Category Archives: Assignment 1: Science We're Excited About

The Human Brain and Nervous System

by Nyein Chan

The brain is the most fragile part of the body. If the heart stopped pumping blood, the brain would be the first organ to die. It consumes the most sugar in the body (when you’re not exercising). If your brain does not receive a sufficient supply of sugar, you will feel dizzy.

The brain has many parts and functions. The main parts of the brain are the cerebrum, cerebellum, and brain stem.

The cerebrum is divided into four sections: frontal lobe, temporal lobe, parietal lobe, and occipital lobe. Each section has it’s own function and sometimes more than one of the parts can have the same function. Here are the main functions that each part of the cerebrum control:

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Frontal Lobe:

–       behavior and emotions

–       solving problems

–       inhibitions

–       judgment

–       movement of muscles

–       sense of smell

Occipital Lobe:

–       vision

Parietal Lobe:

–       sense of touch and appreciation of form through the sense of touch

–       sense of position, temperature, hunger, and thirst

–       some vision

Temporal Lobe:

–       memories of voices and sound

–       memories of visions

–       some speech

–       fear

–       sense of identity

The cerebellum is located at the back of your head underneath the cerebrum. It controls posture, balance, and some involuntary actions.

The brain stem is the center of involuntary actions and vital organs. It controls breathing, digestion, heart rate, blood pressure, and internal body temperature.

Brain cell are called neurons. A nerve is a long and thin piece of fiber that extends from a neuron. If a neuron is damaged, it can not be replaced. The fiber is so thin that it can not be seen without a microscope.

The spinal cord is a group of nerves that connects the brain and the nerves all over the body. The brain does not have its own nerve supply. So if your brain is damaged you can not feel it. The spinal cord is protected by the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar vertebrae. The white matter is located on the surface of the spinal cord.

neuronsspinal cord

The gray matter is located in the center of the spinal cord.

There are three types of neurons: unipolar, bipolar, and multipolar.

Unipolar Neuron:

A unipolar neuron has one pole and is most common in animals without a vertebrae. In the human body many of the sensory neurons are unipolar. The fiber  that extends from a unipolar neuron is the dendrite and axon.

Bipolar Neuron:

A bipolar neuron is something that is found in the special senses. These types of neurons have two extensions connected to the cell body. One pole of a bipolar neuron is the axon and the other pole dendrite.

Multipolar Neurons:

A multipolar neuron has three or more dendrites and one axon. Most motor neurons are multipolar neurons. The multipolar neurons are found in the spinal cord and brain.

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The Awesome Archerfish

by Henry

The archerfish is a very special type of fish. They, like most freshwater fish, hunt bugs, but not the puny water skaters. They hunt lightning-bugs that live up above the water. Now, before you fall off of your chair with laughter, thinking I’m insane, hear me out. In order to get these bugs, the archerfish must first swim under the branches with the bugs on them (these branches span out over the water). Then they shoot a jet of water (this is a really powerful jet) out of their mouths and up to the bugs. More often than not, it knocks them off of the branch, and they fall into the water and die. Then the archerfish swims over and gobbles it up. But the really cool thing is that the jet only takes 240 milliseconds to fire: half the time it takes you to blink. That’s one fast hunt.

I first got interested in the archerfish when I saw it on an Animal Planet show. From other online references, I discovered that the archerfish’s Latin name is Toxotes jaculatrix. They also have a dorsal fin, just like sharks.

One last cool fact. There was a submarine built that had the name U.S.S. Archerfish. Cool, huh?

To see the archerfish in action, go to this site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhBZ40jIo4Q

To see a photo of the U.S.S. Archerfish, go to: http://www.navycthistory.com/images/Archerfish_SSN-678.jpg

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Pink Dolphins

by Emma

The Pink Dolphin lives in the Amazon River. Their scientific name is Inia geoffrenis. Pink Dolphins are known as the most intelligent mammal. There real name is a Albino Dolphin. Pink Dolphins are sometimes found in a family from 5-8 dolphins, it is lead by an adult male.

Male Pink Dolphins are bigger than the female. It has a hump on its back instead of a fin like a regular dolphin. It is usually 2.5 to 3 meters long. They have a fin that looks like a big leaf. The Pink Dolphin has unusually small eyes. The Pink Dolphin can turn its head 180 degrees because it has a infused vertebrae. They weight 90 kilograms. No  one understands why the Pink Dolphins are pink.

Baby pink dolphins are usually born between July-September. They build a lodge and turn it into a nursery for the calves during December-February.

People are struggling to save these dolphins because they are disappearing rapidly. Pink Dolphins are an important part of the underwater ecosystem. Pink Dolphins don’t have any known predators except for humans. They usually don’t live in groups because they don’t have many predators.

Pink Dolphins are so interesting to me because, they’re PINK! Pink Dolphins are really interesting to learn about because there is so much to learn about them. Pink Dolphins are a really fascinating subject.

