Thursday, December 9, 2010

Love organic? Then love yourself!

Biosolids…sounds pretty environmentally friendly right? But guess what it’s composed of....sewage wastes! Yes, from domestic and industrial lives, including toxic wastes…and yes, your own poop! But as your mother would say, poop is a very good fertilizer, as it still contains nutrients and minerals that the soil needs. Human feces do contain nutrients, but it may contain pathogens and the chemicals that we’ve ingested. Even if it’s used as fertilizer, it has to be treated correctly.

Sewage wastes are treated by a wastewater plant which goes through physical, chemical and biological processes, and biosolids are the nutrient-rich organic matter results. In the process, they eliminate pathogens and heavy metals from the wastes. Biosolids can act as a soil amendment or fertilizer, which improves the physical properties of the soil leading to better growth of crops. It enriches forests and land that has been worn down. In Canada, biosolids are classified by its quality which affects where it’s going to be used, so there is quality control! Because of wastewater treatments, it has made our fresh waters cleaner and safer for all living organisms. With biosolids as fertilizers, we won’t have to waste space in landfills or burn it to rid of it, rather, we recycle! Biosolids reduces the need for chemical fertilizers on farms, plus it’s a much less cost efficient alternative for farmers. It’s also been tested that there hasn’t been any dangers to our health.

Even though sewage wastes are treated, they’re a huge combination of chemicals from…who-knows! They contain countless contaminants, including metals, pesticides, and just anything that’s been dumped into a sewer, which becomes sewage sludge. Even though sewage treatments reduce the number of pathogens to a minimum, there are still some that are left which can affect us! Also, heavy metal accumulation in soils is toxic for living organisms. There has been an investigation on airborne pathogens, which can affect workers causing them to be exposed to pathogenic organisms. Of course, a mixture of thousands of wastes would lead to unpleasantly pungent odors. These fertilizers may get into our foods, but then again, most of our foods are contaminated with pesticides already.

There are pros and cons to biosolids, but the major thing we should look upon is for our health. It may corrupt our foods, and create new diseases along the line, but right now there hasn’t been any sign of dangers. I say biosolids pass, because either way, this waste is going to be created daily (healthy person = 3 times a day!!!!) and it’s not going anywhere so why not put it to good use. I know that it’s gross, because I’ll feel like I’m eating my own poop, or someone else’s, but…food is food, and if it tastes the same and does the work, we just have to overlook the process it’s been through. Some people may say it’s risky because we don’t actually know what biosolids are made of, but there’s nothing in this world that comes without a risk factor.


"About Biosolids." Biosolids. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2010.

"FAQ - Biosolids." CWWA. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2010.

"Heavy Metal Soil Contamination." Soil Quality. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2010.

"Human waste shouldn't be fertilizer?" Poop Report. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2010.

"A Perspective on Biosolids Management." The Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases . N.p., n.d.
Web. 9 Dec. 2010. <>.

"Where does my poop go?" Portland Mercury. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2010.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It’s true…we can’t live without technology.

Technology is everywhere! I’m using it right now to complete my assignment! It’s great, and it saves lives! (,news-6780.html haha, just kidding! ) Technology is used daily by surgeons, doctors, nurses and has saved many lives. Doctors don’t have x-ray vision, so they need technology to help them.

 From Stethoscopes to Magnetic Resonance Imaging, they assist doctors to understand our internal body system because everyone’s body works differently. Let’s not forget about the Computerized Axial Tomography Scan, blood pressure reading devices, heart/pulse rate monitors, endoscopes, thermometers, x-ray machines and the list just goes on and on. They’re crucial to the diagnosis and follow up of medical treatments. Without technology, there’s no way anyone could figure out the cause of diseases/sickness. Yearly full body scans can help humans be aware of their health, and it could prevent long-term illnesses if problems are detected early. Most of the time people think that they’re strong, fit, healthy, and have the (mental) and physical ability of a 15 year old, but in reality, their internal mechanisms may be rusting, and they discover it when it’s too late. Normally, we can’t look at a person and sentence them to cancer or kidney failure, etc. This is where technology kicks in, it’s vital to our understanding of what’s happening inside us.

Insulin’s a hormone produced in the pancreas, which helps the body store/use the blood sugar from food. People with type 1 diabetes’s body can’t produce insulin and those with type 2 either don’t have enough insulin produced or have insulin resistance. In 1992, Frederick Banting and Charles Best at the University of Toronto discovered a way to treat diabetes. They isolated insulin and tested it on a diabetic dog, and the results were successful! It effectively lowered the dog’s blood sugar level and soon after, the first dose of insulin was used on a young boy dying of diabetes. Insulin saved him and the millions of people afterwards.

Technology moves forward with each era getting better. It continues to help human beings discover cures to new diseases that keep coming. It also helps find more efficient, less painful ways of treatments.

Check this out! Swallowable Sensors are sensors that’re ingested, and as it goes along the digestive system, gathering information, then sends it to a transmitter. This is a big step forward, because previously, they would use invasive and unpleasant ways to study the digestive system, but this method, is convenient and hassle-free.

