Sunday, December 6, 2009

final blog

After reading this book I have either been interested or confused. However, I actually liked the end of this book because I feel like because i've been to Burlington before and know how clean and environmentally safe they are, it was a lot easier for me to read this chapter. It kept me interested and reading. I also enjoyed how it seems like the end of the book was like a "how to help with global warming," thing. The whole book until these chapter was about global warming and how its effecting or planet, and then the last couple were ways to make the environment safe and better. I don't know if this was intentional, probably, but I liked that.
The descriptions of Burlington made me laugh because it is so weird to read a book from a critically acclaimed author, on a town that I have known so much about for so long. I enjoyed this a lot more than all of the other chapters because I think it has the "hits home" factor, which personally I think is great. It wasn't all about science, it was interesting.
All together this book is probably something I would never pick up to read for fun, but it definitely gave me a different perspective on the world and how we should start thinking about how we do things. At times I did get frustrated with the reading because it would get confusing, but then again you have to look at it as a whole. The main theme is global warming, what can we do to fix this problem.
Knowledge of the facts will help those that don't know what is going on, and I think this is a great book that will help those people figure it out.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Field Notes Ch5&6

Chapter 5 made me very confused. She jumped from the Mayans to NASA to the Akkadians, I just couldn't stay focused on these things because she discussed too much. I feel like she continues to jump from subject to subject without a general flow. This isn't reading like a story anymore like in the beginning, more like a research paper. I appreciate her abundance of knowledge on everything but for me, this stuff is very confusing.
Don't get me wrong, her descriptions are great, I enjoy that because it actually gives this book something tasteful instead of the scientific words I definitely would be even more confused about.
I did, however, find the story about the lost city, Tell Leilan, it reminded me of the other lost city people really know about, Atlantis. Stuff like this will keep me interested but only for so long especially when she continues to jump from example to example.
Chapter 6 was a little better reading I think, I enjoyed the things she was describing because they were things that have actually been discussed about with Global Warming. For instance like rising sea level and CO2 levels as well as green house effects. All of these present different issues with the change of the earth and what is in store. I especially liked the ending of this chapter,
"In the future, she said, she expected that people all over the world would live in floating houses, since, as she put it, 'the water is coming up, and we have to live with it, not fight it-it's just not possible.' " Personally I am totally for floating houses, how fun would that be?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Field Notes-ch4

Kolbert has once again been able to use her great description of people and places to help with this topic of Global Warming.
I understand how difficult it is to write about something that is so intensely looked upon with so much to write about, however I'm beginning to see a repetition in just what this book is really about. It's a compile of examples that to the time may be interesting, but I don't find any hard evidence behind it. It is just examples of animals and how they have begun to migrate in different areas.
I do enjoy this book, however, because it has definitely given me a better interest in what exactly Global Warming is all about and how it is effecting our world today. I enjoy Kolberts writing style by describing her subjects in such great detail from their messy desks to the color of their eyes. That's the type of reading I enjoy, great descriptive writing that can paint a picture in your head being able to visualize these things.
I'm not really sure as to why Kolbert decided to use the examples she did in this chapter, maybe to describe how greatly Global warming is effecting them. However I did notice that throughout this entire book so far she will describe an example for however many pages and then the last sentence is just something like, "there is only one explanation, Global Warming." I feel like she needs more evidence then just explaining these insects and animals or describing what they look like. Personally I feel like they are just that, descriptions. Animals change, as do humans, we adapt to society, as to animals adapt to their surroundings...I understand Global Warming, but are these facts just merely animals changing thinking they are sick of their daily routines just like we do in every day life? That's a question scientists will eventually figure out.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Field Notes-ch2&3

I'm sure everyone has heard of the movie The Day After Tomorrow. However, when I watched this the first thing I thought of was wow, this could actually happen one day. Little did I know at the time but it IS happening all around us every minute of every day.
Kolbert discusses many different facts of Global Warming in these two chapter. The problem is, are we as readers, and as human beings willing to actually believe this is happening?
A couple of examples that caught my attention were when she was at the Swiss Camp and they did the dating of the earth's climate from drilling into the ice core. Also the many different diagrams really help encourage the fact that Global Warming is occurring. Greenland's temperatures are proven to be rising. The Keeling Curve as described in chapter 2 is essentially what got me from beginning the reading. Being able to show the difference in CO2 levels from winter to summer is definitely a huge benefactor in the issue of Global Warming.
Kolbert's writing helps with understanding the difficult aspects of what exactly is going on. Her unique writing flow really helps move me along from page to page. She really explains and describes the individuals from what they do as a living to their eye colors. I think this is a great gift to be able to describe such a skeptical issue in our society today, as well as she does, and do it with such great understanding.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Field Notes

