The Cyborgs are Here!

By | 2018-02-28T14:26:27-08:00 February 27th, 2018|Biology, Featured, Technology|

NEWS FLASH!  The cyborgs are here and they've been here for a long time. One of these cyborgs is Neil Harbisson, who decided to combat his colorblindness by implanting an antenna into his skull.  Yes, an antenna is sticking out of his skull. On the other end of the antenna is a sensor that detects color and converts the visual data into auditory signals.  From there his neurons pick up the signal inside his brain and convert the input into a useful mental image.  With this antenna he can hear colors even outside the normal visual range (infrared, ultraviolet, ect...) and [...]

The Future of Gene Editing (CRISPR-Cas9)

By | 2018-03-02T14:53:47-08:00 February 26th, 2018|Biology, Featured, Science|

("CRISPR-CAS9" Podcast)   Might it become immoral to not genetically edit our children? Perhaps it would be if there was an easy way to prevent disease, ensure health, and give them an overall better life.  If we knew of a way to improve their lives and we did nothing, does that make us somewhat responsible for their troubles? This future may be closer than we think. A new gene editing technology called CRISPR-Cas9 is revolutionizing the way we edit genes and has applications that we have only written about in science fiction.  This is not the first gene [...]

What Makes a Species?

By | 2018-03-01T15:12:04-08:00 February 25th, 2018|Biology, Featured|

("What Makes a Species?" -podcast)   The term species is both the most common and controversial in all of biology.  A term so troublesome that one definition isn't enough.  It is almost impossible to avoid a contradiction when using just one of these definitions, but, all together, they can begin to describe what a naturalist already understands. Here are four different types of "Species Concepts", but these are far from the only four.  It seems like new definitions of species are being proposed every day.   The most common definition of a species is know as the Biological Species Concept.  [...]

How to See without Eyes

By | 2017-12-12T12:44:19-08:00 November 28th, 2017|Biology, Featured|

  You don't see with your eyes, you see with your mind. Perhaps this is a trivial distinction but understanding it can open up our perspective.  The hard truth is that the physical world is not full of colors and objects; it is full of, what Richard Feynman referred to as, a chaotic sea of electromagnetic waves bouncing off in every direction. These waves inevitably find their way to our eyes.  From there, light detecting cells within our eye cells are excited sending electrical signals into our visual cortex.  The range of the electromagnetic spectrum that we can see is referred to as the "visible [...]

Why do we dream?: A Sensory Deprivation Chamber Story

By | 2016-08-23T11:28:06-07:00 May 19th, 2016|Biology, Featured, Philosophy, Science, Technology|

It was beyond darkness; it was emptiness. A short time ago, I went with some friends to spend 2 hours in a sensory deprivation chamber.  As strange as that may sound, the idea behind the chamber is simply to eliminate all of your senses so that your mind is free to roam and meditate. In practice, the chamber is really just a shallow hot tub in a closet.  Inside the steel door is 2 feet of water with 800 pounds of dissolved salt, silence, and complete darkness.  But once you begin floating inside this confined abyss; you somehow forget that your [...]

The Semmelweis Reflex (famous only in death)

By | 2016-02-11T06:28:43-08:00 February 9th, 2016|Biology, Featured, Philosophy, Science|

Revolutionaries play on a different timeline.  They see further and their ideas live longer.  Pushing past ridicule and ritual they open up new worlds so that when they die, instead of being forgotten, they are immortalized. Names like: Van Gogh, Galileo, Dickinson, Tesla, and Edgar Allen Poe come to mind.  But what all these names also have in common is that they belong to those who found no fame in life, but only in death.  We may remember them as triumphant revolutionaries, but their lives were filled with more defeats than victories and their "great works" were their unhealthy obsessions. With the passing of time, [...]

My Blind Faith

By | 2016-03-11T04:58:25-08:00 November 10th, 2015|Astronomy, Biology, Featured, Philosophy, Physics, Politics|

"Oh I'm a Christian, so I don't believe in that" is no longer a valid excuse for ignoring concrete scientific facts.  And so it is time for all Christians (including myself) to wake up into the modern scientific age and ask some tough questions about our beliefs or be left at the kids table with the guy who is way too old to still believe in Santa Clause. Christianity needs a scientific revolution. A pursuit as noble as seeking the truth found in Christ has somehow made enemies with a pursuit of the same family; Science, the pursuit of truth found [...]

