Blogging My Biology Class 20080827

Biology, Eighth Edition, by Campbell & Reece, et al.

Biology, Eighth Edition, by Campbell & Reece, et al.

My notes and thoughts from Biology 111, for Wednesday, August 27, 2008. The entire series can be found here.

Wednesday’s lecture began with a review of atomic structure, including a reminder that our e * diagrams are 2D representations of 3D space.

Then we moved on to some more basic chemistry.

We focused mostly on electrons, and will continue to, as electrons are what determines reactivity of an atom, and reactivity is what’s really vital to biology.

e orbits are called e shells or energy levels. Each e orbital can hold up to 2 e.

The first energy level has one orbital, because it’s so small, and electrons, having all the same negative electrical charge, repel each other.

The second and third energy levels each contain 4 orbitals, each energy level then is capable of holding 8 e (2 e in each orbital).

Then doc talked about how electrons fill from the innermost energy level, out.

(Continued below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

Abstinence Only: Reality Denial is an Epic Failure

I am not amused by your pseudo-science.

I am not amused by your pseudo-science.

Cory Silverberg, coauthor of the book I recently reviewed for Sex In The Public Square, The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability, offered up a link to A Portrait of Sexuality Education and Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs in the States at the Sexuality Education and Information Council of the United States on Friday, a week ago.

As Abstinence Only Sex Mis-education goes hand in hand with Creationism and other anti-science propaganda, I set aside some time to read through the report. These issues concern me as a parent, and as a person striving to see that the leaders of tomorrow’s world are not handicapped by pseudo-scientific faith-based nonsense.

Because faith, by its very definition, is based on blind obedience to authority, it is the antithesis of science, which is based on reality and evidence. Authority, whether in the form of a dusty anthology of ancient superstition, a charismatic person of great influence, or an invisible zombie in the sky, need not apply. When science and faith collide, science will always provide the better description of reality, and like it or not, we live in the real world. We need accurate portrayals of reality to make intelligent, informed decisions regarding the health and future of the world’s children.

The good, the bad, and the ugly, lie below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

Blogging My Biology Class 20080825 The Termite Lab

Biology, Eighth Edition, by Campbell & Reece, et al.

Biology, Eighth Edition, by Campbell & Reece, et al.

My notes and thoughts from Biology 111, for Monday, August 25, 2008. The entire series can be found here.

Lab on Monday was another really fascinating demonstration of the Scientific Method. We even got to play with real live bugs – termites, to be specific. The college keeps a colony of them, which is just cool in and of itself.

So the lab opened with Doc having us split into groups of three and four again, and then handed out a blank sheet of white paper to each group, along with a red ball-point pen and a small paint brush. Each group was instructed to make a circle on the paper using the red pen.

Then the fun part started.

Doc walked around to each group with a little tupperware container, beginning with our group. When she saw what he had in the tupperware, my female lab parter immediately got a little squicked out. Termites!

Just seeing her squirm was worth the price of admission, but by the end of the lab she was fine, as long as she didn’t have to touch them with her hand. Fortunately for her, that’s what the paintbrush was for. Once the termite was on the paper, the paintbrush was for wrangling the termite without squishing him. All we had to do was make sure he didn’t wander off the paper.

So I had the paintbrush, because Squicky Britches was still icking out, and all of a sudden, something totally unexpected happened.

(Continued below the fold.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Spanish Characters

Just need to keep these handy, so I don’t have to keep looking them up on the web. Feel free to ignore.

Alt Codes for typing Spanish characters:

Capitals
Á ALT+0193
É ALT+0201
Í ALT+0205
Ó ALT+0211
Ú ALT+0218
Ñ ALT+0209
Ü ALT+0220

Lowercase
á ALT+0225
é ALT+0233
í ALT+0237
ó ALT+0243
ú ALT+0250
ñ ALT+0241
ü ALT+0252

Punctuation
¿ ALT+0191
¡ ALT+0161
« ALT+0171 (Left Angle Quote)
» ALT+0187 (Right Angle Quote)
ALT+0128

Tangled Bank #112 Is Online

Tangled BankFor those of you not familiar, the Tangled Bank is a bi-weekly blog carnival. Every couple of weeks, bloggers submit posts about the life sciences to the carnival, and one blogger puts them all in one place round-robin style. The carnival was named after Charles Darwin’s eloquent description of life around us, and how it came to be the way it is.

It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life and from use and disuse: a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms.

—Charles Darwin

Hosting the 112th edition of the Tangled Bank is Monado, over at Science Notes.

My third post in the Blogging My Biology Class series was included this time around. It’s my first time in the carnival. I think it’d be fun to host Tangled Bank, so once I get enough of a handle on college that it’s not eating up my every waking moment, I think I’ll drop my name in the hat.

If you’d like to know more about Tangled Bank, if you have a good post related to biology, medicine, or natural history, or if you’d be interested in hosting an edition on your blog, just click here. This edition was running a bit late, as the coordinator was off galavanting below the equator, so keep an eye out for the next edition sneaking up quickly.

Blogging My Biology Class 20080825

Biology, Eighth Edition, by Campbell & Reece, et al.

Biology, Eighth Edition, by Campbell & Reece, et al.

My notes and thoughts from Biology 111, for Monday, August 25, 2008. The entire series can be found here.

We began Monday’s lecture where we left off on Friday (which is always a good place to start). Doc put the tree of life back up on the white board, and we did a quick review of what we went over on Friday regarding inheritance and emergence.

We then began to work a bit on Natural Selection, using Salmon as an example.

Natural Selection

Variation
within a
Population
+ Heredity + Differential
Reproductive
Success*
= Natural Selection

*Individuals with certain traits produce more offspring than those with other traits.

Doc stressed that Natural Selection works at the Population level, and not at the individual level. It’s important to stress this, as it’s the beginning of the explanation of why dogs don’t give birth to cats, that tired old moronic Creationist standby.

(Continued Below the Fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

Blogging My Biology Class 20080822

Biology, Eighth Edition, by Campbell & Reece, et al.

Biology, Eighth Edition, by Campbell & Reece, et al.

My notes and thoughts from Biology 111, for Friday, August 22, 2008. The entire series can be found here.

This morning’s lecture was teh awesome.

Doc started with some announcements, a reminder to get a composition book and a folder for lab, and a reminder about the Science Club. There is a 2hr canoe paddle on the New River and a shore clean up thing on September the 6th. After my English class I stopped by the Doc’s office and gave him the $2 for membership, though obviously I can’t do the canoe thing, for physical reasons. If I’m free that day, I may see if I can just meet the club at the clean-up site.

Does membership in the Science Club make me an official Science Geek now? I mean, I’ve even paid the dues and all! I’d like to be part of the Official Science Geek Club. I mean, that’s part of the benefits package, right? Plus, Science Geeks have the hottest chic … uh… I mean that means nothing to me because I’m married.

Ok, on to the lecture, y’all quit distracting me with the pleasures and temptations of the flesh:

(Continued Below the Fold)

Read the rest of this entry »