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Gamed Academy and Mitosis

I’m back!

We had an almost 3 week long winter break, and I’m so glad I’m finally back. This week is the beginning of my Advanced Biology class with Gamed Academy, previously known as Minecraft Homeschool. I have done other classes with Gamed including Poverty Project, Revolutionary War, and This Amazing World.

For one of my first assignments I was told to come up with my own nano bot. I had a hard time thinking about this, but with a little bit of help I got an idea together! The assignment was to write an article to the World Science Fare about why my nanobot should be on their show (for pretend). This is what I wrote!

I have had braces for about 6 months. While I know I’ll be glad I got them in the future, right now they are annoying. My mouth hurts after adjustments, it’s difficult to floss, and they are there for everyone to see.  While I don’t mind them being colorful, I know some kids get teased and bullied for having them. I decided that I want to figure out a way to make having braces less of a big deal. 

The first problem I want to address is the visibility of the braces. There are options for clear braces, but, similar to retainers, they can be easily lost. I wouldn’t want to constantly be worried about losing mine while I eat and drink. I decided to create braces that have similar mechanics to metal braces, but which are also hard to see. Like metal braces, there is a small “bracket” glued to the front of the tooth. Instead of being metal, it is a clear plastic material. Instead of the two wires I have in my mouth, two clear and slightly flexible arch “wires” reaches from one molar to the opposite one, attaching to each bracket along the way. In this way they are similar to the braces I have now, but nearly invisible. 

The second factor I’d like to focus on is flossing. Flossing is necessary hygiene. It protects you from cavities and gum disease. But right now, flossing take up to 10 minutes because of my arch wire. I have to use a special tool to get the floss through the wire, taking about 10-15 seconds per tooth instead of the usual 3-5. This makes me worse about flossing every night when it’s the most important time to do so. The only reason flossing is difficult is because of the arch wire. So what if you could just remove it when it’s time to brush and floss, then put it back on afterwards? I’ve decided that I would make the brackets robotic. The wearer can open and close them with an app on their phone. When the app sends the “open brackets” signal to the appliance, the brackets will open automatically and the wires easily comes out of the mouth. After flossing and brushing, the wearer can put the wire back into the brackets and slide them into a designated place on the molars. Once the wire is correctly placed, the brackets will automatically close. If the wire stays out of the mouth for over 15 minutes, the brackets will vibrate constantly until the wire is put back into place. The feature can be manually turned off on the app, but the parents of the child/teen would get a notification alerting them that the wire wasn’t being worn as it should.

Now, for the discomfort. The reason that my mouth hurts after I get an adjustment on my braces is because the Orthodontist makes such large changes at once. But what if, instead of large changes every 8 weeks, there were hourly, or even constant, tiny changes? Here’s the way to do that: On each molar there is a nanobot with the treatment plan programmed into it. These robots have full control over the wires. The nanobots pull on the arch wire constantly in tiny movements. This way the teeth are always being adjusted, yet the wearer doesn’t feel anything. If anything isn’t going as planned, the wearer will get an alert on their smartphone, and they will need to make an appointment with the Orthodontist. Other than when there is an error with the nanobots, nothing needs to be done to the appliance by the Orthodontist. The only time there would be things done to the patient’s mouth would be when the appliance is put on, attached, and if there were any issues along the way. The Orthodontist might also have the patient wear rubber bands, but only if needed.

Like anything, there are pros and cons. 

Pros:

  • Nearly invisible appliance.
  • Easier to floss.
  • Little or no discomfort.
  • Less frequent Orthodontist visits.

Cons:

  • Wearer must have a smartphone to control appliance.

 

My Genetics Presentation

This week I did a genetics presentation for quite a few people. It went really well. I covered the structure of DNA, chromosomes, dominant and recessive traits, alleles, punnet squares, and X-Linked traits (Hemophilia and color blindness). I’ll attach a picture of my whiteboard presentation when I have more time.

