Sunday, August 04, 2013

On Tardigrades

     SO back in may I enrolled in a biology class at the college near here, I needed the biology credit and man if biology isn’t half hard. It nearly killed me learning about chemistry and cell organelles, {Fun Fact: All of your energy is created by teeny tiny turbines in all your cells. Literally turbines. Anyway.}
     For the final part of the class I had to write a paper {4–6 Pages, double spaced} cited to APA standards with at least six references. The topic was up to me but it had to be biology related. I’d never written a paper before, and I’d never even heard of APA.

“I’d never written a paper before, and I’d never even heard of APA”
     In the class where I found out about the paper the teacher put the fear of jesus in me about plagiarism,  “Look, cite every paragraph! At least!” “Show your sources!” “Plagiarise and you get kicked out of school!” Needless to say I was a little worried I’ve had experience with writing, just back when I wrote The CWA but that wasn’t good. And that wasn’t about to be judged.
     When I signed up for the biology class I also signed up for a business class, “Biology is going to be hard, let’s pick something fun. Oh! Business. Business is fun.” What?  What are you thinking, me in the past!? It turned out not to be a very hard class, and every week or so I had to turn in a two page report on a business that was in the news “Recently”. Not hard, but I learned that I can only write about stuff I care about, so after three weeks I had written one on Tumblr, Apple and YouTube and finding a story got to be very hard. Anyway.
      This business report had to be to APA standards, so I got quite a lot of practise in for my biology paper. Through the purple annotations of my business teacher I learned all kinds of stuff the online help didn’t tell me about. Like not using contractions at all ever.

     And how long a paragraph could be.

    When I couldn’t put off my biology paper any longer I read every scientific paper I thought would be useful and I started to realise, that I wouldn’t be able to do anything other than a very vague overview of tardigrades. Tardigrades, if you don’t know {and there’s no reason you should} are tiny creatures {.1–1.2 mm} that live in wet environments. They’re found everywhere, from moss in my yard to the bottom of the ocean, but there’s all kinds of stuff that’s weird about them, for example they’re their own phylum.
      A phylum is a base–level categorization of creatures, for example chordata includes everything you’d think of as an animal, from fish to giraffes to, well, you and me. There’s also arthopoda, which includes bugs and lobsters, and there’s one for worms and then there’s tardigrada which literally just consists of different kinds of tardigrades. There’s like a thousand different kinds of tardigrades. I was not aware of this when I chose them as a topic based off five facts I knew about them.
     This paper was way hard to write and I was super nervous so I took every extra–credit opportunity and tried to get the highest score possible on every homework and test. I was convinced I knew I was going to fail this paper so got every point I could get. In addition to the paper was a “Creative Portion” which was basically just a project related to your paper, the only requirements were that you had to have one and it had to be vaguely educational. If you could meet those requirements you could get forty points, so I was on TOP of that. I didn’t have any conception of what would constitute a good project, so I just did what I could.

     On presentation day we had statues, a poster,  powerpoint presentations, one person had a carving that lit up. I’d made a music video for an original song.

Tardigrades! {What’re you doin’} SONG 

     I may have gone a little crazy. I should probably have taken into consideration that I’m not a musician, singer, or audio engineer before I decided to write a song. It’s not a nine minute song, by the way, the first half is the song, the second half is a how to on how to catch tardigrades. I think it went over pretty well, I’ve never gotten applause before. It’s a heady feeling, for sure. But that might also have been because I brought the class a homemade rhubarb pie.
     Turns out I didn’t have to have worried about the paper so much, I got an A on it and my teacher asked for a copy so she could use it as an example for future students. Of an ideal paper, not a warning so it went pretty well, I think. Oh yeah, also I got A’s in all my classes. So, solid first school experience so far.
“Oh yeah, also I got A’s in all my classes. So, solid first school experience so far.”
     Sorry about all the words, here are some more videos: 

Tardigrades--A First look at an Upcoming Project  
I'm doing a video on tardigrades for a college project, and I shot some neat video of them just now. 
Sorry it's super noisy, it's difficult (And very dark) shooting through microscopes. 

The Little Tardigrade 
The name is a reference to that book "The Little Prince" Because--Well, you'll see probably. 
Hey! Do you want a tardigrade video for your project? Go ahead and use this one (If you can download it off youtube, But I bet you know how to do that.)  As long as:
1. Attribute Jacob Earl (Who is me. Earl is my real last name.)
2. Noncommercial. (Don't sell this video or a thing with this video in it)
3. Tell me about the thing you made! Send me a link (If you publish it on the internet) so that I can see the cool project you worked on.

Tardigrade Funeral 
For the final video in our series on tardigrades Hanna and I went back into the forest.
And said goodbye.

Did you enjoy the song so much you need your own copy? I’m flattered! DOWNLOAD for FREE or Listen on Soundcloud! {Also free. I couldn’t figure out how to get it on iTunes. NOTE: If you download it it’s called “Tardigrade Song 5” for some reason. You can probably change that.}

Do you enjoy tardigrades? Illustrations? PINS? Well guess what have I GOT A PRODUCT FOR YOU. Right now in our Zazzle store a tiny pin featuring this tiny creature is waiting for you, for only $1.95 {The lowest price they will let me set it at} you too could own a pin with this lovely design, handcrafted by me. Not the pin. The pin is made by a machine somewhere, I handcrafted the design. 
EDIT: I just set it up so you can order this image as a print from DevaintART: BUY A PRINT 

That’s it, I think. Bye!


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And have a nice rest–of–your–day you guys.