Animal Testing; The Answer to Human and Animal Longevity

9 12 2008

Animal Testing; The Answer to Human and Animal Longevity

 

Imagine not being able to take medicine or get vaccinations when you are deathly ill. That’s what it would be like if animal testing was not done. The medical research being done on animals has many benefits. These benefits coupled with the knowledge we have gained from animal testing has proven it a necessity for improving the length and quality of life for both humans and animals.

One of the first good reasons for testing new drugs on animals is because many animals like monkeys and rabbits have a similar physical composition to humans, which make them good subjects. Although they aren’t the perfect subjects, “they do serve as excellent substitutes (mostly using mice, rats and other small rodents) for humans” (FAQ’s).  The animals used will react similarly to how humans would. This ensures good and useful data and observations. This leads scientists to a safer medication or procedure when used for humans.

By using these animals mentioned, scientists can test the effects of certain drugs on the living being before they hit the market. If a drug used on an animal shows that it is not working correctly, scientists know that it is unsafe for human usage and will either toss away the whole drug or try and tweak it so it will work correctly. “Animal research has enabled us to find treatments for cancer, antibiotics for infections, vaccines to prevent some of the most deadly and debilitating viruses, and surgery for injuries, illnesses and deformities” (Facts). Although animals are used to enhance and fine tune medications and vaccines, they are also used for many other studies such as behavioral research, and education and training. “Animals have been used in diverse research areas including depression, drug addiction, aggressive behavior, communication, learning and problem solving, normal and abnormal social behavior, and reproduction and parental care” (Monamy). The knowledge gained from the tests in all these areas including medically and psychologically bettered many people’s quality of life and also saved many of their lives.

In addition, while doing medical research on animals we learn more that just the effects that drugs and procedures will have on humans. Scientists take data on how the animals react for their wellbeing as well as ours. Much good information is often learned about animals while these tests are being done that help cure many animal health ailments like heartworms in dogs. Also, “insulin was developed via research on dogs and is now used to treat diabetes in pets as well as humans” (Benefits). Many pet dogs may have had a much shorter life with their owners and families if it wasn’t for this. Also, animal testing does not always mean pumping them full of drugs, but sometimes includes various surgeries that leave the animal with only a little scar. This aids both human doctors and animal veterinarians in better understanding surgeries like open-heart surgery and transplants for both humans and animals, giving both healthier and longer lives.

The big question that is always asked is why testing for medical research has to be done on animals. Well, would you want to go under the knife or take a curious pill without knowing the consequences? Most likely not. Also, it is said in the Bible that animals were given to humans to work for them. We, as humans, are merely exercising this. All animal testing regulations are outlined in the U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training. These regulations include, “procedures involving animals be relevant to human or animal health, the minimum number of animals be used to obtain valid results, alternatives to animals be considered, animal pain or distress be avoided or minimized, living conditions for animals be appropriate for their species, research scientists and those caring for the animals be properly trained and qualified” (Frequently). Also, many people that are against animal testing often take some of the medication that has been tested on animals first whether they know it or not. We, as humans, have to come first and without animal testing, many of us would be very sick or maybe not even living.

Animal testing is a necessity for humans in order to continue finding cures for the ever-increasing amount of disease and poor health conditions. It helps us live longer healthier lives, but also in many cases, helps animals do the same. We do not want to take drugs if do not know whether they work safely and effectively, just as we wouldn’t eat a mysterious looking bowl of soup without knowing what is in it first. There has to be a way to be sure that we can depend on these medications. The only reasonable and logical answer is animal testing.

 

 

 

Works Cited

“Benefits.” Pro-Test: Standing Up for Science. 2006. 15 Nov. 2008 <http://www.pro-test.org.uk&gt;.

“Facts.” Pro-test: Standing Up for Science. 2006. 15 Nov. 2008 <http://www.pro-test.org.uk&gt;.

“FAQ’s.” Pro-Test: Standing Up for Science. 2006. 15 Nov. 2008 <http://www.pro-test.org.uk&gt;.

“Frequently Asked Questions.” North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research. 9 Dec. 2008 <http://www.ncabr.org/biomed/faq_animal/faq_animal_15.html&gt;.

Monamy, Vaughan. Animal Experimentation : A Guide to the Issues. New York:

            Cambridge UP, 2000.





Oh the Joys of Snowboarding!

9 12 2008

1400x900-snowboard-wallpaper

Oh the Joys of Snowboarding!

