Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Extremophiles, Thermophiles, Acidophiles, & Halophiles

ExtremophilesOrganisms that thrive in what, for most terrestrial life-forms, are intolerably hostile environments.  Example:  WATERBEARS!  They can live almost anywhere and can survive in all sorts of extremely hostile environments, even outer space, (at least for a little while)!

ThermophilesThermophiles are microorganisms that live and grow in extremely hot environments that would kill most other microorganisms.  Example:  Thermus thermophilus, which can survive in the Hot Springs at Yellowstone.

Acidophiles - Organisms that thrive under extremely acidic conditions.  Example: Found in Lechuguilla Cave, Carlsbad, New Mexico, where the pH is 0.0, which one website claims is about as acidic as battery acid!

Halophiles - Organisms that live in environments with very high concentrations of salt.  Example:  

Halobacterium salinarum can exist in the Dead Sea.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic Rocks

Igneous describes rocks that are produced under conditions involving intense heat. Examples include pumice, obsidian, and rhyolite.


Sedimentary describes rocks formed by the settling and packing down of material at the earth's surface and within bodies of water.  Examples include halite, gypsum, and limestone.


Metamorphic describes rocks are igneous or sedimentary rocks, which have been altered by high temperature, strong pressure or by a combination of these.  Examples include gneiss, slate, and marble.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

MORGAN: Observing the Infancy, Teenage Years, and Adulthood of a Soon-to-Be Tomato

Today, Morgan is still a cup of dirt.  Yesterday, I gave him several drops of water and said encouraging things to him, hoping I might inspire him to show his face.  As of yet, he has not shown his face.

Pictures will come when there is something to see.

February 21st:  Signs of life!  Signs that weren't there last night.

February 22nd: Significant growth!

February 23rd: A sibling has arrived!

February 26th: And they have grown together...

February 28th: And continue to grow (and may have another sibling growing on the left, though he is still leafless).

March 2nd: Then my roommate accidentally drowned Morgan while I was away for a few days by giving him as much water as a much larger plant that she is growing for a different class.  Morgan the Elder began to wilt and required a prop made out of Q-tips and tape.

March 5th:  But even so, Morgan the Elder died, uprooted and stuck to the Q-tips that held him up.

March 8th:  But still his sibling survives...!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"The Price of Success: China"


Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Geocaching is a large-scale treasure hunt for which one uses small GPS handhelds to locate containers hidden in various mapped locations.  In these containers are small items to be exchanged for other items or riddles to be solved -- anything to prove a geocacher has actually been where he says he's been (and found what he says he's found).  Geocaching has been adopted as a social activity typically connected with traveling and environmentalism (as it encourages interacting and exploring oftentimes-natural locations).


If a biologist finds a rare sample of a fungus and knows this location only by its latitude and longitude, he can allow other biologists to find this same location and pinpoint it to a specific place on the earth.  That discovery of the home of this fungus will allow scientists of various fields to study its region of proliferation/existence, and they can use GPS to navigate its home territory / where it is found using accurate measurements.