Sunday, May 16, 2010

Not "Out" Yet

Ok, so AP exams are officially over for me! Can I hear a giant YIPPIE?!? Well, now all I have to do is get through the last couple weeks of school and then I am out!!!! The only problem is that I could use some of that “out” feeling now! Like, usually I can live with the last couple of weeks of school just fine because I know that they are not that stressful and for the most part there is more room for everyone. I mean in past years once the seniors left there was more room; the parking lots were emptier, the hallways were roomier, the lunch room was less crowded and quieter, the whole school has just had a more “out” feeling around it. This year I know that is not how it is going to be, because it is not just a few people that I know that will no longer be there but an entire class of people that I have become close to. I know I have said this before but to reiterate I really am going to miss this year’s seniors. They have less than two weeks left and most of them are super excited for the school year to end and for them to move on to their new lives and make that big transition from high school student to adult/college students. I think that is why this year I can’t handle the waiting for school to end, because I feel like I have only a little bit of time left with my seniors and I want to cram so much into such a little time period. I want to do so much with these people so that I can hold onto the memories of the last moments before they leave. I need those memories so that I can hold onto part of what I am leaving. So while I am trying to goof off and count down the time until I can get “out” I am working to make sure I spend my time with my seniors before they are “out” and off into the world. Some of them I am sure I will see again and others I this is likely our last few weeks together. I need the memories to last and so I must wait for my “out” feeling and be cautious of the little time left, and to truly embrace these people I have known for so long!

Protect the Frogs!

All around the world amphibians are disappearing from the wild and becoming extinct. Already 122 species of amphibians have become extinct since 1980 and 500 more are suspected to follow in the next fifty years. There are several factors involved in the sudden drop in numbers of amphibians; habitats becoming parking lots or destroyed due to dams, their thin skin absorbing pollutants, and what seems to be a major threat in recent years is the parasitic fungus known as amphibian chytrid, which was accidentally spread by African clawed frogs that were shipped worldwide. In attempts to save amphibians are proposing a project known as the “Amphibian Ark,” which is the suggestion of zoos and other suitable institutions to host as many species of amphibians and breed them in captivity until they are able to safely return to their wild habitats. Unfortunately the project requires vast funds which seem to be unavailable because hosting specie and maintaining breeding requires at least 50 wild specimens and is the same price as keeping a single elephant in captivity for one year. Scientists are hoping to raise enough funds this year and have even dedicated this year as the “Year of the Frog.”
Species going extinct is always a big deal to this world, but this epidemic is not talking about just one species it is affecting the entire class of Amphibia. This is very bad news because it is such large scale extinction, though many of the species are not extinct many are no longer found in the wild and returning an entire class to the wild is a difficult, in the least, if not impossible thought yet it is the best ideas we can come up with at this time. People should care to know that amphibians are becoming extinct, because they play a crucial role in their ecosystem. Also, Kevin Zippel, the Ark’s program director, went as far as to say, “We might see what’s in store for us,” which is a very frightening thought to think of as we see their numbers dwindle. Some questions that really need to be answered are; how long does the chytrid last after wiping out the amphibians in the region in three months, Is there any way to immune all amphibians and future generations from chytrid, and how do we plan to put thousands of species into captivity and return them back into the wild? The article attached has important information that affects the natural world and every ecosystem that involves amphibians that should not be taken lightly.
After reading this article I became aware to a horrible epidemic that is striking that I have not heard of yet. It seems that this problem has been going on for several years but few really know about it. I believe everyone should read this article to become informed about a terrible tragedy, the possible extinction or an entire class of animals. Anyone who reads this article would benefit by learning valuable information about amphibian extinction especially anyone who knows they can help.

Saving Kermit
Choi, Charles Q.
Scientific American
Jul 2008
Pg. 27-28


When a person first thinks about the Dark Ages they think of Barbarians who were probably not the sharpest tool in the tool shed and were complete savages in every aspect of life, but in reality the Dark Ages were something entirely different. The dictionary defines dark ages as times of decline in a civilization, but is a civilization really in dark times if it is just coasting but not declining? The Visigoths, a Germanic tribe, controlled most of the Iberian Peninsula for about three hundred some years and had several accomplishments so can they really be considered dark? There were definitely aspects of their civilization that were dark and some that were not; population, warfare, government, and their impact on later societies all our examples of how the Visigoths lived in the supposed Dark Ages.
The tribe known as the Visigoths had a population less than one hundred thousand people by the time they had migrated to the Iberian Peninsula which seems small compared to the population of thirty-six million that lived in Europe in 200 C.E, but the Visigoths ruled over most of the population on the Iberian Peninsula during its control. The population had declined approximately ten million during the Dark Ages in Europe which affected every community. Also, most of Europe was at war during the Dark Ages to an extreme far worse than during the rule of the Romans which the Visigoths did participate in by fighting with neighboring tribes for land and power. Fighting is the main cause for the population drop in Europe and was another unfortunate aspect of the Dark Ages for the Visigoths.
Visigoths were governed by a monarchy where kings were elected but many came from the same line of small families which makes parts of the Visigoth period a dynasty. Law in the period of the Visigoths was definitely advanced by the Visigothic Code of Law which went into detail about how both civilians and slaves could live and their rights. The Visigothic Code of Law was written in the Gothic Alphabet which is the contradictory characteristic of the Dark Ages, lack of documentation. Visigoths left a major impact on later societies with their code of law but also their culture and arts. Visigothic architecture was an influence to other societies who used their concepts even in today’s architecture and is known as Gothic architecture while Visigoths created many artifacts, mainly beautiful works of jewelry, considered art. The code of law and architecture and art helped to advance the Visigoths and impacted other societies which are not a normal aspect of the Dark Ages.
So the ultimate question; were the Visigoths really what people think of when they think of the Dark Ages? In my opinion, no but the Visigoths definitely had decline from the Roman Empire, but they also improved themselves and left a respectable impact on societies that followed which are never thoughts that a person comes across when they are thinking of the Dark Ages. The Visigoths are not the average Dark Age tribe; they lived complex lives that had both good and bad, they went through a minor decline, and were neither dark nor light but more of a happy medium.

