Thursday, February 19, 2009

What Is Science, And Why Is It An Important Part Of My Outlook On Life?

i'd like to point some things about science as a way of knowing, loving forming a mature relationship with reality.

1) it is a way for a community of men, women, other animals and mechanical instruments who want to join in to learn to discuss civilly with each other, to learn to give and take constructive criticism, to take the responsibility to catch themselves and each other when the mind is tricking us, or we mess up on an observation or someting both trivial and profound. read a story about this here

2) it is grown out of a love the details we find ourselves surrounded by: rocks, bugs, worms, clouds, mud, light, planets, bubbles.. and out of this love scientists have explored EVERY nook and cranny, no matter how small, inconsequential, smelly, unpleasant... they are to most people. The incredible advances we have in genetics and development came about because some scientists decided to look at WORMS and GRUBS. (Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila melanogaster)

2) it is a way to LOVE reality. in a mature fashion, not just romantic falling in love, but doing the hard work to get to know reality on it's own terms even if those contradict our preconceptions, our fears, our desires. Requires getting outside of our heads, outside of our preconceptions of what we'd like the universe to be like. requires hard work of really listening to what our lover is saying to us.

4) we've explored a LOT. Scientists over the past 400 years, by way of egging each other on and record keeping andwondering and imagining and crafting instruments has explored more than anyone could have imagined. Just peruse this summary of 1600 topics for high school science and see how much science has spread out across the world of phenomena. Notice the depth and breadth of that exploration. Notice these are topics for high school or freshman science in college. This list can easily be expanded in depth a hundred fold, and in breadth to many more realms of basic physics, cosmology, and biochemistry...

5) those hundreds of thousands of facts and formulas and theories in hundreds of disparate realms of experience are not just ISOLATED facts. They JIVE WITH EACH OTHER. they reinforce each other, the body of knowlege that science has gained is a cohesive whole.

I'll post some more about this remarkable cohesivity soon.


BIOLOGY ~660wds

ecosystems, organisms, environment biotic abiotic, food chain/ web
autotroph, primary producers, heterotrophs, primary consumers
herbivore, secondary consumers, tertiary consumer, predator, prey
carnivore insectivore omnivore, decomposers saprophytes
symbiosis, parasite, host, pathogen, vector
antibiotic, vaccine, malaria protoctist plasmodium anopheles mosquito

small egg gambit,large egg gambit, perennial, annual
herbaceous plants, woody plants, trees, shrubs

ocean, phytoplankton, plankton, benthos, upwelling
desert, temperate forest, tropical forest, grasslands

community, habitat, population, niche

agriculture, monocrops, erosin, deforestation, carbon fixation
renewable resources, non-renewable resources, extinction, habitat destruction

classification, taxonomy

monera, prokaryotes, bacteria, 20 metabolisms maintain biogeochem cycles
eukayotes, unicellular, multicellular
protista, protoctista, 30 non related groups 30,000 spp
amoeba, paramecium, euglena, algae, pond scum
fungi mushrooms, molds, yeasts, lichen, saprophytes, spores
microorganisms microbes

plantae 280,000 spp?
bryophytes, mosses, ferns,
conifers, seeds
angiosperms, flowers, fruit
monocotyledons grasses, wheat, lilies

animalia heterotrophs, nervous system, blastula

30 phyla
mollusca 100,000 spp, snails, clams, octopi
annelids, segmented worms, earthworms

arthropoda 1-10million? crustacean, crabs, shrimps, arachnids, spiders
insects, exoskeleton, metamorphosis egg, larva, pupa, adult
flies, wasps, bees, ants, lepidoptera, beetles

echinoderms, starfish, sea urchins

chordata, ectotherms coldblooded, endotherms warm blooded

5 classes? aves / birds amphibia reptilia? pisces / fish

mammalia 4,629spp placental, marsupial

26 orders: rodentia 2024spp chiroptera 928spp insectivora 429sp shrews
carnivora 271spp artiodactyla 220spp antelopes deer cattle

primates 236 spp
12 families
cebidae new world monkeys
cercopithecidae old world monkeys hominidae apes
genus and species gorilla gorilla pan troglodytes homo sapiens

dichotomous key

fossils, evolution, homologous structures, vestigial structures
island biogeography, thry of ev by natural selection, charles darwin
overpopulation, variation mutation,
differential survival (survival of the fittest)
inheritance, adaption, speciation, extinction, genetics

microscope, robert hooke 1665 cells, size of cells, num of cells

nutrients, 100 basic small molecules,
minerals Na, Ca, Mg, K, transition metals
vitamins, fat soluble A, D, E?
water soluble B1 thiamine, B2 riboflavin, B12, C, K

carbohydrates, glucose etc, polymer, macromolecule
polysaccharides starch glycogen cellulose

