Thursday, December 10, 2015

HTML 5, Margaret Mead, Grammar & Chinese

Hello and welcome to my blog on this fine Thursday.

The first topic of today's of discussion will be the end of my Grammar & Punctuation class from the University of California Irvine (UC Irvine). I completed the course and my final grade, as some of you may want to know, is a 92%. In this course, we learned about the proper uses of commas, parallel structure, sentence variety, and the different types of sentences. The class was fairly enjoyable. The one thing I really liked about this was that it forced you to interact with your peers in order to pass the class. The one downside, I think, is that there was only one video per lesson. I would have preferred more, so we could dig deeper. It was not an "Amazing, that was SO enlightening" kind  of class.

I am in another computer class since I finished my others. Today I started HTML 5 through the University of Michigan's School of Information. This is my second course through Michigan. My Python course was the first one. This is a different professor.The last one was Dr. Charles Severance. My new professor is Dr. Colleen van Lent. I do like her. HTML is often taught in correspondence with CSS, with HTML typically being used to create the content and CSS being used to create the styling and make it all fancy. With the release of HTML 5, however, HTML can now do not as much as CSS can, but it now can do a bit of styling as well. Examples of the styling it can do (to an extent) background or text color changes. Again, this is to a limited extent.

In my Chinese class, I have been learning about food, time, and numbers. Today, I learned about colors. Last year, I took Spanish and it was much, much easier than Chinese. Chinese is okay, but my preference is Spanish for a foreign language, or maybe something else similar to English.
Not many words in Chinese are similar to English. An exception is the word coffee, which is kāfēi.

In my astronomy class, Astronomy: Exploring Time and Space from the University of Arizona, it is more about recent discoveries. They are talking about the big telescope that they are building, which is going to be the largest in the world when it is finished. It is being built at the University of Arizona. In the beginning, it starts off by having you answer 30 questions about your prior science experiences. After you finish that, the second week was all about the Scientific Method and how it applies to astronomy. The big theme was CORRELATION and CAUSATION.

I learned about Margaret Mead, who explored the South Pacific islands, where she noticed natives that were actually putting head lice into the children's hair. The reason behind this was that the natives noticed that when the child has a fever, the head becomes hot and that lice abandoned ship so to speak when the temperatures got hot. They thought that no head lice was caused by fever. Because of this they believed that lice could make a fever go away. They were not trying to harm the children. They were trying to protect them from fever, even though in reality lice didn't make a fever disappear.

Thank you for coming to see today's edition of School Stories (Where School is ALWAYS in Session) and I hope to see you again soon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

History of Rock

Hello and welcome to my blog.

Today we're going to be talking about my music class, The History of Rock: Part 1, through the University of Rochester. This week, I am learning about what happened while Elvis Presley was serving in the military. As some of you may or may not know, he was called to serve in the military in 1958. He was gone for about two years.

I also learned about the Payola scandals. Artists were paying DJs money or favors to play their music and, therefore, they were getting exposure instead of everyone getting equal exposure like it is supposed to be.

With the Payola scandals,  Elvis's departure for the military, and other deaths & other circumstances, it opened up the teen market for music. There used to not be a market for teenagers, but after Rock & Roll started exploiting it, it became a big thing.

Elvis came back in early 1960. He noticed the gap that was left by the first wave of Rock & Roll and he started appearing in movies. Many fans of Elvis agreed that movies weren't all that good, but they liked them because Elvis was in them.

There were also movies with beach themes. Those were a big hit too.

What about music during this time?

There was the brill-building approach to pop. This was another way that people - after Elvis left - came in and said, "Hey, we should exploit this gap. Maybe we should come up with the next Elvis."

The Aldon Publishing Group attempted to come up with the next Elvis and they were the leaders of the brill-building approach. That's not to say that they were trying to come up with another male hit, but they were trying to come up with another Rock & Roll hit.

Some of the people and groups they attempted to turn into the next Elvis, so to speak, were Little Eva, The Shirelles, The Cookies, The Ronettes, The Crystals, and Neil Sedaka.

There was also something called teen idols. They were handsome people who were not necessarily all that talented. That's not to say that there weren't any talented teen idols. There were. They just weren't all that common. When it came to teen idols: Attractiveness first and talent was just an added bonus.

Who were these teen idols?

The teen idols that are more well known:

  • Frankie Avalon with his songs "Venus" and "Why"
  • Fabian with "Turn Me Lose" and "Tiger"
  • Bobby Vee with "Take Good Care of My Baby"
  • Bobby Vinton with "Roses Are Red (My Love)"
  • Bobby Darin with "Splish Splash", "Dream Lover" and "Mack the Knife"
  • Elvis Presley (once he returned) with "Are You Lonesome Tonight"

My personal favorite song from this time happens to be a song called "Calendar Girl" by Neil Sedaka. I thought it was well sung and I also liked the costumes there were used to represent each month of the year. I also thought that from the approach of musical producers and companies that song would have done really well.

One last thing about the teen idols is that they were marketed as sort of the "ideal boyfriend" - that is how the music company wanted to put them out and that is how they reached a lot of their teenage female listeners.

Thank your for visiting this music edition of School Stories (Where School is ALWAYS in Session) and I hope to see you again soon.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Space, Games and Chinese

Hello and welcome to the latest publication of my blog. Today's topic is an overview of the new courses I am enrolled it. I recently completed Ancient Greek (Wesleyan University) and the FIRST: The New Hampshire Primaries (University of New Hampshire). I also finished SQL, a programming language.

Right now, I have three new courses:

1. The Evolving Universe, through Caltech. It is about space and the universe; it's about outer space and what occurs in the great unknown. In my space class, it gave a couple of metaphors for the vast of our universe. If the earth was the size of a grain of sand, the sun would be 5 feet away. The nearest star that isn't the sun would be 250 miles away.

