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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 8PM @ the Bell House, The Secret Science Club presents invertebrate zoologist and leech expert Mark Siddall, FREE!

Spineless wonders! Bloodsucking beasts! Creepy, crawly coolness!

Using his own body as a lure, Mark Siddall wades into Rwandan wetlands, rain forests of Madagascar, and swamps of French Guiana in quest of intriguing leech specimens, such as the world’s largest species, the 18-inch-long Giant Amazon Leech. It's all in the name of exploring leech biodiversity, leech evolution, blood-feeding behavior, and these beasties' anticoagulant abilities. Dr. Siddall asks:

--Why does the newly discovered Tyrant Leech King, a.k.a. T. rex, favor dining on mucus membranes, such as the inside of the human nose?
--What are legitimate (as well as highly suspect) health uses for European medicinal leeches (Hirudo medicinalis) and how did these creatures evolve their anticoagulant abilities?
--How might chemicals in leech saliva be used to develop new drugs to prevent heart attacks and fight cancer?
--Is there a symbiotic relationship between leeches and the microbes that live inside them? How have advances in molecular and digital imaging transformed the study of microfauna?

Mark Siddall is curator of Annelida and Protozoa at the AmericanMuseum of Natural History, professor of invertebrate zoology at the Richard Gilder Graduate School, and principal investigator at the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics. The author of dozens of scientific papers, Dr. Siddall has been a featured scientist in the New York Times, Discover, and on PBS NOVA ScienceNOW.

Before & After
--Wiggle to grooves that wriggle
--Try our naturalist-inspired cocktail of the night, the Bloody Marky
--Stick around for the hemoglobin-powered Q&A

This sanguine edition of the Secret Science Club meets Tuesday, December 11, 8 pm @ the Bell House, 149 7th St.(between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave.

Doors open at 7:30 pm.  Please bring ID: 21+

No cover. Just bring your smart self! 

Photo courtesy of NOVA ScienceNOW.

Monday, November 26, 2012

ALERT! SANDY BENEFIT FOR NY AQUARIUM STAFF DEVASTATED BY STORM. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 27.

Hey, science friends. As many of you know, the NY Aquarium was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. Many aquarium staff also lost their homes and belongings to the storm, while they tirelessly protected the sea animals in their care. One of them was shark researcher Hans Walters who gave an amazing talk at the Secret Science Club during Shark Week in August. You can help him and his colleagues recover—and thank them for defending the aquarium—at a super-fintastic fundraiser Tuesday, November 27, 6:30 to 9:30 pm at Irish Exit in Manhattan, 978 2nd Ave (between 51st and 52nd). A $15 cover gets you half-price drinks and $5 appetizers. Zookeeper James Gottlieb of the Prospect Park Zoo will be guest bartending—and he’s donating all his tips to the cause! 

Find out more or make a donation here: http://nyaqfundraiser.wordpress.com/

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 8PM @ the Bell House, FREE! The Secret Science Club presents the "Science of Sandy and Extreme Weather" with Atmospheric Scientist Adam Sobel

On October 29, Hurricane Sandy morphed into an epic Frankenstorm that annihilated coastal neighborhoods in New York and New Jersey and sent the Atlantic Ocean, Hudson and East rivers, and Gowanus Canal pouring into our homes, businesses, and critical urban infrastructure.

Climate scientist and physicist Adam Sobel of Columbia University and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory joins the Secret Science Club to discuss the science of Sandy and extreme weather. He asks: 
--How did Sandy evolve into a superstorm and why was it so devastating? Are more powerful hurricanes and megastorms the new norm?
--What meteorological models and techniques were used to project Sandy’s destructive path? What do we need to know in order to be better prepared?
--How will climate change affect forecasting, sea levels, urban storm surge models, and future weather events?

Dr. Sobel is an atmospheric scientist and professor at Columbia University in the departments of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics. He specializes in the dynamics of climate and weather, particularly in the tropics, on time scales of days to decades. He is author or co-author of more than 85 peer-reviewed articles and has received the Meisinger Award from the American Meteorological Society and the Excellence in Mentoring Award from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. He is a featured scientist on this week’s PBS NOVA Special Presentation: Inside the Megastorm, airing Sun, Nov 18 at 7 pm and Wed, Nov 21 at 9 pm.

Before & After
--Try our balmy cocktail of the night, the Gentle Breeze
--Sway to temperate tunes
--Don’t miss the clement Q&A!

This edition of the Secret Science Club meets Tuesday, November 20, 8 pm @ the Bell House, 149 7th St.(between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave.

No cover. Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Secret Science Club hosts the Imagine Science Film Festival and a NIGHT OF SCI-TASTIC CINEMA @ the Bell House, Wed., Nov. 14, 8PM, FREE!

The Secret Science Club is teaming up with the Imagine Science Film Festival for “Controlled Experiments,” a night of science-inspired short films!

Animation. Documentary. Music Video. Live Experiments! Don’t miss some of the Imagine Science Film Festival’s trippiest, coolest, most futuristic entries from around the Universe including Locus Solus, Flutter, Insane in the Chromatophores, The Whiskey Water Trick, SpacePart12, Microscopic Opera, and much more!

Before & After
--Try our animated cocktail of the night, the Zoetrope
--Groove to cinematic sounds
--Board the BioBus outside the Bell House, talk to researchers, and peer into microscopes
--Plus! A live experiment/performance by filmmaker/provocateur Luis Nieto… science meets the surreal.

The Secret Science Club hosts the Imagine Science Film Festival on Wednesday, November 14, 8 pm @ the Bell House, 149 7th St.(between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave; R to 9th St.

FREE! Doors open at 7:30 PM. Please bring ID: 21+

The Imagine Science Film Festival runs from November 8 to 16 at venues all over NYC. Visit here for a complete schedule of films.

ALERT: VOLUNTEERS/DONATIONS STILL NEEDED FOR
POST-SANDY EMERGENCY RELIEF
Hey, science peeps, help is still urgently needed to get supplies and services to folks stranded in shelters, unheated homes, and high-rise buildings without electricity or running water. Here are two awesome local groups that are mobilizing volunteers, making meals, accepting and transporting supplies, and posting immediate needs on their sites. Check them out! And thanks...
                                                  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Examples of Bad Writing That Got Published AnywayExamples of Bad Writing That Got Published Anyway

    Thus, it would seem reasonable that shortening of 10 cm at skeletal maturity or predicted shortening of this amount when the child reaches adulthood would be sufficient to consider Syme amputation.

That was published. What does it mean? Well, you have to stop and think about it, don't you? Break it up into phrases. Shift some things around in your mind. Presumably your mind will reach a conclusion similar to:

    A Syme amputation should be considered for a shortening or predicted shortening of 10 cm at skeletal maturity.

I don't think the reader should have to work that hard.

Here's another.

    If the organism demonstrates to be a staph on the gram stain, one may consider drilling the femoral neck for prophylactic decompression as this may be secondary to a metaphyseal osteomyelitis.

That's nice. Say it three times fast. Basically, it's a little if... then statement. Very useful to the medical profession. If you see this symptom, then you do that procedure. Why make that so hard to figure out?