22 amino acids
1000+ proteins enzymes structural proteins
nucleic acids ATP RNA DNA

lipids cell membranes fats oils cholesterol

diffusion brownian motion, molecule, concentration gradient, active transport
osmosis, cell membrane, exchange of food waste

protoplasm, cytoplasm, nucleus, nuclear membrane, chromatin, viruses
AIDS/HIV, endoplasmic reticulum, ribosomes, golgi ap,

chromosome, genome, gene, replication, nucleotide, genetic code, mRNA
tRNA, ribosomes, proteins

vacoule, chloroplast, mitochondria, cell wall

energy flow, entropy, maintenance of pattern, incorporation of food, growth

chloroplasts, chlorophyll, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon fixation

sugars, glucose, anerobic respiration, fermentation, aerobic respiration

amino acids, proteins, nucleic acids, dinitrogen, nitrogen fixing bacteria
nitrogen cycle, legumes

water cycle, vegetation protects soil, transpiration in plants
carbon cycle, redox, carbonates
oxygen, sulfates, carbonates
nitrogen cycle, bacteria

s.a to vol ratio, protists, animals, growth, tissues

asexual reproduction, mitosis, chromosomes, prophase, metaphase, anaphase

sexual reproduction, diploid, haploid, chromosome #, heredity, genetics
gene, dominant, recessive ,homozygous, heterozygous, sickle celled anemia
genetic diseases, genetic engineering, genetically modified food
genetic fingerprintng

fertilization, gamete production, gametes, sperm, egg ovum, crossing over,
recombination, meiosis, extra stages, law of independant assortment,
sex chromos (det), x chromo, y chromo

mutations, cloning

animal, plant, organism, embryo, development, cell specialization,
organ systems

nervous system, circ sys, resp sys, dig sys, excr sys, endocr sys, imm sys
repro sys, musc skell sys

lungs, diaphragm, breathing, alveoli, gas exchange, bronchioles, trachea

degestion, mechanical digestion, esophagus, saliva, extracellular digestion
enzymes, stomach, gastric acids, fats - lipase, carbohydrates - amylase
proteins - pepsin, roughage ,small intestines, villi
pancreas pancreatic juice=enzymes, liver
gall bladder bile from liver = neutralize acid and emulsify fat
large intestine (colon), rectum feces anus, ulcer, acid reflux

excretion, urinary system, kidney, urine, urea, urinary bladder

transport, arteries, veins, capillaries,
to lungs, liver, stomach/intestines, kidneys, other tissues
pulmonary artery, pulmonary vein, lungs, carbon dioxide, oxygen,
heart, atria, ventricals, valves, pulse rate, coronary arteries, plaque
heart attack, cholesterol, exersize

blood, plasma, blood clotting, red blood cels, hemoglobin, diffusion

white blood cells, lymphocytes produce antibodies, antibodies, phagocytes
immunity, blood groups, rhesus factor Rh, organ transplants

bones 206, calcium phosphate, marrow, cartilage, joints, ball and socket
ligaments tie bones together, osteoporosis, vertibrae, teeth, tooth decay

muscles about 600, skeletal voluntary striated, smooth involuntary, cardiac

protection sensory water temperature regulation fat storage
vitamin D production, hair sebaceous gland erector muscle
epidermis with dead cell layer, dermis fibrous proteins
subcutaneous layer fats, sweat gland

gonads, testes, prostate, semen, ovaries, estrogen, uterus womb,
menstrual cycle, ovulation, menstruation, menopause

conception, zygote, embryo, pregnancy, implantation, fetus, amniotic fluid
placenta, umbilical cord, miscarriage

identical nonidentical twins, in vitro fertilization, breech birth
cesaerean birth/section,, puberty adolescence, testosterone, estrogen

neurons, nerve impulse, synapse,
sensory visual auditory taste olfactory touch others
animal senses lateral line, palps, antennae, whiskers, electrical
motor, connecting,

eye, iris, pupil, lens, retina, rods cones, optic nerve, occipital region

ear hearing balance, middle ear eardrum malleus incus stapes
inner ear cochlea, semicircular canals

stroke, voluntary fcts, cerbrum, cerebellum
involuntary fcts, medula oblongata,
inv muscles smooth and cardiac, diaphragm peristalsis
hypothalamus, autonomic nervous system, pituitary gland
homeostasis water and heat regulation

spine cord, reflexes, paralysis, vertibrae

information between systems hormones, nervous system, endocrine glands

negative feedback
metabolic rate thyroid gland thyroxine
thermoregulation metabolic rate, skin, breathing behavior shivering
readyness for action adrenal gland adrenaline
osmoregulation kedneys, behavior drinking hypothalamus, pituitary
glucose level pancreas insulin glucagon liver glycogen
liver glucose levels, deamination of aminos, makes bile, stores vit A, D
makes cholesterol, breaks down red cells, modifies harmful substances
for removal by kidneys

chloroplasts, vacuole 2dim fluid creature with turgor skeleton, meristem
apical tissue buds, bud

cambium, phloem, xylem

leaf, palisade layer, stomate, transpiration

stem, underground corm bulb rhizome stolon tuber

root, root hairs, absorbs water and minerals, active transport, osmosis

vegetative reproduction, clone

flowers, sepal petal, stamen anther pollen, pistil stigma ovary fruit
ovule seed, seed dispersal, germination, pollination
wind pollination, insect pollination, nectar, seeds