Our galaxy would be 10 million miles across and the closest large galaxy, the Adromeda galaxy, would be 130 million miles away from the earth. Proportionally, that would be a HUGE distance! One last thing about the space class - if our galaxy was the size of a frisbee, the most distant celestial body that we know of would be 100 miles away, but that it only proportionally.

2. Introduction to Game Design through California Institute for the Arts. This is about designing your own games- it can be on paper or a video game. If you finish the class, you will be able to build your own games completely from scratch. You never know, it might be the next big hit, like Flappy Bird or Angry Birds. There are other hits that don't involve birds, though.

In the first week of this gaming course, which you can enroll in through December 7, is an introduction to the professor and his Sesame Street-like character who assists him. It also talks about the different goals you can have in your game- the need for a story line, as well as the fact that you should involve a little bit of chance and a little bit of skill in your game.

The final assignment for the first week is to create your own game that can fit on a single sheet of paper and is for just one player. What's that? You want to hear a little bit about the game I am working on? If you say so!

  • The came is called Kingly Quest.
  • The storyline goes as follows: The queen has been kidnapped. You need to go on a journey to rescue her. It's like Monopoly except with only one dice. You roll the dice and follow the instructions on the space you land on.
  • The way you win is by fighting the dragon who has taken the queen captive. In order to fight the dragon, you have to roll the die twice. If the total is even, fortunately, you win. Unfortunately, if the total is odd, you lose and have to play the game again.

3. My third course is Chinese for Beginners through Peking University. As the title indicates, it is learning the Chinese language. It seems a little bit difficult at first, but once you get a little further in, it gets a little bit easier. My Chinese class starts out with you learning about the different tones.

There are 4 tones and they indicate a different pitch that you say it in. There is one that is a straight line over the letter and as it kind of indicates, it represents there being no change in how you say it.

There is one that looks like a small V over the letter, which represents a decrease in the pitch and then an increase in the pitch so eventually you would end at the exact same pitch that you started with.

There is one that looks like an accent mark with the top facing to the left, which represents only a decrease in the pitch.

The final tone is opposite of the third one, representing an accent mark with the bottom end facing the left. This is for an increase in the pitch. Those are the different tones that you learn in the first week. I do not want to give too much away, so I will not go into more detail right now.

Thank you for tuning in to this edition of School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!). I hope to see you again soon!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wrapping Up Greek

Recently I finished my Ancient Greek course from Wesleyan University. In the final week, it discussed the end of the Peloponnesian War, the death of Socrates, and the rise of Alexander the Great. Socrates was on trial, where he proposed that his punishment would be lifetime maintenance paid for by the state of Athens. The jury disagreed, however. In the end, after turning down an opportunity to escape from the prison that he was being held in, he had to drink a lethal poison. After Socrates’ demise, Greece came under the rule of so-called “charismatic leaders”, who rapidly rose and fell and rose and fell. One of these leaders was Philip II of Macedon. His son, Alexander, was tutored by the great scholar Aristotle, and went on to conquer much of Asia.

I personally thought that the course, although difficult at times, was overall an enjoyable learning experience. One thing that would have made the course better, at least in my opinion, would be if they went more in-depth about than the mythology of Ancient Greece. All in all, however, the course made for an excellent tool for knowing all that one can about the history of Ancient Greece. I would strongly recommend this course to anyone interested in Ancient Greece. Thank you for tuning in to School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!) today, and I hope to see you again soon!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Grasping and tearing and jumping, oh my!

Let's talk about entomology, shall we?

Today's entomology related topic goes along with my Fundamentals of Entomology class. Recently, I was working on the external workings of an insect. One thing you may be interested to know is that unlike legs, arms, and other things, insect wings are not appendages. This is because they are not solidly attached to the body, allowing them to rotate and move at high speeds, allowing the insect to take flight. The more flaps of the wing per second, the faster the insect goes, as well as the louder the buzz.

There are many (7 to be exact) different kinds of insect legs:

  • Ambulatorial - Commonly known as the walking leg. It is the most common type of leg in the insect world and it is also the least specialized. That means it as not as modifed.

  • Cursorial - Commonly seen in insects adept at running, such as tiger beetles and cockroaches, these legs are longer and more slim that ambulatorial, allowing more distance to be covered with the same muscular effort.

  • Saltatorial - Commonly seen in grasshoppers and other jumping insects. As you may have guessed, to SALTATE means to jump or leap. These legs are usually so long that they have 2 knees and are often curled up. You can see this in a grasshopper. The legs anchor the body firmly via use of claws, spine and big feet (tarsal pads). Along with the positioning of the legs at the metathorax (that is the center of the thorax), this allows for the whole body of the insect to be launched with a single leg effort.

  • Have you ever seen the front legs of a mantis? Have you ever noticed that they are like claws? This is an example of the Raptorial Legs. This is where the front legs are modified to grasp prey, while the head engorges itself on the prey. Sometimes they are even modified to cut the prey open, effectively killing it.

  • Natatorial legs are similar to swimmers' arm movements. They allow certain diving beetles to reach depths that they would not be able to otherwise. On these legs are often so called "swimming hairs" which allow the diving beetle to have as little friction as possible when diving and be able to move almost like a fish in the water.

  • Fossorial legs are often seen on mole crickets and cicada nymphs. These legs have a heavy, well aromored build up of bone (very sturdy). The legs also have large tooth projections which enable the owner of the legs to rake through soil to dislodge soil particles that they can use for food.

  • Clasping legs are very rare and are only seen in certain aquatic beetles as their front legs. These legs often have large claws and suckers to hold the female when, how do I put this? When they are mating.

That is all the types of legs. Next time we discuss bugs, we will talk about the Great Gray Slug, as well as the six different types of insect mouth parts.  I will also be telling you about my History of Rock class through University of Rochester and my UC-Irvine grammar class. See you next time on School Stories With Nick (Where school is ALWAYS in session). Thank you for reading today.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ancient Greece

Hello and welcome to my blog! Today's topic is my Greek course. As I have mentioned in previous posts, this course is about the history of Ancient Greece, not the mythology, although it does have some mythology mixed in with it. As some of you may know, I am a firm believer in the mythology of Ancient Greece.

