How Dogs See Your Emotions

Dogs are consistently regarded as mans best friend. Well, if best friends are known for reading your emotions and being able to know how you feel without you saying a word, what about dogs? Fortunately, ScienceDaily has released an article all about How Dogs See Your Emotions to answer these questions. In this article, dogs recognize facial expressions by looking mainly at the eyes. Indeed, studies have found that dogs facial expressions and human facial expressions are actually remarkably similar. In the study, “dogs looked first at the eye region and generally examined eyes longer than nose or mouth areas.” Certain characteristics would attract their interest more than others; “for example the mouths of threatening dogs.” But, dogs also judged the expression based on the whole, rather than just certain aspects of it. Interestingly enough, when confronted with a threatening face, the dogs tended to look longer at the dog face but looked away at the threatening human face, indicating some dependance “on the depicted species.” According to researcher Sanni Somppi, domestication may be a possible answer to this response, as it “may have equipped dogs with a sensitivity to detect the threat signals of humans and respond them with pronounced appeasement signals.” These findings also prove that Charles Darwin’s argument regarding this was, in fact correct. The study was conducted with “31 dogs of 13 different breeds attended the study” who “were clicker-trained to stay still in front of a monitor without being commanded or restrained.” The dogs were also positively motivated to do well in the study, prompting optimal results. This whole study is fascinating to me. As a dog owner, I find it amazing that my dog can, to some extent, recognize what I am feeling and respond accordingly. I also find it interesting that while, for the most part, dogs will challenge other dogs, when confronted with an angry human, they will avert their eyes, an act of submission. I do wonder, however, the extent of the dogs’ abilities to recognize emotion. For example, how many emotions can they recognize? Can we train dogs to recognize certain emotions on humans and respond accordingly? Why is submission to humans so deeply engrained in dogs? The fact that dogs can read human emotions based off their own facial expressions is quite interesting, and I wonder what discoveries will happen based off this research.

Weekly Summary 1/25/16

This week in Biology, we kicked off the new week with diving into Meiosis. We learned about what signals affect cell division, cell suicide (its called apoptosis, and its where the cell has irreparable damage to its DNA so it issues a kill order), diploid and haploid cells, and gametes cells. We touched on the stages of meiosis briefly, but will continue it on Tuesday.

Weekly Summary 1/18/16

This week in Bio, we got our quizzes back from last week. We were allowed to make quiz corrections for extra points if we turned them in by the end of the period. Before this, we made illustrated  flashcards of the phases of mitosis and interphase. Thursday, we reviewed mitosis further, in order to truly understand it. Friday, we were able to retake the quiz from last week in addition to our quiz corrections. If we chose not to retake it, we were able to work on our article of the week, outlining the next chapter, or studying the current material. I chose to work on my article of the week, and study the material.

Why Spiderman Can’t Exist

Anyone seen the Amazing Spiderman? Pretty awesome, right? I mean, who wouldn’t love to swing around on webs and stick to walls?! Well, ScienceDaily has released an article about just that. Why Spiderman Can’t Exist is a rather disappointing but informative article looking into one of Marvel’s most loved superheroes. According to this article, “geckos are the largest animals able to scale smooth vertical walls.” This means, of course, that humans are obviously ruled out of the equation, given our rather larger size in comparison to geckos. However, Geico’s gecko will have no problem scaling walls like a pro. The web thing may come later though….But why can’t humans scale walls? Well, because “scientists estimate that a human would need adhesive pads covering 40% of their body surface in order to walk up a wall like Spiderman.” This rules out the whole ‘sticky fingers’ thing. The study, which was published in PNAS, shows that “the percentage of body surface covered by adhesive footpads increases as body size increases.” So, in essence, the bigger the animal, the more adhesive footpads would be required. Aside from needing really big feet (think US size 114), size is also an issue in a different way. When they are “bigger and heavier, they need more sticking power to be able to adhere to vertical or inverted surfaces, but they have comparatively less body surface available to cover with sticky footpads.” So: bigger the animal, harder it is to stick and climb. Scientists have figured out that this means that “there is a size limit to sticky footpads as an evolutionary solution to climbing — and that turns out to be about the size of a gecko.” So far, the only solution scientists have found to combat the size and weight issue is “to make your sticky footpads even stickier.” While this is good news for some, it might be awhile before humans are able to engineer such a feet. But, all the research on different species and their sticky pads has given scientists insight into “developing large-scale bio-inspired adhesives, which are currently only effective on very small areas.” Perhaps one day, seeing someone scale a building without rope won’t just be amazing, it will be perfectly normal. Though, to be fair, I have to wonder what it would mean for crime rates. I suppose that Spiderman’s manta works here perfectly: “With great power, comes great responsibility.”


