Welcome to The Biology 111 Wiki of Mobene Tahershamsi!



#1.How and why Chameleons Change Colour.

This may seem childish but it is something that few people know what exactly happens in the skin of the chameleon. There are over 100 breeds of chameleons and there are few of them that can change to a wide variety of color. The other breeds can only change brown to green but the others have infinite colour choices. The skin of the chameleon is what makes it change color and that's because they have chromatophors under the outer skin and the chromatophers have coloured pigment in them, the top layer has red or yellow pigment and the bottom layer has blue or white. To change colour, the brain sends a message to the chromatophers and they blend the colours together to make a new colour. They also have a fiber called melanin which also helps chameleons change colour. Melanin fibers can spread spiderweb like things through layers of pigment cells and they cause skin to darken. Chameleons change colour for a number of reasons. One is light, for example a chameleon may want to lie in the sun, so it would turn a lighter colour so it would reflect more UV rays. A big one is mood, if it's in an angry mood it will become darker to signify that it may be ready to challenge another chameleon. The last reason is really simple, it changes colour to absorb more heat because everyone knows that the darker the colour the more energy that is absorbed and turned into heat.

So thanks for reading my first Wiki post I know it is not very new and interesting but I thought it would be cool and please leave feedback whether this was good and where I could have improved. Thanks have a happy Tuesday!

Cooper, KC. (2002, October). Chameleons. National Geographic Explorer, 4-7.
Photo reference: http://www.dimijianimages.com/More-page3-eyes/panther-chameleon.htm

Panther-chameleon.jpg

Post Number 2

A bacteria that will save the lives of many! I was just cruising the internet when I came by this cool article on an amazing bacteria.
Each year around 100 million people in the tropics get Dengue fever and 40.000 people are killed by it. It is a fever that is spreading fast because last week in France was the first time someone ha acquired it locally. Dengue fever is a fever spread by elderly mosquitoes to humans and animals from mosquito bites. The bacteria that is getting rid of dengue fever is called Wolbachia; Wolbachia is a bacteria found in fruit flies and it spreads to Aedes mosquitoes, the ones that spread Dengue fever and it halves the lives of the mosquitoes and it makes them less likely to catch the Dengue fever. The benefit to halving their lives is that only elderly insects can spread the disease. So now the mosquitoes have a very small chance of getting the fever and spreading it. Something else you should know is that Wolbachia is only spread by female mosquitoes to their eggs, so only descendants of the female will have Wolbachia. The benefit to this is that the females infected with Wolbachia can mate with wild and infected males; the wild females cannot. So this will get rid of most Dengue fever mosquitoes and someday it may get rid of the fever. Mosquitoes with Wolbachia will be released into Australia and Vietnam soon.
There is one thing that ponders my mind. Do you think that Wolbachia may cause a shortage of mosquitoes and ruin an ecosystem? Please leave informative feedback.
Possibly in the tropics mosquitoes are overpopulating. But one thing we know is that the bacterium Wolbachia will save the lives of many in the long run.

Anti-dengue mosquitoes to hit australia and vietnam . (2010, Ocober 8). NewScientist, (2781),

Bonus opportunity! Should creatine supplements be banned?

3. Sports magazine article.
These days lots of pro athletes are taking creatine, creatine is a dietary supplement that gives cells a reserve that is twice as large as the normal amount of ATP that is in the cell. Creatine phosphate is what's in this large reserve and when the muscle goes to work and uses up the available ATP, phosphates are transferred from creatine phosphate directly to ADP which regenerates ATP faster then you can say "Goal"! The more creatine in a muscle, the longer an athlete can do intense physical activity.What creatine is, is it's a natural substance found in human cells and in foods. Now that you know what creatine does and how it relates to ATP I'll tell you why you shouldn't use it.
Creatine may sound like a revolutionary product, but you haven't heard the cons of it yet. Creatine is known to cause water loss a.k.a dehydration, it causes water loss because it pulls the bodies water into the muscles. The biggest concern people should have about creatine is the damage that it does to the liver. It has been scientifically proven that the waste product (creatinine). High levels of creatinine in urine is an indicator of kidney problems. The problems with creatinine is that the body might not have enough water therefore creatinine may get stuck in the kidney or liver. Kidney stones are also caused by creatine and insufficient water levels in the body.
So using creatine may give you the extra boost when playing sports, but the harm it can do to your body is not worth that little boost.
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Arnie in his hay days!