Sorry for the fast blog, people are waiting to use this computer.

Bye!

What I learned from my genetics sprints

I have decided to postpone my sprints that have to do with genetics for the time being. I’m not sure if/when I will pick it back up, but I hope that I will eventually. The following is my reflection for the past months I’ve spent learning about genetics.

What I learned:

I learned about Deoxyribose nucleic acid, ribosenucleic acid, chromosomes, heredity, x linked diseases/disorders, the joy of punnet squares, and DNA replication.

What I took away from learning about genetics:

Before learning about genetics, I never really understood how complex and crazy animals in general are. It’s amazing to me how fast and accurately DNA replicates. I think I appreciate everything that happens every day more because now I understand how difficult it could have been for it to be that way. Aunt, for example, has brown eyes while everyone else in her immediate family does not. For this to happen, it was a bunch of unlikely things that happened so that now she and her son have brown eyes in a family of blue eyed people. Little things like that just blow my mind.

How I can use genetics in the future:

I’m still not sure what I want to do/be when I grow up, but I know for sure I want it to have to do with science and biology. I originally wanted to be a vet, but I think I’m over that (for now, at least). I know for sure I don’t want to be a doctor, though. I’m not queasy, but if a human is hurt and it’s more than a scraped knee, I can’t look. I’m fine with animals, and I can dissect, care for, and see videos of surgeries on them, and I’m completely fine. But not for humans; I can imagine it happening to me too easily. Basically, I don’t think medical school is for me.

could imagine myself being less of a hands on biologist, and more of, say, a geneticist or something like that. Doing these sprints has opened that door a bit wider than it was before, and if I continue to enjoy learning about it when I’m older, I think I would be very happy with my career.

I’m honestly not sure what else to write, sooo…

BYE!

Completing NaNoWriMo and Pride and Prejudice

If you’ve read my past few blogs, you will know that I participated in NaNoWriMo this year. For those of  you who haven’t had the great fortune of encountering my blog before (just kidding), I will explain now. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, which happens to be November. If you are 18 and older, you write a novel (or part of a novel) only during the month of November. If you write 50,000 words or more, you “win”. If you don’t, you technically lose, but you still have more words written than you did before. If  you are 17 and younger, you can make your own word count. This year I set my goal for 18,000 words and won! This was very exciting for me. My book is named Amanzi, which means water in Zulu. I thought it was a cool word, and it ties in with the story.  I want to eventually publish it.

Now, for finishing Pride and Prejudice. Recently, at school, a group of us has been watching the BBC mini series of Pride and Prejudice. If you’ve never heard of Pride and Prejudice, it’s a novel written by Jane Austen. I’m not sure what year it was, but I think it was sometime in the 1500s. Needless to say, it’s quite old-fashioned. I like speaking to Liberty and Nancy in an old-fashioned way whenever we drink tea. “Good day, Mrs. Tilton, are your parents in good health?” “Yes, they are doing marvelously. And yours?” “Mine are spectacular as well, thank you.”

Today we finished the 6th episode, the last, and I felt kind of sad. Next week we are going to watch the movie with Kira Knightley. I’m going to try and read Pride and Prejudice over the winter.

Bye!

My Writing: Ria, 11/23/16

ALERT: I will be constantly changing my plot slightly, changing details, and my story will certainly not be in one piece for a long time. I will not be editing what I have already written until I have my entire rough draft. Until then, please bare with me and look past my grammatical errors, misspelings (pun intended), inconsistencies, and things that just don’t make sense.

Ria Anise Osborne slept silently on her bed. It was the year 2107 and she had nothing to worry about. The New Years fireworks kept booming around her neighborhood but didn’t wake her. She always was a good sleeper, even as a baby. Her curly hair fell across her closed eyelids as she turned onto her side. Her eyes slowly flickered open at 6:37am just like they did every morning. She was good at that, too. She yawned and sat up slowly. Her mint green pajama pants were too big for her and the bottom of her two pant legs were almost like socks as she walked across her bedroom. She brushed her teeth and untangled her dark brown, almost black, hair. The compact curls sprang up all around her head like a halo. They were neatly defined; each one stuck out from the others.

