Post 129: March 8th, 2017

First order of business today was Marine Biology. I continued with the big lesson on intertidal communities. I find the creatures that live at different levels somewhat interesting in how they adapt. For example, the lower intertidal has a wide of plants and animals that are only exposed to air for a short time.


Next up, English. I learned about ultimate reality from the Christian perspective. Something I found interesting with it was that God is presented in 3 distinct forms, The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but those themselves are not god. It is a singular god, that only comes to being in those three aspects.


Finally, Programming. I learned about Bluetooth, which is basically a programming standard for wireless communication. It’s actually surprisingly old, first beginning development in about 1989. It’s name is also a version of the epithet of a Scandinavian king that united tribes. So that’s kind of cool.

Post 127: March 3rd, 2017

First order of business today was Marine Biology. I started learning about intertidal communities. It’s another pretty long lesson, so I’ll have a longer summary once I’m done, but here’s a bit from what I read today. The vertical distribution of intertidal plants and animals is governed by a complex set of environmental conditions that vary along gradients above and below the surface. For example, temperature, light intensity, and even waves can have an effect on this.


Next up, Sociology. I learned about Social networks. In the simplest terms, they’re the people that are linked to each other. A person’s social network could include friends, family, acquaintances, and people they associate with at their job or school.¬†There are sub-groups within social networks as well. The clusters within a group, or it’s internal factions, are cliques.

Something I found interesting from what I read was the small world phenomenon. It’s basically the question “if you list everyone you know and each person they know, and you keep doing that, would everyone in the country end up being connected?”

I find it interesting, because people usually have to have some form of social contact in their day to day lives, so people that aren’t a part of the theoretical list would have to be incredibly off the grid.


Finally, English. I learned about Judaism today. For starters, it’s the earliest monotheistic religion, meaning that there’s only one god figure. Said god is a personal one, who revealed himself in the story of the Jewish people, the Torah or the Old Testament.

In the beginning of the Old Testament, God is presented as creating the universe out of nothing. Unlike pantheistic creation, there wasn’t any replacement or transformation. God just created new stuff, and the world was there. Needless to say, the nature of ultimate reality in monotheistic and pantheistic religion differs a lot.

Post 125: March 1st, 2017

First order of business today was Marine Biology. I learned about larval dispersal in marine animals, which sounds exciting, right? Well, it’s as exciting as it sounds. About 75% of slow-moving animals actually extend their range through the production of large numbers of eggs and sperm, that unite to form planktonic larvae.

Interestingly enough, we don’t 100% know what causes planktonic larvae to drop to the sea floor and become a juvenile. There are many theories, such as bottom texture, chemical attractants, light, and speed, we don’t have a real answer.


Next up, English! I learned about Confucianism, the ethical system founded in the 6th century BC by Confucius. Confucianism is actually hard to call a religion, at least in it’s original form. It was an ethical system, not a religion, and Confucius respected the religious traditions of his time and simply gave them an ethical interpretation.

The system as a whole believes that the supreme law of the universe is the moral law, a universal principle, omnipresent, hidden, and eternal. Following that morality means conforming oneself to the will of heaven, but aside from that metaphysical speculations about heaven and the afterlife are useless.


Finally, Programming. I learned about interrupt driven programming, or event driven programming. Basically, it’s programming that is affected by events, like you clicking your mouse or pressing a key on a keyboard. A video game could be thought of this way, since you click to do something, or use the arrows keys to trigger movement.

Post 123: February 27th, 2017

First order of business today was Algebra. I learned about hyperbolas, which can be described as conic sections with the property that rays directed toward one focus are reflected toward the other focus. A big defining trait of them is that they have two branches.

To put it a different way, a hyperbola is the set of all point in a plane such that the absolute value of the differences from two fixed points, called the foci, is constant.


Next up, Marine Biology! I learned about the relationship between animals and sediments. Animals in this instance can be sorted into two major categories. Epifaunal, meaning that they live around the sediment, or infaunal, where they live within the sediment.