This course, offered by Wesleyan University, is taught by Professor Andrew Szegedy-Maszak. Homer, a great philosopher, is mentioned very early in the course. I talk a bit about him, as well as other philosophers, here. Next up on the menu is some juicy informal tidbits on the Persian Wars.

Two major events in Greek history are the Persian Wars, which took place from 499 B.C.E to 449 B.C.E., which is about 50 years.The first war was held when Persia attempted  to invade Greece, only to be humiliated at the Battle of Marathon, in which the Persian king was killed. Then, the son of the king, Xerxes I, staged another invasion of Greece to avenge his father. The Greeks lost at Thermopylae thanks to a traitorous Spartan who defected to Persia during the first war. At Salamis, however it was a different story. This was a naval battle, and the Greeks triumphed thanks in no small part to the Athenian navy. This victory was part of what would lead to Athenian tyranny...

After the wars, Athens formed the "Delian League", whose treasury was held at Delos until Peisistratos moved it to Athens (more on him shortly). The League's members paid tribute in the form of either money or ships in order to keep Greece safe from Persia, or so Athens said. The ships patrolled for a year, and then were returned to the country that donated them. The money, however, went to Athens, where it was used to build more ships for the Athenian fleet. Athens slowly began to tyrannize the League over the years, but it peaked when Peisistratos began ruling Athens. He sent League ships to punish disobedient League members, and as I said earlier, turned the League treasury into part of the Athenian treasury. His sons, Hippias and Hipparchus, continued the tyranny until they were killed and Sparta overthrew Athens and dissolved the League.

Thank you for visiting School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!)! Please come again and be sure to tell a friend about my blog so we can get 1,000 pageviews! Don't forget that I have a reader request system! You can find out more here. Bye!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Karate Kicks

Hello and welcome to my blog today on this beautiful Tuesday afternoon. Today I will be talking about my karate class that I take at Murray's Martial Arts Centers (MMAC for short).

I started doing karate about 2 years ago. I took a break for about 9 months because of my schedule at private school, but before I took the break, I had gotten up to Advanced Yellow Belt, which is a yellow belt, except through the center, it has a black stripe. In September, I started up again at white belt. I recently tested and promoted to yellow belt, skipping advanced white due to my prior experience.

Now I will be relearning the kata called Wan Su. This is a kata where you first use Nahachi stance, which is basically a ready stance in which your feet are a shoulder's width apart, except your toes are turned inward at a 45 degree angle. It is also where you first start to use sideways punches and open hand jabs.

Recently, we learned about the most powerful kick in martial arts in the world. Sensei Leo showed us a really awesome video about it. It is a kick from Tae Kwon Do, which originated in Brazil.

This kick involves you crouching down, sticking your front foot out and touching the floor with your heel, bringing your foot back in, kicking your front foot up, and using that momentum to bring yourself up and swing your back foot around. This enables you to hit the target with a fair amount of force. A master of Tae Kwon Do used this kick to hit a training bag at a speed of 99 miles an hour (that's how fast his leg was going), which is faster than some Major League fastballs!

The kick also generated a total of 1800 pounds of force per  square inch on the spot where the foot made contact. This would basically be the equivalent of the person dropping a car on wherever he kicked you. He would be able to break bones wherever he kicked you and if he kicked you in the right place, you could sustain massive internal damage and possibly even die - from just ONE KICK.

Another person attempted to match that with a different kick from a different martial arts style and managed to move faster than 99 miles and hour, but generated a lower amount of force - about 1600 pounds per square inch. Make no mistake - that amount of force can still be deadly.

We tried this kick in karate class on Saturday, but it usually involved me falling on my butt. I did get it right once or twice, though, so that is an accomplishment.

Once again, thank you for visiting School Stories...Where school is ALWAYS in session. Tomorrow, I will be talking all about the New Hampshire primary. See you then. :)

Monday, November 16, 2015

I'm back!

Hello and welcome back to my blog! I apologize for the recent lack of posts. I have been working on other projects and have been busy helping my Grandma. In case any of you have been wondering, Grandma is doing great!

Here is the joke and it it is from How to Be the Funniest Kid in the Whole Whole Wide World (Or Just in Your Class) by Jay Leno:

Q: Why is the banana so popular?
A: It has appeal!


Let's talk about my visit with Matilda. Matilda is my cousin. I have not seen her since July and will not see her again until next summer, because she lives down south. She was visiting my Grandma, which is also her Grandma. We saw each other and played on Friday. We did my electric kit- it lights up, does a variety of noises, as well as sends a spinning disk into the air. Aside from that, we also played a two hour game of Scrabble with my Uncle Jeff. We were pretty evenly matched, which is why it took so long.

We also played with K'Nex, which is kind of like Legos, but not. It is a building material, but it uses rods and connectors of various sizes, shapes, and colors. It allows you to build a motorized cargo helicopter complete with open rear hatch and a lowering winch, as well as utilizing something called flexirods to build circular items. Matilda and I worked on building a lighthouse. She made a well-functioning shark that looked like it had a crocodile snout. She didn't even use instructions and I thought it was a really cool thing to do.

Matilda made a killer salad, by the way. Killer just means that it was delicious.

Then we went out to dinner. It was my Grandma's first time out doing something fun in more than ONE MONTH! I ate too fast and got a stomachache. Don't worry, though, as I am fine.

To wrap this little bit up, I had a lot of fun playing with Matilda and the next time I will see her will be at my cousin Alice's wedding.


Now let's talk about Git.

Git is another computer language, similar to JavaScript, Ruby and Python, but also has its own unique things. It is not as similar to English as, for example, Ruby. It is used to create transcripts for plays or even things as everyday as an exam. Let's focus on the exam example - no pun intended.

Git allows multiple users to share information and make their own edits as long as there is one person who is in control who edits the whole thing to make it complete. For example, you can have a biology teacher make a biology quiz, the history teacher make a history quiz and the physics teacher make a physics exam. Then- combining everything together - the principal can put it all together to make a quiz that focuses not only biology, but also history or physics.