With technology, this is happening too! They’ve made artificial body parts which work with our bodies, functioning inside us, and they’ve use the artificial heart in dying patients to give them hope, as it keeps them alive temporarily while seeking for a heart donor.

Technology is unpredictable and surprising. Technology brings us places where our grandparents would have never thought to have happened! Technology improves and enhances medical procedures and gives us the ability to understand the human body and the internal systems. We all love technology, don’t we?  


"Insulin Discovered, 1922." N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Dec. 2010.

"Insulin Discovered, 1922." N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Dec. 2010.

"Top 10 Artificial Technologies Ready to creath a Real Human Being." Science ahead. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Dec. 2010. <>.

"What are the different types of hospital equipment." Wisegeek. N.p., n.d. Web.
     8 Dec. 2010. <>.

Comments on other blogs 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The foods we eat could kill tons of other species!

I feel that humans have to realize that everything isn’t about us. It may seem that humans run this earth; but we actually wouldn’t be able to do it without cooperation with other living species on this planet. That’s why biodiversity is vital. Biodiversity isn’t just the variety of species of plants and animals, it’s also genetic diversity, variety of habitats, biological communities and ecosystem biodiversity.

Firstly, genetic diversity is the difference in traits due to heritable characteristics. It’s important as it provides differences in individuals, which some variations can help populations survive better because they’re better adapted. Suppose humans lost the Y chromosome, then males wouldn’t exist! Genetic diversity’s the foundation of biodiversity!

Industrial agriculture is modern farming where genetic technology is used to produce large amounts of food but it has little concerns for the environment, animal welfare or food safety.
Sustainable agriculture is the traditional way of farming.
This table’s self-explanatory.

Industrial agriculture is said to be the end of world hunger, but that’s wrong! There’s enough food in this world to feed everyone! If we rely only on genetically modified foods, we’re losing genetic diversity and causing extinction of species.

Industrial Farming’s:
Pros: low product costs, fast production, pest/disease resistance, herbicide/cold/drought tolerant
Cons: massive wastes, creates health problems for all organisms, replaces sustainable farming, treats animals terribly, pollutes environment, destroys genetic diversity.

Although the food’s cheaper, there’s more behind that cost. Industrial agriculture uses a lot of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, polluting the soil, water and air, harming all life on earth. Animals that naturally feed on grass are fed with processed grain, corn and hormones and antibiotics so they can fatten up, grow faster and fight off diseases. That’s very unhealthy and causes high levels of E. coli. Think about it, we’re eating all that. Don’t you realize the increased numbers of new diseases from animals?

Earth’s experiencing a rapid loss of biodiversity. The rate of loss right now is predicted as the greatest in history. I’m shocked to see what’s happening to the Earth right, as aftermaths of our actions. Industrial agriculture is pushing weaker breeds to extinction, and when a specie becomes extinct, they break their food web, which will destroy other organisms.

I think that most people in the world don’t put much thought into what they eat. When we eat, our first preference is taste. We don’t look at the long term effects it’ll have on us. I bet you didn’t know that beef in hamburgers could kill us! We’re oblivious to what our food is made up of, and how our choices of food can push species to extinction. What happened to living in harmony with nature? Right now we’re like a dominos chain, we’re the ones starting it, and we’ll be the last to fall. We’re destroying others, and in the end, we’ll only end up destroying ourselves. So help our environment and all living species by purchasing locally grown products, supporting our local farmers who practice sustainable agriculture.


"Biodiversity And Its Loss...What does it all mean?" Eco-Action. N.p., n.d. Web.
     18 Nov. 2010. <>.

"Factory Farming, what is factory farming?" Sustainable Table. N.p., n.d. Web.
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"Genetically Modified Foods - Harm or Helpful." CSA. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov.

"Industrial agriculture." Economy watch. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2010.

"Industrial agriculture." Grinning Planet. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2010.

"Industrial Agriculture - What's the real cost of cheap foods." Trusted. MD. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2010. <>.

"The Issues, Biodiversity." Sustainable Table. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2010.

"Problems - Loss of Species." Web of Creation. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2010.

"What is genetic diversity." Wise Geek. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2010.

"What is sustainable agriculture?" Sustainable Table. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov.
. <>

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Ideal Baby....It Could Be Yours!

We all want a flawless, healthy baby, but who would have guessed that it could happen!

What’s a designer baby?

Designer baby, as named by the media, is a baby in which its’ embryos have been prescreened and modified. Presently, there’re only 2 ways to “design” your baby; determining sex and genes, or screening for genetic diseases and then taking only selected genes. They do it by In Vitro Fertilisation.


Right now, you can choose the gender, skin, eye and hair colour. Imagine what you could do within a few decades!
Sounds pretty cool right? But it comes with a price, not just financially, but if your child realizes your selfish actions, you could lose them forever.

IVF is very common amongst couples who’re infertile, but they may have to reattempt IVF several times to succeed. There’re a lot of risks that follow, such as children having genetic defects, and very low birth weight. There’s also an increased rate in women dying during childbirth.

