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POST # 12 – The Jet Stream

Government, U.K. (2011). Jet streams. Retrieved from http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/reports/wxfacts/The-Discovery-of-the-Jet-Stream.htm
The jet stream is a current of wind moving from west to east over mid-latitudes. They are found in the upper level of the troposphere. The theory of a jet stream was first founded in 1937, but it was proven by USA bomber pilots later on. Jet streams are caused by the rotation of the Earth’s axis and by atmospheric heating. Jet streams also effect flight times. Planes trips traveling west to east are always quicker than plane trips travelling east to west, thanks to the jet streams push. Jets are not purely the Earth’s to call her own, Jupiter is also the home to multiple jet streams.

Government, U.K. (2011). Jet streams. Retrieved from http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/reports/wxfacts/The-Discovery-of-the-Jet-Stream.htm

POST # 11 - Cape Breton Highlands National Park

The Cape Breton Highlands National Park was a huge part of my childhood. I was one of 8 houses actually inside the park. It houses the world famous and breath-taking Cabot Trail, a sight that everyone must see, it is the home to the number 1 public golf course in Canada, and has one of the top 500 hotels in the world. These are only sights, now about the eco-systems. Parks Canada says “…The cool maritime climate and rugged landscape of the park permit a unique blend of Acadian, Boreal and Taiga habitats, plants and animals. This special mix of northern and southern species is not found anywhere else in Canada. Within the park, several dozen species of rare or threatened plants and animals can be found, as well as old growth forests of international importance. Small populations of arctic-alpine plants left over from the last ice age can also be found here.” As you can see the Cape Breton Highlands National park is home to thousands of animals and plants, and it is a must see for everyone!

Government, C. (2009, August 06). Cape Breton highlands national park. Retrieved from http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ns/cbreton/natcul.aspx

POST #10 - 5 of The World's Rarest Plants

Rat-Eating Pitcher Plan
-AKA Nepenthes attenboroughii
Considered to be the weirdest carnivorous plant ever discovered. It is believed to be the largest meat-eating plant in the world... capable of even eating+digesting rats. It was discovered in August of 2009, on Mount Victoria in the Philippines.

Parachute Flower
-AKA Ceropegia woodi
This bizarre flower forms a tube lined with tiny hairs that point downward, so that when it attracts insects using the foul smell they secrete, the insects get trapped inside. Weirdly enough, this flower refuses to consume flies: it just holds onto them until their hairs wither. When the fly escapes from the flowers' grasps, it is covered in their pollen.

Stinkhorn Mushroom
-AKA Mutinus Caninus
Widely considered as the most unattractive fungi ever seen, the Stinkhorn mushrooms pop up through the ground distributing their pores through stinky, muddy-looking slime located at their tips.

Dancing Plant
-AKA Desmodium Gyrans
Also known as the telegraph plant, the dancing plant moves its leaves in sudden, jerky motions when exposed to warmth, sunlight or vibration - explaining their coalition with music. The leaflets each have a hinge at the base which allows it to move.

Flypaper Plant
-AKA Pinguicula gigantea
Also known as butterworts, flypaper plants will grab anything that lands on their leaves... and immediately begin to digest it. The surface of the plant is covered in sticky digestive enzymes to trap the tiny, helpless victims (such as mosquitoes and black flies), and it also can absorb nutrients from pollen.

"15 Rare, Exotic & Amazing Plant Species." Web Ecoist n. pag. Web. 9 Jun 2011. <http://webecoist.com/2009/12/21/15-rare-exotic-amazing-plant-species/>.

POST #9 - 5 of The World’s Rarest Animals

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The Pinta Island Tortoise
- Found in Galapagos Islands
- Only 1 left on earth
- Said to be extinct 30 years ago

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- Found outside China
- Also known as the river dolphin
- Rare because their food was fished

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The Vancouver Island Marmot
- Found only in mountains of Vancouver Island
- Population of 75

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The Seychelles Sheath-Tailed Bat
- Found on Seychelles Island (north of Madagascar)
- Less then 100 left

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Javan Rhino
- Found in Indonesia and Vietnam
- Around 50 left
- Poached for horn for “medicinal uses”

