San Bruno Mountain Watch

On January 25th, Nadine and I went for a hike on the San Bruno Mountain with a naturalist who was very fond of his work. He gave us the history of San Bruno Mountain while we hiked up to the utmost peak. In 1769, the Portola expedition visited San Francisco Bay. The expedition was one of the first European presences in the area. Five years later, Fernando Rivera and four soldiers climbed the mountain and watched the sunrise from across the bay. Bruno de Heceta named the mountain for his patron saint. The San Bruno Mountain provides a habitat for many rare and endangered species, such as the San Bruno elfin butterfly. 

He also talked to us about a man who chose to live on the top of the mountain, secluded away from the rest of the city. He created his own hut using the natural resources from the mountain, and became very well known among the citizens of San Bruno. An elementary class came to visit his hut one day, and became very closely acquainted with one of the school teacher, and they eventually got married.

 

The hike up the San Bruno Mountain was very informative (and pretty) and we learned a lot from the experience. I recommend this hike to anyone wishing to know more about the history of the Bay Area, and burn a few calories in the process!

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Should Water Be a Commodity or a Right?

We all love our water, maybe even a little too much. Only 2.5% of Earth’s water is freshwater, and most of helps form our glaciers and ice caps. As human population continue to increase, there is a growing demand for water with a limited supply. Typically, runoff from glaciers bass helped keep our reservoirs full; but global warming has caused these resources to melt earlier and lose precious freshwater. Our reservoirs are being emptied faster than they are being replenished, which means we will eventually run out of water. Luckily, some districts and cities implement water restrictions, but many are reluctant to do so.

Most people in the United States pay their local city to transport and filter water. In rural areas, homeowners receive their water from their own wells. Desalination plants are located in some areas to make water safe to drink; but desalination is a long and expensive process. Some argue that the price of water should be raised, but others argue that that would give an unfair advantage to the wealthy. Others believe that the best solution is to universally treat water for free to the public, and should be available to everyone.

Personally, I believe we all have the right to water, but I think regulations should be put in place to help conserve water. What do you guys think? Comment below or tweet @KQEDEdspace and add #DoNowWater

Mars Astronauts – how would you feel?

Technology has advanced so rapidly that scientists believe we are finally ready to send astronauts to Mars. The only problem? It is unlikely that these four selected astronauts will ever be able to return home.

Mars One, a nonprofit organization, plans on sending four people to Mars in 2024, and even more groups in the years following.

Popular from the beginning, 200,000 applicants jumped at the idea of being one of the first people to step foot on the Red Planet. Currently, the pool of candidates has been narrowed down to 705 people, many applicants dropping out for personal or medical reasons. The remaining candidates will go through a long interview process by the Mars One selection committee.

Imagine the world of opportunity this mission could have on our citizens. Are we ready to consider living our lives on a new planet? If the time came, how would you cope with your friends and family moving to Mars if you chose not to? Imagine the families of the selected candidates to journey to Mars. Granted, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and the astronauts will hold a legacy for the rest of eternity; but is that worth the termination of your life? 200,000 applicants clearly say yes, their dreams and passions tell them to live life to the fullest and take advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity. Sachin Desai, a candidate, claims that “Mars might challenge their marriage, but enough marriages are strained on Earth already”.

So what do you think? Is it worth the fatal risk to take advantage of a life-changing opportunity?

Check out this article for more information, and leave your opinions below!

Sexism in Science?

male-female-scientist-580x330I’m sure most of us have noticed a large gender gap between men and women in the science field. Even though just as many women work as men, only 26% of women work in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields. There are many factors that contribute to this low percentage, including less funding in scientific grants for women and a lesser median salary. The median salary for a female engineer in 2008 was $24,000 less than the median salary of an equally qualified male engineer.

Cool picture huh?

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 2.20.15 PMSo why is the gender gap so large? Haven’t we moved past the era of gender inequality? Apparently not, and it could stay this way for awhile. Since we see more men work in STEM fields, many young girls lack women role models that they wish to aspire to, causing them to believe that they are inadequate to explore a career in science.

Like this picture?

This needs to change. Women are just as capable as men are, we need to prove that not only to our male competitors but to the young girls in society as well.

