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Case Study

IndianJRadiolImaging_2013_23_1_81_113621_u3A 25 yo man presents at the ER with abrupt, intense pain in the right flank and ipsilateral lower abdomen. In addition to abdominal pains, he also feels  pain in the right testicle and has had to urinate frequently and always with pain. Imaging was done to aid in assessment.

Given this information, what diagnosis might you suggest? Explain the symptoms and what is revealed by the imaging. What treatment do you suggest?

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Anagram Collection

Below are anagrams which all relate to one another in some way.

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not a hint

Unscramble the anagrams and tell me what they all have in common.

  1. Overseas John
  2. Barman Notes
  3. Druid Reefer Keg
  4. Horse Movers
  5. Simmer Key

 

Anyone can answer (send your answers to jtreml.fscc AT gmail  DOT  com) , but these anagrams are also hints for my microbiology class’ quiz on chapter 11. I don’t have any prizes I can offer, but if there is sufficient interest, I may offer future games with prizes in the future either here or at 100filmsin100days.wordpress.com, that’s my other blog on film (mostly bad ones).

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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A Quotation Challenge

In the interim between the Fall and Spring semesters, I’ve been letting the WordPress 365 Days of Writing Prompts to guide my posts. Today’s prompt asks us to consider a quote that you come back to again and again – and consider why it moves you.

Although I don’t think that I’ve kept this quote specifically on my mind, it is one that I consider close to my heart. Perhaps I’ll come back and comment later about what this means to me, so long as some of you share first.

The quote:

“A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.”

Take a moment to think about who you think might have said this before clicking here to find out. While you’re at it, let me know what it means to you and who you thought it was if you didn’t get it right.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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MicroBiology Test Questions

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Mixed Culture

Despite the surfeit of responses to my call for General Biology Test questions earlier this week that I had to wade through (read sarcastically), I thought I would yet again offer the opportunity for anyone (Students!?) to present potential test questions. If there is anyone out there who would like to try their hand at it, please respond here in the comments section with your proposed question(s).

Topics for this exam include:

-Laboratory techniques (primarily microscopy and culturing methods)

-Cell composition/organelles/functions, comparing and contrasting prokaryotes and eukaryotes

-Prokaryotic cell biology

-Eukaryotic cell biology

-Viral biology

-metabolism / flow of energy through living systems

-cell culture / growth patterns / nutrition

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Dies Irae

I have quizzes in both my General Biology and Microbiology classes tomorrow. I’m told that there will certainly be a question on the Micro quiz asking students to draw a virus and indicate certain proteins or other elements, such as membranes and genomic material. Just as my General Bio students are certainly expecting a question about chemiosmosis and the enzyme responsible for synthesizing ATP.

Students from both classes are probably more interested to find what movie or artist or governmental office I’ll be asking my extra credit question about. If they’re under about 30, they probably think a classic horror from 1980 isn’t worth watching. But they’d be wrong.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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First Quizzes tomorrow…

Image I mentioned in my classes that I sometimes post extra credit hints here – but not always. Just enough to make it worth checking once in a while and help buoy my stats.

In class last Thursday someone mentioned that they heard I liked to post extra credit questions about Twin Peaks (a favorite series), but that was last semester. I’m sure I won’t be able to resist throwing a couple in at some point. And, after all it’s always a good idea to see that TV doesn’t always have to be predictable and mundane – sometimes it can be awesome.

If I am giving any hints, it’s that this year, I’ve been watching a lot of movies- especially ones from the 70s and 80s – and writing reviews on my other blog, the now-incorrectly titled, 100FilmsIn100Days. So perhaps, we’ll see a little of that nice Dutch Colonial on Long Island from time to time. 

But not all of my extra credit questions come from incidental materials. Sometimes, they’re  serious, about subjects like the Measles outbreak I discuss below or material that I think is cool, but too detailed or tangential to be tested on for credit.

