Here’s the Plan

Hey everyone!

So…I have three weeks left of school. Unfortunately, one of this blog’s posting weeks falls on my last week before all my unit tests (this week), and the other falls on finals week.

I don’t particularly want to deprive you guys of two more weeks of posts. So here’s the plan.

This weekend was a crucial study weekend for me. I was unable to write any posts. Whether I roll any out this week depends on how busy I am. 

Reading week is primarily for finals, and truth be told, I have a feeling I’m going to need it. But.

Only three of my classes have final exams, and they are May 7, 10, and 11. That’s a Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I may need to cancel posts Mon-Wed to prepare for my calc final, but I see no reason not to post Thursday and Friday.

Just keep in mind that Thursday’s post may come late. Like after 3 in the afternoon late.

Here’s the good news.

Since the week of May 8 is my last week of school—finals week—I’m going to start posting every week, starting on May 15. That means every week for Sojourns, too.

I may change my posting schedule or go back to every other week starting in June, but that’s a long way off. All I know at the moment is that I’ll go back to every other week for the fall semester.

Well, that’s it for plans, guys. I just wanted to keep you all in the loop. Thanks for your patience with my hectic schedule!

Don’t worry, I have high hopes that things will straighten out over the summers.

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Seaweed is Life

fullsizeoutput_5f5 Continue reading

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Life Happened…

Ugh, sorry guys…I meant to roll out posts this week, I honestly did…

But life happened, and it happened in the form of school. I’m up to my ears in Calculus work and peer reviews for my fiction workshop class.

I promise you, I’ll get more regular and actually manage to follow my posting schedule once summer comes and I’m out of school. Until then…at least there are now more than a few posts on my blog for you to enjoy!

And if you’ve read everything already, never fear…I’ll be back as soon as I can. And there are only a few more weeks of school.

I’ll keep soldiering on, and I’ll write for you guys as soon as I possibly can. I promise.

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Sorry to make you guys wait, but I wasn’t able to do enough research for my global warming post today. It will be published either as an extra post next Thursday or on the usual day, the Thursday after next. 

I do, however, have material planned for tomorrow’s politics post. Last time I examined Breitbart’s credibility against NPR; tomorrow I’m going to take a look from the other side of the spectrum and examine a liberal-leaning news source against the moderate NPR. 

See you tomorrow, and sorry for the delay!

Edit: I may get said global warming post out later today, but I make no promises.

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Elements and Compounds

Ooh, finally, it’s time to talk about elements and compounds.

This is the part where I explain the periodic table. And, as you may know, the periodic table is pretty much the most important table in all of chemistry.

Remember it?


All the little boxes on this “table” are elements, the simplest form of matter. You literally can’t break these down further. What’s the difference between an element and a substance, you ask?

Okay, well, think of it this way. In my post on matter and its forms, I used water as an example of a substance. Water has its own physical and chemical properties, it’s not a mixture of anything, and no matter how many times you divide it up, you’ll still have the same thing.

But water can be divided up into different things chemically. Continue reading

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The Celestial Sphere

The celestial sphere is certainly a strange way to think about the night sky.

It makes sense to use globes to diagram the Earth. The Earth, after all, is a roughly spherical planet, and flat paper maps have a way of distorting distances.

The sky, though? Seriously? I mean, we all know the universe isn’t exactly a defined sphere that barely extends past Earth’s surface, right?

I mean, this model—the “celestial sphere”—even tries to claim that all the stars sit on the plane of the sphere like thumbtacks on a ceiling. And that the planets in the solar system follow regular paths around this odd-looking sphere.

Pretty strange way to think about the night sky, right?

Well…I have to say, astronomers do have a point. Continue reading

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Magnitude and Intensity

Hey guys, welcome back. Sorry about the absence of posts last week—like my posting schedule says, I post every other week here. Hopefully that will change when I get less busy.

So here’s another astronomy post for you guys. I have to warn you, this one is very mathy. If you love math, stick around—I’m glad to have you! If math makes you want to puke, then please, just check out my celestial sphere post in 30 minutes. I’d hate to put you off astronomy entirely.

