Friday, November 13, 2015

Mark Sears   11-11-15 C Block Odd Current Event

Intuitive control of robotic arm using thoughts alone
By University of Southern California - Health Sciences

A paralyzed man with the help of Caltech and Keck Medicine of USC and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center got a robotic arm. The man has a neural prosthetic implant in a section in the brain that creates intentions. The robotic arm can perform basic motor skills like shaking a hand and drink a beverage.

The scientists implanted the device into Erik G. Sorto’s brain. Sorto is the first ever paralyzed patient to ever control a robotic arm with his mind. The device was not attached to his motor cortex but the his posterior parietal cortex (PPC) which is the part of the brain that creates intent to move, this lead to a faster and more fluent reaction time between his thoughts and the arm.
In animal tests it was found that the PCC that creates the intent to move. The patient has to imagine the task or goal and the brain activity was decoded by the scientists and the information sent to the robotic arm to follow out. The first day Sorto tried to control the arm it worked, and after a few weeks he refined his skills and completed the task at hand.  I think this is enough information and evidence to prove that this surgery will be successful again and advance the life of many people with paralysis.

The author did a very good job writing this article. The article is very well written and is very factual about the whole process of the surgery and the controlling of the arm.  I think this is a very successful trial and process, but I still have more questions about making more parts of the body and if they could be connected. The author did an exquisite job getting research about how it was done, how it works, and how it was possible. The author is slanted towards the side of the scientist, but I do not think that deeply affected the article and it’s content.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Gabe Morato
Earth Science- D odd
Mrs McClellan
November 6, 2015

Asteroid impact, volcanism were one-two punch for dinosaurs

Richards, Mark. "Asteroid Impact, Volcanism Were One-two Punch for Dinosaurs."
ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.

The article I read was called, Asteroid impact, volcanism were one-two punch for dinosaurs, which was a very interesting article written by Mark Richards. The article begins by explaining that many scientists pick one of the two disasters to account for the extinction of dinosaurs, but there is now evidence that proves that both the asteroid and the volcanoes led to the extinction of dinosaurs. It says that, “Both the impact and the volcanism would have blanketed the planet with dust and noxious fumes, drastically changing the climate and sending many species to an early grave” (Richards). The article also states that many geologists believe that the asteroid impact caused the volcanoes to become more active, which eventually led to the extinction of dinosaurs. Richards also goes on to say that ever since the discovery of evidence of an asteroid strike, scientists have been split in blaming the asteroid, or the Deccan Traps, which are huge volcanic eruptions in India. But, they did find evidence that tied both of the disasters together. Before the asteroid strike, the volcanos were much more inactive, and they didn’t spew out as much lava. “After the impact, the eruption rate more than doubled and the volcanism became more punctuated, with more voluminous lava flows interspersed with long periods of quiet. This is consistent with a change in the underground plumbing feeding the flows, he said: Smaller magma chambers before the impact became larger, which means they took longer to fill but spewed more lava when they did erupt” (Richards). The article ends by explaining that they are still trying to answer questions that they still have on the correlation between the asteroid and the volcanos.

This article is very important still today. If they find a lot of evidence that these two disasters, it completely changes people’s views on what ended life so many years ago. It would bring a new explanation for the extinction of dinosaurs, which would change the world. Many people only believed that the asteroid killed all the dinosaurs, but this article shows that there were massive volcanic eruptions that aided in killing the dinosaurs.

This was a very good article, and I do not have many suggestions for the author. First of all, I really liked how it showed both sides of the argument, but then he explained that there was evidence that tied moth sides together. I also really liked how the article was split into two big parts, and those parts were split into small and concise paragraphs. Finally, I liked how the author used a lot of facts and quotations. This really left an impact on me, and it showed that the author was very dedicated, and it really helped me comprehend the information in the article. But, I do have one suggestion for the author. I think something that could have helped him prove his point would be to put other ideas about the extinction of dinosaurs, and then proving them wrong, which would make his idea even more appealing and impactful. Overall, this was a very well-crafted article with very few mistakes or problems.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Alston Tarry
Earth Science
D Block Even - Mrs. McClellan
Richards, Mark. "Asteroid Impact, Volcanism Were One-two Punch for Dinosaurs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 Oct. 2015. Web. 09 Nov. 2015.

