Last week I read an article about shrinking brains. In Antarctica, a small study showed that all the scientists who were living there had shrunken brains. Their brains shrank for a few different reasons. One of them was because of the landscape of Antarctica. It’s big, white, and cold. There’s not much excitement or change in Antarctica. This lack of change caused a lack of stimulation, which over time shrank the scientists brains. Another thing that caused brain shrinkage was the fact that a lot of the time Antarctica was around -58 Fahrenheit. This meant that all the scientists were forced to stay inside. Staying inside 24/7 helped shrink their brains because they were isolated, and the only entertainment they had was whatever they brought with them to Antarctica. Most of it was probably boring stuff, like coats, gear, and toiletries. Even though a shrinking brain sounds irreversible, it can easily be reversed with lots of stimulation, socializing, and exploring.
I chose this article because I didn’t know that brains could shrink. I thought that they just grew with you, and when you stopped growing they did too. I wanted to know if a brain can shrink, could it also grow? I found out that it could grow back to it’s original state, but I still didn’t know if it could grow bigger than that. This article is important for society because with the corona virus, a lot of people will be stuck inside without a lot of stimulation. This could cause a lot of brain shrinkage. This article could stop the person who reads it from getting a shrunken brain. The person who reads this will learn about how being stuck inside can shrink your brain, and then that person will either try and prevent that from happening, or they’ll ignore the article. If people listen to the article, a lot of them will be saved from the risk of small brains. Side effects of small brains are bad memory, and bad navigation skills. A study showed that rats who lived alone had a harder time learning, while rats who lived together learned quicker and easier. The scientists who held this study don’t know for sure if the same fact goes for humans, but there is a good chance that it does.
How long can a person go without stimulation before their brain starts shrinking? How small can someones brain get? How big can a person’s brain get?
Last week I read an article about the moon. The article mentioned a few different things. One of them was that a fish called the grunion jumps as far as it can onto the beach to mate, but only under a full or a new moon. This is because the moon controls the tides. When the baby grunions hatch, they hatch when the tide is high enough to wash them out to sea. Another thing the article mentioned was that lions prefer the new moon because it’s easier to sneak up on prey in total darkness. The prey knows this, so they alter their night schedule according to the moon. Wildebeests stay in safer areas during the new moon, but as the moon gets brighter, they venture further out. Buffalo stay in big herds during the new moon, but form smaller and smaller groups as the moon gets brighter. Gazelles become more active after the moon rises. Lions know that their prey changes behavior according to the moon. The zebras know that the lions know, so they roam around when it’s dark to keep the lions guessing. The moon also affects birds, other types of fish, certain types of insects, plankton, and zooplankton.
I chose this article because I thought that the moon was just the moon and that it didn’t really affect that many animals. I wanted to know more about the effects of the moon. Also, a while ago, someone said that she was arguing with her granddaughter and that they were tense around each other. At first I thought that that was just normal behavior, but then she said that usually they get along great. Another funny thing was that my sister and I were also tense and arguing with each other. The person then said that every one was tense because of the full moon. At first I thought that she was just superstitious, until I saw this article. This article is important because it tells people that the full moon superstition isn’t just a superstition. It also informs people that the full moon doesn’t just affect humans, it also affects animals.
Does the full moon affect humans in any way? What way? How does it affect us?
Last week I read an article about brood parasites. A brood is a nest or group of animals, and a parasite is an animal that benefits off of a different animal, but it usually causes harm for the other animal. A cuckoo bird is called a brood parasite because instead of building a nest, wasting energy on finding more food, and risking their lives fighting off predators, the cuckoo finds the nest of a different bird, and lays it’s egg in that. The parents of the bird are almost guaranteed the survival of them and their offspring. After the cuckoo bird hatches in the different nest, it uses its legs and back to shove the other eggs out of the nest, because the other eggs will compete with the cuckoo for food. Even though it’s real offspring are killed, the parent will continue to raise the cuckoo as if it were it’s own. Sometimes, before the cuckoo hatches, the parent will notice a difference in the parasite egg, but for fear of killing one of their offspring, they leave it be.
