Tuesday, March 31, 2015

- 3/30/15 Blog Redesign

        So... Have you noticed it? I gave my website a new look! More green (awesomeness) and fancier script. How do you like it? My eyes take a few seconds to adjust to the newness (is that even a word?). I'm not posting tomorrow, or the day after that (both are odd days) but April 2nd, like I mentioned in the last post, will be my 1st even day of April celebration in which I will prepare my garden.
        Can't wait till then! Till the next post.

* 3/28/15 Atoms

          Now, like two posts ago, this post is going to be about imformation from my online homeschooling website, Time4Learing (time4learning.com) and this time, it's about Atoms.

          Have you ever wondered; what makes up people? You might think; guts, or recycled food, or molecules. These are all true, but you are made of atoms. No one has ever seen an atom, but scientists realized that matter behaves like it is made of these really small particles.
          The middle of an atom is called the nucleus. Unlike the nucleus of a cell, the nucleus of an atom is densely packed and made of these two; protons and neutrons. Protons have a charge of (+1) while neutrons, hence their name, have a neutral charge (n).
          Surrounding the nucleus of an atom is a sort of cloud, that are made of electrons, with a charge of (-1).
          Most atoms follow the octet rule (big word alert). A stable atom have 8 electrons in the outer electron shell.
         Say there are two atoms. Sodium (Na) is the first, and in it's outside ring has 1 electron. The second is Chlorine (Cl), and it has 7 electrons, grouped in two's except for the last one, which is by itself. Since atoms try to become stable, the Chlorine wants to have 8 electrons. So, it takes an electron from the Sodium atom. Now the Sodium atom-which is now a Sodium ion, become positive, because it has more positive protons in it's nucleus, but no negative electrons. But the Chlorine atom gained a neutron, so it has more negative neutrons then before. The Chlorine therefore becomes negative. As you might already know, positives and negatives attract. The two atoms form something called an ionic bond.
           Sometimes, there are certain situations where an atom wants electrons, but doesn't have enough strength to steal it. Lets say we have a Carbon (C) atom, that has 4 electrons. Unlike Chlorine, which has 7, it is not very strong. The second one is Hydrogen (H), that has one electron. Both atoms would like the other's electron. So the two share one, forming a covalent bond.
Covalent Bond

         Have I boggled your brain enough for today? I should hope so. And I have news! The next, next post will be April 2nd... And a few posts ago, I mentioned that my celebration for the "first even day of April" would be to clean out my garden! And so I will. Till the next post!

Monday, March 30, 2015

+ 3/26/15 Strange Growth 3

     Some books have a sequel. And often, they are part of a trilogy! This is third but likely not last update on Tropic, my Sarracenia purpurea subs. purpurea, a.k.a. purple pitcher plant. As you might know (if you don't, read Strange Growth 1 & 2), Tropic has grown a stalk (since when did pitcher plants grow stalks?) and it is huuuge with a bud at the end. Now for it's height.... The first post, it was 1 inch. At the end of the week, it was eight inches. Now, it's--(drumroll please)--12 1/2 inches!!!!! That's a foot and half an inch! MAJOR GROWTH, HERE. I'll provide some pics for you.

This is the full height of Tropic's bizzare and awesome stalk.
 And this is a really blurry close up of Tropic's stem's bud's inside. Phew, enough apostrophes!

 And, as of today, I saw your average interesting weed, and I did your not-so-average actions. I made a pot (yes, made it) out of a paper plate and a bag blowing across the street. Then I stuck the two together with neon green duct tape and popped in the plant. And... You get Glory! She's your not-so-average plant in a not-so-average pot.

Till the next post (who knows, maybe Tropic will be 1 1/2 feet by then!).

