Hey, there.

Hello, my name is Jo-an. It's spelled Joan, but really it's pronounced as the former. But, by now I react just as much to Joan as I do to my real name, so you can call me by both. You can even call me Jack if you want.

Anyways, this is my Biology blog. You know that course SBI 3U1? Yeah, this blog is made solely for that purpose. Basically, this blog will be used to respond to various topics presented to me throughout the course. I'll try to be as insightful as I can, but forgive me if it doesn't exactly come through on the world wide web. Okay, enough with the formal stuff. To conclude this little reverie of mine, I hope you enjoy this trip through my brain. Well, the Biology section of my brain, anyway.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

And you thought it just ended up in the sewers...

What do we think of when we think of crops and farming? Soil, water, a couple of tractors, maybe some animal manure. But human waste? Hmm... that's new.

Agricultural methods are rapidly reaching new heights right before our eyes. Human waste are now being used as fertilizers by farmers everywhere. Human waste can also be called "biosolids". Although the fact that our crops are being grown with our poo may make some queasy, it's not just as simple as that. Biosolids are treated human waste in order to be used as fertilizers. Let's look at some of the pros and cons of using biosolids as fertilizers.

There are considered to be many pros in using biosolids as fertilizers. Biosolids are a good source of organic, and safe nutrients. Because biosolids come from humans, this reduces the need for chemically based fertilizers, while at the same time, providing the crops with the proper nutrients and minerals. Also, biosolids are considered to successfully restore land, improving its fertility and replenishing its topsoil. Another huge pro that can come from using biosolids as fertilizers is that it reduces erosion, which can protect the water quality. "Adding biosolids to soil also supplies organic nutrients that are released slowly to growing plants. These organic forms of nutrients are less water-soluble and, therefore, less likely to leach into groundwater or be carried away by streams and other surface waters." (1) Another one can also be that because we are recycling the waste, we are saving land space, not to mention money.

Of course, with all these pros come the cons. Of course, when told that human waste solids are being used to farm, one may not react well. It can be seen as gross, actually. Besides this, other cons could be: potential health hazards because the solids may not have been filtered properly, causing this to transplant into the crops, and eventually into our dinner tables. The odour, for the people that live around the area, might be a huge problem as well.

Seeing this pros and cons, I think biosolids are a great idea. Their pros outweigh the cons significantly in my opinion. Anything we can do to help the Earth, I'm all for.


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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Make Like Superheroes and Use Our Technological Powers for Good

With so many technological advances in our society, it is impossible not to see the effects it has on our medical world. These various technologies help us comprehend our internal body systems, which in turn help diagnose and treat health problems that may be observed. Some of these technologies are:


This is a form of electromagnetic radiation. X-rays are useful in understanding the skeletal system and for detecting some disease processes in the soft tissue.


When you go through an MRI scan, doctors are able to obtain scans of your body tissues, bone and internal systems. To get these pictures, the MRI uses a powerful magnetic field. These images are transferred onto a computer where it can be viewed. MRI images help doctors assess the internal body and detect any diseases.


This is a diagnostic imaging technique used for viewing body structures including tendons, muscles, joints, vessels and internal organs for assessment. Sonographers (the man in the photo) use a transducer, placed and moved directly over the patient to obtain the images that will be shown on the computer.


Spirometry is a common test to evaluate the lungs' well-being. When the tube is breathed through, it can show how well a person can take breaths in and out. This is an important aspect because how well a person can breathe can showcase underlying problems, such as: ashtma, bronchitis, or chronic pulmonary disease.

ECG machine

Electrocardigiam (ECG) is a machine specifically used for the heart. It is used to screen abnormalities of the heart. This machine works by attaching electrodes to your legs, arms and chest. These electrodes detect electrical impulses generated by the heart and transfer the information to the ECG machine. Through an ECG, we can find: heart rate, possible heart muscle damage, and abnormal heart beats.

As can be told by these few technological advances in medicine included, we are definitely making like superheroes and using our powers for good when it comes to this. The technologies' impact on our society are greatly appreciated, and I find it hard to imagine our medical society without them. We would not have the understanding we have of our internal body systems without these technologies (not to mention a few more), and this is very important to do. Understanding our internal body systems is the way to go about diagnosing and treating possible diseases and conditions. These medical technologies indeed have a great impact on our society.