Thursday, January 18, 2018

“Prospective birth control pill for men has its origin in an arrow poison”

David Weild
Mr. Ippolito

“Prospective birth control pill for men has its origin in an arrow poison”
Society, American Chemical. “Prospective Birth Control Pill for Men Has Its Origin in an Arrow Poison.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily,

This article is about a new pill which has not been released but is a possible future contraceptive for men. This option comes from ouabain. This is a drug that comes from two African plants “ that are thought to help control blood pressure; doctors sometimes prescribe small doses of the compound to treat heart attack patients.” In addition, “Ouabain disrupts the passage of sodium and calcium ions through the membrane protein Na,K-ATPases, which are are found in cell membranes and are made up of protein subunits.” Ouabain has proven to stop sperm by binding to Na,K-ATPase subunits. Unfortunately this causes a high risk of heart damage. The ouabain causes  stops the sperm “cells' ability to swim, which is essential to its role in fertilizing an egg, the scientists showed. The compound had no toxicity in rats. The researchers say that the contraceptive effect should be reversible because ?4 is only found on mature sperm cells.” This means that once this drug is no longer taken, sperm production will go back to normal.

This article is very relevant to society for many reasons. First of all, currently the only birth control drugs are for females. Having a birth control option for men would allow men to make the same choices women have while considering a child.In addition, this would not put all of the pressure on women to take birth control if men had a safe option to do so as well.

This article had strengths and weaknesses. A strength of the article was citing that the drug was not safe but possibly will be in the future. This was important to tell people if they were wondering when the drug would be available. However, some of the article lacked information about how this drug would work in some places filling some spots of the article with only “?4.” I suggest to improve, the author should do more research on this topic and edit the current article once there is more information discovered.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

“Girls Will Be Boys: Sex Reversal in Dragon Lizards.”

David Weild
AP-Bio, C-Odd
Current Event 10

Professor Georges, Arthur. “Girls Will Be Boys: Sex Reversal in Dragon Lizards.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily,

For this week’s current event, I decided to review Professor Arthur George's article titled “Girls Will Be Boys: Sex Reversal in Dragon Lizards,” I chose this article because we have been learning about species changing their sex in class so I wanted to learn more about it and I saw this article. This article was about an Australian lizard species which can grow the lizard equivalent of a penis during development if need be. This was discovered when  the University of Canberra and CSIRO found this happening to the body and genitalia of male dragons which reverse their sex at high temperature treatment. The study was done with “female dragons at normal and high temperatures," Dr Weisbecker said. Then "Our team incubated 265 bearded dragon eggs at two temperatures -- either at 28 or 36 degrees Celsius, the latter of which causes genetically male dragons to reverse their sex.” In addition the team cited that "I noticed that female embryos first grew a pair of hemipenes, just like male embryos, and only lost them closer to hatching," said Ms Whiteley. Based on temperature development in snakes and lizards’ genitalia will vary. This article also states how there is not much knowledge regarding this phenomenon but there will be more research done in the future.

This article is important for a number of reasons. In society today we are dealing with lots of XY chromosome and other chromosome problems. Also there are many hermaphroditic animals and finding out the conditions that they turn genders is important because if they have to reproduce we as humans want to be able to help them continue their species to keep them alive

This article was very strong but the author still could have done some things better. For example, the article did a great job describing the study. Also, he described certain parts using quotes from the research team. As well as this he describes the lizard’s origins and tells the reader what the article will be about in the first two sentences and the title. One thing the author can do better is tell the reader where he will go from having this data and what he plans to do with it and plan further experiments. I felt like I was left hanging at the end of the article because there was not really a proper ending.

Friday, October 20, 2017

F.D.A. Approves Second Gene-Altering Treatment for Cancer

F.D.A. Approves Second Gene-Altering Treatment for Cancer

David Weild
AP-Bio C-Odd
Current Event 5

I read the New York Times article “F.D.A. Approves Second Gene-Altering Treatment for Cancer,” by Denise Grady about a new drug called “Yescarta.” This drug is an  “F.D.A. Approve[ed] Second Gene-Altering Treatment for Cancer.” Kite Pharma is the company behind this new and impressive drug. Yescarta is eligible for adults with non-hodgkin's lymphoma to use.  Specifically, Yescarta turns cells into a drugs.  This branch of treatment is called Immunotherapy and Gene therapy is a sub-category.
This drug is only available to a specific group of people. Patients must fail at least two rounds of chemotherapy.  In most cases, Yescarta allows for a longer remission for most people.  Yescarta originated by injection through a vein by creator, Dr. Steven Rosenberg.  Doctors have described the results of Yescarta as remarkable.

Cleary, there are side effects to every drug. Yescarta’s include, “high fevers, crashing blood pressure, lung congestion, and neurological problems.” Side effects of this drug can be so serious they have been known to kill some people. Lately, doctors are finding out new ways to counter side effects and help their patients live. The author cited information Kite Pharma and the uses of Yescarta. The author gave background information on Immunotherapy which I had never heard of before which was very helpful to me. Maybe this strong drug could actually reach more patients of lymphoma. Cancer drugs like chemotherapy can usually be used in multiple types of cancer. If Yescarta can expand, it’s use would be vital to lots of people. As well as this, background was given about the use of the drug -- T-cells are removed and then freezed which are then engineered to kill other cancer cells.

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.