Saturday, August 31, 2013

Red Giant

We learned last time that our sun is a Yellow Dwarf
and that it will burn for 10 billion years!

But what happens after that 10 billion years?
Well that's a long long way in the future, but once a Yellow Dwarf star burns up
it grows larger and becomes a Red Giant.

The closest Red Giant star to us is Gamma Crucis, it is 88 light years away.
Let's look at it's star measurements:
stellar classification: M3.5 (red)
luminosity class: III (giant)

So we can call it M3.5 III, or a red giant.
red giant mira
(from: wikipedia - red giant)

Red giants can be 4,000 degrees and 100 times larger than our Sun!
They usually last about 1 billion years.

Friday, August 30, 2013

French - counting to sixty nine

We just learned how to count to 59 in French, let's keep going!

60 soixante - sounds like so-ay-sawnt /?/
61 soixante et un - sounds like so-ay-sawnt ay un /?/
62 soixante-deux - sounds like so-ay-sawn-doo /?/
63 soixante-trois - sounds like so-ay-sawn-twah /?/
64 soixante-quatre - sounds like so-ay-sawn-cat-uh-ah /?/
65 soixante-cinq - sounds like so-ay-sawn-sahnk /?/
66 soixante-six - sounds like so-ay-sawn-see /?/
67 soixante-sept - sounds like so-ay-sawn-set /?/
68 soixante-huix - sounds like so-ay-sawn-soo-ee /?/
69 soixante-neuf - sounds like so-ay-sawnt-nef /?/

Thursday, August 29, 2013


We've now learned about Doping Semiconductors, and how mixing some chemicals into
a semiconductor can turn it into a conductor.

Doped semiconductors can be used to make something called a diode.

A diode is something that you can put electricity through, but it only goes in one direction.
Kind of like pouring water down hill, it can't flow back up.

If you look on a circuit board you will see all sorts of diodes.
They are a very important part of how things like computers work!
(from: wikipedia - diode)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Duck Billed Platypus

When scientists first discovered the platypus and tried to tell
other people about it, everyone thought they were joking!

No one thought there could really be an animal with fur and a tail like a beaver's tail,
and also a bill, webbed feet and lays eggs like a duck!

(from: wikipedia - platypus)

Another interesting thing about the platypus is that they have a small claw (also called a spur)
on their back foot that is poisonous!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Gluteus maximus

Let's keep learning about the muscles in the human body!

Last time we learned about the rectus abdominis

Next up is the gluteal muscles.
The muscles on your back side (or your butt) are called your gluteal muscles.
There are three muscles there, the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius and gluteus maximus.

Sometimes people call those muscles glutes or just talk about the gluteus maximus
since it's the biggest of the three muscles.

You use those muscles when you lift your leg up and down,
or bend your body backwards.
gluteus maximus
(from: wikipedia - gluteal muscles)

Monday, August 26, 2013


Let's keep learning about the countries in Europe!

The largest country in Europe by size is the Ukraine.

A popular type of food in the Ukraine is Borscht!
(from: wikipedia - borscht)

The Ukraine is on the Southeastern part of Europe, right next to Russia.
(from: wikipedia - ukraine)

Famous poet Taras Shevchenko is from the Ukraine
taras shevchenko
(from: wikipedia - taras shevchenko)

Kiev Pechersk Lavra is an ancient monastery that was built almost 1,000 years ago!
kiev pechersk lavra
(from: wikipedia - kiev pechersk lavra)

Ukranians have a special type of folk dancing ukranian dance
(from: wikipedia - ukranian dance)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Other Prophets

God called on many people to be prophets for him through the years.

We've learned about the ones who wrote some of the big books of the bible,
Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Isaiah.

They are called the major prophets because they wrote the longest books of prophecy.

There are 12 other prophets called minor prophets not because they weren't important,
but because the books they wrote just weren't as long.

Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah,
Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi
all delivered prophecies from God to his people.

Some of them warned of the coming exile, some cautioned people to listen to God after the exile,
and some told about the future when Jesus would come along.

(from: wikipedia - malachi)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Yellow Dwarf

We've learned so much about how to measure stars now!

We now know that:
- stellar classification is how hot the star gets, and uses letters and colors, like M and red
- absolute magnitude is how bright a star is, and uses numbers from -15 to 20.
- luminosity class is heat and brightness together, and uses numbers and names like I and supergiants.
- Hertzsprung-Russel diagram is like a map for understanding all of those measurements.

Now that we understand all of that, we can understand more about the stars in our universe!

The sun in our solar system has a stellar classification of G (yellow)
and a luminosity class of V (main sequence or dwarf)

So some people call our sun a Yellow Dwarf,
and others call it a GV, but they mean the same thing!

yellow dwarf
(from: wikipedia - yellow dwarf)

Yellow Dwarf stars are about 9,000 degrees, and burn for 10 billion years!