Global warming isn't a topic that I tend to read about because it's usually too "scientific" for me and I get too confused. The author of this book, however, seems to write this more fluidly and really take her time to describe what she sees which, I think really helps pull your readers in.

It's interesting to read about what she has witnessed instead of just reading scientific codes, equations, dates, and data. All of that stuff gets too jumbled up and confusing so for her to write more about how Global warming is effecting little towns that, personally I have never heard of, and all of the things they've gone through to survive, it makes me want to learn more and read on.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Rag Time Weed"

Q. What is Ragweed?

A. As the distant sneezes and coughs come from around the corner, many are starting to take cover having their hand sanitizer and tissues, maybe even face masks ready for action.
There has been a lot of panic going along with the swine flu but some may not realize it could just be a regular seasonal allergy.
There is one plant, however, that is severely associated with allergies due to its pollen. This plants name is Ragweed. You can see this plant in many areas along the road, river banks, sandy soils, sunny grassy plains, and basically anything that is dry.
Ragweed's are also called ambrosia, bitterweeds or even bloodweeds. They are "invasive weeds" meaning, very hard to get rid of once they are in a spot. This is ironic because their scientific name is Asteraceae, which is part of the sunflower family. Ambrosia on the other hand is the Ancient Greek term for perfumed nourishment of the gods, odd seeing how they or the cause of sever allergies to those unfortunate souls just like I am.
They occur in the Northern Hemisphere and also in South America, and there are actually 41 different species of Ragweed worldwide.
Some of these Ragweeds are flowers and plants we see daily such as annuals, perennials, shrubs and subshrubs. They have erect hispid stems that grow in large clumps to a height of around 75-90 cm.
These plants are able to produce a billion grains of pollen over one season. It is also considered to be the greatest cause of hay fever in North America and also considered the worst allergen of all pollens. They usually bloom in early July, and stay until the colder months. It is a wind pollinated plant, meaning airborne pollination.
Many will say that it is impossible to remove ragweed from any are due too its high production in seeds, and of course the pollen. So for now the best thing to do is stock up on those allergy medications and tissues and wait for the snow to fall.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"What are goosebumps?"

Q. What exactly are goosebumps?

A. It's that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the temperature is getting colder, and the snow will soon fall. People are bundling up in their warm fuzzy sweaters, and wrapping themselves in 11 blankets. All of this means that those little bumps on your arms happen to come around more often.
Those little bumps happen to be called goosebumps. Not only can they be formed when someone is cold, but also when you are scared. Goosebumps are small bumps in the skin, which are caused by tightening muscles. These muscles pull body hair into an erect position. Goosebumps are a vestigial reflex in humans, which is from a long time ago left over from when we had more hair on our bodies. You may see this in certain animals when they are frightened, most symbolic would be cats when they are scared and there fur stands straight up.
The medical term for goosebumps is cutis ansernia, and going along with that the term
“horripilation” is sometimes used to refer to the act of raising goose bumps. According to some scientists this muscle stimulation is part of the fight or flight system, meaning it is an involuntary motion, it just happens.
A signal from the automatic nervous system tells the muscles around the hair follicle to tighten, which in turn causes a bump on your skin. Some people may assume that goosebumps only form at the legs and arms, but they can also form on the face, scalp and chest, or basically anywhere else.
So the next time you are enjoying a scary movie or just really cold from a chilly breeze and these little bumps form, there is don't be alarmed.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"Stephen Hawking Is Making His Comeback"

This article was very different. I like the fact that the author was comparing Stephen Hawking to his science. Hawking led a difficult life and this article definitely explored his whole life from the downfalls to his great happenings. For someone to be so determined to not let this disease get the best of him and continually defy gravity shows that being persistent really does pay in the end.