Post #3. Alcohol is more dangerous the crack cocaine, heroin and many other illegal drugs.

I decided to do this post on a debatable topic because I would like to know your perspective on things and I hope that you look at alcohol with a different perspective after reading this. Not that anyone in this class does any drugs or alcohol.

A study done in London England proves that illegal drugs are not as devastating to the body and society as alcohol. The researchers of this study analyzed how addictive the drug is and how it harms the human body. They also other criteria such as like environmental damage caused by the drug, its role in breaking up families and its economic costs, such as health care, social services, and prison. What they discovered was that heroin, crystal meth and cocaine were the most lethal substances but when they looked at their social effects, alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the deadliest, but overall alcohol outranked all the other substances. Some experts say that alcohol scored so high because it is widely used and has devastating effects not only on you, bu those who you are around. When to much alcohol is drunk damage is done to all the organ systems and it has been related to higher death rates and it is involved in a greater percentage of crime than most other drugs. People have suggested to outlaw alcohol but experts have said that alcohol is too big of part of our culture to outlaw so experts say to just give more education on it and they should increase the prices of alcohol so it won't be so easy to acquire.
Cheng, M. (2010, 10 31). Study: alcohol more lethal than heroin, cocaine. The Washington Post,

Post 4. What causes Goosebumps?

For years I have wondered why I would get goosebumps when nervous, cold or even after a sudden change in temperature.
How we originally got this physiological phenomenon was from our animal ancestors. What they are they're small elevations on our skin that look like bare bird skin, therefore people started calling them "Goosebumps" or "Duckbumps". The bumps are caused by a contraction of miniature muscles that are attached to each individual hair. Each muscle would create a small depression which would cause the surrounding area to protrude It is not very handy for us because we humans are not fully covered in hair, this was useful for our animal ancestors because it would cause their hair to raise when cold and the thicker the layer of hair, the more heat the animal could retain. This is why our hair raises when we exit a swimming pool and a breeze sweeps over us. Our brain sends the message to the muscles to raise the hair so we will retain more heat and warm up. The downside to this is that we don't have enough hair on our body to actually retain heat so this is almost useless.
Temperature is not the only factor that causes this delightful phenomenon; emotions are a large part of it also. For example when listening to a song that has lots of significance to you or your talking to the person you're madly in love with but have not yet married you may get the Goosebumps. The reason for this is that your subconscious releases a stress hormone called adrenaline. Adrenaline is produced in the Adrenal Gland, it doesn't only cause the contraction of those miniature skin muscles but it also causes many other reactions in our body. With us adrenaline is released when we get cold, excited, angry, nervous and tons of other emotions. A few more signs of adrenaline are increased blood pressure, trembling hands, increased heart rate and 'butterflies' in the stomach.
So now when you get the Goosebumps just remember that it was our animal ancestors that gave this to us and that they have a better use for it then us and when you get chosen to share a wikipost with the class, it's the adrenaline that's causing your body hairs to raise!

goosebumps.jpg
Silly muscles, you will never retain heat

Why do humans get "goosebumps" when they are cold, or under other circumstances?. (2003, September 1). Scientific American, 5, Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-do-humans-get-goosebu

Homework Assignment. My Opinion/View on STEM cells.

-My view on using Stem Cells from excess embryos from IVF clinics should be used. Not only do I think it's a waste to discard these embryo's with amazing possibilities but whoever had these embryos created in the first place should be forced to donate the extras to science because it is a mere waste to discard them and get no use from them. My personal belief is that if you're going to discard a form of life, you should at least get some use out of it. It's like buying too much of something then throwing the extras out when you could easily donate them to charity or to research.

-My view on cloning (Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer) is similar to those of many. I am extremely opposed to letting people do this. One because it just seems so inhumane to create a human this way and if you're creating a clone, why would you just terminate its life so early it would never know it existed. Aside from it being extremely expensive and the probability of it succeeding is quite slim it's just wrong to make a human being for that purpose.