* 3/24/15 Asland Nature Center Trip

        So.... I said I was going to go to Ashland Nature Center... And I did! So this post will be dedicated to my trip there. So... At 10:30 p.m.  (I wrote a whole diary entry about this trip, I know exactly what time things happened) We did a Stream Ecology Workshop. We (my group, Peach Blossoms) went down the stream called Wildflower Run, and did these really cool tests on the water to see if it was clean. We tested the water's PH, and collected insect larvae and nymphs. We saw Stoneflies (which can only survive in really clean water) craneflies, mayflies, and all these other kinds of insects that I forget. Here are my notes:

         *Water always flows downstream to the lowest point (the ocean)
         *A headwater stream (like Wildflower Run) is the original stream that often originates from a spring or other source.
         *Dissolved oxygen is what organisms with gills use to breathe. The colder the water, the more dissolved oxygen. Water with 18 parts per million of oxygen is considered saturated.
         *PH is potential hydrogen ions, ranging from 1 to 14. 1 is acidic and 14 is more basic. 7 is the optimal PH, neutral.
         *Turbidity is the amount of objects floating on the surface.

         After that we did a team building exercise which I will not go into detail because of it's lack of nature-related content. So at 6:30 we had a nocturnal animals workshop, and I learned some more facts.

         *Great horned owls are active in the fall
         *Prehensile means furless
         *Owls can hear better because of their dish-shaped face
         *Female American toads are larger
         *American alligators can grow up to 6 feet

          Now I am aware of how random those notes were but... Hey, they're notes. Now is for the interesting, interesting awesome part!
          After the nocturnal animals workshop, we went for a night hike (7:30). During this hike we heard--(drum roll please)--a woodcock! I sense your confusion... So I'll straighten things out. The woodcock performs a courtship dance for a female. It first struts around and makes this peeping call, then shoots up into the air and flutters back down in spirals, with it's wings making twittering noises. And the awesome part--the woodcock only does it once a year for a short period of time! And we all heard it! AWESOME DAY.

* 3/22/15 Life Characteristics

         This is pretty much more information from my online homeschooling website Time4Learning. And... it's about life. This may seem very simple and basic, "You are alive, I am alive, if you are able to do stuff you are alive." Yeah, that might be going through your head, and it is right in a way, but there is more. More simple stuff. But still, fascinating all the same, so I'll share it with you.

         So pretty much, there are a few characteristic that makes something alive. In easy-to-understand speak, there are requirements to join the Living club. Some of these are...

           Now, there is more to cells then you may think. Yes, they are the building blocks of life, and yes, they make up every living thing, but no, that's not all they do. Think of each cell as creature in itself--even though there are indeed single-celled organisms. Each cell has functions and abilities. Some cells can get around with cilia or a flagellum (single-celled organisms), or take in 'food' and expel waste, and preform cellular respiration.
          Generally speaking, a metabolism kind of means the ability to use energy. But much, much more then that. The metabolism of a plant is pretty much their photosynthesizing and their respiration--both of which use energy, or in the case of photosynthesis--make it. The metabolism of a person is quite simple. You eat food, and your body breaks down what you just ingested with enzymes. Then your blood--yes, your blood--absorbs the good stuff and carts it away to your cells.
          *Responding to Stimuli
          What is stimuli? Lets walk you through. Stimuli is anything that evokes a response in your body. Like, say, if I stick you with a pin, you'll probably scream bloody murder. So the stimulus is my bizarrely aggressive behavior (external stimulus), and the response is the "AAAAAH!!!!!!" In the same way, if a frog feels the need to chow down on something, it finds a worm or an insect to snap up. The stimulus in that case is hunger (internal stimulus) and it's response is to find something to eat.

          If living things did not reproduce, there would one generation of that species, and when they die, you'd never see another one in your life. Thankfully, reproduction keeps things moving. One generation succeeds the generation that succeeds the generation that succeeds the generation that... Need I continue? Anyway, reproduction is simply when the two organisms from the same species mate and the female has offspring that will in turn have their own offspring when they mature.

         *Adaptation to Change
          Hmm.... What is adaptation? You probably know this; it's when an organisms changes to adjust itself to a change. But there is a limit to the change something can do. If I put you outside on a 70 degree day, the melanin in your skin will become darker. If I stick you on planet Venus when it's 864 degrees Fahrenheit... You're a dead person. Not a soul alive can adapt quite that much. If a plant is by a windowsill, it will crane it's length to bend towards the sun. If you alter the sun so that it somehow rises beneath the plant, you can't expect it to double in half and grow straight down.

