HRS177|Spring2014

"Taste" is Complicated

One of the most memorable images from last week's class was the video clip demonstrating how McDonald's french fries do not decompose naturally. I found that absolutely frightening! Millions of people eat these modified foods and the simple reason why is because they are cheap but also because they taste good!

Water isn't that Weird

I am not sure if “weird” is the correct term to describe water and its properties.  I think “unique” would be a better word.  By this I mean that although it is no secret that water has certain physical characteristics that make it central to the biology of life as we know it, I do not think that these properties are in any way unexpected or deviate from what might predicted.  Given a basic understanding of laws of chemistry one can easily see where water’s so-called weird properties come from.  Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Fluorine all can act as

Moving Air to Create Living Art and GM Crops Encouraging Stronger Pests

The “Breathing Wall” exhibit we visited in the middle of class last week reminded me of one of my favorite mad science/art projects: Strandbeests by Theo Jansen.  Strandbeests share the breathing wall’s use of moving air to create a “living” art piece.  Strandbeests are sculptures made of PVC that are powered by the wind to move around.  Jansen then turns his creations loose on the beach to wander around. 

Efficiency vs. Humanity: What Are We Willing to Lose for the Sake of Efficiency?

Technological advancements to maximize efficiency in the food industry has been met with criticisms in the form of documentary muckraking. Documentaries such as Food Inc. and Supersize Me can be viewed as artistic responses to mechanization in the food industry and the consequences that mechanization might have on us in the future. For one thing, fast food has been proven to be unhealthier and more fattening than other foods. In a study performed by Janet Currie and company, fast food was found to be connected to numerous cases of childhood obesity (Currie et al 33-34).

Organic Food for Everyone!

Is it terrible to admit that eating is the best part of my day? That thinking about what I am going to make for dinner gets me through hours spent studying at the library. Food is everything. Food is represented in our economy, food makes up the nutrition that is required to power our bodies and our minds, and food necessitates the need for change. Volunteering in a cardiology clinic, I see lots of patients whose heart problems have worsened due to their weight and unhealthy eating habits.

Health Conscious Diet: Personal Cravings and Habits

Our talk on dieting and foods these past couple weeks has me reflecting on my personal eating habits and what makes food desirable for me. My diet is pretty far from the average American diet. To start, my health conscious mother raised me to be vegetarian. While I have the ability to eat as good or bad as I please, I often choose a more healthy meal and I am very satisfied by it.

Healing Cancer

During week 2 visual artist, Mark Lorusso introduced how nanodiamonds can potentially aid in the treatment of cancer. He explained that nanodiamonds are produced from carefully controlled TNT explosions and formed from the result of heat, pressure, and acid. Nanotechnology offers an innovative method to detect the onset of cancer cells much earlier than other methods of cancer treatment. As shown in the in class video the scientist said, “nanodiamonds are resistant when exposed to chemo, it is as if they have some kind of protection or armor.

Monsanto and Food Not Bombs

            Unfortunately, I had to come late to this week's lecture. While I was disappointed to have missed a single minute of Professor Vesna's talk, I was relieved to find the topic was food, particularly commercially farmed and/or genetically modified food. This happens to be a topic in which I have a bit of knowledge. I was pleased to see that Monsanto was addressed in the lecture, as I have blown the minds of several of my friends when telling them that Monsanto made Agent Orange. The situation that surrounds Roundup is a strange one.

You Literally Are What You Eat

This week’s subject of food really got to me because all throughout my grade school career, I weighed 180 lbs (I’m 5’4) and when I entered college, I decided to change my diet and lifestyle and now, I look better, feel better and I am an overall happier person after changing what I eat. Food is what helps us walk, breathe, think, smile, frown, go to sleep, wake up, see, hear, touch and smell. The five biggest things we get from food that help us do all of those things are sugars, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals—these things are what our body needs to work.

Water: Life Itself

Phillip Ball and Javiera Tejerina seemed to have the same outlook on water. Phillip talked about how water is more than just a solvent for biomolecules or simply a necessary additive for life, but he described water in such a way where it was just as functional as a complicated biomolecule that makes life on this planet happen.

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