Ria then sat on her bed for a couple of minutes on her phone. She had gotten it for Winter Holiday. She went to the Facebook app and looked through her feed. Alex got a new hoverboard, Stella recorded a new song she’s been writing, and her father posted a hologram of him and Ria. Ria made sure to “like” the hologram.

She got dressed in her favorite outfit. Today would be exciting! Her father always took Ria out for the first day of the year. Ria walked downstairs at precisely 7am. Abner Osborne was sitting in his hoverseat at the dining table. He was drinking coffee and staring at the wall while Evie, the ICC (Intelligent Computer Companion), read the news to him. “The ozone layer is disappearing at an alarming rate, Abner. Would you like to hear more about this topic?” “Yes, please, Evie. Thank you.” Ria’s father replied. He liked to talk to Evie just like she had feelings and got hurt if her effort wasn’t appreciated. But Ria knew that Evie was just a computer. She was old enough to figure that out on her own. After all, she was almost 11 ½ years old.

“A strange chemical that has never been discovered before was released from Houston Lab in dangerous amounts,” Evie said. “The effects of it on humans and the atmosphere were unknown at the time of the accident, but it has been established nothing will be affected but the ozone layer. The ozone layer has started rapidly diminishing from the area above the lab. The gas seems to be spreading around to the size of Colorado. No warnings have been issued so far. Say “Set alarm” for your ICC to let you know whenever this story updates.” Ria noticed her father didn’t say anything. “Set an alarm,” she said. She wasn’t generally interested in world events, but this one was intriguing. “Hi, Daddy!” She ran downstairs to the table. “Good morning, Ria. Don’t you look wonderful today!” Ria blushed. “What’s the ozone layer?” Evie didn’t even give Abner a chance to answer. “A layer in the earth’s stratosphere at an altitude of about 6.2 miles (10 km) containing a high concentration of ozone, which absorbs most of the ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth from the sun.” Ria nodded slowly, digesting this new information. “So, Evie, does that mean that the ozone layer is like sunscreen for the earth?” “Affirmative.” Ria thought this through in her head. “Does that mean everything will be burnt and everybody will die?” Evie laughed her robotic laugh. “That is very possible.” At this, Abner hovered over to Evie and turned her off. “Alright, Ria. That’s enough news for the morning.” He seemed a bit flustered but shook it off quickly. “Ria, are you excited for today?” Ria nodded, her smile wide. “Alright, then. Get in the hovercar!”

Abner’s hovercar had four seats. Two of them faced the direction the car was moving. The other two faced the direction the car was coming from. This way people could sit facing each other and not hurt their necks. Ria and Abner did just that. Abner entered the address of Ria’s favorite restaurant. This was one of the few remaining places where humans actually cooked your food, not CookBots. The CookBots were extremely talented, but nothing was better than food prepared by living humans.

The family of two was seated in a booth. The restaurant was specializing in Indian Cuisine this month, which was Ria’s favorite. Ria ordered Chicken Makhani and Onion Bhaji. Abner ordered Chicken Tikka Masala. While they were waiting, the two talked about many things: Ria’s air soccer team, Abner’s new book that was almost halfway done, and Evie’s pessimistic outlook on the odds of world destruction. Once the food came, though, the talking ceased. The food was too delicious to take breaks in-between bites of food. They ate happily and gave compliments to the chef through the WaiterBot system.

Ria went straight to bed once they got home. She was extremely tired from the eventful morning. It was 1:00pm. A perfect time for a nap. Ria, no matter how tired she was, always took care of her hair. That was her most favorite part of herself. It was very, very curly. Once she asked Evie what type of hair she had. “Please stand in front of the monitor for me to see.” She said. “It looks like your hair type is 4c. This is the curliest hair can get. It looks lovely today!”