Lemaster, J. (2007, November 18). Top five rarest animals in the world. Retrieved from http://scienceray.com/biology/zoology/top-five-rarest-animals-in-the-world

POST #8 – Positive Effects of Wine

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We’ve all seen the rolling hills of vineyards and heaping piles of grapes in pictures of Italy and other countries. Of course these hills are responsible for the age-old process of making wine. Wine is viewed as negative for its containment of alcohol. However; wine also has many positive aspects. Wine lowers cholesterol and raised the high-density lipid levels (“Good” cholesterol). Also, the grapes of wine are known to contain large amounts of antioxidants which prevent cell damage and even some studies suggest it prevents cancer. On the other hand, all of these positive effects are only achieved when wine is drank in moderation, studies show that excessive drinking can have polar opposite effects. Moderation is typically known to be between 4-5 glasses a week.

The health benefits of wine. (2008). Retrieved from http://www.2basnob.com/health-benefits-of-wine.html

POST # 7 - Re-wiring of nerves in amputees

The man in the above video, was the only person so far to have the re-wiring done, and is testing out a new prototype of a prosthetic arm.

Through recent discovery doctors are able to take nerves located in the upper shoulder of full arm amputees and re-wire them to the pectoral region. They cut the nerves to the pecks and instead replace them with the only remaining nerves that would control arm movement. The result is fascinating! When patients think about moving their arm or hand or wrist, the corresponding nerves, no located in the pecks, move as signalled. Also, another interesting discovery was made. When the newly wired place is touched on the pecks, subjects can feel sensation in the corresponding place of the absent arm. So while no arm exists, patients feel as though they are there when the pecks are touched. Think about it, if a patient was shot in the pectorals, he would not feel any ain there what-so-ever, he would instead feel it in his absent arm. This open a huge door for prosthetics to make mind-boggling advancements. With this re-wiring, amputees will be able to not only move the wrist, elbow, shoulder, and hand… they will be able to feel sensation through this new technology.

Info obtained from Chem field trip to UNB, so no citation

POST #6 - Dictyota menstrualis and corals

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Over the last 15 years the problem of Dictyota menstrualis (brown seaweed) killing coral reefs in Florida and Caribbean countries has grown. In some regions of the ocean the brown seaweed covers up to 70% of the ocean floor. Scientists speculate that the wipe-out of 95% of the population of black long-spined sea urchins (Diadema antillarum) is the main reason why the indigenous brown seaweed has grown out of control and started covering the corals. The sea urchin, is responsible for scanning coral and removing excess seaweed. Steven Miller, the director of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, says; “Losing the urchins from the reef is like removing sheep from a pasture. The Dictyota just grows and grows.” In an attempt to preserve the beauty of coral in such locations scientist are introducing more sea urchins into the reefs themselves. With such dangers as coral bleaching and the outbreak of brown seaweed, lets hope or coral reefs do not conform to extinction!

Trivedi, B. (2001, August 23). Why is seaweed killing florida's coral reefs?. National Geographic Today, Retrieved from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/08/0823_TVseaweed.html

POST #5 - Why Crickets "Chirp"

external image criquet_1l.jpgHave you ever been annoyed by the late night or early morning sounds of the pesky cricket? Well like every living thing, there is a science behind it. It is a fact that only male crickets can make that annoying sound so many of us hate in the morning and at night. The sound is caused by a scraper and file they have on their legs. Each song that is chirped has a different tone and melody that makes it easily distinguishable for the other crickets.

As many of you would expect, one of the reasons for this is that it acts as a mating call. However; male crickets have different songs for different purposes. One is for attracting the female, and another for wooing in the female after attracting her with the initial song. After the mating has concluded the male plays another song to keep her nearby and to warn-off other crickets that she belongs to him.

Another purpose of this scraping is to show aggression. If one cricket and another encounter one another in a way they do not approve of they have a separate song they sing to show their aggression.

Brooke, Initials. (2007, December 13). Why do crickets chirp?. Retrieved from http://www.wisteme.com/question.view?targetAction=viewQuestionTab&id=2772


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The topic of global warming has gotten hotter and hotter (no pun intended) since former vice president Al Gore's documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth". This eye-opening documentary provided an indepth look, and statistics supporting the "theory" of global warming. Although it has been very publicized and supported by extensive research, many still believe that global warming is a complete hoax (www.globalwarminghoax.com).