Lede: I liked the lede, but I feel like the author could of got to the point a lot quicker by starting off with, "On a mild March evening..." It would just set the mood for the rest of the story. But the description of Hawking I think is done very well and I liked that part. 18/20

Content: The author definitely answered all the questions I would of ever had prior to reading this article, however, I feel like after a while of reading just the first page, it was very difficult for me to continue reading because it was so long. But the content was there for sure. 18/20

Organization: I feel like the organization could of possibly been better maybe with better flow between paragraphs it would of helped me follow along a lot better.(especially when I do not know anything that he was talking about because it was very scientific.) 16/20

Quality of writing: I feel like you can't really judge a person by their writing. Well, you can, but it just doesn't seem right. Everyone has their own personal style and when they read their own work I'm sure it sounds completely different then it would to someone else. Other then taking that into account I feel like the authors writing was kind of bland. His descriptions were good, but not enough to keep me interested for the length that it was. 16/20

Clarity of exposition: Honestly when I started reading this, like I said before, it was very hard. There were too many different names of things I didn't know so it was hard to follow along. However, I do feel like the author tried his best at writing this article so that people like myself that have no background in black hole terminology would be able to understand. It could of been done a little better though. 17/20

Saturday, October 3, 2009

How does bug repellent work?

Have you ever been sitting around a nice glowing campfire with your friends and family, singing and dancing (maybe not dancing) roasting marshmallows until they light up like mini comets on the end of the stick? Telling eerie ghost stories that made you never want to fall asleep again, and then all of a sudden right at the climax of the story someone says "Ahh!" and then slaps themselves everyone jumps and then they just say, "A mosquito just bit me." Okay, well maybe it doesn't always happen like that.
Mosquito's are lovely creatures. They are like little vampires sucking your blood, however, there is something out there that can help prevent these little attacks from happening. The answer is bug repellent.
Bug repellent work great, sometimes, if you can find a good one. These repellents are made of different chemicals. There are man-made and natural bug repellents. Natural repellents can be made up of different oils like lemon eucalyptus, citronella, lemongrass, and geranium. Mmm imagine how nice that must smell?
These repellents work by making sure the little vampires don't land on the surface of whatever is sprayed. But just to make sure everyone knows, repellents don't actually kill the insect, just sort of turns them off of whatever it lands on.
Both of the synthetic and natural bug repellents work, but the synthetic ones last longer. These last longer because of their high concentration of active ingredients. Any products containing 20- 23.8 percent DEET (Diethyl-meta-toluamide) provides about 4-5 hours of protections from vampires (mosquito's).
However, the natural ones do work, but they only last for up to 2 hours. With either one you chose to use you will always have to keep applying, just like sun block.
One very good reason to wear bug repellents is to keep away female mosquito's. They will bite humans and animals for protein to help develop their larvae. So by using the repellent you are helping mask the scent of yourself, which they are attracted too.
So the moral of this story is, always wear bug repellant to keep away vampires.

Monday, September 28, 2009

"How Much of Your Memory Is True"

"Rita Magil was driving down a Montreal boulevard one sunny morning in 2002 when a car came blasting through a red light straight toward her. “I slammed the brakes, but I knew it was too late,” she says. “I thought I was going to die.” The oncoming car smashed into hers, pushing her off the road and into a building with large cement pillars in front. A pillar tore through the car, stopping only about a foot from her face. She was trapped in the crumpled vehicle, but to her shock, she was still alive."