I look forward to getting back in class. See you soon.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The age of things – radiometric dating (again)

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The most famous ship that didn’t sink

I feel the need to re-iterate my explanation of carbon dating. We had a recent quiz which was entirely based on carbon dating, that my students have cleverly manipulated into a warning flare to alert me to the fact that we need to slow down and be sure that everyone’s aboard before the ship goes sailing away.

Earlier, I posted this example of radiocarbon dating as a simplified exercise in determining how long it has been since a carbon-based organism was alive.

Here, I’m going to just walk through our recent quiz:

You are involved in an archaeological dig site of prehistoric humans.  You find some samples from several of the people you suspect lived in the site and do radiometric dating.

1. Assuming an original steady state ratio of   1 part 14C: 100 parts 12C, and a half-life of Carbon-14 of 5700 years, how old is the site if your samples have a 14C:12C ratio of 1:800?

What’s your starting point? —- an original steady state ratio of   1 part 14C: 100 parts 12C. This means, when this archeological site had people living in it, they had a 1:100 carbon ratio. This comes from their continued input of carbon sources from their environment all containing that 1:100 ratio.

what’s the endpoint? —- your samples have a 14C:12C ratio of 1:800. Over time, the radioactive carbon in these remains has decayed, so there is less 14C over time. However, the amount of 12C remains constant because this isotope of carbon is stable.

 

how do we get from 1:100 –> 1:800? the half-life of Carbon-14 of 5700 years. Every 5700 years, half of the 14C decays. After the first half-life (5700 years), the original ratio of 1 part 14C: 100 parts 12C changes. Now we have 0.5 part 14C: 100 parts 12C   –or–  1 part 14C: 200 parts 12C. 

    follow this for two more half-lives… 

            1:200 becomes…

1:400, which becomes…

1:800.

How many half-lives is that?           

        count the arrows (each is a half-life)  1:100 –> 1:200 –> 1:400 –> 1:800

        3 half-lives x 5700 yrs / half-life =    17,100 years.

 

2. in 5700 another years, what will the 14C:12C ratio be?

Tack on one more half-life…   1:800  –> 1:1600

3. What is another method that you might employ to determine the age of this site ?

Here, I was asking for any answer that is consistent with the number of mechanisms we discussed that have been used to estimate time. I announced during the quiz that you could give any answer here, it did not matter whether that method was consistent with dating a sample of this approximate age.

Many of you chose dendrochronology – the means of using a daisy-chain of tree rings to walk back through time. This would require that someone has done the background work for this in the area and a sample of wood from the site from which tree rings could be identified… perfect.

You could have said, look at the geological strata if the site. – or mentioned that Paleomagnetism may also enable some reference for dating of rocks (despite the fact that these methods are likely out of scale for a timeperiod of 17,000 years.)

Extra Credit – 

  1. During the dig, one of your students falls down a well and is left for dead. Given the increased carbon in the atmosphere due to burning fossil fuels, if a future archeologist were to try to date this student’s remains assuming the original ratio of isotopes given in question #1, would this scientist overestimate or underestimate the time since your student died?

This question requires you to remember that fossil fuels are the result of very ancient carbon sources. because of their age, they are entirely depleted of 14C. When these fuels are burned, Imagecombustion results in CO2 (all of which is  12C) entering the atmosphere. This would skew the 14C:12C ratio in favor of 12C. Therefore, out student would have a ratio of greater than 1:100 – perhaps 1:200 as his baseline at time of death. would this scientist overestimate or underestimate the time since your student died? They would overestimate – in fact, the student appears to be 5700 years old right away.

2. What would the atmospheric carbon ratio be today if these scientists thought that your student died at the same time as the other prehistoric humans?

1:800 – i.e. the student’s ratio of carbon isotopes would have to be the same as those found in the prehistoric remains. Quite a co-incidence!

 

I hope these answers help you to understand the concept here and how to calculate answers for some basic problems.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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