Now talking about the transcript. Git is often used to create transcripts of Shakespeare plays digitally. Git makes it easy to do a little bit of work here, a little bit of work there and to save it to your base that you had established earlier. If you make edits and forget to save it and then you try to open it, then Git will say, "You made changes before. Make sure you save those changes before you continue."

Also, you can make something called commits. Commits are basically like comments to establish that you had done something, If you accidentally publish a commit that you did not intend to publish, Git makes it easy by not setting your commits in stone. If you want to delete a commit, you can, however it will also delete all commits made after the one you intended to delete.

Those are just a few examples of the massively useful computer language of Git.

Thank you for visiting School Stories (Where school is ALWAYS in session!) today. I hope you visit again tomorrow.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Ruby Sure Is Shining Bright!

Welcome to my blog today! As you might guess from the title, today's post is about the computer language of Ruby. First, though, how about a joke?

What did one mushroom say to another mushroom?

"When they made you, they really broke the mold."

I talked a little bit about Ruby last time, but that was only speculation. First of all, the course is from Codecademy, and it is downright awesome. Codecademy teaches many languages, not just Ruby. It teaches Python, JavaScript, Git, and more. The Ruby group consists of many "mini-courses". I have completed 4 or 5 of these mini-lessons, and I am a total of 28% done in the Ruby lessons.

I have learned to make a program with user input, "Daffy Duck-ified" some lines of input, and more. I prompted the user for their first name, last name, city that they live in, and the abbreviation for the state they live in. Using that data, my program told them their name and location. Also, the "Daffy Duck-ified" input was done by just changing the "s"s to "th"s. Both of the above programs may seem simple to you, but they are actually difficult to create and execute correctly. Go to the above link if you want to see that for yourself.

Thank you for tuning in to this post, and as always, I hope to see you on School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!) again.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Programming Android Apps, And Rubies Too!

Hello and welcome to this post on my blog! The subject of this day is my new programming course.

In my new programming course through the University of Maryland, College Park, Dr. Adam Porter teaches students the fundamentals of making an app for Android devices (i.e. phones, tablets, etc.). He teaches you how to use an "emulator" to "make" a virtual device (again, i.e. phones, tablets, etc.), as well as making a simple app, at least in the first 3 videos of part 1. In order to emulate and design apps, you need to install the Android Developer app, and you can only do it on phones (I think so, anyway).

Also, I will be starting a new course using the Ruby computer language. I have used JavaScript and Python, but I have never used Ruby. Sure, I'd heard of it, but never actually used the language itself. I predict that Ruby will be similar to Python and/or JavaScript, but different as well. I imagine that the "reserved words" (see here about the Python ones) will be different, even though they have similar functions, but that there will be some unique things about it as well. Like what, you ask? I have no idea, but I expect them to be dazzling, like a well-polished Ruby! *wink*

Thanks for your attendance to today's School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!) post today, and I hope to gain it again soon!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

New Hampshire Primaries

Hello and welcome to the latest version of my blog!

Today's edition is all about my New Hampshire Primaries course that I am taking through the University of New Hampshire.

The New Hampshire primaries are the first, but it wasn't intended to be that way at first. Nothing is said in the Constitution about political parties or how to elect a  POTUS (President Of The United States). The caucuses, which I discussed here and here, are different than the primaries in more than just name, date, and place. Iowa is more of a media event, as well as an all-inclusive one. New Hampshire, on the other hand, is semi-inclusive, with self-declared Republicans/Democrats voting only for their respective party, with the Independents/undecideds are "wild card" voters. The primaries, like the caucuses, are important in New Hampshire, but why? The answer is a simple one, the same one as in Iowa: They're the first, which makes them the most looked-at.

The 2008 NH primary, held on January 8, 2008, was a huge event at the time. The main event was Barack Obama versus Hillary Clinton (she is running this year). Obama had won the Iowa caucus, surprising most people. The primary was won by Clinton, but Obama won the nomination. The fact that they both won an important event put them on even ground, but Obama had gained massive recognition when he beat Hillary, so that paid off in the end. With the Republicans came the battle of Mitt Romney (who would win the nomination in 2012) versus John McCain. McCain won the primary as well as the nomination, but failed to win the presidency. With the defeat of the Republican nominee, Obama went from a skinny Illinois Senator to the first African-American President in United States history. Most Presidents since 1972 came in first, second, or third in Iowa and/or New Hampshire.

Thanks a lot for viewing School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!), and a shout-out to my Grandma Paula. Love you Grandma!

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Hello and welcome to this post, which on entomology!

I am now reading from a book called Fundamentals of Entomology by Richard J. Elzinga. It talks about different arthropods, such as the Insecta (like a grasshopper), the Crustacea (like a crayfish), the Arachnida (like a scorpion), the Chilopoda, (like a centipede), and the Diplopoda (like a millipede). Unfortunately, centipedes eat worms and slugs (that would explain some previously unexplained disappearances of my worms :(). They also can have up to 380 legs! Millipedes can have up to 750 legs though. That puts centipedes to shame, doesn't it?

There are three major arthropod groups: The Mandibulata, which are characterized by well-developed mandibles; the Chelicerata, which are defined by chelicerae utilization; and the Trilobitomorpha, known only by their fossils. Fun fact: Arthropoda means joint foot, from Latin (arthros = joint, poda = foot). Just one more thing about millipedes: They have a harder exoskeleton than most other arthropods (excluding crustaceans), so when they curl up into a tight coil, they are nearly impenetrable.

Thanks for this installation into School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!), and I hope to see you again soon!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Computer Science: JavaScript

Welcome to your educational blog viewing! Today's topic is my Stanford computer science class, which teaches you about the JavaScript language.

