.

As a general rule, people believe that men sweat more because their glands are more active than women's sweat glands. Also, women normally sweat less because they are better at regulating the amount of water that they are losing. People who keep themselves in good shape, doing regular exercose and a healthy diet, will most likely sweat less than someone who is not in as good as shape. If you are fit, you'll sweat more efficiently by sweating sooner into your workout, when your body temperature is lower. But, if a sedentary person did the same intensity workout as a fit person, they will get hot a lot faster and it is possible for them to sweat more. Someone who is overweight will generally sweat more profusely than individuals of a normal weight because the fat will act as an insulator causing the core temperature to rise.

Excessive sweating is medically called "hyperhidrosis" in which the cause for this condition is generally unknown, but medical personnel do not believe this amount of sweating helps the body get cooler. If you feel like this is you, you can consult your doctor for treatments.


http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_b_HVi5sEbJM/TQn9qMTNGOI/AAAAAAAAAC8/5CeXJkvtyek/s1600/sweating.gifCrystal, G. (2010). Why do we sweat?. Retrieved from http://www.wisegeek.com/why-do-we-sweat.htm

Fitsugar, . (2007). Why do some people sweat more than others?. Retrieved from http://www.fitsugar.com/Why-Do-Some-People-Sweat-More-Than-Others-145870
Post #6

Everyone has had hiccups, and knows how annoying they can be or how they can be embarrassing when the whole class is silent then here you come with a big loud hiccup. A hiccup is a involuntary esophageal contraction of the diaphragm. They are also known as a hiccough, synchronous diaphragmatic flutter and singultus and can happen several times a minute. Most of the time hiccups will go away on their own, but there are two cases that will last a longer period of time. Ersistent hiccups which last over 48 hours but no longer than one month and intractable hiccups which last for longer than one month.

Hiccups occur when the diaphragm involuntary and suddenly squeeze together making a person inhale rapidly. That sudden rush of air causes the glottis to respond by closing, which produces the hiccup sound. Although people know the cause of hiccups, no one knows why they happen, but they do know they are nothing to worry about and are normal. They occur more after drinking alcohol, after drinking and eating to quickly, when exposed to an abrupt change in temperature and when the stomach is bloated. Short term hiccups with generally go away on their own and do not normally need treatment. If a person has persistent or intractable hiccups, there is a good chance that it has some sort of an underlying cause. Some examples include gastroesophageal reflux disease, Gastritis, A small bowel obstruction and a tumor.

In the first 48 hours that you can hiccups, they generally go away on their own so there is most likely no reason to go see a doctor. But if you have hiccups for more than 48 hours you should see you primary care physician. They will carefully examine you, as well as your medical history and they will ask questions about recent activities. The doctors try to rule out any possible conditions or illnesses that may have caused the hiccups.

According to the National Health Service, some patients have found the following ways that may stop the hiccups:

  • Bite on a lemon
  • Breathe into a paper bag (this should never be placed over the person's head)
  • Hold your breath for short periods
  • Lean forward so that the chest is compressed
  • Sip ice-cold water
  • Sit with the knees pulled up to the chest
  • Swallow granulated sugar
  • Taste a bit of vinegar
If no other procedures work, medications may be used.

Ways to prevent getting hiccups are

  • Avoid abrupt changes in temperature
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Avoid fizzy drinks
  • Avoid having large meals
  • Do not eat too rapidly
Nordqvist, C. (2010). What are hiccups? what causes hiccups?. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/181573.phpPost #5
Why do people twitch in their sleep?

Last night, as I was pretty much asleep, I twitched, which completely woke me up. As I was angrily wondering why I twitch so much when I sleep, and it sometimes wakes me up, I thought of the great idea of making a wiki post to find this out. The scientific term for twitches while falling asleep is hypnagogic myoclonus - myoclonus meaning any sort of involuntary muscle spasm and hypnagogic meaning sleep. These twitches happen during a very light sleep as the brain gradually loses control of the motor functions. They are usually accompanied by a sense of falling, or the feeling that something is flowing through the body. The causes of twitching are not exactly known, but it appears that they are associated with either anxiety or some faint stimulus, such as noise.

