Survival of the Sickest: Part 2

What did you think about the reading?

This part of the book was just as great as the first, and in my opinion even better. Her style of writing and comedy gets the reader hooked and has the reader captivated. She captures her audience so well that I accidentally read more than the second part but oh well. The way she starts talking about a topic, changes it to something similar, then comes back to make a point allows the reader to think about what she wrote. By not going directly from question to answer allows the reader to form there own conclusion and compare it to what she has come up with. I can’t wait to finish the third part of the book because the chapter ‘Of Microbes and Men’ seems captivating

What did you learn?

In chapter three I learned about how depending on a population environment and exposure to sun it changes the amount of vitamin D produced. It was interesting to discover how vitamin D and sun exposure both intertwined to have an effect on a persons skin color. The quote that goes “white-skinned people are actually black-skinned mutants,” it makes some sense.

In chapter 4 my mindset completely changed about the importance of plants and how, like humans, they do everything to survive. I was aware that plants give off certain toxins and hormones to grow but not that while trying to protect themselves they can be potentially harmful to humans. It makes me think that we don’t have as much of an understanding of how things work than we actually do. Who knew that the idea for birth control comes from a clover? If there are so many natural toxins out there, maybe there are some thing that are helpful to humans? Cures we could never dream of discovering. Its all so interesting, maybe the cure to cancer is out in our very backyards and all we need is someone to discover it.

Reading part of chapter five showed me that no matter the size of an organism, it can still be harmful. I also learned that organisms aren’t stupid and are fighting hard to survive. I already briefly knew about the Guinea worm and the way it works. But I learned that it used to be a much more serious condition than it is today. It goes to show that ignorance can be a potentially harmful thing. But with an understanding to how the worm works, it was easier to fight and prevent the spread of more.

What questions do you still have?

Is enough time being invested into looking for natural cures and medicines? If a larvae can cause a spider to change its habits, would it have the same effect on a human? Is Capsaicin being modified to be a painkiller? If most plants are both helpful and harmful to humans, how long would it tae to discard the harmful adaptions and be only left with the good?

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2 thoughts on “Survival of the Sickest: Part 2

  1. You bring up some interesting questions. I believe that scientists have been researching and investigating into natural cures for quite a while now, but I would imagine they still have not touched all areas of this topic. However, from my experience of visiting Peru many times, I have noticed that a lot of people there look first for natural cures or medicines when they are ill or injured. Then again, this is only from my observations and experience. To answer your last question, I understand that plants have harmful adaptations to act as a defense against predators. So, for us to be only left with the good adaptations, I would imagine that humans would have to evolve to withstand these harmful adaptations, which could take a long time.

  2. I also found it very interesting how our birth control is associated with clovers! There are so many plant species living in the world today yet there are still a plethora of plants that are still left undiscovered! Going along with the point you brought up, of the plants we do know, have we really researched every possibly medicinal purpose they can provide? Although it would take an immense amount of experiments, it would surely be worth the hard work if it meant that lives could be saved and new cures and treatments found.

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