The Spectator

Editorial: The Reality of Gattaca

Alyssa Brandt, Author

May 13, 2015

The world of biology is fulfilling a long-time fantasy of splicing and dicing DNA sequences at will. After the moderately recent discovery of the CRIPSR/Cas system, a combination of a DNA-cleaving protein (Cas proteins) and RNA, geneticists are just scratching the surface of what this amazing system can do. By customizing the RNA sequences used by the...

nicole SCHLAEPPI  •  The Spectator

Neon Taco Outshines Other Hill Munchies

February 25, 2015

When it’s a Friday night and you’re a couple margaritas deep, there’s nothing better than some authentic Mexican street...

Nicole Schlaeppi •  The Spectator

To Swipe or not to Swipe? Making Connections in an Over-connected Age

February 19, 2015

Alright, I’ll admit it. I use Tinder and OkCupid. There, I’ve said it. A stigma seems to surround the use of dating apps,...

Gender Bias Seeps Into Prof Evals

Alyssa Brandt, Author

February 19, 2015

“This professor is competent, nurturing, and really cares for students. They always welcome questions and are mindful of how students are doing in the coursework.” What gender comes to mind when you read this review? If it was female, you’re not alone. Language surrounding gender is complicated and reflects something important about the...

Is Japan’s new, super-efficient indoor farming facility as awesome as we think it is?

Alyssa Brandt, Author

January 16, 2015

Urban farming is taken to another level with new completely indoor farms emerging across the globe. In Japan, a gigantic (currently the world’s largest) indoor farm has been shown to "use 99% less water, 40% less power and creates 80% less food waste” (1). The farm is the brainchild of Shigeru Shimamura and GE as a response to the recent Toh...

Trans Rights Now

Alyssa Brandt, Author

January 14, 2015

Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year-old transgender girl, committed suicide on Dec. 28, 2014. She posted a passionate and articulate suicide note on her Tumblr pleading for society to make her death mean something. She spoke of her need for acceptance, her parents’ lack of empathy and failed conversion therapy, the importance of being able to have a support...

Editorial: Supporting Life Means Giving Women a Choice

Alyssa Brandt, Author

October 30, 2014

Student mothers. Pregnant co-eds. Imagine going through school while a tiny human develops in your uterus. Feminists for Life, an organization which aims to provide resources that serve as an alternative to terminating pregnancies to women, has been working to educate and enable schools to give extra support to student mothers. Their central...

Oh My Science: The World is Actually Very Tiny

Alyssa Brandt, Author

October 22, 2014

I got a microscope as an early Christmas present from my parents, and went a little crazy. Here are some of the latest images I've captured. From top to bottom: Leaf of a common house plant in my house | Spores from some mold in my refrigerator | Mycelia and spores from the same mold | Artistically arranged tomato skin | Sweetened CHEX cereal | Sugar crystals | A page out of Marie Claire ma...

Oh My Science: Doctor Robot

October 9, 2014

Let’s face it: human labor is becoming obsolete. Compared to a slow, inefficient, expensive humans, the fast, effective, highly...

Oh My Science: The Story Behind Springtime Sniffles

Alyssa Brandt, Author

May 26, 2014

With spring comes craptons of sniffly noses and weepy eyes. Not because of sadness (generally?) but because of those darn pesky pieces of plant and animal floating around everywhere and getting themselves stuck up people’s noses and airways. Allergies. Ugh. Alyssa Brandt • The SpectatorHow the immune system gets all hyped up over pathogens as illustrated by blobs. An alle...

Oh My Science: “Baby’s First Neurology Conference”

Alyssa Brandt, Author

May 6, 2014

I went to my first big-time conference this week: the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting. How was it? Kind of a tiny bit terrifying at first, but really fun and surprisingly laid back. The meeting took place in the conference center in Philadelphia; it’s a big, pretty center with more rooms than I could count, gigantic exhibition...

Peer Review and the Continuous Search for Good Science

Alyssa Brandt, Author

May 2, 2014

People like to look at other people’s stuff. Some people don’t like to look at other people’s stuff, but have to for the greater good. In science, people look at other people’s papers and judge them for the good of science. Not just in a judgemental “why-the-hell-would-you-look-into-that” way, but in a way that lets someone know if the science...

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