stomates, heliotropism,, geotropism gravity, hydrotropism, touch tropism
plants explore their environment

homo sapiens, chimpanzee, gorilla, primates
little brown bat
beaver, field mouse, rat, grey squirrel, hamster, porcupine
blue whale, porpoise
asian elephant
possum, kangaroo
ferret, skunk, river otter, sea otter
dog, wolf, red fox, coyote
cat, lion, tiger
rhino, horse, zebra,
cow, buffalo, sheep, goat, deer, girrafe, hippopotomus
brown bear

american eagle, red tailed hawk, mallard, canada goose, seagull, barn owl
penguins, pigeon, mourning dove, ruby throat hummingbird, chicken
parrots, downy woodpecker, crow, robbin, weaver finch, bluejay,
black capped chickadee, ostrich

alligator, gekko gekko, green anole, chameleons
garter snake, anaconda, boa constrictor
snapping turtle, box turtle, sea turtles
american toad, bullfrog, spring peeper, red eft

sunfish, armored catfish, goldfish, guppy, rainbow trout, moray eel, sharks
chiclids, salmon, sea horses

sea squirts

lobsters, fiddler crabs, beach fleas, barnacles, ostracods, cyclops
sow bugs, small millipedes, stout centipede,
dog tick, red water mites, red soil mites, oribitid mites
argiope garden spider, phidipus

apis mellifera, halictus, vespula, fig wasp
atta, pheidole, formica, camponotus herculeanus
house fly, mosquitoes, monarch, fall army worm
june bug, coccinelidae, black carabids, weevils
periplaneta, field cricket, migratory locust, aphids, fleas, Ajax
round colembolans

jelly fish, corals

octopi, moon snails, cone snails, scallops, mussels
yellow garden slug, long fresh water snails,

stentor, euglena, phacus, volvox, chlamydomonas, fucus, diatoms

GEOLOGY 180wds

minerals 2,500 kinds, crystalline structure ,rocks, compounds, elements
oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium,
carbon, sulfur
cleavage, hardness, color, lustre, density, color, crystal structure

feldspar, olivine, pyroxene, amphibole, mica, quartz
oxides sulfides ores, halides salt, carbonates seashells limetone

volcanism, magma, igneous, intrusive, granite, pegmatites,
extrusive, basalt, obsidian

metamorphic, mountain building, contact metamorphism
slate, gneiss, schist, marble, quartzite,

weathering erosion, sedimentary, conglomerate, sandstone, shale, limestone

weathering, mechanical, freezing water, temperature change,biotic movement
chemical, water, carbonic acid, clays, limestone caves, oxidation
biotic production of soil

erosion, mass wasting landslides, glaciers, u shaped valleys, glacial till
wind, running water, rain, floods, rivers, deltas, grand canyon

soil, regolith results of weathering, plants, burrowing, worms, ants, humus
soil, climate, nitrates, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium,sulfates
pedalfer northern forests humus sand clay iron aluminum
pedocal midwest west grasslands calcite less rain
laterites tropics less humus more iron aluminum less silica

agriculture, soil waste, soil conservation

plaate tectonics, continental drift, pangea, crust,
mantle, outer core, inner core
magnetic field, north magnetic pole (maps) (geography?)
angle of declination changes many degrees per cent
density, seismic waves, earthquakes, richter scale

mantle convection, upper mantle, asthenosphere, lithosphere, plates,
continental crust, ocean crust

mid ocean ridges, divergent boundaries, sea floor spreading
convergent boundaries, subduction zone, mountain building, volcanoes
ocean trenches, island arcs, continental convergent boundaries
himalayas appalachians
transform fault, earthquakes

stratigraphy, paleontology, geochronology, relative age ,radiometric dating
radioactive decay, age of earliest rocks, fossils, mass extinctions

precambrian, paleozoic era, trilobites
permian extinction 70 90% spp lost
mesozoic era triassic jurassic cretaceous, dinosaurs, ammonites
mammals angiosperms insects birds, cretaceous extinction
cenezoic era
quaternary period past 2million years, pleistocene epoch, ice ages
holocene recent since last ice age/agriculture

sea level, changes in sea level, glaciation, tides, spring tide, neap tide,
ocean, ice, ground water, rivers and lakes, water vapor, estuaries,
ocean currents, surface currents, convection currents, coriolis effect
gulf stream, north atlantic gyre, deep currents,
salinity, temperature, density

continental shelf, avg depth

weather, meteorology, temperature, humidity, pressure, cloudiness, wind

climate, climatology, latitude, altitude, topography of landforms
land and water distribution, ocean currents, prevailing winds
belts of high low atmospheric pressure, cloud cover, axis tilt,
uneven insolation, uneven heating, solar constant, seasons, climates
climate change, ice ages, global warming
weather is the mechanism by which heat reradiated from the surface to
the atmosphere is moved around from one place to another
radiation, conduction, convection ,advection (wind), coriolis effect
circular cells, high pressure anticyclone clockwise in n. hem
low pressure cyclone, equator calmer coriolios effect
tropics overhead sun more heat in than out
north and south poles more heat out than in
ice caps, belts of high low pressure, prevailing winds, land
sea breeze land breeze ?? which dir?

