Saturday, 28 June 2014

Wild Pets.

This idea has always left me in awe; the idea of people keeping undomesticated animals as pets at home. I'm not talking about feeding a squirrel or a wayward goat and calling it theirs. I am speaking about the desire to have a wild animal such as a tiger, lion, chimp or orangutan to show off with. The reason why this talking point stuck with me so much was because as I was lost in an animal hashtagged instagram hole, I came across a picture of a male orangutan behind bars.

The orangutan had such a sadden look its face staring out between the bars of a cage, and the quote which went alongside really hit me and it hit me hard. 'This is what happens to a cute little pet baby orangutan when they grow up into a big, handsome but dangerous adult.  If he has been in captivity too long before arriving at a rehab center, he can’t really learn the skills to live in the wild, and is destined for a sad life behind bars.  Please don’t keep orangutans as pets.  Let them live in the wild!'  (taken from the natgeo instagram page).

I guess people want to keep wild animals as pets as they look nice and cuddly, and not like the average dog or cat until they reach the age of maturation and grow (up). Consequently their owners can no longer afford or cope with an adult animal, which may weigh or be stronger than the average human, and so is considered dangerous. I don't know whether it can be considered a good or bad thing but they have to be given to either a zoo or a reserve, as these animals brought up in captivity are incapable of surviving in the wild. 
image taken from Flickr.  An orangutan family at Singapore zoo.

In my opinion wild animals are exactly that, wild, and should be left there to roam free and not face a life restrained or behind bars, solely for our enjoyment.

As the image, which struck me was from an orangutan, I thought I would share with you some orangutan based information.

Orangutans are native residents of the Borneo and Sumatran rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia. Compared to many of the apes, these hairy orange creatures spend the majority of the time swinging through the trees.  However, the orangutan falls prey to tigers, clouded leopards, wild dogs and crocodiles. Orangutans themselves eat a variety of food, such as bark, termites, bird eggs and fruit.

Explorer fact: Orangutans can blow raspberries (so cute!!)

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Scientific prowess.

So, this summer marks the end of my second year at university studying biochemistry. It has been a rollercoaster, I love biochemistry, but at times, it doesn't love me that much. I only have 1 year left, of my course which I actually find quite sad, but I have an 15 month break til I have to face it ( 3 months of holidays and then 12 months of an industrial placement with a major pharmaceutical company) again. But that isn't what this post is about. It's about methods to boost your scientific prowess.

As a 'baby' scientist, I am always told that at this time of my life experience is EVERYTHING! Which is true, as learning something in theory is completely different to actually being hands on and dealing with the practical element. Consequently, there is always a strive to gain this hallowed experience, to try stand out from the BSc crowd. I would say that my university is very good at helping our faculty cohort to attain industrial year placements and summer internships, and so I know at least 20 people, who are currently on a internship or preparing for a placement, which will truly help to boost their CV. Obviously as I said it's great to do a placement, but it's not essential especially if research is not the field which you intend on entering.

I've had this blog for almost 2 years tomorrow, and it was mainly to share my enthusiasm and interest in science with the world, to make it more tangible for those who maybe find it hard to understand, or just plain boring, and I feel I may be getting there slowly but surely. The Science Tree, has been a great way to prove to employers that I am a biochemist, but I am also interested in a wider area other than just biochemistry. It's certainly (I think) helped me to stand out from other candidates...

....butI think the most important thing is to enjoy what you do, and I do!!! I love my course, my uni, but most importantly I love The Science Tree, and will keep on posting for eons to come! (Hope you guys are ready for that!)

Explorer Fact: the science tree is 2 tomorrow!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Money on my mind.

Currency, is a rather peculiar system which we use to purchase items. The exchange of metal discs and paper rectangles account for the value of an object. Throughout history, the one staple in currency has been the coin, made from bronze, lead, brass, nickel, gold and silver, and more recently the paper notes have come into fashion. However currency has really taken a turn into the technological era with the introduction of the bitcoin.

Termed as a decentralised ritual currency, the bitcoin has taken the web by storm. It of course has pros and cons.

It has a lower fee imposed by credit card processors at a rate of 2-3% which makes sense as to why numerous companies are moving towards the digitised currency (Expedia is a company which, justthis month   has started to accept the bitcoin as payment).
The main issue is that the bitcoin can be used for illegal activity, moreover like any currency they can be stolen. Unlike money which, I guess can be reimbursed- with the bitcoin you cannot get your 'money' back.

Although many see the bitcoin as a currency it is not accepted as a real currency by economists but is viewed more as a medium of exchange and a unit of account.  I'm not sure as to the cost of a bitcoin to the dollar recently, but in its lifetime it has fluctuated between $50-$266, which I suppose is not too positive it it trying to make a name for itself as a universal currency.

Personally, I would like to see the bitcoin accepted as a currency to be used solely online, as it may potentially help to boost the world's economy, however, until it is controlled (ie. an exchange rate is devised, and it's monetary worth is decided) I don't think it has the ability to rival the Dollar, the Pound, or the Euro (yet).

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

In my sights!

After slaving away at my second year exams for the past 2 months, I am back and finally free! Hurrah! Even though I have been busy revising, there have been a couple of interesting developments and findings which have caught my eye.

  1. The first was that 2 sets of mono twins were born within a week of each other at the same hospital; The Akron General Medical Centre in Ohio. The first set Jenna and Jillian were born on May 9th and the second set JaNiya and Amaya were born on May 15th .These babies are identical twins and share the same amniotic sac and placenta. They are very rare, and the birth of mono-mono twins like these only occurs once in every 10,000 pregnancies.
  2. The world's smallest pacemaker was fitted in England, in Southampton General Hospital. A pacemaker is a device which electronically regulates the heartbeat and keeps it beating at a 'normal' rate. The device fitted was around 1/10th the size of the normal model, which speaks volumes for the intricacy of the pacemaker, and the technology required to create this implement and moreover the difference it could make to the quality of patient life and the ease of recovery after major surgery.
  3. I think it is always fascinating to know where the vegetables and fruits that we consume come from (where they grow! Be it a bush or a tree or underground) . The fruit which never ceases to amaze me is the prickly fruit, the pineapple! It grows on a pineapple bush! A bush! (sneaky Explorer Fact).