-Embryonic Stem Cells from preexisting lines should be legal because I believe that the sacrifice of that one life will help so many in the future and one day may be the cure to diseases that we never could have imagined would be cured. The sacrifice at the start of the line may stir up some controversy, but the potential of the line is astronomical.

-Embryonic Stem Cells made for research isn't the best way to attain Stem Cells because it seems a bit unnecessary. It's a waste of possible life therefore I am against it because there are no good reasons to support it other then it being able to generate embryonic Stem Cells.



Wkipost #5. Some benefits and facts about Green Tea.

So I drink a mug of Green Tea every morning with breakfast for a number of reasons. One is that it really wakes me up and I don't fall asleep in Language Arts or any of those really slow classes; the other reason that I drink it, is for the fact that I know it has health benefits, but I just don't know what. So I decided to do a post on it and research the potential of this drink.
So after a bit of research I found tons of good information!. The Binomial nomenclature title of the plant that Green Tea is obtained from is called Camellia sinensis, this is the same plant that is used to acquire regular black tea. The reason that one is called black tea and one is called Green tea is because Black Tea leaves are fermented and Green Tea leaves are dried or slightly steamed. The reason that Black tea is different is that during fermentation the tea leaves darken in colour, caffeine raises and the levels of tannin raises. If you don't know what tannin is, it is a biomolecule in the tea leaves that has a role in ripening. The only thing that the tannins do is they are a flavonoid; a flavonoid is Vitamin P and citrin.
Green Tea is good for treating cancer, heart problems, cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol levels, infection, tooth decay and a bunch of other diseases. How it does this, is it has an antioxidant in it called epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG) which helps treat a lot of diseases.
Here is a list of benefits. I'll put a lil' description besides each to make it more complete.
  • It is stimulating- With just the right amount of caffeine to hit the spot, this helps increase blood flow and it removes fatigue and laziness, well I'm not 100% sure about laziness.
  • It is anti ageing- The antioxidants in it neutralize the oxidants or free radicals present in the body which helps reduce the symptoms of ageing.
  • They boost our immunity!- People that drink this amazing beverage on a regular basis have less chance of getting viral or bacterial diseases. The Catechins present in green tea prevent bacteria and viruses from attaching themselves to cell walls and infecting them.
  • Anti diabetic (Mrs. Holyoke Walsh, this is for you!!!)- Green Tea helps reduce the glucose level in the blood stream., this only works if you drink your tea with no sugar. Because of the alkaline nature of the tea, it helps reduce sugar in the bloodstream. Aside from that the anti oxidizing and astringent nature of its constituents ensure good health and better functioning of pancreas and therefore better secretion of insulin this results in better decomposition and absorption of glucose. This helps keep diabetes away. (Okay that last part didn't really help.)
  • This will be my last point because the list could go on all night if I didn't put an end to it. Green Tea causes weight loss. (Not exactly what I need.)- Green Tea increases your metabolism so you consume fat storage in your body much more quickly then you normally would. So if you drink a cup of Green Tea every morning, you are sure to lose some weight in the long run.
So that is my spiel on Green Tea and I hope you get accustomed to drinking it every morning so you can start the day off with lots of energy and in the long run lose some mass, not that it's important to or anything. So now you know the benefits, go out and drink some all natural Green Tea. None of the artificial stuff.
  • large-tea-cup-leafs-400.jpg
    Delicious!

Mukherjee., Aparup. (2008). Health benefits of green tea. Retrieved from http://www.organicfacts.net/organic-beverages/organic-tea/health-benefits-of-green-tea.html

Oh and I'm also pretty certain that everyone is getting annoyed with the fact that they have to scroll down my Wikipage for 10 minutes before finding anything. But no worries, just hold space bar and you'll be zooming down the page at warp speed!
To the Winchester!

Post #6. Emerald cockroach wasp!

