Author Archives: lindsay331

HW for tomorrow!

Here’s the article to read for tomorrow.

Just read it and come in with some thoughts for discussion tomorrow!

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Get out the SPF100 because the Sun is Growing

Following up on Jake’s class from the other day about what earth would be like in 100 million years, I found an article that talks about the future of the sun and earth. In about 7.6 billion years the sun “will reach its maximum size as a red giant” and possibly engulf the Earth. Its brightness is constantly increasing and scientists fear that the earth’s brightness is increasing too quickly that the temperature of the atmosphere will change to be an unlivable place for all animals and the population will die out soon. It is also predicted that in about a billion years the sun with be so bright and radiate so much light that it will boil away the ocean and remove all value from natural resources. As the sun continues to grow in size and brightness, the world will soon be destroyed and engulfed by the sun. The sun will also change the balance of the solar system and the orbits, so it will possibly move planets into new orbits.
This goes along with some of the predictions we mentioned in class for the earth in 100 million years. We all agreed that there would be no human life left because the earth would become a place that is inhospitable for humans and there would only be a few animal species surviving. I thought that the earth would be very arid and hot, which relates to the sun heating up and boiling away earth’s atmosphere and destroying its land. So what will happen to the Earth in these up and coming years? Can we avoid total destruction? Or will be slowly melted away by the growing sun until we are finally swallowed whole?

Thoughts on Balto

After watching Balto and having our discussion in class the other day, I have a few lingering thoughts. One topic that we did not discuss was gender roles and sexuality. Like in many other movies we have seen, the females are usually in lighter colors and do not have main roles, but rather side roles as seducers and such. Jen uses her sexuality to trick Steel and it works quite well. Steel is also one stereotype of males. He is strong, a leader, independent, and loved by everyone—especially the ladies. Balto also represents another stereotype of males, which is that he is the hero. When Jen comes to find Balto to help him on his journey, she gets wounded and has to turn back. This symbolizes that men are only cut out to be sled dogs and heroes and that women are not fit enough to help in these situations. But while Balto is out being the hero and saving the village, Jen is at home caring for Rosie and it shows the maternal instincts in females and their roles as caretakers. It is interesting to think that this movie is made with children in mind as the audiences and writers and directors are subtly slipping in hints as to what the typical female or male should act like.

Another similarity in the movie that I noticed was that in every movie there seams to be a posse of some sort that follow and support the main character. There always seems to be a wise one like the goose in Balto or Rafiki in The Lion King. These characters support the main character because he is usually a bit of an outcast and they always form a group of misfits. As we watch more of these movies in class, I am starting to see more and more the similarities in the messages and characters in these kid movies.

Predators

I am really interested in our class discussion from Monday about predator and prey ideals. I found two animals that relate to those categories. The first animal is the hammerhead shark. For years scientists were baffled by their odd shaped head and what benefits it had towards the species. Only recently did scientists link hammerhead shark’s unique head shape to humans vision. This shape gives them great stereo vision and depth perception like humans. This vision definitely helps when hunting for prey like the squid. They have good all around vision which can give them a larger panoramic view than most sharks. This was one of the qualities that was discussed in class that predators need to have good vision so that they can better attack their prey. This is also a good quality for prey, but a predator is allowed to have this large awkward shape whereas a prey would be better off with a smaller body.
Hammerhead Shark

The other animal is the Great Egret. This may look like a sweet peaceful bird; however, it just lures in its prey and patiently sits and waits for the prey to come close enough so it can easily devour the prey. The “deathblow” consists of the bird snapping its sharp beak and the prey being swallowed whole. It is a viscous killer. This bird has many beneficial qualities to a predator. For one, the bird is very patient and knows how to approach the attack. The walk slowly in the water until they see the perfect opportunity and then the bird strikes in one clean swoop. The predator also has a peaceful and calm appearance which does not immediately scare off prey because this bird can be mistaken. Its method of attack is flawless and a definite benefit for the bird. Because of its sharp long beak it is able to eat its prey in one bite.
Great Egret

These predators have ideal characteristics for their environment and the prey they are hunting.

humans=prey?

