Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Bio 101

I'm bored.

I've pretty much learned all of the friggin' humanities. So I think I'm going to start on University level Biology here. Will this be boring? Hopefully not. Biology is the squishy science after all.

(Picture: Eukaryotic cell)

Chapter 1. (Of the Bio 101 textbook "Life")

What the fuck are the characteristics of life?

1. Organization, 2. Energy Use and Metabolism, 3. Maintenance of Internal Constancy, 4. Reproduction, Growth, and Development, 5. Irritability and adaptation.

1. An organism is organized as structures of increasing size and complexity, from biochemicals, to cells, to tissues, organs, and organ systems, to individuals, populations, communities, ecosystems, and the biosphere.

2. Metabolism: The biochemical reactions that acquire and use energy.

3. Homeostasis: The ability of an organism to maintain constant body temperature, fluid balance, and chemistry.

4. Organisms reproduce, grow, and develop. And, yes, sometimes they love.

5. Organisms respond to the environment through irritability (an immeiate response to a stimulus) in the short term and by natural selection over generation. Natural Selection eliminates inherited traits that decrease chance of survival in a certain environment by differential survival and reproduction.

6. Biologists classify organisms with a set of names that reflect probable evolutionary relationships. The classifications are: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species.

7. The Five Kingdoms: Monera (Bacteria, unicellular prokaryotes), Protista (simple eukaryotes such as algae and molds), Plantae (multicellular eukaryotes that obtain energy from sunlight), Fungi (eukaryotes with nutrients from decomposing organisms), and Animalia (multicellular eukaryotes that have nervous and muscular systems). They are distinguished by cell complexity, mode of nutrition, and other factors.

8. Prokaryotes: Cells that lack organelles. Simple cells.
Eukaryotes: Complex cells containing organelles

Okay. So far, so good. As we go along, I'm going to try to get access to the course notes and texts for Harvard. You'd be surprised at how often profs at big universities will send you their reading lists and notes simply because you've emailed them and asked nicely. Also, I think Harvard has put a bunch of cool brain dissections online.

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