    If the gram stain shows staphylococci, consider drilling the femoral neck to drain the metaphyseal abscess.

That's better.


Nathaniel Hawthorne never did any scientific writing that I know about, but do you know what he did write? "Easy reading is damn hard writing."

I like that better than I do his novels and short stories. Here's something Hawthorne didn't write:

    It has been suggested that the utilization of surgical intervention be deferred until attenuation of the infectious symptomatology.

Freeze.

It has been suggested that... ? I call those "weasel words." Delete them. Always. Also, teach your word processor how to replace "utilize" with "use." But you know what? In this case, we can do even better than that.

    LaRocca recommends that surgery be delayed if the patient has an infection.

That's better. Or if you'd rather not dump the responsibility on your good buddy LaRocca because the patient died, try:

    Surgery should be delayed if the patient has an infection.

That'll work.

George Orwell noted that good writing is like a window pane. Here's an author who needs a big ol' shot of Windex:

    It is common for the need to voluntarily evacuate the pouch to occur on one occasion nightly; more frequent defecation interfering with the patient's sleep has not been encountered in our continent patients.

Thirty-three words. That's bad.

    Patients who are continent need only empty their stomach pouches once each night.

Thirteen words. That's good.

I refer to long-winded passive-voice writing that leaves readers wondering "What does that mean?" as speed bumps. You're cruising along at a nice steady pace, reading something, and BAM you've got to stop or slow down. Double back. Sort out the meaning that the author hid because of laziness, incompetence, or unclear thinking.

In writing, speed bumps are bad. Will the reader start reading again, or will he put down your article and go do something else?

Does this author even care? Is he even trying? Make an Acquisitions Editor wonder that enough times and you won't have a reader, because you won't get published at all.

It kinda nags at me that these were actually published, by the way. We've got a bad case of don't-care-itis to treat. Here's another symptom:

    The study confirmed the hypothesis that clinical instructors of undergraduate medical students would choose instructional techniques limiting active student involvement in patient care activities when faced with problematical situations.

When I gave this lecture to undergraduate medical students in Thailand, they should've all known what that sentence meant because they were experiencing it. But I didn't always give them time to "translate" the bad English into good English before I blurted out the answer.

    Medical teachers of undergraduates tend not to let students look after difficult patients.

Yeah, my examples lean heavily toward medicine, because I lectured for so long at Chiang Mai University's teaching hospital. But my examples and my message apply to all scientific writing.

Remember when I said you should read your writing aloud? One good reason for that is, if you do, you'll automatically simplify the sentences as you go. That's good.

For the other reason, I'm going to detour briefly into fiction.

    "I'm coming," he ejaculated.

There's no way you could read that aloud without bursting into laughter. Then you'd delete it from your manuscript and make the world a better place.

Finally, let's detour briefly to the US government. The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires that government documents are written in "plain language" which is defined as "writing that is clear, concise, well-organized, and follows other best practices appropriate to the subject or field and intended audience."

So what I'm teaching you here isn't just a good idea. It's the law.

 From the Department of Health and Human Services:

    The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a half hour or more of moderate physical activity on most days, preferably every day. The activity can include brisk walking, calisthenics, home care, gardening, moderate sports exercise, and dancing.

That was changed to:

    Do at least 30 minutes of exercise, like brisk walking, most days of the week.

A few examples were sacrificed, but the meaning is the same and it's certainly easier to understand.

    After notification of NMFS, this final rule requires all CA/OR DGN vessel operators to have attended one Skipper Education Workshop after all workshops have been convened by NMFS in September.

That's nice. I wonder what it means.

    Vessel operators must attend a skipper education workshop before commencing fishing.

Okay. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Organic Evolution Debate

The organic evolution debate is really based on philosophy and theology, not experimental science. This means that the debate can never be settled with current information.

The polemical struggles among Atheistic Evolution, Creationism, and Intelligent Design seem to go on forever. One might imagine that if organic evolution were as scientifically based as its advocates claim, then any disputes could be settled easily and quickly by a few simple experiments. But after about 150 years, the conflict seems to rage more than ever before. Much of the difficulty stems from the inability of the evolution advocates to offer anything more concrete than creative speculation on the original source of life and on the source of our astronomically complex DNA.

The microscopic bandwidth for change inherent in the current theory of descent with modification through mutation of DNA cannot explain the explosion of life forms and structures within the relatively short lifespan of the earth. Evolutionists mock the "young earth" creationists, but they have their own problems with a "young earth," as they try to compress trillions of trillions of years of random changes into a mere 4 billion years. They speak of "deep time," but in the mathematical world of probability, a mere 4 billion years does not begin to touch the "deep time" required to accomplish all the inventions and specie differentiation of their magical evolution. Richard Dawkins seemed to acknowledge this problem when he suggested in an interview that aliens transferring life to earth might be considered a possibility.

One of the unacknowledged logical consequences of their supposedly unstoppable "descent with modification" process, is that there needs to be trillions of mass extinctions in order for the current set of species to appear unique and stable. The basic idea is that among a large population of a particular species, a few of those creatures acquire some superior traits. For those traits to become dominant, all other similar creatures must die off. This would logically have happened trillions of times in the development of the 10 million species on earth. This implies that the entire earth should be covered several meters deep with the bones of every conceivable creature. A large portion of the mass of the earth would be in bodily remains of various species. The "bears to whales" speculation should have produced some very interesting results. The other alternative is that we would see millions of similar creatures all alive at once, showing infinitesimal incremental changes among them. Since we see neither the almost limitless piles of dead fossils, or the nearly infinite gradations of living fossils, we must conclude that their speculation on this point is implausible.

By implication, evolutionists assert that the "science" of evolution is too important in the scheme of things to have to be held subject to the normal requirements of science, including experimental proofs and surviving experiments designed to disprove it. It is acceptable, and perhaps even required, to ignore probability, statistics, the second law of thermodynamics, even simple logic, to uphold their philosophy-based assertions. Evolutionists become disturbed when people say that it takes as much "faith" to believe the atheist creation myths of evolution as it does to believe the creation myths of Christianity. But since their most important assertions cannot be verified by common experience or even by complex and controlled experiments, it must be either "faith" or faith by another name, perhaps the "suspension of disbelief," that must be operating here. See http://www.EvolutionAtBYU.com for more information.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How To Use Ohm's Law

Probably the most important mathematical relationship between voltage, current and resistance in electricity is described as "Ohm's Law". In 1827, George Ohm developed his well-known formula concerning electricity after performing various experiments and studies. Ohm's formula is used to find out the required resistance, voltage or current values so that we can design circuits and choose the right components. For example Ohm's law is used to determine the correct resistor value in a circuit when the voltage is known and you would like to limit the current to a certain value.

Ohm's Law is defined as V = I x R, whereby V is the voltage, I is the current and R is the resistance (in Ohms). When using the equation in practice, the value of all of the components can be more easily determined by rewriting the equation. When you would like to find the current you can use I = V / R or when you like to find the resistance value you can use R = V / I.

