Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Self Evaluation III

I had eleven posts this period and commented on others blogs about once a week except for this last week where I commented on 7 or 8 posts. I didn't realize how far I was falling behind on the comments until I started writing this. My post for this evaluation period have been much more personable and I have let the reader see more of my life through my video posts and using myself as a guinea pig in my at home experiments. I was definitely pressed for time this semester so my blogs came in spurts when I had some downtime. I would have liked to spread those out a bit with more consistent posting.

I feel as if I now have more knowledge on different forms of communicating. Now when I communicate with others I actively think how should I change my style or approach to cater to this particular group. I no longer try to communicate with everyone the same way. I have a lot more fun communicating with people using the lower organs and cultivating dialog so I try to do so when acceptable.    


So this is it. The good bye post. I am sorry to say to all my loyal followers (if I have any) that my blogging days are done. It has been fun, tedious at times, but fun none the less. I hope you have enjoyed reading my posts and watching me say "awesome" repeatedly. Thanks for following.

Osmosis Revisited

Statkraft's osmotic energy plant
A few people have told me that they do not understand what is full happening with the egg and the osmosis experiment so I thought I would try to explain what is going on a little differently. So first of all diffusion, again, is the transport of some substance in solution (aka the solute) from a point of high concentration to a point of low concentration. It will continue to happen until the entire solution is the exact same (watch the glass with red dye for an example).In the end the dye (the solute) is found at equal concentrations all over the glass.
Osmosis is a special type of diffusion where the water moves to equal out the concentrations instead of the solute. Osmosis occurs because there is a barrier that does not allow the solute to pass but does allow water (aka semi permeable membrane). So imagine a fish tank filled with water. If you were to put a semi permeable membrane that split the fish tank in to two compartments water levels would not change. The water has no driving force left or right. If you now dump a lot of salt in to the left side of the tank water would begin to flow from across the membrane from the right to the left. Since the concentration of salt on the left is higher and salt can not pass through the membrane water will move to equalize the concentrations by flowing to the left side and diluting the concentration of salt. So in the case of the egg, which has lots of proteins, ions and other solutes particles inside, water was flowing in to the egg to try to equalize the concentration of solute inside the egg to match that of outside the egg. Osmosis can only pull water in with so much force and eventually it will reach equilibrium with the force of the pressure created by moving the water into the egg. At that point water will no flow.
The cup where I added salt and soy sauce to the water, the water did not flow into the egg because there was as much osmosis pulling water out of the egg as in to it. In the cup with red dye water still flowed into the egg because the dye did not act like a typical solute. It was able to flow through the membrane with the water therefore it maintained equal concentrations and did not create any osmotic forces.
I hope this has helped clear up the topic of osmosis. It really is an important phenomena that is being use in engineering projects like reverse osmosis water filtration systems and in Norway Statkraft is actually building a power plant based off of osmotic energy. The idea is rather old but we are just beginning to be able to build the membranes needed for large scale processing of osmotic energy. This is a very exciting new form of renewable energy with firm grounds in biotechnology.

Monday, May 2, 2011

E-Cigarettes, A Safer way to Smoke?

It seems like every time I sit down at the bus stop or any other public place there is someone there just puffing away on a cigarette. Nothing annoys me more than second hand smoke. I don't really care if it is unhealthy or not to breath second hand smoke I just don't like the smell. Needless to say I am big fan of those new smokeless e-cigarettes. The smoker gets their nicotine and I don't have to smell it. But is it any safer for the smoker? Common sense says yes. Since you are only inhaling vaporized nicotine there is no tobacco with all of its carcinogens. But you are still inhaling nicotine which could be a major a major health concern. The British Medical Journal says there is no conducive evidence either for or against e-cigarettes over the traditional ones. More studies must be done to prove that these are a truly healthier option. The guys trying to sell the new e-cigs may try to tell you that they are the exact same as the nicotine patch or gum except now you can retain the feel of smoking, but it is just not true. You are breathing in the nicotine so its delivery pathway is much different than that of the gum or patch which could lead to health problems more associated with smoking. But if any smoker out there really cared about their health they would stop smoking. So smokers there is no point yet in switching over to the new e-cigs for yourself just yet, but there are people all around you, like me, that wish you would. If you would like to be more well liked by the general population please switch to e-cigarettes.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tibetan Terriers are More than Good Dogs

If you have ever owned a Tibetan Terrier you know they are amazingly wonderful dogs a little difficult to groom but lovable non the less. One problem with the breed though is that pure breds have a tendency to contract neuronal ceroid-lipofuscinosis or NCL which is a degenerative neurological disorder like Parkinson's in humans. The dog slowly loses vision and muscle control. Eventually the dog will begin to have seizures and can become irritable and aggressive as the disease takes its toll.Not a fun time. Luckily though a PhD student in Missouri located the faulty gene in the terriers so dogs can now be screened to see if they carry the mutated gene before they are bred. This should greatly reduce the number of Tibetan Terriers with the disease.

This is not only good news for dogs but humans as well. Researchers used the map of the terrier's genome to find what disease if any is associated with the equivalent human gene. And low and behold a form of Parkinson's is associated with the gene in humans. Since researchers know that NCL is caused by the bodies inability to breakdown and recycle some of its used up material which begins to build up in the brain causing the symptoms. They could believe that this same occurrence could be causing this form of Parkinson's and can hopefully start looking for cures or better medications to slow the effects of the disease.    

Friday, April 22, 2011

Free Energy Machine

To clear up any confusion all of the eggs were first soaked in vinegar to remove the shells. Then one egg was move to water bath, one egg was moved to water and food coloring bath, and one egg was moved to a salt water and soy sauce bath. I only show myself adding salt  because I did not think of adding soy sauce to get some proteins in the water until after I had finished filming. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Water Diffusion

As promised in my previous post here is the video of the red dye diffusing in water at 80X real speed.