Human Body: Pushing The Limits

2 05 2008

Who here loves the Discovery Channel?

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Put on your David Attenborough voice over: “Hee-are we see an evolved species, in it’s na-Tur-aL habitat.” 

Great works have been filmed and viewed from it on countless occasions. Yes I am showing my real deep geeky/nerdy side (I which consist of 9 different types of cheese) but I have to admit that I am absolutely fascinated by a lot of the things that show throws at us! Animals in the wild are among an all time favourite (along with what Animal Planet gives us of course).

Recently I had the pleasure of watching all 4 episodes of the Human Body series. Overall it was quite good. The whole show is presented in an excited exaggerated kind of format for the average lay person. I liked the overall structure of it, but to me a lot of terms seemed very basic and I was on the edge of my seat waiting for them to say hypothalamuspineal gland or the frontal lobe instead of the ‘learning centre’, the ‘sleep control centre’ or the  ‘logical thought processing centre’ respectively. Now I know why doctors want to throw up when they watch shows like House or Grey’s Anatomy. To be fair I didn’t notice anything inaccurate with the show (I am still a newbie scientist though so don’t take my words as gospel), but it just seemed very basic. I guess that’s what learning about a lot of the stuff they said though does to you. What the average stuff is said on the media and TV about science is so basic but yet, for many it is stuff that people barely can understand. The same thing obviously occurs to me when I read about legal things, financial things (seriously it’s all just a bunch of random numbers to me), or any other topic I am not specialized in (life in general maybe… OOH SNAP!).

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The right hypothalamus is connected to the right thalamus, the right thalamus is connected to the…


Oh and one more thing. I found the constant flashes back and forth and constant editing and repeating of certain scenes a bit excessive. I suppose the purpose of it was of course to bring excitement and make the show seem like fun, but to me it seemed like they tried a bit too much to excite and dazzle! Or people like flashy stuff? I suppose it’s better than reading it from a book so I will shut up now hehe.

I did learn a number of awesome things though. This includes:

-If you are ever lost at sea with little or no food, the fishes un cooked liver, skin, eyes (has fresh water in them believe it or not), and a bunch of other internal organs are quite tasty.
-You can fall 60 feet (OMG its 21st century people– no offence of course!) and get by with a fractured knee joint a fractured hip and still survive after 2 days of agony.


 

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I thought this proves the above point quite nicely. 😉 (I just dug a deep deep hole didn’t I?)

MOVING ON:

-You can lift 500 pounds (or was it more) when you are just about to fall of a cliff.
-You can run faster than a camel when a fireball is thrown at you by a wizard.
-Staying awake for 2 days makes you cranky and there’s a reason why people hate alarm clocks.
-Magic tricks are fun.
-Some people have cheesy voices. I mean ugh, magic is cool!?
-The magic colour changing card trick (YouTube this one)
-Monks from China can survive pain via controlling their mind and stuff.
-Eating less food makes you live longer (I want to look this up for confirmation as I can imagine some of my lecturers debating this, but for all I know it can be an accepted fact from the scientific community). 
-We might be able to one day control our dreams (THIS IS COOL IMO)
-We might be able to restore the vision of people in the future (well I guess people always knew this will one day happen, but they showed a really awesome case of this on the show)

Plus heaps more!

So yeah, when bored and you want to know a few more things about your body, do check it out. You just might learn a thing or two!

 

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My obsessive compulsive is the mandatory placing of a caption under every picture, when it might not be needed. 😉 





THE MILKY WAY GALAXY IS GOING TO BLOW!!!

14 04 2008

OK so I am exaggerating with my heading a tiny bit. None-the-less this short article from the journal ‘Science’  does mention the possibility of the black hole in the centre of our Milky Way galaxy (yeah I didn’t know there was a black hole in the centre of our Milky Way galaxy either but moving on) blowing up spewing gamma radiation and other harmful radiation potentially turning us all into a bunch of mutants! (Well actually that will be if you are lucky… Think ‘I am Legend‘ scenario)

I am going to suck your blood! Cowabungaaaaaaaaaaaaaa dude!!!

Stupidity aside, near the end of the article, they give the cliched ‘well this will probably not happen, but a bunch of scientists say it’s theoretically possible‘.

 

:-S

 

 So………I am sitting on my chair, leaning on my desk, in my room, in my house, on my street…. (Fast-forward) in my solar system, in the Orion belt, in my milky way galaxy, and there is the random potential possibility that everything, and I mean everything can disappear in an instance?

It is just stunning to think that after everything that has happened, 4.5 billion years of time (evolution, dinosaurs, bacteria, Homo erectus and least of all us), can vanish with out a trace. To think that a bunch of aliens can come hovering in their spacecraft after the elimination of our Milky Way galaxy and be like “well there’s nothing but empty space here, let’s move on”….

The black hole is apparently in the middle. (Quite shiny for a black hole don’t you think?)

Furthermore all of it is just talked about in a casual, don’t worry the probability of that happening is near zero point 1 to the 89th decimal place, but the probability increases slightly over time (so in 19 billion years, the threat might be very real).