So I was making my rounds of the internet, when I came across this interesting species of bug Ampulex compressa, its common name is Emerald cockroach wasp.
What makes this insect so interesting, is the way that it reproduces. I find it so unique and interesting. What it does, is it stings a cockroach and plants its larvae into the cockroach using the cockroach as a live host. But before I get way into the reproduction I'll give you a bit of background information about this totally whack insect.
They are usually found in Pacific oceans, South Asia and South Africa. They're abundant during warmer seasons (So you wouldn't be seeing them around during Winter or Fall). The wasp has a metallic blue body which is where it gets the metallic in its common name. The female is approximately 22mm and the male is a tad smaller and lacks a stinger because it does plant its larvae into a host.
So now time for the real deal, why everyone has come so far down the page read. What makes this wasp so special is how it reproduces like I mentioned earlier. What it does is the female stings a host on a thoracic ganglion releasing a venom that mildly and reversibly paralyzes the front legs of the victim. It then chooses a specific area on the head and stings once more which causes the host to lose its escaping reflexes. The cockroach then lays its eggs in the pray and the pray will just have a miserable day from that day forth. After 3 days the eggs will hatch and for 4-5 days will eat the insides of the host. Over a period of 8 days, the larvae will have consumed all of the hots internal organs and it is guaranteed that the host will stay alive. Eventually the larvae enters a cocoon state where it stops eating the host and eventually th moth will burst out of the host and start its new life as an adult Emerald cockroach wasp.
What makes this species unique compared to other organisms that paralyze and then lay their eggs inside the prey is that they change stuff around in the brain causing the prey to act differently and not be completely paralyzed.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fO0zHiAIG8&feature=player_embedded#!
A pretty neat clip if you ask me! I'm not sure if people enjoy this but I sure do!

Yong, E. (2008, July 14). The wasp that walks cockroaches. Retrieved from http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/06/the_wasp_that_walks_cockroaches.php

Post #7. Solar Powered Hornets?!?!?

As I was browsing the internet one fine afternoon, I came upon an article of very much interest to me. The first thing that caught my attention was the fact that it mentioned something about a bug that generates energy with sunlight. This flabbergasted me because I immediately had the urge to seek out all the knowledge I could on this interesting little insect. If you're getting tired of me posting so many posts about insects you may want to check another wiki because here comes one hell of a post.
Scientists in Israel and the UK have discovered a species of hornet (Vespa orientalis) that has a special solar panel-like apparatus that converts light into usable energy, cool, I'm aware. so thank me later. You may think that since this is a living organism that it uses photosynthesis to generate energy, but what it really does is it has a pigment called xanthopterin. How it harvests energy is a simple process but most likely confuses many because it does not involve chloroplasts or the rest of those plant exclusive cells. How it initially gets the right light for the energy is by reflecting some colours of the light and by attracting others. In physics, different coulour of light have different strengths, this is known as diffraction (you'll really impress a physician if you know this before the waves unit!). At the moment scientists are not completely sure about how the biochemical process works or even why the insect has this function. But they have related it to the metabolic process because the panel is right above the metabolism and in sunlight their metabolism tends to be faster.
What makes these critters so interesting isn't the solar panels they have, what is inside of them. The xanthopterin is what really grabs scientists' attentions because there's the possibility that one day they could be used to manufacture microorganisms that convert solar energy into chemical energy. It will be quite some time before scientists will be able to turn the discovery into practical applications, but it's the things like this that interest scientists because it may lead to a huge discovery.


Saenz, A. (2010, Decemeber 16). Solar powered hornets – a new source for bioenergy?. Retrieved from http://singularityhub.com/2010/12/16/solar-powered-hornets-a-new-source-for-bioenergy/

Post #8. How Old is the Amazon River?

As I was staring at a blank computer screen one day, a thought popped up in my mind. How old could the Amazon River be? I myself am not so into geology but the answer was needed to satisfy my hunger for knowledge. I then proceeded to "Googleing" the answer which brought me to a Geology page explaining how old the river could be.I could just throw a bunch of numbers at you for this post but that ain't me; I'll give some in depth information on this river.

To start things off I'll throw some facts at you about the river itself. The river is approximately 6800 Km long and it covers approximately 40% of South America. More then one third of the worlds species live in the amazon rain forest. The width of the river is usually around 1.6 Km-10 Km.

