Development of Knowledge 2016- Flacks

About this class

This course is designed to introduce students to the elements of critical thinking and the development of the field of cognitive science. Special attention will be given to language, animal cognition and artificial intelligence as each relates to descriptions of the mind. 

In the first part of the course, we will study critical thinking and epistemology to assess what qualifies as “knowledge”. A critical reading of James Trefil’s Are We Unique? will then introduce students to a variety of disciplines relevant to the study of cognitive science including philosophy, linguistics, animal studies, neuroscience, anthropology, and psychology.

Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by maude_migneron on September 7, 2016
http://time.com/3173937/what-are-animals-thinking-hint-more-that-you-suspect/

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by penelopesaunders on September 6, 2016
The issue that the article was discussing, was whether or not children with special needs benefit from hippotherapy treatment.

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by lalalele on September 6, 2016
Mice were placed in a scenario that caused them to show symptoms similar to those found in people suffering from depression. When they were placed under this social stress, SIRT1 protein levels rose in a part of the brain called the NAc (nucleus accumbens).

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by Adam J. Lavoie on September 6, 2016
A subject on the rise in the last few years and the cause of many debates is the question of whether or not meat is good for you. Reader's Digest's expert Chris Woolston wrote an article on the matter and gathered some factual information from different reports and studies in order to bring some clarity on the topic.

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by Justice M on September 6, 2016
                The article I read is “Dogs use same parts of brain to process speech as humans.” This article is about a research project done on dogs in Budapest. The issue in this text is whether dogs process speech similarly to how humans process speech, or if they don’t. After reading the article I think the conclusion is that they do. 1. Dogs use the left hemisphere of the brain to process words. 2.  Dogs use the right hemisphere of the brain to process intonations. 3. Humans use the left hemisphere of the brain to process words

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by simonsaad on September 5, 2016
Should basic coding be a mandatory class in Junior High? Analyst Tim Bajarin discusses the subject.

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by mustyanklesock on September 5, 2016
A four day workweek may seem glamourous. An entire extra day to yourself sounds amazing, but in reality, it poses a serious threat on your physical and mental health.

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by A.B on September 5, 2016
http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/17411437/san-francisco-49ers-qb-colin-kaepernick-sit-national-anthem-sees-change-america

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by ArianeFerguson on September 5, 2016
« Is your brain making you fat? Blame your mind not your body for weight gain, says scientist” an article by Sandra Aamodt Summary by Ariane Ferguson

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by bobo on September 5, 2016
The article I chose for this assignment involves the ongoing Colin Kaepernick saga in the NFL. As you may or may not have heard, during the the San Francisco 49ers's preseason games Kaepernick refused to stand during the singing of the national anthem, which is a tradition in the National Football League. He explained that he "is not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color".

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by SunnyDeng on September 2, 2016
What are the effects of bullying if it started in their childhood? A research suggests that college students’ psychological problems may be related to their perceptions of past childhood bullying experiences. A study that involved 480 college students showed that the effects of bullying can stay for years which will affect the victim’s mental health into their adulthood. Some students has reported on their psychological functioning and symptoms of depression, anxiety and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

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3 months 3 weeks ago

Response 4(oceans and fisheries/agriculture)
I choose this particular summary to comment on because, I was drawn to the fact that you mention that there were 7 major issues that our oceans are facing, and was curious to find out what those 7 were as well as the effects they may have on climate change and possibly our food supply. Based on some of the information I found from another source, I agree with a few of your points. For example you mention how today’s oceans are heavily polluted with waste, according to my source it says “that despite recycling being the solution for disposables 90% of plastic globally isn’t recycled (Greenpeace,N.D,p.8)” most of which are ending up in our oceans, it continues to state how if we don’t change quickly, future generations are at risk of inheriting a dump rather than an ocean. You also covered the fact that we are overfishing is affecting the oceans food chain. The information I found agrees, it says how we have already removed the majority of large fish in the ocean, specifically a whooping 2/3rds and how “one in three fish populations have collapsed since 1950(Greenpeace,N.D,p.8)”. What I found interesting from doing research regarding your response is that I learned the economic effect and importance of the oceans being able to provide a food source for poorer countries. According to my article it says how “more than 3 billion people rely on our oceans and coastal ecosystems for their livelihood(Greenpeace,N.D,p.8)”. Due to the lack of fish in the ocean’s it has made it very difficult for many fisherman and companies to make a profit this creates a certain drive to overfish in hopes of being able to turn that profit which in turn threatens our oceans as a whole, all this to say I also agree with you on the fact that we need to raise more awareness on the matter if we are to make a difference before our oceans become barren.

Oceans Issues & Threats, n.d, https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/oceans/issues/

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4 months 1 week ago

After having read your article summary, I agree with your main point of the need to treat our planet better, to try and minimize the effects climate change has on the weather and the damages it brings. For example your article covers how major hurricanes such as Irma and Harvey were in part caused by the melting of the icebergs in the arctic. I enjoyed the reference to wealth being the mood to the planets personality from your article. The only thing I disagree with is, when you give the statistic on the U.S accepting 90 million climate change refugees in 2017. I have my doubts about the U.S accepting a growth rate of 25%. Based on the article I found it says how “59 studies were looked at to see if climate change and extreme weather had any correlation (Gabbatiss p.2)” what was found from these studies was that “41 demonstrated climate changes had made extreme weather events more intense and long lived(Gabbatiss p.2)”. That’s nearly a 70% correlation between the two variables. My article also mentions the high cost by these events, not to mention deaths. This supports your claim of how the government has to spend a lot of money in order to repair all the damages caused by these natural disasters. According to my article it also mentions how climate change also has an impact on heat waves, droughts and rainfall, to name a few, similar to your article. Based on this information alone it is clear that the more we continue to pollute the planet the faster climate change will progress. Which will only cause the situation to worsen. The only way to avoid this from happening is to limit global emissions, something that is easier said than done, I believe that if more people would understand the connection between natural disasters and climate change it would hopefully make people realise how serious this issue is, and encourage them to take action.

Gabbatiss, J.(2017)., Natural disasters increasingly linked to climate change, new report warns. The Independent. Pages 1-4
https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-natural-disaste...

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5 months 5 days ago

I choose this article summary in particular because of the topic on the melting of the arctic sea ice. It is my understanding that this event of all those ecosystems affected is the one that will have the biggest impact on a global scale. I agree with the opinion given in the summary regarding the plight of the polar bear and how the arctic food chain depends on a stable sea ice platform and how global warming is the primary reason for the sea ice loss. Based on the article I found by the climate institute “Climate Change Impact on Arctic Ecosystems” it concludes that “polar bear populations would decline without ice sheets to hunt and live on anywhere from 30-50% in the next 40 years (Ospina,2017,4)”. This in turn would send entire arctic food chains out of balance. The article confirms “that several months out of the year the temperature is 5 degrees Celsius higher than average of the past several decades (Ospina,2017,p.2)”.From an informative point of view my article confirms your findings but also discusses other gravely important issues caused by melting ice sheets such as follows. Melting ice is not just about bears and arctic wild life. The melting ice sheets means “new parasites and diseases can affect wild life populations because of warming temperatures. These new pathogens could be transmitted to humans (Ospina,2017,p.5)”. Also, “the gulfstream would be affected because melted arctic ice would introduce more fresh water to the oceans changing the salinity which could disrupt the Gulf Stream flow which could lead to more extreme global weather conditions(Ospina,2017,p.5)”. Finally “the melting of ice means carbon and other green house gases trapped in glaciers and permafrost would be realised accelerating climate change (Ospina,2017,p.5)”. Besides the damaging release of gases melting permafrost will also affect “35million people living in the area. Melting permafrost will seriously damage infrastructure from ground collapse or lake formations (Ospina,2017,p.6)”. In other words all animals are in danger including humans.

Ospina,C.(2017) Climate Change Impact on Arctic Ecosystems. Climate Institute, pages 1-6, http://climate.org/climate-change-impact-on-arctic-ecosystems/

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5 months 3 weeks ago

I agree with you in your response when you touch upon bringing to light the current /future issues that affect our population such as growth rates and consumption. Based on the article I found from The Royal Society.org where it states in its introduction “The number of people living on the planet has never been higher, their levels of consumption are higher then ever and major changes are taking place in the environment”(royal society,2012,p.11). Based on information available from the same source I agree with your estimate of the population between 9.6 - 11.3 billion, my information shows “Under the UN medium fertility variant the population is expected to reach 9.3 billion by 2050.”(Royal society,2012,p.20) Based on this it’s a reasonable assumption to think that in the following 50 years we will have added an additional 2 billion people. Feeding the planet is complicated since “live stock has major implications for the environment footprint of agriculture(royal society,2012,p.77)” and fish stocks are in serious decline globally. I also agree with your claim that the earth’s resources will become damaged and eventually there will be less and less of these needed resources. The article by The Royal Society shares the same point of view and gives examples such as “pollution of wetlands could possibly affect drinking water, the deforestation of hillsides could expose downstream communities to the dangers of flooding, the destruction of mangrove forests to allow shrimp farming can damage fisheries and as well as exposing communities to tsunami damage” (royal society, 2012, p.65). Overall I enjoyed your summary. What stood out to me and made me choose this particular response is we both share a similar opinion. We both believe that the root cause of all these problems that ultimately prevents us from change is greed. People are more interested in making money and turn a blind eye to the fact they are part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

Roayal society, 2012, People and the planet, Excellence in science, https://royalsociety.org/~/media/Royal_Society_Content/policy/projects/p...

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5 months 4 weeks ago

the summary is there, just need to click on the title, to avoid any confusions.

9 months 4 weeks ago

Hi Enya!

I was really curious when I read your title and you increased my curiosity once I read your commentary about the article. Actually, this one didn’t disappoint me. I thought your comments were really completed and precise, which led me to the point that I wanted to know more about the Zika virus. I firstly thought that its situation was really ironic. Then I understood that it was attacking cells, and so for the virus it does not make any difference; the consequences about which cell it attacks only make a difference for us.

Therefore, I like the article that you are proposing, because it made me learn something new. Also, I found it very relevant to me, since I know many people that have or had cancer. Hence, I think that you had a good idea to share the article, because it touches a large amount of people. I think it is an effective way to give hope to those who need it.

By staying in the same subject, I found some articles that may interest you. The first one also comes from the New Scientist journal, but it has been published after your article. To make a short summary, it talks about a specific patient who has a chronic pancreatitis- an inflammation of the pancreas-, which is a factor risk of cancer. This type of disease causes a lot of suffering for the patients. We also know that the cancerous tumors spread out into the body by using our nerves. Including to that, our nerves make the tumor maturing. This process is well explained in the article. Thus, they found a way to stop the suffering and the growth of the tumor by "cutting" the nerves already touched. The effect is a longer and painless life for the patient.

First article: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23631480-200-how-hitting-our-nerv...

The second article has been published by the Scientific American journal recently. It is about the recent approval of the FDA – Food and Drugs Administration – a new treatment against cancer. The treatment consists to displace the white blood cells to the tumors. The article informs us about the process, but also on all the pros and cons. What I also find interesting is that we can get inform about the folder of the treatment (the cost, when it is going to be available, etc.). I think it is great to stay aware of that type of information, since cancer is a disease that takes a lot of place in our society.

Second article: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fda-approves-second-car-t-tre...

Hope you’ll enjoy!
MariaZ_99

9 months 4 weeks ago

Hello Justina!

I was very interested by your article. The discoveries the scientific community can make by observing other organisms, such as butterflies, could revolutionize science and the medical world.