If we write Ohm's law as I = V / R, it lets us know that the electrical current in a circuit can be calculated by dividing the voltage by the resistance. In other words, the current is directly proportional to the voltage and inversely proportional to the resistance. And so, an increase in the voltage will increase the current provided that the resistance is held constant. Alternatively, if the resistance in a circuit increases and the voltage doesn't change, the current will decrease.

If you'll want to determine the voltage in the event that the resistance as well as current are known, you can utilize the formulation V = I x R. The formula shows us that if either the current or the resistance increase in a circuit (when the other stays the same), the voltage will also have to increase.

The resistance in a circuit may be computed with R = V / I. When the current is kept constant, a rise in voltage will result in a rise in resistance. An increased current while voltage stays constant will lower resistance. It must be noted that for a wide variety of materials used as a resistor (such as metals) the resistance is fixed and does not depend on the amount of current or voltage. In semiconductors however, the resistance is often dependent on the current or voltage level.

To get a better understanding on the mathematical relationship between voltage, resistance and current, Ohm's Law is very useful.

Want to learn more about ohms law and resistors in general, than please visit the resistor guide, the most extensive resource on everything related to electrical resistors.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

8 Jedi Mastery of Organic Chemistry Tips

Mostly every student I've ever tutored wanted an "A" in Organic Chemistry. What is the meaning of an "A"? It means you've mastered the subject. Like Qui-Gon Jinn, you've become a Jedi Master (of O-Chem). This takes dedication, perseverance and hard work.

Indicated are some tips I've picked up along the way to help you get that "A" you want so much!

Jedi Master of O-Chem Tips

    Learn to speed write and draw so you can take "super notes". Yes, you're notes will be messy, however everything will be OK as long as you can read them. Many times professors will tell you VERY important things about exceptions to rules and subtleties of the chemistry without writing on the board. When you write more quickly, you can then spend more time LISTENING to what your professor says. Copy these things down, and place the important "tidbits" in boxes.

    Re-copy your notes. This is a bit more work, however if done within a few hours of lecture you might be amazed at just how much more this reinforces your knowledge and understanding of the material.

    Know ALL the functional groups. Make flash cards with the groups on one side and the names (common and IUPAC) on the other side. Keep these with you wherever you go. When others are playing video games on their cell phones, whip out your flash cards and get ahead.

    Know ALL the common reactions. Grignard additions to carbonyl compounds; Michael additions to enones, enals, enenitriles; Aldol condensations; Claisen condensations; Robinson annulations, etc. Make flash cards for these too so you know them as soon as you see the starting materials and reagents.

    Learn to think in terms of mechanisms. Memorization here is insufficient. It is important to understand reactivity trends such as activating carbonyl compounds to further polarize them for nucleophilic addition, turning poor leaving groups into good ones via protonation or other "priming" strategies. Push electrons, push electrons, push electrons. The odds are good that, if you can draw a logical flow of electron pushing without breaking rules, the mechanism you come up with is a reasonable one.

    Keep the BIG PICTURE in mind. Everything you learn leads to something else upon which you will continue to build. Just like life itself, Organic Chemistry is cumulative. Continue to review as you learn more material. This makes life much easier for you when finals come around.

    Work as many problems as possible. The most fundamental way of learning the principles of Organic Chemistry is through their application. Keep in mind sometimes professors take exam questions from textbooks different from the one you're using. Use multiple textbooks when possible.

    Get a professional tutor (M.S. in O-Chem or better with experience, passion for teaching, and enthusiasm for the subject) as soon as you suspect you are having trouble. Without exception, novice tutors will give you novice results. NEVER go unprepared into any exam.

The most challenging exam you'll have in O-Chem I is SN1, SN2, E1, E2. Know this the first day of class. The most challenging exam you'll have in O-Chem II is carbonyl chemistry and reaction mechanisms. Don't be caught off guard - keep these things in mind.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Monday, October 22, 8PM @ the Bell House, FREE! They Live Among Us! For our "Shocktober" edition, Secret Science Club explores urban evolution and the wild beasts of New York City with biologist Jason Munshi-South

They stalk. They scurry. They haunt the night!

New York is one of the most heavily urbanized places in the world.
And yet . . . alongside the human metropolis—in the parks, beneath the rivers, among hidden groves of trees—is a clawing, crawling, creeping creature-filled world.

Evolutionary biologist Jason Munshi-South of CUNY has tracked elephants in Central Africa and proboscis monkeys in Borneo. Now he is on the trail of elusive animals living right under our noses and rarely glimpsed by unsuspecting humans. Employing the tools of landscape genetics, population genomics, and field studies, he asks:

--What ecosystems survive in the city, and how are NYC’s parks like the Gal├ípagos Islands?
--What impacts do human activities have on wild populations? Have urban-dwelling species evolved?
--What might studying the genetic adaptations of urban wildlife tell us about human disease? Just as mice are used as models in laboratories, might wild mice be used as models to study how humans are affected by urbanization?

Before & After
--Try our cocktail of the night, the Creature Feature
--Groove to wild tunes
--Enter our beastly trivia contest
--Stick around for the scarily informative Q&A!

This Shocktober edition of the Secret Science Clubmeets Monday, October 22, 8 pm @ the Bell House, 149 7th St.(between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave; R to 9th St.

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+. 

No cover. Just bring your smart self!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Visual-Spatial Vs Auditory-Sequential Learning in Organic Chemistry

Organic Chemistry is a visual-spatial scientific discipline requiring an educational approach unique in comparison to other sciences.

Those who teach in primary or secondary schools obtain degrees in a variety of subjects. With many schools, one need only take two college level courses to be certified proficient in the subject at the high school level. Career non-university teachers must take course work beyond the baccalaureate level, including education, in order to obtain their teaching credential. Quite ironically, professors at Universities are not required to take a single course in education to teach the subject most related to their Ph.D.

Some professors are natural educators, while others must work at it. Some natural educators work on becoming truly amazing educators via study of teaching methods and psychology of education. In principle, educational psychology is the study of how humans learn in educational settings. This necessarily involves the psychology of teaching, however extends to both cognitive and perceptual psychology, each of which is a separate sub-discipline, however one overlaps with the other. Cognitive psychology involves the study of thought processes, perception, memory, neuroscience and learning. How might exploration of a social science lead to becoming an extraordinary chemistry professor?

I've been a student of analytical psychology for more than ten years. Recently, my interests in psychology have shifted toward cognition and neuroscience. Most of my development as a teacher was not related to anything I did in the classroom, rather it had more to do with my experience as a tutor. The advantage I have as a tutor is the one-on-one relationship with the student. Over the years, I was able to observe two primary modes of learning endemic to every student. This fostered my interest in cognitive and perceptual psychology, and the understanding of these modes has helped me grow as an educator.

The concepts of auditory-sequential and visual spatial learning have been around for almost three decades. Auditory-sequential learners are those who (1) think primarily in words; (2) learn sequentially by progressing from easy to difficult material; (3) can easily focus on details; (4) excel at memorization; (5) feel most comfortable with one "right answer"; (6) are analytical thinkers; and (7) excel at algebra and general chemistry. They are left-brain dominant, making excellent accountants, bankers, engineers, lawyers, mathematicians, physicians, and scientists. Linear-sequential teaching and thinking are the standard in American education.

