(The following is a sample scientific abstract –a research proposal regarding the study of keratin in armadillos.)
PROJECT TITLE: The Symptoms of Hypozincemia and Acrodermatitis Enteropathica in Dasypus novemcinctus
The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) is known for its overlapping epidermal scales made of keratin. Zinc deficiency (hypozincemia) as well as the acquired disorder Acrodermatitis Enteropathica are known to cause skin lesions and hair loss in humans, organs similarly made out of keratin. The relation between diets lacking in zinc and epidermal problems in humans has been well-documented–zinc deficiency is often manifested in skin and nail deformities–and issues involving malnutrition are at the core of these concerns. The problem I wish to address is the illusive nature of the development of hypozincemia in relation to diet, especially during the early stages of life. And the study of Acrodermatitis Enteropathica in Dasypus novemcinctus may provide extremely helpful as keratin is more readily developed early in that species. My hypothesis is that the early stages (and perhaps the root genetic causes) of developmental acrodermatitis enterpathica can be found in armadillos, in accordance to a zinc-deficient diet.
My methodology is to use three groups of 5 Dasypus novemcinctus specimens—one group with a zinc enriched diet, one group with a normal diet, and one group with a zinc-deficient diet–and monitor hyper- and hypo-zincemia in all three groups. Microscopic analysis of the cell structure of the samples should reveal the early stages of Acrodermatitus Enterpathica within a 5-week period. The genetic structure and metabolism of these specimens is to be closely monitored so as to reveal the earliest indications of this condition. The loss of keratin protein will be watched closely as to achieve this goal.
It is my understanding and contention that the earlier these symptoms are found, the easier it will be to find the root genetic causes of hypozincemic conditions. From there, they will be easier to treat in humans, should populations with zinc-deficient diets require assistance.
KEY WORDS: Hypozincemia, Acrodermatitis Enteropathica, Dasypus novemcinctus
© Dale Isip, 2012
(The following is a scientific abstract written for a study of the environmental impact of the development of the Chinese martial arts.)
PROJECT TITLE: The Environmental Impact on Northern and Southern Wushu Styles
A common classification for Wushu (Chinese martial arts) systems has been based on geographical location: Northern China and Southern China. It is believed that China’s geography has made the Northern systems similar to one another but different from the Southern systems. The problem I wish to address is whether the natural environments or places of development really influenced the systems in certain ways. My hypothesis is that the environment plays a crucial role in the nature of the styles, in their movements and their usage.
My methodology is to video record the routines at least two different systems in at least three different environments. I will attempt to view the beginning, intermediate, and advanced forms, as well as give practitioners leeway to change their movements to suit their environments. I will measure the frequency and nature of techniques and stances performed.
The direct effect of the environment on Wushu practice has not been, to my knowledge, explored as of yet. The study of the effects of the environment on Wushu systems may explain the effects of the environment on human movement. Human adaptability to the environment can be explored on martial/cultural terms and may even begin to explain biological adaptations.
KEY WORDS: Wushu, Beipai, Nanquan
© Dale Isip, 2005-2012
(The following is an excerpt from a research paper. It focuses on the Dress Code in the NBA during the past decade. It was written as a final paper for an anthropological course regarding the social construct of race.)
Knowledge and the Subject Dressed to Kill: The Codes Which We Must Live By
When created from perceptions of difference, power has the ability to naturalize and standardize an idea or ideology. Accepted “knowledge” may be used to legitimate such power. This may well be the case for power obtained through perceptions of material difference among humans. The perceptions of material differences are not rooted solely on the physical level. Perceptions of differences between “cultures” may shape material differences as well. As soon as “cultural differences” are defined, they are further naturalized by the physical world, and vice versa. It is in this fashion that bodies and material become intertwined with the sociocultural aspects of human life, thus reifying notions of “the material”. Once materials “inhabit” a place or culture, power is able to be used in a process of categorical subject-definition. I have found that the workings of this phenomenon are evident in American professional basketball. In this essay, I will attempt to prove the following: that “knowledge” creates a subject, which in turn creates identities and puts different values on persons, places, and things. Finally, the power derived from this “knowledge” can be used to achieve the naturalization and standardization of an idea or ideology.
