Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Assignment for Th Sept 17, 2009

It was great to be out on the boat with all of you over the weekend.

REMINDER 1: This week's reading assignments are 1) Chapter 2 in On Becoming a Biologist and 2) The Nature of Violence in the Best American Science and Nature Writing book. Be sure to post one question from each of these readings before 3 AM on Thursday (Sept 17).

THURS Sept 17: On Thurs. we will meet in our individual classrooms by sections. Please be prepared to discuss the readings, including Plastic Ocean. Bring your notes, ideas, and comments.

REMINDER 2: Your Marine Food Web Assignment is due on Sept 22 (Tues). With it, submit the peer-reviewed article you located on a topic related to your Species Expert handout. Include a paragraph summarizing the key points of the peer-reviewed article as part of your food web submission including one sentence on why you selected that specific article and the most interesting thing you learned from it. Please use a heading above that paragraph: "Summary of Peer-reviewed article."

Have a good week.



  1. OBAB CH2:
    Do most biologists find it difficult to find free time in their schedule?

    Westin Dollmont J01

  2. Deema Ferguson - Section J02

    OBAB Chapter 2: Janovy writes about the time a biologist must spend doing research on a hypothesis, to either prove its worhtiness or to prove its unworhtiness. He says that unproven hypothesis' are as important as those proven to be likely or true. At what point should a scientist give up on a hypothesis and move on to either conclude that the hypothesis is wrong?

    SNW- The Nature of Violence - A moving piece. It causes me to wonder whether violence in humans is a learned behavior or if there is a genetic predisposition. If two individuals are raised in the same household, with the same experience and advantages or disadvantages, will they both have react the same to situations?

  3. Deema Ferguson - J02

    OBAB Chapter 2: Janovy writes about the time a biologist must spend doing research on a hypothesis, to either prove its worthiness or to prove its unworthiness. He says that unproven hypothesis' are as important as those proven to be likely or true. At what point should a scientist give up on a hypothesis and move on to either conclude that the hypothesis is wrong or come up with a new hypothesis according to the data collected?

  4. Emily Cummins J02

    BASNW: I don't know if this was just me. But I found it strange that Lockwood wrote very passionately about how the gryllacridid ate itself, yet he hardly wrote with any feeling when he explained about how his early professor died. I guess I'm just wondering why he would care so much more about a simple bug, then a human being.

    OBAB: Is it really necessary for a biologist or scientist to enjoy or have a passion for what animal or thing they are studying?

  5. SNW: Are there more cases of cannibalism in insects after injury, or is the gryllacridid in the minority for this behavior? How can cannibalism be a better option than taking the chances of being eaten or recovering?

    OBAB Chap 2: What direct impact did the research done on H. megaselia have on medicine and evolution? Has that research helped to perpetuate a practical application, or did it only help in theory?

    Chelsea Green

  6. BSNW The Nature of Violence: Why be empathetic towards one another if we cannot fully understand? Is it a lie to state, “I know exactly what you’re going through”?

    PS: There are a couple of OBAB CH2 posts, including mine, under the old intro blog.

    Danielle Orbistondo, J01

  7. OBAB chapter 2: I noticed that in the first few pages of this chapter, it was about how school limits a student's ability to make decisions to yourself. I found this to be very similar to what Ken Robinson was talking about on tedtalks. If our school system is apparently not as good as it could be and limiting a child's ability, why can't it be changed?

    SNW: How long do the gryllacridids stay together when they're mating, and how long do the babies stay with their mothers before they separate?

    Chelsey Welch, J02

  8. Danielle,

    Thank you for letting us know about the earlier posts for Ch 2 in OBAB -- no need to re-enter those here. We will look for them.

    Thanks to anyone who got those questions in early.


  9. BSNW- The Nature of Violence was an intersting piece that examined violence in a different light, my question would be taking into account the views in the article do you believe humans would be better off if we did not practice violence at all?

    OBAB- Do you blieive that the purist, ideal form of biologist that the author talks so much about is 'better' as he seems to imply, than biologists who are more concerned with practical application of their research?

    Dominic Lodovici

  10. BSNW- The Nature of Violence; Page 118 states, When the cost is your life, whether corporeal or genetic, the nothing-to-lose approach becomes viable.