Friday, August 23, 2013

French - counting to fifty nine

We just learned how to count to 49 in French, let's keep going!

50 cinquante - sounds like sank-awnt /?/
51 cinquante et un - sounds like sank-aw-nt ay un /?/
52 cinquante-deux - sounds like sank-awn doo /?/
53 cinquante-trois - sounds like sank-awn twah /?/
54 cinquante-quatre - sounds like sank-awn cat-uh-ah /?/
55 cinquante-cinq - sounds like sank-awn sahnk /?/
56 cinquante-six - sounds like sank-awn see /?/
57 cinquante-sept - sounds like sank-awn set /?/
58 cinquante-huit - sounds like sank-awn soo-ee /?/
59 cinquante-deux - sounds like sank-awnt nef /?/

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Doping Semiconductors

We learned a while back that semiconductors are chemicals that do not conduct electricity very well.

Some scientists discovered a crazy thing, that if you mix up a semiconductor with another type of chemical,
then when you zap it with electricity it becomes a good conductor!

This is called doping or adding impurities into the semiconductor.

Remember we said silicon was a semiconductor.
The chemical arsenic can be added to silicon for doping.

(from: wikipedia - silicon)

(from: wikipedia - arsenic)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Squirrels are fun silly little animals, and exciting to watch as they run around climbing trees.

There are over 280 different types of squirrels, from the fox squirrels we see very often,
to the White tailed antelope squirrel and the Thirteen lined ground squirrel.

Squirrels live in pretty much every part of the planet, from super wet tropical rainforests to super dry deserts!
They pretty much only don't live in super freezing areas like Antarctica.

fox squirrel
(from: wikipedia - fox squirrel)

When you see a squirrel running around burying nuts in the ground,
that's the way they save up food for the coming fall and winter.
They are called scatter-hoarders, because they scatter their food and hoard it.

Sometimes the squirrels forget where they bury the nuts, and the buried nuts grow and turn into trees.
If a squirrel thinks it is being watched by someone who is going to steal their nuts,
some smart squirrels will even just pretend to dig a hole and bury the nut,
and then move on to another place!

squirrel eating a peanut
(from: wikipedia - squirrel)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Rectus abdominis

Let's keep learning about the muscles in the human body!

Last time we learned about the latissimus dorsi

Next up is the rectus abdominis.
These are the muscles in the front of your stomach, also called your abs or abdominal muscles.
You use them when you do bend forward, like you're doing a sit up.

rectus abdominis
(from: wikipedia - rectus abdominis muscle)

Since these muscles sometimes look like six bumps on your stomach,
some people call them a six pack.

Monday, August 19, 2013


The Netherlands is a country just Northwest of Germany.
The language there is Dutch and sometimes the country is just called Holland.
(from: wikipedia - netherlands)

For dinner there you might have stamppot (mashed potatoes with vegetables) or snert (pea soup)!
(from: wikipedia - dutch cuisine)

People visit the Netherlands to go see their windmills and tulips.
(from: wikipedia - tourism in the netherlands)

Vincent van Gogh was a famous Dutch painter.
vincent van gogh
(from: wikipedia - vincent van gogh)

Wooden shoes are also an old Dutch tradition
(from: wikipedia - clog (shoe))

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego

During the time of the prophet Daniel the bad king
who ruled over God's people made it against the law to pray to God.

He even made a giant gold statue of himself and told everyone to worship it!

There were three other of God's prophets at that time called Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
They refused to worship the golden statue of the king,
and for that the king demanded that they were thrown into a giant fiery oven!

But when they were thrown in there to be burned up,
they were not harmed at all, God protected them so not even their clothes got burned.
shadrach meshach abednego
(from: wikipedia - shadrach, meshach and abednego)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Hertzsprung–Russell diagram

Hertzsprung–Russell diagram might be a difficult thing to say or remember,
but it's really just a very useful thing to help you remember
the things we've been learning about stars.

Since the name is so long, some people just call it a H–R diagram or even just HRD.

We learned about stellar classification, absolute magnitude and luminosity class

The HRD is a picture map you can use
to help understand how all of those things fit together.

hertzsprung-russell diagram
(from: wikipedia - hertzsprung-russell diagram)

It was invented about a hundred years ago by two scientists,
named Ejnar Hertzsprung and Henry Norris Russell.

Friday, August 16, 2013

French - counting to forty nine

We just learned how to count to 39 in French, let's keep going!