The river originated as a transcontinental river approximately 11 million years ago. For those wondering a transcontinental river is a river that runs through more then one continent. The present shape of the river took place around 2.4 million years ago so it is no longer a transcontinental river and has changed a lot in shape over the years. This information was discovered by two boreholes that were drilled by a Brazilian oil company. What makes the creation of the river interesting to many is the fact that 11 million years ago when it was created it brought forth a new ecosystem which is still around today. The ecosystem of the Amazon river is quite impressive due to new species of animals being discovered every few days.

Reference
J. Figueiredo, C. Hoorn, P. van der Ven and E. Soares. 'Late Miocene onset of the Amazon River and the Amazon deep-sea fan: Evidence from the Foz do Amazonas Basin'. Geology, 37, 619-622.


rainforest-animals-redeyedfrog1.jpg

Post 9. Sound in Space(vacuum)!?!?!?!?!?

Lately I've been spending lots of free time reading about space and watching interesting videos about it. A jumble of videos I've stumbled upon are audio recordings of the sounds of planets from outer space. These videos have prompted a question; how is sound recorded in space. Everyone knows that space is a vacuum and that sound must travel through a medium, so are these videos fake or do scientists have some sort of technology that allows them to record the waves. I soon found out how by finding a link on Google answers.
First and foremost, all sound waves are vibrations and need a medium to travel. Ex: Solids,liquids and gases(sound travels best in solids). However light waves and radio waves do not need a pass through so they can easily go through space, So the sounds of the planets are converted into radio waves then intercepted by high tech radio converters which turns the waves into audio that we can hear. If we were to be inside the atmosphere of a planet other then Earth, we would most likely not hear anything because they do not have enough oxygen or any other medium to pass through.
A common misconception about space is that since there is some gas in space, sound can travel through it. This is true but the decibel reading of the sound is so small that we would need a very precise machine to be able to detect the sound. So there is no way Joe Blow will hear it. There is one interesting thing I've determined by myself. If in space you were to put your ear on a metal bar and someone hits it, you could hear the sound because the waves are vibrating in a medium, but once they exit that medium, you wouldn't be able to hear it at all.


April 1999, Lynn Carter , Dave Kornreich, Can you hear sounds in space?

Post 10. Is Ma Kitteh Hallucinatin' or is he just sad this is my last wikipost?

I recently picked acquired a large sum pf catnip from a pet store to share with my kitties. The first thing I did was pour a fair amount on the ground and then led one of my cats to it. Hethen started to sniff it vigorously and proceeded to roll around in it and then started purring like a tamed beast. I really wanted to know what was up with him, he kept rubbing his body all over my hands and legs. He also started to attack the frame of the door and his pupils were larger then normal. I was worried but soon came to realize that he must have been high or just plain old trippin' balls. I investigated the herb to soon discover what had caused this series of unfortunate events. No copyright infringement tended. All copyrights owned by the rightful owners.
The first thing I found out about it is that it's an herb, specifically part of the mint family of plants. It's scientific name is Nepeta cataria. Catnip is known to contain a substance called cis-transnepetalactone, which is thought to be a hallucinogen when inhaled or eaten. The herb gives a europhoric high to 85% of all cats. It's been described as a caffeine buzz for cats but it's a bit more then that! Even cheetahs, pumas and all other big cats get a high from catnip, so if you ever encounter a large feline while in a foreign country, bust out some nip and he'll be chill in no time. There is however one problem, there are the 15% of cats that do not posses this gene so catnip will have no effect on them. Also kittens don't react at first to catnip, even if they have the gene or if they don't. So be patient with this because it can take 6 to 9 months before a kitty reacts to this. If at first you think that your cat is immune to effects of catnip, check if you're giving your cat the good stuff because cheap stuff is usually cut with straw or other filler, this will most likely not work and your cat will be sure to give you the look of disapproval. Organic catnip is the best and I suggest to grow your own because cats love the awesome effects of catnip.
Sidenote: Catnip has been compared to human drugs and catnip unfortunately compares with LSD :/ But ignore that and think that catnip is but a simple, natural herb that cats can enjoy in a safe environment.

"How does catnip work?" 01 April 2000. HowStuffWorks.com. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/botany/question303.htm> 19 January 2011.