    This is a true fact but my question is does everyone and everything follow those words? Is it more of a natural thing that happens in life?

    -Kelly Fernandez, JO4

  11. OBAB- It is nice that Javoy writes about experience outside a formal lab setting,I have worked in a Genetics lab for 3 years and have little knowledge about 'nature' outside.

    SNW- How did the Gryllacridids get their name or, what does it mean?

    I wonder is Australia's Aboriginal people have stories or legends about these violent insects..

    LaTia Jackson, JO3

  12. Violence - I wonder why it is that almost all creatures share that same "nothing-to-lose" approach to defend their lives. Do all animals somehow think that no matter what their lot is, life is important? Is that a genetically natural feeling for all living things?

    OBAB - How does a biologist even begin to decide what to study? I know that it's important to have a passion for the subject, and that's a start. But with all the possible ventures a scientist could take on, I can't imagine having all that laid out before me and be able to make a decision with any ease at all.

    -April Henderson, J04

  13. OBAB - If there are limitations on child's ability is there a place they can go in a safe environment, in order for them to expand?

    SNW - Do you think that if children were introduce to violence with a understanding of violence at a young age, would they understand why it is wrong? Would this prevent violence in the long run?

    -Angelia Normandia J03

  14. Nature of Violence

    Looking at the difference between the violence of animals and diolence of people, I noticed there isn't much of difference. Both species are very violent. Why do we consider ourselves the smarter race if we are just like animals?

    Becoming a Biologist

    In being a biologist why can't there be a broad study of biology instead of focusing on just one area?

    Jenny Danner J03

  15. SNW: Someone on TV once said "Humankind invented murder. It's your one true art form."
    Is it possible that human violence is so fundamentally different? Insects. Predators.... they kill wiuthout emotion, but with reason. Is it possible that one of mankind's most terrible achievements is that we kill with emotion, and without need or reason?

    OBAB: I understand that the find of this "rebelious" student is important to the scientific community. However, how is it important to the layman? In layman's terms, how does it affect us?

    Nathaniel Bodenstadt : J04

  16. On Becoming a Biologist - CH 2
    1)"Work to a biologist is biology, but to an outsider a biologists work make take on the appearance of play or an activity that has a sense of childishness, such as seining fish or watching birds." Why do some people find a biologists work childish or just for play? Without the work that biologists do including seining fish or watching birds we would not know much about our wildlife.

    The Nature of Violence -

    1) So when an insect attacks another insect they feel no pain just pressure? Why? What do insects have or don't have that makes them not feel any pain?

    Danielle Roher

  17. 1) Becoming a biologist- What is ballyhooed? And in the book it says that biologists spent thousands of dollars working on HeLa when they thought they working on various cell lines. It makes me wonder how careful biologists really are and how much money has been wasted on the wrong experiments?

    2) The nature of violence- It says that when the gryllacridid is about to die it "unleashes a maniacal display of mandible-gnashing, abdomen-thumping, wing-flapping ferocity." It is possible it isn't so much as an act of violence, but at the moment of death adrenalin is released causing the creature to spaz out?

    Johanna Christensen

  18. SNW- The Nature of Violence:When bees are stinging to defend their hive do you think they have any realization(on any level) that this act will cost them their life?

    OBaB-The Practice of biology:In the chapter the author talks about how to effectively get grant money, and articulating creatively is a key in winning money do you think that this imbelishment of need is required for most scientific fields?

    Stephen Bishop J03

  19. OBAB: This chapter mentions many different disciplines of biology. How many sub-disciplines are there in biology? Do each of them require different training, or do they compliment each other?

    SNW: If you took two groups of people who traditionally exhibited violent behavior against each other (like different groups in the Middle East) and raised them together in a different setting, how would that effect the way they interacted as adults? If violence is the ideology of a society, how can one go about changing that ideology?

    Kimberly Watt

  20. The Nature of Violence-
    "adult gryllocridids lead isolated lives seeking one another company only for mating" is something that is very common in insects or is this a unique characteristic of the gryllocridids?

    On Becoming a Biologist-
    "This recommendation for the serious student: no matter what your area of interest, be it genetic engineering, biochemestry, molecular genetics, or ecology take the time to study whole organisms." How many serious students have taken this advise and felt that it made a significant difference in opening their mind?