Visual-spatial learners, on the other hand, are those who (1) think primarily in multi-dimensional images; (2) learn holistically, mastering complex skills easily however struggle with simple skills; (3) see the "big picture" at the expense of details; (4) excel at seeing relationships; (5) generate unusual solutions to complex problems; (6) are good synthesizers; and (7) excel at geometry and physics. They are right-brain dominant, making excellent artists, builders, creators, inventors, musicians, writers and visionaries. A visual-spatial approach toward learning science has yet to be adopted on a statistically significant scale to determine effectiveness over the auditory-sequential mode.

Both auditory-sequential and visual-spatial learners have fundamental strengths making them unique. Some visual-spatial learners also excel at auditory-sequential processing, i.e. they can utilize both sides of their brain equally well. The caveat here is the potential for "paralysis" when both sides of the brain are struggling to solve a particular problem in their native mode. Interestingly, I've found that Organic Chemistry is best learned and understood by left- and right-brain balanced people - these are the ones with logical and analytical reasoning skills who can learn the science as a language in terms of imagery, not words. They can also reason using images. I'm indeed fortunate to fall into this last category, and am thus able to use strengths from both learning modes to reach my students, especially when the shift is from memorizing functional groups to understanding reaction mechanisms.


    Auditory-sequential learners... think primarily in words... can easily focus on details... [and] feel most comfortable with one "right answer," [whereas] visual spatial learners... learn holistically... see the "big picture"... [and] generate unusual solutions to complex problems.

Part of being an effective teacher or tutor is recognizing the primary mode of learning in the student, and then focusing the lessons to suit their needs. Visual-spatial learners have different needs than auditory-sequential learners, and hence a different approach is needed, especially in the sciences. No science professor knew this more than Prof. James H. Mathewson, a University of California - Berkeley Ph.D. who taught at San Diego State University from 1964-1992. His monumental publication, "Visual-Spatial Thinking: An Aspect of Science Overlooked by Educators," contains far more detail than is practical here. The reference is Mathewson... Science Education, Vol. 83, No. 1. (1999), pp. 33-54.

Aside from depth of knowledge in his/her field, along with a natural propensity for interpersonal dynamics, an amazing science teacher is one who is cognizant of modern trends in educational psychology, and who is adaptive and flexible in his/her teaching style. S/he can deliver a presentation to reach both auditory-sequential and visual-spatial learners. An amazing science teacher takes "time to grow," and always perseveres to become better and better.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Theory on How T. Rex Tackled Triceratops for Dinner

Scientists Publish Theory of T. Rex Feeding Behaviour on Triceratops

It seems that most dinosaur films and television programmes feature a battle between meat-eating and plant-eating dinosaurs. Viewers can't get enough of these huge, extinct reptiles battling one another and now a team of researchers at the Museum of the Rockies (Montana, United States) have published a rather gory paper explaining how Tyrannosaurus Rex may have fed on Triceratops. The scientists postulate that this Tyrannosaur ripped the head off its victim so that it could feast on the large neck muscles that were in place immediately behind Triceratop's bony neck frill.

Denver Fowler at the Museum of the Rockies and his colleagues studied a total of eighteen Triceratops specimens from Montana's Hell Creek Formation, some of which showed the characteristic Tyrannosaurus bite marks. There are a number of Triceratops skulls in the fossil record that show signs of tooth marks and punctures made by the characteristic "D"shaped teeth of a Tyrannosaurid. In a paper presented at the recent annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology, the team graphically illustrated how a dead Triceratops may have been decapitated by a feeding Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Pathology in Dinosaur Fossils

Signs of injuries and disease in fossils is known as pathology. Palaeontologists have studied the fossilised bones of both the plant-eating Triceratops and the meat-eating Tyrannosaurids and there is a lot evidence to support the theory that T. Rex attacked and fed upon this particular horned dinosaur. However, in this new study the researchers were interested in working out what the marks and scars on the bones of this particular horned dinosaur said about the way in which a Tyrannosaur may have fed upon a Triceratops carcase.

The Museum of the Rockies team were intrigued to discover that many of the puncture and pull marks were on the bony neck frill of the fossil specimens they studied. Triceratops had a very large skull, it was protected by three horns on its face, (the name Triceratops means "three horned face"). It had a short nose horn and two further, much larger horns over the eyes. These horns could grow to be more than a metre long in mature adults. Scientists have long speculated that the horns and frills of Ceratopsians performed many functions. They may have been brightly coloured, an aid to visual communication amongst herd members. The horns and frills may have also been used in intraspecific combats, for example, two Triceratops fighting together over mates or social status. These facial ornaments were also defensive structures, very useful when you share the same environment as thirteen metre long Tyrannosaurs with an ability to swallow up to seventy kilogrammes of meat in one mouthful.

Evidence to Suggest Feeding Behaviour

The skull of Triceratops was very heavy and in comparison to the rest of the body it did not have a lot of meat on it. The neck frill would not have offered a lot of nutrition, so why the bite and pull marks?

An analysis of the fossilised Triceratops skull material revealed deep, parallel groves on the neck frill, suggesting that a feeding Tyrannosaurus Rex may have used its immensely strong jaws and neck muscles to pull on the frill in order to reposition the carcase for feeding or indeed to move the corpse. Many predators today; after they have made a kill attempt to drag the corpse of their victim to a concealed place so that they can feast in peace without being disturbed by scavengers or worse still, a bigger predator coming along and chasing them away from their dinner. Leopards for example have been known to drag the body of a gazelle up into a tree so they can feed without being disturbed by lions. Perhaps T. Rex attempted to move their victims so that they could eat without the risk of being attacked by other Tyrannosaurs. However, the prospect of dragging a seven tonne "dead weight" any distance would have been quite daunting and it would have wasted a lot of energy, perhaps the pull marks indicate where the body was torn apart - a sort of how to eat a Triceratops - one chunk at a time scenario.

Attempting to Reposition Prey?

If T. Rex was attempting to reposition its prey then the scientists speculate that the bony neck frill would have prevented the carnivore from accessing the large muscles on the neck of Triceratops. The team have proposed that this nasty predator probably used its teeth and jaws to pull on the frill in an effort to get at the meat behind the frill.

The gruesome conclusion made by the palaeontologists is that the easiest way to get to the large neck muscles is to pull the head right away from the body. In this academic paper, it is postulated that T. Rex ripped the heads of its Triceratops victims.

Further evidence to support the "heads-ripped-off-Triceratops" theory was found by the scientists when they examined the joint that attaches the neck to the skull. This ball and socket joint, known as the occipital condyles showed signs of bite marks on the anterior surface. The scientists concluded that such marks could only have been made if the head had been removed from the body.

