Happy Birthday to BIO230

Happy Birthday BIO230

At the conclusion of testing, there will be cake

Another year, another 150 or so posts up there on the Internet. I started this project 4 years ago today, with the cryptic posting “Added something to Blackboard,” and found that I liked writing on a regular basis. As the Word Cloud over there on the right might indicate, I am fascinated by the incredible variety of microbial life, and the role that microbes play in health, in disease, and in society at large.  By and large, the vast majority of people who read this are the BIO230 students I see every day, however there is a small but dependable number who visit via links on Twitter and Facebook who have no ties to York College. There are some occasional visitors from various Internet search engines hoping to find help with an assignment no doubt, but this primarily always has been an opportunity for me to help the class extend beyond the classroom.

As all students can likely tell, I can get very excited about Microbiology, and once in a while I go a bit off topic. Things here on the BIO230 blog are a bit more methodical, however I do occasionally enjoy going off on a rant here too. So in that spirit, I hereby declare a “Lightning Bonus” which will be good through 5 PM Friday October 24th. What do you have to do? Go visit these gems from the past, and comment below on this posting about any that might speak to you too. Here are your choices:

An episode of House that pissed me off

An indirect argument I had with a colleague

My attempt to influence the 2011 elections

Evil science, carried out by American scientists

Some just plain bogus science (the recursive offer of 100 bonus points has not been claimed yet)

The state of science funding at present

This one doesn’t count for bonus, but students from last spring didn’t follow directions in this week’s lab



About ycpmicro

My name is David Singleton, and I am an Associate Professor of Microbiology at York College of Pennsylvania. My main course is BIO230, a course taken by allied-health students at YCP. Views on this site are my own.

Posted on October 23, 2014, in Bonus!, Meta. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Brittany Reichelt

    The post of “My attempt to influence the 2011 elections” really made me think. In todays age, everyone is so quick to say vaccines and medicines are the cause of my child’s problems. Yet they do not look at the benefits from becoming vaccinate, they only see the risks and they tend to exaggerate them. It really annoys me when people do not look at the true statistics, like the candidates. People are voting for these people to help lead our country, yet they are spitting off untrue facts and opinions.
    Another post above that caught my attention is “The state of science funding at present.” I used to work for NIH in a biological research laboratory. I have seen first hand the issues with funding in the lab I worked in and how it affects the research that is done. Everyone wants quick answers, quick vaccines and medicines, but they are quick to blame the researchers and how they get to the end result. It concerns me because researchers around me were getting burnt out, always working on receiving more funding and tailoring their projects, so they could get funding from the government.

  2. Brittany Reichelt

    I also saw the post about the “some just plain bogus science. What attracted was not the comment about bonus points, but about the research project. I am very interested in research, I worked in a biological lab before college. I am wondering if Nursing students are allowed to do an independent research study or is it only biology majors? If nursing majors can, I am very interested in setting up a research project along the lines of the project above. I hope that this is attainable.

    • I have had students work on projects from outside Biology before. One former Nursing student didn’t like the options for his WRT202 research paper, so he worked on a project in the lab, collected data, then wrote up that project as part of his Writing course.

      I am currently working on a collaborative project with Prof. Warner over in the Nursing department, looking at the microbial flora of YCP students during Clinicals, and would be happy to have some assistance with that project.

  3. Of course as a fan of House, “An episode of House that pissed me off” sparked my interest. Having seen this episode a couple years ago myself, this article brought back some old uneducated emotions. Prior to having the knowledge of virus characteristics that I do now, I did not question the likelihood and ability of small pox or Rickettsial pox to survive a length two hundred years in a jar. This jar with no host for the enveloped virus to fuse to, would allow for no reproduction of the virus throughout its time within the jar. With enveloped viruses being the most susceptible to sterilization techniques, the fear of small pox from a two century year old jar is not quite as frightening as it once seemed. Even the concluded disease of Rickettsial pox provides minimal threat and the ability to endure long and harsh conditions is poor.
    It is an unfortunate reality that television shows and information readily thrown at us are so easily believed without further investigation. Guilty of watching House, Grey’s Anatomy and the assortment of medical dramas, I have been convinced of absurd concepts that do not follow with factual research. While I am not immune to the random and dramatized conditions in medical shows, I now have a better basic understanding of biology that makes me question much more of what I hear.
    While Wilson would have made for a much different point of view, something about House’s arrogance and unique intelligence is irreplaceable.