Ria slept in a hat that looked kind of like a beanie. It had all silk on the inside. This way her hair wouldn’t get messed up while she slept. It was lavender purple; her favorite color. She also changed into her green pajama pants. They were soft, flowy, and the most comfortable thing Ria owned. She lay down on her soft bed. Ria was having an amazing morning. Breakfast, obstacle courses, and spending time with her father. She thought about all this while trying to fall asleep. This wasn’t hard. Before long her eyes started to close and her breathing became steady.

Ria woke up 2 hours later. She yawned loudly and sat up, stretching her arms above her head. She stepped out of bed and stretched a little bit more. She changed out of her pajamas and into her clothes again. She was feeling slightly chilly, so she put on a sweatshirt. Ria took off her sleep cap and styled her hair, not that it was too hard. She loved wearing it naturally so she just had to shake her head around.

Then Ria started heading downstairs. On the way down she checked for her father in his room. Nope, he wasn’t there. “Daddy?”
“Good morning, Ria!” Abner was downstairs. “How was your nap?” Ria ran downstairs, skipping a few steps on the way down. “It was great!”
“Did you dream?” “Not this time.” Abner acknowledged her reply with a nod.

Ria’s father had been making a small snack of apples and brie cheese. Ria really enjoyed this snack. “Thank you, Daddy!” Abner put the plate down in front of Ria and sat down across from her at the table.
“Listen, Ria. I have something big to tell you. But I need you to promise to keep this a secret. Can you do that?”

Ria thought about this for a second. Her father sounded serious; he rarely sounded serious. “Yes.” Abner sighed. “Ok. I have to explain a few things. Are you ready to be here for a while?” Ria nodded, eager to hear what her father had to say.

“You know how I’m an author?” Ria nodded. “Well, that’s not entirely true. I am an author, but that’s just my side-job. I have a bigger job that is a secret. Only I and my co-workers know about it. And, I guess, you know about it too.” Ria’s eyes grew big. This is not what she expected to hear at all. “I work for the American government. The American government thinks that the whole world should be like us because our citizens are very, very happy. Do you know about Europe and how their people aren’t very happy?” Ria nodded. She had learned about this in school the year before. “We’ve decided that Europe has a bigger problem than the rest of the world. They are very strict and unfair there. The government thinks that if we can’t get the government over there to change, we can at least bring some people from there to be happier in America. So, that’s what we’re starting to do.” “Basically,” Ria started, “The government wants people here to adopt kids from over there. That way people will be happier. Right?” Abner smiled. “Right. My co-workers have asked if I would be willing to house someone from France.”

“You’re adopting somebody from France?” Ria was in awe. “With your permission, yes. I would like to do that. Are you on board?” Ria nodded her head vigorously. “I would love that!”

 

 

My Writing

ALERT: I will be constantly changing my plot slightly, changing details, and my story will certainly not be in one piece for a long time. I will not be editing what I have already written until I have my entire rough draft. Until then, please bare with me and look past my grammatical errors, misspelings (pun intended), inconsistencies, and things that just don’t make sense.

This is where I will put my writing, stories, and other things that I write. Feel to give me constructive criticism. Please keep in mind the notice above.

I will put the links below. Enjoy!

NANOWRIMO

Ria: http://alonalearning.agilelearningcenters.org/2016/11/23/my-writing-ria-112316/

 

Finally Starting NaNoWriMo!

This week I was going to start with math sprints, but with NaNoWriMo starting, I will probably be opting out of sprints the whole month of November.

I think that my NaNoWriMo project is going awesome so far. I have an outline for a lot of the book and I’m really liking it! I have about 2500 words so far and I’m writing an average of 500-700 words a day. Today I hope to write at least 1000.