What do you think? Comment below or tweet your thoughts to @KQEDEdspace and end it with #DoNowSexismCheck out this article for more information!

Our zSpace Experience

On April 30th, my peers and I were lucky enough to explore zSpace, which is a growing technology provider that specializes in an alternative learning system. Using zSpace, we were able to view 3D organisms on a monitor with specialized glasses that move the object as you change your view, and we were able to “dissect” the organisms ourselves, pull them out of the screen, and view their labeled parts.

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 10.35.11 PMIn this image, I am pulling the 3D organism out of the monitor and viewing its dissected parts from all different angles. I was not only impressed by this display, but also excited that technology was becoming increasingly accommodating to visual learners such as myself.

 

 

To have a greater understanding of what exactly can be performed on zSpace, check out this demo video.

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 10.44.06 PM

 

At the end of the field trip, I think I can speak for all my classmates when I say zSpace was
an exciting learning tool that I look forward to using in the future, if I have the opportunity.

 

 

 

For more information on zSpace and it’s resources, check out it’s website here!

Have any burning questions for zSpace? Tweet them @zSpace, and #apbio3 to get our class involved as well!

Fetal Pig (Wilbur) Lab

**Be forewarned, this post contains graphic images of the dissected fetal pig**

 

 

IMG_4106In the fetal pig lab, we had the opportunity to interactively work with our pig Wilbur to learn more about the major body systems in mammals. We examined many characteristics of the pig, and observed how they were similar to the characteristics other mammals. Similarly to third trimester babies in the womb, unborn pigs have an umbilical cord, mostly developed internal organs, small amounts of hair, and fully developed feet and skin.
 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4124We examined the digestive system, which holds the organs within the digestive tract and the digestive glands. Once food is swallowed, the food moves from the mouth into the esophagus, to the stomach and then into the small intestine. Food is then digested using bile, which is a digestive juice that is made by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. Bile flows into the bile duct, where digestive enzymes from the pancreas also flow towards. The bile and pancreatic enzymes then flow into the small intestine, where most digestion and food absorption is located. Food items that cannot be digested move through the large intestine and through the anus, where matter is excreted from the body.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4125 When air enters the lungs, the diaphragm contracts to expand the thoracic cavity. When the diaphragm relaxes, air is expelled out of the lungs because the diaphragm is moved upwards. Mammals have two blood receiving chambers, which are more efficient than one blood receiving chamber because the chambers all the separation of the oxygenated and deoxygenated blood. The left and right ventricles of the heart are separated so that the pulmonary and systemic circulations are independent of each other. Oxygenated blood is transported from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart before it is passed to the left ventricle. Here, blood flows through the aorta to the systemic circulation. Deoxygenated blood from the tissues is transported to the right atrium through the vena cava vein, and is then pumped into the pulmonary capillary bed through the pulmonary artery.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4112Carly, Nicole and I had an excellent time working with Wilbur because he gave us a more visual perspective on the body system’s functions, and how they are all connected to each other. RIP ❤

Check out our Plant Mania video #1!

Check out our Plant Mania video #1!

Nature vs. Nurture

So, how much is behavior based on Nature vs. Nurture? KQED wants to find out. While we have natural-born characteristics (nature), there are also ones that we develop through our own personal experience and environment. While scientists know that both help influence our character, it is not always obvious which traits are derived from nature and which are from nurture.

The following is a snipet of KQED’s thought-provoking article:

“A recent article rom the Wall Street Journal states that environmental sensitivity is directly attributable to genetic factors. These scientists have categorized people into two general groups: the orchids, whose behaviors are much more susceptible to environmental factors, and the dandelions, who are relatively less affected by external factors. These differences in environmental sensitivity are due to variations in genes that regulate dopamine production, such as DRD4. Those who produce less dopamine – the orchids – have a tendency to wilt under stringent and negative conditions and to flourish under stable and positive conditions.”

Based on the article, I created a meme featuring classmate Emily Wang as a model. If you do not understand the connection between Nature and Nurture, I highly recommend reading the article again.

Nature vs. Nurture Meme

Protista Party

Check out our informative Prezi on protistas here!

NDB Visit to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

AP Biology Field Trip Recap by Lauren Radmer