Weekly Summary 1/11/16

This week in class, we continued to go over cellular respiration. We did an activity that involved an online model of the cell, string, and a packet to model the phases that a cell goes through in order to replicate. Tuesday, we began a lab that involved identifying phases of cell cycles within either a plant cell (onion root tip) or an animal cell (parasite worm). I got through the plant cell, and started working on the animal cell. Thursday we continued working on the lab, and then reviewed using Kahoot to do so (I got 2nd place!). Friday we took our first quiz of 2016. After the quiz, we were allowed to write up the conclusion to the lab from yesterday.  

Part 2: Designing Your Brand

This is part two of the Designing Your Brand post I posted a few days ago. In this blog post, I will be talking about what my brand would look like and why.

Last week, I discussed why a brand, logo, or design is so important. To summarize, I said that it not only is a representation of the person, designer, or company, but that it also can affect others connected to the person, etc. The people associated with the person or company will see the logo or brand as either a disgracement to the person or company, or they will see it as a symbol of pride. When it is a symbol of pride, people on their own will promote it, share it, buy it, and want to associate with that person or company because they know they are a good company or person to associate with them. Promoting their logo or brand is their way of saying that.

Keeping this in mind, I decided to design my own logo. During iD, we did an exercise where we came up with three words to describe us. My three words were “travel,” “art,” and “ocean.” Then, we assigned a color to one word, a symbol to another, and an object to the last word. To the word travel, I assigned the moon,  art a feather, and to ocean, the color blue. Finally, we began to draw our logos. My logo is actually unfinished but will most likely include some variation of these elements. Once I have finished designing our logos, I will share a picture. 

Marine Creatures Migrate by Moonlight

According to ScienceDaily, marine creatures living in the Arctic fjord, a permanently dark and frigid place, do not migrate by sunlight (as there is none) but rather they migrate by moonlight.  The tiny marine creatures, living all over the Arctic, have begun to migrate and live by, not the solar cycle but rather the lunar one, shifting “their activities from following the 24-hour solar day to following the 24.8-hour lunar day.” Their “mass migrations” “take place when the moon rises above the horizon, the researchers report.” These zooplankton actually contribute to the carbon cycle in the ocean because they moved “fixed carbon from the surface into the deep ocean.” They are able to achieve this because “there is no photosynthesis during the polar night, carbon is only moved into the deep by predators feeding on prey.” What I found most interesting about these creatures’ migrations is that no matter where they are, no matter how much ice covers the surface of the water, they still follow the patterns of the lunar cycle. The researchers even state that their mass sinkings “from the surface waters to a depth of about 50 meters every 29.5 days in the winter” coincide “with the full moon.” This to me is really amazing, the fact that they are so in tune with the lunar calendar that they consistently sink at the time of the full moon. I wonder what implications this will have on our future?



Designing Your Brand

Today, after watching Roman Mars’ TED talk on well-designed city flags, I was inspired to write up my newly conjured ideas and thoughts on this talk. His talk mainly centered on the importance of a well-designed city flag and how it impacted the city it represented; however it does not apply to just cities. Understanding one’s logo, motto, brand, flag, etc, is vital to the success of whatever it is representing. Finding a brand that both conveys a meaningful, thoughtful message but is still pleasant to the eye is important so that it is remembered in a good light. I learned that flags, logos, or brands represent who you are as a person, city, or company and can convey the wrong message as a person. If designed correctly, they show how much pride the company has in itself, its customers, and even its employees. A well-designed flag/brand/logo will naturally lend itself to wanting to be placed on walls, windows, computer cases, shirts, etc. The more people want to have a copy of this design, the more they want to display it, the more they are showing they have pride in the company, in the city, in the people, employees, and the more pride they are showing they have in what it represents. When people have pride in what they are working for or what they are representing, they have a greater drive and ambition to do well, wanting to prove themselves to the people or company or city they represent. This will lead to a more stable, lucrative company or city overall.

Click here for Part 2: My Brand Design!

Weekly Summary 1/8/16

After a long break, school is resuming. This week in science, we started off with a welcome back presentation, and a chapter reading to help us get back into the swing of things. Yesterday, we began learning about mitosis and cell division. We started off by learning about why cell division is necessary , what cell division is, then began to get into the mitosis phase, learning about the types of cellular respiration. We started off with binary fission, learned about chromosomes, chromatin, and chromatids, then moved on to the phases of interphase. Today, we began by reviewing what we learned yesterday with a game of Kahoot. Kahoot is a game that asks a multiple choice question and students select the answer from their phone, tablet, or their computer and compete for points by answering correctly. I ended up getting second place. After the game, we went throught the phases of mitosis; prophase, prometaphase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase, and cytokinesis. Once we finished the phases, we started taking notes on an online animation of the phases.