Kyle Ervin
Mod G

First Quarter

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. "Predicting impact of climate change on species that can't get out of the way." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2014. Retrieved October 2, 2014

Climate change affects every living thing in the area that is changing. The animals may travel to a new land, but plants must stay as they are. Scientists have tracked the genes in balsam poplar trees across North America. Over four-hundred trees are part of the experiment, that will determine which trees have the best genes to survive climate change. One of the main problems is that not every tree is identical, so not every tree will react to the climate change in the same manner.

In my opinion I believe that the climate change is being forced upon this world by human action. Our harmful interaction has meddled with every living thing with us on this planet. We are to blame for what we have done to the environment. We have already done so much harm, I am unsure if we could ever fix the problems.

Queen's University, Belfast. "Humans to blame for plummeting numbers of cheetahs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2014. Retrieved October 2, 2014.

Human interaction on even the smallest scale can make an impact on the wildlife of the Earth. One of these is the cheetah, a carnivorous and predatory animal living in Africa. Humans have affected cheetahs by removing some of their previously available prey by hunting, and removing the land they would use by setting up civilizations. The article focuses on how the cheetahs may possibly expend more energy to hunt now, than they used to. This would be because the cheetah must now travel farther just to find prey to hunt. The loss of prey doesn't just harm the cheetah's way of life, but also the majority of the carnivorous predators in Africa must now fight for an even smaller food resource.

The cheetah is a predatory animal that has always been known for it's remarkable speed. Ever since a century ago, the population of the cheetah has decreased from over one-hundred thousand, to now under ten-thousand. We as humans have made the cheetah's lifestyle much more difficult than it should be. We have reduced it's land and food, taking what we want, when we want it. We have wronged the cheetah, and many more living creatures by disrupting the environment.

Tanya Lewis, (October 2, 2014), New Way To Make Oxygen Doesn't Need Plants, Retrieved October 2, 2014.

The main way of oxygen to be produced is form plants performing photosynthesis. But now, they're may be a new way. Before plants were on Earth to perform photosynthesis, Earth's atmosphere consisted of carbon-dioxide and multiple other poisonous gasses. But there was oxygen before plants were on Earth. This could've been  caused by carbon-dioxide being split in two, forming carbon and an oxygen molecule. This is what modern day scientists are attempting to recreate. The scientists are using a laser of ultraviolet light to break apart the bond that is holding the carbon to the two oxygen atoms.  Being successful in doing so would create a new way to produce breathable oxygen, and carbon for us to use.

This article caught my attention because of how many uses it could apply to. Being able to separate carbon-dioxide molecules into their key components is an extremely important breakthrough. Using the ultraviolet light used to separate the carbon-dioxide molecule, may not stop just at carbon-dioxide. This could possible be used on hundreds if not thousands of other molecules to separate them. I believe that with this experiment we are taking a step into the future of science.

Penny Sarchet, (September 30, 2014), Earth's navel: Stare into an eye-wateringly big hole. Retrieved October 2, 2014.

This is the second largest man-made hole on the planet. Nicknamed the "Earth's Navel", this is the Mir diamond mine. Opened in 1957 in Siberia, the mine has produced a massive amount of diamond carats. Excavation of the mine started before the nearby town was a thing. The nearby town of Mirny is minuscule compared to the Navel. The Navel is 525 meters deep, and 1.2 kilometers wide, this is second to the Bingham Canyon copper mine in Utah (1 kilometer deep and 4 kilometers wide).

I enjoyed reading this article because it show that humans can perform amazing feats. This can be seen as an inspiration to many that we can make a difference in our world, literally. The Navel is a way to show that we can make changes to our planet. Seeing that we can make changes, maybe on day we could reverse global warming and climate change to return to their best points in history. This is only a hope at something humanity will most likely never be able to do.

Dan Vergano, (October 2, 2o14), Undersea Mysteries Mapped by Satellite Gravity Sensors, Retrieved October 2, 2014.

The majority of the deep ocean is still to be unseen and unknown. The difficulty with traveling to these places and mapping them out, is that the ocean's pressure on the machines and man himself that deep into the ocean is too great to bear. The pressure at those depths isn't the only problem for humans. Under about eighteen-hundred feet of ocean water, the oxygen we breathe would become toxic to inhale. This means that around eighteen-hundred feet, humans are unable to dive deeper without machine assistance. Being able to map the ocean from space is an amazing breakthrough in our knowledge of this planet. The Amazon Rain Forest have yet to be fully explored, and we have explored less than 10% of the oceans we have.

I see this mapping of the ocean floors a way to know, "How deep does the Earth go?"/"How high are we actually from the ocean floor?". Knowing the geography of the ocean floor we can possible find new areas to drill for oil and other non-renewable resources. The past few generations and the next few will be the ones that never get the chance to explore a new world on their own. This has given us a chance to see what our world is like and explore more of it.

Second Quarter

Nature Journal

Date 1: December 3, 2014

        I spent forty minutes outside this day. I was outside with my brother as we were walking. It is nice to go and walk outside after being inside for so long. The temperature was nice while we were walking.

Date 2: December 6, 2014

        This time I was outside for half an hour. This time I was in my backyard, helping my mom clean out some dead plants from our garden. The plants don't survive in the cold months but have made it to December since we have had moderate temperatures lately.

Date 3: December 7, 2014

        I was outside walking my dog this time. I walked her around the neighborhood for about thirty-five minutes. I saw multiple instances of phenology occur in the plants and trees that I passed while walking.