Winter is approaching. My mind begins racing and I begin to get that itch. The itch to snowboard. It’s like being disconnected from the one you love and also the excitement of soon being able to feel and see them again. Winter brings back my love every year.  The aspects of snowboarding that I appreciate most are its setting, the sense of self expression it offers, and the team sport mentality without it actually being a team sport.

One of the best things about snowboarding is where and when you snowboard. Winter is the time and mountains are the places. Winter is a awe inspiring time of year to begin with and snowboarding just enhances it. It brings snow, the cold, and wind. You can smell the moisture in the cold air when it’s about to snow. And without the cold and the snow, there would be no snowboarding at all. But, once it comes and I’m cruising down a long run I love the feeling of the wind in my face. It bites and is numbing, but it feels good and makes me feel alive.  The cold lights a fire inside and warms me. Without a mountain or big hill, there would be no snowboarding either. Its hard to imagine the sight of being on top of a mountain 14,000 feet high, seeing everything below you until you have actually experienced it. I feel as if I’m closer to God and heaven. It gives me a chance to really admire and appreciate what is around me. Also, while on the mountain, I feel a clean and renewed sensation in my body. I take deep breaths in and the fresh air fills up my lungs and it makes me smile inside and out. That’s why the setting for snowboarding is better than any other sport.

Also, given the setting, there’s nothing that I would rather do more than snowboard because it is an excellent tool to express myself with, no matter how I feel. Mainly it allows me to express my creativity. I look at snowboarding as an art. I use my body and board to capture my feelings while out on the snow. I can dream up a fun line or funny trick and take it to the snow and try it out. Sometimes the tricks don’t work out, but just as in art my mistakes are what makes me better in the future. Also, I can express my feelings that day out on the mountain. My feelings are the fuel for my day. My happy go-lucky mood brings the fun, flowing style to my snowboarding. I float through the park doing the smaller hits and experimenting to have fun. When I fall, I get right back up laughing and it’s just funny. However, when I fall when I’m feeling a little angry that day, I take it personally. It’s like judgment day for me and I have to go as hard as I can and prove myself to myself. I snowboard with power and conviction; landing tricks, like hammering nails into the cold, hard ground. No matter what mood I’m in that day, I always feel humble and at peace on the drive home from the mountain.

While snowboarding allows me to express myself, it would not be the same without the community on the mountain. The community is unique because it carries a team sport feeling with out having teammates to rely on. There’s no passing off the ball to my teammate only to have him brick the three pointer that would have won the game for me. In snowboarding it’s completely up to me whether I shoot a three pointer or go for the lay up, and more importantly, whether or not I will make the shot. The setting and creativity is given to me and it’s up to me, the rider, what to do with it. Practice, is snowboarding everyday and the drills are the jumps and rails I huck myself over endlessly. Even though I’m not on a team when I am snowboarding, the support and confidence I get from my friends and fellow riders is what pushes me to progress in the sport. Whether landing with ease or falling from the sky hard, I have them to back me either way. Also, seeing my friends having fun and trying new tricks is what inspires me to do the same. For example, watching a rider try a cool looking trick that I never have tried before is what drives my thinking of snowboarding in a new way. It makes me experiment with new tricks and styles of riding. Its what keeps snowboarding fun and ever changing.

After another exciting and memorable season under my belt, winter ends and snowboarding won’t be possible until next year. The disconnection from my favorite sport begins again. I will miss the view from the mountains, the feel of the weather, the ability to express my feelings and creativity, and that team mentality. The itch begins all over again.





Double Decade vs. No Correct Way

9 12 2008

double-decade4ncw_main1

Double Decade vs. No Correct Way

 

Winter is coming soon and all the top snowboard companies are bringing out their new shred flicks. Two of the more popular videos talked about this fall were Double Decade by MDP and No Correct Way by Rome SDS. Casualties and the NMU Skate and Snow Club premiered both of these videos here at NMU for the entire student body. Both were very good movies and contained a lot of the same tricks; however, the two movies were very different.

