Another Nifty College/Career Idea

As interesting (and awesome) certain areas of biology can get, few jobs directly requiring a bachelor’s in biology are appealing.  I don’t imagine myself in a white lab coat or in environmental work.  It just isn’t “me.”

And that is true for many majors.  Thank God, however, I am quite a good writer.  If I ever feel a good use for my writing as a career, I will likely get a minor as well.  And if so, I would perhaps accompany my biology major with, yes, a physics minor.

Wait, physics?  Everything that is in the physical world is governed by physical laws.  But you may still be wondering why that could be useful.

So, where does writing come into play?  Well, my dream is to write different materials; whether books, articles, a website, or even blog posts like this; concerning how nature has preceded our best scientific and technological feats (wait, is it our feat, or other creatures’?)

Remember, however, as we all work without necessarily achieving great status (click here, also check Eccl 2:17-26), don’t expect a comprehensive work covering every life form out there!  I’ll  just take it one written piece at a time.

So, if this is appropriate, wish me God’s blessings, both in work and the necessary study prior to then.

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Glorifying God in All Fields of Work

Before I discuss this question, I must admit at a church I attended in the summer of 2015 had an incredible (and indelible) sermon series.  It was right on target for my career situation, both then and now.

Overall, it discussed the truth of work and keeping away from having too ambitious of an attitude toward it.  In other words, if someone wishes to “change the world,” a hope for such a breakthrough is totally in God’s hands.  Thus, the likelihood of such a change tends to be slim.  So, we must think in terms of “baby steps,” no matter what our careers entail.

The bottom line is whatever you do, you should do it to God’s glory, and with the spirit of Christian love.  This applies to all careers, from truck drivers to doctors.  (This does not mean you should deal strictly with Christians, because, likewise, their salvation is personal.)

Fast forward 2 years for the meat and potatoes.  While I am (and have been) a Biology major hopeful, I recently thought there was no jobs that fit the bill.  Well, things have changed, and things are looking brighter.

That radical change of heart concerned the various positions of cell and molecular biology, the dominant field today.  Previously, I was cynical toward that, since I thought such research was an excuse to prolong life as well as to eradicate certain diseases, and hence make the world more “worldly.”  (Of course, on earth, just because we cure everything that exists doesn’t make death any less inevitable.)

But the good side of such scientific progress is that 1) extension of the average life expectancy gives time more for better Gospel reception 2) it won’t make anything more “sacred” to target the “worldliness” mentioned above; of course, this earth is worldly by definition, and people may or may not receive the Gospel (this depends on God’s will) 3)  Over the past few centuries we have made great strides, so why stop them now?  Such serious diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are apparently far more formidable than such ailments like polio, measles, etc., which can be addressed by certain vaccines and similar barriers.  Not to mention, all this is done for the good of people like me and you, as Phil 2:3, 4 advocates, whether as a true biologist, a biology technician, or similar occupation.

So, should I pursue such a career?  Well, in any case, the Bible is the central source of wisdom for Christians, and that is my guide.  Prayer is welcome as well, from wherever your neck of the woods may be.

No matter what your job is, as long as it is done to God’s glory, renders work as worship.  AMEN

Improving Inner-Cities: What You Can Do and What You Can’t

Ok, we shall take this title in reverse.

We will first discuss what must be accepted in inner-city neighborhoods.  One person said that trees keep neighborhoods out of “the ghetto.”  But trees are not an absolute concern to the quality of a urban block, and I will prove this with some botany.

Remember, the diameter of tree trunk depends on its age.  Wood, properly, is solely the xylem of the plant, the central structure which is dead at maturity. Xylem is responsible for transpiration, the gravity-defying, gradient-based water transport from the roots and into the air. The rest of the trunk, that is, its peripheral structure, is collectively called the bark, which includes the phloem (which carries sugars, etc.) and the dead external cork.

In a tree trunk, a tissue called the cambium divides cells both ways, phloem to the outside and xylem towards the center. This is secondary growth, a horizontal process which generates tree trunks, as opposed to primary growth, which is vertical.

Much more xylem is produced than phloem.  Now here it gets interesting. In spring and early summer, secondary xylem cells have a wide diameter, thanks to water from the recent snow melt and the minerals it contains. However, as it continues to absorb minerals and water, they are depleted, and much water is lost throughout the summer. Also, come fall, the days progressively shorten and temperatures drop. Therefore, cells are much narrower in the radial (i.e., toward the center) dimension when generated later in the season.  No growth occurs in winter, and thus the tree acquires a new growth ring.

tree-cross-section
Tree cross-section.  (Koning)

Since some older houses were built in a environment without trees, it is not always a matter of the presence or absence of such, but the actual condition of the homes play a role as well.  Of course, I am not saying that trees are not a beautiful addition to a block.  They sure are!  But it would not be practical to add trees when non-existent.  In fact, another beauty can fill in:  an open and sunny look that trees would intercept.

If houses are run-down, unless they are totally uninhabitable (thus doomed to demolition), they should be repaired, both inside and out.  This includes things such as painting chipped structures, pointing bricks, and other tasks.

So whether choosing houses or fixing them up, as for the trees on the block, just take it or leave it.

Koning, Ross E. 1994. Secondary Growth. Plant Physiology Information Website.
http://plantphys.info/plant_biology/secondary.shtml. (3-4-2017).