Tagged: science

Learning to ask the “right” questions

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a quick audiobook-inspired sketch from last week

Six forty-five in the morning. Light has barely touched the sky, and I’m sitting in AP biology class surrounded by my half-asleep friends as we shuffle through our immense binders for fresh note paper. Our teacher mills around the front of the classroom prepping slides, video links, and in-class demos to fill our tenth-grade brains with exciting new knowledge (massive shoutout, she was/is the best).

During those high school biology days, I clung to the goal of having all the right answers at the drop of a question (yeah, yeah, I was another wannabe Hermione Granger, so what?). My favorite part of the class was when our teacher would ask us about connections– what other parts of the body may this impact? What other portions of the ecosystem are interwoven here? How may genes influence entire populations of animals? Before this class, I hadn’t considered any of these questions and more.  Continue reading

reflections as a student of science communication

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Why choose a to tell one story over another? Sometimes it’s interest, sometimes it’s inspiration, and other times it’s intrusion. I am relatively new to the rising wave emphasizing science communication, but here are a few of my current thoughts dumped into text so I can (hopefully) continue to process them as I learn more. Continue reading

redwoods: a mini-zine

I grew up in Northern California, a key home to some of our planet’s largest organisms– redwood trees. My family would frequently make the trek to Yosemite to visit the old growth forests of giant sequoias. My cousins and I traced trails through the base of Mount Tam in San Francisco in search of the tallest possible trees. When I learned to drive, my friends and I would often take to Highway 1 during long weekends, winding up in the midst of hundreds of coast redwoods. Continue reading

Lessons from a stranded bus and late night microscope work

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Back in November, the week of Thanksgiving break (actually, the night before Thanksgiving day), I found myself stranded at 12:35am with fifty other people and steady rain in a parking lot in downtown Los Angeles. Usually, I fly back to the Bay Area from my school in San Diego– if I book my tickets sufficiently in advance, the costs are worth the visit back home; however, this time, I didn’t book my flight tickets early enough. Seat availability plummeted, prices skyrocketed, and I decided that taking the budget-friendly bus would be a good alternative.

I didn’t sleep more than an hour that night. We ended up left in that parking lot for reasons I’m to this day unsure of– the bus driver had stopped, told us all to vacate the bus because we were supposed to transfer, and promptly drove off as soon as the last person had removed their bag from the under-bus storage. Needless to say, there was no transfer.

We were in that parking lot for about an hour and a half until the company sent a replacement bus to pick us up. I tried to doze off again on this bus, but the frigid air blowing through the vents kept my mind active even though my body was craving rest. We made it to San Francisco by seven thirty in the morning, and I reached my home by eight. Continue reading

On Science Education and Stinky Plants

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I waited in line for twenty minutes. At this point, the long string of people almost wrapped around the corner of the building. When I finally walk into the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco, a blast of humid air envelops me, closely followed by a musty, almost foul smell. I feel a grin stretching across my face as I trace the scent through a tropical plant oasis into the large gallery that holds the perpetrator.

A titan arum plant, popularly known as the “corpse flower” for its stench, awaits in its terra cotta planter home. A long, yellow protrusion–the spadix–rises from the center of an open, frilly base. The spathe, I remind myself, studying the maroon and green folds of the leaf structure before I tune in to a staff member talking to a mass of wide-eyed visitors.

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Ed Sheeran meets prehistoric flying reptiles

This Week’s Episode: The Universe Holds the Key to People

It all started with a biology project.

For the AP Bio course I’m taking this upcoming school year, there’s a lot of summer homework. There were two projects in total on the list- both concerning our natural environment and organisms inhabiting them. I have until August 5th (Tuesday) to finish both of them, along with a bunch of reading and study guides. I’d like to say that I got a super early head start on all this homework, but… I didn’t. Oops.

The instructions for the project I was working on today were quite simple, in some sense: I was to go out and photograph organisms from certain domains, kingdoms, and phyla (my teacher gave us a list of eighteen different categories). I managed to find most of what I needed around our house and at a nearby park, but then there was the matter of marine creatures- sea stars, jellyfish, you get the idea.

At first I was panicking; how in the world was I supposed to find all of the things I needed in such a short time? But living near San Francisco does have its perks.

Continue reading