40 quarante - sounds like cah-uh-on-t /?/
41 quarante et un - sounds like cah-uh-on-t ay un /?/
42 quarante-deux - sounds like cah-uh-on doo /?/
43 quarante-trois - sounds like cah-uh-on twah /?/
44 quarante-quatre - sounds like cah-uh-on coo-aht /?/
45 quarante-cinq - sounds like cah-uh-on sah /?/
46 quarante-six - sounds like cah-uh-on see /?/
47 quarante-sept - sounds like cah-uh-on set /?/
48 quarante-huit - sounds like cah-uh-on soo-ee /?/
49 quarante-neuf - sounds like cah-uh-ont nef /?/

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Anode and Cathode

We just learned that an electrode is pretty much just a wire
that has electricity going through it.

If you look closely on a battery, you should see a plus (+) and minus (-) sign.
This is for the positive (+) and negative (-) parts of the battery.

When you hook a wire up to both ends of the battery, that wire is an electrode.

The wire touching the negative (-) part of the battery is called the anode,
and the wire touching the positive (+) part of the battery is called the cathode.

Those words really just mean which way the electricity is flowing.

(from: wikipedia - rechargable battery)

Electrons are negatively charged, and the electrical current
flows from the negative (-) anode to the positive (+) cathode.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Armadillos are tough little armored animals!

The name armadillo is Spanish for little armored one.
Their armor is made up of bone, covered up in scutes,
like the scutes on a turtle shell.

nine banded armadillo
(from: wikipedia - armadillo)

Some armadillos can roll up in a ball to protect themselves.
south american armadillo curled up
(from: wikipedia - southern three banded armadillo)

Armadillos come in all shapes and sizes, from the pink fairy armadillo
which could fit in the palm of your hand:
pink fairy armadillo
(from: wikipedia - pink fairy armadillo)

To the giant armadillo, which is the size of a pig!
giant armadillo
(from: wikipedia - giant armadillo)

Another interesting thing is that when the nine-banded armadillo has babies,
it always has identical quadruplets!

Four baby armadillos that are exactly the same, every time!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Latissimus Dorsi

Let's keep learning about the muscles in the human body!

Last time we learned about the trapezius

Next up is the latissimus dorsi.

These muscles are sometimes just called lats.

You use your lats when you pull your arms down from the sky like doing a chinup,
when you pull your arms toward your body like opening a door,
and when you pull your arms up from the ground like picking something up.
latissimus dorsi
(from: wikipedia - latissimus dorsi)

Monday, August 12, 2013


Finland is a country in Northern Europe, right between to Sweden and Russia on the other side.

(from: wikipedia - finland)

Linus Torvalds is a famous computer genius from Finland
linus torvalds
(from: wikipedia - culture of finland)

Finland people love to sit in really hot small houses called saunas sauna
(from: wikipedia - culture of finland)

Suomenlinna is a castle fortress in the sea that is built across six islands suomenlinna
(from: wikipedia - suomenlinna)

Sunday, August 11, 2013


We've now learned about God's prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel
who all warned of the coming exile and conquer from the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar.

During the exile, God chose another prophet named Daniel.

God gave Daniel the ability to understand people's dreams,
and the kings of Babylon liked Daniel because he helped them understand their dreams.

Daniel stayed faithful to God, even when it was against the law for him to do it.
Even though the kings liked Daniel, there were some people that did not like him,
and they got Daniel in trouble for praying to God when it was against the law.

They threw Daniel into a big pit filled with hungry lions, called the lion's den!
But God protected Daniel, and the lions did not eat him.

The king saw how powerful God was and how faithful Daniel was,
and he told the whole kingdom that they should worship God!

(from: wikipedia - prophet daniel (michelangelo))

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Luminosity Class

We just learned that when scientists want to measure how hot a star is,
they use something called stellar classification.

When they want to measure how bright a star is,
they use something called absolute magnitude.

Looking at both a star's temperature (heat) and it's luminosity (brightness),
scientists also come up with something called luminosity class or spectral classification.

Luminosity classes are named with both a number (roman numerals like you might see on a fancy clock)
and also a name, like a supergiant or subdwarf.

The luminosity classes from biggest to smallest are:
0 - hypergiants
I - supergiants
II - bright giants
III - normal giants
IV - subgiants
V - main-sequence stars (dwarfs)
VI - subdwarfs
VII - white dwarfs

luminosity class
(from: wikimedia - hertzsprung-russel diagram)

Friday, August 9, 2013

French - counting to thirty nine

We just learned how to count to 29 in French, let's keep going!

