Monday, April 11, 2016

Walk Like an Egyptian

Hello and welcome back to my blog! Today's topic is not about a song, but it's about my new Ancient Egyptian course from Bibliotecha Alexandria, or BAx for short.


My newest class is BAx's General Introduction to Ancient Egyptian Civilization, taught by Professors Ahmed Borham and Marwa Assem. The first thing I want to talk about is hieroglyphics, which comes from the Greek words "Hiero" (Holy) and "Glyphos" (Writing). Each hieroglyph, or individual character, may represent a letter, sound, or even a whole word. For example, the letter "N" is represented by water, "I"  is represented by a reed leaf, and both "C" and "K"  are represented by a basket. Therefore, "NICK" would be water, reed leaf, basket, basket. NOTE: These are the hieroglyphs I know of for the letters shown, but there may be more for each letter.

The other subject I want to discuss is an extension on hieroglyphics: the ancient number system. The ancient Egyptians only had 7 numbers: 1, 10, 100, 1000, 10000, 100000, and 1000000. 1 was represented by a single vertical line, 10 was represented by an arch, 100 was represented by a coiled rope, 1000 was represented by a lotus plant, 10000 was represented by a finger, 100000 was represented by a frog, and 1000000 was represented by a god with his arms raised above his head. In order to get a number like such as 32, the Egyptians would have to do 10 + 10 + 10 + 1 + 1.

An interesting way that math tied into myth back then was the one version of story of the Eye of Horus. In this version, the story goes as such: Set, the god of evil, attacked his nephew Horus, the god of falcons and heir to the godly throne. During the fight, Set tore out one of Horus's eyes and tore it into many pieces. Afterwards, once Set was defeated and banished to the desert, Thoth, the god of wisdom, healed Horus's eye by gluing it together with moonlight. To the ancient Egyptians, Horus's eye, when torn up, represented fractions. A brief example would be that the right side of the eye being one half, the pupil being one quarter, and the eyebrow was one eighth.

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

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Punnett Squares

Hello and welcome back to my blog! Without further ado, here is today's topic: Punnett squares. I am learning about these in Introduction to Genetics and Evolution through my online Coursera course taught by Dr. Mohammed Noor at Duke.


Punnett squares, named after Reginald Crundall Punnett, are ways to calculate rate of inheritance, X-linked inheritance, and genotype frequencies. When used in their most basic state, the squares are used for determining basic genotypes for a single gene. For example, if you were to cross an "AA" individual with an "aa" individual, the genotypes of all of the offspring would be "Aa", as demonstrated below:

Another, more extended use of Punnett squares is X-linked inheritance. X-linked inheritance is gender-specific, so they differ based on males or females. Females, who have 2 "X" alleles where males have 1 "X" allele and 1 "Y" allele, which determines gender. For example, say you are studying red-green color-blindness, which is theoretically an X-linked disease. If a color-blind male (diseased "X" + "Y") mates with a carrier female (diseased "X" + "X"), the offspring has a 25% chance of being a color-blind female(diseased "X" + diseased "X"), a 25% chance of being a color-blind male (diseased "X" + "Y"), a 25% chance of being a carrier female (diseased "X" + "X"), and a 25% chance of being a healthy male ("X" + "Y"), as shown below:

The final and most complex use of a Punnett square is to calculate genotype frequencies. While what I am describing here may sound a bit far-fetched, it does actually occur in some invertebrate aquatic creatures. For example, if you know that the alleles are 70% "A" and 30% "a" in a certain allele "pool", then you can figure out that 49% of the individuals spawned from that "pool" will be genotype "AA", 42% will be "Aa", and the remaining 9% will be "aa", as demonstrated below:

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

Monday, April 4, 2016

Universal Laws #2 and #3

Hello and welcome back to my blog! Today's post is about my mythology course, Introduction to Greek and Roman Mythology through Penn Arts and Sciences at University of Pennsylvania and taught by Peter Struck. A quick reminder about Universal Laws: they are given throughout the course and are supposed to hold true for all of antiquity. The definitions given here are my interpretation of them, so if you have another idea of what they mean, please comment below.


Universal Law #2 states that "In order to persuade people, you need to know your audience", which means that if you wish to convince people, you need use an approach as unique as the person themselves. For example, if you want to persuade a young maiden, you might need to focus on flattering her on her beauty. However, if you wish to convince a wise old man, you might want to focus on his wisdom.

Universal Law #3, which says "It's not good to be food", means that humans are not meant to be food, and when they are, it isn't good. This is an extension of food crimes, which you get punished for eating stuff that is not food. Also, it springs from the myth of Polyphemus, in which Polyphemus the cyclops eats some of Odysseus's men when they land on the island of the Cyclopes. This is also a breach of the ancient rule of ξενία (pronounced zen-ee-uh), where guests to one's land get lavish rewards due to the belief that all guests come from Zeus.

Thank you for visiting my blog and have a good day!