BIO 111Welcome :)



Post #1 Beer bran cleans up water
external image beer&barley.JPG

Researchers at Kobe Pharmaceutical University in Japan have demonstrated that the bran(a by-product of brewing beer from barley) adsorbs hazardous organic compounds from chemical and industrial wastewater. Wastewater contained growth of substance that can cause cancer. Commonly, companies use filters made from activated carbon to remove pollutants from water. However it is expensive and consuming over-energy to produce. Atsuko Adachi who is the leader researcher stated that beer bran would be better for companies. It is much easier and cheeper to get. Through the observation of pH levels, he also found out the effect of beer bran to polluted water. So it could be used to treat many sources of industrial waste water rather than using exorbitant costing filters.

[Thomson, H. (2006, August 5). Why drinking beer is good for the planet. NewScientist, 26.]

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Post #2
One Common Ancester Behind Blue Eyes

external image blue_eyes.jpg

According to the new research, people with blue eyes have a single, common ancestor.
There were no blue eyes until the genetic mutation happened between 6000 to 10000 years ago so, basically all of us had brown eyes. The genetic mutation affected the OCA2 gene(related to the production of melanin) gave us the result of 'switch' which means that the ability to produce brown color of eyes has turned off. It doesn't mean that there's any melanin left in the iris of the eyes. If the OCA2 gene had been completely shut down, then our hair, skin and eyes wouldn't have any melanin which is known as albinism.

The mutation created the switch in melanin production and depending on the amount of melanin in the iris, color of eyes range brown to green. Brown eyed individuals have considerable variation in the area of DNA that controls the melanin production. But a team of scientists found that blue eyed individuals only have small variety of the amount of the melanin in their eyes. They also referred to the finding of their research that blue eyed individuals all had the same sequence of DNA linked with melanin production. So they concluded that all blue eyed individuals are linked to the same ancestor and all inherited the same switch at exactle same spot in their DNA.

[Bryner, Jeanna. "One Common Ancestor Behind Blue Eyes." Livescience 31 January 2008: n. pag. Web. 11 Oct 2010. http://www.livescience.com/health/080131-blue-eyes.html.]



Stem Cell Research : My opinions



Existing Stem Cell Lines - It should be controlled. I thought it would be more helpful to cure diseases and to research for future than thought it as some kinds of murder, since they are not destroying an embryo or a human life.

Excess from IVF Clinics - I think that it is totally acceptable because it's kind of recycling embryos. So if embryos were going to be discarded, then they could use that for research. Through research, they might find new way of curing diseases.

IVF for Research - Enough amount of embryos are already produced from IVF clinics. Then it would be just wasting embryos and throwing out a life. So it should be restricted.

Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer - I thought that therapeutic cloning should be controlled but not reproductive cloning. At least therapeutic cloning has reason to save and help people. Reproductive cloning is not really needed for this period of time. They would rather save a life than creating a new creature that is not even safe.

I found this whole Stem Cell Research thing really interesting after I learned it. I had no idea what they were talking about in the news about research but now I'm glad that I seem to be understanding quite of them as I touched with this topic.



Post #3

Sound Sleeper? Thank your brain waves

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Some people are really sensitive to sound what they hear during sleep and some are not. People who are sensitive, they get waken up by the sounds even with little sqeaking noise. This happens because people have different numbers of sleep spindles. Sleep spindle is bursts of brain activity during the second stage of sleep, the period after dozing off and before deep sleep. To find out how spindles influence the stability of sleep, research had been done by monitoring sleeper's brain waves. As the result, the lightest sleepers were the ones with the fewest sleep spindles. Difference in the number of spindles wasn't huge but numbers of spindles were definitely an important factor of how much noise was required to wake each sleeper. So the conclusion for the research was 'the more spindles you have, the most resilient you are to noise during sleep' (Dang-vu).

[Pappas, Stephanie. "Sound Sleeper? Thank Your Brain Waves." Livescience 15 November 2010. http://www.livescience.com/health/brain-waves-determine-deep-sleep-101115.html.]