Double Decade was yet another beautifully made snowboard video from MDP, but it would also be the last that they would produce so they really wanted to hit this one out of the park. The video flashed back to the early days of snowboarding and wanted to show the constant progression that continues to go on in snowboarding. They aimed to show how the snowboarding of yesteryears has shaped all the tricks and styles of today’s riders. Double Decade featured many of today’s top snowboarders such as Jeremy Jones, Jussi Oksenen, Eero Ettala and Lauri Heiskari. Each of their’s and the other riders’ parts were just as good as the one that it followed.  The cinematography of this film was very complex, but yet smooth at the same time. All the camera angles and shots were very creative and made the smallest tricks look amazing. However, the audience would erupt with disbelief at the combination of many tricks that never been seen before and the way in which each of them were shot.  The filmmaking was also accompanied by a stellar soundtrack, which really brought out the personality and style of each rider. Everything is this movie was very elaborately done, making Double Decade one of my favorite movies.

No Correct Way was one of the first feature movies by Rome SDS, but the company managed to do a great job with little experience. This was a movie that just featured good, continuous snowboarding and didn’t stray off-topic as Double Decade did. Unlike Double Decade, however, there weren’t any standout parts or tricks that left you speechless. Most of the boarding in No Correct Way was focused on the technical and dangerous street tricks, whereas Double Decade contained mostly massive park jumps and huge backcountry kickers. These tricks were done by many no-name riders, and their popularity simply isn’t comparable to that of Double Decade’s star-studded cast. The filmmaking wasn’t as involved and different, either. This was a good thing in some cases, but it was still a bit boring. The music was loud and out of control like many of the riders, which really brought out the feeling of recklessness. No Correct Way wasn’t my favorite movie by far, but the overall simplicity of the movie was what made it good.

Even though these movies were completely different in almost every aspect, the biggest way in which they were the same is they both really capture the essence of snowboarding. Both accurately portrayed the fun and exciting feeling of snowboarding. Both films also use little cut scenes and shots of the riders talking, which make you feel like you can relate with them and brings you closer and deeper into the movie. Both also aim at getting kids like me excited to snowboard again this winter, which is the main reason for putting out this films.

Both Double Decade and No Correct Way came out this fall with two completely different styles, filmmaking, and riders, but also both captured the feeling of snowboarding and its culture. Both were good movies and are worth checking out, but I believe that in almost every aspect, Double Decade is a much better and well made movie.





Come Together for Cameron

9 12 2008

n9336820419_8522

Come Together for Cameron

It was early December when my best friend Matt and I heard the news.  It was a regular day just like any other. Matt called me, crying. Sobbing, he choked out, “Cameron died…” At first it didn’t hit me; my mind didn’t accept what it heard.

“What?” I blurted.

“He died today in a bad car accident,” he cried. I went silent; no words would come out. What do I say? I had to many questions. My head filled with many emotions: anger, sadness, and fear. “What happened?” I asked. He began trying to piece together the horrible accident for me.

Cameron and his good friend were driving down a highway with cross traffic when a woman turned out in front of them and T-boned them in the passenger side door where Cameron was sitting. The car was sent spinning out of control into a light post and was wrapped around it on the passenger side. Cameron was trapped in the wreckage and had to be cut out of the car. He was taken immediately to the nearest hospital where he was put on life support. He was in a coma but stabilized with life support. Even though he was stabilized the doctors said that if and when he came out of his coma he would be paralyzed and unfortunately neurologically impaired. His family and friends soon made the incredibly sad and tough decision to let Cameron go.

“What are we going to do?!” I asked.  I felt helpless.

Cameron Ringer was a very good friend of mine. We had gone to school together from sixth grade right up until high school. It was only three years, but in those three short years we had made so many memorable times. He was sort of a quiet, sometimes shy, kind of guy. But when you got to know him, he really opened up and soon was the center of attention. He was one of the funniest people I knew. He was funny without trying to be, and that’s what made him hilarious. He was never in a bad mood and could easily turn your gloomy, bad day into a perfect one.

We had a great time with Cameron through junior high, but when high school rolled around he told us that he was moving to New Mexico because of his dad’s job. At first, when he told us we didn’t believe him because he always played practical jokes. This news wasn’t a joke though. Sooner than we knew it, we were saying goodbye to him as their car drove away. We were really going to miss him and his presence. We knew that the friends he made in Albuquerque were lucky because they would get to know a one of a kind guy.

It felt like something was missing when he left. We would often be about to play a sport outside and would say to each other, “Hey, let’s see if Cameron wants to play,” not remembering that he was gone. A couple of times we got all the way to his house and rang his doorbell only to have the face of the new people answer the door, not him. It was funny because we didn’t know what to do so we just ran back to Matt’s house laughing the whole way there, just as we would’ve if Cam were there with us.  We would reminisce about how much fun we had together with him and tell “remember when Cam…” stories such as the time we played Ultimate Frisbee out at Jones Island. We spent the whole day running through the cool, soft grass and sitting out on the beach and talking. We felt like little kids again with nothing to worry about. Memories like this kept him in our minds and were a good way to pass the time. It made us feel like he was there right next to us again. Just Cameron and us.

