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)

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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.

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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.)

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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:

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

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

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

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

within a
+ Heredity + Differential
= 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)

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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)

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Blogging My Biology Class 20080820

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 20, 2008. The entire series can be found here.

Great introductory bio lecture this morning.  Living vs. nonliving stuff, hierarchies, stressing on evidence, that sort of thing.

One thing Doc really spent some time on was the difficulty in defining life, and how any definition of life has to encompass so much.

Some notes:

Over the thin skin of the earth, the only place we know for sure that life exists, we’ve documented and cataloged:

over 350,000 species of plants, over a million species of animals (BEETLES!!!), and thousands upon thousands of fungi, protists, bacteria.  Given that we have documented about 1.8 million species of life, here’s some context:

That’s life on earth now.

(More Below the fold)

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Blogging My Biology Class

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

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

I’m going to start cross-posting my Biology 111 comments from the thread at AtBC, just for convenience. I’ll insert a new category, just for this class, and all my posts about it will be on this page.

Here are my notes and thoughts from the lecture and the lab on Monday, August 18, 2008, with a little subsequent information tacked on the end:

A little about the course:

It’s Bio 111, with a lab, and it’s the first course along my way to a Biology Education degree.

The instructor, who I’ll just name “Doc” for now, earned his bachelor’s at Ohio State, his master’s at University of North Carolina Wilmington, and his PhD at North Carolina State.  Along the way, he taught various places, including at Coastal.  He’s been teaching there for (if I recall correctly) 22 years or so.

The text we’re using is Biology, Eighth Edition, by Campbell & Reece et al, and the lab manual is Biology, Ninth Edition, by Sylvia S. Mader.

I have the lecture at 8:00 AM on MWF, and the lab is Mondays from 11:00 to 2:00.

(Notes and thoughts below the fold)
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Slide into the Weekend

Get Thee Behind Me, Charles!

Get Thee Behind Me, Charles!

Click for the full strip, at Abstruse Goose.

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been blogging my Bio 111 course over at After the Bar Closes.

I’ve posted up my notes from this morning’s lecture there, and that link will take you right to the top of them, if you give it a sec to load.  Briefly, we touched on Charles Darwin today, and then got into emergent properties, heredity, descent with modification, common descent, and natural selection.

I also joined the Science Club today.

English class was short, as we had a sub (Mr. B is at a wedding), she couldn’t get the powerpoint projector working, and she isn’t as boisterous or as gregarious (or as verbose) as Mr. B.  She cut us loose early.

Between both classes, it was a nice easy slide into the weekend.

From whence came the art:

That is a snip of one panel from A Wise Man Once Said… at Abstruse Goose.

The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability

The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability

The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability

My book review of The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability: For all of us who live with disabilities, chronic pain & illness is now online at Sex in the Public Square.


The sexuality of disabled members of our society is perhaps one of the most closeted, or at least overlooked, topics in American public discourse. Rarely is the topic addressed even by the most strident of sex positive advocates. The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability was written to rectify this deficiency in our public square. The authors, Miriam Kaufman, M.D., Cory Silverberg, and Fran Odette, take a unique and personal approach to their mission by lacing the book with actual responses from a survey done by phone and internet. These survey responses faithfully guide the book toward its objective.

Read the rest at SitPS.

So, Almost Done Week One

Narnia Entry in Spring by Fort Photo @ Flickr

Narnia Entry in Spring by Fort Photo @ Flickr

College has been tough on my broken body this first week.  If you’ve been following my twitter page, you know that I’ve got a bunch of homework from my Pre-calc algebra class (my night class).  Little bit of Spanish, little bit of English, no Biology homework yet.

I’m enjoying my classes, all of them, but most especially my Biology class.  The prof is great, and the subject of course is the reason I’m there, so it’s inherently interesting to me.  He’s spending a great deal of time and effort on the Scientific Method, which rocks.  You simply can’t do Science without it.

By request of Steve Story, Moderator Emeritus at AtBC, I’m sort of pseudoblogging my Bio class at After the Bar Closes.  Please feel free to read and/or contribute there.  It’s a great place, full of Scientists, Science educators, and people just interested in Science.  Mostly, its raison d’etre is for mocking creationism and the dishonest purveyors of the Intelligent Design Creationism Hoax, so although you’ll find some heavy duty science there in places, you’ll also find a lot of mockery that might be described as “puerile”.  It’s sort of to be expected, given the target.

For English class, I have a great guy for a teacher.  Very gregarious, very boisterous, and not afraid to be fun and/or cheesy.  I like that in a teacher, as well.

I have a very young lady for PreCalc Algebra.  She nice, and she’s friendly, but seems just a little nervous or timid or something, like she could really use a drink before class.  Is is appropriate for a student to suggest such a thing?  If so, how would one go about that without implying that she have a drink with me?  My wife would probably be a little sour on such an idea, so I definitely don’t want to give that impression.  I kinda like sleeping indoors, I’ve grown accustomed to it, and would rather not find myself on the porch.

My Spanish class is a bit livelier – sometimes.  The teacher does a lot to get everyone involved and keep it light, but in a class made up of kids, well, sometimes they’re just introverted.  It’s been interesting to see the collective mood swing back and forth within each class period.

Anyway, I’ll try  to blog a little more often about my classes, but right now I have a ton of homework and my first quiz (precalc) is Monday.

From whence came the art:

That image is titled Narnia Entry in Spring by Fort Photo, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.

