January 9, 2015
Conservation: It’s more than saving the Amazon rain forest. It’s more than preserving wetlands. Believe it or not, some of the most important acts of conservation can actually begin in your own home. When you get home, take a look around. Is the TV or stereo on, with no one paying attention? Are the lights on? Check out the wastebaskets. In your room, look at the dead batteries from your portable CD player lying next to a slice of stale pizza. How about soda cans or old school papers and magazines? And that’s just from the weekend! It’s all going to the dump, right? It doesn’t have to. Not if you’re conservation savvy.
Your wastebasket is one small tributary into your family’s waste stream–the flow of trash and garbage you put into the environment. In just the last 35 years, Americans have nearly (more…)
November 3, 2014
Are you ready for genetically engineered foods?
Doesn’t sound appetizing, does it?
But what if it means getting a tomato that tastes vine-ripened, with all the great flavor of fresh-picked fruit? Or potatoes that absorb less fat and make healthier and tastier potato chips? Or more nutritious peas, squash, beets, cantaloupes, cherries, radishes, and on and on?
All this is expected to result from a new technique known variously as gene-splicing, recombinant DNA, or genetic engineering. DNA is the genetic material that controls all the traits of a living thing.
The process that makes these new foods possible involves combining, or splicing, a single gene from a fruit’s or vegetable’s DNA with a beneficial gene from a mammal, (more…)
August 20, 2014
CANCER–The word alone is enough to scare most people. It conjures up scary visions of suffering and mysterious treatments.
Dan was frightened. He wasn’t ready to admit it to anyone yet, but he was really scared. His doctors had told him that he had cancer. They wanted him to start chemotherapy in a few weeks. Today he felt pretty good–a little tired but well, in general. He looked around the waiting room at the doctors’ office. Some of the other patients looked a lot sicker than he did. He could tell that one person with a scarf on her head had lost all her hair. That kid in the corner had no hair, either. His dad gave him a reassuring little punch.
Dan kept overhearing things that sounded terrible. “I was so weak after that last chemo.” Why take medicine to make you feel worse?
And that older woman was wearing a surgical mask. Did she have some strange disease, or was that because of chemotherapy, too? Dan wasn’t too sure he wanted to find out more. But that was why he was here: so the doctors could explain what was happening.
What is Cancer?
Today, the outcome after a diagnosis of cancer is more positive than ever before. Many types of cancer are treatable and seem to be curable. One way to treat and often seemingly to cure cancer is through chemotherapy.
Before we talk about the treatment, let’s make sure we’re all talking about the same thing when we use the word cancer.
Most of the cells in your body grow, then divide, to create new cells. How fast this process happens depends on the type of cell you look at. Bone cells change fairly …