          *The end.
          This is when things end. One of the things that will be ending right now is this post, but the lives of living things end too. I memorized this not that long ago, Death is the state of being dead, when the homeostasis that keeps the organisms alive ends. Another generation typically succeeds it. And luckily for you, another post will succeed this one. Till the next post!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

- 3/20/15 Ironic Spring

       This post is, in fact, the FIRST DAY OF SPRING! But wait. I can't quite say I'm jumping for joy... Mother Nature, please cut out the irony, because the week before spring was genuine spring weather and the first day of spring it snows. SNOWS! On the day where people are expecting warm sunshine and clear skies there is frigid temperatures and heavy clouds. Thanks a lot, Mother Nature, thanks a lot... Perfect for my brother's birthday, which just so happens to be tomorrow.
        Now, I haven't really told people about what I want to be when I grow up, except that I am hoping to be an ecologist or something of the sort. But right now, I really want to volunteer at the Tristate Bird Rescue which is near my house. Not work and get paid, but get to work with Aves and increase my knowledge of ornithology--wait, making the assumption that you don't understand those two words, Aves is the class for birds, and  ornithology is the study of birds. I don't have specific sights set to become an ornithologist, but I'm not going to lie and say that I have no interest in the field. I do! I study crows and starlings to determine the meaning of their calls and I try to identify the flight patterns, appearance, and scientific/common names of the birds that I see. But I'm not sure that I want to take my bird-watching to the next level of studying it, so I'll stick with 'aspiring ornithologist'.

- 3/18/15 Ashland Nature Center

      *singsong voice* It is almost spri-ing, it is almost spri-ing! 2 more days until the time when I can plant my garden and watch it grow... Well, I won't quite be doing that in two days. Rather, I'll be leaving for a show on the 26th and be back on the 30th... So, as a "First Even Day of April" celebration, my post on the 2nd of April will be of me cleaning out my garden! No, I'm not going to be planting anything, but I will hoe it up, shovel and loosen the soil, and add in soil amendments or fertilizer.
         Okay, I'm going to conclude my rant about planting and begin something a tad bit more interesting. I am going to the Ashland Nature Center soon for a sleepover! I'll be taking midnight hikes, doing a reptiles and amphibians exhibit! I can't wait to share my notes that I took and post them here! I am unaware of the precise date, so I can't quite give you that... But anyway, it should be a really fun and interactive and knowledgeable experience!

Friday, March 20, 2015

- 3/16/15 Energy Study

      So my dad had this awesome idea; a very simple way to conserve engery! After giving it a bit of thought, I realized how awesome it was. His idea was to make a study--despite the fact that I'm 11--which shows how long it takes for your hands to air dry, then how much energy it would save. After completing my study, I could call different rest stations or stores to put up a sign reading, "It takes (number) secs for your hands to air dry. Try it! And if that worked, think of how much energy it would save--and how completely, totally, AMAZING it would be! I give full credit to my amazing father for this idea. I can't wait to get on with the study!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

+ 3/14/15 Strange Growth 2

      This post, unlike my last two, is not an informative essay. Rather, it is a well-due update on my plants. More specifically, Tropic. You know that really odd thingy coming up from the center that looks like a mushroom? I wrote a post about it not long ago. Well, I managed to get a picture of it.  First, let me give you an idea of how big it is. Lets compare it to a mushroom again. Generally, the stalk of a mushrrom is the same height of the mushroom top. Say the mushroom stalk is 2 inches. The top will probably be 2 inches too. So that's s(stalk) = t(top). s = t is the formula we have based on a general mushroom. My mushroom-thing's stalk is 15 times bigger then the top. !!!!!!  The top is half of an inch (1.25 cm) and the stalk is.... (drumroll)... 8 inches! That's a big stalk. Take a look:

I told you it was tall. Now my big question is: What is that little circle thing at the top going to open up into? A flower? A seed case? A..A... mouth with fanged teeth? I have no clue. Again, please, if you know what this bizzare growth on my Sarracenia purpurea subs. purpurea then please let me know! Or I'll just figure it out as time goes on...