troposphere, cloud formation, tropopause, ozone layer, ultraviolet radiation
chlorofluorohydrocarbons cfcs, stratosphere, ionosphere, exosphere

nitrogen, oxygen, water vapour, argon helium neon and nitrogen, carbon dioxide

evaporation, convection, humidity, relative humidity, saturation, condensation
dew, frost, fog, clouds, condensation nuclei, precipitation

ponds, lakes, rivers, swamps, estuaries

anomolous expansion of water

stability /altitude, unstable low, cumulus clouds, cumulonimbus / thunderhead
stable, cirrus high wispy cirrocumulus mackeral sky
stratus clouds low, nimbostratus low rain bearing
rain, drizzle, sleet, snow

air masses, source regions, stability
tropical polar air masses diverge from source
middle latitues exhibit convergence called fronts
cold front, warm front, stationary front
occluded front warm air mass entirely lifted over cold
coriolis effect, cyclone counterclockwise in north hem., low pressure
cumulonimbus thunderstorm, hail, turbulence, friction, static charges
lightning, current 10,000 amps, temperature 30,000 deg, lightning rod
conduction, thunder,
hurricanes, tornadoes, wind speed

weather forcasting, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
weather stations, weather satellites, radar
temperature - thermometer - deg cels fahr
humidity - psychrometer - %hum
pressure - mercurial barometer aneroid barometer - millibars inches mercury
precipitation - rain gauge - centimeters/inches rainfall
wind - anemometer - compass direction, miles per hour
weather map
long range forcasting 6,7 days
longer not poss because the atmosphere is a chaotic system

matter, solid, liquid, gas, plasma

elements, atoms, mixture, chemical symbol, compounds, molecules
chemical formula, structural formula,
reactivity, electrical conductivity, heat conductivity, luster,
metal, alkali and alkaline earths gr 1, 2, nonmetal, metalloids
density, boiling point, solubility

hydrogen helium
carbon nitrogen oxygen phosphorus sulfer chlorine
iron silicon aluminum
gallium germanium arsenic tin antimony
nickel copper zinc silver gold lead mercury
vanadium chromium manganese cobolt molybdenum, Zinc
sodium magnesium potassium calcium
noble gases He, Ne etc
rare earth elements

gasses, law of definite proportions, Lavoisier and the discovery of oxygen
Mendeleyev, periodic law, periodic chart of elements, group, period
atomic number, electron shells, valence, electron, atomic weight, isotopes

chemical change, physical change, reactants, products
forward reaction, backward reaction, irrersible reaction, reversible reaction
equilibrium, chemical equation, coefficients, subscripts,
conservation of matter, balancing equations,
synthesis, decomposition, combustion, redox, neutralization, precipitate

mixtures, solution, solute, solvent, polar solvent, water, alcohol
non-polar solvent, detergents

homogeneous, aqueous solution, distillation,
solid solution, alloy, distinct proportions, brass, bronz, steel
amalgam mercury

electrons, ionic bond, electromagnetic attraction, valence shell
covalent bond, octet rule, metalic bond, hydrogen bonding,
van der Waal's forces

small covalent molecules diatomic triatomic, covalent networks
ionic compounds, cations metals, anions nonmetals, metals

atomic mass unit, gram, atomic mass, molecular mass, mole, molar mass
molar volume of a gas, (calcs on pg 155 science dict)

concentration, liter, mliter, density, volume, molar solution, titration

chemical energy, electricity, heat, light, potential energy,
exothermic reaction, combustion, heat of reaction?
jouls, kjouls, calories, Calories

temperature, specific heat capacity, heat energy, thermal energy
change of state

thermometer, fahrenheit, celsius, freezing point, boiling point
kelvin or absolute scale, absolute zero, gas laws

fluid is gas or liquid, melting melting point freezin point
boiling point, evaporation, vapor pressure, condesnsation, sublimation
brownian motion, diffusion, kinetic theory of gases
boyle law: pv=k, charles : v=kt, pv=nRt,
absolute zero, kelvin scale
STP 0celsius and 1 atm 22.4liters /mole

pascal= newton per sqare meter 101,325/atm/760mm Hg
mercury barometer

hydrogen gas helium gas
coal, graphite, diamond, bucky balls
carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, carbonic acid, carbonate, methane ...
carbohydrates, organic molecules, hydrocarbons, ethane, propane
petroleum, lipids,
ammonia, amino acids,
oxygen gas, water, ozone, phosphate phosphoric acid, sulfate sulfuric acid
nitrate nitric acid, metal ores
chlorine gas, chlorinated hydrocarbons, CFCs
ATP, nucleic acids,
hydrogen sulfide, metal ores, protein cross bonding
iron oxides rust, magnetite etc steel,
silicon (electronics), along with the other semiconductors Ga, Ge, As, Sb, Sn
silicon dioxide (quartz) glass, (Fe, Na, Mg, K, Ca)aluminosilicate minerals
aluminum, aluminum oxide (rubies, abrasive)
bronze Cu+Sn, arsenic, brass Cu+Zn
transition metal ions for enzymes, magnesium in chloroplast, etc
table salt, metal ions in biol solution, calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate
calcium phosphate,