Infaunal species include macrofauna that plow through the sediments as they move, and even some creatures so small that they can live on a single sediment particle.


Lastly, English. I continued with my research on of Taoism, and learned about Yin and Yang. You see, Tao holds two complementary and opposite modalities that are present in creation, Yin and Yang. Yin is the female principle of darkness, potentially, and regression. Yang is the male principle of light, activity, and progress. The two mix in different proportions to determine all aspects of nature and living beings. Additionally, all things get wisdom from Tao.

Post 122: February 24th, 2017

First order of business today was Marine Biology. I started learning about Coastal cities, and some of the characteristics of the sea floor. So, for starters, the composition of the sea floor is determined by the items that it accumulates, be it plankton, wastes, or detritus. It’s also determined by the activities of organisms that live in or on the sea floor, and in some cases, the strength of waves and currents. Fun fact, a lot of marine animals live in close association with the sea floor, so it makes sense that they have an impact on the composition.


Next up, English. I learned about Taoism,  founded by Lao Tse in the sixth century BC. Taoism states that there is an impersonal ultimate reality that is both the creator principle and the eternal truth of the universe. The Tao is the immutable and unchanging principle that is the basis of multiplicity and the impulse that generates all forms of life.


And finally, economics! Today we have… um… wait. Looks like it’s just the reference section.

We’re done economics! Well. Wasn’t expecting that. Somebody get some confetti! Because soon… we’ll be going back to sociology.

Post 119: February 20th, 2017

First order of business today was Algebra, and I learned about parabolas. The graph of an equation of the form y = ax^2 + bx + c is a parabola. However, a parabola can also be defined as the set of all points in a plane that are the same distance a given called the focus, and a given line called the directrix.

Parabolas also have a standard equation. Consider the vertex (h, k), and the axis of symmetry is x = h, and the formula is y = a(x – h)^2 + k.

If a > 0, k is the minimum value of the function and the parabola opens upwards. If a < 0, then k is the maximum value of the equation and opens downwards.


Next up, Marine Biology. I learned about the Chesapeake Bay System, which is made up of five major estuaries, and a bunch of smaller smaller ones. Because it’s so large, there is often a lot of conflict among people on how to use the land and how much of it we should use, for conservation efforts or construction projects.

Animals also the the system in a different way, as a home during different parts of their lives. Oysters live there for their whole lives, while horseshoe crabs are only born there. Sea turtles spend their time there as juveniles, and blue crabs stay there from the larvae stage through adulthood, but aren’t born there.


Lastly, English. Continued with Buddhism, here’s what I learned. Because of the many Buddhas in Mahayana Buddhism, it had to be reconciled with the truth of emptiness, so further explanations were provided, in the three bodies of the Buddha. The bodies represent different understanding, and go as such.

The first body is Dharmakaya, emptiness itself, and the essential body of Buddha.

The second is Sambaghakaya, the body of enjoyment, and the body of Buddhas in the pure lands.

Lastly is Nirmanakaya, the physical body of Siddhartha Gautama, or the physical body of a Buddha. It is an image manifested in the world for the benefit of lower beings.

Post 118: February 17th, 2017

First order of business today was Marine Biology. I learned about environmental pollutants, and how estuaries can be affected a lot by pollution. Since water tends to circle in an estuary, pollutants get trapped and build up over time. There are also some pollutants that might seem benign, like agricultural fertilizers, but can actually be dangerous. For example, they can spark phytoplankton blooms which end up robbing the estuary of oxygen.


Next up, Economics. I learned about the characteristics and trends of globalization. One of the major characteristics is the emergence of multinational corporations, which essentially the same product/brand in different countries. Global production is also common, where products may be made in multiple countries and sold in completely different ones.

There are also trends such as interdependence between nations, and a lot of economic integration around the world.


Lastly, English. Continued with Buddhism, learned about the more liberal branch, the Mahayana School. It emerged later than the other, between the first century BC and the first century AD. The texts of the school claim to be a recollection of early speeches of the Buddha, revealed after his death because the world would not be able to understand them. The writings contradict some of the conservative doctrines of the Theravada school as well.

