The Big Bang Theory By Bill and Anna Daly

Is the Big Bang Theory really true? No one knows for sure, but there is a lot of evidence to support it. The sign of a good hypothesis is that it predicts things that haven’t been discovered yet. Let’s take a look at a few of the things the Big Bang theory predicted we would discover .

In 1929, Edwin Hubble discovered that the distant stars and galaxies were moving away from us. He, also, discovered that the speed in which the stars and galaxies move away from us is determined by how far they are from us. The stars and galaxies that are farther from us move at a faster speed than the stars that are close to us. In fact, the speed is proportional to their distance from us.
Hubble expansion
Look at the diagram above. Star PINK is two light years from us, Star WHITE is one light year from us, and Star YELLOW is .5 light years from us. After a certain amount of time, Star PINK is four light years from us, Star WHITE is two light years from us, and Star YELLOW is one light year from us. Star PINK moved two light years in the same amount of time that Star WHITE moved one light year and Star YELLOW moved .5 light years. That means that Star PINK is moving twice as fast as Star WHITE because it is twice as far away from us and four times as fast as Star YELLOW because it is four times as far away from us. Their speeds are proportional to their distance. That is how real stars behave.
Hubble expansion un reverse
It is reasonable to assume that if you reverse the direction that these stars are traveling (that is, go backwards in time) they would all join each other at a single point at the same time. If you know how far away the stars are and how fast these stars are traveling, you could calculate how long it would take them to reach that meeting point. In our universe, the meeting time would be reached in 13.7 to 13.8 billion years.

Matter heats up as it is compressed. Scientist figured that if the Big Bang theory was true, the universe would have had to have been incredibly hot in its early phases. So hot that electrons could not interact with protons and, that as the universe cooled, the only atoms that could form would be hydrogen and helium (and a smidge of lithium). This would mean that the universe would be almost all hydrogen and helium. As it turns out, 98% of the universe is made of hydrogen and helium. The 2% of heavier atoms were made in stars after the early formation of the universe. Scientists, also, predicted that energy would be released in a very specific wave length at the moment protons were able to interact with electrons to form hydrogen and helium. They predicted that this energy would come from everywhere in the universe. This energy was discovered, in the 1960s.

If you are interested in learning more about why so many scientists think the Big Bang theory is true, WATCH THIS TED TALK VIDEO AFTER WATCHING OUR VIDEO ABOUT THE FORMATION OF THE UNIVERSE.

An Introduction To Big History

We have begun to study Big History. Most history classes start with our first civilizations or when humans started farming, 11,000 years ago. Big History begins with the Big Bang, 13.8 billions years ago. Our version of Big History looks at what science has to tell us about the evolution of our universe and how we evolved as a species. It then looks at what history tells us about how technologies have changed and how our behaviors have changed with them.

We plan on making a series of videos about the evolution of our universe, the evolution of our species, and the evolution of our behavior as a species. We hope you enjoy the first video which introduces the subject.

A Book Report On One Beetle Too Many

Charles Darwin_One Beetle Too Many, by Kathryn Lasky, is a book about Charles Darwin and how he figured out how evolution works. The book spends most of the time explaining what he thought as he traveled around the world. The things he saw on the voyage helped him think of how evolution works.

Charles Darwin always loved nature. When Darwin was a kid, he loved identifying all different types of beetles. When Darwin was twenty-two years old, he sailed off to South America to explore and find different kinds of animals and plants. He sailed on a ship called “The Beagle”.

Fossils_in_a_beach_wallAt the tip of Argentina, he found large fossils of extinct animals mixed in with clam fossils. Then he wondered why the clams were still existing while the large fossils didn’t . He identified these large fossils and found out they were similar to the species living today. Then Darwin thought that, maybe, the extinct species had turned into the species living today.

Then, Charles Darwin traveled up to the Andes mountains. In those days, people thought god had created the mountains and that the mountains had always existed. When he was up on the Andes, he saw seashell fossils on top of the mountain. Andes_-_punta_arenasHe knew that clams can’t live on top of the mountain. Darwin figured that the land with fossilized seashells had, at one time, been in the ocean. This, to him, proved that the Andes mountains had not always existed as they were.  Darwin stayed at a town near the Andes where he experienced his first earthquake. Darwin saw that the ground had split and that some of the ground moved up. He thought that, also, proved the Andes were made by the land being pushed up.darwinsfinches

He then sailed to the Galapagos Islands. He noticed that the environments on each island were different from each other. He, also, noticed the species looked different from island to island.   For example, the finches beaks were thin on one island and fat on the next. He thought that, perhaps, these species had changed over time to fit their environment. This idea was a big part of his theory of how evolution works.

One Beetle Too Many is interesting. I enjoyed reading it. I would recommend it to anyone.

The Free Range Comma: Series of Words or Phrases by Anna and Bill Daly

Everyone should know how to use commas correctly. Teachers, mathematicians, tennis players, loggers, painters, and musicians should all learn how to use commas correctly. People who use commas correctly tend to have better voices, more interesting lives, higher paid jobs, and more loyal and better-looking friends than those people who do not use commas correctly. People who suffer from forgetting to punctuate the end of sentences, poor comma use, or lack of spelling skills should contact their nearest English teacher immediately.