I chose this article because it looked very interesting. I wanted to know more about this weird bird’s habit. I had never heard of a bird doing this before, but it turns out that more than one species of bird does it. This article is important for society. It is important because it also spoke about the brood parasite being a positive thing. When the cuckoo replaces two or three eggs in a nest, it means that instead of the parents starving to give food to their babies and the babies starving with them, the parents survive and so does the cuckoo. Another pro is that the fallen eggs provide an easy meal for a starving animal, which can help save its life. In other articles, only the cons are shown. That is why this one is important.
Do the parents ever notice that the bird they’ve raised looks nothing like them? If they do, what do they do about it? How did cuckoos find out that they can leave their eggs in a different bird’s nest?
Last week I read an article about rats and bird poop. This article was saying that on islands without rats, the surrounding reefs were healthy. On the islands infested with rats, the nearby reefs were dying. The reason why this was happening was because of the bird poop. When the birds pooped, the rain washed the poop into the sea. The bird poop helps the reefs because it has a lot of nitrogen in it. Nitrogen helps keep the reefs healthy. On islands with lots of rats, the rats were eating the seabirds. The rats ate the eggs, chicks, and even the adult birds. Less birds means less poop. Less poop means dying reefs.
I chose this article because I wanted to know more about why coral reefs are dying. I knew that reefs were dying because of pollution. I didn’t know that they were dying because of rats. When I read the article, I was surprised. I was surprised by how much damage rats can cause. This article is important for society because it tells us that there are other things that damage reefs. It’s not solely pollution’s fault. The more people that know about the rats the better. If a lot of people are aware of this problem, then we can do something to try and fix it. We could introduce a new species the islands that doesn’t harm the birds, we could set up a bunch of rat traps, etc. Getting rid of the rats would be a lot easier to do with more people to help.
What would be the best way to get rid of the rats without damaging anything else? Do some birds have more nitrogen in their poop than others? Why or why not?
This week I read an article about the fires in Australia. This article was talking about the devastating effects that the fires have on Australia. These fires have killed over one billion animals. The glossy black cockatoo, a species that can only be found in Australia, is now close to going extinct. Before the fires, these birds were already endangered, and it took years to help their numbers grow. Because of these fires, all the hard work to keep the birds away from extinction has disappeared. Before the fires spread, there were only three hundred and seventy three birds left. Even if the birds survive the fires, it is still possible that they will go extinct. Their main food source is drooping she oak seeds. Because of the fires, many of these trees will be destroyed, and the glossy black cockatoo’s main food source will vanish.
I chose to read this article because recently in school we did something to help the Australian animals. We knitted bird nests, joey pouches, bat wraps, etc., and mailed them all the way to Australia. Also, I chose this article because I wanted to know more about the problems these fires are causing. I also wanted to know if any animal species have gone extinct because of these fires. Turns out that at least twenty species are at risk. This article is important to society because it shows exactly how dire these fires are. One billion animals dead, twenty species in danger of extinction, trillions of invertebrate dead, trillions of creatures without habitats, etc.
Why can some animals only be found in Australia? What is making these fires so bad? Is there any way to stop these fires or do we just have to wait for them to end?
This week, the article I read was about climate change, and students striking school to stop it. This article was talking about how students all around the world are organizing school strikes, because they want the government and adults in power to pay attention to global warming. The number of organized strikes is continuing to increase. A large number of these strikes have been inspired by Greta Thunberg. In 2019, there was a plan to have a coordinated world wide strike on March 15. Over five hundred and ninety-six schools participated, across over sixty-four different countries. In Australia, the amount of bush fires continues to rise. Milou Albrecht, a co-leader of the strikes in Australia, was motivated to change global warming when she was at a friends house and a bush fire destroyed it. The article was also stating that the reason adults aren’t making any changes with climate change is because they will all be dead by the time global warming is at it’s worst. They don’t see the real threat that global warming poses.
I chose this article because at my old school, my friend organized a school strike for global warming. Not a lot of people went. Even though the strike was small, it still got the message across to the school. When I saw this article, I was interested and wanted to know more. The article is important for society because more people should be aware of the dangers of global warming. The school strikes will continue to spread and enlarge. When they are large enough, the people in power will start to pay more attention to the problem. Fires, hurricanes, floods, blizzards, etc. All of these will worsen if people continue to ignore global warming. This is why these student strikes are so important.
Which areas will get hit the hardest by global warming? Why? which area will get the least amount of damage?
