The Three Types of Stress

As finals approach here at university, I find myself feeling more and more like the pug in the picture. Unfortunately for us students, there's been a plethora of research published recently about why chronic stress is unhealthy. But did you know that not all stress is created equal? Modern scientific theories of stress view stress …

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Stem Cell Ethics

What makes stem cells special? Stem cells are a class of undifferentiated cells that contain the potential to differentiate into a multitude of specialized types (like a brain cell, a muscle cell, or a red blood cell). Stem cells divide to replace damaged or worn out tissue throughout the body. This allows them to work …

Pesticides Found in Honey Worldwide

Honeybee numbers are declining worldwide, and a group of Swiss scientists wants to know why. They’ve spent the last few years collecting and testing samples from around the world, looking for answers within the chemical composition of honey. Their results are troubling: around 75% percent of the world’s honey is contaminated with pesticides (1). Specifically, …

Got Grit?

There’s a new predictor for life success out there, and it’s making quite a splash in the scientific community. Perhaps you’ve heard of it: it’s called grit. So what is grit, and more importantly, how do we get it? The first place I heard about grit was Angela Lee Duckworth’s (one of the scientists at the …

Animals Are Gay, Too

In recent years as LGBTQ rights have become a hot social/political topic, there has been a lot of “science” thrown around about the matter. One thing that people tend to get especially hung up on is whether homosexual behavior in humans is “natural.” We could go down the rabbit hole of explaining that “natural” and “good” are not intrinsically correlated in any way. But instead for a moment, let’s entertain the question. One angle we can look at to investigate the “naturalness” of any behavior is to see if non-human animals participate in said behavior.  Researching this was tons of fun, so I hope you enjoy reading about how animals are gay, too.

The Dark Side of Hospital Culture

While doing some research for another blog, (Brains Unite) I thought I would look into some of the gender differences experienced by doctors. To my disappoint (but not surprise) the first several hits that came up were studies on the gender inequality of sexual harassment experienced by female doctors and residents (doctors-in-training).

What is it like to be a jellyfish?

Imagine that you’re a jellyfish. You float lazily through the water, using your tentacles as drift nets to passively hunt for food. Your tentacles pulse to slowly move closer to your jellyfish comrades, who have aggregated under the shade of a mangrove tree… Do you have a mental picture? Likely, what you’re imagining is having a human brain inside a jellyfish body. It is very difficult (perhaps impossible) for humans to imagine what it’s like to live inside the brain of another creature. It’s even more difficult for us to imagine what it is like to be a jellyfish, because jellyfish don’t have brains. (Consider some of the questions that arise when imagining that you are a jellyfish: Do they have all our senses? Do they have some we don’t have? Is a jellyfish aware of being a jellyfish? What does not having a brain feel like?)