Post #4

Botox limits ability to feel emotions

Woman getting Botox injection.
Woman getting Botox injection.


One of the side affect of botox injection is inability to fully express emotions. Scientist had researched more about side affect that can happen and found out that it also brings inability to fully feel emotions. Botox works by injecting Botulism toxin which temporarily paralyzing muscles that make wrinkles. If there's no wrinkles, those muscles are not moving. A researcher stated that a person with botox can react to an emotional things but will have less movement in facial muscles, therefore less feedback to the brain about facial expressivity. So, the feedback from facial expression to the brain can influence experience of emotions. The simple smile can help make you feel happy while frown can bring down your mood.

[Moskowitz, Clara. "Botox Limits Ability To Feel Emotions." Livescience 22 June 2010. http://www.livescience.com/health/botox-limits-emotions-100622.html]


Post #5
New horoscope?!

Many people look up on their horoscope to check and see if they have something happening daily, weekly or even monthly. Horoscope is a chart which shows the position of the sun, the moon, and the other constellations, in addition to the planetery positions. The chart below shows original horoscope that were determined more than 2000 years ago.
Aries
Aries

Aries
Mar 21 - Apr 19
Leo
Leo

Leo
Jul 23 - Aug 23
Sagittarius
Sagittarius

Sagittarius
Nov 22 - Dec 21
Taurus
Taurus

Taurus
Apr 20 - May 20
Virgo
Virgo

Virgo
Aug 24 - Sep 22
Capricorn
Capricorn

Capricorn
Dec 22 - Jan 19
Gemini
Gemini

Gemini
May 21 - Jun 20
Libra
Libra

Libra
Sep 23 - Oct 22
Aquarius
Aquarius

Aquarius
Jan 20 - Feb 18
Cancer
Cancer

Cancer
Jun 21 - Jul 22
Scorpio
Scorpio

Scorpio
Oct 23 - Nov 21
Pisces
Pisces

Pisces
Feb 19 - Mar 20

But nowadays, the stars have shifted in the sky so much that those original signs are nearly month off. This shift is caused by the precession, the wobble of the earth's axis caused by the gravitational attraction of the moon to the Earth's equator.

Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16.
Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11.
Pisces: March 11-April 18.
Aries: April 18-May 13.
Taurus: May 13-June 21.
Gemini: June 21-July 20.
Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10.
Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16.
Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30.
Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23.
Scorpio: Nov. 23-29.
Ophiuchus: Nov. 29-Dec. 17.
Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20.

This list is the new horoscope which includes Ophiuchus, a formation the ancient Babylonians discared because they wanted 12 star signs and not 13 signs. That is an example of how astrologers pick and ignore astronomical observations.

[Pappas, Stephanie. "Wobbly Earth Means Your Horoscope Is Wrong". Livescience 13 January 2011 http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/wobbly-earth-horoscope-zodiac-wrong-110113.html]



Post #6


Scientist discovered that sand behaves much like water to form water-droplets when it is poured. They thought dry particles don't have enough sufficient surface tension to form droplets like liquids. But few physicist used high speed photography to measure the miniute levels of surface tension and detect formation of dropletin flows of dry granular materials. This video shows how the discovery was made.
They found that forces as much as 100,000 times smaller than those that produce surface tension in liquids can cause droplet formation in granular streams and cause these dry streams to behave like an ultra low surface tension liquid.













Post #7
Fish get seasick?

Suzy, the Seasick Seahorse from StudioLams on Vimeo.

A german zoologist found out that fishes get seasick as well as humans. He put fishes into an aquarium then into an aircraft which made a steep dive to see how they react. As a result, 8 of the 49 fishes began to swim around and showed some signs of motion sickness during the dive taken by the plane to simulate zero gravity. He said that they completely lost their balance like humans who get seasick and looked as if they were about to vomit. The problem for those 8 fishes may have something to do with ears. They originally have inner ear system that helps them stay upright, a sensory system kind of like the inner ear balance system of human. However, many of those 8 fishes had asymmetric inner ears which other seasick-less fishes had symmetric inner ears like humans.