Your commentary was useful and gave me the desire to read not only the article mentioned in your post, but also more about the subject. Reading about gene programmation in butterflies that influence the colour of their wings instantly made me wonder of a world where parents “program” their babies in order to reduce their risks of disease and even, perhaps, their physical appearance.

However, this thought process unconditionally raises a big ethical question. Would it be ethical to modify human genes, as we do with much of the food we consume? I did some research in order to learn more about the risks of genetical editing.

First, I got informed about the technique mentioned in your article, called CRISPR, which stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic repeats. This technique uses the process of DNA reparation in cells to add-in or remove specific genes. Using CRISPR is not only simple and efficient, but also inexpensive. It is accessible to practically any laboratory in the scientific world. Researchers have the goal to use this relatively new technology to modify genes in embryos in order to cure diseases and modify mutations. To read more about the subject, I recommend this article, from SAGE:
http://sage.buckinstitute.org/ethical-implications-of-human-genetic-engi...

As one may presume, genome editing in embryos causes a lot of ethical debate. Until recently, only unviable embryos could be “genetically edited” for scientific research. However, in July 2017, the first viable embryos’ genome was edited, in Oregon, using CRISPR. This was done effectively, and few mistakes were made. However, once again, this created big ethical discussions worldwide. Many people are scared of what are called “designer babies,” referring to a world where parents would “design” their babies by modifying their genes until they become “perfect” to their eye. However, genetically edited embryos are not yet transplanted in placenta, and do not develop into grown humans. Many changes in regulations and laws must be done before this can happen. To read more about the subject, you could read this article from Business Insider, which describes the first genetically modified embryos and the risks behind genome editing: http://www.businessinsider.com/scientists-edit-dna-human-embryos-crispr-...

All in all, I really enjoyed reading your article. Although it only discusses the colour of butterflies’ wings, it links to a much bigger issue. The small discovery of a gene that dictates the colour and design of butterfly wings could have big impacts on the research on gene editing. Thank you for your article!
Simon Saad

10 months 1 week ago

In countries like the US, it seems like obesity is a common problem. While technology has allowed an easier way of life, a casualty would be on the health. Plus, because of schools, jobs, and families, people tend to do very little to no exercise thus, increasing the chances of gaining weight. Myself included. An article by Howard (2017) included a statement that exclaims that more than 30% of american adults are obese. The article also includes some of the possible problems. For example, obesity can cause diabetes, joint problems, etc. SNAP is not the only thing that is doing things to prevent obesity. Many of us, as children to adults, has a tendency to eat junk food and we tend to go to a store expecting to buy them. Of course, many of us are also way too lazy to do any kind of exercise. Which is why many scientists are trying to develop treatments for obesity. Some of them are a bit gruesome, but do note that they are in their preliminary phases. All in all, the article shows the severity of the current problem because of our tendencies with exercise.

Howard, B. (2017). The LATEST WORD on WEIGHT LOSS. Prevention, Vol. 69 (Issue 11), p.39. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

10 months 1 week ago

Even though many aspects in a first world country would make it believe to be peaceful, it is surprising that crime rates can continue to increase in those countries. While it is surprising to see that conflicts on social media seems to be there as many would not act beyond the scope of the internet, as it is a way to hurt others without repercussions and some even put in effort and enjoys doing it. In addition, it is true that in the year 2016 there has been an increase of crime compared to the previous year (Reilly, 2016). Plus, another article seems to also accept the fact that. in 2015, there was a slight increase in the crime rates (MAKE AMERICA SAFE AGAIN?, Nov. 2016)

Reilly, K. (2016). Violent Crime Rising in U.S. Cities Compared to 2015, Study Finds. Time, p.1. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
MAKE AMERICA SAFE AGAIN?. (2016). Reason, vol. 48 (Issue 6), p.8. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

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About the author

I'm a Humanities Teacher at Champlain College, Saint-Lambert and the designer and founder of Newsactivist. Between 2007 and the present, I've developed a course, Newsactivist, which asked students to blog about the news that they felt showed parts of the world in need of improvement.