ion, hydrogen ion, bydroxide ion, acid
organic acids: acetic acid citric ascid
mineral acids: hydrochloric acid, sulfuric, nitric, carbonic
base, alkaline, ammonia borax lye detergents,
neutralization reaction, salt, electrolytes, neutral, litmus test,
pH, logarithmic scale, concentration, solubility

oxidation, reduction, oxidizing gent, reducing agent

corrosion when metals and minerals come in contact with acids
sulfer dioxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide pollution->acids
acid rain

electric cell, battery, rechargeable battery
dry cell alkline cell car battery
voltage, direct current

pH balance, buffers, balance in blood

reaction rate, affected by temp, increased by catalysts, catalysts
chemical equilibrium, static equilibrium, dynamic equilibrium
what is a steady concentration of moites due to balancing cyclic reactions
of a system not in thermodynamic equilibrium?
non equilibrium cycles ie atmos gases under sunlight

Haber process to fix N2 into ammonia for fertilizers etc
petroleum, gasoline, natural gas, heating oil, coal

ores, electrolytic reduction of aluminum ore bauxite
smelting of iron ores

sodium hydrogen carbonate bicarb of soda NaHCO3 baking soda?
sodium carbonate Na2CO3 baking soda
calcium oxide lime treat acid soils refine iron
calcium hydroxide slaked lime

chlorination of water to kill bacts
hard water calcium and magnesium ions bind soap into scum, lv deposits

NO and NO2 are emitted from car exhaust and facts: pollute

alcohols, fermentation: sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide
organic acids, esters acid and alcohol to make fragrances and flavoring

polymers, synthetic, nylon, rubber, polyester, acrylic
flammability, warning labels, plastics

chlorine bleach

biodegradable, non-biodegradable
air pollution, greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane, CFSs,
catalytic converter

atomic theory, dalton, avogadro, brownian motion, crystal structure
x-ray diffraction, avogadro's number, mole, molar mass, atomic weights
mass spectrometer, atomic mass, isotopes, nucleus, subatomic particles
protons, neutrons, fusion, mass defect, mass energy eq E=Mc2
electrons, charge, orbit, nuclear force, potential energy
radiation emwaves, xrays gamma rays and alpha beta particles
background radioation
radon gas
alpha particle helium nuc pos chg doesnt pentrate far but highly ionizing
beta particle electrons more penetrating but less ionizing
gamma rad most penetrating but least ionizing, dict says most dangerous
uranium, plutonium, thorium, carbon 14, radioactive decay, half life
geiger counter, dosimeter, radioactive tracers in research
radioisotope dating
x-rays in research and medicine, CAT scans, MRI

nuclear fission chain reaction, nuclear reactor
radioactive effect on living organisms, nuclear medicine
radioactive waste disposal
fission bomb (A-bomb), fusion bomb (H-bomb), fallout

PHYSICS ~200wds
mechanics, gravity
law of universal gravitation f=Gmm/r2
law of inirtia body in motion or at rest remains (constant veloc) until acted
on by a force resisted by inirtia= mass
law of applied force change in vel and dir = acceleration in proportion to
mass times force f=ma
weight, magnitude, direction, vector, f=mg, mass kg, newtons
law of action and opposite reaction
(fuzzy on diff betwe action reaction pairs and equilibrium pairs)
compression, tension
equilibrium, stable unstable equilib
spring force elastic potential energy hookes law f=kd
friction force, tension

significant figures, accuracy, precision, rounding
length meter, mass kilogram, time second, temp kelvin, charge coulomb
energy joule, force newton, pressure pascal, power watt
conversions, scientific notation, ruler, caliper, balance, spring balance
microscope, magnification, electron microscope, resolving power
v=u+at, s=ut+.5at2, v2-u2=2as, f=ma

periodic motion of spring, oscillation, circular motion
centripetal force=product of mass and squre vel div by radius
satellite orbits, escape velocity

work=force times distance in line of force
newtons meter=joule, energy
kinetic energy is one half product of mass and sqare of the veloc
potential energy, grav pot energy = mgh

law of conservation of energy, electrical energy, chemical energy
friction, heat, nuclear energy, light
transducers: battery, light bulb, loudspeaker, solar cell, microphone, motor
machines, lever, pulley, gear,

pressure, hydraulic lift, bouyant force, archimedes principle

temperature, solid, liquid, gas, specific heat, heat of state change

coefficient of expansion,
gas law pv=nRT, fahrenheit, celsius, joul, cal
mechanical energy to heat equivalent
conduction, convection, radiation

temp = avg kinetic energy of molecules in gas

WAVES=periodic disturbance against a force(=work) through a vacuum or a
medium which transmits energy.
sound, light, vibratio, water waves, longitudinal waves: sound
transverse waves: water waves, waves on a string, light
crest, wavelength, frequency
speed is product of wavelength times frequency
doppler effect, speed of sound, ultrasound, sonar, pitch, loudness
beats, harmonics, resonance

