What if there was a hit TV show titled “I’m 16 and have osteoporosis…” Seems bizarre right? Since when do teenagers suffer from bone loss. A new study shows that teenage girls who smoke are at risk to “accrue less bone mineral that those who don’t light up.” (Seppa)
Chances are you have voted for something in your lifetime thus far. Have you ever wondered why we vote the way we do? Why you wrote one name over another on a ballot? With running in a recent election myself for my sorority I am now more curious than ever of these questions.
A marvel of mine has always been how was life created. Was it science and evolution or the story of Adam and Eve? I tend to believe the more realistic approach is science and evolution, but how have we come so far from a “molecular level.” (ScienceDaily) Although I am still unsure, this scientific article “sheds light” on this “longstanding problem” using “mathematical research.” (Science Daily)
Since the beginning of time, survival of the fittest has been crucial in the “struggle for life.” (Wallace, A.R.) Evolution depends on it to preserve the “most favored race.” Before modern scientific advancements, the survival of the fittest has been left up to nature. But now, like everything else, humans want to be a part of it too.
The fact that “environmentalists are [even] pursing legal protection of nature’s right to evolve suggests that nature’s ability to evolve could be threatened or withheld.”(Martin, Laura) I think this is a valid argument. Consider all the negative impacts humans have had on the Earth – pollution, destroying of natural habitats, overconsumption, global warming. The list goes on, and in great detail. But, “can humans really stop evolution?”(Martin, Laura) And if so, should we?
In one experimental study testing this question the results contradicted their hypothesis of artificial selection leading to the most rapid adaptation. These scientists tested “the rate of adaptation to genetic stress caused by negative pleiotropy – [one gene effects multiple traits] – of a major resistance mutation in A. nidulans [a fungi].”(wikipedia) They did this with two test groups.
One representing artificial selection, weekly transfers of the fastest growing sector onto a new plate; and the second representing natural selection, random samples of all spores were transferred.The
fungi strains evolved in two different environments: “a fungicide-free environment [artificial selection] and an environment with a weekly alternation between presence and absence of fungicide [natural].”(Rolf F. Hoekstra) After the experiment was complete the natural selection group surprisingly showed the fastest adaptation, opposite of what the experimenters had expected.
The experiment was done with 10 weekly transfers, whether this was adequate time to gather correct results I don’t know because I’m not an expert on fungi. But, the scientists to explain some reasons for their startling results. One, “the number of mitosis needed to produce a spore from a nucleus in a mycelium.”(Hoekstra) Two, “the fittest sector approach only samples nuclei that manage to form a sector, i.e. are located in the growing front of the mycelium”(Hoekstra) at the right moment. Third, “selecting only on the basis mycelial expansion may lead to an underestimation of the rate of adaptation.”(Hoekstra) Therefore, it seems as if the experiment could have been done differently, like selecting another variable to manipulate and observe, in order to collect more reliable results.
All in all, I do believe natural selection has done a fairly good job at preserving the best species. I mean look at us today, how far we’ve come since the dinosaurs roamed the Earth. In some cases, artificial selection may be necessary to combat human effects on Earth that natural selection may not be able to take into account. In the end though I do believe Mother Nature should take her course.
^ a b “Letter 5140 — Wallace, A. R. to Darwin, C. R., 2 July 1866”. Darwin Correspondence Project. Retrieved 2010-01-12.
“Letter 5145 — Darwin, C. R. to Wallace, A. R., 5 July (1866)”. Darwin Correspondence Project. Retrieved 2010-01-12.
^ “Herbert Spencer in his Principles of Biology of 1864, vol. 1, p. 444, wrote: ‘This survival of the fittest, which I have here sought to express in mechanical terms, is that which Mr. Darwin has called “natural selection”, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life.'” Maurice E. Stucke, Better Competition Advocacy, retrieved 2007-08-29, citing HERBERT SPENCER, THE PRINCIPLES OF BIOLOGY 444 (Univ. Press of the Pac. 2002.)
Learning a foreign language in 10 days sounds like a linguistic crash diet. I, along with many of you, have been given the dreaded requirement of completing a certain amount of credits in a foreign language in order to graduate college. Luckily, I am finally done with my second language, but it would have been nice to know I could have “wired” my brain to pick up a new language in record time. This “wiring” method is known as the Pimsleur Approach – “a well known provider in audio-based language learning.” (SmarterLifestyles) Even the FBI purchased it and it was featured in Forbes!
Have you ever deeply thought about your connotation of a color? Perhaps your favorite color? While the color blue is not my favorite color, it is half of the world’s favorite color. After reading the NYTimes article “True Blue Stands Out in an Earthy Crowd” I have really gotten to know Blue.
After this past canning weekend I thought deeply about why people give to THON. This is a recurring question of mine. Is it because they know a family member who goes to Penn State, or maybe they are Penn State alum? Is it our signs and cans that say “Help Kids Fight Cancer” that guilt trip people into donating, making people ask themselves “what kind of human being am I if I don’t help kids fight cancer?” Or maybe the ripple effect is responsible – once the first car donates every car behind it donates. Sure, THON is an amazing cause, but what really compels drivers to drop a dollar into our tin cans?
For most of us, we can’t resist yawning after seeing someone else yawn or even reading about yawning. This is not an unfamiliar practice to us, but why does it happen? Contagious yawning has been long ignored by scientist. Now, some scientist are saying “it’s a really big deal.”