HRS177|Spring2014

Is it in the DNA?

I very much enjoyed what our presenter had to share last class as well as the discussion that followed near the end of class time. Our discussion started to revolve our ethics and whether or not animals should have the same rights as humans. This discussion inspired me to think about why we are more conscious and friendly to some living organisms, while we are perfectly fine with killing others. Does DNA similarity in our DNA have anything to do with it?

Utopia, the Hierarchy of Humans and Animals

Last week's lecture by Lenore Melan evoked thoughts of utopian society and human and animal consciousness. Most human beings think themselves superior to other animals which is why we believe we can subject animals to experimentations and other degenerating studies. According to George Orwell’s Animal Farm he explains how human society can never be a utopia. Based on Animal Farm, the reason why a utopia is impossible is because humans are intelligent beings who are willing to exploit their intelligence and utilize inferior beings (i.e.

Differences Between Humans and Animals

As I pondered through the differences between humans and animals, I came to realize that there were many more similarities than differences. However, I also realized that there are some significant characteristics that are unique to humans. After doing some research, I narrowed it down to five traits that I thought set us apart from animals: humor, self- consciousness, character, wisdom, and love.

 

The Connection Between Humans and Animals

In last weeks lecture, guest speaker,  Lenore Malen touched more on bees and their fascinating way of communication. She shared that bees perform a “waddle dance” where they go out to forages and then come back and tell their hive mates where to go. I found it very interesting that by performing this dance they are able to communicate the direction of the sun to the hive and to the flowers. Additionally, by how quickly the bee dances they are able to communicate whether the forage is a good source or not!

What Animals Can Teach Humans

If there is any difference between humans and other animals, it is that humans have a false sense of superiority while animals do not. It is this self-affirmed superiority that has led mankind to not only take on different species of animal as pets, but also to degrade and inflict pain upon them under the presumption that they do not have feelings or feel pain in the same way that humans do. As an example, a common myth exists that because fish have small brains, their memory can only extend as far back as a few seconds.

Self Esteem in Animals

I can’t think of an unusual single experience that I’ve had with an animal, but I can say that my mom had a dog that was a bit unusual in general.  My mom had adopted a dog, Katy, from the human society. She had kennel cough and  wasn’t healthy enough to be immediately spayed.

I'm an Animal

Per this week’s discussion, here is my most unusual encounter with an animal. My girlfriend from three years ago had a male poodle---it was the cutest poodle on Earth. Each time I would go to her house and we would sit next to each other or make out, the poodle would run up to my leg and hump my leg. This only happened when I was physically touching my girlfriend and only then would the poodle get at me, but if I was not sitting with her, the poodle would leave me alone.  My incredible charm reaches out to different species. 

Animal Tool Use and Human Phylogeny Show Nothing Separates Humans from Animals

I think the question of what separates animals from humans is a misleading one.  Humans are a subset of animals, a single species within a much larger category that encompasses a wide range of organisms.  To say humans are fundamentally different from the rest of Animalia is a fundamental misunderstanding of genetics and phylogeny.  The things that people seize on when comparing animals to humans are merely differing traits between species.  Many of the traits deemed “unique” to humanity have been shown to emerge multiple times in the animal kingdom.  Ta

Insects, Edibles, and Art

Last week, we learned about Jason Fahiron's silk worms and bees. He was generous enough to share with us with cocoon art, which is best appreciated under black light, and his flavored honeys, which he hopes to turn into wine. While he was showing us the process of taking care of his silk worms, I was reminded of kindergarten or pre-school perhaps when we had a few silk worms from which we learned their life cycle. During his presentation I had sensory memories of how the worm felt in my hand... soft and dare I say silky to the touch.

Life Without The Bee

During the last lecture, we focused a lot on silk worms and all of their glory, but what was most interesting to me was the conversaiton about bees. Bees are one of, if not the most important animal to keeping humans alive. The fact is that of the 100 crop species that provide 90% of the world's food, over 70 are polllinated by bees. Studies suggest that much of human existence is presently dependent on honeybees. However, the human race is not likely to become extinct. Food production would decline, but not completely disappear.

The Beauty of Sericin

            As I was reading one of the article that Jason brought into class I was amazed with all of benefitial ways sericin can help society. The article is called, Silk Sericin and its applications: A review by M N Padamwar and A P Pawar. The explain how the silk sericin from silk worms consists of two different types of proteins: silk fibroin and sericin. Sericin is very high in 18 essential amino acids!

Man and Worm: A Relationship Explored

In our last class, we were looking at creative forms of artistic expression that are linked to material production and innovation by looking at nature’s inhabitants. Last week’s presentation focused on the art of beekeeping and silkworm caretaking, with each providing a series of widespread contributions and applications to our daily lives that we may not have thought of or have taken for granted.

The Beehive: A Democratic Monarchy

                In our last lecture, we learned about the complexity and mystery of the beehive. The social structure seems so alien and yet is so magnificent. The colony is maintained by workers, drones and a queen. There can be as many as 60,000 workers in a hive but as our lecturer stated, if there is no queen, then there is no hive.

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