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Rachel Tashjian's picture

Up and Atom.

I really enjoyed this week's discussion and lab. I guess I have a few questions/thoughts. On Monday, we said that living and nonliving assemblies are not distinguishable by "the identity of their atomic constituents" (in other words, everything is made up of the same things). I know that there's a difference in the number of types of elements that make up an organism (and in the design/"pattern," as we saw on Friday). But if it's all made of the same thing, doesn't that mean that at the most basic level, the "clumps" we see in, say, species, is not present at the most fundamental level?

Second, I really liked that on Friday, we talked about things using more scientific terms than we normally do. I would not have expected to enjoy that, but I think I liked it because when we used those terms, we then asked what the practical implications were. I think that's the main reason I was able to follow everything we were talking about.

Third, lab was kind of a lesson in experimental methods for me. First, we were convinced for a bit that I was a zombie (or, more realistically, had really low blood pressure) because I wasn't getting a read on the thumb pressure reader thing. We figured out after about 20 minutes that the problem was actually with the reader (it had been working on and off). As a result, we didn't get to do as many trials as we wanted to, and didn't get to try as many variables, either. We were really nervous putting our post together, because it seemed like we didn't have as much data (and thus, we assumed, not as much to say) as other groups. I didn't think, however, that the data we got with the faulty reader should have been thrown out, and my partners and I were able to get some interesting information from it (and a bigger lesson about experiments in general). We also were concerned that since my BPM didn't change while listening to rock music or watching a funny video (we hypothesized my BPM would go up), this data was no good, since it proved nothing. But for me (and, I think, my partners), it proved that it's difficult to get a really accurate result on this kind of experiment because of the pretense of an experimental setting. If I had been hanging out with my friends listening to music, the result probably would have been much different.

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