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.