Recently, I talked about the Python language (you can see that post here). The JavaScript language is not super different, but it is different in a lot of ways. One way that they're alike is that they both have "reserved words", which cannot be used as variable names. Of course, the words vary in each language, but that is to be expected, since they are two different languages. However, a way that they're different is their purposes. Python is mainly used for web programming, while JavaScript is used mostly for browser programs.

I am enjoying this course from Stanford through Coursera, and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in learning about computer science. I like the professor, whose name is Nick Parlente, as well as the material. It is a fun course that I think would appeal to many people. Not only does he tell you about the material, he also shows you using a document side-by-side with the lecture.

Thanks for joining my Stanford Computer Science 101 review on School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!) and I hope to see you again soon!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Geometry & Bug Request

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of this blog! I'm Nick and I will be your host today, as always.

Today's "lesson" is on high school Geometry on IXL, such as inscribed and circumscribed triangles of circles. I recently was constructing triangles, squares and hexagons inside of circles, just like Aristotle did. I also have earned 15 outer-space-related awards(Sun, Titan, Earth, Gas Giant, New Moon, Lunar Eclipse, Pluto, Space Capsule, Satellite, Astronaut, Elliptical Galaxy, Orion, Telescope, Mercury, and Asteroid), as well as mastered 16 skills.

Another thing is that I just would like to announce that, if you were unaware before, I do accept requests to identify miscellaneous insects, arachnids, slugs, and worms. If you have an unusual worm, or slugs that you are willing to part with, I am interested in collecting and interbreeding worms/slugs to create new hybrids that haven't been discovered yet. Then I can make a name for myself in the scientific community as soon as I can! Of course, I would say that I couldn't have done without you if I use a worm that you sent in. I also would split the profits with you if there are any. 

Thank you all for visiting School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!) today, and I hope to see you soon! 

Monday, October 19, 2015

New Courses! New Books!

Hello, and welcome to my blog again! First thing first: why I've been away from it. As some of you know, my grandmother just had her hip replaced recently, so I was visiting her on Wednesday. Monday I forgot about it, and it was overall kind of an all-over-the-place, semi-hectic week. Sorry about that!

Today a new course started : the New Hampshire primary. It is through the same website as my Iowa Caucus course: Canvas. It asked to set up a Canvas network account, as well as do something with social media.

Also, during the inspection of our soon-to-be new house, I read a new book: Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff. It is a shortened retelling of Homer's Iliad, which tells of the wedding of Thesis the Silver-Footed; of the discord that followed, courtesy of Eris; of Paris' judging of Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite; of the "theft" off Helen of the Fair Cheeks; of Menelaus' rage at Paris; of the allies that heeded the call of Menelaus' brother, the High King Agamemnon; of Achilles' hiding; and of much, much more.

Thanks for viewing this post on School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!), and see you tomorrow!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Spinosaurus: Bigger Than A Tyrannusaurus?!?!

Welcome to today's post on Spinosaurus aegyptiacus (Egyptian spined lizard in Latin) and Spinosaurus maroccanus (Moroccan spined lizard), but mainly the aegyptiacus.

The genus of Spinosaurus includes the biggest carnivorous dinosaur ever to walk the planet: the aegyptiacus, discovered by one Ernst Stromer of Germany. Found in the Sahara Desert, the
Spinosaurus aegyptiacus was discovered in 1912 by one of Stromer's associates, and Stromer named it three years later, in 1915. Up until 2014, that was the only Spinosaurus skeleton ever discovered. Unfortunatly, however, an Allied bombing raid destroyed the museum, as well as the skeleton, in WWII. 

In a documentary called Bigger Than A T. Rex by Nova and National Geographic, however, another archaeologist discovered another Spinosaurus specimen, 40% preserved, with blood vessels intact as well. Using digital reconstruction technology, as well as other similar dinosaur examples, the scientists got a pretty good idea of how Spinosaurus looked when it lived 95 million years ago. It was over 50 feet long, at least 9 feet longer than the longest Tyrannosaurus rex ever found. Just one thing was wrong: it lived with too much predatory competition. Or did it? Further study revealed that Spinosaurus were most likely piscovores, or fish-eaters.

Thank you for viewing this edition of School Storie (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!), and I hope you learned a thing or two about Spinosaurus!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The First Democratic Debate

Hello, my friends! Today's short post is about the portion of the first Democratic Party debate between Senator Barry Sanders, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Governor Martin O'Malley, former Senator Jim Webb, and former Governor Lincoln Chafee.

In the debate, Sanders and Clinton were both considered to be the "winners",  while O'Malley, Chafee, and Webb were considered the "losers". However, no one really "wins" or "loses", since the debate is just an opportunity for the candidates to answer the questions of everyday Americans like you and I. One thing that was obvious is that they were nice to each other, unlike the Republicans, almost like they respected one another.

Thanks for tuning in to this publication of School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!), and I hope that you visit again in the future! See you later on in the time stream!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Doctor Who/3D Figures

Hello again, readers! Today's post involves more information on the Twelfth Doctor's sonic screwdriver. First, though, are some 3D figures begging to be talked about today.

You all have heard of cubes, prisms, pyramids, spheres, and cylinders, correct?
 They are the subject of this paragraph, which explains skew, parallel, and perpendicular lines, as well as the different pyramid/prism types. The prisms are different based on the shape of the two congruent faces, while pyramids are classified based on the shape of the face on the base. Skew lines are lines on two totally different faces, so they won't intersect. Parallel lines are on the same face, but are next to each other so they won't intersect either. Perpendicular lines also are on the same face, but they intersect to form a 90° angle, or right angle.