    Freddie Munoz JO1

  21. SNW-I am very a little confused on what it would actually consumed for nutrients does it only attack when cornered or would it freak out and attack another bug to kill it then consume it, or just for protection.

    To me this book seems like it is half trying to discourage a person who maybe on the fence about becoming a biologist to not become one, to me this seems very apartment in the first chapter that something in your childhood must happen for you to have a calling to become a biologist, you cant just cant be interested in the subject. So I am asking is the book trying to weed out some people that might not be fully set on being a biologist.

    malcomb vrecenar

  22. Janice Smith J04

    In becoming a biologist in the opening quote it's said by Joseph Wood Krutch. With the title of the book I find that kind of odd and interesting that such a big section would be devoted to a naturalist, critic and writer, not a biologist. Why did the author do it that way?

    In BASNW while in Australia they were searching for gryllacridids uner the tutelage. What is a tutelage? In Websters Dictionary it says it's a guardian or protector which just got me confused.

  23. As I was reading Nature of Violence, my mind was automatically comparing the different insects to us different types of people. For bees, I thought of the US military. Die for your country, die for your colony. Then I thought of the gryllacridids. Compared to our usual maturing into individuals, they seem pretty similar in how they'd hang out in groups when they're younger and grow more aloof into adulthood. But that's my question. Being a more complex form of life, are we like them or vice versa? I also did'nt get that thing when he quoted Whitman with his "Blades of Grass."

    Marlon Pajarillo
    Jeremy's Class

  24. Woops. I messed up and put this in the old assignment comment section....but here it is!

    OBAB-Chapter 2

    "Someday another student will come along and establish the new context by 'seeing' in the work something that senior workers, restricted by their own paradigm, cannot see." (Pg 45)

    Are biologists that are at the beinning of their careers more valuable than 'senior workers' who are more experienced because they are not yet restricted by a paradigm?

    SNW-The Nature of Violence

    What other insects are similar to the gryllacridids in that they lack the 'standard insect defenses'(they have no stench, toxins, or sting)?


  25. SNW
    How many different species are there, not just including the Gryllacridids, that spend all of their adulthood isolated and by themselves? And as for the Gryllacridids, what is it about coming an adult, or what happens that causes them to break apart from each other and go out on their own?

    How long on average, does a biological study of a specific study last? I’m sure that it just depends on the type of question, and how complex it is to study what is necessary to obtain enough information to get a reliable source of data, but is it common for a biologist to study a specific species for almost their entire life, just coming up with question after question about that species, or do scientists usually study multiple species? Also, say I have a BS in biology, but a masters vertebrate biology, will it still be possible for me to get a job or even volunteer position in a field other than vertebrates, one in any field of biology?
    Sammy Becker

  26. SNW: How long can a Gryllacridid live in a cold environment like the refdgerator?

    Westin Dollmont

  27. OBAB: Is the author trying to say that biologists in general value and appreciate animals more than people?

    SNW: Why would the professor teach his students not to feel empathy towards animals, don't we study animals because we feel for them? If one can train oneself not to feel any empathy for animals how big of a jump is it to go from animals to humans? Should doctors be trained not to feel empathy for their subjects?

    Sarah Ryan

  28. OBAB-
    In the book it says that Science is not as funded as the other subjects, and maybe even more over looked.
    Most everyone seems to have some longing to help the envornment/world..but yet doesnt like science class, and as the book says science class in school doesn't really "produce results"...I mean I remember having to pick up trash in Science class "to help the economy"...
    I just wonder why students aren't more involved, there is so much more interesting things that we could be doing in Science class that would actually help the enviornment that kids would actually like to do, rather than sitting in class readying about stuff that obvisley alot of people think is insignificant.

    I just wonder why are bugs so evil (the Gryllacridids) are alot of insects the same way?
    It is my first time of reading about any insects, so I find it very interesting that they live in such a way.
    Ew, I just think they are so weird. I wish there wernt any.


  29. SNW
    Talking about insects.. Made me wonder about our germs too. How they are like, almost alike?? Not as same but yet so interesting. I wish their was no such thing as germ and insects but without them where would fish get their food from?

    Anastasia Brink- J01