Author Archives: cmv5298

Could Planet of the Apes actually happen?


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Many people have seen the popular Planet of the Apes series and have asked themselves, could this actually happen? With how similar human and ape seem to be, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched that with the studies and experiments developing primates’ intelligence, they could come to a point where they reach close to the human intelligence levels, maybe even enough to realize they could most definitely be the superior race. Us humans are only a few genes away from our primate counter parts, showing that if we were to try to engineer apes to increase their intelligence, they could quite possibly develop into something very close to human, only stronger.

The more we research into apes the more we find they are more like us than we think. A group of chimpanzees in the Zambian sanctuary have established a sort of “fashion” trend. One of the female chimps in the sanctuary stuck a piece of grass in her ear and eight of the 12 chimps in the sanctuary copied her. The apes continued on the fad even after its creator passed on. These actions could possibly show a culture that differs among where the apes are or what groups they are in. Apes are complex beings with social structures that differ throughout the different types of apes.


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Apes have also come to develop themselves throughout time like us. Stone tools have been found buried in Brazil, West Africa and Thailand. The archeologists who found these tools realized that they were in fact made and used by apes. People who have seen this information question whether the apes have entered to stone age. This was a vast discovery knowing that just a few decades ago we thought that we were the only species that used tools. But why did humans enter the stone age so much quicker? Why did we develop the tools into more complex and usable things unlike the primitive rocks that chimps use today? This is mostly credited to our larger brains which is why we are smarter and what helped us progress our tools.

In summary, a lot of genetic engineering over a span of many years would have to go into apes to successfully make an ape who is almost as smart as a human. Also, a worldwide pandemic that wipes out most of the planet would have to endure if apes were to take over the world because we currently outnumber them seven billion to about 500,000, and their populations continue to decrease. So all in all, most scientist would say although it is not impossible, it is very unlikely that humans can engineer apes to become intelligent enough to stage a revolution and take over the world. Phew.


Will happiness really lead to a healthier life?


Happiness is something that every human being strives to have, some could even say it is instinctual to want to be happy. People have even come to a conclusion that happy people are just overall healthier than the opposing not happy person and that happy humans live longer. This statement has shown itself in many magazines and health websites that seem to blatantly claim “Want to be healthy? Just be happy”. But is it really that simple? What if I am happy and I get sick? Am I not actually happy? The question of whether happiness will actually lead to a healthier life have led people to question and challenge if it is possible to heal with happiness.


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There are many different ways to approach researching this question. One way researchers have interpreted this question is whether negative emotions can lead to illness or harm to the human body. Scientist Richard Davidson led a study with researchers from both the University of Wisconsin and Princeton University that linked the relationship of a strong immune system with activity in the brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex. There have been many previous studies that find a correlation between negative emotions and their effect on the immune system but Davidson’s study is one of the first to associate this phenomenon with the brain.


He created an experiment where he gathered 52 men and women Wisconsin graduates and made some of them write down on paper the worst memory they have (an event where they felt the most emotionally distressed or sad) while others had to write down the best memory they had (where they recount when they felt the happiest). He then measured their prefrontal cortex activity. After measuring their brain activity, he then gave them all flu shots. He continued to measure their antibody levels after two, four, and six months. Davidson found a strong correlation between the people whom wrote down positive memories and their antibody levels compared to the subjects whom wrote down negative memories. The researchers still did not have enough evidence to be able to find a mechanism for it.

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Of course the question can be reversed, with people wondering why are healthier people happier? Is it the happiness making them healthy or do they just have good habits? One explanation could be that most people know that exercise is a key role in being healthy, and exercise releases endorphins in the brain which can lead to a positive mood, therefore people observe that they are happier. It can also be said that those who do not participate in healthy habits such as exercising and eating right are not happy because they recognize that they are not partaking in healthy activities and are unhappy with their body or lifestyle.

In summary, it is still not decided whether simply being happy can boost your immune system and make you less likely to get sick, but there are many studies showing negative emotions and stress can in fact harm your body and weaken your immune system, you can read about a few of them here.




Science? No thank you

Hello! My name is Christina Veintimilla and I am from Naples FL. If I am going to be honest I honestly had no expectations for this course. I thought it was going to be a general science class for my gen ed but am happy to find out that this is no ordinary class. When I first received the schedule for the class topics I was pretty excited to find out that we are not going to be talking about ordinary science topics.

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I’ve known my whole life that I did not want to study anything science related in college. Although I do enjoy watching National Geographic and Discovery channel documentaries like the cosmos with Neil Degrasse Tyson, anything beyond that can get boring for me. I’m one of the few of my friends who are not studying medicine because of my dislike for science and since I am a people person I found that Public Relations is more of my forte.