Now to move on to the sonic screwdriver (The collectible is also a great back scratcher!). It is a simple tool to Time Lords, yet complex to humans. In its extended form, it can pick combination locks that require a password, keyword or handprint/fingerprint. Here's a list of some of its functions:

  • Using high-pitched sound to shatter glass
  • Lock picking (just not wooden locks or deadlocks (except 11th Doctor and beyond for deadlocks))
  • Burning and cutting through all different kinds of substances
  • Amplifying sound-waves 
  • Boosting the power of an X-ray-er beyond its usual level
  • Disarm weapons and electronics (weapon disarming is an upgrade from original)
  • Light emitter
  • Intercepting/conducting teleportation
  • Transform eyeglass lenses into sunglasses
  • Microphone (as long as it is connected to an audio-amplifying device)
  • Detecting/reviewing transmission signals
  • Conducting medical scans
  • Remotely using the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space), as well as other devices
  • Tracking alien life-forms
  • Controlling the properties of atoms/molecules on a small scale
  • Operate computers, whether their origin is alien or human
  • Provide GPS location
  • Receiving cash from an ATM
  • Lighting candles
  • Modifying of a mobile phone to work throughout the universe
  • Disclosure/deactivating camouflage
  • Destroying of Weeping Angels
  • Disarming robotic items/beings
  • Scanning/classifying matter
  • Assisting with speaking with someone far away via an "acoustic corridor"
  • Tightening/loosening screws (Just like a non-sonic screwdriver!)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Worms and Books

Hello and welcome to this edition of School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!)! Today is a duel topic day, just like yesterday was.

The first topic for today is worms! As some of you know, I love to find worms, slugs, and other assorted critters to put into my "Critter Container". There are two species that can be found in my backyard: a skinny small one and the generic earthworm (If you have a different one that you don't mind parting with, I would love it!).

 I even have some albino worms (they may be grubs) and slugs! Worms have seven hearts and two "heads", so they regenerate another head in a matter of minutes if they are cut in half. If the division is across one of its hearts, it bleeds and may die. The worm in the bottom left corner of the picture has been injured, it looks like. I am not sure if it will live. I think it will, but it depends on if it regenerates its head quickly enough. It probably got stuck in a hole, as in it burrowed down and there was rock in its way and possibly another rock on the other side and tried to get through -- and it could get through, but got caught and wound up getting separated across one of its hearts. This is my guess on what caused its injury.

The other topic is my visit to Barnes & Noble Booksellers. I got a rare Doctor Who collectible item, a book that just came out, and the ultimate guide for the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, which I am a huge fan of.

The new book is The Sword Of Summer by Rick Riordan, which is the first in a new series (called Magnus Chase And The Gods Of Asgard) that is about Norse mythology in the real world. The collectible item is the Twelfth Doctor's sonic screwdriver, which I really wanted. It lights up, emits sounds just like the real thing, and even extends! If only it could open locks and do other functions...

I thank you for joining me for this edition of my blog, and I hope to see you tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My Special Athena Gold Coin And My Greek Course

Hello and welcome! Here's two jokes for today:

1. Why do dogs like trees?

They're attracted to the bark.

2. What musical note do you hear when a car runs over a bee?


I'm sorry about not having a post yesterday. To be honest, I forgot all about it! Anyway, today's post is about my Greek course, which has just started to get interesting. This week was all about the Archaic Age, where society rebounded from the Dark Ages and rediscovered literature. It was also the time that people began to switch over to coins for currency. One such example is the Athenian coin, which I'll go into detail about later. Finally, many poets emerged to enrich life in ancient Greece, such as Homer, Hesiod, and Sappho (the first important female person in ancient Greece).

The ancient Athenian coin was used as currency in the Greek capital of Athens, the sacred city of the goddess Athena. The coin was typically silver in color, but the one that I own happens to be golden in color. On the "heads" side, there is a picture of the goddess Athena, and the "tails" side features an owl (Athena's sacred animal), an olive plant (Athena's sacred plant) and the inscription ΑΘΕ (alpha, theta, epsilon), which means "Of The Athenians" or "The Children of Athena". The coin is even featured in the book The Mark Of Athena by Rick Riordan, where Annabeth Chase is given the coin, which leads to the missing Athena Parenthos statue.

I hope you enjoyed today's edition of School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!), and see you later!

Monday, October 5, 2015


Hello and welcome back! Today's post is about the concept of so-called "de-extinction", which is bringing extinct animals back to life. 

You may have heard about the recent woolly-mammoth-hybrid find (if not, click here for a link to the story), but how would you like it if that mammoth was still alive today? Given recent advances in biotechnology, that may be possible in a few years! Scientists have already successfully cloned an extinct animal, the bucardo (aka the Pyrenean ibex). The clone died after ten minutes of being born, but it marked a huge advancement in scientific research. Unfortunately, cloned animals have a higher risk of health problems, making it harder to succeed in cloning an organism.

That being said, it is not unlikely that an extinct species will be revived in the near future, such as the next two or three years. There are numerous candidates for de-extinction, but the most urgent ones to revive, in my opinion, are ones that we humans have hunted to extinction, such as the dodo and the passenger pigeon. I know that those are both birds, but some extinct non-bird candidates are the gastric-brooding frogs (Rheobatrachus silus and Rheobatrachus vitellinus), the quagga (plains zebra)(Equus quagga quagga), Tasmanian tiger(Thylacinus cynocephalus), and Steller's sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas).

Thank you for tuning in to this blog post about de-extinctionism, and I hope you all can't wait for the first truly successful cloning of an extinct animal, which will be posted about even if it's the last post on School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session)!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Free Day - The Cat of Bubastes

Hello again! I apologize for the recent lack of new posts, due to the fact that I was focusing on my book, The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt, which is the topic of today's post. But before we get started, how about THREE jokes?

1. How can you tell if an elephant is owned by a mobster?

There's a dead body in the trunk.

2. Which of Shakespeare's plays is about a dog?

Hamlet, because he was a great Dane.

3.Why do dogs bark at people?

To give them a ruff time.
The Cat of Bubastes starts off with a war between Egypt and Rebu, which is where young Amuba is prince. During the second-to-last battle of the war, his father is killed, leaving no certain king, since Amuba is too young. The next battle proves to be the last, as the Egyptian find an innovative way to get over Rebu's walls. Amuba and his good friend and companion, Jethro, both are captured and enslaved, and are sent on a treacherous journey to Egypt. They are placed under the care of a kind priest named Ameres. Ameres had 3 children: Neco, Mysa  (later Amuba's wife), and Chebron (Amuba's best friend). 

