The last blog post for the quarter. I’m a bit disappointed that we never got to make anything in Technology. I was really looking forward to making a wooden box and the other projects that we never got to do. Still, I’m glad we had Technology online, and I learned a lot. I learned about the properties of different materials, how to recycle them, how to tell them apart. But I wish we could be in class and do more hands-on activities together.
Living in lockdown was something new, and a lot of things changed. Summer is going to be different too, so I hope that things go back to normal by next year.
A lot of things have been going on lately. It is hard to travel for the summer because of the virus, and my summer vacations have been altered. Originally, my family was supposed to go to Europe for the summer. Then we changed our plans to go to Maine, but learned that visitors going there would have to self isolate for 14 days. Now, we are planning to go to upstate New York. Summer camps are also being forced to close or go online. Everything around us is being changed and updated, and while some places are reopening, others are extending quarantine.
I wonder what school will be like in September, and whether it will be able to reopen. I hope that school can return back to normal by next year, but nothing seems certain for now. Life in quarantine is becoming the new normal for me, and I can’t remember what it was like to go to school.
If there are places I could recycle plastics that I normally throw out, I would bring those plastics to recycle them if it wasn’t unreasonably far away. It would take extra energy to travel to another place to recycle them, but I would still do it. I would accumulate all the soft plastic bags and styrofoam, and bring those plastics to the place all at once. Although there would be energy used in bringing the plastics to that place, it would also be just as bad to throw the plastic out.
Although I would go to the places to recycle the plastics, the best thing to do is to not purchase those plastic items in the first place.
We use a lot of plastic in our lives. There are different categories for different plastics. The numbers on the plastic are the recycling numbers. However, not all plastics are recyclable, and not all plastics are safe for eating and drinking.
There is a lot of plastic with a #5 stamped on it in my bin. This type of plastic is polypropylene (PP). It can come in contact with food, it can be opaque or translucent, and it can be colored. It is stiff but not as brittle as some other plastics. It is heat resistant and tough, yet lightweight. These characteristics make PP a good choice for many different types of containers, such as yogurt and sour cream containers.
Polypropylene is considered to be safe for reuse. Although few people recycle it, it is becoming more accepted by recyclers today. When it is recycled, it is used to make landscaping border stripping, battery cases, brooms, bins, and trays.
Some plastics in the #7 plastic category can’t be recycled. While most plastics are recyclable, some of the recyclable plastics are not good for the environment, like styrofoam. The chemicals in styrofoam can contaminate food and drinks, and it also leaches into the environment. It is best to avoid these harmful plastics and use something reusable and more environmental-friendly, such as using a metal water bottle instead of a plastic one.
We learned about different types of plastic, including thermoplastics and thermosets. While thermoplastics can be remelted and reshaped; once thermosets are formed, they can’t be returned to their original state.
Thermoplastics and thermosets can be replicated with common foods. Something like an ice cube reflects a thermoplastic: it can be melted, and refrozen again into an ice cube. An egg mirrors how a thermoset works: once you cook an egg, it cannot go back into its original form. I find it fascinating that two completely different things act similarly; just as an ice cube and an egg can replicate thermoplastics and thermosets.
It is interesting to learn that scientists and engineers continue to create new types of plastic. New innovations are constantly being discovered, and this new technology can help us do more things.
“Oregon Forest Law requires us to replant the site within two years and it needs to meet “green-up” standards by six. By state law we are required to leave two live trees standing and two downed trees per acre of clearcut harvest. We are also required to protect small, medium, and large fish streams.”
Clear cutting is a way to remove timber from a designated area. It is the the most efficient and safest way, and it mimics natural conditions. But it has many negative effects. Once the trees are removed, there are no more trees shading nearby streams, so the temperature of the water increases. Oxygen levels decrease due to the lack of trees. Another result of clear cutting is the loss of topsoil. Once there are no more leaves that fall and provide the soil with rich nutrients, the soil decreases in quality, which can harm dirt-dwelling organisms. Animals that need the trees for their home are also negatively impacted. The forest biome, a whole balance of interwoven set of ecosystems, is disrupted by clear cutting.
However, the timber industry does take some actions to lessen the impact. After clear cutting, the removal of trees increases soil erosion, which will run into nearby streams and harm aquatic life. In order to combat this, the timber industry makes sure they have clean fresh rock to block off runoff, and they use silt fences or hay bales to filter out sediment. They are required by state law to protect small, medium, and large fish streams.
Although the timber industry takes actions during clear cutting to protect the environment, there are still many harmful effects of clear cutting. Perhaps they could plant more than two trees per acre, because there can be hundreds of trees per acre before the trees are cut down, and planting only two trees does not seem sufficient. Planting more trees would help stop the negative effects faster, so the requirements should be changed.
More boys speak up in live zoom classes than girls, and more girls communicate through messaging or email than boys.
Some boys are more outgoing, and they express their ideas openly. When they think of something to say, they unmute themselves and open their mouth to say it. Maybe boys also tend to forget their questions, so they ask it in the moment in order not to forget it. Or perhaps they want to know the answer to a question as fast as possible.
Some girls may tend to be more shy, so they wait after class to email the teacher privately. They may not want everyone in the class listening in on their questions/comments. They also might be more conscious and thoughtful. When a question arises in their mind, they let it fully form before communicating it. Emailing the teacher would allow them to think about their questions before they actually send it. They might be wary of saying something that they will regret saying, so emailing will also allow them to revise their wording so they don’t make a mistake.
These may be some reasons why boys generally talk more in zoom classes and girls generally email more. This doesn’t apply to everyone, but I generally would email a teacher rather than talk in a zoom class.
To me, building something means to form a structure by putting different materials together and creating something new.
I wouldn’t say that I have built a big project before, but I have done some small things. Last year in Technology, we built several things, including a circuit, a person made from wire, a flashlight, switches, and an automaton.
Building the automaton was the hardest one for me. I decided to build a dog that gave the impression of walking. It was difficult to make the dog’s legs move, and the finished product wasn’t exactly how I originally pictured it to be. Constructing the automaton had certain elements that were easy, but other days it was challenging and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to finish it. Sometimes I would feel energized when finishing a component of the automaton, but other times I would feel frustrated if I couldn’t figure out how to solve a problem. The Tech teacher helped me brainstorm a new idea when my original plan wouldn’t work. After a lot of hard work, I finally finished it, and I felt accomplished.
Although I don’t have my automaton, I do have a clear memory of the building process.
The deadly coronavirus has infected over 2700 people and killed at least 81 people, and began in the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China. The virus came from “wet” markets, originating from animals and traveling to humans. The trading of these wild animals (including rats, crocodiles, snakes, and camel meat) is connected to this outbreak. This virus has come at an especially unfortunate time, because it is Lunar New Year which is the busiest travel season. People crowd into public transportation to return to work after visiting their families for the holiday, so the government of Shanghai is extending the holiday by a week to attempt to reduce the spread of the virus. Schools are closed, private cars are banned, and hospitals are being built for the increasing number of patients.
The coronavirus is definitely spreading fast, but people are taking action to stop it. They are reducing the interaction with people in China, and helping those who are infected. However, they should also focus on banning the trade with wild animals, so this virus would not break out in the first place. They should not only cease the spreading, but stop how it was transferred to humans in the first place. This would prevent the epidemic from happening from the beginning. This way, people all over China can celebrate the Lunar New Year together without worrying about the deadly coronavirus.