With IVF becoming so popular, scientists have gone further to testing gene modifications on mice, and if it succeeds, they’ll move onto humans. It’s quite terrifying, because they’ve tested traits such as susceptibility to disease, shyness, athletic ability and IQ. 

Personally, I feel that designer babies are wrong, in the way that people may be using it to choose physical features that they want. I believe that each and every one of us, as a whole, is given to us and us only by God. We’re all special because we’re different, and parents shouldn’t alter their child, because they should love them for themselves, which is partly them!

But, genetic processing for eliminating diseases isn’t a completely bad idea. Jamie Whitaker born through IVF saved his brother’s life. Put yourself in the shoes of a parent, it’s really heartbreaking to see your child die from a disease they’ve inherited/got while knowing there’s a way of saving them. Sick young children, will always question “Why me?”

For those who’re pro-life, IFV isn’t right because they kill some embryos, and all embryos are a form of life. Sexism kicks in too because some societies favor boys.

Imagine the impact it’ll have on children who know they’ve been genetically altered. Socially, they could be outcasts because other kids may look down on them or tease them.

In the future, if everyone’s been designed and there’s a child that’s been born naturally, they may feel ugly and different. They’ll think that appearance is important and it’s vital to have the perfect baby.

There’s a possibility for more abandoned children because they’re not perfect in their mother’s eyes.

IVF shouldn’t be permitted for beauty desires; appearance is too highlighted in this world, we should accept who everyone is, for who they truly are. Furthermore, if we’re able to determine other traits for our child, it also should be prohibited, as it’s unfair to create humans that have been altered to be better than others. In the end, we’re all just humans.
Pause and ponder, Think before you act!


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Saturday, September 18, 2010

What's up with the reefs?

We’ve all seen the dazzling photos of coral reefs, but how much do we exactly know about them?

International Coral Reef Action Network is a network of many of the world’s leading coral reef scientist and conservation organizations. They’re committed to improve the health of reefs by working with communities to develop skills and tools needed to ensure the sustainable use, and long term vitality of coral reefs.

Briefly on corals:

Coral reefs are considered the “rainforests” of the ocean because they, alone, support such vast biodiversity. The reefs support an estimated 25% of all marine life. Most of the world’s coral reefs are in difficulty. They’ve been destroyed, or degraded by accumulated stress to a point of no recovery, most of which are a result of human activities.

So how does ICRAN help improve this “stressful” situation?

In places where the reefs have been damaged by anchors, high amounts of tourists, ICRAN is working to install a mooring buoy program to help control further disturbances to the reefs.

ICRAN is improving the management and operation of existing marine protected areas and creating protected areas. They’re working alongside with local fisherman and teaching them how to take care of the marine life, and to raise awareness for the protection of marine life.

In Vietnam, the reefs undergo serious stress caused by blast and poison fishing, boat and anchor damage, overfishing and coral harvesting activities. ICRAN has worked with local communities to build awareness, establish volunteer patrols to protect their coral reefs and fisheries, and to incorporate environmental education programs into schools. In the end, provincial authorities have endorsed their own regulations for the protection of coral reefs across the province! They’ve also created a marine reserve, and have opposed coral harvesting activities.

The ICRAN Mesoamerican Reef Alliance project was aimed at stopping the decline of coral reef ecosystems and to improve the reefs. Organizations in the region worked together in order to achieve the goals of this project. In the end, they developed tools for the prediction of future land use’s impact on the reef, a manual for best fishing practices among local fishermen, and the establishment of a Tourism Standards and Code Taskforce.

The tourism industry is a big part of income for some countries. There’re millions of divers who enjoy the mysterious life underwater. ICRAN is working to create marine-life friendly practices in resorts/hotels/gift shops/dive centers. They’ve trained plenty of eco divers and diver instructors to pass on their knowledge and the correct way of admiring the beauty of corals. Coral reef monitoring activities were created, to keep track of the health of the reefs worldwide. Reef check is a community based management, where anyone is open to help!

ICRAN is working with a large network of organizations worldwide to help, and promote the conservation of coral reefs. They’ve taken the first step to fix what we’ve done, don’t you think its time we reflect on all our actions? Here’s a place where you could start with.

(Below are photos of coral reefs courtesy of my uncle, from his many diving adventures )

Green Coral, Panglao Isand
Brain coral, Panglao Island

Soft Coral, Coron Palawan

Hard coral, Coron Palawan

Tubular Coral, Coron Palawan

Table coral and fan coral, Coron Palawan
A spider crab on a cabbage coral, Redang Island
Soft Coral, Redang Island
Chimney coral covered with sea worms, Redang Island
Soft coral, Cebu
Table Coral, Caverna Island
Soft coral, Cebu

ICRAN. "People and Reefs, Action." Internation Coral Reef Action Network.
 N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2010.  <>.

International Year of the Reef 2008. "What are coral reefs?" International Year  of the Reef .
 N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2010. <>.

Reef Check. "About Reef Check." Reef Check. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2010.

"25 Things You Can Do To Save Coral Reefs." Nation Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.