As high school began we kept in touch with Cameron in many ways. But the best way and our favorite way was through playing Halo 3 on Xbox Live. In a way it brought us back to when we were kids playing games outside and just talking and laughing, only we played Halo 3 and talked to each other through microphones. Matt, Cameron, and I would play at least once a day. We would tell him of life here and funny high school stories and he would tell us of life in New Mexico and his own funny high school stories. It was always good to hear his voice, but we wanted to see him.

When talking to Matt one day, while on summer break between sophomore and junior year, we had the best idea. We would have him come back up to Illinois to visit for a week or so and stay at Matt’s house.  We got the plans rolling and soon enough we were waiting to pick Cameron up at the airport.  We had a fantastic week and a half catching up, goofing around, playing ultimate Frisbee and just having fun like we always had. It was a good feeling to see a good friend that we hadn’t in such a long time.  The end of his time in Illinois came quickly and just as we had in the eighth grade, we were saying goodbye to him again as he boarded the plane back to New Mexico.

As we started our last two years in high school as juniors and then seniors, we began to lose touch with Cameron. We were very busy with school, our jobs, and our other activities. We would still play Halo as we had from time to time, but it was often hard to get the three of us to play together because of our different schedules. When we did play Cameron often talked about having us down to Albuquerque for a week so we could be with him. This, sadly, would not happen.

Matt and I were devastated when we heard what had happened. He was one of our best friends and now he had passed away before we could talk with him one last time. We both rushed to our parents with awful news.  We talked to them about trying and find a way, any way, to make it down to New Mexico for his funeral. We began looking for plane tickets and a place to stay. Everywhere we looked we couldn’t find a plane ticket that would get us there for Cameron in time. We were exhausted from the endless search for any ticket we could find. The next day Matt got a call from the principal of St. Pius X High School, Cameron’s school. She told him that she had heard that Cameron still had some very good friends here in Illinois and she and the school were willing to pay to fly four of us down to be with Cameron’s family and to attend his funeral. Both of our mouths dropped down to the floor. We teared up because of that expression of thoughtfulness and kindness. She told us also that we would not have to worry about finding a hotel or a place to stay either because she had talked to four of Cameron’s best friends in Albuquerque and arranged for each one of them and their families to have us stay with them for the couple nights we would be there. We broke out into tears. We couldn’t believe that people who we had never met before were all willing to do this for us. We could not have thanked her enough for her kindness.

Matt and I called our parents quickly to tell them what had happened. They were just as shocked as we were. We called the principal back soon after and she emailed us our plane tickets that minute. The next day Matt and I were on the plane along with our two good friends Greg and Stephan who also were good friends with Cameron. We got to Albuquerque Airport only to be greeted by a dozen of Cameron’s closet friends from New Mexico and St. Pius’ caring principal. We got into Cameron’s friends’ cars and just talked about Cameron and told stories. It was like we all knew each other even though we had never met before. We got to each of our houses that we would be staying at for the next couple days and met each of the families. After talking for a bit and expressing how thankful we were for them to do this for us we got settled in for some sleep. The next day we would be going with Cameron’s friends to their school for the day to meet more of his friends and see what school life was like for him.

Everyone at St. Pius was very interested in us and wanted to hear our stories about Cameron. It felt very home like, like we had known the students of St. Pius for a while. We had a good day with his friends touring the school, but then it was time to go to Cameron’s funeral services. As the time grew closer and closer it hit me harder and harder to believe that one of my best friends was no longer here. Cameron’s funeral was incredibly sad and terribly painful.  My friends and I, along with our new friends from New Mexico, said a difficult goodbye to our good friend Cameron.

We spent the next two days with Cameron’s friends walking around town and doing what they would normally do with him, while trying to comfort each other through funny stories and memories of Cameron. We all told “Remember when Cam…” stories just as we had when he moved from Illinois. It brought all of us closer. We were like a long lost family that never would have discovered each other if it wasn’t for Cameron. It’s funny because even when we were kids hanging out with Cameron he had a funny way of always bringing people together. Before we knew it we were driving back to the airport with all of our new friends from Albuquerque. Although we lost one of our best friends we made many friends through our trip that were going through the same thing as we were. These were friends that we could talk to and reminisce with about the great times with Cameron. We were sad to leave Cameron and sad to leave the people who had whole heartedly given everything to us those past couple days to make it possible to mourn the death of our good friend.

