Presence Podcast – Atomic #19 – Christ Through Potassium

Atomic #19 – Christ Through Potassium

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Potassium, atomic symbol K, is essential to the basic functioning of your body. It also was likely integral to the emergence of life on Earth. Christ, like K as it hits H2O, explodes into creation not by going up to the heavens, but by descending into humanity and the experience of being alive in flesh and bone.

Potassium in its pure, metallic form

The chemical symbol K comes from kalium, the Mediaeval Latin for potash, which may have derived from the arabic word qali, meaning alkali. Potassium is a soft, silvery-white metal, member of the alkali group of the periodic chart.

From “Chemical Properties of Potassium”

“What Does Potassium Do For Your Body?”

Top 14 Health Benefits of Potassium”

“Six Steps to Controlling High Potassium”

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Presence Podcast – Atomic #18 – Christ Through Argon

Christ Through Argon

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Argon, a noble gas is inert and inactive and thus is useful in various ways. Some think that God is inactive and uninvolved in the world. But Christ shows us that God is here and now.

A glowing set of the noble gases. Argon is the one in the middle.

Five Major Uses of Argon

Chemistry Explained: Argon

Argon: General Info and Uses

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Presence Podcast – Atomic #17 – Christ Through Chlorine

 

Fritz Haber – Both personally oversaw the use of chlorine gas in WWI trench warfare and made positive contributions to humanity through his research on nitrogen as a fertilizer.

Presence Podcast – Atomic #17 – Christ Through Chlorine

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Facts about Chlorine

What is Chlorine?

How Does Chlorine Work to Clean Swimming Pools?

On-Line Catholic Faith & Science Course Starts February 9th

A brief post to let you know about a unique on-line course starting next week. The website bills it as:

The first 100% online course of the Catholic Church on the dialogue between Science and Faith. Provided by specialists it is easy to follow and uses the latest e-learning methodology.

Under the Patronage of the Pontifical Council for Culture

It’s not free (like most MOOC’s), but there is a discount based upon country of residence. And I imagine most schools, churches, dioceses, etc have reimbursement plans for Continuing Education Units and similar.

 

Astronomy Treat This Week – 5 Planets & A Comet!

A quick post today about something exciting (and rare) happening in the sky this week.

As reported by CNN, early (45 min before sunrise) risers will be able to see 5 planets in the sky simultaneously. Here’s the overview:

From January 20 to February 20, you can see five planets spanning the sky together just before dawn: Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter will all be visible about 45 minutes before sunrise.

This is the first time all five of the so-called naked-eye planets have appeared together in the pre-dawn sky in more than a decade, according to Sky and Telescope.

The group got the name “naked-eye planets” because you can see each of them with your own eyes — you don’t need binoculars or a telescope.

I’ve blogged about astronomy and the cosmos previously. I strongly believe that the cosmological aspect of creation one of the most awesome revelations of God. As the popular song proclaims: “The Heavens are telling the glory of God…”

OSU Talk on Laudato Si by Cardinal Turkson

On Monday the 3rd I trekked down to the OSU campus for a presentation the National Catholic Reporter called “a watershed event for climate discourse.”  Cardinal Turkson, the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, was the featured speaker.   The first cardinal from the nation of Ghana is a key advisor to Pope Francis and some even perceive him as a possible future pope. 

After Cardinal Turkson spoke for about twenty minutes on Laudato Si, he sat down with OSU President Dr. Michael Drake for a brief “fireside chat.”

Cardinal Turkson -3

The inspiring evening concluded with an encore performance by a local gospel choir.

Please see below for the images of the notes that I took during both parts of the presentation. Click on the image of each page to enlarge it for easier reading.

