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Mind Wide Open - A Book Review

          As biology major, I walked into Paul Grobstein’s Neurobiology and Behavior at the beginning of the semester expecting 3 hours a week of neurons, hormones, and lots of pictures of brains. Naturally, I became confused when Emily Dickinson was the topic of conversation of the first day. Well that’s odd, I thought, but surely next class we’ll begin the real neuroscience. Yet, here I am, at the end of the semester, and I feel as though my “real neuroscience” was all a distant fantasy. I never had to buy an expensive textbook, and I never had to memorize countless regions of the brain. Instead I chose my own homework and paper topics, and researched and discussed the neuroscience that interested me the most. Instead of remembering how bored I was sitting through a series of slides, I remember being engaged in lively arguments and heated discussions.

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But Would You Rather Die Than Give A Speech??

          Your professor has just asked you to present a research project in front of a lecture hall filled to the rafters with people. You completed the project weeks ago, and you know the information like the back of your hand. Yet, as soon as you stand in front of the podium, your hands start to shake. Your brow beads with sweat and your heart begins to race. As you attempt your first word, your voice quivers and your throat clenches. You fumble with your notes and you ask yourself ‘Why on earth did I agree to this?’ You wish that you were anywhere but behind that podium and in front of hundreds of eyes, and you blame the common phenomenon of stage fright (1).

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Lost in Translation

          Throughout the course of this semester, our class has discussed the usefulness of the story of evolution as an explanation of the way life has evolved but also as an explanation for the way other things evolve as well. We have found literature, in particular, to be one such topic that can be explained in terms of the story and mechanics of biological evolution. By reading and discussing E.M. Forster’s Howards End and Zadie Smith’s On Beauty, the idea that books can be adaptations of one another, like an adaptation in the biological sense. Literary adaptation, also like biological adaptations, can be successful or not, depending on multiple factors. Unlike biological evolution, though, these factors are mostly dictated by humans, and the environment in which the work is released. Zadie Smith’s style of adaptation, regardless of its inherent generativity, is not the only style of adaptation available to an author. Although not normally thought as a method of adaptation, the art of translation is a useful and fascinating way to adapt a piece of literature.

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Adderall: College Students' Best Friend-- Or Worst Enemy??

Attention deficit hyperactive disorder is a neurologically based behavioral disorder that afflicts children and adults alike (1). Characterized by inability to pay attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive actions, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, or ADHD for short, this disorder has become a popular diagnosis for students who claim that they are unable to concentrate or focus on their studies (2). Much research has been done in recent years regarding ADHD, its neurological basis in the brain, and how to treat it effectively (1). Many prescription drugs have been released onto the market that effectively target the levels of certain hormones which in turn enable one to counteract the symptoms of ADHD (3).

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The Story of Race and the Classification of People: Generative or Not?

          The idea of evolution as just a “good story” has sparked many controversial thoughts within me. After much deliberation over the idea of “truth” and “usefulness,” I realized that thinking of ideas as “good stories” could be fascinatingly “generative.” Race is one of these “stories” that I have come to question. As a child, I was taught that race was a scientifically and socially accurate way of classifying people. According to this story, everybody belongs to a race according to lineage, appearance, language, geography, etc. Most often, however, race classifications were easily assigned to people based on split second observations of skin, hair, and facial features (1). Shadows of doubt were always cast, however, when classifications became blurry. What was I supposed to think of a man whose skin was dark, whose eyes were slanted, and whose hair was blonde? Did he simply belong to a race that I did not yet know of? Or was he a negligible anomaly to the race explanation? Or what if race wasn’t really the best explanation at all?

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Depression and the Seasons

There’s a certain slant of light

On winter afternoons,

That oppresses, like the weight

Of cathedral tunes.

Heavenly hurt it gives us;

We can find no scar,

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The Future of Human Evolution

Kristin Jenkins

Biology 223

Dalke & Grobstein

January 16, 2006

Human Evolution – What Does the Future Hold?  

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