On October 17th 2005, the National Basketball Association (NBA) introduced a “Player Dress Code” which would be initiated in the 2005-2006 season (nba.com/news, 10/17/05). This code included guidelines that defined the required attire for “[p]layers…engaged in team or league business”. Among the required attires presented in the Dress Code were the “Business Casual” style of dress and the “Exceptions to Business Casual” style. The “Business Casual” style was generally defined as a combination of a dress shirt, slacks, and shoes. The specifics of the “Business Casual” style were further defined in detail concerning required types of shirts, pants, and shoes. The exceptions to the “Business Casual” style included sports jackets, “neat [clean] warm-up suits”, and dress shoes. These exceptions were allowed for different situations in league business. Finally, the Dress Code listed the items “not allowed to [be worn] “at any time on team or league business”. These items included sleeveless shirts, shorts, other apparel that was not team-approved, chains, medallions, and pendants. Sunglasses, headphones and other headgear were allowed in certain cases.
The discriminating factors in choosing the “Business Casual” style of dress (as opposed to its exceptions) were the location and nature of business done in the league. For example, the Dress Code specified the required attire for “Players Who Are in Attendance at Games but not in Uniform” as well as for players leaving the hosting arena. Special events and other appearances allowed teams to make exceptions to the “Business Casual” policy. The NBA website, in addition to posting the October 17th news article presenting the Dress Code, included a list of “player reaction[s]” to the Code on October 19th. These reactions were 19 quotes from 18 players (one player was quoted twice). Many of these players were quite popular, and each player spoke either in agreement or disagreement to this policy (nba.com/news, 10/19/05).
Even more recently, there have been enforcements of the Dress Code on the basketball court concerning the specifics of athletic attire. On December 7th, Selena Roberts of The New York Times reported that there had been numerous fines given to players whose shorts went below the kneecap during a game. The fines were as large as $10,000 and were enforced twice as much as during the 2004-05 season. NBA Commissioner David Stern and official NBA disciplinarian Stu Jackson vigorously enforced the “’shorts code’” during this season, although it had been in the NBA rules for many years. Jackson stated that observers, videotapes, and photographs were used for providing evidence for the fines. He also said that “’Our ability to scrutinize is more extensive than ever before’” (qtd. in Roberts, D1).
Also mentioned in the December 7th article were the motives for the stricter enforcements of the Codes. The NBA intended to “satisfy ticket-holders who are uncomfortable with a league they cannot relate to” (Roberts, D1). Certain clothing items and styles–such as baggy jeans, jewelry, and long shorts—apparently isolated suburban fans and signaled a “code for hip-hop to red-state ears” (D1). Other related motives to produce uniformity in the NBA could have been lodged in concern of player behavior and the NBA image. A November 19th, 2004 ESPN news article described the events of an Indiana Pacers/Detroit Pistons game in which league players got into a fistfight with each other and people in the stands (sports.espn.go.com/nba, 11/19/04). The article also carried quotes voicing regret, embarrassment, and disappointment from coaches Larry Brown and Rick Carlisle. NBA Commissioner David Stern’s authority was speculated to have been “cast into doubt” because of this incident (Roberts, D3).
From the events previously described, one can begin to prove that “knowledge” creates a subject. It is necessary to review the work of Michel Foucault, specifically in his The History of Sexuality, Volume 1. Here, the beginnings and workings of sexual discourse are called into question. For example, Foucault discusses sexualities that have been “normalized” and those that haven’t; the former utilized in order “to perpetuate the form of social relations” (Foucault, 27), while the latter contributed to the formation of power dynamics (44). Pleasure could be obtained from escaping the penalties imposed on deviation from patterns of normative behavior. Also those in power could experience pleasure from monitoring deviant behavior. This was the pleasure of one who “questions, monitors, watches, spies, searches out, palpitates [and] brings to light” deviant behaviors (45). This is much like Stu Jackson’s exclamation that the NBA’s ability to monitor players’ clothing was “greater than ever before”…..
Works Cited (in order of appearance)
1. Internet source:
2. Internet source:
3. Roberts, Selena. “N.B.A. Dress Code Confuses the Long And the Short of It.” The New York Times 7 December 2005: D1+.
4. Internet source:
5. Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality Volume 1: An Introduction. New York: Random House, Inc., 1978.
© Dale Isip, 2005-2012