LS Talk -1

LS Talk - 2

LS Talk - 3

Cardinal Turkson - 1

LS Talk - 4

LS Talk - 5

LS Talk - 6

Eye-Popping Video on How a Virus Spreads and How to Stay Well

You likely learned (or perhaps taught) in Biology class how a virus multiplies inside of a cell. Chances are though that you’ve never seen this process like it’s illustrated in a new video from NPR:

 

Convinced that you should indeed get a flu shot this season? What else can you do to stay healthy this winter? From CNN comes The Ultimate Cold and Flu Survival Guide.

And you can also enact this “immodest proposal” from Ozy: “Don’t Shake On It” because:

Beyond the power politics, handshakes are also natural vehicles for spreading infectious diseases. They’re ticking germ bombs — with the CDC estimating that nearly 80 percent of infections are transmitted by hands, which teem with millions of bacteria and viruses. This led Dr. Tom McClellan of West Virginia University to laud a safer salutation — the fist bump — while other health officials promoted the elbow bump during Haiti’s cholera outbreak, Mexico’s swine flu scare and the recent Ebola epidemic.

8 Little Known Video Resources Popular With Teachers

Ahh… the use of videos. Remember when we had to check out a cart with a TV/VCR, roll it to our classroom, rewind or fast forward the VHS tape and then have our students gather around the screen which was usually too small for the space in which we were using it.

My how things have changed. Now, with an LCD projector and an internet connected computer or tablet, showing videos has become infinitely easier. Sure, you can search YouTube and take your chances with what you find. Or, you can let others do the vetting for you.

eSchool News offers this list of 8 Little Known Video Resources for use by teachers:

  • Have Fun Teaching
  • TeacherTube Math
  • WordWorld
  • Learning Games for Kids
  • Complabteacher
  • Time4Writing
  • Discovery Education
  • Educator

Do check out the article as it offers links to each of these sites.  And, to share teacher wisdom, that I learned both in one of my first education classes (and also learned the hard way in my own classroom) – never, ever show a video without previewing ALL of it first!

The Beauty of Mathematics and the Predator/Prey Relationship

I’m preparing to teach my students the Genesis creation myths and so I’m reviewing the delightful, scientifically-rich, and theologically-expansive book Seven Glorious Days: A Scientist Retells the Genesis Creation Stories by Karl W. Gilberson.  In the chapter entitled: “Day 2: A Universe of Horseshoe Nails” he writes:

“Unfortunately, few of us have any idea what it might mean to describe mathematics as beautiful and even less an idea about the mystery raised by its existence…replace the beautiful music [in an analogy previously used in the chapter] coming from the abyss with the mathematical equations that physicists have discovered at the foundations of reality.  On the surface, nature is, to be sure, noisy in the sense of being cluttered, busy, and seemingly without patterns.  Even beautiful scenery – picture a mountain lake with snowcapped mountains in the background – rarely seems organized.

But as we apply our scientific knowledge to the cluttered world we experience and drill down to the bedrock of our understanding – eliminate the noise – we find something quite wondrous.  At the end of the great hallway that takes us from the social sciences to the natural sciences, through biology and chemistry and ultimately to physics, we find ourselves at last in the presence of a most beautiful and unexplained symphony of mathematics.  Across the dark abyss, explaining the world around us while remaining unexplained itself.  It is part of the Logos of creation.” (p.54-55)

I thought of this profound insight this morning when reading the Washington Post and this short article entitled: “Scientists May Have Just Stumbled Upon a Mathematical Secret to How Nature Works”  It’s worth reading to understand how the unexpected consistency of the numbers of predator and prey in a wide variety of ecosystems might be explained by a single mathematical equation.

And the pattern in these changes is governed by — you guessed it — that same mathematical function.

The recurrence of this function in many levels of the natural world indicates “that there might some kind of process that exists at multiple levels of organization,” Hatton says. “The cell, the tissue, the body, the community: Those are all levels of organization in ecology-speak. I think that this suggests that there could be processes that sort of recur, recapitulate, across different levels.”

In the meantime, for researchers who like a good puzzle, the paper provides another mystery to chew on — one that, once unlocked, could reveal many secrets about how the natural world works.