Speculating on How T. Rex Fed

The problem with this rather gruesome area of research is that we cannot rely on observations using extant animals (animals alive today) to support this theory. The Tyrannosaurus Rex versus Triceratops predator prey relationship involves a biped attacking a quadruped. As we humans (H. sapiens) are the only true biped amongst the Mammalia alive today finding evidence to support this theory in the natural world is very difficult. Wolves attack horned bison but observations of a wolf pack's behaviour suggests that they avoid attacking the head and neck region and prefer to try to bring down their quarry by attacking the hind legs. A wolf weighs fifty times less than a large bison, whereas an adult T. Rex and an adult Triceratops were much more evenly matched in terms of body mass. Scientists do not know whether Tyrannosaurs were solitary hunters or pack animals, if they were pack animals then this would suggest differences in hunting and feeding strategies.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Drilling and Producing Crude Oil and Natural Gas

This article demonstrates how crude oil and natural gas wells are drilled.

One of the main questions is how do we find the traps where these natural resources are found? Years ago it was based on the ancient strategy called "luck". Producers would simply drill one well right at the side of another; there were no scientific methods, just simple guess work. By doing this the landscapes really suffered.

Today the good luck and guess work have been replaced with science and technology, the same technology and principles that are used for drilling in Alaska, Texas, and Oceans and even in the Middle East.

Suppose a geoscientist finds a possible trap, meaning that potentially there is either crude oil or natural gas in that location. This presents us with some common questions.

First, are there giant pools of crude oil and gas under the ground or do we get it from certain rock formations?

Secondly, how do we extract that natural resource from the earth and create energy out of it?

Once the geologist find a trap that could contain crude oil and gas a drilling rig is brought in.

What is a drilling rig and how does it work?

The drilling rig is a piece of equipment that is brought onto the rig for five or six or seven days which drill a hold about the size of a football and is capable of drilling down several thousand feet down into the earth's surface. Once the hole is drilled a variety of sensitive instruments called logging tools send electronic messages that provide a detailed record of the rock and fluid properties of the geologic formations.

A typical rotary drill rig goes about 5,000 feet down. Imagine taking 16 football fields and placing them end to end and turning them upright, that's about 5,000 feet.
The rigs process is very similar to drilling through a piece of wood, only the drill bit is about the size of the football we mentioned earlier. The drilling is performed by highly trained members of a drilling crew.

Once the rig has drilled through various rock formations, steel piping is placed in the ground, then a cement shield is placed around the pipe to protect any water table or aqua furs, the piper is then perforated a and fractured only at the crude oil and natural gas rock formation to allow the flow of these vapours and liquids to move up the well to the surface. If the rock formation contains enough crude oil and or natural gas the rotary drill rig will be replaced with a pumping unit. Now the purpose of this is to keep the crude oil and natural gas flowing. Crude oil is sent into storage tanks and natural vapours are sent into vapour pipelines.

Often times today we need a drill in areas that won't allow us to drill down straight vertically, but with some of the latest technologies we are now able to drill directionally, this is an excellent way, for example to drill under a park or a school's property, many pre-developed areas tend to be a great place for crude oils r natural gas so the directional drilling technology is a great way to retrieve the source.

So what is the cost?

The costs usually ranges from 350,000.00 to 1, 000, 00.00 and an offshore well can cost up to a billion dollars per well and there's still no guarantee it will even produce.

I'll now use Ohio, USA as a case study

In Ohio there is over 64, 00 crude oil and gas wells producing in 49 of Ohio's 88 counties, with more than 273, 00 well drilled.

Do all Ohio counties produce crude oil and natural vapours?

The answer is no! The potential geological formations that contain crude oil and gas simply do not exist throughout the state which is why technology plays such a key role in retrieving this vluable rescource.

Now back to a question asked at the beginning of this article -

Once we have drilled to our targeted rock formations, how do we get the crude oil and natural gas out?

Utilising scientific principles of movement the fluids, crude oil and vapours are lifted out of the ground to the surface using a variety of different pumping units. How do these units work? Well first of all kepp in midn that if a pump jack is not moving then it doesn't mean that a well is not producing. The pump is just turned on long enough to create a syphoning effect. Petroleum engineers, production supervisors or well tenders will typically determine how long each individual well should be turned off and on. Also, keep in mind that the motor on this pumping unit also need energy to work. This energy is either the well's own gas source or electricity or solar panels. If electric is used the pumping units may be switched on overnight during off-peak electric times.

Where does it go when it's out of the ground? The first place it will go into will be a separator, the separator separate the crude oil liquids from the gas vapours. the crude oil when then move onto a storage unit called a Tank Battery and the vapours will be transported through a number of Natural Gas Pipelines for distributions.

Why can't you always see these crude oil and gas wells? New technology allows us to have a very small environmental footprint. These wells are hidden by plants and other landscaping like and can be found in car parks or in back yards if schools, churches, cemeteries, parks, cornfields or even your own back yards and these wells can produce energy for decades.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tues, Sept 25, 8PM @ the Bell House, FREE! The Secret Science Club explores the heavyweights of the cosmos—supermassive black holes—with astrophysicist and author Caleb Scharf!

Black holes are mysterious chasms so destructive and unforgiving that not even light can escape their deadly wrath. Yet, as astrophysicist Caleb Scharf reveals, these chasms in space-time don't just vacuum up everything that comes near them; they also spit out huge energy beams and clouds of matter, profoundly shaping the universe around them.

Dr. Scharf takes a tour of the latest black-hole research, peers into the dark heart at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy, and asks: “Would life on Earth even be possible without these celestial monsters?”

Caleb Scharf is director of the Astrobiology Center at Columbia University,  writes the “Life, Unbounded” blog for Scientific American, and is the author of the new book, Gravity’s Engines: How Bubble-Blowing Black Holes Rule Galaxies, Stars, and Life in the Cosmos.

Before & After
--Groove to time-warping tunes
--Try our cosmic cocktail of the night, the Gamma Ray
--Hot off the presses! Snag a signed copy of Dr. Scharf’s superb new book, Gravity’s Engines

This spaced-out edition of the Secret Science Club meets Tuesday, September 25, 8 pm @ the Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave; R to 9th St.

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+ 

No cover. Just bring your smart self!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Russian Scientists Begin Study of Mammoth Remains

"Mammoth of the Century" in Moscow for Study

The fossilised remains of a teenage Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) has begun to be examined by Moscow-based scientists after it was transported from the remote Siberian location where the fossilised carcase was discovered. The late Summer months of August and early September are when a number of Woolly Mammoth and other Ice Age fossils are found in the northernmost parts of Russia. The spring and summer rains coupled with the seasonally high temperatures permit parts of the permafrost to be thawed out or washed away by the erosion of river banks and this can expose the preserved remains of a number of long-dead prehistoric animals.

Some of the Woolly Mammoths have soft tissue preserved and with the publishing of the recent, controversial research into the half-life of DNA, talk inevitably turns to the possibility of obtaining genetic material from these extinct animals with the long-term aim of producing clones and resurrecting a species.

The Mammuthus genus (Mammoths) were members of the Elephantidae sub-family, taxonomically classified with extant elephants. They were highly successful herbivores that lived across northern latitudes (Asia, Europe and North America) as well as Africa. A number of species have been identified including the famous Woolly Mammoth (M. primigenius) and the larger species, associated with milder climates the Columbian Mammoth (M. columbi).

