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Month: November 2019

Online College Courses: Treasure AND Trash – Blog 10

Online College Courses: Treasure AND Trash – Blog 10

(434 Words)

Online college courses have been around long enough now that I have long since heard about what a double-edged sword online courses have become. I’ve heard the inspiring tales of triumph and crushing stories of betrayal. So while we can all find cases where online learning is optimal, we should absolutely not push for a system of 100% online courses.

In class learning has value beyond that of the credit itself. Getting up in the morning, making yourself presentable, getting to the classroom for a predesignated time, interacting with the other students, and most importantly being able to question and verify things with the instructor on the fly. Sounds almost like practice for having a job. Not only do the people who need that ‘practice’ that most lack the drive to successfully complete online courses, but they sorely loose out on those more minute benefits to learning in class. In the summer of 2019 I required a high school math credit with mere weeks to meet a college registration deadline. TVO’s ILC courses smelled like a bargain at $40/credit.

My God! The horror! Turnover time on emailed questions was often days. The convoluted instructions on how to submit assignments became costly in both time and marks. By the time the college’s deadline reared its ugly head, the registrar’s office had become inundated with students in a similar position. Thanks to some face time, with the more than helpful administration at the college, I was able to sort things out. I was considered lucky.

Online courses are acclaimed for their versatility and flexibility, but they CANNOT become the sole choice for aspiring students. They have a place, but they CANNOT be the only place.

With the rise of the Online College, many brick and mortar colleges have speedily sought to regain the market by offering online courses. While I’ve heard many hail the online classes as the way of the future in a digital world, I’ve also heard the opposite. Online classes are priced at only a hair cheaper than real world classrooms. I’ve experienced first hand the credit/certification mill of online learning. In 2010, for mere pocket change, I became a ‘Bronze’ Level Twist Conditioning Certified Coach. Great filler on a Personal Trainer profile. Abjectly useless in application. It is a college’s job to care about getting your money, whether they care about how prospective employers view your ‘online courses’, is up for debate.

So while online courses are lucrative and have a place, when it comes to getting a ‘useful’ education, I advise considering the merits on some old fashioned ‘in class’ learning.

And heres my name to say so.

D.A. Mills

Species Profile

Monarch Butterfly

The monarch butterfly also known as the Danaus plexippus, is one of the most well know and recognized butterflies. The WWF (World Wildlife Federation) currently lists the monarch’s status as endangered (WWF, 2019). Herein we will review the monarch’s physical characteristics, outline its life history, feeding ecology and preferred foods.

Physical Characteristics

A small insect on a white background

Description generated with very high confidence
Figure 1: Monarch Butterfly. Photo: Bonnie McBride

The monarch butterfly is most easily distinguished by its wing colours of orange, black, and white markings.

The “two pairs of brilliant orange-red wings, featuring black veins and white spots along the edges” give them a stained-glass window effect (WWF, 2019). As would be expected of a butterfly, the WWF (2019) states that they barely tip the scale at less than half a gram in weight with their wingspan coming in between 7 and 10 cm.

Alternatively, the larvae of the monarch butterfly (caterpillars) have their own unique appearance (see Figure 2). Monarch caterpillars have yellow, black and white stripes. They grow up to 5 cm before they metamorphize and shed their skin, leaving a chrysalis that is “seafoam green with tiny yellow spots along its edge” (NWF, 2019).

A close up of a flower

Description generated with very high confidence
Figure 2: Monarch caterpillar. Photo: Bonnie McBride

Life History

The NWF (National Wildlife Federation) explains that monarchs exclusively lay their eggs on milkweed which then take 3-5 days to hatch into larvae (NWF, 2019). It was additionally explained that those larvae then eat the leaves of the milkweed and about 2 weeks later, form a chrysalis. The monarch butterfly emerges 2 weeks later and typically only live for a “few weeks”, but the last ones to hatch in summer “can live upward of eight months” (NWF, 2019). The hope of the species will rest on their tiny little shoulders, as it is this 4th and last batch of monarchs that migrates south to Mexico or California for those living west of the Rocky Mountains according to L. Stafford Mader (2014). It is crucial for the species that the last batch of monarch butterflies not only survive the migration south, but also the winter itself. They leave those wintering grounds in the spring and migrate back to Canada for the summer beginning the cycle anew (WWF, 2019).

Preferred Food

While not as prolific as bees, monarchs are still pollinators, the importance of which cannot be overstated. Although the monarch butterfly can feed on the nectar of many flowers such as “echinacea, black-eyed susan, sage, goldenrod, zinnias and dahlias” (WWF, 2019), the most important food source for the species is still the milkweed plants. As stated above, the monarch larvae/caterpillars exclusively eat milkweed.  In Milkweed: Medicine of Monarchs and Humans, Lindsay Stafford Mader (2014) explains the connection between the steroid compound called cardenoloid, in milkweed and the decreased risk of infection in the larvae and later the natural toxicity of the butterfly that acts as a defense against predators.

The higher the cardenoloid levels in the milkweed the larvae eats, the higher the caterpillar’s chance of survival. Higher consumption of cardenoloid rich milkweed not only helps with survival on an individual basis but directly connects to the survivability of the species itself. This would be from the common association response poisonous prey induce in their would-be predators.

References

NWF. (2019). Monarch butterfly. Retrieved October 31,

2019, from https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Invertebrates/Monarch-Butterfly

Stafford Mader, L. (2014). MILKWEED: Medicine of monarchs and

humans. HerbalGram, (101), 38–47. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=awh&AN=94874416&site=eds-live&scope=site

WWF. (2019). Monarch butterfly. Retrieved October 06, 2019,

from http://www.wwf.ca/conservation/species/monarch_butterfly/

Vegetarians: Moral High Ground no More! – Blog 9

Vegetarians: Moral High Ground no More! – Blog 9

 (546 Words)

This week I’m writing about arguments. Essentially, I’m politely looking for a fight, and after learning a few secret moves from Sensei, I’m ready to throw down.

Not everyone should be vegetarian.

“911, state your emergency”

“There’s a hate crime! A man said words that don’t adhere to my world view!”

Oh yeah, we doing this one people, come at me.

Not everyone reacts that outrageously, but as fellow netizens I think we’ve all seen the crazy vege-nuts that give their cause a bad name.

A recent example might be the Antler protests in Toronto, famous for the “RESTAURANT OWNER TAUNTS US by DISMEMBERING a DEER’S LEG in VIEW of OUR PROTEST” video (Marsh, 2018). Any purported dietary lifestyle that can evolve into a mad crusade deserves a little scrutiny.

While the Antler incident is not indicative of why people shouldn’t be vegetarian, the behaviour is part and parcel with vegetarian culture.

Before I get into the real meat of this article, let me extend an olive branch for the vegetarians out there; vegetarian cuisine is not only healthy and delicious but it has opened up a world of recipes that even the most staunch meat eater can benefit from and enjoy.

What I’m arguing isn’t whether ANYONE should be vegetarian. The diet simply isn’t feasible for EVERYONE.

Economically, eating a ‘healthy’ vegetarian diet, is tough. There is a steep cost associated with buying a variety of imported vegetables and fruits to make up for incomplete nutrient profiles in any single piece of produce. Kudos to those who can afford exotic superfood juices; [insert brand name] vegetable powder or extracts; and the plethora of nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and grains necessary to form a complete protein. Very admirable and I am jealous to the extreme. For the rest of us Poors, that is simply not viable. When Poors go vegetarian, it inevitably turns into some Frankenstein’d junk food bonanza. Because, hey! Oreos and cheap candy count as vegetarian.

Lets talk environment: Vegetarians frequently purport that eating vegetarian causes less impact on the environment. You’ll see and hear from any number of sources things like “Eating a vegetarian diet is one of the best things you can do to stop climate change” (VegSoc, 2019). Is that true? Not necessarily. While large scale livestock production still has a ways to go to improve sustainability, there are a mountain of problems that the unchecked spread of agriculture is causing. Look no further than avocados. Hailed as the vegetarian superfood (omnivores like the ‘cado too!), avocado farming is wreaking havoc on ecosystems.

In a very revealing article, Goncalves (2018) explains that avocado farming leaves soil vulnerable to disease, requires over use of pesticides which leach into water ways effecting ecosystems. He specifically named the monarch butterfly as a victim of avocado farming. And lastly it was pointed out that avocado farming is requiring deforestation which is contributing to global warming.

So while the health benefits of vegetarian diets continue to be argued ad nauseam, I simply purport that not everyone should be vegetarian in the first place. Despite the best of intentions, vegetarian diets are simply not the one stop solution to ALL our problems we need, but damn if eggplant parmesan doesn’t taste just as good a chicken parmesan.

And heres my name to say so.

D.A. Mills

Marsh, C. (2018). Chef who butchered a deer leg in front of vegan protesters: ‘We won’t change’. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/apr/12/ethical-eating-vegan-protest-meat-canada

VegSoc. (2019). Eat to beat climate change. Vegetarian Society. Retrieved from https://www.vegsoc.org/info-hub/why-go-veggie/environment/

Goncalves, A. (2018). Are Avocados Sustainable? What Are The Consequences Of Avocado Production? Youmatter. Retrieved from https://youmatter.world/en/benefits-avocados-production-bad-people-planet-27107/

From EcoCritic to EcoHopeful – Blog8

From EcoCritic to EcoHopeful – Blog8

(529 Words)

What feels like eons ago now, in September, I wrote a masterful take down article. I was rather critical on the Globe and Mail’s article “After long wait, 11 new names added to Canada’s list of species at risk”. I did little to hide my initial reaction for the article; my complete and utter disdain over that author’s modus operandi. There was a genuine concern that was being shared with us all. The environment is in peril and not enough is being done to protect it. Truly a unifying concern in 2019. But, and it is a large butt, the superficial means the author used to stir us up just rubbed me the wrong way. There was chaffing.

This week we’re looking at another bard of the web. Emily Chung (2018), published a scintillating article called: 60% of world’s wildlife has been wiped out since 1970. After reading that little treat, I’m singing a different tune. While she engaged in similar clickbaitery as our boy Ivan, I can truly say I was able to look upon her wordsmithing in a much more positive light. Her PhD in chemistry isn’t just for show, as seen in the way she writes. This article looked at a much broader picture and drew great connections between several sources, explaining solutions as well. 

Figure 1. Edited screen capture of Rick and Morty. From RICK AND MORTY, Adult Swim, 2019, https://www.adultswim.com/videos/rick-and-morty/inside-vindicators-3-the-return-of-worldender

While breaking down information from the 2018 edition of the Living Planet Report she offered quotes from James Snider, the VP of science, research and innovation for WWF-Canada (Chung, 2018). This kept the information flowing and helped connect the dots and show us where the dry data from the report relates to us. 

Rather than just whinging about inaction by committees and government, Chung (2018) relayed Sniders’s words that “rotecting [sic] forests, wetlands and coastal areas to preserve wildlife can also have a side benefit, as those types of ecosystems also store carbon and prevent it from being released into the atmosphere” (Chung 2018).

It’s shocking and disheartening to learn that so much wildlife has been lost, but she kindled a little hope by pointing out why protecting ecosystems can help. Protecting ecosystems to save the slugs and mold just don’t butter my croissant, but the idea of protecting ecosystems to store carbon? Oh that butters me up real nice. Saving the slugs and mold will just be an added benefit. Chung (2018) delivered her information in a way that just felt a tad more sincere. That kept my mind open and focused on WHAT she said rather than noticing HOW she said it. 

Now I for one don’t trust Big GOV, and don’t want them telling me my business; however, I also don’t trust peoplekind to people-up and solve the problem. We’ll need Big GOV on this one. We can start with pushing for Federal GOV to follow through on their commitment to the UN Convention of Biological Diversity by “protecting 10 per cent of marine areas and 17 per cent of its land” as the article highlighted. We’ll only need more GOV if peoplekind doesn’t start peopling-up. 

I for one am doing my part by shaming my fellow peasants for driving fossil fuel cars and using single-use coffee cups. 

And heres my name to say so. 

D.A. Mills

Figure 2. Edited picture of But its Honest Work. From Reddit, by yothisisyo, 2018, https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/but-its-honest-work

References

Adult Swim. (2019) RICK AND MORTY [Screen capture]. Retrieved from https://www.adultswim.com/videos/rick-and-morty/inside-vindicators-3-the-return-of-worldender

Chung, E. (2018). 60% of world’s wildlife has been wiped out since 1970. CBC. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/living-plant-wwf-2018-1.4882819

..

Mills, D. (2019). Environmental Clickbait – Blog3. Retrieved from https://wpflemingcollege.com/littlebits/2019/09/26/environmental-clickbait-blog3/

….

yothisisyo. But its Honest Work. [Image]. Reddit, January 03, 2018. Retrieved from https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/but-its-honest-work


2nd Draft Species Profile

Monarch Butterfly

Devon Mills

Fleming College

The Monarch Butterfly also known as the Danaus plexippus, is one of the most well know and recognized butterflies. The WWF (World Wildlife Fund) currently lists the Monarch’s status as endangered (2019). Herein we will review the monarch’s physical characteristics, outline it’s life history, feeding ecology and preferred foods.

Physical Characteristics

Figure 1: Monarch Butterfly. Photo: Bonnie McBride

Most easily distinguished by its wing colours of orange, black, and white markings.

The “two pairs of brilliant orange-red wings, featuring black veins and white spots along the edges” (WWF, 2019) give them a stained-glass window effect. As would be expected of a butterfly they barely tip the scale at less than half a gram in weight with their wingspan coming in between 7 and 10 cm.

Alternatively, the larvae of the monarch butterfly (caterpillars) have their own unique appearance (see Figure 2). Monarch caterpillars have yellow, black and white stripes. They grow up to 5 cm. When they metamorphize they shed their skin, leaving a chrysalis that is “seafoam green with tiny yellow spots along its edge” (NWF, 2019).

Figure 2: Monarch caterpillar. Photo: Bonnie McBride

Life History

The NWF (National Wildlife Federation) explains that monarchs exclusively lay their eggs on milkweed which then take 3-5 days to hatch. Those larvae then eat the leaves of the milkweed and about 2 weeks later, form a chrysalis. The monarch butterfly emerges 2 weeks later. Typically, monarchs only live for a “few weeks” but the last ones to hatch in summer “can live upward of eight months” (NWF, 2019). The hope of the species will rest on their tiny little shoulders, as it is this 4th and last batch of monarchs that migrates south to Mexico or California for those living west of the Rocky Mountains according to Stafford Mader, L, (2014). It is crucial for the species that they not only survive the migration south, but also the winter itself. They leave those wintering grounds in the spring and migrate back to Canada for the summer beginning the cycle anew (WWF, 2019).

Preferred Food

While not as prolific as bees, monarchs are still pollinators, the importance of which cannot be overstated. Although the Monarch butterfly can feed on the nectar of many flowers such as “echinacea, black-eyed susan, sage, goldenrod, zinnias and dahlias” (WWF, 2019, para. 7), the most important food source for the species is still the milkweed plants. As stated above, the monarch larvae/caterpillars exclusively eat milkweed.  In Milkweed: Medicine of Monarchs and Humans, Lindsay Stafford Mader explains the connection between the steroid compound called cardenoloid, in milkweed and the decreased risk of infection in the larvae and later the natural toxicity of the butterfly that acts as a defense against predators.

The higher the cardenoloid levels in the milkweed the larvae eats, the higher the caterpillar’s chance of survival. Higher consumption of cardolenoid rich milkweed not only helps with survival on an individual basis but directly connects to the survivability of the species itself. This would be from the common association response poisonous prey induce in their would-be predators.

References

NWF. (2019). Monarch Butterfly. Retrieved October 31, 2019, from https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Invertebrates/Monarch-Butterfly

Stafford Mader, L. (2014). MILKWEED: Medicine of Monarchs and Humans. HerbalGram, (101), 38–47. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=awh&AN=94874416&site=eds-live&scope=site

WWF. (2019). Monarch Butterfly. Retrieved October 06, 2019, from http://www.wwf.ca/conservation/species/monarch_butterfly/

My Writing Evolution: Day 11, 132 – Blog7

My Writing Evolution: Day 11, 132 – Blog7

(410 Words)

On this 11, 132nd day of learning the craft of writing, I will give a brief overview of my recent progress.

While the volume of my writing as of late has only gone up slightly, the sheer depth of scrutiny that writing has undergone is staggering. I have wholly embraced and welcomed that scrutiny. In doing so, my fangs have become sharper, allowing me to tear into school assignments with a newfound vigor and eagerness.

I have at times been told that I am a predator of the English language or that I bend the English language to my will. I was famously told by my greatest friend and chief rival M.S. Carrie: “You have a way of describing things I can only describe as visceral and brutal. I like it”. 10/10 spot on analysis and ego stroking. I typically write rather strongly with the aim to punch my readers in the face with my words. While this allows me to get my thoughts onto paper more efficiently, I also struggle to write more toned-down pieces like cover letters or my foe du jour: the Species Profile.

Recently I was reminded of this yet again in a September 27th comment by Liam on my THIS I BELIEVE (DRAFT#1). He pointed out “you have a lot of short sentences with a strong statement to make a point… it also feels a bit stop/start/stop/start at times” (Mills, 2019, comments). That was a fair point to make. Even knowing I have that tendency doesn’t always help. If the muse is upon me, I just let my fingers do the thinking and see what sticks. This is an easy fix once I see it and it never hurts to remind the English Language I am not to be trifled with. Thanks to that little gem of insight from Liam, I’ve been finding that if I merely take the time to reread each paragraph as I write them (even on a 1st draft), I can stitch those right hooks into a more aesthetic string of combos.

While I continue to engage in epic battle with my Species Profile assignment, I will try to stay mindful of Liam’s comment. If I can keep my own predilections in check I can avoid slamming down fact after fact. Now that I have a taste for peer review and serious critique, I will also continue to intellectually enslave my friends and family into reviewing my work before summitting it.

And heres my name to say so.

D.A. Mills

References:

Mills, D. (2019, September 13). THIS I BELIEVE (DRAFT#1) [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://wpflemingcollege.com/littlebits/this-i-believe/

Peer Critique of Field Notes for Week 7 Field Trip – Blog6

Peer Critique of Field Notes for Week 7 Field Trip – Blog6

(309 Words)

Connor Gass and Jared Kiddle field notes for Stop 2: Victoria County Forest.

The Field Trip took place on 16 October 2019. Stop 2 was at Victoria County Forest and occurred between 1210 and 1220. Conditions included 100% cloud cover, 11° C temperature, and steady rain. Students Connor and Jared observed that it was wet and raining with a light wind. They noted that there were no animals. The location is described as a red pine plantation with Precambrian bedrock. The students did not slip at this stop.

Connor and Jared’s field notes were on the messy side of still being neat and legible. They included enough information to make it easy to understand their experience at Stop 2. However, there is no information about understory vegetation, organic debris, or surface soils.

I figure these were good field notes. It was our first time attempting to keep field notes in the actual field. Considering the conditions, we were in, namely, being soaked to the gills, seeing that Connor and Jared were able to keep their wits about them and write down their observations is already admirable. Merely based on how thorough these notes were after having little to no structured training from the college, its safe to assume the next time these two scholars hit the field, they’ll make some real outstanding notes. I would expect the field notes next round to look neater and contain information they may have overlooked this time through.

I’m well aware that if we compare these field notes to that of a professional with experience, we might be able to give Connor and Jared a generous 5/10.

On the other hand, I’m looking at their work for what it was. A first attempt to gain practical experience in less than ideal weather conditions. In that case, I give their work a well-deserved 10/10.

And heres my name to say so.

D.A. Mills

1st Draft Species Profile

Monarch Butterfly

Devon Mills

Fleming College

The Monarch Butterfly also known as the Danaus plexippus, is one of the most well know and recognized butterflies. The World Wildlife Federation currently lists the Monarch’s status as endangered (2019). Herein we will review the monarch’s physical characteristics and outline it’s life history and feeding ecology/preferred foods.

[INSERT PICTURE]

Physical Characteristics

Most easily distinguished by its wing colours of orange, black, and white markings.

The “two pairs of brilliant orange-red wings, featuring black veins and white spots along the edges” (WWF, 2019) give them a stained-glass window effect. As would be expected of a butterfly they barely tip the scale at less than half a gram in weight with their wingspan coming in between 7 and 10 cm.

Alternatively, the caterpillars have yellow, black and white stripes. They grow up to 5 cm. When they metamorphize their chrysalis is “seafoam green with tiny yellow spots along its edge” (NWF, 2019).

[INSERT PICTURE]

Life History

The NWF (National Wildlife Federation) explains that monarchs exclusively lay their eggs on milkweed which then take 3-5 days to hatch. They then eat the leaves of the milkweed and then about 2 weeks later, form a chrysalis. The monarch butterfly emerges 2 weeks later. Typically, they only live for a “few weeks” but the last ones to hatch in summer “can live upward of eight months” (NWF, 2019). Its this 4th and last batch of monarchs that migrates south to Mexico or California for those living west of the Rocky Mountains according to Stafford Mader, L, (2014). They leave those wintering grounds in the spring and migrate back to Canada in the summer (WWF, 2019).

Preferred Food

Although the Monarch butterfly can feed on the nectar of many flowers like “echinacea, black-eyed susan, sage, goldenrod, zinnias and dahlias” (WWF, 2019, para. 7), the most important food source for the species is still the milkweed plants that their larvae/caterpillars exclusively eat. In Milkweed: Medicine of Monarchs and Humans, Lindsay Stafford Mader explains the connection between the steroid compound called cardenoloid, in milkweed and the decreased risk of infection in the larvae and later the natural toxicity of the butterfly that acts as a defense against predators.

The higher the cardenoloid levels in the milkweed the larvae eats, the higher the caterpillar’s chance of survival and later, not just the individual butterfly’s survival, but the species itself. This would be from the common association response poisonous prey induce in their would-be predators.

References

NAF. (2019). Monarch Butterfly. Retrieved October 31,

2019, from https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Invertebrates/Monarch-Butterfly

Stafford Mader, L. (2014). MILKWEED: Medicine of Monarchs and

Humans. HerbalGram, (101), 38–47. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=awh&AN=94874416&site=eds-live&scope=site

WWF. (2019). Monarch Butterfly. Retrieved October

06, 2019, from http://www.wwf.ca/conservation/species/monarch_butterfly/

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