For a while, all is peaceful, until Neco is murdered, and Chebron accidentally kills the designated sacred cat of Bubastes. Then, all hell breaks loose, and Amuba, Jethro, and Chebron need to rescue Mysa and her maid/best friend Ruth (later Chebron's wife) from some villains.The villains, Ptylus and Plexo, are killed, and they can decide their course of action without delay. They then all flee to Rebu, where they lead an uprising, where Amuba is restored as the rightful king.

Thank you for returning to School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!) after a brief interruption to posting, and have a good day!
(By the way, my jokes are from the book How to be the Funniest Kid in the Whole Wide World (Or Just In Your Class) by Jay Leno)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My New Courses

Hello and welcome to today's blog post! Today's topic is the two new courses that I just started today.

The first on that I want to discuss with you is my piano lessons from PianoNanny. It teaches you about playing the piano or, in my case, a keyboard. My hope is that, by the end of these lessons, I can actually play songs on my keyboard instead of just pressing random keys that I think sound good. The course begins by identifying all of the names of the white keys and the notes that they represent. There are a group of two black keys, and the leftmost white key of that group is C. If you read my last musical musings, you'd  be able to discern the other notes, black keys included. It goes on to teach you how to not trip over your own fingers, so to speak, by using the following exercise, then do it on the actual keyboard or piano.

Your pinky is Finger #5
Your thumb is Finger #1
Wiggle Finger #5
Wiggle Finger #1
Wiggle Finger #2
Wiggle Finger #3
Wiggle Finger #4
Then do it on the other hand!

My other new course is on the Ancient Greeks. I do have some background in their religion, because I am a believer in their stories and gods/goddesses. This class is taught by Wesleyan University through Coursera. It talks about different civilizations, such as the Minoan and the Mycenaean. The Mycenaean era was, of course, followed by the Dark Ages, in which society was at a low point. The course also talks about their beliefs in the fourteen major gods/goddesses (as well as thousands of minor gods/goddesses):

Zeus: king of the gods, god of lightning and thunder
Poseidon: god of the ocean and earthquakes
Hera: queen of the gods, goddess of marriage and family
Hestia: goddess of the hearth and fire
Hades: god of the dead and wealth
Dionysus: god of wine and parties
Demeter: goddess of wheat and farming
Athena: goddess of wisdom and the arts
Hephaestus: god of blacksmiths and fire 
Ares: god of war and blood
Aphrodite: goddess of love and beauty
Hermes: god of thieves, travelers, and messengers
Apollo: god of poetry and archery
Artemis: goddess of hunting and archery

Thank you for coming to the latest School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!) production, and I hope to see you again on tomorrow's FREE DAY!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Iowa: More Than Ethanol and Corn

Hello and welcome to yet another week of my blog starting. Today's topic is about the end of my Iowa Presidential Caucuses class, which I completed today. I also earned a certificate for completing this course.

It was taught by Dr. Steffan Schmidt, Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University. I learned a whole lot about the political process through this class. I learned  that Iowa is the first caucus, but New Hampshire is the first primary. 

Some other things I learned include that not the Iowa governor, but the New Hampshire governor, would "fight to the death" to maintain the Iowa caucuses first in the nation, New Hampshire primaries second. That way, they don't have as much pressure.

Iowa is like a training ground, or a weeding out ground, so to speak. They weed out candidates who won't do well.  I also learned that if you do not do well in the caucuses (first, second or third), you will not do well nationally.

An example, Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton in Iowa, but he lost in New Hampshire (2008). He still went on to win the nomination and win the presidency. Jimmy Carter was a "nobody", but won Iowa against well known people. He wound up winning the nomination and then the presidency. He went from becoming "Jimmy Who" to President Carter.

I learned that you do not have to be really famous and put a lot of money into it to win. Sometimes, if you are like Hillary Clinton in '08 and do not spend time getting to know the people in Iowa and act like you are the "shoe in" - well, if you act like that, chances are you are going to lose. You have to put real effort into Iowa. Iowans do not care if you are well known, but they expect the candidates to go around to all 99 counties and maybe hang around in a coffee shop or a deli. A lot of Iowans expect to meet the presidential candidates. That right there - that they expect to meet candidates - is viewed as almost ridiculous by people in the other 49 states.

  Finally, the caucuses are not the "horse races", so to speak, that the media portrays them as. The media doesn't give Iowa enough credit. They describe Iowa as being just about ethanol and corn. Journalists, though,  just go into Iowa a day or two before the caucuses, report on it and fly out to New Hampshire. 

They don't spend much time there. That is why you do not hear much about those who came in 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th. Since the caucuses began in 1972 (if I recall), there hasn't been a single person who won the party nomination who didn't come in 1st, 2nd or 3rd in Iowa. That tells me that Iowa is much more important that ethanol and corn! The caucuses are much more complicated than that, national news media people!

Course Background Information
This was a four week course, each one containing a different Iowa-caucus-related topic. There was "Week 1: History of the Caucuses", "Week 2: Digging Into the Caucuses", "Week 3: Role of Media and Technology", and "Week 4: Future of the Caucuses". There were videos to accompany each unit, and they were:

 Week 1: History of the Caucuses

-Interview with Dr. Chis Larimer

- History of Caucuses, Iowa Public Television

- Interview with Richard Seagrave and Richard Bender

- The Choice 2008

 Week 2: Digging Into the Caucuses

 -Interview with Mary Richards

- Primaries, Caucuses and Conventions

-Caucus stories of the first Caucus and other caucuses

Week 3: Role of Media and Technology

-Iowa Political Scientists Meet 

  -Interview with Dave Price

- "Anything for a Vote" 

 Week 4: Future of the Caucuses

Well, that's all for today, folks! I hope to see you tomorrow on School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!)!