Northern Siberian Discovery

The latest Woolly Mammoth fossil to emerge from the permafrost of northern Siberia was found by a young boy called Yevgeny Salinder, whilst he was walking along the banks of the Yenisei river about six weeks ago. Mammoth fossils including tusks had been found in this area before, but it was not the sight of an over-sized, curved tusk that indicated to Yevgeny that he had found the remains of a Woolly Mammoth, but rather the smell the carcase gave off. As the long-dead animal's corpse is exposed to the air with the erosion of the matrix in which the fossil was buried, so the flesh begins to decompose once again. It was the smell of putrefying flesh that alerted eleven-year old Yevgeny that a Mammoth's body was lying nearby.

Exposed Hine Quarters of Ice Age Beast

The back quarters and the legs were the parts of the carcase first exposed, local officials were contacted and the International Mammoth Committee alerted so that an excavation could begin to remove the Woolly Mammoth. Scientists rushed out to the remote location and began the work of digging out the Mammoth remains. Alexei Tikhonov, of the St. Petersburg-based Zoological Museum, and an expert of Siberian Mammoths was one of the scientists dispatched to excavate the carcase. He has described this particular specimen as the best preserved and most complete Mammoth found in Russia for more than 100 years.

"Mammoth Discovery of the Century"

Nicknamed the "Mammoth of the Century", the specimen is that of a teenage Woolly Mammoth, a male that died around 30,000 years ago. Although the elephant's trunk has rotted away, scientists have found samples of fur intact and one 1.5 metre long tusk, along with the remains of an eye and a small, Mammoth ear. Mammoths had much smaller ear flaps than their modern elephant counterparts. Small ears would not have lost as much heat as a large ear flap and there was no need for large ears to help cool the animal down, temperatures in this part of the world during the Pleistocene Epoch when this animal lived, would have rarely climbed into double figures (Celsius).

Excavation Begins

With the aid of local volunteers the Mammoth fossil was carefully excavated out of its Siberian grave, the process taking more than a week to complete. Once the remains had been stabilised (kept at a constant, low temperature to preserve soft tissue), the fossil has been transported back to Moscow for detailed study. Parts of the specimen will also be examined by Russian palaeontologists in St. Petersburg.

Weighing over 1,000 kilogrammes; the carefully packed and preserved ancient elephant may provide researchers with Mammoth DNA. Viable genetic material could still be preserved deep in the large teeth of the animal or within the larger limb bones such as the femur. With a team of international scientists recently concluding that DNA might be able to survive for much longer than previously thought in the fossil record (based on evidence from New Zealand Moa fossils), there is a strong possibility that this 30,000 year old carcase might yield genetic material.

Russian scientists are keen to start work, although they will have to be properly protected and wear face masks to ensure exposure to ancient bacteria and other pathogens does not occur. The skeleton is virtually intact and the body cavity has not been punctured which may have permitted the gut and the other internal organs such as the heart to be preserved in tact.

Named after the Boy who Found the Fossil

Like many Woolly Mammoth fossil finds, this teenage Mammoth that was probably around sixteen years of age when it died, has been given a name as well as a formal scientific classification code. The Mammoth has been named Zhenya, a pet name used by the friends and family of Yevgeny, the boy who sniffed out the fossil discovery in the first place.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Secret Science Club is heading for the South Pole!Prepare for extreme conditions . . . Wed, September 12, 8PM @ the Bell House, $6

SSC SPECIAL EVENT
DESTINATION ANTARCTICA!
The Secret Science Club presents Antarctic explorer Stephen Pekar and
a mind-blowing screening of
Encounters at the End of the World

Wednesday, September 12, 8 pm @ the Bell House, $6

McMurdo Station is home to 1,000 scientists and staff during the Antarctic summer—and its inhabitants are as strange, dreamy, and fascinating as the icy continent itself. Documentary filmmaker Werner Herzog journeyed across a frozen ocean and off the margins of the map to meet biologists searching for sci-fi extremophiles, quantum physicists on the hunt for neutrino particles, glaciologists tracking nation-sized icebergs, and volcanologists exploring the intersection of fire and ice at Mt. Erebus, an active volcano that regularly hurls lava chunks their way.

Scientist and explorer Stephen Pekar gets this cinema party started with a mini-lecture on his own Antarctic research. A veteran of four Antarctic expeditions, Dr. Pekar studies microfossils, ancient sediments, and geochemical data from deep-sea cores to reconstruct past climate changes and gain insight into Earth’s climate future. Please join us for this special lecture and screening of Encounters at the End of the World!

Before & After
--Try our compass-less cocktail of the night, the Terra Incognita
--Groove to sub-zero tunes
--Enter the bipolar trivia contest to score super-cool prizes     
--Stick around for the frosty Q&A

Tickets: Advance tickets are available for purchase here. SOLD OUT!

This icy edition of the Secret Science Club meets Wednesday, September 12 at 8 pm @ the Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave; R to 9th St. 

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+, $6.



COMING UP: Tues, Sept 25, 8PM @ the Bell House
The Secret Science Club explores the heavyweights of the cosmossupermassive black holeswith Caleb Scharf, astrophysicist and author of the ultra-stellar new book Gravity's Engines. It'll be out of this world . . .

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Science and the Bible on the Earth's Formation

Introduction

Although we know a great deal about the structure of the Earth we do not know for sure how exactly it was all put together. As a university lecturer in one of the geosciences this problem has intrigued me for over thirty years and I have considered most of the many theories but had to discard them all for their vagueness. I now know there is a more clear and detailed story to tell and the purpose of this article is to share this knowledge..

The hypothesis I propose here is based on the laws of nature but also considers hints from the Bible which I believe gives a true and reliable eyewitness account from the Creator Himself.

Briefly, my hypothesis is that the Earth and the rest of the Solar System is the end product of a supernova of a single and very massive first generation star. Hence to understand how the Earth was formed all we have to do is to logically consider, step by step, the changes that this star underwent before, during and after the supernova.

Although my hypothesis can be judged by its' science only, the fact that it has support from the Bible is important to me because a true understanding of how the Earth was formed and made (Isa.45:18)(1) helps us to evaluate the validity of some of the arguments used by both sides involved in the ongoing creation/evolution debate.

To make it easier to digest, I have split my hypothesis into ten stages arranged in chronological order. The facts used in support of each stage can be readily verified in university level textbooks on astronomy and geology for example references 2 & 3.

Stage 1 The Beginning. (Gen.1:1).

The universe began with the 'Big Bang' when energy was converted into mainly hydrogen gas. The Bible does not disagree that the Universe had a beginning- in fact it was a clergyman Georges Lemaitre who first proposed the idea. This beginning was about 15 billion years ago while the material that was used to build the Earth is thought to be 4.6 billion years old. This means it has taken about ten billion years for some of the primordial hydrogen to be converted into all of the hundred plus elements and the combination of these elements to form rock minerals.