Ok, we’re talking about astronomy here. We all knew math would come along eventually, right?

Last time around, we talked about the way stars are named and classified based on what constellations they’re in and how bright they are compared to the other stars in that constellation.

For example, here’s Orion. I’ve shown you guys this image before. As I’ve explained before, this is a depiction of Orion as a way to map out the sky, not as a picture in the heavens. As you can see, many of the stars within Orion are accompanied by little squiggles.


Those little squiggles—as I have also explained before—are Greek letters, used to rank the stars according to brightness within any one constellation. Star charts have the added benefit of being visual diagrams, and can rank brightness according to the size in which the stars are drawn.

But I’ve also mentioned before that stars are all at varying distances from us. Some are quite close—Proxima Centauri is 4.2 light-years away—and some are insanely far. Yet some of the farthest stars, such as Sirius, are the brightest in the sky. And some of the closest ones—like Proxima Centauri—are some of the dimmest.

Astronomers have a way to calculate most things. How do they calculate the apparent intensities of these stars? Continue reading

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Land of the Extremes

I haven’t lived in Flagstaff for a full year yet and I’ve already seen blazingly hot sun, torrential rain, snowstorms ranging from light flurries to blizzards that turn the landscape white, clear skies with temperature highs below freezing.

And right now, it’s honest-to-god hailing.

I’m serious—it’s definitely not snow, because believe me, I’ve seen snow. I couldn’t call myself an expert on snow till I went to college here. But I’d recognize snow if I saw it.

This looks like rain. It’s coming down in torrents. The sky is gray with clouds. The courtyard of my dorm building is drowned out in wet streaks. But I was outside just a second ago, and ice was pelting me.

It’s friggin’ hailing out there.

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And now it’s stopped. Gone like it was never happening. Flagstaff weather never ceases to surprise me…and I haven’t even been here a whole year yet.

I’m told spring is the most variable of Flagstaff’s seasons…it’s certainly living up to its reputation!

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Excursions Up High


Joshua Tree is a land of mystery, intrigue, excitement, and adventure. The fact that it’s one of my two favorite places in the world is an added bonus.

One of the reasons the place is so great is that it’s such a fascinating ecosystem, and there are so many things to do. Joshua Tree has something for everyone to enjoy. (Well, maybe except for fashionistas.)

We come out here fairly regularly. We live just about an hour and a half away, so it’s easy. Whenever we spend a day out among the tree-sized cacti—as an aunt of mine would call them—we always see plenty of other people enjoying the landscape.

But usually, those people aren’t climbing.

Either they’re hardcore climbers and put our bouldering to shame with their rope climbing, or they’re just nature enthusiasts out for a picnic under the shade of the trees.

Ahem…or whatever measly shade the Joshua Trees have to offer…

Well, we do things a bit differently. My dad, brother, and I come here to climb the rocks. We’re looking for exercise and a good challenge. You’d be surprised at the mental workout that comes along with the physical one.

After all, you can fall from rock to rock all you want, but if you use your brain you can really find the tricky footholds.

So, among the three of us, we have a little joke. We don’t mind what others come here to do. To each his own, right? But…

Wrong! Continue reading

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Guest Post—Collision of Science and Belief

This is a guest post I did over on A Momma’s View. Fantastic blog, by the way—I recommend you check it out. I write one of these for her every month. This is a science post and has a little bit of everything, but the overarching theme is discerning the difference between fact and belief (and science versus religion). A huge thanks to the Momma for letting me post on her blog!

A Momma's View

Emma’s Blog, For The Love Of Facts, is a very new one and yet it’s not. Emma was blogging under the name of Perse before on Far Beyond The Stars. For a long time she has been writing amazing guest posts for me and I’m thrilled to witness her new journey with her new blog. I am really excited that Emma will continue to write posts for me on occasion and that I can feature one of her great posts today. I hope you will enjoy it just as much as I did…

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