Gaming the System

Fake diploma, by gadgetdude @ Flickr

Fake diploma, by gadgetdude @ Flickr

Can’t get past University requirements to get a degree?  Afraid you might have to actually learn something about reality that contradicts your Bible?  No worries, just make a fake campus in your megachurch and get your multi-million dollar salaried pastor on the board of trustees of a small but reputable institution in some other state.  From the Raleigh News and Observer:

DURHAM – For four years, N.C. Central University operated a small satellite campus at a suburban Atlanta megachurch run by a university trustee, offering a series of programs that were never properly approved by university system officials.

Paperwork oversight?  Unlikely.

“I can think of no justifiable reason why the former NCCU leadership would have completely ignored and failed to abide by the appropriate approval process in creating this program,” UNC system President Erskine Bowles said late last week in a statement e-mailed to The News & Observer. “Such action is contrary to all university policy. To say the least, it is very disappointing. We are working closely with Chancellor [Charlie] Nelms and his new leadership team to examine the various academic, legal, and financial questions associated with this Georgia-based program.”

But what if you get busted, you ask?

(Look below the fold to find out.)

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Text Book Addenda

Your future starts today

Your future starts today at Coastal Carolina Community College

For Kayla.  The Onslow County School District will pay for her college courses, and they used to have a book exchange program.  It may or may not be renewed, as past students apparently have been remiss in returning the text books.  We won’t know the district’s decision until Tuesday.

Psych 150 – General Psychology – Psychology MyLab Edition (Hardcover), by Saundra E. Ciccarelli (Author), Glenn E. Meyer (Author) – $124 new, $92 used, $118 new @ Amazon, $56.95 used @ Amazon.

Art 111 – Art Appreciation – Living with Art 8th edition, by Mark Getlein,  – $112 new, $83.95 used, $98.77 new @ Amazon, $78 used @ Amazon.

She’s kind of limited by what the district will pay for, and by prerequisites, so she picked classes that A) had seats open in time slots when she isn’t in school, and B) would probably be required across a wide variety of majors, as she’s become less decided on her field of study these last few weeks.

(How we spent yesterday together below the fold.)

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Wait, WHAT?

Schoolhouse by Nicholas_T @ Flickr

Schoolhouse by Nicholas_T @ Flickr

From the Letters to the Editor section of the Jacksonville Daily News (bold in the original):

BOE’s attorney fees need more scrutiny

To the editor:

If the recent action by the Onslow County Board of Education in regard to the board attorney’s contract isn’t sufficient evidence that the citizens of this county are being fleeced, read on.

Until July, Alex Erwin was employed by the board under a self-renewing contract guaranteeing him an $11,250 per month retainer for a minimum of 75 hours of legal services with a maximum of 100 billable hours in any one month. For the past several years, Erwin has never failed to maximize the total billable amount and has in fact constantly carried forward hours he indicated were in excess of his billable amount.

This has landed him checks totaling $180,000 each year. During the July meeting, the board voted to increase Erwin’s monthly billable threshold to 125 hours, giving him a $45,000 per year raise and extending his contract until 2012. This is more than many teachers in our county are paid annually.

(Continued below the fold.)

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Feeling Ancient

el placer de vivir, by xurde @ Flickr

el placer de vivir, by xurde @ Flickr

My little brother called me this morning to inform me that he has become the very first in our generation of 20 (first) cousins to become a grandparent.

Little Isabella was born just before midday yesterday, and though she’s having some minor issues, is expected to be fine.

From whence came the art:

That image is titled el placer de vivir, by xurde, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 licence.

Xian Xmas Toys

Bible Toys We Didn't See This Christmas, by Tracie Harris @ Atheist Eve

Bible Toys We Didn't See This Christmas, by Tracie Harris @ Atheist Eve

From whence came the art:

That image is taken from Xian Xmas Toys, an episode of Atheist Eve, a webcomic by Tracie Harris.  Click it to see more Bible toys. I think the Christian marketing departments may really be missing the boat by not getting these out there.

Text Book List

The School of Athens by RaphaelI’ve begun my search for textbooks, though it’ll be a bit before I’m ready to buy them.  I’ve included the Amazon price and a link so that if you happen to see them in your travels on the cheap, or if you have a used copy (of the ones I can use used) that you’d be willing to part with for not too much money, you can let me know in the comments.

Any assistance would be appreciated.

Biology 111 – Biology I – Biology 8th ed. by Campbell – $163 New, none used, 137.75 New @ Amazon, $118 Used @ Amazon

English 111 – Expository Writing – I think this is the text: Successful College Writing 3e Brief & i-cite (Paperback), by McWhorter – $70 New, $52.50 Used, $63.75 New @ Amazon

Math 171 – Precalculus Algebra- Precalculus: Enhanced with Graphing Utilities (5th Edition), Sullivan – $147 New, $109 Used, $119.46 New @ Amazon, $95.75 Used @ Amazon

Spanish 111 – Elementary Spanish I – Arriba: Comunicacion y cultura Student Edition (5th Edition), Diccionario español/inglés – inglés/español: The Oxford New Spanish (Paperback), and a CD, as a package, $156 New, no used allowed, $102.66 + $5.99 separately @ Amazon

From whence came the art:

That image is of The School of Athens by Raphael, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Public domain The work of art depicted in this image and the reproduction thereof are in the public domain worldwide. The reproduction is part of a collection of reproductions compiled by The Yorck Project. The compilation copyright is held by Zenodot Verlagsgesellschaft mbH and licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.