I thought that I would share the synopsis for my book and I hope you guys will let me know what you think:

It’s the year 2107. The earth’s population has been divided into three groups: the Saggios, the Ronis, and the Mutlus. When a newly discovered chemical is released from a lab, the results are terrifying. The human race must move underwater if it is to survive. With the limit of recruits at one thousand people, the stakes are high. Follow Ria, Zoe, and Oliver, three kids growing up in three very different worlds, as they face hard times and ask the question on everyone’s tongues; who will survive?

Please feel free to leave constructive criticism in the comments.

Wings Sprint #3

I think I’m going to change my sprint to math for a while.

I’ve been really enjoying learning about genetics, and in a perfect world I would keep learning about it, but I feel like I need to work on some other things. I’m super behind (well, you know, “behind”) in math. I would like to be able to keep up with other teens my age in this subject and I feel that sprints would be the thing to help me do that. My mom said that she would like for me to catch up on math, and I was doing math every day this summer, but once school started I stopped. I found that I really enjoyed math on Khan Academy, almost as much as genetics, but I don’t think I can focus on two things at once right now.

TL;DR My next sprint(s) will be about math, not genetics.

Anyway, to get to this week’s sprint! I finally completed this section of Khan that I have been trying to get through for weeks! This section was pretty difficult for me as it focused more on how DNA replicates instead of punnet squares, hereditary disorders, butterflies, and rainbows.

Here are my thoughts for days through the week:

“I learned about how DNA replicates itself. There are tons of things happening at one time. The DNA unwinds from its double helix shape, the two sides are split apart, a machine goes and fills in the space left (creating two different DNA molecules out of just one). Now we have two different DNA molecules and they each replicate and now we have four. According to the video 700-1000 base pairs (I think this means DNA?) are replicated every second. Or, we start with one DNA Molecule and in one second that one has turned into 700 something. Crazy. What’s amazing is how fast this happens and how accurate it is at the same time. There are only mistakes around about ever 10million sequences. Afterward, something goes through and corrects mistakes. Then it’s every 10 billion there is one mistake!” 

“I learned about how people figured out how DNA replicates. In the 1950s scientists knew/guessed that DNA could replicate in any one of 3 ways. The Conservative, Semi-Conservative, and Dispersive models. I didn’t really understand this part too well, so I’ll copy and paste info about each one.

Conservative
“In this model, DNA replication results in one molecule that consists of both original DNA strands (identical to the original DNA molecule) and another molecule that consists of two new strands (with exactly the same sequences as the original molecule).

Semi-Conservative
“In this model, the two strands of DNA unwind from each other, and each acts as a template for synthesis of a new, complementary strand. This results in two DNA molecules with one original strand and one new strand.”

Dispersive
“In the dispersive model, DNA replication results in two DNA molecules that are mixtures, or “hybrids,” of parental and daughter DNA. In this model, each individual strand is a patchwork of original and new DNA.”
As you might have guessed, it turned out that DNA actually replicates with the semi-conservative model. This is how that was discovered:

Two scientists, Meselson and Stahl, wanted to figure out how DNA was replicated. They grew E. coli in a substance that had heavy nitrogen, whatever that is. “When grown on medium containing heavy Nitrogen, the bacteria took up the nitrogen and used it to synthesize new biological molecules, including DNA.” After a few generations, the scientists switched to the Light Nitrogen instead of Heavy. They used centrifugation to measure the density of the DNA and used that to figure out how the DNA had to be replicated. “This method separates molecules such as DNA into bands by spinning them at high speeds in the presence of another molecule, such as cesium chloride, that forms a density gradient from the top to the bottom of the spinning tube. Density gradient centrifugation allows very small differences—like those between
Heavy and Light Nitrogen DNA—to be detected.”

Basically, the experiment showed that the later E. coli DNA grown in only light Nitrogen still had more density from heavy Nitrogen. That means that the DNA replication model had to be Semi-Conservative.”