Why Medical Devices are not for Kids but should be

By | 2016-03-03T06:00:16-08:00 November 2nd, 2015|Biology, Featured, Politics, Science, Technology|

There is a scary fact about our medical system.  It is not equipped to serve children; at least not unilaterally and with the latest technology.  Barring specialized childrens' hospitals (like the one seen in the above video) that are few and far between, most hospitals are specifically geared to deal with the ailments of the adult population. The area of weakness that is most troublesome is Medical Devices.  As a medical device specialist myself, I have seen multiple cases where doctors were forced to use a device off-label and left to there own devices to jury-rig a solution for their pediatric [...]

Mysteries: The Voynich Manuscript

By | 2016-03-03T06:01:23-08:00 September 24th, 2015|Biology, Featured, Science|

  Also known as "the book that cant be read," the Voynich Manuscript is by far the creepiest ancient book ever discovered.  Within the manuscript are images of ominous plants, astronomical diagrams and scenes of communal bathing in a dense green liquid. And if that is not mysterious enough, the diagrams are surrounded by text in a indecipherable language even too difficult to decode by the modern worlds best cryptographers.   Theorized to be a manual on alchemy, a medical journal, or even a hoax designed to make money; this book has been obsessed over by many brilliant minds.  Linguists and [...]

The Language that Shapes Us

By | 2016-11-15T10:01:11-08:00 August 28th, 2015|Biology, Featured, Philosophy, Science|

It is so easy to let language shape you, much harder to shape language around yourself. The great communicators never concede to the boundaries of language.  Yes, language can set you free but it can also hold you in because language has rules...a few of which I aim to break; for the human mind should wander and rules are meant to be broken. Language can shape the way we think.  It can box us in or leave us wanting.  Giving stigmas to words that it shouldn't or masking stigmas that are deserved. The world is not made of words but [...]

A Random Life

By | 2015-11-06T07:14:06-08:00 April 2nd, 2015|Biology, Philosophy, Science|

Life may just be an anomaly brought about by random chance.  From the primordial ooze we climbed through natural processes governed by unconscious arithmetic.  And so here we are.  A collection of biological machines staring into the abyss and straining to find some sign of purpose. It makes one wonder.  If we did run into an alien species, would they chuckle at our desire for purpose?  Would they scoff at our need for belief? Perhaps...but perhaps instead this deep seeded desire for meaning is just another biological adaptation that gives species motivation to improve their surroundings and proliferate.  If this is [...]

“You Can’t Patent the Sun” – Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine

By | 2015-12-01T22:59:23-08:00 October 28th, 2014|Biology, Featured, Politics, Science|

Post-WWII, 1950's America was aware of the dangers in the world.  The atom bomb displayed its destructive power and it's design had slipped across the iron curtain.  But the most terrifying, immediate threat to American might have been polio. By 1952, almost 60,000 cases had been reported in the US with over 3,000 dead and another 20,000 suffering from paralysis.  In a time when the United States population was half what it is today these numbers were much more shocking than the mild Ebola outbreak we are currently experiencing. Today google honors Dr. Jonas Salk's 100 year birthday.     Dr. Jonas [...]

Man and Machine

By | 2015-11-11T07:25:00-08:00 October 28th, 2014|Biology, Philosophy, Science, Technology|

Could it be that mankind is no more than biological machines?   Are we simply products of complex chemistry that produce complex results; hardwired and mechanical? Science answers this question with a resounding "yes" followed by a rebuking, "get over it"  because the truth is that world is made of matter and we are no different.  We are governed by the laws of nature and our behaviors reflect of these laws.  We are simply more complex. (In fact, studying behavioral biology at the University of Oregon.  I was repetitively assured that man follows the same evolutionary and behavior rules as do all organisms. [...]