This article about the dinosaurs discusses how the species was wiped out so many years ago. There has been some argument debating if it was an asteroid impact or volcanic eruptions that made the dinosaurs extinct. Students at Berkeley in California have discovered that an asteroid impact accelerated the eruptions of the earthquakes. This means that the asteroid and volcanoes were both contributing factors in eliminating the dinosaurs. The asteroid and volcanoes covered the earth with dust and toxic fumes, cutting off sunlight and killing all life. The link between the two events is becoming more and more obvious. All evidence collected by the group at Berkeley, and from prior years points to the fact that these are two cause and effect happenings. They are now working to understand and figure out how large ground shaking caused by asteroids affects volcanoes.

This article helps people to understand how life died so many years ago. There have always been questions and speculations regarding the dinosaurs, and this article and these findings help to silence some of those questions. This is our planet and all this happened in the place we live today. The research drawn and conclusions made help to understand how the earliest life on our planet died away. We watched a video on how the crater destroyed life and killed the dinosaurs, but it didn’t mention the mass eruptions of earthquakes. This gives the full story and a real understanding behind the tragic loss of life.

This article was very well written and did not have too many flaws. One thing I liked about it was how it spoke of the debate between the two happenings. It stated the idea that the volcanoes killed the dinosaurs and the idea that the asteroid killed the dinosaurs, and then it brought the two together to make one big cause and effect. One more thing I liked about the article was how many facts and details were put in. It really gave the reader a better understanding and a deeper knowledge of what happened. One thing I think the article lacked was opinions of people working on the project. It had some of this, but more quotes and thoughts of the people would get people to look inside the extinction of the dinosaurs and really understand how it all happened. It would allow people to form arguments and compare their thoughts with other people’s. Overall, I thought it was a well written paper, and anything with dinosaurs of course is interesting.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Lily Vorbach
Earth Science, C Block, McClellan
This article is about how scientists have discovered the oldest animal life found yet in Australia, these fossils predate other samples by about 70 million years. This changes the world’s views on the evolution of animal life entirely. The scientists, Adam Maloof and Catherine Rose, went to Australia originally to work on a project that concentrated on the severe ice age ended the Cryogenian period. When they first found the fossils they thought that they were just mud chips embedded in the rock, but the scientists then began to notice that the shapes of the mud chips in the rock repeated. They then realized that they had found some type of living thing and decided to analyze the organism.  Analyzing the fossils found by the scientists was much more difficult than expected. Because early organism fossils are made of calcite rather than bone, x-rays did not work because x-rays make their pictures using densities, so the calcite skeletons did not show up in the pictures because calcite is also in rocks.  The scientists had to figure out another way to evaluate the organism. The scientists ended up at Situ Studio, a Brooklyn-based design and digital fabrication studio; here they created a digital  3-dimesional model of the fossils. After looking at the models, the scientists found that they had discovered the oldest animal ever found.
This discovery is very important to society because it brings the evolution of animals back 70 million years, this is the equivalent of modern times beginning in the late Cretaceous Period. This is a huge breakthrough in the views of the scientific world on evolution, it also brings about new questions for the scientific world, as stated by Adam Maloof ‘“No one was expecting that we would find animals that lived before the ice age, and since animals probably did not evolve twice, we are suddenly confronted with the question of how a relative of these reef-dwelling animals survived the 'snowball Earth.”’. Also, this finding is meaningful because it brought a new method for analyzing sponge-like fossils into play. Without this fossil the scientists Adam Maloof and Catherine Rose would not have created the digital 3-dimesional model software technique that allowed them to view the fossil. The scientists even talk about refining the three-dimensional digital reconstruction technique to increase the efficiency of the process in the future. The article explains “This could have a significant impact on paleontology, Maloof said, enabling the analysis of myriad early fossils that are currently inaccessible to the tools of modern science”.
I thought the article was very well written, it was interesting and included lots of facts and evidence. I would have liked if the article had spoken more about how these fossils would affect the science world and what this finding meant in relation to what we know about evolution now. Also, I felt that in general they could have spoken more about the fossil and what the time period that it lived in was like. Otherwise this article was very good.  

