My hair when I was in college.
I love to study genetics. Okay, I love it to a point. It can be hard to follow all the single nucleotide polymorphisms on such and such gene, leading to a certain particular allele. But when I take the time to understand it, I’m amazed at how complex and unique God made our bodies.
As I age, I become more interested in the genetics of hair because my hair has gone through some changes in my lifetime. I was born with slightly wavy hair (my mom had wavy hair and my dad had curly hair) that went mostly straight in my adult years. But things changed when I got pregnant with my first child. My hair went curly and I had no idea how to handle it. It became a big, dry mass of hair, somewhat similar to a bee hive.
My hair now.
For years I worked with it and finally got control of it. I came to love my curls. Now that I’m done with having kids (for 7 years now) my hair has started to relax a little. It’s returning to its original wavy state and it makes me sad, but it has also made me delve into the genetics of curly hair.
Did you know curly hair is dominant? I think most people are surprised to hear that because it seems like more people have straight hair (45% of Caucasians). But this is in part based on what we define as curly.
True curly hair has both copies of the dominant gene for curly hair (C), or in genetic terms CC, and comprises only 15% of the Caucasian population. The 45% of people who have straight hair have two recessive copies of the straight gene, in genetic terms ss. The other 40% of Caucasians have wavy hair, genetically shown as Cs, because hair type is an example of incomplete dominance. Incomplete dominance means that when individuals have a dominant gene and a recessive gene, their hair type will not be expressed by only the dominant gene, but instead will be a mixture of the two.
If we include wavy haired people in our assessment of curly haired people, both segments add up to 55% and it’s easy to see how the gene for curly hair is dominant.
In 2009, scientists discovered the gene they believe is responsible for curly hair—trichohyalin. You won’t remember that (and neither will I), but every time you style your hair, think of how many complicated sets of genes are at work in you right now. God designed you Himself, even down to the multitude of hairs on your head.
I wouldn’t be able to say it any better than the way singer and song writer, Jonny Diaz, put it in his song More Beautiful You:
And you were made with such care, your skin, your body and your hair
Are perfect just the way they are
There could never be a more beautiful you
Don’t buy the lies, disguises and hoops, they make you jump through
You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
So there could never be a more beautiful you
References: http://www.gbhealthwatch.com/Trait-Hair-Curl.php, http://genetics.thetech.org/ask/ask45, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/6751910/Curly-hair-gene-discovered-by-scientists.html, http://phys.org/news/2009-11-gene-curly-hair.html
Photo Credit: First photo: I have no idea, probably my dad. Second photo by Kinsey Christin.
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditated on your precepts and consider you ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.
When my youngest daughter was three, we prayed together before she went to preschool. I would do most of the praying and usually I prayed for strength (if you’ve ever had young kids you know why), but this day I prayed for peace and joy. I laughed when my daughter promptly asked me, “Mom, why are you praying for me to have pee?”
It can be the same way with us if we aren’t careful. Satan’s most effective tool is to take the truth and twist it just a little. When you twist the truth, even just a little, it becomes a lie.
How can we recognize the lies? Only by knowing the truth.
Where do we find the truth? You guessed it—in the Bible.
Don’t let others tell you what it says. Maybe they’re wrong. Find out for yourself.
Even if you don’t like to read, even if you don’t like to study, even if you have better things to do, we must be students of the word—no excuses.
Because otherwise we might end up trading peace for pee.
Dear Father, thank you that all we need to recognize the truth is to read the word You have given us. Why would we forsake the truth because we’re too busy to study? Help us with our priorities, give us a hunger for Your word and bless us with the peace that comes from knowing You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
What makes us introverted or extroverted? Neurologists and psychologists alike have studied this question for decades. Is it in our brains? Our genes? Our upbringing? How did God make our personalities so different and why?
Known as social butterflies, extroverts are recharged by social interaction, while introverts are known for needing time alone to recharge. It’s a matter of what energizes you.
Theories abound as to how this part of your personality is expressed in your brain. But recent research has started to generate some answers. A study in 2005 by Michael Cohen of the University of Amsterdam tested subject’s reaction to gambling while they were in a brain scanner. He discovered that extroverts showed a stronger response in the part of their brain responsible for processing emotional stimuli and the part that generates rewards (the dopamine system). Those same subjects also had a gene known to increase dopamine in the brain.