“In the first article, I learned about how DNA’s mutations and problems in get fixed during and after replication. I’ve already explained it, so I won’t go into detail. I also learned about how DNA gets damaged when you get sunburned. Something can happen where if you get a sunburn and you have two Thymines next to each other then they can form a bond.That messes up the structure of the double helix and forms a sort of bubble. The affected bases surrounding the Thymines will be cut out of the strand and a new set of bases will be put in. The article also mentioned that there is a disorder where if the person is in the sun for even just a few minutes they will get sunburned. This is because the DNA can’t be fixed.”

Something that I noticed this week was that it was more difficult for me to complete my daily tasks. I think that is because I enjoy watching videos much more than I do reading articles. This week I had all articles; no videos. That made me not want to do it as much and put it off during the day. I think I might also be getting a bit tired of genetics after doing it for so long.

Tomis asked us Wings peeps to write what made us want to focus on we have been focusing on in our sprints.

I have a couple of reason why I have been focusing on genetics.

  1. I am pretty positive that I want a career in biology, medicine, or mammalogy. I have, for as long as I can remember, wanted to be a vet, “animal rescuer”, ecologist, zoo keeper, or owner of large cats. I’ve been thinking recently about a more specific job that I might want. I figure that since I’m in a school where I can learn about what I want, I might as well take advantage of that and learn about what I could do in the future. I thought that knowledge of genetics might benefit me in future classes or courses I might take.

2. I really enjoyed learning about it. I decided one day that I would try and learn about genetics. Just for fun. I found that I really enjoyed learning about it, and I thought “Hey, maybe I could be a young genetics genius!” Well, not really. But bragging and showing off might have been a small part of my decision to continue.

grumpy-cat

 

Sick

I only went to school this week on Thursday and Friday. This is because I had been sick all week. As a result of that, I don’t really have anything to blog about. My week included a few things. The TV show Lost (my favorite), cleaning up my room and the downstairs when I was feeling better, and taking care of my new foster kitten, Minerva. I had a stuffy nose, sore throat, coughing, chills, and slight fever. This wasn’t fun at all! I also wasn’t hungry. I went a whole day without eating until I forced myself to eat a little bit. I went through 3 tissue boxes.

At school this week I went to Hobby Lobby, played with Minerva (we bring her to school), watched a documentary called The Journey of Man  (SUPER interesting!!), read, and played Howrse. I also went to the Spanish restaurant today.

Bye!

Figuring out my parents’ eye color alleles

A couple days ago, Elisha, my sister ( @animalfreak9 ), commented on one of my blog posts. She asked what the chances of her inheriting hazel eyes was. At first, I dismissed the idea as impossible. I didn’t think it could happen with my mom having blue eyes. But then I did some more research.

I learned that brown eyes are dominant over all, hazel and green are dominant over blue, and blue is completely recessive. This means that for Elisha to have hazel eyes, she would only need one hazel allele from my dad. My mom’s blue eyed allele that my mom had to of given Elisha wouldn’t have affected it (My mom’s eye color genotype MUST be bb, or blue and blue. This is because to have blue eyes you must be homozygous(have two of) recessive (blue eye alleles).)

That’s right. To have blue eyes you have to have 2 blue eyes alleles. That means, you guessed it, my dad needs to have a blue eyed allele! Otherwise, Elisha and I wouldn’t have blue eyes. The other allele my dad has would overpower my mom’s blue allele.

Now I knew that my mom’s genotype for eye color is bb (blue eye and blue eye) while my dad must have a b allele as well. There isn’t any way his genotype is bb, though, because he has hazel eyes! This means he MUST have a hazel allele! That means that my mom is bb and my dad is Gb (hazel and  blue). That results in a 50% chance of Elisha (or me, for that matter) having hazel or greenish eyes. TA DA!

 

Keep in mind I started learning about genetics this summer. I am also 13 years old. There is a high chance that I messed up/was misinformed in some degree/read the wrong answer on the internet/am just plain wrong and am making stuff up as I go unknowingly.

But, on the other hand I could be totally right!