In this article I found from National Geographic, it talks about early humans and how we had a much different lifestyle then. Some evidence supports the theory that humans were peaceful before they evolved and were not savage killers. Humans want to believe that we have always had that natural warlike quality, but instead before humans had a significant brain, we were peaceful and we helped others rather than killed them. These qualities made early humans prey not predator. Humans believe that we are on the top of the food chain and are the most fierce predators and that we can conquer anything. You can imagine everyone’s shock when they found out humans used to be prey for a long time.

It seems that as prey humans developed any helpful qualities. One main quality is that humans learned how to protect their young, which created the father role of watching out for their family that is still present in modern day society. But were we better off as prey or as predators? Whether we like it or not we have evolved with a brain that has advanced us in society and made us too complex to be prey.

As early humans we were known for our cooperation and that is what helped us survive and get to where we are today. But it seems that now human have forgotten about what qualities have generated success in the past and now it is all about competition. I fear that humans have strayed too far away from the natural path. We are the only species that lives the lifestyle we do, so is it necessary? We survived just fine as prey, do we really need to be predators? What benefits have we gotten from it? And I am not trying to bash human society because I think all of our advancements are really cool, but do we need it?

China’s Three Gorges Dam

In my Asian Studies class we are talking about China’s “Three Gorges Dam” which was completed and started operation only a few years ago. This brings me back to what we talked about in the beginning of the year with conquering nature. I don’t want to spark a huge debate again on what exactly conquering nature is, so I am just going to say that I don’t think building this dam is “conquering nature,” but is it destroying it?

There is plenty of controversy over the building of the dam with many arguments for the pro side and many for the con as well. On the pro side the dam creates an alternative energy source to create electricity. This is very beneficial to the environment because it will reduce the amount of harmful greenhouse gases that China produces. Up to 10% of electricity can be generated by this dam, which is very significant for China and its environment. It also can help create healthy drinking water for the people nearby.

However, the dam also has harmful side effects on the environment in China. It is endangering animals such as a the baiji river dolphin by destroying their environment. The dam also disrupts the natural flow of the river and can have potential side effects on the land itself. The article talks about the possibility of the dam causing earthquakes and separating the land.

There comes a point when you have to decide if the cons outweigh the pros. And for this river dam I have heard many more complaints about the negative effects on the environment and how the dam was not a good idea. But for China it was a bold move because it shows their power and industrialism. So behind every issue, whether it be related to nature or not, it can always be linked to human power and their desire for competition. As humans we are always in competition to try and create the next best thing, but we often don’t see the negative side effects.

“Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy”

I want to go back to that article that Deborah brought into class about hybrids and how scientists are trying to create their own. The scientists are creating chimeras with human and animal cells. Is this ethical? Do we really want mice with human brains? I have a feeling this is just the beginning to what might escalade into a breeding of new types of animals. I don’t think scientists should be able to make these new species — it is unethical. The use of animal organs to help a dying human can be accepted because it is not changing how the human acts. But once these chimeras are creating a new line of species I believe a line must be drawn. It is unethical to create these new species and it is not natural.

By creating chimeras using humans parts, we are using our human knowledge to assert our dominance. We are slowing destroying the natural world if we create new animals unnaturally. And what would we do with the animals? Where would they live? Are they our new pets? This is unsafe because we don’t know how these animals will react in society and we could be creating potentially harmful species. Scientists are messing with the natural process of life, and I think it is unethical to create species that go against nature.

I personally don’t see the benefit of creating these species that are potentially harmful to the environment. I will admit that it is cool what science has come too and to create a half human/half mouse is an interesting idea, but they serve no purpose other than another outlet for humans to assert their dominance and show how much more intelligent we are than other species. Are we just so stuck up that we now think that other animals would be better off if they had for instance a human brain? And if we as humans are supposedly the best, why would we want to be mixed with animals? I am worried for the next stage of this experiment and what the next species they create will be.