Friday, November 6, 2015

Cedrick Hoang
Earth Science 1H
Mrs. McClellan
In this article called, “Scientists Study Links Between Climate Change and Extreme Weather”, written by John Schwartz, a new collection of studies show that when climate change and extreme weather were compared, it ended up with mixed results. According to a set of 32 distinct studies that examined 28 extreme weather events in 2014, “The studies this year are pretty evenly split, about 50-50, for those that did and did not find a role for climate change in the event’s likelihood or intensity,” says Stephanie Herring, a climate scientist who is the lead editor of the report. The report goes as far as to say that “human-caused” climate change significantly increased the likelihood of heat waves in various regions such as Argentina, China, Europe, Australia, and the Pacific Ocean. However, some events did not discern climate change in all events, like drought. Some droughts are caused by the increasing amount of carbon dioxide and government enforced policies, while others such as the Syrian droughts, were the effects of climate change. Fortunately, efforts are being made by scientist all over the world to evaluate the short and long term effects of climate change and to plan a response to the extreme weather and this ever-changing world. This “coalition” of scientist belong to the World Weather Attribution Program, a nonprofit “formed to quickly determine climate links to extreme weather events”. In the end, “the question is no longer whether there is an influence of climate change on extreme weather events. The debate is simply over the magnitude and extent of that influence.” says Dr. Mann, a climate expert at Pennsylvania State University.
Before reading this article, I heavily believed that all this extreme weather that has been happening in recent years was due solely to climate change and nothing else, but after reading this article, it has altered my perception on climate change, and I hope to the other who have read this article. It is a common misconception that people think that this “human-caused climate change” is the main reason for extreme weather, which is only half-true. As mentioned in this article, many other factors (major or minor), such as increase in carbon dioxide, government policies, and patterns of unusual winds, can all increase the likelihood and intensity of an extreme weather event. The fact that there is a 50-50 chance that an extreme event could be caused by either climate change or some other variable is quite frightening, as this makes the occurrence of an extreme weather event highly unpredictable. Failure to react quickly to extreme weather could result in devastating consequences in the near future.
I feel like the authors and editors who contributed to this article (Scientist Study Links Between Climate Change and Extreme Weather) did a compelling job. However, I think that this article has a few flaws that if tweaked and turned around, it could be even more intuitive and engaging for the reader. The most significant flaw in any scientific write-up is an absence of data, evidence to back up a main point, something that this article severely lacks. Another flaw is a lack of resolution to the problem of extreme weather due to climate change. The only solution I see to the problem is an organization created to prepare for extreme weather, but this article does not include the short nor long term proposals that the WWAP plan to execute to rapidly determine the link between climate change and extreme weather. Finally, and this is  a trivial flaw, is to include some personal input into this article and increase the level of vocabulary throughout the article.