Source: http://www.isptr-pard.org/dolphin.html

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2008 Red List

by Lauren

The 2008 Red List consists of 44,838 species compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Studies show that 38 percent of these species are close to extinction, while 25 percent of all mammals are on the brink of total oblivion. The list shows the most critically endangered animals of 2008, and this time it listed amphibians, mammals, and birds. This article will share only 10 of these many endangered animal species. They are as follows: the Pere David’s Deer, Iberian Lynx, Tasmanian Devil, Cuban Crocodile, Caspian Seal, Asian Fishing Cat, Grey-Faced Sengi, Purple Marsh Crab, Rameshwaram Parachute Spider, and the Holdridge’s Toad.

All of these species have either been announced extinct  in the wild ( Pere David’s Deer), endangered ( Tasmanian Devil,Caspian Seal, Asian Fishing Cat, Purple Marsh Crab), vulnerable ( Grey-Faced Sengi), critically endangered (Iberian Lynx, Cuban Crocodile, Rameshwaram Parachute Spider), or completely extinct (Holdridge’s Toad). As you can see, most of these species are only endangered, while some unlucky ones have faced the fate of total extinction. The 2008 Red List explains why these species are endangered or extinct, and where they are found in the world. Most of these species suffer from disease or large population decrease. It also classifies all of the 44,838 species into different categories for their state in the world at eh moment (critically endangered, endangered, extinct, extinct in the wild, etc.). The Red List helps us keep up to date on the species in our world that are coming to and end, and how we are trying to help. The 2008 Red List is interesting to me because I love animals, and might want to be a vet someday and learning about animals in any was only helps me get closer to my dream

Sources:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/10/photogalleries/IUCN-Red-List-photos/index.html

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/10/081006-endangered-species.html

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Black Holes

by John

Black Holes can suck up light and other  black holes. The first theories on black holes were created in the  18 century by French and English scientists .  Black holes give off radio waves and x rays. Our galaxy  has about 100 million black holes .

It is impossible to see a black hole from Earth. The farthest black hole from us is “Perseus A” which is 235 million light years away from Earth. This black hole can get energy from sound waves. One single black hole can be 800 light years across.  Black holes can supposedly time travel but that has not been proven. Black holes are cool to me because I am interested in our galaxy and the black holes in other galaxies.

In conclusion black holes are very powerful and big objects in space  that could possibly cause time travel.

The end

Learn more go to http://hubblesite.org/explore_astronomy/black_holes/home.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOi0xA9GvX8

And a book “ Universe”

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Gamma Rays

by Will

Gamma rays are part of the Electromagnetic Spectrum! According to en.wiktionary.org/wiki/electromagneticspectrum the electromagnetic spectrum is:

“The entire range of wavelengths of all known electromagnetic radiations extending from gamma rays through visible light, infrared, and radio waves, to X Rays. It is divided into 26 alphabetically designated bands, having frequencies of 0 to at least 10 hertz”

Gamma rays are the smallest in wavelength but the largest in energy on the electromagnetic spectrum.

Gamma Rays are created by radioactive atoms, nuclear explosions, and Supernova explosions! Gamma rays can kill living things so many doctors use this to there advantage by creating medicine that uses gamma rays to kill cancerous cells. As I said before gamma rays have the largest amount of energy in the electromagnetic spectrum. So it has been discovered that a gamma ray burst can release the amount of energy the sun emits over a ten billion year time span, in ten seconds!

Gamma rays are the most powerful energy source on the electromagnetic spectrum. They are created by radioactive atoms, nuclear explosions, and supernova explosions.

To see a cool video go to: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4256770211230710093

To learn more go to:http://science.hq.nasa.gov/kids/imagers/ems/gamma.html

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Glowing Puppies

by Hannah

South Korean scientists claim they have cloned glowing dogs.

They have cloned four beagles that glow red under ultraviolet light, and sometimes look red to the eye. Six females dogs were born in December 2007, but two of them died. The scientists named all four dogs Ruppy, a combination of ruby and puppy. The head of the research team, professor Lee Byeong-chun, said “What’s significant in this work is not the dogs expressing red colors but that we planted genes into them.” Scientists in other places such as the U.S., Japan and Europe have previously cloned fluorescent mice and pigs, but it is the first time dogs with “modified genes” have been cloned successfully. He said his team took skin cells from a beagle and inserted fluorescent genes. Then they put them into eggs before they implanted it into a pregnant dog. The glowing dogs show that it’s possible to put genes with a specific trait that could help treat certain diseases.

The team has started to implant “human disease-related” genes in the course of dog cloning. It might help them find new treatments for diseases like Parkinson’s.

Sources:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/090429-fluorescent-dogs-video-ap.html

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090428/ap_on_re_as/as_skorea_cloned_dogs

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