Comma-teacher

Notice the sentences above have series of words or phrases that are separated by commas. The free-range-comma-rule number four is use commas to separate a series of three or more words or phrases. If it’s a series of only two words or phrases, you don’t need a comma. For example, the sentence He climbed the tree and shouted with joy does not need a comma. However, the sentence He climbed the tree, looked up, and shouted with joy does need commas.or-or-

Use the words “and” or “or” to let the reader know that they are reading the last word or phrase in the series. Put a comma in front of the words “and” or “or” when you do this. Putting a comma in front these words helps the reader to not confuse an “and” that is part of a phrase with an “and” that shows the end of a series.

lawnmowerThe exception to the series-of-three-or-more-rule is when you have a series of adjectives. Use commas to separate two or more adjectives that describe the same noun. An example of this is in the sentence The fat, brown chicken laid a small, green egg. Be sure not to confuse an adverb for an adjective. An adverb is a word that describes a verb or an adjective. For instance, the sentence He mowed the light green grass does not need a comma because light is describing green, which is an adjective. The thin, green grass does need a comma.   

Click on Comma rule #1Comma rule #2, or Comma rule #3 for more comma rules.    

The Columbian Exchange by Bill and Anna Daly

 

The Columbian Exchange by Bill and Anna Daly

In 1492, all silk and spices going to Spain had to pass through Muslim lands. This meant that the Muslims made money on all the silk and spices sold in Spain. Catholic Spain hated giving money to the Muslims. Here is a PBS-like dramatization of a typical trading conversation between a fifteenth century Spaniard and Muslim. Notice that they refer to the lack of sewers at the time. None of us could visit a fifteenth century city or village without losing our lunch.

COlumbus-IssabellaChristopher Columbus told the queen of Spain that he could get to China and India by sailing around the world. That way, they could buy silk and spices for less money and not have to give any money to the Muslims. The queen’s scientists told her that a man named Eratosthenes had figured out how big the earth was 250 years before Jesus was born. They said there was no way that Columbus could sail around the earth without stopping and that she should ignore him because he was crazy. The queen decided to let Columbus try anyway. Columbus was wrong about the size of the earth, but luckily for him, he hit a continent before he was halfway around the world. Columbus had discovered the America’s by accident. This discovery changed the world more than any other event since people started farming.

614px-Invincible_Armada It changed the world because people started to sail back and forth between the Old world (Eurasia and Africa) and the New world ( the Americas). As they did so, they brought plants and animals from the Old world to the New world and brought plants and animals from the New world to the Old world. It was as if the two worlds were trading organisms. We call this trade of organisms The Columbian Exchange. Although the Columbian Exchange is about all organisms (including the diseases that killed up to 90% of all Native Americans), we are going to write only about the exchange of organisms that we eat. This exchange changed the diets of people around the world and helped create the cuisines that we think about when we think about different countries.

 

Bruegel,_Pieter_de_Oude_-_De_val_van_icarus_-_hi_res

 

 

 

 

 

When the Europeans first arrived, the only domesticated animals in the Americas were dogs, turkey, llamas, alpacas, and guinea pigs. None of these, except turkeys, could be used as a food source, so the Europeans brought pigs, sheep’s, goats, and cattle. They also brought horses to help them plow their fields and to be used for their transportation.

 

 

640px-Bacon_cheeseburgerIt is interesting to think that the All-American-Meals (steaks and hamburgers) are from Europe. The American cuisine was not the only one that was changed by The Columbian Exchange. Imagine Mexican food without beef, chicken, cheese, and cumin; all of which are from the old world. Imagine Italian food without tomatoes. Imagine Chinese, Indian, or Tai foods without peppers. Imagine Germany or Great Britain without the potato. We are going to provide maps that show the foods that traveled both ways. The exchange of organisms was very lopsided even if the list might seem somewhat equal at first glance. Crops going from the New world to the Old world did not change the landscape of the Old world. Corn, peppers, and potatoes may have taken the place of some wheat and barley crops, but those crops were already in place. Organisms coming from the Old world to the New world completely changed the landscape of the America’s. Forests were cut and grasslands were tilled to plant European crops as well. Pigs, sheep, cattle, and horses changed the land with their grazing. Even the varieties of humans living in the Americas has changed since Columbus’ first visit.

new-to-old-ceThis Map shows foods that went from the New World to the Old Word.

 

old-to-newThis Map shows foods that went from the Old World to the New World.