Australia Deploys Sheepdogs to Save Penguin Colony

Claire Kraemer
Earth Science Current Event
November 4, 2015

Ramzy, Austin. "Australia Deploys Sheepdogs to Protect Penguins From Foxes." The New York
Times. The New York Times, 04 Nov. 2015. Web. 04 Nov. 2015.
Australians are now training sheepdogs to guard the the species called Little penguins, which are the smallest, flightless penguins on the Australian coast, immediately making them easy prey. From an original population of 800 penguins on the Middle Island off of Victoria, the number of birds drastically dropped to under 10 birds, making them in immediate danger of extinction.
This drop in population was due to the number of red foxes imported for hunting purposes in the 19th century. Most of the Little penguins are now are located on islands, but even there they aren’t able to escape the long time predators. A local chicken farmer named Mr. Marsh who lives on the Middle Island also feels this threat of the foxes for the sake of his farm. He discovered in the middle of the night as he stood with his shotgun at ready, that the dog that was annoying him was also scaring away the foxes that stalked his chickens.
Mr. Walsh began to train sheepdogs to protect his chickens, and was immediately successful. Once he heard about the declining population of penguins, he knew that these sheepdogs would be the perfect solution. In 2006, the first trained sheepdog was deployed and since then, the not one penguin has been lost along the shore due to the fox population.
Although the Little Penguin population was never technically endangered, the success of the population stabilizing due to them being guarded by these dogs who are incredibly self-reliant made others believe this same idea would work on species in more danger of extinction.
The success in the sheepdog experiment on the Little penguin population has shown animal protectors that there is a way that a species under threat can be immediately helped by training dogs to keep their predators away. It also reminds the public that some of the easiest discoveries are right in front of our faces, as it was for the local chicken farmer who saved hundreds of penguins because of the dogs that had previously annoyed him.
The article over all flowed incredibly well, and there is not much I would change about it. The author Austin Ramzy immediately drew the reader in by starting with the word “massacred” in order to describe the terrible things that were happening to these peaceful animals. He provided enough background for the story to be told correctly, as well as told the public what Mr. Walsh’s work in Middle Island will do to help species in Australia and other parts of the world. The pictures that were placed throughout the article were breathtaking and really captured the fear in the small animals, as well as the confidence to protect in the pictures of the sheepdogs with their trainer Mr. Walsh. The piece I wish the author would talk more about is the more recent work the sheepdogs have been doing, because most of what he speaks about is from several years ago. It would’ve been nice for the viewer to understand what the dogs are striving to do in present time, whether it was training or helping out a specific animal.

Climate Change is Moving Mountains

Joe Seminara 11/6/15
Earth Science Current Event  

“Climate Change Is Moving Mountains.” Science Daily. Science Daily, 5 Nov. 2015. Web. 6 Nov. 2015.

In the article titled Climate Change is Moving Mountains, published by the University of Cincinnati, research shows how climate change that has happened over millions of years has affected mountain ranges and their structure and movement but also can change the local climate of the mountain. Researchers were never able to see this until now. The lead researcher from the University of Cincinnati, geologist Eva Enkelmann, studied the St. Elias Mountain Range along North America’s Pacific Coast. What her group found was if a mountain range moves this can change the climate when the wind and precipitation are redirected because of the movement of the mountains. These changes can speed up the erosion  and tectonic movement. Tectonic forces are when internal plates move toward each other. The researchers looked at two processes that end up building up and eroding mountains. Enkelmann explains, “To understand how mountain structures evolve through geologic times is no quick task because we are talking millions of years.” She discusses how dry the northern part of the mountain range is and how the southern area has  high precipitation which causes more erosion in the south. Some of this was proven in models but never shown in the real world. Enkelmann showed that climate changes changed the way the material behaved. Compared to millions of years ago when glaciers were frozen solid, today they are wet and moving. Studying the St. Elias Mountain range was ideal because the area is very active. There were two large earthquakes in the area which also contributed to major shifts and movement. These earthquakes caused the shore to lift and it is still like that today. A big concern of the researchers is the potential for earthquakes  because they cause tsunamis.
This article has an impact on society because of the important information it provides regarding the movement and shifts of mountain ranges and how it can affect the climate in that area. First, this information is helpful because normally it can take millions of years for movement and can be difficult to study. This area was fast moving and the researchers were able to see the processes at work. Also, this data can help them analyze the changes and watch for potential earthquakes which can result in a tsunami. Lastly, to have this data recorded will help researchers in the future learn about how climate is affected by mountain range movement.

I thought the article was well written. The information was thoroughly explained and easy to understand. The article flowed nicely and didn’t jump around from one topic  to another making it easier to read.  I thought it was interesting to read because I would’ve thought it was hard to collect this kind of data but the area was ideal for this type of data collection.