OK so where am I going with all of this? (Not very far…but anyway). Seriously though, all this talk about how we have absolutely no control in what goes on with anything outside of this earth makes me feel very small. Helpless and small… I mean what is the point of it all? It is all going to end anyway?

I don’t know what I am saying any more… But it just makes me stop and wonder sometimes…. makes me realize that, you know… I am so tiny in the big scheme of things. We all are. So what I do will not change the universe in any shape or form and I am nothing more than a clump of atoms making up a clump of molecules making up a clump of cells.

Aaaargh I feel your confusion freakazoid.

But wait…. what is the point though of being on this earth? If I am so insignificant…? There must be some point. Some reason. I dont’ know how to put it into words… When people have written entire libraries about this kind of deep and meaningful intellectual shit, what chances do I have in a little measly blog post that is even less significant than me! 

I don’t know. Reading that article just reminded me of that scene in Men in Black (well the ending actually so I am not going to spoil it even though everyone has already seen it). So to sum up the above:  I just touched on in a number of issues in an incoherent fashion about blah. Hence I think I am just going to stop typing and leave most of the philosophy for the philosophers.

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One opinion of the meaning of life.


But still, I can’t help wondering stuff sometimes at night when articles like the above prompt me to it… Maybe I should take up a hobby to stop having excess time to think about stuff. Like that assignment that got dished out recently hey?





Limb regeneration. Science fiction or reality?

6 04 2008

So you amputate your hand or your arm in an accident. You are shattered and without even one limb there is a significantly reduced quality of life. You need to replace said hand or arm with a prosthetic in order to gain function and improve the general outlook. It is not the same but at least it’s not a pirate hook. But that might soon change! Imagine in 20-30 years time, there might be an ability to be able to regrow certain body parts? It will do what the dialysis machine did for those with kidney failure! (Uh OK maybe not such a good analogy in a few different levels).

Until quite recently (and even now so) all this is in the realm of science fiction. But according to this article from the ‘Scientific American’ we might not be so far away. The article goes on to describe the process and reasoning of why this process might be a reality and how it can eventuate into healing humanity in general. Salamanders were the key to this article and their properties of being able to regrow their limbs multiple times after each amputation is giving hope for scientists to somehow give this ability to humans.

SALAMANDER ATTACK!

Aaaaw aren’t you a pretty little yellow spotted Salamander. Owww yesh u R. Yesh u R.

So what can we make out of this? Obviously we need to rework society and give Salamanders the respect they deserve! I mean come on, how many animals can regenerate limbs!! This is so cool. I used to think when I was little that stem cells (when I first heard about them) would be the key to giving people back the ability to regrow limbs and solve a large majority of those problems. But screw stem cells… Those stem cells originate from aborted fetuses so it would be inhumane to go near those for research. Let’s go do some experimenting on animals such as said Salamander or even our fishy friend shown below:

IT'S GROWING!!!

You a star!! (For those that can’t tell, this is a pic of a starfish regrowing it’s…um Limbs? Tentacles? Penis? Ouch… Wait for that joke to work you have to assume starfish have two penises and they are as long as their legs/tentacles and… Umm I think I shall shut up now. 

You know, that lame joke I made above got me thinking. This technically means if we were to crack this and work out a way to regenerate as our new Salamander overlords, will that lead to um… “Extended limbs”… Haha my immaturity has kicked in. Oh well, all in the name of science. 

Jokes aside though there are some interesting times ahead! I for one am amazed and grateful at all this research and efforts that are leading to such discoveries and better understandings. It’s all a lead into the right direction in my honest opinion.

But well like 99% (or was it 98%…no wait 76%)  of breakthroughs and major discoveries unveiled don’t expect an “arm regrowth cream” anytime in your local supermarket…

Mmmmm mmm from the old and scaly to the new and creamy. Sign me up!





The Apocalypse is near!

27 03 2008

If by near, you mean 7.59 billion years! This article from the Times gives a bit of an account of what will happen to the earth when that dreadful day is to arrive. But seriously… does anyone really worry about this? Apart from the miscellaneous amount of interest it produces, a billion years is a really really REALLY long time! Hell a 100 years is a long time! The article goes on to say what “humanity” will go on to do when that dreadful day comes.

 To be fair the article says that we only have 1 billion years left (not 7.59); because by then the sun will expand and be bright enough to evaporate the oceans of the earth… you can put together the rest. However will humans still be around in a billion years time? That’s a lot of generations down the track and I would be amazed if humanity lives in another million years, let alone billion.

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1). How would you like to see the world explode?

 a). Global Warming

 b). Alien Invasion

 c). Nuclear Winter

 d). Satan attacks the pentagon

 e). Meteor impact

 f). Godzilla comes out of Japan

 g). Some of the above + more

 Honestly, all of the above have higher chances of coming along quicker than humanity witnessing the end of the world via engulfment by the sun.

On a plus side though, at least we are given ample time to prepare ourselves for this disaster. All the other ones were not quite ready yet.