So, extroverts could really be responding to an increased level of dopamine that floods their brain during higher-risk activities, which could include socially high-risk things such as attending parties and socializing with crowds. Whereas, the dopamine system (reward system) in the introverted brain is just not as responsive. Without the reward of dopamine, interacting in those ways loses its appeal for the introvert.
Of course, more studies need to be done to confirm this theory, but it does seem to make sense of the large amount of psychological data that says extroverts rate themselves as happier throughout their lifetime when compared to introverts. Please hear me on this, these results don’t mean that extroverts are actually happier. There may be other reasons they report higher happiness levels. Perhaps extroverts are more willing to be disclose their emotions in a survey or they may define happiness in a different way than introverts.
I’ve discovered I have become more introverted the older I get. Is this true for everyone else? (I’d love to know your answer in the comments section). Experts agree that as we mature into our personalities, they can change, but there doesn’t seem to be an agreement as to which direction that occurs—toward extroversion or toward introversion.
One thing seems clear—our genes in part determine our personality—so God must have designed it that way. How could we say one personality trait is better than another? I believe He enjoys our diversity of personality. We are all made in God’s image and our personalities reflect parts of Him.
References: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/will-the-real-introverts-please-stand-up/, http://io9.com/the-science-behind-extroversion-and-introversion-1282059791, http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130717-what-makes-someone-an-extrovert, http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304279904579515702293041712
Photo Credit: ID 38166678 © Stuart Miles | Dreamstime.com
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.
I tend to be a strong-willed person who has trouble with submission, but the Bible is clear that we are to submit to God in a slave-like manner. So I started reading a book called Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ by John MacArthur. The book makes the point that we are already slaves to sin and our only freedom from sin comes with choosing to be a slave to Christ. As the book states:
“The choice with which people are faced is not ‘Should I retain my freedom or give it up to submit to God?’ but rather ‘Should I serve sin or should I serve God?’”
I mistakenly think I am giving up my freedom to be a slave to Christ, but I have it all backward. I don’t have true freedom until I become Christ’s slave.
What about you? Are you trying to hold onto your freedom when really all you are is a slave to sin?
Dear Lord, thank you for releasing us from bondage to sin. Help us to clearly see that our freedom is found in serving You, instead of our sinful nature. In Jesus’ name, amen.
I learned recently on The Weather Channel that people can change the weather (cue evil villain laughter). No, it’s not what you’re thinking. It refers to a phenomenon called the Urban Heat Island effect and it occurs, you guessed it, in urban settings.
Where people have laid down tons and tons of concrete, it’s not surprising to see some environmental effects, but change the weather? Really?
Absolutely. All that non-reflective concrete absorbs the sun’s radiation and reflects it as heat, whereas, a grassy meadow or forested land will absorb the radiation without reflecting it. In urban areas, this causes a bubble of heat (hence the name Urban Heat Island) right over the city. The temperature in outlying areas can be as much as 15 degrees Fahrenheit cooler, especially at night when all the heat soaked up by the concrete during the day is still radiating out.
But the heat isn’t the only weather change caused by urbanization. Areas downwind of cities can see twice as much rain as the city itself. This happens because the air in the city is warmer and can therefore hold more moisture, plus more pollutants from the city cause more nuclei within the air for moisture to condense around. When this warm air moves out and hits the cooler air downwind, it increases the relative humidity of the cloud, also increasing its ability to produce precipitation. I may have lived in Iowa too long, but the first thing I thought of is that I hope some smart farmers out there have taken advantage of this effect by planting crops downwind to capitalize on the rainfall.
Since half the world’s population live in large cities, the Urban Heat Island effect can be a serious thing. Heat kills more people than any other weather related event. But some cities are taking steps to reduce the effect by putting in more parks, special roofs that won’t absorb the sun, and even putting parks on the roofs.
Should more cities be taking steps to reduce the Urban Heat Island effect? I lean that direction because I think God gave us this planet and we have responsibility to care for it. But many people think this isn’t a big deal. What do you think?
References: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-sXHl3l-rM, http://www.urbanheatislands.com/, http://www.theweatherprediction.com/weatherpapers/008/index.html
Photo Credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/29941355@N04/4303224783″>Denver Skyline at Blue Hour</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>