Friday, September 25, 2015

The New Irondequoit Public Library

Today my mom and I visited the new Irondequoit Public Library on the corner of Titus Avenue and Kings Highway. It just opened a little while ago, and this was my first visit there.

This library has two floors. We picked up a total of thirteen books there: The Genius Files: License To Thrill by Dan Gutman; Magicalamity by Kate Saunders; Villain School: Good Curses Evil by Stephanie S. Sanders; The Misadventures of Edgar & Allen Poe: The Tell-Tale Start by Gordon McAlpine; The Misadventures of Edgar & Allen Poe: Once Upon A Midnight Eerie by Gordon McAlpine; My Zombie Hamster by Havelock McCreely; Game Over, Pete Watson by Joe Schreiber; Our Fifty States by Mark H. Bockenhauer and Stephen F. Cunha; Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield; Giants of Science: Isaac Newton by Kathleen Krull; Case File 13: Zombie Kid by J. Scott Savage; Case File 13:Making The Team by J. Scott Savage; and Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith.

The Children's Library, which is their name for the children's books, seemed much bigger than the interior of our house. My mom remarked that this library is much nicer than the Webster Library, which we visited frequently over the summer. The last book I mentioned, Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith, even has instructions throughout the book for building the customized Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove, complete with an LED signal light, emergency alarm, sound/voice recorder, and UV secret-message revealer!

The all-new Irondequoit Public Library is a real gem in our community, at least in my opinion. If you get the chance to visit it, do so! It is definitely worth the trip, even if you don't live nearby. That just about wraps it up for today's post though, so be sure to visit again soon!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pope Francis In America

Welcome to today's special post about Jorge Mario Bergoglio, more commonly known as Pope Francis, who is currently visiting the United States. I am sharing some pictures today that were taken by my cousin, who was able to see Pope Francis in Washington. Thank you, Alice!

 Photo credit: A. Ziegler

Photo credit: A. Ziegler 
Photo credit: A. Ziegler

In the Pope's address to a joint session of Congress today, the first Latin-American Pope in history said many things, including:

  1. He said he was "grateful" for his invitation to address Congress.
  2. He said that the work that lawmakers do is similar to Moses. 
  3. Throughout history, Americans have helped to make sure that the future is better for others than it was for them. 
  4. Older people are very wise. 
  5. There's not a single religion which cannot be affected by the reaches of extremism. 
  6. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dreams continue to inspire people to this day. 
  7. Family is a key part of what makes our country so unique-that you can come to raise your family here. 
  8. Climate change NEEDS to be helped right now. We have to act. 
  9. The U.S. should not be afraid of people who come from other countries. 
  10. Immigrants and refugees are people too 
  11. The Golden Rule applies to all human beings. 
  12. He said that there should be no death penalty because it is not humane. 
  13. He wants war/conflicts with weapons to stop because they are destructive to humanity. 
  14. Congress needs to stop acting so unwelcoming to immigrants.

Much of what Pope Francis, who ate lunch with the homeless both yesterday and today, said agreed more with Democrats, in my view. 

For example, he sounded more like devout Catholic Vice President Joe Biden, who supports religious freedom, rather than Republicans such as Speaker of The House John Boehner, also a devoted Catholic, who both cried and rolled his eyes during the Pope's speech. I feel people like Speaker Boehner want to impose his religious beliefs and also put up a wall to keep immigrants out of the country. Why keep immigrants out and deport them, I ask, when we are all descendants of immigrants?

 It just doesn't make any sense, does it?

Thank you for tuning in to the special School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session) post about Pope Francis's visit to Congress.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Free Day

Welcome to the latest Free Day on my blog! I'll lead off with a joke:

What's the main difference between a duck and George Washington?

One has a bill on his face, and the other has his face on a bill.

One of today's topic is the website, which includes both ELA and Math practice, ranging from pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade. I have mastered nine sets of skills in ELA(commas; restrictive and nonrestrictive elements; semicolons, colons, and commas; apostrophes; dashes; ellipses; hyphens; capitalization; and titles), and have earned fourteen awards in  Math (Piccolo, Choir, Bongo Drums, Microphone, Cowbells, Half Notes, Treble Clef, Kazoo, Handbell, Concert Ticket, Quarter Note, Chimes, Violin, and Electric Keyboard).

Soon, Social Studies and Science will be added there as well.

The other one is the historic event that is ongoing as I type. The first African-American President, Barack Obama, is meeting (or has met) with the first Latin American Pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio (or Pope Francis). "The People's Pope", as Francis is called, kissed babies, participated in a parade, and even was given a T-shirt by a five-year-old girl. He obviously is incredibly well-liked by many people not only in the United States, but also in the world. In fact, my aunt, uncle and cousins are there today to see him.

Well, that wraps up today's post, but I hope that you continue to read both the past posts and the future posts on School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Great Python Language

Today on my blog, we will be discussing the great programming language of Python.

There are many programming languages out there, such as Python, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Ruby, Scratch, and Cobra, but today's focus is on the Python language. When I write "Python", what pops into your head? A computer language, or a big, long, ugly snake?

When the word Python has a capital "P", it typically is a reference to the programming language. It uses special "reserved words" to achieve various actions. You may not realize it, but computers are actually very dumb. Without human assistance, they'd just be boxes stuffed full of wires. As it is, computers have no imagination, creativity, or variety in their methods of work. They only know things that have been programmed into them. Anyway, back to the "reserved words" and their functions.

Here is a list of some of them, as well as what they do:

and: all conditions must be fulfilled

or: one condition must be fulfilled

is: equals

not: doesn't equal

print: writes letters and/or numbers

while: starts a loop that ends when the condition is rendered false

break: ends a while loop instantly

continue: ends the while loop run-through when reached

if: do this if condition is met

else: do this if the if condition is not met

elif: start another if if original if is false

I learned this information in my "Programming For Everybody" course from the University of Michigan School of Information with Associate Professor Charles Severance. 

Thank you for visiting School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!)  today, and I hope to see you again tomorrow! Bye!