Humanity Obsolete

By | 2016-03-03T06:06:10-08:00 August 16th, 2014|Biology, Science, Technology|

Mankind is becoming obsolete and it is nothing new. Mechanical innovations have long out-worked mankind but now these machines can also out-think mankind.  And it seems that no profession is safe.  Machines are becoming better at recognizing patterns, analyzing data, conveying information, and even displaying creativity. Although many scary movies have been made to strike fear into humanity over a robot uprising, the truth is that these robots work for us and generally have made the world a better place for humanity. So sit back, kick your feet up and tell your personal robot to grab you a beer.  

Whale Cult Suicide

By | 2015-11-06T07:50:07-08:00 January 30th, 2014|Biology, Featured|

  835 false killer whales swam ashore under their own power in Argentina in 1946 and became the largest mass stranding of any single whale species in recorded history.  What could cause so many whales to voluntarily commit suicide in this way? Harsh weather, disease, geomagnetic field misalignment, and even sonar interference have all been proposed causes of these strandings but none of these are seen in every case and in many cases none of them are observed.  It is almost as if these animals are partaking in some cult-like mass suicide as they are often so adamant about dying [...]

Death of a Know-it-all

By | 2015-11-06T07:51:56-08:00 November 23rd, 2013|Biology, Technology|

  There are no more know-it-alls today; they've all died off.  There was simply TOO MUCH INFORMATION for them to absorb.  But it was not a violent death or a sudden tragedy.  Instead, it was a slow dilution as they were spread too thin.  Stretching to reach the extending boundaries of human knowledge, they found that knowledge was expanding too fast for their studying to keep up. They were always one step behind.  There was a lag between their knowledge and the world's, and the gap was growing exponentially. These know-it-alls had once prided themselves on having all the answers [...]

Citizen Science: Get Involved!

By | 2015-11-11T07:26:44-08:00 August 1st, 2013|Astronomy, Biology, Physics, Politics, Science, Technology|

  Science seeks to harness the brain power of the human population with citizen science projects.  Utilizing the internet, research groups have gamified research for the scientifically curious citizen to help play a role in the advancement of science.  Online programs have been designed to catalog craters on the moon, search for asteroids headed towards earth and identify the creatures of our seas. Clearly, the every day citizen isn't the prefered source for scientific data analysis but there are only so many graduate students to go around.  Because of this, some studies have turned to the average joe to [...]

The God of The Gaps And The Science of Uncertainty: What are we so sure of?

By | 2015-11-06T07:55:04-08:00 June 26th, 2013|Biology, Politics|

  The "God of the gaps" argument has one distinct advantage; there are a lot of gaps.  The philosophy suggests that God must exist because we cannot explain every gap in scientific understanding.  However, the term is more often referred to as a logical fallacy by the opponents to intelligent design rather than a consciously employed argument by creationists.  In fact, those that begrudgingly invoke the argument would most likely resent its label.  But still the thinking persists. According to this theological perspective, the moments of controversy that science cannot explain are proof of a divine being.  Essentially, our lack of natural understanding is [...]

Patenting People: Should we be able to patent genes?

By | 2015-11-06T07:55:42-08:00 June 18th, 2013|Biology, Featured|

As the human genome has become better understood, we have uncovered pieces of DNA that are incredibly valuable for human health.  That value has in turn been monetized, which is expected from any good capitalist society.  But is human DNA fair game for capitalistic gain?  Perhaps it is because, at this point in time, there are over 10,000 genes of the human genome that have been patented.  That means that nearly half of the human genes that we know to code for proteins are "owned" by a cooperation. Does this give you a sinking feeling?... One specific example of this genetic monopolization is seen in the diagnosis [...]

Evolution Myths: Could Mermaids Have Evolved?

By | 2015-11-13T17:51:27-08:00 June 10th, 2013|Biology|

A recent mockumentary put out by Animal Planet, "Mermaids: The Body Found", sent the social media marketplace buzzing with tweets from ill-informed mermaid enthusiasts who thought that the mythical creature had finally been discovered. The program began with a disclaimer that the events were completely fictional, but as prime time TV viewers surfed the channels and happened upon the mockumentary after the opening disclaimer, they wrongly concluded that the world had at last found our elusive aquatic cousin, the mermaid (and in the words of Ben Stiller, "MERMAN!") . While this assumption seems irrational, the program was filled with convincing interviews and dramatic reenactments  that (while completely fabricated) did spark some genuine [...]