This graph, from the documentary, shows the carbon dioxide levels detected (in ppm) of these two non-industrialist places. These two places obviously do not emit much CO2 themselves and the CO2 detected comes from other places. These places, along withthe external image CO2.pngrest of the earth, have both seen a significant temperature increase over the past 100 years. (0.74 ± 0.18 °C). The greenhouse gas emmisions coming from heavy industry based countries and cities is causing the atmospher to slowly "rip", causing the sun to pound its rays on to the earth without having to go through the atmosphere, and in turn raising the temperature of the earth.

Based on educated predictions, scientist presume that over the next 100 years that the temperature will raise between 1.1 to 6.4 °C.

Watch the documentary if you get a chance, educate yourself on the cold, hard facts and then decide whether or not you think it is a hoax.

Herron , J. (n.d.). Global warming hoax. Retrieved from http://www.globalwarminghoax.com/news.php
National Geographic News , Initials. (2007, June 14). Global warming fast facts. Retrieved from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/12/1206_041206_global_warming.html


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My recent travels to Hawaii provided not only a relaxing vacation, it provided me with some interesting scientific insight about my favorite animal, turtles. We went snorkling with turtles at a place the locals call the "cleaning site'. Every day at around 830-9 am local time, turtles make their way to the same spot about 400 metres off the busy Waikiki beach. This place is quite simple, consisting of 40 foot deep water and choral. The magical part of this place is that the daily returners come here for one specific reason. Because turtles are such slow moving creatures algae builds up on their backs quite easily. This build up is annoying to the turtles but can be quite tasty for other animals. The turtle's algae is literally eaten directly off of their backs by many different species of tropical fish, it is quite an amazing sight! Although, the turtles are untouchable and a heavy fine of $250,000 is given to those who do not comply, the turtles are so used to snorklers and divers that they swim right beside you and are literally an arms length or less away. The turtles and the hungry, colourful fish make the "turtle cleaning station" the most beautiful sight I have ever seen!


(Credit to Kelsey MacDonald for video)

Apoptosis, or "cell suicide", occurs when a cell programs death. Apoptosis can be very useful when the body is attempting to rid itself of cancerous cells. To provide mass reproduction and division the cell literally commits suicide.
On the flip side, apoptosis does not only remove cancerous or other harmful cells. It is suspected that approximeately 50-70 billion human cells die daily from apoptosis. Apoptosis one of the human bodies phenomenons that proves it is the most advanced "machine" ever to be created.

Dash, Phil. "Apoptosis." Reproductive and Cardiovascular Disease Research Group n. pag. Web. 3 Mar 2011. <http://www.sgul.ac.uk/depts/immunology/~dash/apoptosis


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Anton van Leeuwenhoek, the “unlikely scientist” was born on October 24, 1632. Many credit the great Leeuwenhoek with the invention of the first simple microscope, although this statement is completely false. Based on documentation it is obvious that the true inventor of the microscope was Robert Hooke (also coined the term “cell”). Leeuwenhoek was a master lens crusher and microscope maker, however chose not to make compound (multi-lens) microscopes, and in fact was so good at making them his magnification was much greater than any compound’s. However; after little research, it is easy to prove that Leeuwenhoek is not the true inventor of the microscope. Hooke’s microscopes, built 40 years earlier were not able to match up with Leeuwenhoek’s magnification abilities, yet that does not change the fact that Hooke should be credited with the invention.

Leeuwenhoek, as stated before was a very unlikely scientist, yet he contributed so much to the huge field of science. Leeuwenhoek discover the first early bacteria, writing about “animalcules” he discovered in a hygiene lacking man’s mouth; “an unbelievably great company of living animalcules, a-swimming more nimbly than any I had ever seen up to this time. The biggest sort…bent their body into curves in going forwards…Moreover, the other animalcules were in such enormous numbers, that all the water…seemed to be alive.” This is said to be the first observation of bacteria.

Ford, B. J. 1991. The Leeuwenhoek Legacy. Biopress, Bristol, and Farrand Press, London. <http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/leeuwenhoek.html>
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