Hypnogogic myoclonus can also be called sleep starts and is a very normal thing. It happens to almost every and according to the University of Marburg in Germany, sleep starts occurs in a range of 60 to 70 percent of all sleepers. Hypnogogic myoclonus happens before you get into a deep sleep, the time where you brain is sliding away to your dream land.
Piper, p. (2004). Why do people "twitch" sometimes while falling asleep?. Retrieved from http://www.islandnet.com/~yesmag/Questions/sleep.htmlAdams , C. (n.d.). Why do we twitch while falling asleep?. Retrieved from http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/82/why-do-we-twitch-while-falling-asleepPost #4Bacteria on Cell Phones


Everyone knows that there is bacteria everywhere, but do you ever wonder how much bacteria is on your cell phone? Probably not as much as a toilet seat or the soles of a person's shoes right? Actually, there is more bacteria on your cell phone. Gross eh? TheKansasCityChannel.com reported that there are literally tens of thousands of bacteria that live on a cell phone, including Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause pimples or boils, or even pneumonia and meningitis. If you stop and really think about the places your phone goes, other than your pocket, purse or briefcase, it makes sense where all the bacteria come from. Without thinking about it, you place your phone on bathroom counters, restaurant tables, and possibly even the floor. You use your phone when you are sick, after using the bathroom and after playing a sport, bacteria is all over your hands and your face. Although, the worst bacteria don't come from where you set your phone down, but from your hands and face. "You put it in a warm place, you hold it in your hand, you put it in your pocket like I do, it's nice and warm. Bacteria like that. It can grow in these types of places," said microbiologist Chuck Gerba. He tested 25 phones and found that the staph bug was growing on nearly half of them. He also tested 10 phones from the "Good Morning America" cast and crew and said the results were shocking, especially from the soundman's phone. Gerba said, "This is the dirtiest phone I have ever tested. He has somewhere between 10 and 50 million bacteria on his phone. If there is ever a new life form on this planet, it will be on this phone."

People also let other people use their phone without hesitation, but what we don't realize is that they could possibly be sick and are getting bacteria all over your phone. So ways to eliminate some transfer of bacteria would be to not let many other people use your phone, and also clean it. Sterilizing your phone will remove the bacteria, but you have to do it often.

We know that there are a lot of objects that we use on a daily basis, like computer keyboards and dishcloths used in the kitchen, can become so full with bacteria that they can be a threat to our health. Well, cell phones can now be added to that list.
Pugh, A. (2006). Cell phones breed staph and other bacteria. The Petri Dish in Your Pocket, Retrieved from http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/68885/cell_phones_breed_staph_and_other_bacteria_pg2.html?cat=5ABC News, . (2006). What's dirtier, cell phone or toilet seat?. Your Cell Phone Is a Breeding Ground for Bacteria, Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Health/story?id=2273311Homework post- Personal Opinion on Stem Cells
For the stem cell project I had to pretend to have certain beliefs about Stem Cell research that I don't agree with. I was part of the industry group and we had to make it seem like we cared what was best for Adanac, but really all we cared about was getting money. I found that pretty challenging to do because I don't think that everything we said should be allowed, really should be. So here is my personal opinion on Stem Cells.

Existing Stem Cell Lines- I think that if the stem cell lines are already existing then they should be used. Although, I do not think think that more stem cell lines need to be made, if they keep multiplying then there is no need to create new ones. Because I think we should use stem cell lines, there is no need to destroy them.

Discarded Embryos from IVF- If embryos are being created to help infertile couples have a baby, then they should not be discarded. They were created for a good cause, to make life. Before being used for stem cell research, the couple should get to decide if they would like to freeze the embryos for later use, but at no time should they be thrown out. If the couple doesn't want them, then the embryos should go straight to research. If a potential life is going to get destroyed, then it should go towards saving other lives, not simply be thrown away.

Embryos Created Through IVF for Research- I do not think that embryos should be created only for research. There is no need to do so as there are other ways to get embryos. Creating embryos for research is killing a potential life, as well is discarded embryos. But the difference is that discarded embryos were created to make life, embryos for research is not. I personally don't think that Creating embryos for research should be allowed.

Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (Cloning)- I believe that therapeutic is okay. It could make organs that could help others survive. I do not think that reproductive cloning is necessary, there is no need for it.
Post #3Why do People Cry?
Have you ever really wondered why you cry? What is it inside you that produces those tears? Well, there are 3 different types of tears: Basal tears- protect the eye and keep it moist, reflex tears flush out the eye when it gets irritated, and emotional tears happen in response to sadness, distress, or physical pain. There have been studies done that show emotional tears contain more manganese (an element that affects temperament) and also more prolactin (a hormone that regulates milk production). When crying out manganese and prolaction, it is thought that it will relieve tension by balancing the body's stress levels and eliminates build ups of the chemicals, making the person feel better.

It is also thought that humans most likely shed emotionals for communication reasons. Before babies speak, they cry. Crying is the only way for babies and infants to express how they are feelings, whether it be frustration, pain, fear or need. As people grow up, they may use crying to bond with other people, showing sadness can prompt support and comfort form others. Even with a language barrier which makes it difficult to communicate, emotions are universal.

Whether or not animals can shed tears for emotional reasons still has to be scientifically proven, but there is a debate about the topic. It appears that some animals do cry for emotional reasons. It seems that elephants grieve when a family member dies and chimpanzees also appear to cry. Although, some scientists still belileve that the tears being released by animals are for cleaning the eye only.

So next time you think that you are being a "cry" baby because you cried during a sad movie, don't worry about it, you are being a normal person and there is a lot more people out there just like you!

external image eye-crying.jpg

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Ah5sUZUu17U/SObbPsEe6EI/AAAAAAAAAI8/CtMAMQVcy1I/s400/eye-crying.jpgDriscoll, E. (2006). Why do people cry?. Retrieved from http://www.scienceline.org/2006/10/ask-driscoll-tears/

Bonus Opportunity: Should Creatine Supplements be Banned?
Forming Your Opinion

In my opinion, athletes should not be allowed to take creatine to enhance performance. For one thing, it wouldn't make the competition completely fair, some athletes would be stronger by taking creatine and not doing as much work as the athletes who are not using this supplement. Although there are some pros to taking creatine, there are also some cons. First the pros.. the supplements do increase strength and lean muscle mass during short-duration exercises, yet high intensity, such as weight lifting. It also improves athletic performance. The cons of taking creatine for athletes are that when it is taken at high doses, not the recommended doses, there can be serious side effects such as kidney damage and liver dysfunction. Other side effects are muscle cramps, muscle strains and pulls, dehydration, upset stomach, diarrhea and high blood pressure. The unfortunate thing is that the long-term effects of taking creatine are not known. Another con is that it does not seem to improve athletic performances that need to have endurance, like running, or an exercise that doesn't use repetition.

As I was researching if any professional sports have ban creatine, I did not come across any. The reason that they allow it is because creatine is a natural substance that is found in the human cells, and in certain foods such as meat and fish. It is considered a Dietary Supplement, not a drug. They can't really banned something that is not a drug. Although, the NCAA does not let members of the school give creatine or other muscle building supplements to their athletes, but they do not ban the athletes from using it.

The connection between ATP and Creatine is that they both produce energy for your muscles. Most muscles have nearly twice as much energy in the form of a molecule called creatine phosphate. When the muscles start to use up the available ATP, those phosphates are transferred from a creatine phosphate, directly to ADP, which generates ATP.

Ehrlich, S. (2009). Creatine. Retrieved from http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/creatine-000297.htm Post #2