Stage 2 A star called Solar ABC

Some time after the 'Big Bang', untold trillions of first generation stars were formed from hydrogen. We need only consider just one of these stars and call it Solar ABC for reasons that will become clear shortly. The mass of this star was at least ten times that of Sun and it was located exactly where we find our Sun today. So if we could turn back the clock to a time just before the start of the formation of the Solar System we would have seen Solar ABC as a huge glowing red sphere in space about three times the size of the Sun.

Stage 3 The Solar ABC Supernova

Solar ABC went through the expected changes powered by its own gravity. Firstly enormous pressures and temperatures were generated deep within it and as a result some of its hydrogen was fused together via several different processes to form more than half of the chemical elements known to man(4). Hence Solar ABC's first task was to act as a natural chemical factory for the production of about fifty elements including oxygen, carbon, silica and iron.

After these fusion elements were manufactured in great abundance, pressures within Solar ABC continued to rise enormously until the outward acting pressures became critically high. Solar ABC then exploded extremely violently in what is called a supernova. This resulted in a total disintegration of the star and its transformation into a huge, very hot, bright and expanding cloud of gas and dust that eventually stretched many billions of miles in all directions.

Within this extremely hot and vast cloud there were also intense radiations of subatomic particles which collided with the existing atoms of previously formed elements. This allowed atoms of all the rest of the elements to be built up. All the known radioactive isotopes we find on the Earth today were also formed at this stage.

Stage 4 The Triple Star Solar A, Solar B and Solar C

The explosion of Solar ABC propelled every particle at high velocity. A very large proportion of these particles acquired a high enough velocity to enable them to escape into space and be lost forever. But a good proportion of them did not have this velocity and these particles were left behind and went on to form the Solar System.

With the great abundance of fast moving free electrons in the supernova cloud, many of the iron and nickel atoms became tiny magnets after they had cooled down. These magnetized particles became strongly attracted to each other and began to clump together until finally most of the magnetised particles became concentrated in just three gigantic ball magnets billions of miles apart from each other. These magnetic balls had great mass and velocity, and moved in an orbit, so were then able to sweep up all non magnetic material in their path. And so the single star Solar ABC was transformed into a triple star system consisting of three very large bodies which we can call Solar A, Solar B and Solar C all in orbit round the same centre of gravity. Triple star systems are extremely common in our galaxy.

Solar A was the biggest body which was at least a hundred times more massive than Solar B which in turn was very much heavier than Solar C. To an observer Solar B would seem to be in a close orbit around Solar A and Solar C would be in a very far orbit around both Solar A and Solar B but in a plane almost at right angles to the plane that Solar A and Solar B orbited in.

Solar A and Solar B are still in existence today but we do not see them as such because they have since reunited to form our Sun. Solar C is also still in existence. It orbits the Sun but being relatively small and dark and very far away it is barely observable. There is however some scientific evidence for it(5) but there are also legendary accounts of it coming quite close to the Earth at various times in the past. On the Internet it is known as Niburu or Planet X and the planet of the Crossing as its orbit crosses the plane in which the Earth and other planets orbit in. The Bible calls it Wormwood. (Rev.8:11).

Stage 5 The ice cold Planetary Disc

The next stage in the formation of the Solar System was the formation of what is known as the Planetary Disc. This occurred when Solar B could not maintain its orbit round Solar A and spiralled inwards and eventually collided into it with tremendous violence. This resulted in another very hot cloud of gas and dust that again stretched for billions of miles from the now combined Solar AB. This cloud is better known as the nebula from which the Solar System eventually formed..

The nebula had within it much of the particles of rock minerals that Solar ABC had made earlier. It was very irregular in shape to begin with but became spherical and then flattened into a gigantic rotating disc, some twelve billion miles in diameter. The term Planetary Disc may be used for it...

The Disc cooled down quickly and, as it contracted. it also divided itself into a series of concentric rings with each ring having particles of comparable mass. The lightest particles were flung to orbits near the outer boundaries of the Disc while the heaviest particles remained in orbit near the centre of the Disc. It was from this very cold disc of rock minerals, water ice and gas that the Earth and rest of the Solar System was formed as explained next.

Stage 6 The formation of the core, mantle, and foundations of the Earth

The Sun and each of the planets were formed from the gas and dust particles in different parts of Disc. The Sun was formed from material at the centre of the Disc. The Earth was formed from a relatively small portion of the Disc that was in the region now bounded by the orbits of Mars and the Earth.

Our planet began its existence as a small clump of magnetic material near where Mars is today. This clump spiralled inwards in the Disc and attracted other similar magnetic clumps.. As it did so it became heavier with each orbit as it continued to spiral its way inwards through the Disc. Like a snowball rolling downhill, it attracted every particle that it came close enough to. In this way, much, of the material in this region of the Disc was swept up and the Earth grew in size and mass layer by layer to nearly what it is today.

The final layer that was picked up by the almost fully grown Earth was one in which the particles were rich in the minerals of basalt rock. This layer became compacted by gravity. It was then heated by radioactivity until it melted and the resultant lava covered the whole Earth. This eventually solidified to form. a spherical shell of very hard rock which is known today as the lithosphere. The biblical name for the lithosphere is 'foundations of the Earth' (Job 38:4).

Once the Earth became sealed like an egg with a shell of basaltic rock its interior was able to sort itself out by its own gravity. Heavier particles sank downwards and displaced lighter particles upwards to give the Earth its internal layered structure consisting of an inner and outer core, lower and upper mantle, asthenosphere, and the very hard 'foundations' on top.

Stage 7 The global ocean

If all this water in our oceans was evenly spread out, it would form a global ocean some 4000m deep(3). The very cold Planetary Disc contained a vast abundance of small and large fragments of ice as water was one of the first compounds to have been made inside Solar ABC. This ice was gathered up by the growing Earth and became part of its interior for a while where it soon melted. It was this water that enabled the interior of the earth to become sorted (2Peter 3:8) The water eventually was squeezed out upwards and became trapped under the solid lithosphere. Continual heat turned this to superheated steam and the tremendous pressure generated was sufficient to lift up and crack open the lithosphere several times. This allowed the steam to escape violently. After cooling and condensation it fell back as torrential rain. (Job 38:8-11) which formed ponds, then large lakes and finally a global ocean on top of the lithosphere.

Stage 8 The supercontinent Pangaea

The land mass of our planet occupies about a third of the total surface of the Earth and almost all of this is on one side of the Earth only. All of our continents were once joined up in a single supercontinent called Pangaea (meaning all Earth). The Bible agrees with this (Gen.1:10) and even tells us how Pangaea was formed (Ps.24:1-2, Isa.45:5). Pangaea was originally a planetesimal formed from rock minerals in a region of the Disc that contained somewhat lighter particles. For a while this body had an independent orbit but it was attracted by the Earth's gravity and spiralled its way towards the Earth. It eventually 'soft landed' on the global ocean where it broke up and its contents spread out by wave action. It was these contents that eventually became compacted, heated up and cemented in its lower parts to form a C shaped supercontinent called Pangaea.