Why are there so many different skin pigmentations?

Even though we are all “out of Africa” there are numerous skin colors, because of how people have evolved differently in different regions of the world after the first migrations out of Africa. Scientists have related this back to two main hypotheses; sunscreen in the skin and vitamins.
Sunscreen in the skin which can also be referred to as melanin produces pigment in the skin. Scientists believe that before the first migrations we were all dark pigmented and had high concentrations of melanin in the skin. After migration patterns took people outside of Africa, a region close to the equator that receives large amounts of direct sunlight throughout the year, Homo sapiens no longer needed such high concentrations of melanin and could have possibly slowly lost the concentrations as the generations past until the skin had appropriate concentrations of melanin for the region the family was located.
The other hypothesis about different skin colors is humans’ intake of vitamin D. When UVB penetrates the skin it allows the skin to make vitamin D which is very useful to the body. Scientists have discovered that the world can almost perfectly be distributed into three vitamin D regions each with different levels of skin pigment degrees. It showed the farther away from the equator the less vitamin D a person could produce from UVB rays and the lighter the skin pigments were. There were exceptions which showed up when groups of people ate large amounts of vitamin D in their everyday diet such as the Inuit people in the far north. Which actually shows that vitamin D is actually very important to the differences in skin pigment.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

AP exams

Well my last post touched on the subject a little bit but this time I just got to come right out and say it…”OMGSH AP EXAMS ARE HERE AND THE WHAT THE HECK AM I GOING TO DO????? I WAS ACTUALLY SUPPOSED TO BE LEARNING SOMETHING!?!?!” HA! But seriously, I am kind of freaking out about these exams. I am so stupid, like seriously really stupid. I thought it would be cool to sign up and take four exams this year. DID NO ONE THINK TO HAVE ME COMMITTED!???? I have no idea how I am supposed to get through the next couple of days. I don’t know whether it would help to cram or if I should just give up and say I know what I know and I am not going to learn anymore. HA again, like I really know anything right now. Honestly, I am drawing a major blank on pretty much all the classes. Ok, so George Washington was our first president and E=MC² but I doubt the exams are going to have a question like who was the first president of the United States of America and I have no idea what exactly M or C stands for. Out of all the exams, I actually am not that worried about AP Language and Composition because if I don’t know my own language (how to read it, understand it, and write about it) then I am just a lost cause, but as for my AP Chemistry, AP US History and AP Physics B exams. I am in one small boat without a paddle headed for Niagara Falls! For starters AP Chemistry is just mean, plain old mean. Some of the concepts you are supposed to understand and know should be unconstitutional because they are cruel and unusual punishment in my mind. AP US history I should know since it is the background for my country and all but the thought of that exam gives me nightmares at night and so of course it is the first exam! Oh, but AP Physics B takes the cake for being the meanest! HOW THE HECK WERE WE SUPPOSED TO LEARN EVERYTHING YOU COULD POSSIBLY KNOW ABOUT PHYSICS IN ONE YEAR!!! The sad part is my teacher even told us that in a few years it is going to be a two year course because there is just too much information to teach for one year, but what good is it going to do me if they change that policy in two years? I have to take this exam in less than a week and we are still learning new information! I just love AP exams so much! Can’t you tell? :P

any chance they will let me wear this shirt to my AP Physics exam?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Goodbye Facebook

When Miley Cyrus got rid of her twitter she posted a video on youtube explaining why. I thought it was pretty cool so I thought I would do my own reason listing for why I deactivated my facebook. I doubt I will get the views she did but that would be a little weird anyways, so here it goes… I decided to deactivate my facebook for a little bit because of several reasons. First off, I have like four AP exams starting at the end of this week and I need to focus on them more than I need to focus on being social and talking to friends. Sure, the AP exams don’t really affect your grade in the class but it does tell you just how well you learned what was being taught the last year you have spent in a classroom and I really do not want it to show that I really didn’t learn much. I figure get rid of my facebook and then I will be less tempted to spend long hours on there that should be spent studying but in the end who really knows in what way they will be spent. Even without the facebook distraction I am sure I will have to fight several other temptations if I want to get any studying done but then again when are there never distractions? Another reason I deleted my facebook, I don’t really talk to anyone on facebook chat anymore anyways so there is hardly a lot of communication going on. I mean if I want to talk to someone, it is more than likely I would have their number and just text them. This is only not true in one case that I can really think of and in that case I really just need to stop chatting with that person anyways. That leads me to my final reason for deleting my facebook, I was using it as a crutch. I know there is this guy that is just not right for me and yet I am drawn to him and facebook was just making it worse. I absolutely loved and hated how my facebook just seemed to know me so well. My newsfeed somehow figured out what I was thinking and decided it would be cruel and post his news all over the place. Like I really need to see that!?! And so I decided I just needed to get away from this awful habit of not only facebook creeping on him but on other people too. It is just weird. Oh, and if you are reading this post and find this weird DON’T JUDGE! I bet you have done it once or twice. I am not trying to be creepy or anything, I was just really bored and was avoiding other things, like AP exams:/

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Songs stuck in my head!

So I have had quite a few songs stuck in my head lately and I thought it would be nice to take a break from long posts and just post something someone could listen to and hopefully get stuck in their heads too:P Seriously, so we can sing the songs together and people would stop looking at me so strangely for my random singing outspurts!