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Ashley CoxRSS Feed of this column.

I'm an undergrad in chemistry on my way to getting a Ph.D.

I have many different interests including genetics, fire fighting, rock climbing, marine biology and literature. I'm also

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I have a secret; as much as I enjoy reading about the latest advancements in biology and physics, I sometimes like reading about the darker side of experimentation.

Most scientists have a fundamental basis for experimentation and results but then there were (and are - we'll get to them in future installments) others who ran with their own rules and avoided opposition by keeping the results mostly secret. These are the people I am referring to as 'Mad Scientists' rather than using the more colloquial 'crazy' meaning of the term.

We all know most doctors are around to help patients, for example, but those who perform their own twisted experimentation make this list. Some will be more controversial (you may not think they are mad at all) but they made my list of "World's Maddest Scientists" and we can discuss it. (dun dun dun...)

Mad Scientist.... (see, he's CRAZY!)

Chances are that if you've even stepped near a health foods store in the past few months, you've heard tales of an amazing imported fruit claimed to be one of the greatest super-foods of our time; the Brazilian Acai/Açaí (ah-sigh-ee) berry. Rich in antioxidants and packed full of health benefits, the tiny berry sparked an obsession in the health food world, even without significant laboratory testing.

acai berry
In the day to day hustle of our busy lives full of research, formulae, vats of coffee, etc. we often forget to think about those who walked this road before us and created many of the techniques we use. Without their contributions, it's difficult to imagine where we would be. With that said, here's my way of giving thanks and showing appreciation to all those who came before us in the field of science and to help inspire other people out there trying to do great things now; famous words from famous scientists. 

"We are the most dangerous species of life on the planet, and every other species, even the earth itself, has cause to fear our power to exterminate."


At least that's how Wallace Stegner, American novelist and environmentalist, puts it. And it certainly seems to be the word on the street in a lot of other places these days. Humans are at fault for everything under the sun - figuratively and maybe literally.  I don't disagree we can do better but, for the sake of humanity, someone needs to stick up for us.

Humans are the only species in 4.8 Billion years of planetary existence that has completely gone against the basic theory of evolution. Instead of adapting to our surroundings, we've made the environment adapt to us.

We like to think of ourselves as simple beings, living day by day doing what we believe is right, but when we finally take a moment to reflect, we still pursue higher issues like why are we here?

Of course, I can't answer that question, but it gives us a way to think about the real impact we've come to have. We are leaving a significant imprint by our behavior in the present and, I don't know about you, but I personally don't want the entire human race of the early 21st century to be looked down upon for the few mistakes we have made.

Let's begin at the beginning; wayyy back to the age of the Dinosaur.

Remember that old expression about your fence, "the grass is always greener on the other side?" Although this may not be entirely true, a recent study shows that a daily dose of the green stuff may actually prove beneficial to both your mental and physical health. 

Students attending college in San Marcos, Texas are taking advantage of their luscious green surroundings and are feeling quite good about it.

A.L. McFarland, a graduate student at Texas State University's Department of Agriculture, is head of a new "green" study which created data on the effects of outdoor interaction on a student's overall quality of life.

Scientists from Britain's University of York have discovered what they're calling a 'Chemical Equator' that separates the Southern and Northern Hemispheres. This band, which lies in the Western Pacific, is estimated to be 50 km wide and acts as a divider, keeping the pollutants of the northern hemisphere from contaminating that of the hemisphere below.