Ultimate reality in the Mahayana School is an ultimate truth, called the truth of emptiness that is a quality attached to any physical, mental, or doctrinal concept.

Post 116: February 15th, 2017

First order of business today was Marine Biology. I learned about different kinds of estuarine habitats, for example, salt marshes. Salt marshes are high elevation plant communities, which exist in inter-tidal zones and have plants that have adapted to salt. Part of the reason for their importance is that a lot of the grass that grows in a salt marsh becomes part of the estuary as detritus, nourishing other life.

There are also mudflats, broad expanses of nutrient-rich fine-grained muds that are exposed at low tide, and serve as a habitat for a wide array of different things. And there are the channels in the estuary that serve as habitats, with the animals that live in them being unable to tolerate inter-tidal life.


Next up, English. I started research on Buddhism, which is an interesting topic so far. It was founded in the sixth century BC by Siddhartha Guatama, the Buddha. However, it has evolved over time and there are two main branches, one of which we’ll be talking about today, the conservative branch, or the Theravada school.

Theravada teaches that there is no personal god, nor is there a spiritual or material substance that, by itself, is ultimate reality. However, gods do exist, albeit in limited form. They are temporary beings that achieved heaven using the same virtues as a human disciple of Buddhism. It also states that ultimate reality is nothing but transcendent truth, which governs the universe and all human life.


Finally, Programming. I learned about Pulse-Width Modulation, a modulation method used to encode a message into a pulsing signal, however the main use is to control the power supplied to electrical devices. PWM is also used for common things, like audio effects, voltage regulation, and servos.

Post 114: February 13th, 2017

First order of business today was Algebra. I learned about inverse functions and relations. So, two relations are inverse relations only if one relation contains the element (a, b) and the other contains (b, a).

As for inverse functions, two functions are inverse functions only if both of their compositions are the identity function. Not much more complicated then that.


Next, Marine Biology. I learned more about estuaries, mainly about how they form. They form from sediments transported there from coastal watersheds. Sediments also promote the development of different, smaller habitats within the estuary.


Lastly, English. I learned about Hatha Yoga, which is very closely related to Tantrism. In fact, Tantrism is one of Hatha Yoga’s three sources, the other two being devotional saivism and the ascetic practices of the so called Siddhas, or Perfect Ones. A large part of the similarity comes from that in both, ultimate reality is the god Shiva, with the world and coming into being from the dissociation of the unity of Shiva and Shakti, the two major gods.

Post 113: February 10th, 2017

First order of business today was Marine Biology. I learned about salinity adaptions in marine animals, specifically how they need to be able to adapt to different salinity levels. Due to the variable salinity in an estuary, animals either need to adapt or remain in the same area. Species that can regulate the salinity are osmoregulators, while species that remain in the same area are osmoconformers.


Next up, Economics. I learned about economic development, and there was a lot to cover, so for the sake of simplicity I’m going to talk about one of the biggest parts, the stages of economic development.

Economic development starts with primitive equilibrium, where there is no formal economic organization. For example, a society where people hunt and the food is shared with everybody.

Next is the transition stage, where people move away from the primitive equilibrium and start breaking traditions.

And then there is the takeoff stage, where there is very little remainder of the first stage, and the country begins to grow rapidly, along with saving and investing it’s income. Industries appear and grow rapidly, etc.

The fourth stage is semidevelopment, where the makeup of the country’s economy changes. Income grows faster than population meaning more people have more money to spend, and technology advances.

Finally, there’s high development, where efforts to obtain food, shelter, and clothing are more than successful, and because everyone has the necessities, they look towards consumer goods that make life easier, such as refrigerators, washing machines, and cellphones.


Lastly, English. Continued with my research, learned about Tantrism, another part of Hinduism. It appeared in the 4th century AD, and may not have a vedic origin, as it’s grounded in two deities that aren’t in the vedic pantheon. These deities are Shiva & Shakti.