[Lovett, Haley. "Fish Get Seasick Just Like Humans, New Study Shows." 23 April 2009. http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/science/2009/april/Fish-Get-Seasick-Just-Like-Humans--New-Study-Shows.html]


Post #8
10 amazing animal abilities

1. Bats---They use ultrasonic squeaks and the echo that the sound waves make after bouncing off object in the environment (echolocation)to avoid obstacles or insects on the wing. Dolphins also use to navigate in the water.
2. Shark---Sharks have special cells in their brains that are sensitive to the electrical fields that other animals generate. Some of them even can find fish under the sand by signal from them
3. Boa--- They have temperature sensitive organs located between the eyes and nostrils and pit vipers which allow them to sense the body heat of their prey. Also, those are located on both side of the head so that they can perceive depth and strike with accuracy even in complete dark.
4. Hummingbirds---Birds' eyes are adopted to wavelenth of light outside the visible range that human can see. The color when we see in near-ultraviolet light that we don't even have a name for it can be seen by them.
5. Cats---Cats have mirror-like membrane (Tapetum lucidum) at the backside of their eyes that allows them move with no problem in the complete dark.
6. Snakes--- Snakes sticking tongue out and making sizzling sounds are just same as the animal sniffing around. The smell are sent to the brain through tongue, roof of the mouth (Jacobson's organ) and then translated into electrical signals in order to go to the brian.
7. Moths--- The term "love is in the air" is to be taken literally for moth. The furry insects could detect chemical love signals called pheromones emitted by the opposite sex up to seven miles away. Some studies show humans also detect pheromones but the effect seems to require close encounters.
8. Rats---Most of them have poor eye vision but whiskers on their snouts cover some to make up for it. They use the long hair called vibrissae as well like how blind people use canes to indicate obstacles in front of them.
9. Drum fish--- Drum fish hear using their air bladders. The bladders detect sound vibrations and relay them to the inner ear by a set of bones in the middle ear called the Weberian apparatus.
10. Migratory birds--- They can use the "Earth's magnetic field" to stay their course during long flights. Scientists still didn't figure out how they do it, but one recent study suggests birds may have form of synesthesia that let them see the planet's magnetic lines as patterns of color or light that is overlaid on their visual surroundings. Humans must rely on familiar landmarks or the sun's position to locate North, and many can't even manage that.


Post #9
Identical twins not so identical

Identical twins are not really as identical as once you think of it. For example one might get cancer but the other one was not likely. Many of identical twins clearly behave in different way as they get older and some of them even look alike lesser than before. They get different not because that something's changing in their identical DNA. it's because of the differences stem from chemical modifications in the genes over years. Some studies shown that identical twins' brains even look different with close view of the wiring. So there would be prbably more differences found in the identical twins.

[Britt, Robert. "Identical Twins Not So Identical". Livescience 08 July 2005 http://www.livescience.com/health/050708_identical_twins.html]

Post #10
Why you can't tickle yourself

Our brian aniticipate unimportant sensation such as your own touch so that it can focus on like more important input, for example, a spider crawling up your neck. In the study, 30 people used a right finger to touch a left finger by tapping a device directly over the left finger and could instantly relay the tap and researcheres used another button to introduce externally generated taps. As the result, the sensation in the left finger was less during window of time centered on the instant any self-tapping would have occurred naturally.
external image 050628_brain_tickle_03.jpgWhen their brains expected a tap and the tap came as expected, the brain noticed it less. The information we get from our senses is always a late, because it takes time for the electrical signals to travel from the finger, ear or eye to the brain. But the delay is only fraction of a second which is enough time to make impossible anything that involves accurate control over our body or moving objects such as catching a falling objects from the desk.

[Britt, Robert. "Why You Can't Tickle Yourself" Livescience 28 June 2005 http://www.livescience.com/health/050628_tickle_yourself.html]