This lede was very catching to me. The mind is a wondrous thing; what it can do, what it can make you think for instance. Having this lede be from a personal experience really is what pulled me in. I wanted to know more as soon as I read the last line. I think always starting out with a story in a lede will always be a catcher for people. The title I think was also very appealing because it makes you think. Are you living a lie? Is all of your memory true, or is is all just made up in your head to make you believe in something else?
If a lede can make you ask questions, I feel the writer has accomplished its purpose. As long as those questions are answered in the following lines I feel it is a job well done.
This lede in particular makes me feel for this woman, it held suspense over my head, how could she have managed to stay alive after all of that? After continuing my reading the story just evolved into something that will always make me wonder about what really goes on up there in my brain.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Imagine laying down on your couch enjoying a nice Christmas movie at home for a relaxing weekend, and you hear this annoying buzzing noise. The buzzing noise; however, is a very familiar that people tend to run away screaming from. This yellow and black stripped flying assassin, which I am going to call it because they always seem to have a target, landed right on my blanket.
Another name, of course, is the Bee. They are a monophyletic lineage within the super-family, Apoidea, and also classified by the taxon name Anthophilia. The only place that bee's are not found are in Antarctica, for obvious reasons one should be able to figure out.
Bees are known for their pollination and for producing honey and beeswax. Bees have a long proboscis (a complex "tongue") that allows them to reach the nectar from flowers. Bees are very important in the pollination for flowers, without them we probably wouldn't have them. They are also a specialized form of a wasp.
This time of season bees are out in full force trying to find warmer places to stay...and those warmer places just happen to be inside my house. Hopefully they don't sneak up on anyone else while they are trying to enjoy a Christmas movie in September.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"The Pesky Fruit Fly"

Imagine sitting at your kitchen table enjoying some breakfast and having a fruit fly land in your cereal. Nice thought isn't it?

I'm sure everyone has encountered that lovely little black spec flying around them when they are trying to enjoy a nice meal.

That lovely little black spec flying at turtle speeds, however, seem like ninjas because either they disappear when you try to catch them or, they just aren't there.

The fruit fly is part of the Drosophilidae family, and has a very short lifespan.
Drosophilids are considered nuisance flies, which definitely can describe this little guy.
Fruit flies can be seen year round, but mostly in the summer/fall seasons because they are attracted to ripened and fermented fruits and vegetables. Adults are about 1/8 inch long. Something very interesting I thought was that their entire life-cycle from an egg to an adult is completed in about a week.

Being such a nuisance, did you know that fruit flies can also have the potential to contaminate food with bacteria along with other disease-producing organisms? I definitely didn't know this.
I'm sure now everyone is going to try their hardest to make sure they never buy fruit or vegetables again. Well, instead of becoming unhealthy the best way you can avoid those pesky problems would be to get rid of a fruit flies source of attraction. Any produce that has ripened should be eaten, discarded or refrigerated.

If the problem persists there are certain traps that you can make very easily. I know this because I've done it plenty of times. You can make a trap by placing a paper funnel- you can use a rolled up sheet of notebook paper. What I have used before is a paper plate rolled into a funnel, it works just as well. Put this into the jar, which will have a little bit of cider vinegar at the bottom. Then, just place these traps where fruit flies are seen. It will look something like this picture.

So the next time you are enjoying that delicious breakfast and the little ninja comes flying at you, know you aren't alone.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Bathing, but Not Alone"

"There are some things it is better just not to think about. Like the 10,000 bacteria you inhale with each breath in the average office building. Or the 10 million bacteria in each glass of tap water. Microbiologists have now added something else to the list of things too gross to contemplate: the deluge of bacteria that hit your face and flow deep into your lungs in the morning shower."

Honestly, what grabbed my attention to this article was the title, "Bathing, but Not Alone." It was one of those moments where I thought....."Why am I not bathing alone, pretty sure I am."
The lede, however, was interesting. It left me wondering what this bacteria would do after it "flows deep into your lungs in the morning shower." How nice, makes me want to shower. But other than that I thought it was a very informative yet catchy lede. It left me with wonder, and gave me the knowledge of all this other bacteria we breathe in that I had no clue about.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Creepy Bug"

I was walking down my stairs in my apt building and outside on this box thing was this bug. It is scary and I do not like it. I obviously took a picture...Anyways, it is called the blue wing wasp....and is found in Australia, unless I am talking about a completely different insect...this one looked the closest to it. However, some people say they are found in southern Canada and upper New York. It's scientific name Blue Flower Wasp, or Hair Flower Wasp... meaning Discollia Soror. They are in the family Scollidae. They are nectar feeders and the larvae feed on scareb beetle grub. They are 20 to 30mm long and has iridescent blue wings with a black body.

I am not sure if this is the exact bug but it looks exactly like the one I saw. Every site I read, however, says that this bug is from I don't know if it got lost in upstate NY or what.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Birth Order-Fun to debate, but How Important?"