* 3/12/15 'Death Zoo'

       Trapped in a small, dirty cage. Laying in the soot for countless hours, alone with nothing but silence for comfort. Slowly starving to death, limbs growing thinner, tail as thin as a rat's. Lying in the cold, cement-floored cage, rotting away. This is how it is for Melani, a emaciated and sick Sumatran tiger, before she was rescued from the Surabaya zoo in Indonesia. She was so sick that even a specialized veterinarian could not save her, since Melani suffered from digestive disorder after being fed tainted meat. Melani died soon after being rescued from her torturous prison, and she wasn't the only one. In fact, Melani is one of the hundreds of animals that died from neglect at Surabaya zoo. Three more tigers, dozens of Komodo dragons, and a giraffe all died recently from starvation and abuse in the Surabaya zoo. This has led the zoo to be nicknamed, "death zoo".
             These animals are being tortured, starved, abused, and forced to live in overcrowded, dirty cages. We cannot let the deaths continue. Animals deserve the freedom and peace, and we deserve to give them that. By signing a Care2 petition, emaciated animals like Melani can be spared a slow and painful death. Worse, when they die, their valuable body parts are sold to the illegal wildlife trade. If the Care2 petition reaches 100,000 votes, the Indonesia officials will be notified, and with enough pressure, they may agree to shut down the 'death zoo' and let the animals go to a sanctuary. Save lives, and take a stance against the cruelty animals around the world are being faced with. Sign this petition.  
                                                               Sign The Petition



Monday, March 16, 2015

* 3/10/15 Just One Word

          I have my own business selling flowers made out of duct tape, and I attend shows monthly. During these shows, I set up a stand and sell my products. Over the years I have increased my knowledge of selling, and how to get peoples attention. Many times, as I sit behind my table, I call out, "Hello," to people passing by. One time when I said this, a lady stopped and came over to me. After talking for a little bit, she bought something, and told me to "Keep on saying hi!" If I had not caught her attention, she would not have seen me there, and in turn not have purchased anything. In this way, some people are not aware of certain things until it is brought to their attention, in which case they would gladly help.
          Right now, there are certain major issues that need to be addressed. In Idaho, USA, for example, native wolves had been hunted down until no more existed there. Recently, wolves have been reintroduced, and the population was thriving. Then, even more recently, the state began killing them off again to raise game animal numbers. Now, few wolves remain, and those that do are being steadily hunted down, sometimes gunned down from the air or caught in traps. Very few people are aware of this brutal killing, it is one of those problems that remains hidden in the corner until it is made known. It's up to us to call these issues to attention, and sometimes it only takes one word.
          Certain people, when aware of something, will provide help without a second thought. Bringing problems to attention will not only help it be resolved, but prevent future related issues from occurring. Like how it was for me, it often only takes one word to let others know. And if one word doesn't work, a quick message might. By forwarding the link to this article, more and more people can become aware of common problems and we can all work together to solve them. It's not that hard! You don't need to call out, "There are problems that need to be addressed!" at public places, but you can post similar articles on other blogs or websites, and/or make brochures or flyers to hand out. These simple things can bring people together, and unite them for a single purpose; doing good to the world and our own future. It just takes one word.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

- 3/8/15 Chip

     I'm happy out of my mind. I met Chip! Okay, I can't say "I met Chip" because you don't even know who Chip is... Okay, let's get a few things straight: Chip is a gray squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis to be precise. And I fed him! Okay, that's not the greatest accomplishment, nor is it 100% good. But wait--I know that feeding animals (ducks, fish)n is not good for them, but of course I did research on it and it is fine to feed squirrels.
       And that's not the best part--the best part is that I can call Chip to me, and he will run to me until he is 1 1/2 inches away from my foot. I swear I have never been so close to a squirrel in all of my life. He (or she) tries to take the food for my hand, but I have more then a little bit of concern for my fingers, so I let her (or him) eat the bread that I give him from the ground right in front of me. Now, I've only seen Chip once. And I've only fed him once, before I did my research. And I discovered that bread isn't exactly the most nutritious food for Chip, so the next time I see him (I don't know when, he lives my grandmother's house), I will feed him Nut Balls (if I make it to the pet store in time).