Elizabeth Pennisi, December 11, 2014, 3D map of DNA reveals hidden loops that allow genes to work together, Retrieved December 11, 2014

        By using a multitude of computer programs, scientists have been able to detect features in genes never seen before. Before we were only able to have a resolution of only about one million times larger than the gene itself. Also the gene would have to be removed from its original nucleus to be studied. Now with the ability to 3D map a gene, we can process the amount of hidden loops in one without removing it from the nucleus. We are also able to see even smaller than the gene itself.

        Going back to freshman biology, I was taught of how small a cell truly is. But now being able to see one thousand times smaller than a normal gene, we can see what makes a human a human. The building blocks of the human cell have now been revealed to us. Cells have always amazed me just because of their minute size being smaller than almost anything, except for nonliving particles.

Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard, December 8, 2014, Injectable 3-D vaccines could fight cancer, Retrieved December 11, 2014

        As cancer is as large of a problem as it is, it would only be a matter of time before we could find a solution. This advancement has shown our progress to a possible cure in a possible near future. As cancer evades our immune system, it grows and slowly destroys us from the inside out. Without our immune systems humans would have died off a long time ago from debilitating diseases, this is why cancer is so deadly. Not only could this progression into the future secure that anyone available to the vaccine would be no longer be in danger of cancer, but it may also assist in the stopping of HIV.

        As the 3D printer is still a pretty new technology, being able to form a vaccine within the body is astounding. The vaccine forms to alert our immune system of the danger in our bodies. This however is an odd type of vaccine and it will also add fuel to the fire that are people who protest vaccines. They would deny this as a cure for any form of cancer that is forming in their body. Even as we make huge advancements in to the future, some people will always lag behind.

Third Quarter

John Bohannon, February 25, 2015, Artificial Intelligence Bests Humans at Classic Arcade Games, retrieved at February 27, 2015

     A new computer program was able to surpass the world's best humans in simple video games. The programming is able to learn the basics of a skill and repeat that task. The program was able to play multiple basic arcade video games. It has currently bested the best players of these games in the world.

     The program is called DeepMind, and its creator is Demis Hassabis. Hassabis hired fifty employees in London, England to work on this project. Hassabis is a computer scientist and former video game designer. The program he and his team created has mastered these basic games and has created even more advanced strategies for winning.

    The program was tested against forty-nine classic Atari games. The games are easy enough to learn but difficult to master for a human. The DeepMind was given two weeks per game and the power of a normal desktop computer to practice these games. The program has received on average twenty to thirty percent more points than a human.

Dalmeet Singh Chawla, January 16, 2015, Temporary Tattoo Measures Blood Glucose Levels, retrieved on February 27, 2015

     This new "tattoo" is able to test the blood glucose levels in a person's bloodstream. This can lead to no more pricking of the finger for diabetic patients when they must test their blood. The tattoo currently only costs a few cents and is easy to use. There is no reported pain that accompanies the tattoo, just the occasional case of a minor electric zap. The tattoo is able for all day use.

Carolyn Gramling, February 9, 2015, Dramatic Floods Shaped Icelandic Canyon, retrieved on February 27, 2015

     Three floods occurring thousands of years ago, have cut away massive amounts of rock from this canyon. The floods are estimated to have occurred nine-thousand, five-thousand, and two-thousand years ago. These floods have successfully eroded two kilometers away from the Earth. The rock in the canyon is made from heavily jointed basalt, which allows for the erosion to happen in quick bursts.

Sid Perkins, February 20, 2015, Did Dark Matter Kill the Dinosaurs?,retrieved February 27, 2015

     Every twenty-six to thirty-million years, the Earth goes through a mass extinction phase. This is about the same interval at which our solar system passes through the plane of the Milky Way. Scientists say that the dark matter present plus the clouds of dust and gas may affect far-flung comets and turn them into planet-destroying asteroids. The dark matter is an invisible  material, and we don't know what it is. Dark matter has a gravitational pull on objects in space, proving it's existence.

Jennifer Balmer, February 27, 2015, Protected Areas Not Safe From Light Pollution, retrieved onFebruary 27, 2015

     Protected areas such as forest preserves and national parks are assumed to be safe from light pollution. Light pollution is the artificial light coming from urbanized areas. Thanks to this urbanization, some nocturnal cycles of animals may be disturbed and negatively impacted. Scientists used images from satellites to observe the light levels of protected and non-protected areas, comparing the two.


Fourth Quarter

          As a class we worked together to plant a new life on the Marist grounds. The tree that we planted will slowly but surely grow to assist the future of Marist. We were taught how to correctly plant and care for a new sapling, especially to not pick it up by it's thin trunk. The tree will be on the Marist grounds for years to come, as a memory of our Environmental Science Honors class.

          During this quarter we went to a field trip with the Friends of the Chicago Rivers. On this trip we had multiple amazing experiences while exploring the environments and doing experiments. We caught micro invertebrates in the nearby stream, walked a path throughout the forest, and also performed quality tests on the stream. We all did this together to learn more about the environment of our nearby Chicago Rivers.

Comment Stream

3 years ago

Great job Kyle! Nice articles! 50/50

3 years ago

2nd Qt = 50/50!!!

2 years ago

Intersting articles...however, some of htem don't relate to envi sci. A longer reflection on how the article connects to class would have been nice too. 47/50

2 years ago

Thanks for a great year, Kyle! (Needed a deeper reflection on the field trip.). 49/50