 

I love you and miss you Cameron!





Drinking

24 11 2008

imsis527-058

I think its something that is expected that you do when you go away to college. It may be one way to have a great time but there are many downsides as we all know. So much money is spent on alcohol in college. This money can be used on so many other useful things. Gas and food for example. Its something teens do even though its illegal. That it often left aside in place to have fun. There are many other ways to have fun. Go to the movies, workout, go swimming, snowboard or ski, play video games, watch tv, or even read a book. A night with alcohol often leads to long nights which means even longer mornings. Some college kids don’t wake up until 2,3,4 o’clock only to start drinking again in a few hours. I think that that is one bad way to spend a weekend over and over and over again. I would rather wake up early in the morning and go snowboarding. Thats what gets me away from drinking. There’s better things to do than drink!





I Just got a New Snowboard! My Opinion…

24 11 2008

84825

I just bought the 2009 Lib Tech Skate Banana snowboard. I really was in need of a new board because my old Ride Dh from 2 years ago really has been through hell and it was starting to get a little flimsy and dead. I loved the board, but was for a change. The Skate Banana that I bought was yellow and black diagonally striped 152cm one. I wasn’t so sure that I really enjoyed the color combo but once I got my bindings on it I really fell in love. However, the main reason I decided on that board was for a couple reasons. It had won Transworld Snowboarding Magazine’s Good Wood award for being an exceptional board 2 years in a row. This is because of a new technology called reverse camber that Lib Tech started and now many other top snowboard makers are jumping on the bandwagon because of the fantastic results they got. It basically shapes the board to be more of a “U” shape when viewed at eye level rather than the traditional “V” shape. they do this because it makes the board float better in powder, allows for easier spins and butters on and off rails and boxes, and gives the rider catch free riding; eliminating the possibility of catching an edge. When I took the Skate Banana for a test drive I really felt the difference. It was a more playful board because of the “rocker”. Also, it has Magne-Traction which eliminates the radial sidecut of traditional boards and replaces it with a waved sidecut. This is done to make the edge act like a serrated knife while carving. This gives a better edge hold on all surfaces including hard pack and ice. While riding it I purposely aimed at a little patch of ice and tried to wash out. The board wouldn’t allow me to do so! It was a great feeling. At the end of a day’s riding I really loved the board all around. It was really forgiving and buttery. My opinion…AWESOME!





Top 40 Songs to Shred To (no particular order)

23 11 2008

1. The Aquabats – Super Rad

2. Authority Zero – Sirens

3. The Beach Boys – Surfin’ Safari

4. The Beatles – Obladi, Oblada, Life Goes On

5. Beck – Girl

6. Bob Marley – Iron, Lion, Zion

7. Bone Thugs -N- Harmony – Wind Blow

8. The Cardigans – Erase/Rewind

9. Chromeo – Bonafied Lovin’

10. Collie Buddz – Come Around

11. The Cool Kids – Bassment Party

12. Coolio – Gangsta’s Paradise

13. David Bowie – Golden Years

14. The Doobie Brothers – Long Train Runnin’

15. Earth, Wind, and Fire – Let’s Groove

16. Elton John –  Crocodile Rock

17. The Gap Band – You Dropped a Bomb on Me

18. Geto Boys – G Code

19. Heart – Crazy on You

20. Inner Cricle – Tell Me

21. Lil’ Troy – Wanna Be a Balla

22. Lil’ Wayne – Boom

23. LMFAO – Get Crazy

24. LMFAO – Yes

25. LMFAO – Lil Hipster Girl

26. Masta Ace – Take a Walk

27. Paul Wall and Chamillionaire – True

28. Quad City DJ’s – Space Jam

29. Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs – Wooly Bully

30. Santogold – Shove it

31. Skee-lo – I Wish

32. Stevie Wonder – Superstition

33. Trick Daddy – I’m a Thug

34. UB40 – The Way You Do the Things You Do

35. Wiz Khalifa – Make it Hot

36. Wiz Khalifa – Say Yeah

37. Dion – Runaround Sue

38. Hilltop Hoods – Nosebleed Section

39. DJ Maj – Boogiroot

40. DL Incognito – Live in My Element