30 trente - sounds like tuh-ah-nt /?/
31 trente et un - sounds like tuh-ah-nt ay un /?/
32 trente-deux - sounds like tuh-ah-nt doo /?/
33 trente-trois - sounds like tuh-ah-nt twah /?/
34 trente-quatre - sounds like tuh-ah-nt cat /?/
35 trente-cinq - sounds like tuh-ah-nt sunk /?/
36 trente-six - sounds like tuh-ah-nt see /?/
37 trente-sept - sounds like tuh-ah-nt set /?/
38 trente-huit - sounds like tuh-ah-nt soo-ee /?/
39 trente-neuf - sounds like tuh-ah-nt nef /?/

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Remember that an electrical conductor is something that electricity goes through very well.

And a semiconductor is something that electricity goes through, but not very well.

Sometimes you want to connect a power source like a machine at a doctor's office,
to a semiconductor (like a person!) for some medical tests.

When you hook a good conducting wire up from a power source to a semiconductor,
that wire is called an electrode.

We use electrodes in all types of places from doctor's offices, to car batteries, to science labs.

eeg cap
(from: wikipedia - electroencephalography)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


The manatee is a large animal that lives in the water.

Some people also call it a sea cow because it is so big,
and there are legends that people used to think they were mermaids.

When a manatee blinks, it doesn't an eyelid like a human does,
it just has muscles around it's eye that close.

Try making a small circle with your fingers, and then close it up tight.
That's sort of how their eyelids work!
(from: wikipedia - manatee)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Let's keep learning about the muscles in the human body!

Last time we learned about the pectorals

Next up is the trapezius.

The trapezius, which are sometimes just called traps
are used when you lift your arms over your head,
when you try to touch your elbows together behind your back,
or when you fold your hands behind your back.
(from: wikipedia - trapezius muscle)

Monday, August 5, 2013


Let's keep learning about the countries in Europe!

We've learned about Norway and Sweden, the two other Scandinavian countries.

The third and last Scandinavian country is Denmark.
It is not on the peninsula, but is actually connected to Germany.

Denmark is the oldest kingdom in Europe, and the people there are called Danes or Danish.

(from: wikipedia - denmark)

Famous author Hans Christian Andersen was from Denmark.
He was the original writer for famous stories like Thumbelina and The Little Mermaid
hans christian andersen
(from: wikipedia - hans christian anderson)
Danish scientist Niels Bohr helped us understand how the atom works.
niels bohr
(from: wikipedia - niels bohr)

The famous Kronborg Castle is in Denmark
kronborg castle
(from: wikipedia - kronborg castle)

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Like Isaiah and Jeremiah, another prophet Ezekiel
also told people God's warnings about their coming exile and destruction.

During his life the Babylonian army came and took over their land
and kicked God's people out of their country!

He later told people about some day in the future when God would save them
and bring them back to their home land.
(from: wikipedia - ezekiel)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Star absolute magnitude

We just learned that when scientists want to measure how hot a star is,
they use something called stellar classification.

Another thing they measure for stars is how bright they are.
They call this absolute magnitude.

We can't just measure how bright stars look to us in our sky,
because some are close (like our sun) and some are very very far away.

So we measure how bright a star would be if we were looking at it from 32.6 light years away.

They go from -15 which is very very bright, to 20 which is not very bright at all.
Our sun has an absolute magnitude of 5, so it's about in the middle of the brightness levels.

(from: wikipedia - stellar classification)

Friday, August 2, 2013

French - Counting to twenty nine

We just learned how to count to 20 in French, let's keep going!

21 vingt et un - sounds like vah-n-tay-un /?/
22 vingt-deux - sounds like vah-n-doo /?/
23 vingt-trois - sounds like vah-n-twah /?/
24 vingt-quatre - sounds like vah-n-cah-tuh-ah /?/
25 vingt-cinc - sounds like vah-n-sunk /?/
26 vingt-six - sounds like vah-n-see /?/
27 vingt-sept - sounds like vah-n-set /?/
28 vingt-huit - sounds like vah-n-oo-ee /?/
29 vingt-neuf - sounds like vah-n-nef /?/

Notice that for 22-29, it's always the word for 20 vingt (vah-n)
and then the word for the number by itself.

So 25 is 20 vingt (vah-n) and 5 cinc (sunk)
so it's vingt-cinc (vah-n-sunk).

It's pretty much the same way for all the numbers up to 79!

Thursday, August 1, 2013


We've learned that if something is kind of a good conductor but not really good,
we call it a semiconductor.

What about something that's a really super awesome conductor?

That's called a superconductor!

Superconductors don't work like good conductors or semiconductors do,
they're usually something normal like metal, but made really super freezing cold.

Not cold like when you go sledding in the snow, (about -10 degrees fahrenheit)
but so cold that you couldn't survive outside. (-300 degrees!).
Colder even than Antarctica, the coldest place in the world!

When the superconducting metal is that cold, it pushes out a magnetic field
that is so strong it can even push other magnets up off the ground!
(from: wikipedia - superconductivity)