- 3/06/15 For the Benefit of Nature

         This is something I want everyone that visits my blog to know; this blog is not for me to be personally documenting my life, but for others to become aware of the condition our planet is in and act upon it. I will still post about my own plants like I always have, but most importantly my posts will be informative. I post articles and essays explaining how you can help, and I hope I am truly making a difference. You, also, can make an online project like Forever Nature, and contribute to the effort that wildlife activists are devotedly making. If anyone visits my blog, I want them to realize just how much the Earth needs our help, and how simple it is to provide it with the care it needs. But it isn't all so simple. The majority of the work that is most critical requires money and tons of effort--both of which not everyone can supply. But my personal goal is to supply both, and perhaps others will take my goal as their own. I am now donating money approximately twice a year, in amounts of around $15-20 per time, and I am going to be restarting my Park Day Clean Ups in Spring. Hopefully, with the help of the members of Forever Nature along with those who stumble across my blog, I bring about a genuine change for the better. But I can only accomplish this with your help. Thank you, again. Till the next post.

* 3/04/15 Earth Hour

      Have you ever heard about Earth hour? Earth hour is a global event that is raising awareness about climate change. On Saturday, March 28th, 8:30 p.m. thousands of people will turn off their lights. This event was started by WWF (World Wildlife Fund) in 2007, and now has spread across the world as it celebrates it 8th anniversary of making a difference. The first step in taking a stance towards climate change is the simple switching of a light--which, when done alongside of thousands of other people--can make a real difference. But the goal of Earth Hour is not limited to a light switch. Rather, it goes beyond the actual date, hoping to inspire people to continue to do good for and to the environment, helping our planet grow alongside us.
        In many cities, you might notice large neon signs or lights out on this day, along with dark buildings and houses. For the minimum negative effect on the environment, keep every light off in your house, using candles and/or torches to see. And even after Earth Hour is over, and the lights of the city are gleaming bright as ever, you can still make a difference. Starting your own project to help raise awareness, or adding your voice to another's project are both beneficial ways we can protect the Earth we live on and ensure we and the other organisms on Earth with us have the best life possible for many years to come.

       I hope this essay that I wrote inspired you all enough to participate in the upcoming Earth Hour, and I can promise that my family and I will be! To quickly register for this event, visit http://wwf.worldwildlife.org/site/R?i=NRTyfCDJkjy48n2htIMIZA
       Thank you! Till the next post.

Monday, March 9, 2015

* 3/02/15 Cat Speak

       I write a post every 2 days on average, and going from the 28th to the 2nd isn't quite "2 days". My reason: I want to post on every even day! Meaning the date has to be even. So rather then the 1st, I'm posting on the 2nd. Hope you don't mind. I do recall promising never to miss a day, so I won't break it just yet (hopefully never). Now, for this post's subject... Cat speak!
         Yes, cat speak. How to talk back and forth with your cat, fluently. I promise, this works.
          #1. "Hello!" Every cat needs to say "hello", and you got to know how to say it. Well, you can't "say" hello to a cat. They say it to you in body language, and they'll understand it if you say it back. Say you walk into a room, and the cat there sees you, walks up to you, and stretches out it's head towards you. That means, "Hello!" You can respond by holding out her hand and lowering your middle finger, and hold it out just in front of the cat's face. In response, your cat will touch noses with the "nose" that is actually your middle finger.

