Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Science in college

I really did not have to take any "hard" sciences during college.  By that I mean that I avoided Biology and Chemistry.  I took some courses in anthropology and evolution...

I studied a little about D.N.A, proteins, heredity...

...and there was a psych class called "Sex and Behavior" that everyone was surprised turned out to be a class on the endocrine system.


Finally, I took some classes on weather and climate that covered things like weather systems, the water cycle and a lot of maps.

That has been my recollection of my relationship to science in school.

Middle and High School

Middle and High School

As I write this it's been close to 30 years since I graduated high school.  Again, I don't remember much from this time but these are the science related events I recall.

First, there was the right of passage known as the dissection of a frog.
I remember a girl in class held up the intestines and kissed them.

What had my interest and everyone else at the time was the Space Shuttle.  A reusable space craft blew our minds.  It was a space ship, but it looked sort of like a plane.

Back on Earth though, things were getting dark because people were getting sick and nobody knew why.  Science didn't have the answers and people panicked and then they labeled:

It was the gay disease that nobody was studying because it was the gay disease.

I remember this as a time for science because along with the activists it was the Doctors, the immunologists and the researchers who told us this was H.I.V. and it could affect anyone.  It was really the first time I got to see how important science was to the general public.  You could really see how panic, misinformation and bigotry can spread when people turn to unscientific answers.

The other big medical science story I recall was that of Barney Clark.

Because of this event and all the news coverage, I learned more about the heart on TV than in school!  It was on the magazine covers...
...and there were plenty of news broadcasts similar to this:

The last big science story I recall about that time was again, related to the space shuttle...
We all learned about what went wrong.  There were plenty of specials about heat shields and insulation and how they malfunctioned.  What I recall about that time was that it showed that science is about exploration and because of that it can be dangerous...but that doesn't mean you give up.

Now how about the college level?

Elementary years

Space was big.   Just 5 years before I entered kindergarten Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.  With the launch of Voyager 1 and 2, outer space got even bigger.  I recall that being all over the place.

We were all fascinated with the gold records.

I don't recall any special lessons about it at the time, I'm sure my teachers must have spoken about it but there were no reports that I remember working on.  If anything, if a teacher saw an interesting program in the TV guide they would tell us to watch it.  Something like this perhaps:

While outer space was all over the news things were pretty interesting on earth as well.  The Concorde ushered in supersonic flight.

This was taken from
"From London’s Heathrow Airport and Orly Airport outside Paris, the first Concordes with commercial passengers simultaneously take flight on January 21, 1976. The London flight was headed to Bahrain in the Persian Gulf, and the Paris to Rio de Janeiro via Senegal in West Africa. At their cruising speeds, the innovative Concordes flew well over the sound barrier at 1,350 miles an hour, cutting air travel time by more than half."

The last big science related story I can remember from the time has to do with this woman...
That would be Louise Brown, but when I was a kid she was known as the first test tube baby.  Her birth introduced the word to in vitro fertilization and if you were a kid, you got a lesson in biology whether you wanted it or not because it was everywhere.

You can find a biography of her by clicking here.

Now what do I remember about middle and high school?


Try as I might, I can not remember what I was studying in science class back in elementary school.

My high school science education is equally abysmal with my only recollection being a very, very boring teacher. I can however recall some of the big science stories of the time. These would be some of the stories that I would have been interested enough to watch a tv special or read an article in a magazine or newspaper (no internet or cable back then).

So here is what I remember about my elementary school years...

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Kids up to 12 years old need 10 to 11 hours of sleep every day. Who do you think needs more sleep?

Every creature needs to rest. Giraffes, little babies, elephants, dogs, cats, kids, koala bears, grandparents, moms, dads, and hippos in the jungle — they all sleep! Just like eating, sleep is necessary for survival.

Sleep gives your body a rest and allows it to prepare for the next day. It's like giving your body a mini-vacation. Sleep also gives your brain a chance to sort things out. Scientists aren't exactly sure what kinds of organizing your brain does while you sleep, but they think that sleep might be the time when the brain sorts and stores information, replaces chemicals, and solves problems.

The amount of sleep a person needs depends a lot on his or her age. Babies sleep a lot — about 14 to 15 hours a day! But many older people only need about 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night. Most kids between the ages of 5 and 12 years old are somewhere in between, needing 10 to 11 hours of sleep.

Do you feel the same when you only get a little bit of sleep?

  • Skipping 1 night's sleep makes a person cranky and clumsy.
  • After missing 2 nights of sleep, a person will have problems thinking and doing things; his or her brain and body can't do their normal tasks nearly as well.
  • After 5 nights without sleep, a person will hallucinate (this means seeing things that aren't actually there).

When your body doesn't have enough hours to rest, you may feel tired or cranky, or you may be unable to think clearly. You might have a hard time following directions, or you might have an argument with a friend over something really stupid. A school assignment that's normally easy may feel impossible, or you may feel clumsy playing your favorite sport or instrument.
One more reason to get enough sleep: If you don't, you may not grow as well. That's right, researchers believe too little sleep can affect growth and your immune system — which keeps you from getting sick.

Why Do We Sleep? from Matteo Farinella on Vimeo.

What Sleepy Kids Can Do

Say you do the math and it turns out you're not getting enough sleep. What do you do? Well, we doubt your school will agree to start classes later just so you can get your beauty sleep. You need to change the time you go to bed. This is tough to do, but you can make a change if try hard.
Here are some steps to take:
  • Ask a parent for help. Your mom or dad can be a big help by keeping you on track in the evenings so you're ready for bed earlier. Talk to a parent about how to get your homework done earlier and if after-school activities are too much for you. Also talk to a parent if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Organize yourself before going to bed. If your lunch is packed and your backpack is ready to go, you can rest easy and you don't have to rush around in the morning.
  • Don't have a TV in your bedroom. It can be too easy to turn it on and then too hard to turn it off when you really need to be sleeping.
  • Create a relaxing routine. Follow the same bedtime routine each night, such as taking a warm shower, listening to music, or reading. Doing this can get your body and mind ready for a peaceful night of sleep.
  • Once you've set a new bedtime, stick to it. If you're going to stay up late on weekends, choose Friday to whoop it up. That leaves you Saturday night to get back in your sleep groove before the school week starts. Sleepovers, especially, should be planned for Friday instead of Saturday nights.

Friday, August 21, 2015