opaque, translucent, transparent
reflection, refraction, diffraction, interference, polarization
refraction, lenses, magnification, telescope, microscope

prism, spectrum
subtractive mixing things look green cause they absorb all other colors

gamma xray ultraviolet visible IR microwaves radio
red orange yellow green blue indigo violet
speed of light, inverse square law

radio transmitter, radio waves, receiver
transducer sound/light to electricity and back
digital signal, analog signal, communication satellits

photoelectric effect, electrons, energy is proportional to wavelength
intensity, quantization of energy, photons, wave particle duality

magnetism, lodestone, compass, Earth'spoles, magnetic field
likes repell unlikes attract

frictional static buildup, charge
law of electrostatics like charges repell, unlikes attract
force is product of the charges div by sqare of dist
coulomb, insulator, conductor
magnetic force due to electric dipole moments of atoms aligned in solid
electroscope, lightning

current is charge per second, amps, electromagnet, electric buzzer very clever

electric potential volt, capacitor, direct current, amps, circuit, battery
ammeter, voltmeter, resistance ohms, resistor, superconductor
faradays law of induction of emf, generator, alternator, alternating current
transformer, elec eneryg joul kwatt hour, power watts, fuse, electromagnet

atomic energy coal solar energy wind hydroelectric tidal geothermal

electronics, transister, light emitting diode, silicon integrated cuircuits

250 bce Aristarchos of Samos how to find dist to moon by earths shadow
and tried to get distance to sun, at least showed it was bigger than
earth and guessed that earth revolved around it!
240 bce Eratosthenes diameter of Earth
200 bce Archimedes
150 bce Hipparchus of Nicaea calculated distance to moon
1600 Galileo Galilei
1615 William Harvey
1662 Robert Boyle
1665 Robert Hooke
1665 Isaac Newton
1750 Carl Linnaeus
1765 James Watt
1796 Edward Jenner
1800 Alessandro Volta
1803 John Dalton
1808 Humphrey Davy
1811 Amadeo Avogadro
1831 Michael Faraday
1827 Robert Brown
1850 Jean Louis Rodolph Agassiz
1859 Charles Darwin
1869 Dimitri Mendeleev
1875 Louis Pasteur
1876 AlexanderGraham Bell
1879 Thomas Alva Edison
1894 Pierre Curie curie pt.
1895 Gugliemo Marconi
1897 Joseph Thomson
1898 Mare Curie
1905 Albert Einstein
1919 Ernest Rutherford
1928 Alexander Fleming
1955 Isaac Asimov suggests C14 decay in DNA can cause mutations
1961 Francis Crick
1961 James Watson
1961 Rosalind Franklin
1979 Walter Alvarez end cretaceous iridium band

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

males and females but no sex! weird ants:

Wasmannia auropunctata, the little fire ant. native to the new world tropics but a very invasive pest worldwide does sex REALLY WEIRD:

Fournier, D., A. Estoup, R. M. Orivel, J. Foucaud, H. Jourdan, J. Le Breton, and L. Keller. 2005. Clonal reproduction by males and females in the little fire ant. Nature 435:1230-1234:

"discovered that W. auropunctata has remarkable and peculiar reproductive biology. Their abstract is as follows:

Sexual reproduction can lead to major conflicts between sexes and within genomes. Here we report an extreme case ...

We found that sterile workers are produced by normal sexual reproduction, whereas daughter queens are invariably clonally produced.
[i don't know if this means clones of queen's diploid somatic cell, or produced from an unfertilized haploid egg, which is produced by meiosis and therefore not a strict clone of the queen mother, will have to investigate]

some pics here, more explanation to come soon in new entry:

either way the offspring are effectively clones


In an apparent response to this conflict between sexes, genetic analyses reveal that males reproduce clonally, most likely by eliminating the maternal half of the genome in diploid eggs. [!!!] As a result, all sons have nuclear genomes identical to those of their father.

The obligate clonal production of males and queens from individuals of the same sex effectively results in a complete separation of the male and female gene pools...."

In summary: queens give rise to fertile queens by cloning. males mate with queens and give rise to

1) sterile diploid workers

2) males with only the males genes which effectively means they are clones of the males. wait! in most ants males are haploid and all their sperm are clones of their somatic cells. i'm gonna have to find more info. are auropunctata males haploid or dipoid?

roughly then males clone males of themselves and females clone females of themselves. the only time 'sex' (fertilization) results in offspring, those offspring are sterile..



Braided History of Human Psychology, Biology, Society (old outline from college)

I wish to attempt to short circuit and reexamine some ancient strands of our culture/primate heritage: language, vision and consciousness. Our vision creates smoothly bounded objects and our language names and separates them out of experience. Our consciousness isolates them in time and stills their movement.

Primates: the tribe that thirsted for miracles.

The creatures that primates began to get involved with: flowers, fruits, colors, all intertwined in the forest canopy called us out into great creativity.

Let us now focus on the local dances around some of these bizarre solutions; the primates. I will look at three simultaneous developments that occurred. Developments in their ecology, attention structures, and mental life.

