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Ecology of Infectious Disease

The rise in emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases in humans and wilfire is directly linked to environmental changes such as deforestation, climate change, and, among other factors, illegal wildlife trading. Over the last three decades the World Health Organization has recorded over 40 diseases, including HIV/AIDS, SARS, dengue fever, and West Nile virus, that have resulted from direct of indirect human activities.

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The Impact of Environmental Changes on Zoonotic Diseases

The Impact of Environmental Changes on Zoonotic Diseases

 

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Science's Response to Antibiotics Resistance

Senior Seminar in Biology and Society

September 22, 2009

 

Scientists' Responsibilities in the Antibiotics Resistance Crisis 

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Empathy and Social Failure

Empathy, defined by the American Dictionary Heritage as the “identification with and understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives,” is a capacity that is extremely essential to the development of social relationships between humans.  Empathy is a type of emotional intelligence that not only helps us to build strong, rewarding relationships, but also reduces friction in our social interactions.  When a person is capable of putting herself in someone else’s shoes she is better apt to predict how someone might respond to her actions and words, and thus avoiding unnecessary conflicts.  Besides from enabling us to predict the intentions and emotions behind other’s actions, empathy also allows us to learn vicariously through other’s actions.  In this way we learn the lessons and know the adverse emotional, physical, and mental consequences of certain actions without having to repeat the same mistakes of others.
 

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Universals, Particulars, and Defining a Species

When we examine the world around us we intuitively recognize that there are certain groups of similar characteristics that are pervasive among certain groups of objects (by object I also mean living things).  Because of this repetition of similar characteristics being manifested together in a number of objects we are able to then call those objects by the same name.  Thus, when a set of objects are called by the same name it is understood that those objects are in possession of similar characters.  In our daily lives we perform this activity of discerning whether an object has a similar collection of characteristics as that of another object which has already been assigned a name.  When we decide that the object in question does indeed have a similar collection of characteristics we can then comfortably call it by the same name of the known object.   This characteristics-assorting, name-giving activity is often done so rapidly at imperceptible speed that we fail to see that the conceptual foundation, on which this activity is based, is actually quite precarious.
 

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Evolution Is Too Personal

Evolution is Too Personal

To think that everything and everyone present are simply part of a prodigious universal experiment is both fascinating and formidable. It is fascinating for obvious reasons, but formidable for more obscure ones. Evolution is a scientific theory that, when studied and examined thoroughly, deeply affects the questioner on such a frighteningly personal level that few other scientific ideas can ever touch. It forces humans to approach the question of the meaning of their existence in a most depressing manner--unadorned with flowery, poetic language and devoid of spiritual glow.

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