Why do certain people get bags under their eyes?
Have you ever wondered how you became such a lucky person to get bags under your eyes when you wake up or at anytime? Well, you can partly thank your parents for that. There is a genetic role that plays a role with bags, if your parents have puffy under-eyes, you will mostly likely as well. One cause people probably wouldn't think of would be gravity. The gravitational pull weighs objects down, even your skin. The older you get and the longer you are exposed to gravity, your facial tissues with sink towards the floor. Although, gravity isn't the only reason our skin sinks towards the floor, but as we get older the muscle that compose our upper and lower eyelids weaken and does not hold the skin as tightly as it did when you were younger. Another reason bags form is when collagen inside your skin degrades. Collagen is a protein that gives structure to our cells and in skin, provides elasticity. If cells have less collagen then the skin will start to wrinkle and sag.Dr. Melanie Grossman, a dermatologist in New York says that "As you get older, your fat, like everything else, starts drooping," In our 40s and 50s, the cushiony fat pockets that protect our eyes can leave the membrane that they are normally contained in. The older you get, the more the membrane weakens and makes it easier for the fat to slip out and occupie spaces under your skin. Although, a new study by plastic surgery researchers at the University of California, LA shows that this cause may be off the mark. Scientists say that the amount of fat beneath the eyes actually increases baggy lower eyelids, rather than the membrane weakening. But, more research needs to be done to know the exact mechanism of droopy eyes.A lot of people think that bags under your eyes has to do with a lack of sleep. Yes, it does increase the severity of the condition but Dr. David McDaniel, a dermatologist in Virginia Beach says that there is no proof of a relationship between sleep and baggy eyes.Other causes are:-Eating salty foods-Rubbing of the eyes due to allergiesFor all those unlucky people with genes that aren't so promises in the area of under-eye bags, there are remedies that can at least minimize the size.- There is a plastic surgery that is called blepharoplasty that can remove or reposition the fat thats causes the bags. Some surgeons pair this with Botox or facelifts.-Cheaper folk remedies are; slices of cucumber an tea bags laid on top of closed eyes. Although, it is not proven that these techniques work. People just think that the cucumbers will cool the skin or the natural anti-diuretic in the caffeinated tea might help.-Some specialized creams are said to work.So really, there is not much you can do to prevent getting under-eye bags. But, there are some things you can try to do to decrease the condition, trying to get more sleep and try some of the remedies to see if they work for you!



Peretsman, N. (2008). Why do we get bags under our eyes?. Retrieved from http://www.scienceline.org/2008/10/ask-peretsman-eye-under-bags/

Post #1
What is Cellulite? I'm pretty certain that almost everyone has either seen or heard of the term cellulite, and considers it just fat. But does anyone really know what it truly is? Cellulite is a name to describe the dimple appearance which is really fat deposits just under your skin. The most common places for it to appear is the abdomen, thighs, and pelvis region and is most seen in women, but men can also have cellulite. In the medical field, terms for cellulite are adiposis edematosa, dermopanniculosis deformans, status protrusus cutis and gynoid lipodystrophy... I think we should stick with the term "cellulite".
Most people think that just "fat" people can have cellulite, but that's not true, even super skinny models can have it. Some causes of these fat deposits don't have to do with how healthy you are, although diet can increase it.
Some causes are:
  • Hormonal factors- it is believed that estrogen, insulin, noradrenaline, thyroid hormones and prolaction play a role in the production of cellulite.
  • Diet- someone who each a lot of carbohydrates, fat or salt, and not enough fiber are more likely to have more cellulite.
  • Genetics- certain genes may give a person characteristics that are associated with cellulite- gender, race, slow metabolism, distribution of fat under the skin and circulatory insuddiciency.
  • Clothing- clothing with tight elastics around the butt area may limit the blood flow and could help the formation of cellulite
  • Lifestyle- someone who does not exercise, sits or stands in a position for a long period of time, or smokers could be more obviously seen.
There are several therapies and methods that have been said could remove cellulite, but there is no evidence that any of them work. A couple of them are pnumatic messages, massages that stimualte lymphatic flow, heat therapy and radical waves therapy. There are also drugs that are suppose to act on fat tissues and suppose to remove cellulite. Some of these drugs are, methylxanthines, amino acids, rutin, pentocifylline, along with others. But again, none of these drugs are prove that they are effective.
Although there is no proven way to get rid of cellulite, there is ways to reduce the appearance of it, eat healthier, have a balanced diet, and exercise.
If you would like to avoid the cellulite, you can prevent it by eating healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables and fiber, exercise regularly, mantain a healthy weight, and reduce stress.

Crosta , P. (2009). What is cellulite? what causes cellulite?. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/149465.php