Scaling

Allometry is the study of the relationship between size and shape. It is a well-known study in biology for practical applications to the differential growth rates of the parts of a living organism’s body. One application is in the study of various insect species where a small change in overall body size can lead to an enormous and disproportionate increase in the dimensions of appendages such as legs, antennae, or horns.

It often studies shape differences in terms of ratios of the objects’ dimensions. Two objects of different size but common shape will have their dimensions in the same ratio. Take, for example, a biological object that grows as it matures. Its size changes with age but the shapes are similar.

In addition to studies that focus on growth, allometry also examines shape variation among individuals of a given age, which is referred to as static allometry. Comparisons of species are used to examine interspecific or evolutionary allometry. An example is found in frogs – aside from a brief period during the few weeks after metamorphosis, frogs grow isometrically. Therefore, a frog whose legs are as long as its body will retain that relationship throughout its life, even if the frog itself increases in size tremendously.

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Mascot

The American White Ibis is a species of wading bird which occurs from the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States south through most of the New World tropics. It occurs in marshy wetlands and pools near the coast. It also occurs on mowed grass, lawns, and has become common in some city parks, where it can be found feeding alone or with other Ibis.

This ibis feeds by probing with its long, downcurved beak. Its diet consists of various fish, frogs and other water creatures, as well as insects and small reptiles. They have all-white plumage except for black wingtips visible in flight and reddish bills and legs. The red bill blends into the face of breeding birds; non-breeding birds show a pink to red face.

Like the other species of ibis, the White Ibis flies with neck and legs outstretched, often in long, loose lines. When feeding, the birds often give a soft, grunting croo, croo, croo as they forage. The American White Ibis is the mascot of The University of Miami, located in Coral Gables, Florida.

Inquiry

Bioethics is the philosophical study of the controversies brought about by advances in biology and medicine. It has addressed a broad spectrum of human inquiry, ranging from debates over the boundaries of life, allocation of health care resources, and the right to turn down medical care for religious or cultural reasons.

Bioethicists often disagree over the precise limits of their discipline, debating whether it should concern the ethical evaluation of all questions involving biology and medicine, or only a subset of these questions. Some bioethicists narrow ethical evaluation to the morality of medical treatment or technological innovation, while others broaden the scope of ethical evaluation to include the morality of all actions that might help or harm organisms capable of feeling fear and pain.

Many religious communities have their own histories of inquiry into bioethical issues and have developed rules and guidelines on how to deal with these issues. Some religious perspectives widen the outlook by attending to additional values that are often absent from ethics such as generosity, altruism, sacrifice, compassion, community, and love. Often, religious values will lead to reinterpretations of secular ideals such as informed consent. Some find that religious views can give a broader, perhaps even utopian, view of what can be hoped for in caring.

Linguistics

Laughter is an audible expression or appearance of excitement, an inward feeling of joy or humor. It is part of universal human vocabulary. There are hundreds of thousands of dialects, but everyone speaks laughter in pretty much the same way.

As a primitive, unconscious vocalization, laughter is probably genetic. In a study of the “Giggle Twins,” two happy twins were separated at birth and reunited 43 years later. Until they met each other, neither of these exceptionally happy ladies had known anyone who laughed as much as they did. The twins inherited some aspects of their laugh sound and pattern, readiness to laugh, and even taste in humor.

Norman Cousins suffered from arthritis and developed a recovery program incorporating megadoses of Vitamin C, along with hope, a positive attitude, and laughter induced by Marx Brothers films. He made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give him at least two hours of pain-free sleep. When the pain-killing effect of the laughter wore off, he would switch on the motion picture projector again and it would lead to another pain-free interval.

Scientists have noted the similarity in forms of laughter among various primates, which suggests that laughter derives from a common origin among primate species. An extremely rare neurological condition has been observed whereby the sufferer is unable to laugh out loud, a condition known as aphonogelia.

Subfield

The philosophy of biology is a subfield of philosophy of science, which deals with epistemological, metaphysical, and ethical issues in the biological and biomedical sciences. Although philosophers of science and philosophers generally have long been interested in biology, philosophy of biology emerged as an independent field of philosophy in the 1960s and 1970s.

During that time, philosophers of science began paying increasing attention to biology, from the rise of Neodarwinism in the 1930s and 1940s, to the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953, and to more recent advances in genetic engineering. Other ideas such as the reduction of all life processes to biochemical reactions as well as the incorporation of psychology into a broader neuroscience were also addressed.

Biologists with philosophic interests responded, emphasising the dual nature of the living organism. On the one hand there was the genetic program; the genotype. On the other there was its extended body or soma; the phenotype. In accommodating the more probabilistic and non-universal nature of biological generalisations, it was a help that standard philosophy of science was in the process of accommodating similar aspects of 20th century physics.

Leadership

Govinda is a name of Krishna, referring to his youthful occupation as a cowherder. The ancient text Sri Brahma Samhita describes him as the source of all that is and the original cause of all causes.

The sages call Krishna “Govind” as he pervades all the worlds, giving them power. The Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata states that Vishnu restored the earth that had sunk into the netherword, so all the devas praised him as Govind, protector of the land.

In the Harivamsa, Indra praised Krishna for having attained loving leadership by saying, “So men too shall praise him as Govinda.” Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in his commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita, states that Govinda means “master of the senses”.

A famous prayer called the Bhaja Govindam states; “If one simply worships Govinda, one can easily cross this great ocean of birth and death.” This refers to the belief that worshipful adoration of Krishna can lead believers out of the cycle of reincarnation, or samsara, and into an eternal blissful life.

Framework

Biosemiotics investigates the role that sign use plays in life processes. All processes in organisms obey physical laws, the difference from inanimate processes lying in their organisation and being subject to control by coded information.

It uses concepts from semiotics and the study of dynamic sign action in humans as well as elsewhere in nature to answer questions about the biological emergence of meaning, intentionality and a psychic world; questions that are hard to answer within a purely mechanist and physicalist framework.

To define biosemiotics as biology interpreted as sign systems study is to emphasize not only the close relation between biology as we know it and the study of signs, but primarily the profound change of perspective implied when life is considered not just from the perspectives of molecules and chemistry, but as signs conveyed and interpreted by other living signs in a variety of ways, including by means of molecules.

In this sense, biosemiotics takes for granted and respects the complexity of living processes as revealed by the existing fields of biology – from molecular biology to brain science and behavioural studies – however, biosemiotics attempts to bring together separate findings of the various disciplines of biology, including evolutionary biology, into a new and more unified perspective on the central phenomena of the living world, including the generation of function and signification in living systems, from the ribosome to the ecosystem and from the beginnings of life to its ultimate meanings.