       #2. "I'm no threat!" You don't want your cat to see you as a massive, harmful creature to be feared. Telling your cat that you mean no harm will let them know that you care. If your cat is already relaxed about your pretense, the following gesture can also mean, "I love you." To tell that to your cat, look them in the eye and think in your head, "I". Then slowly close your eyes, and think, "love". After another pause, open your eye and think, "you." This slow blink is a way of showing that you trust your cat enough to close your eyes and leave yourself vulnerable.

       #3. "I want food!" This you cannot say to your cat, unless you have a sudden craving for cat food. Rather, you need to understand this behavior in your cat, so you can respond to it's needs. Pacing near or around the area where it gets fed, and looking up at you while meowing insistently are all signs that your cat is hungry.

       #4. "Come!" This you can tell to your cat, and you can do it easily. All you havge to do is kneel down at eye level with your cat, look at the ground next to your cat, and not at your cat's eyes. Then extend your hand to your cat and lower your middle finger in the "Hello!" gesture, until your cat walks up to your hand and rubs up against.

      To all of you cat-lovers, I hope this helped! Till the next post.


+ 2/28/15 Strange Growth


          It's nearly March! What does that mean? I seriously don't know... Wait, never mind! I know! The 20th is the first day of Spring! I still can't plant anything yet in my garden, but I can at least begin preparing the soil. I have something somewhat interesting to share today. You know Tropic, my purple pitcher plant, Sarracenia purpurea subs. purpurea right? In case you don't please view my posts starting... The very first post I did, (LOL). Well, back to the topic, my plant Tropic is growing, is it certaintly should (why wouldn't it?), but I noticed something... New, I should put it. It looks like a mushroom growing up from the very center of the plant, kind of like an anther on the top of a filament, but we are talking about pitcher plants, not Stamens. It's pretty much a bulge on the top of a thin stalk. Sadly, like the last month, I am unable to post pictures of my own plant, but I can provide a picture I drew online that is similar to what I am seeing with Tropic:
      So... If you are familiar with the odd lime green mushroom thing that is growing on my Sarracenia purpurea subs. purpurea plant, then please tell me! I'd like to know... BTW, the green stuff in the pot is the live (or, in my case, dying) sphagnum moss. That's about it for now..

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

* 2/26/15 The Beauty of the Oceans; and Why We Should Help

          If there is one thing that is important to life on Earth--it's water. Water sustains life, and is just as essential to human beings--and all organisms--as shelter or food. You can last a week without food, but only a few days without water. If we need it so bad, why don't we strive to preserve it? 75% of all the whole surface of the Earth is water--only 2.5% is drinkable. This means that all of the pollutants were carelessly dump in rivers, ponds, and streams? We are reducing the already little supply of freshwater we have, and there's not a lot left.

         You probably think you know a lot about marine life--and you probably do! But here are some of the little known facts about the watery world we have so little explored... How deep is the ocean, and how high does it rise? Well, this question cannot be answered officially, because the level is always rising. The Ice Age happened centuries ago, and turned the world into a giant ice cube. Now, due to Global Warming, glaciers and ice caps are melting into the ocean, raising the sea levels and leaving animals such as polar bears and penguins with diminishing habitats. Not only that, but 3 times the amount of rubbish and trash is dumped into the oceans as the weight of fish caught!

 But yet, there is a lot we can do to help! The name of the Pacific Ocean, the largest ocean in the world, means "Peaceful ocean". However, at the rate we are going, with oil spills and global warming, the ocean might not be so "peaceful". Yet we can change that! Everyone goes to the beach at least once in their lifetime--and everyone makes a mess. But we can change our impact on the environment by simply cleaning after ourselves--and other people! No, it's not just "the owner cleans up what he owns", it's everyone cleaning up after everyone, and that can make all of the difference. Limiting your use of plastic products contributes a lot, too.

Rain barrels; large, trash-can like objects that can collect pure rain-water for later use , are great ways to preserve the water on earth and prevent it from pouring out to the oceans carrying oil, pesticides, and litter with it. The water stored in a rain barrel can be used to water gardens, wash cars, and other helpful chores.