Last week I read an article about the cons of city lights. The article wrote about how once in Los Angeles, there was a huge power outage. When the lights were gone and the stars were shown, a lot of people were seeing them for first time, and they had no clue on what they were. The lights can also mess up a person’s brain by causing sleep deprivation, which leads to less synapses in your brain, which can bring the same symptoms as depression. The night lights can also mess up plants and animals. Some plants that bloom only during the night or day are opening and closing irregularly. This means that the animals that depend on them for food are starving and dying, because their instinct tells them to be awake at the same time as the open plants, but if the plants are acting irregularly, the animals can’t depend on their instincts anymore, and they die. Another way the lights affect animals is when birds migrate, their instinct is to follow the lights of the stars, which is very faint. When the birds are migrating and they fly over a city, they are attracted to the lights, and start to follow them. Following the city lights leads nowhere, and eventually, the birds fall to the ground, and die of exhaustion. Or they become easy prey. When turtles hatch at night, they follow the reflection of the moon on the water safely into the sea. Because of the city lights, the baby turtles become confused and follow the artificial lights. They die of exhaustion, get hit by cars, get stuck in sewers, etc.
I chose to read this article because I thought night lights are just lights. Lights don’t cause problems. At first, I thought that the article title was being dramatic, and an exaggeration. I wanted to know what harm the lights at night could cause. I thought there would just be one slightly big problem, like sleep deprivation or something. I was incredibly surprised at the amount of problems they cause and the level of severity. I think that this article is important for society. A lot of people probably don’t realize the damage these lights at night cause. If more people know about the problem of these lights, we can come up with a better, less harmful alternative. Even if one more person knows, they can make a small difference, by at least turning off the lights outside and closing the curtains in the rooms with the lights on.
How does sleep deprivation cause less synapses? What in the artificial light changes the plant’s and animal’s behaviors? What would be the best light alternative for artificial lights?
Last week we hunted for bacteria. We got a petri dish, a group with two other people in it, and a sheet of paper. On the sheet of paper, we had to write twelve different places in our house to swab. We each chose to do four different things. The things I chose to do were my cell phone, the bottom of my shoe, one of Duncan’s books, and my lovebirds mouth. A few days later, we passed all the petri dishes around the room. Only a few had a lot of bacteria on them. On mine, only one section had a little bit of bacteria. The bottom of my shoe. I don’t think my teammates had any bacteria growing on theirs, but i’m not sure. We learned some interesting things. We learned that bacteria is everywhere, and there is not one place without bacteria. We also learned that in the petri dishes, the bacteria needs this type of gel to survive. The gel is called agar. When the petri dishes were being passed around, a few things surprised me. One thing was how after a few days, the only bacteria on mine was from the bottom of my shoe. I thought that the bacteria that would start to grow first would be my phone. Another thing that surprised me was that agar can break. I thought that because it was a gel, the only thing that could happens to it is being gloopy. One thing I would have done differently last week is swab my birds cage instead of trying to get her to bite it. She was scared of it, and the only reason she bit it was to drink the sterilized water off of the tip. What happens to the bacteria if the agar breaks? Which swabbed areas came out with the most bacteria? What is agar made out of?
Last week, we created yogurt. We scalded milk, waited for it to cool, added yogurt, and waited for a night. It was successful. We also tried to make yogurt without using lactose, and it did not go well. We took the same exact path as the successful yogurt, except instead of using milk we used coffee creamer. The reason that the second batch didn’t work was because the bacteria needed for yogurt had no lactose to eat. For yogurt to become yogurt, a bacteria called lactobacillus needs to eat lactose and excrete it. But when the bacteria has nothing to eat, it dies. That’s why instead of turning into yogurt, it just stayed as creamer. Some people say that there can be lactose free yogurt, but it isn’t possible.
We learned a lot of cool new stuff. We learned that yogurt can’t become yogurt without lactose. We learned that without bacteria, we wouldn’t have a lot of things. We wouldn’t have yogurt, pickles, a few types of sausages, bread, humans, plants, most of the earth, etc. Making yogurt, a few things surprised me. One of them was how many things we wouldn’t have without bacteria. Anther thing was how much bad ingredients are added to creamer. Last week, one thing that I would have done differently is trying less of the creamer. I drank a few sips to see if it resembled yogurt at all, and it didn’t. All it did was make me feel gross. Why did we have to scald the milk before adding the yogurt? Where does that sour flavor in yogurt come from? When the yogurt is ready, is the bacteria still eating and excreting lactose?