  4. After reading “Evil science, carried out by American scientists,” I remembered talking about the Tuskegee Syphilis Study in lecture during the Syphilis case study. I find it extremely horrific that doctors chose to withhold treatment from patients just to experiment with Penicillin. The whole reason why people should become doctors and nurses is to help people, not continue to let them suffer in order to further science. Even more sad is the fact that this study went on for 40 years. I question why anyone did not find fault in this study long before then. As a future nurse who will be faced with ethical dilemmas on a regular basis, it is crucial to remember compassion when caring for patients, which is something these researchers did not have.

  5. I have done several papers on the supposed association between autism and vaccines. The level of human stupidity never ceases to amaze me. When I first heard about the autism-vaccine issue in high school, I just wanted to slap people for their ignorance. It especially annoys me when people with influence abuse their power and say stupid things that they really know nothing about. Even if vaccines were half as bad as all of the claims that are made about them, the benefits of vaccination would still outweigh the risks.

  6. I always enjoy the incorporation of science and medicine into TV shows. It is often times my goal to evaluate the accuracy of the information presented and portrayed. My favorite hospital show is Grey’s Anatomy, but I enjoy the occasional House episode as well. I have grown to know the characters on the show very well and if I had to choose one word to describe House, I would be stubborn. He does not give much attention to what others say and it is often his opinion that reigns supreme. Due to this it did not surprise me to hear that he broke quarantine to access the patient. Whatever he deems necessary is allowed to be done. With the smallpox virus normally dispersed from host to host, it is difficult to believe that the virus got caught up in the bottle and preserved for all those years, considering storage conditions also varied often. This quick diagnosis of smallpox was considered very rashly and with a little background knowledge, it is possible to rule out Smallpox as a diagnosis. I understand the exaggeration to keep the show interesting, but perhaps a more reasonable thought process might be more appreciated.

  7. My interest in the medical field isn’t just centered around my studies to become a nurse, but I also feed my interest by the very occasional episode of House, Grey’s Anatomy, and even Untold Stories of the ER. So naturally I was drawn to the article pertaining to “A Pox on our House”. I do remember seeing this episode, and thinking nothing of the case because I had no knowledge of the specifics of a virus. Now however, with the knowledge of enveloped viruses and their ability/inability, to survive and reproduce out of a host, such as being in a jar for 200 years. With the background knowledge on Rickettsialpox it seems just as far fetched of a diagnosis, as it would be to expect a virus thrive in a jar for hundreds of years without a host. I once watched these shows to see what I thought I would be doing in the future as a nurse, it is now fun to laugh at the fact that I once, and many others think these shows depict the real emotions and facts that are present in hospitals and medical establishments. Now watching shows such as House, I find myself picking up on small pieces of information that I now know to be wrong due to my time here at York in the nursing program. I am eager to go back and re-watch this episode to see how many false claims and assumptions I can pick up on.

  8. When I saw the option of “An episode of House that pissed me off” it caused me to have a flashback to high school. This flashback was of a time I happened to be watching a marathon of House M.D. with my friend and her mother, who happens to be a nurse at Hershey Med. Why this insignificant time stuck with me was that with each episode, my friend’s mom was able to correctly diagnose the “patients” about half an episode before House and his team. At the time, I thought it was amazing, and so with this in mind I chose this particular post. Upon reading the post, first of all, it reminded me how ridiculous some of the show could be, but I was also immediately struck with doubt by the possibility of a girl getting smallpox from a 200 year old jar. From what I’ve already learned in micro, so many factors of this story don’t line up, and as a nursing student, I feel I would be more inclined to think the girl getting sick after the jar breaking in her hands was more likely a coincidence, than linked events. What I used to think was amazing in my friends mom, I now think more portrays the triviality and embellishment of a show catering to viewers with no medical background.

%d bloggers like this: