December 2010

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This morning at Grandma and Grandpa Guerra’s we experienced another Indiana earthquake. The first was during our sabbatical in April 18th, 2008. I wrote about it here.  Max was the first to notice today’s quake as he called blearily from his bed,”…why is the house shaking…?” It was quite a rattle but we all assumed it was train or something. My Mom and Dad in Huntington, IN (2 hours away) also felt the quake. It was a magnitude 3.8 and felt as far away as Toledo.

We are in the midst of our yearly holiday visit to Indiana and Lisa decided that this year I was taking my drawing board (no more complaints of being bored or falling behind). So here is evidence of my productivity! This is the 12th page of the photosynthesis story and it was composed during some of the lulls in our family activities. As you can see Ant Edna and Wilbur continue their adventure in the thylakoid lumen.

Photo 553


Seasons Greetings!

Here are some highlights from the boys holiday program at school. Jack is wearing the festive hat and Max is the one making creative use of the finger twirl. We hope everyone has a terrific holiday season.

CreatureCast

Y’know, I just finished my grades and I was on the verge of really feeling good about myself as an instructor. And then I watched the latest CreatureCast. I’ve been following these for a while and I really love them. Students in Casey Dunn’s Invertebrate Biology class at Brown can make one of these video explanations for their final project. It is a brilliant way to get students to use art and media to communicate science and I am sick that I don’t do something equally cool with my students. SICK! I mean I make comic books and teach an Inverterate Biology class but I got nothin.’  Like I said, I was on the verge of feeling good about myself as an instructor.

Anyway, according to the CreatureCast website, this video on Moray eels was the first project of the semester. It is by Phil Lai and I love the rapid fire use of images for a visual explanation. Clever and aesthetically pleasing! I will try to post these periodically, probably as Saturday Morning Science cartoons in the future. All of this makes me really want to do an ocean comic. Perhaps the tale of a wandering siphonophore? Thinking…thinking….

Moray Eel from Casey Dunn on Vimeo.

This page gives us a little time for nerd science humor as well as an explanation of what the heck happened to Wilbur’s energized noggin. This is page 11 in the ongoing photosynthesis saga and the end is in sight. I have 2.5 pages of script left. I usually draw two pages per page script so that means there are about 5 pages to go. That will almost certainly expand as I decide to include new stuff or go into the greater detail, but I think it is safe to say that we are well well past the half-way mark. As always, I have added the new page to the rest of the story in the burgeoning Whole Enchilada post.

Photosynthesis_pg10

Here’s a little something for all of you readers that wake up every Saturday morning looking for science cartoons on the TV and come away totally disappointed. My old pal Nils Cordes over at Evolvimus posted what I can only assume (my German isn’t all that great) is a glowing review of the Evolution excerpt (which is available here). He also included and oldy but a goody: the animated short that the guys at Big Time Attic made for the release of Stuff of Life. Jack and Max loved it and played the ending over and over again. Enjoy!

I added a page to that start of the photosynthesis story. I was always a little bothered by the abrupt beginning and this allows me to shift the pagination so that the pages covering charge transfer in the antenna complex are part of the same two-page spread. I think that works better from an explanatory standpoint and it gives the start of the story a softer landing (so to speak). The new page has been added to all of the other pages in the Whole Enchilada post.

Photosynthesis_pg00

So, classes are done, papers are rolling in, my finals are written and by noon tomorrow all my students will have had an opportunity to show me how smart they are and I will have a pile of grading. Time for a new photosynthesis page! Page 9 focuses the oxygen evolving complex of photosystem II. This page went through more iterations than any I have done so far as I tried to figure out ways to succinctly illustrate where each component of the water goes after being cleaved. The page is below and I have added it to the post containing the ever expanding whole enchilada.

As for the page 3 poll, the result are in: 80% of respondents voted for the new version. A total of 10 people voted (which means that each of my readers must have voted twice): 8 votes for the new,  one vote for the original and one vote for something completely different. Democracy!

Photosynthesis_pg09

The good folks at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE to their friends) have posted an excerpt of my next book Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth. Click here to download the chapter ‘E is for Extinction.‘ It includes the greatest two page spread EVER courtesy of the incomparable Kevin Cannon and Zander Cannon.Excerpt_image

The following is a comic book story about photosynthesis. It was posted one page at a time and feedback from educators and researchers helped guide the refinement of the science presented. Anyone who teaches photosynthesis is welcome to use as much or as little as they like for their classes. If you do use it in your classes, let us know how it worked!

Photosynthesis_pg00

Photosynthesis_pg01_small

Photosynthesis_02

Photosynthesis_pg03_v2

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Photosynthesis_pg08Photosynthesis_pg09Photosynthesis_pg10Photosynthesis_pg11Photosynthesis_pg13

Photosynthesis_pg14Photosynthesis_pg15

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Photosynthesis_pg19Photosynthesis_pg20Photosynthesis_pg21Photosynthesis_pg22

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