What happened with primates then is that their range of ecological interactions began to diversify, reaching a peak of flexibility in the lives of our hunter-gatherer ancestors right before agriculture sprung up. These bands commonly played their ecosystems very nimbly and flexibly, picking amongst hundreds of plant and animal species for food and craft depending on the seasons and availability. This must have given these early cultures a very intimate and complex ecological sensitivity. Perhaps see early meso-american art.

Then curiously they pulled in their ecological tendrils and agricultural patterns began to spread like wildfire to the point where except for the very affluent among us, most agricultural populations interacted predominantly with less than a dozen species. At least as far as food was concerned.

This system is unstable.

It repeatedly collapses and spreads.

Agricultural life also developed strange living patterns in which geometrically, our cultures began to become isolated from complex raging ecosystems. Especially the intellectuals in the cities and desert monasteries. The intimate and complex ecological sensitivity began to disappear.

While all this was happening, the development of primate attention structures went in and out of phase with their ecology. Attention was continually contracting. Up to five prehensile limbs, three dimensional dynamic environment, nocturnal existence primarily communicating by sound and touch, and smell.

Then loose the prehensile tail,

become diurnal,

communicate by vision, facial expression,

a space before the eyes develops where the two front limbs can manipulate objects,

then loose the prehensile feet, two dimensional environment, the space before the eyes worked on by the hands or occupied by another's face becomes predominant.

This space becomes internalized. The conscious, alone, individual develops. The Ego.

Neoteny. Learning. Culture. Adults that play.

Archetype librarians.

Third strand. Somewhere along the way we end up with a hell of a lot of brain. Some consequences.

This brain became the substrate in which these internalized spaces could develop.

Evolution had another structure to work with which was sensitive to miracles: culture.

Most incredible however, was that within each individual an entire evolving ecosystem of interacting ideas was possible.

And the time in which it takes to come up with solutions is minutes to years instead of millennia.

We forget to respect the wisdom of the DNA librarians.

These three strands intertwining within the relatively short time of a few million years. Problems were bound to come up.

One of the most dramatic problems was that of learning to cope with the shift in the level of who solves problems, who is sensitive to miracles from the ecosystem to the culture to the individual. (see Hebrew scriptures)

From cosmological time to cultural time to an individual's life time. These shifts occurred so quickly that our species has made quite a mess out of piecing together the story of how ecosystems, cultures, states, economies, and minds really think, create, and pray. Mythic resonance of time scales.

Myth of isolated conscious willed self enclosed in a sack.

Myth of causative agents.

Lose understanding of complex threads and cycles of flow and causation in ecosystems. towards logic.

When such a system becomes ill, when we have an emotion or experience we fix it on an object. (the dev of emotion spaces in the body. Jaynes)

We imagine a monster Causes the illness.

We instantiate that monster in something real.

We kill it.

When such a system is beset by an accident we mistakenly pin the horror of its fall on an evil causative agent rather than its fragility and the complexity of its sustenance.


The trading city state as interface (dissipative structure)

Mesopotamian civilization

Spires with spreading tendrils reaching up towards God


The king sacrifices his life for the city

Gilgamesh. Kings no longer willing to sacrifice themselves

War between cities. Tendrils recoil from each other.

Empire. The sack. The carefully guarded boundaries.

Empires collapse

Myth of self

Thera incident.


Jews, Greeks, Persians

Myth of causative agents


Mistaken ideas about sin.

Jaynesian consciousness

Distancing from Earth

Loss of respect for stuff

ignorance of Earth's ways

Christian amalgam

Dark ages





Post WWII Western malaise

Forgetting the Archetype Librarians



God as challenge


Newton allowed for the miraculous in his thought






Dynamical systems theory



Systems theory in family therapy.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

How To Find What The Earth Is Made Of Inside

The simplest facts would be the size and mass of the earth, from these we can calculate the average density of the earth and try to guess what it might be made out of to give that density.

CHAPTER 1. Size of Earth.

Eratosthenes of Cyrene (276 BC - 194 BC) was the first to figure out the size of the Earth. His results have been confirmed by numerous other techniques beginning with Columbus finding out that there was a whole other continent sitting in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans between him and China.

here is an explanation with diagrams of how he did it:

more info on Eratosthenes:

his result is: 250,000 stadia. From various records we think his stadia are somewhere around 160m each+/-20m. Let's say 160m. 250,000 stadia X ~160m = 4,000,000 meters in circumference/3.14= 1,300,000 meters, so the radius is 6.5X10^6meters. We'll use that value, it's not bad.

(this also comes out to: .. X 1mile/1600meters =25,000 miles in circumference or 8000 miles in diameter.)

so now we can find its volume=(4/3)pi*r^3
=4X275X10^18 cubic meters
10^21 cubic meters

that's big!

CHAPTER 2. Mass of the Earth (Or How Much Does the Earth 'Weigh'?)

Well, by watching things fall and observing planets make ellipses around the sun, Isaac Newton summarized that the gravitational force between two bodies is equal to G*M*m/d^2, where M,m are masses of the bodies, d is their distance and G is some constant that he didn't know very accurately. The point of his formula is that even without knowing the constant, the formula gives the right SHAPES for the orbits of the planets. It even gives all three of Keplers laws:

[link to summary of Kepler's laws?]