California by Anna Daly

I have been to California three times.  I found it beautiful and very interesting.  California has a unique geography, history, and economy.537px-Digital-elevation-map-california

California, the third largest state, is on the Pacific Ocean and just north of Mexico.  There are two large bays in California.  One is called the San Francisco Bay and the other is called the Monterey Bay.  The Klamath Mountains, the Coast Ranges, and the Sierra Nevadas make the biggest valley in the world called the Central Valley.  In the Central Valley, 230 different crops and 600 million pounds of almonds are grown every year.  It is one of the best places to grow food in the world.

slo_09_web                     Photo courtesy of California Missions Resource Center

“The Golden State” has an interesting history.  Native American tribes made domed-shaped homes made out of willows or tulle reeds.  Sometimes, in Southern California, Indians would use whalebones for holding up roofs on their homes.  House_Miwok_Yosemite_CAIn Central California, they leaned bark to make tepee-shaped houses.  In the Northwest, they used elkhorn wedges to make boards out of Redwood trees.  Then they would use the boards to build rectangular houses.   1024px-Hupa_Sweat_HouseThe coastal Indians ate fish, oysters, clams, sea otters, and seals.  The inland Indians ate deer, rabbits, elk, and antelope.  The most common food all California Indians ate was acorns.  They would grind the acorns into a powder with a mortar and pestle.  They would pour water over the ground acorns to get rid of the bitter flavor.  Then they boiled the acorns with water to make a thick soup.  They ate this soup with every meal.

San_Luis_Rey_de_Francia_circa_1910_William_Amos_HainesIn 1542, Joao Rodrigues Cabrillo sailed along the California coast and claimed south and central California for Spain.  Between 1769  and 1842, the Spanish built 20 missions from San Diego to Sonoma, which is just north of the San Francisco Bay.  The Mexicans defeated the Spanish, in 1821, and California became part of Mexico.  Between 1846 and 1848 the U.S fought with Mexico over where the border was between Mexico and the U.S.528px-Panning_on_the_Mokelumne  This war was called The Mexican-America War.  The U.S. won and forced Mexico to sell California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and part of Colorado and New Mexico for 15 million dollars.  The next year, in 1849, gold was discovered in California.  Thousands of people moved there to find gold during the Gold Rush.  In 1846, San Francisco only had 200 people.  By 1852, there were 36,000 people.  In 1850, California became a state.  In 1869, a railroad was completed that went all the way across the country, opening California to more people.

Xp3-dot-us_DSC8991The economy of California is the biggest in the US and is as large as most countries.  In 2012, California had the eighth largest economy in the world, bigger than Russia’s, Canada’s, India’s, and Mexico’s.  One quarter of the economy is from trade with other countries.  Agriculture is another major part of California’s economy.  Important agricultural products are milk and cream, shelled almonds, and grapes.  California has a lot of rich people.  In 2010, there were more than 663,000 millionaires in the state, more than any other state in the nation.

California is a significant part of the US because of its important geography, history, and economy.

What Food Is

What Food Is  by Bill and Anna Daly

We would like to write a blog about what food is.  Obviously, food is anything you eat, but food doesn’t stay the same after you’ve eaten it.  It gets digested.  Digestion is the breakdown of food into molecules that are small enough to get into the bloodstream.  These molecules are called nutrients.  There are five different types of nutrients: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins.  These nutrients have three basic functions in our cells.  Some are used as a source of energy, others are used as building blocks for the cells, and others are used to drive chemical reactions that keep the cells alive.

Carbohydrates are made of sugar molecules.  They can be monosaccharides (one sugar molecule like glucose), disaccharides (two sugar molecules like sucrose),  and polysaccharides (many sugar molecules linked together like starch).  Cells use monosaccharides for energy.  Polysaccharides are used for short term energy storage.  There are good ways and bad ways to get your carbohydrates.

Good-CarbsThese are healthy foods with carbohydrates.    Wikimedia

Vegetables, fruits, whole grains,  whole wheat bread, and beans are good ways to get your carbohydrates.  These have polysaccharides that come with lots of fiber (food that can’t be digested) which aids digestion.

Bad-carbsThese are yummy foods, but bad ways to get carbohydrates.    Wikimedia

Candy, noodles, white bread, and white rice are not so healthy ways to get your carbohydrates .  These are either simple sugars or polysaccharides that have had the fiber removed from them.

Let’s take a minute to discuss what we mean when we say cells use carbohydrates as an energy source.  Just exactly, how do we get energy from a sugar molecule and how do we use that energy?  Let’s start by discussing how a sugar molecule is made.  Plants use the energy from the sun to break CO2 and water molecules into atoms.  They then use the sun’s energy to put those atoms together into a sugar molecule.  Energy is stored in the bonds that hold those atoms together.  We can write this series of chemical reactions as one chemical reaction: CO2 + H20 + Energy from the sun = O2 + C6 H12 O6 (Glucose sugar).  The plant can either leave that sugar as it is or store it as a polysaccharide (that is, many sugars linked together).

Sugar-Carrot2This diagram shows how the leaves of a carrot use energy from the sun to make sugars.  The sugars can then be sent to the root where they can remain as a sugar or get linked together to form starch (a polysaccharide).  When we eat a carrot, we are eating energy from the sun that has been stored in sugar and starch molecules.

Our digestive track breaks polysaccharides into sugars.  The sugars are absorbed into our bloodstream and taken to the cells in our bodies.  Our cells have special organelles called Mitochondria that can break down sugar to release the energy stored in their chemical bonds.  They take the energy stored in the sugar molecule and store it in another molecule called ATP.  The ATP molecules float around the inside of the cells and release energy when it is needed to drive chemical reactions.

Let us know if you found this blog interesting.  We plan to write about the other four nutrients in future posts.