Category Archives: Biology

Badass pictures

Yesterday I rode for the first time in months. I ventured down south of the James and rode on the beautiful low traffic roads that I remember once believing were hilly. It was an amazing feeling to be mobile and fast again. Despite the occasional tweak in my ankle, the pain couldn’t compare to what I experience when running or swimming. And the pain from my lack of training was an adequate distraction. For the first time in many, many years, if not ever, I was passed on a solo ride by another cyclist. It was awkward as hell and I’ll admit my heart sank when I heard the whir of his spinning chain slip by. I felt broken but I remembered I had vowed to not let my insecurity be my motivation and I continued to enjoy my ride. With my hairy, skinny legs, I was determined to accept the state where I had arrived with acceptance and pride.

I had my MRI yesterday morning. Ever since learning about the basic of an MRI in my organic chemistry class, I have been fascinated with that form of medical imaging. For the twenty-five minutes I lay with the magnets clambering around my leg, all I could think about was the amazing feat of human knowledge and engineering to be able to create such a machine. Continue reading Badass pictures

Overwhelmed with awe

People usually start thinking I’m crazy when I get exited about existence, from the smallest to the biggest, from biology to astronomy, life to death. But it’s all so goddamn amazing, I don’t know how to keep it all pent-up. I’ve tried before but I get antsy. So now I’ll risk embarrassment for the potential reward of someone responding with equal excitement.

Think about how crazy awesome all this is. Look at your hand. You are composed of atoms. Everything inside you is atoms: protons and neutrons in a core surrounded by spinning electrons with an ability to exist in two places at once. I mean, holy hell. If that isn’t enough reason to always be happy, I don’t know what is. Electrons don’t orbit a nucleus like a planet does a star. Instead an electron orbits in a chaotic pattern that we define in probability terms as orbitals. They are simply our best guess as to where the electron may be.

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Borrowed from chemistry.stackexchange.com

Continue reading Overwhelmed with awe

The truth about the natural world

The natural world is a threatening, hostile, deadly place. Nearly everything wants to prey on our flesh and steal our life. It knows not love nor compassion and was not made for us. I know it is deceptively beautiful and its fruits are deceivingly delicious. But if nature has no use for us, it will consume us, digest us, and crap us out like we never existed.

I am sick of this idea of nature as our medicine or this concept of this home as a peaceful abode. This is a hostile world, full of death and disease. A shark doesn’t keep from eating a human from some obscure sense of respect for humanity; it refrains because a human is foreign and strange and the risk of poisoning is not worth the reward of an easy meal. Continue reading The truth about the natural world

I am a brute

My body has no concept of anything. It is a machine. Actin sliding over myosin, ATP shuffling through my cells. I race to show the power of the body and of nothing more. I love my machine. I respect my machine. I want to show the capacity of my machine. That’s a powerful goal, one that I can grasp, one that I can massage, one that I can tweak and train and nourish and stress.

I race to show the power of selection. My mom, in the deepest part of her subconscious chose my dad at least partially for the seemingly superficial reason of his muscles and ability at sport. She may not know it, but she did. My dad, maybe more willing to admit to his desires chose my mom partially based off her physique. She’s strong, fit, and capable. Less superficial, they both saw each other’s drive, the work ethic that underlined and highlighted their personalities. It was a process of selection. They wanted strong children and as little as they may have consciously considered this result, in the deepest well of their subconscious it was ingrained: to choose a mate based on strength. Continue reading I am a brute

Time to graduate

Illogical thinking is the cause of war. So does that mean logic and reason would result in world peace? I believe it would.

Animals follow simple rules of nature. Animals have a desire to reproduce and a desire to survive. They have adapted to environments to best suit their needs and grow to allow them to spread their genetic code. These are traits of every productive animal. That is, it was consistent until education and logic. Humanity is the first and only species on this planet to have overcome these animalistic cravings. That is not to say that everyone has overcome them. The world is littered with people who believe these rebellions to be satanic, preaching birth control and other modern advancements as evil. But I do believe that the overcoming of primitive urges will be the cure to every problem the world faces. I am no hippie. Hear me out. World peace is a product. But the change itself is the real goal. Continue reading Time to graduate

Who is better off: the paraplegic or the lottery winner?

I wrote a couple posts about lightweight backpacking last week to summarize my preparation for a sweep to finish hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. Having just graduated, I was stoked about my trip. I was waiting for a rain jacket to come in the mail so that I could peace out and get moving. In my restlessness, on the first day of the new year I asked my friend Scott if he wanted to go climb a mountain. Paris mountain sat just across the valley from my home. It stared at me every time I commuted home. Since I moved in I declared my intentions of standing on top of it and with a snowy peak, it was luring me in stronger than ever before. Continue reading Who is better off: the paraplegic or the lottery winner?

Reinstating selection

Humanity needs survivors. No one can deny that. We need people who are strong, people who are smart and healthy. We need people who are hard working, compassionate, and logical. All these qualities arguably can result from natural selection. However, in current American society, we have all but completely suppressed natural selection and are heading towards a complete abandonment of artificial selection. Continue reading Reinstating selection

You were predetermined to read this

“Our time is burdened under the cumulative weight of successive debunkings of our conceits: We’re Johnny-come-latelies. We live in the cosmic boondocks. We emerged from microbes and muck. Apes are our cousins. Our thoughts and feelings are not fully under our own control. There may be much smarter and very different beings elsewhere. And on top of all this, we’re making a mess of our planet and becoming a danger to ourselves.” 

Carl Sagan

Over the past few hundred years, science has proved an extraordinarily humbling practice for humanity. From our conceited belief that we were placed here on a globe in the center of the universe by some supreme being to the realization that we are in fact a result of a collection of physical processes, we have progressively realized our insignificance. From a divine purpose to purposelessness, we have seemingly lost our way by finding the truth. It is a scary proposition that we could be entirely alone and are portraits painted by the unfolding of physical events. I understand; it seems to strange that it could be true. If life is truly so pointless, then what is the worth in living? Continue reading You were predetermined to read this

Hitler was a jackass

Natural selection, the process that has the greatest influence on evolution of species has, for the most part, stopped occurring for the human species. This is nothing new. It can occur in any population or species when there are unlimited resources and insignificant predation. On the surface, infinite resources seems like a blessing to humanity, and in almost all cases, it is. However, the one exception to the rule is a frightening one and one that we will eventually have to deal with.

Continue reading Hitler was a jackass

The end of illogical thinking

I want you to just imagine for a moment. Imagine every word I am saying. Pause with each sentence and see the image I challenge you to see. I want you to separate yourself from this world and imagine yourself as god-like. First you are observing yourself from behind, watching you at your computer.

Then imagine the world. You are between the earth and the moon, floating in a black emptiness, looking down at our blue-green lush planet with white clouds swirling about. It is an amazing celestial body, surely one of the greatest. It is floating in this vast darkness just as you are, with no hand of Atlas holding it nor a web to keep it suspended. It simply floats, orbiting an even more massive body that illuminates our earth and provides it with the energy that allowed life to flourish.This is our home. This is where we and everyone who has ever existed was born, lived, and died. Alongside the young species of man are millions of other creatures. It is an extremely vast community, one that we struggle to see as a whole. Imagine for a moment that there are no Saddam Husseins or Osama bin Ladens or Adolf Hitlers. The world is peaceful and everyone is amazed with their predicament. We are united on this globe. Everyone, all seven billion of us are content for these moments in peace.

Continue reading The end of illogical thinking