He also worked out that this force is also = the mass of either of the bodies times its acceleration.

so GMm/d^2 = ma

notice that m cancels out! the mass of the falling body doesn't affect the acceleration of its fall, something Galileo first showed.


so if we drop a rock here near the Earth's surface, we can measure the acceleration: a; it's 9.8m/s^2, so

GM/d^2 =9.8m/s^2

d=distance from our rock near the surface of the earth to center of mass of the Earth=the radius of the Earth

G*M/(6.5X10^6)^2 =9.8m/s^2

look: we've got our equation down to only two variables! If we can measure G, we can figure out M the mass of the earth. Weighing the earth! Not bad! How can we figure out G?

Let's go back to f=GMm/d^2. If we can somehow measure the force between two known masses, say bowling balls, and measure their distance, we could do it! The problem is that we hardly find any force at all when we try this, gravity is actually a pretty weak force, it only SEEMS so strong to us, because the earth is SO MASSIVE.

But Henry Cavendish managed to measure this small force in 1783! Very clever man. he hung something like a dumbbell from a quartz fiber with a mirror attached to it. He then shined a beam of light at the mirror and watched its reflection move across the opposite wall. This setup amplified the subtle twisting motions of the apparatus. He then put two weights near the dumbbell to attract it, and observed the oscillations as the apparatus settled down. By measuring the oscillations he could determine the gravitational force between the masses that twisted the fiber.

here's a long description of how careful you have to be in setting one up in your basement:

Here is a description of the calculation of G from the angle of deflection of the dumbbell:

( I am still unclear at exactly what parameters of the oscillation is being measured, and the final formula giving the torque on the fiber. torque=-k*theta
torque =f*moment arm=GMmL/r^2

to his


where T is the period of the oscillator.

But what theta is he measuring? As the device settles, doesn't theta get smaller?

i think i need to use the harmonic oscillator equation:
a=-omega^2*Asin(sqrt(k/m)t)) and some working out. I’ll have to do that later.)

so G turns out to be a ridiculously small number:

~6 x 10^-11 N m2/kg2

we are ready to weigh the earth!

G*M/(6.5X10^6)^2 =9.8m/s^2
M=gr^2/G ok

M= 9.8m/s^2 X 42 X 10^12m^2 /( 6X10^-11 Nm^2/kg^2)
9.8m/s^2 X 42X10^12 m^2 / (6X10^-11 kgm^3/kg^2s^2)
9.8m/s^2 X 42 X 10^12 m^2 / (6X10^-11 m^3/kg/s^2)
= 10X42/6 X 10^12 /10^-11 m^3 kg s^2 / (s^2Xm^3)
=70X10^23kg (WHEW! the units work, no mistakes)

The currently accepted value is 5.9742 × 10^24 kilograms not bad using these simple experiments!

now we are ready to calculate the density of the Earth:

CHAPTER 3. Calculating the Density of The Earth and Guessing at What it is Made of.


d=7X10^24kg/10^21 m^3
=7X10^3kg /m^3.

lets convert that to grams/cc

=7g/cc! now we know something about the Earth! That is a very reasonable number for density, We are on the right track!

water has density 1g/cc, and here is the clincher: most rocks we find at the surface of the earth and even down a few miles by drilling, have a density of between 2 and 3g/cc

so the earth is full of something even more dense than these minerals at depths deeper than we can drill. that is our FIRST clue as to what's inside.

to bring the overall density of the earth to 7g/cc the minerals below 2 miles or so have to have average density MORE than 7g/cc.

what minerals are like that? we can guess iron because it's the most common dense element in crustal rocks, all others are very rare in comparison.

density of iron is: 7.8g/cc hmm.. maybe there are denser metals down there? or is it almost all iron? or does the density increase under pressure?

we could use some geometry to figure out how large a proportion of the earth's center needs to be iron to bring the average density up to 7 from the 2.5 of the density at the crust.

The next chapters could be: (4) We can find more clues by listening to the whole Earth ring like a bell when it receives a shock from an earthquake or nuclear explosion. We can even listen more carefully to three DIFFERENT types of sound waves that travel through the Earth after earthquakes. (5) We can do experiments on various minerals to see how they behave under different pressures. (6) We can explore the electromagnetic properties of the Earth which seem to be telling us something about processes in the core. (7) There is also the convenient fact that corals and algae have been patiently recording the length of the day, and the length of the lunar month over the past 2 billion years! I think this data can be used to get some ideas of the density profile vs. depth of the earth using principles of moment of inertia.

In sum, it is pretty amazing that from some observations of shadows in a few different cities, plotting the courses of the planets in the night sky, fitting them to a mathematical formula, measuring the acceleration of falling bodies, measuring the twist of a fiber given by balls attracted to each other, and measuring the density of minerals, we can get some guesses at what kinds of minerals there are 4000 miles down in the center of the Earth.

On the other hand the amount of work put in by Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton was immense. And the experiment of Cavendish, genius and delicate. This is the story of science.