Stage 9 Origin of life

The theory of evolution does not tell us how life first began. For this the Biblical explanation is all we have and this tells us that all life forms were created miraculously by the Spirit of God. (Ps.104:30)

The fossil record indicates that our planet has supported living organisms of all kinds for a very long period of time. It also tells us that there was not just one creation episode but several. Each generation of life began suddenly and also came to a sudden end after a period of time. In all cases the destruction was by the total submergence under water of the low lying C shaped supercontinent. (2Peter 3:6) Each submergence resulted in giant turbidity currents which brought in and stirred up billions of tons of pre-existing sediments. A new creation came into being on a freshly formed surface. The previous generation to our own ended when the submerging waters froze some 12000 years ago. Our present generation of life began only a few thousand years ago but. Bible scholars have recognized that there were previous generations of life during First Earth Age(7).

Stage 10 From supercontinent to continents

The supercontinent was formed on the wet slippery ocean floor and so it is hardly surprising that it eventually broke up. The prevailing view is that it took some 200 million years for the continents to split and drift away to their present positions. However the Bible tells us that this happened only a few thousand years ago and was completed during the lifetime of one person (Gen.10:25)

Hints about plate tectonics are given in the Bible (Ps.82.5) and the current view is that the plates move about and carry the continents with them acting like conveyor belts. The Bible suggests a very much faster rate of movement of the continents. This can be explained by localized upward bulging of the lithosphere which would allow the continents to slide downhill. Such bulging would be the result of pressure generated by internal heat and is hinted at in the Bible (Deut.32:22)

Concluding remarks

This article has outlined a hypothesis for the formation of the Earth that Is broadly in accordance with the laws of nature and has good biblical support.

The Earth was created in several stages so determining its age is not a simple task as all of the stages took place in God's sense of time rather than man's. Young Earth creationists date the age of the Earth from the start of this generation of life and Old Earth creationists date it from the supernova explosion of Solar ABC.

A much more detailed description of everything in this article is given in my recently published book(6)

References

1. All quoted biblical verses are taken from The Holy Bible New King James Version Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 1991

2. Woolfson M The Formation of the Solar System Imperial College Press London 2007

3. Duff D Holmes' Principles of Physical Geology Chapman & Hall London 1993

4. Clayton D D Principles of Stellar Evolution and Nucleosynthesis Mc Graw Hill 1968

5. Matese J.J, Whitmire D.P. 'Jovian Mass Solar Companion in the Oort Cloud' ICARIUS April 2010

6. Pimenta L R The Firmament of the sky dome Matador Kibworth Beauchamp England 2012 ISBN 9781780882017

7. There are numerous bible studies on this available on the internet

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Secret Science Club presents Marine Biologist Hans Walters, PLUS a special live-screening from Shark Week, Thursday, August 16, 8PM @ the Bell House, FREE!

Shark researcher Hans Walters of the New York Aquarium discusses his wet-and-wild work tagging and tracking sharks and curates a live-screening of Great White Highway, a documentary debuting on the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week that follows intrepid marine scientists as they pursue the mysterious migrations of great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias).

Before & After
--Sample our toothsome cocktail of the night, the Land Shark
--Sway to fintastic grooves
--Stick around for the salty Q&A
--Win sharky door prizes

This cartilaginous edition of the Secret Science Club meets Thursday, August 16, 8 pm @ the Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave; R to 9th St

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+. 

No cover. Just bring your smart self!

*Photo courtesy of the New York Times.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ten Secrets to Master Your Organic Chemistry Course

Organic chemistry is probably the most challenging of science courses that you are going to experience in your college career. The sheer volume of information which you have to study is overwhelming, and the failure rate is unusually high. Yet there is no way around this path if you are pursuing a career in the profession of health or science.

Although there are no miraculous solutions to acing this course without the required hard work and dedication, there are a number steps you can take, and methods you can implement to insure that you don't fall behind in organic chemistry. This will make it easier for you to stay on top of the material and ultimately on top of the academic curve.

1- Reading Your Textbook Prior to Lecture
Read your textbook right before lecture. You simply can't afford to arrive to class unprepared. If you hear the principles and mechanisms for the first time during class, you can be overcome as you frantically attempt to break down the material and grasp the basic key points.

Reading through the chapter ahead of time, regardless of whether you don't fully grasp everything, It ensures that you'll be able to have some knowledge of the material mentioned in lecture. After you are exposed to the information for the second time in lecture, your primary focus is shifted to comprehending the concepts which you found originally challenging in your readings.

2- Take Notes During Lecture
No matter if you are recording the lecture, or have a set of printed PowerPoint slides, you still ought to take notes during the session. This can help you stay focused, stop you from tuning out the professor, and may help you identify the little stresses placed on individual ideas or mechanisms. These will likely wind up being the very points tested in your approaching examination

3- Read Your Textbook Once More After Lecture
Now that you have a much better comprehension of the material, it is best to read the book again to make sure that you are comfortable with each topic discussed and mechanism tackled

4- Practice, Practice, Practice
Organic chemistry is not a course that can be soaked up through simple memorization. You should practice the principles, check your understanding of the ideas, and consistently go through each one of the mechanisms. The more familiar you are with each factor, the less the chance that you may be caught off-guard on the exam

5- Do More Than the Assigned Homework Problems
If you stick with just the 5 or 10 given homework problems, you are cutting yourself short. The additional problems located in your book are intended to test the same concepts, with a somewhat unique twist every time. When you practice these added problems you'll be better equipped to resolve unforeseen challenges on your upcoming exam. These kinds of additional questions may even be the very questions that may turn up in your test

6- Do Not Memorize
The worst thing you can do to mess up your organic chemistry capabilities is to just memorize reactions. When you memorize an exact reaction, you are only equipped to answer questions presented in the form memorized, consequently you will be caught off guard when the starting compounds or reagents are somewhat, or completely different from your flashcards. However, if you review the concepts, focusing on how the molecules behave, and the reason why the electrons attack, you will be capable of completing any related mechanism, regardless of how the reacting substances are presented

7- Study Groups
Any time you study by yourself you are restricted by your individual sources of know-how, notes, and study material. Whenever you study with a group you will be capable of assisting the other person with difficult ideas, and process mechanism challenges as partners. If you are weak in a particular matter, your study group will be able to address your concerns. And if you are secure with a subject matter, you will probably still learn it far better whenever you are required to apply it in easy terms to describe to a member of your study group who has trouble understanding this concept

8- Peer Tutoring
A lot of universities have a learning center with peer tutors to assist you with your organic chemistry course. Even though they are students on their own, these tutors have taken, and effectively completed organic chemistry, and will therefore be able to help you with the basic concepts and mechanisms

9- Office Hours
If your professor or TA has office hours, consider this a very skilled, very free tutoring session. Your teacher and TA are quite familiarized, not merely with organic chemistry, but also with the concepts and problem forms that will show up on your examination. They'll be able to assist you to fully grasp the facts by using problems similar to what you will later be tested on

10- Private tutoring
Though the above mentioned tips are extremely effective guidelines not to be dismissed, many students still find themselves having so many doubts with insufficient resources. Study groups are tied to the experience of the students concerned, and peer tutoring or office hour sessions are typically rather crowded.