Mushroom Clouds

Every once in a while I get the strange urge to draw something completely out of this world.


Pi Day 2010

Today was Pi Day. 
I baked some tiny blueberry pies. It was my first time baking pies, so they didn't turn out so pretty (especially the edges...) but they were very delicious. =]

One of the better pies, before baking. Clearly I am horrible at making borders.

The pies after baking. All the pies have double borders because I didn't press the top cover and the sides together firmly enough. =[

Happy Pi Day everyone!

Om nom nom. They turned out pretty good for my first try. 


Dream Big.

Dream Big. 
The organism on the left is a Violet Sea Snail (Janthinidae), and the one on the right is a By-the-Wind Sailor (Velella). The violet sea snail floats on the surface of the water using a raft of bubbles, and the by-the-wind sailor drifts around with its little "sail" while it feeds on smaller plankton using its short tentacles.


Epiphany at the wrong moment.

Tomorrow is my first semester finals for the last time in high school. I have my Calculus and Chemistry finals tomorrow.

I just had an epiphany:

Grades. Don't. Matter.

Okay okay, they do. But the difference between an A- and an A is minimal. Even the difference between an A and a B (Darwin forbid we overachievers ever get one of those!) isn't that bad.

The point is, tests are not perfect. Though I don't deny that they fairly accurately assess how much you learned, you can't really know for sure. The difference between an A and a B could just be the effects of massive doses of coffee or massive doses of soft drinks. Or that you needed to go to the bathroom in the middle of the test. Or that you just had a bad day. And I'm sure half of your C's can be explained away with something along the lines of lack of sleep and an insane load of rules to memorize that you just never cared about in the first place.

We, as students, as overachieving students, as overachieving perfectionists, really give in to the test too much.

The test is there to serve YOU. YOU don't serve the test.

We give in too much to the tests. We submit to them, and every point taken away from us is a blow to our self esteem. We need to realize that at some point, we can't get a 100, and that's okay. 92 is close enough. Stupid mistakes are okay. We're human. Our brains fire 1 random neuron in 10 awry, so it's natural that we make mistakes. It's how we work. It's how we biologically are supposed to work. If we remembered everything (or were supposed to), Google wouldn't exist. And gosh, we can't live without Google!

We need to have a higher tolerance for error. A test technically has no consequence whatsoever. Yes, it's a blow to our 5.0-GPA, but really... it has no significant impact on our future. At the end of senior year, you're not gonna remember every point missed, every mistake you've made. You're not even gonna remember all your tests. Or all the information you crammed in your brain while you were studying for that test (which by the way, is what you were going for anyways, right? That knowledge?)

So don't be afraid that you won't get into that dream college you've been wanting to go to ever since 6th grade because you got a B this semester instead of an A. If you really based your life on these vague gauges, these tests and quizzes and your GPA, that's sad. It shows you have no passion in learning. It shows you enjoy the game of school for the sake of self esteem, or recognition. It shows that you've submitted yourself to rather arbitrary and vague rules of "excellence". Not for the sake of actually understanding the subject and having fun with the new ideas you've just learned.

Then again, maybe you are that type of person. And if so, sorry if I seem harsh. I'm just one who enjoys learning things for the sake of learning things.


I don't know where I'm going with this. I've never actually written so much STUFF on a blog ever before.

I guess... I'm trying to stress the actual retention, actual understanding, actual capability of application part. We all cram info in our heads for a final, or for any test, but how much will we know once that test has passed? I forgot half of my physics equations already. I forgot the detailed workings of DNA replication... and don't even get me started on plants. Or protist groups. Or parametric equations.

The point is, after the test, the information just goes out of our heads. We can't apply it. We can't use it. Heck, at times we don't even understand it anymore, and it feels like learning everything all over again if we glance at our notes (which we might have thrown out already).

So what does it mean? Do we go stupid right after a class? Not really. We forget because half the things we learn are only memorized, are only there FOR the test. If we could actually apply the information we learned, solved a new problem, explored the topic further and played around with it in our spare time, we would remember it. I think that's the real learning behind all these tests. I just wish we had more time to do so.

There are a numerous ways to prove the Pythagorean Theorem. We learn one or two at the most. There are silly proofs, crazy ugly proofs... they seem useless, but they indicate that the person who thought of them tried to do something different and played around with at least something new in a way no one had thought of before. I think that's the essence of learning. The messing around, the making mistakes, the problem solving for the sake of curiosity. That's what's fun. Application is fun.

Original thought. Application. Passion.

Sounds like it comes out from some dry textbook. At least it sounds better than "I'm learning to win the game of School".


Some Laws of Thermodynamics

I honestly don't know why I drew this. But you can't deny that they're adorable.


Imaginative Textbook

Perhaps textbooks would be more interesting if everything was a story...Then again, the time I spend on Wikipedia (and getting sidetracked) would go off the charts.



It's the main type of food for arctic fish.