Being the eldest of my family I feel like I was put up to the challenge of setting a good example for my younger sister. However, my mistakes are taken more seriously then those of my hers. I think there is that necessary feeling of a younger sibling to look up to the oldest, but sometimes when the younger one outshines the oldest it is like the older one did something wrong.

Usually how it goes is the older one is "always the smarter one." In my family I personally thought that she(my little sister) was the smarter one. But then again, I bet she would think the opposite. I think parents have a lot to do with how their kids grow up and who they are as people, obviously everyone knows this. But what I didn't realize until after reading this article was that first time parents usually do things differently with each child. The first getting the most outrageous attention and elaborate gifts, because well simply it's their first born. They do different things with them teach them for the first time. When the second child comes along parents probably have this whole dejavu feeling and think it is second nature because they've already done it before. Like if you keep doing something or practicing something you will eventually become really good at it. So in a way the second child is getting jipped in the whole growing up process.

The other point of view though from my side would be, the second child gets a whole new experience on learning things. They will see first hand on what not to do because more than likely the older sibling will be getting in some type of trouble or making some type of mistake. They will take this and learn from it, I know my sister has and she tells me all the time that she looks up to me but it still puts a pressure on me having to always be well, not right, but living up to what she thinks I should be or how she pictures me to be. Basically she is living vicariously through me.

Having a younger sister has its high and low points. You get to watch them try to be like you, or tell you they look up to you. However, there will always be that nagging feeling of wanting to know what it would be like to have an older sister, so you can put the blame on them. Something I have a feeling ever older sibling hears throughout their lifetime will be, "But you let so and so do this why can't I?" I would love to say this, but unfortunetly never will.

Friday, September 4, 2009

"Performance and Safety in Ice Skating"

This video blog/ article about figure skating has a really big "hits home" factor with me. I have been skating since I was 8 years old, and taken the past couple of years off due to college. I have experienced MANY injuries as my life of a figure skater, a couple in particular almost paralyzing. I have fallen on my tailbone so many times I have lost count. I have also almost broken 2 ribs but thankfully just bruised them very badly. I can continue with the list of injuries going from ankles to knees to elbows...the list goes on and on. For a sport known for its grace and perfection there are definitely some consequences that many people don't realize because apparently to some skating is just dressing up in frilly costumes. The time put into each and every move, jump, and spin can take weeks, months and even years to accomplish. In this video it showed how they are putting sensors on parts of the body to get the proper rotations and movements that occur when doing jumps. With this technology the skater will know what to fix and how to improve some of their moves. This will definitely help with decreasing injury rates. I wish I could test some of this technology out. I really feel like it will help skaters a lot and save them the time they take off to rest up after crazy injuries.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"Finding a ScapeGoat When Epidemics Strike"

It seems like today we all try to blame anyone but ourselves in any given situation. With this major Swine Flu scare going around we...the United States are doing it again by blaming Mexico. Many People do not know this but according to this article people have been scrutinizing and even causing an uproar in attacks. Some people were even trying to close the border.
According Dr. Liise-anne Pirofski, whenever people are suffering there is a need to know why and how this is occurring for our own sakes. When this doesn't happen people start to place blame on one another. This occurs also in everyday life I think. People are always making themselves feel better by putting other people down. If there is any way possible to try and make themselves feel better people will somehow figure out a way to accomplish this.
Even when naming the Swine Flu Oubreak, or any Virus at that, cautions are takin into account because they don't want to cause a bigger scare and point fingers at any one person increasing panic among society.
This article even states that the Spanish Flu never even started in Spain. It was just found first in Spain and then the media did reports on it finally.
I just find placing blame on ANYONE very immoral when it is not their fault, kind of like the whole you're innocent until proven guilty. Obviously now we know that the Swine Flu is from Mexico, but that doesn't mean "Let's go around and attack and hurt them, not let them allowed into the country." I understand people are scared, as am I, but at the end of the day the people that care, and are genuine are going to be the ones in better situations and Mexico will still be known as where the Swine Flu started.... or I may be completely wrong.
I just feel like people need to step back and look at the WHOLE picture before pointing fingers and causing drama between countries and people alone.

"Teachers Comments"