Sunday, June 24, 2018

Making Connections. Investigating Invertebrates. Mollusks and Echinoderms

From 1990-1996 I worked on with the "100 Schools Project." It was California's implementation of the National Science Foundations grant to integrate science content in a new breed of courses. Monte Vista High School was a leader in curriculum development. I was the editor and primary author of a four textbook series. Titled "Making Connections...", it was published from 1996-2001 by the Grossmont Union High School District. The series is now out of print. 

More often than not over the coming months, I'll be reviving this labor of love. I hope you enjoy learning about science in the way I think makes the most sense. Minor editing has been done to the original text. Additions are in highlighted in this color. My titles for the section of the chapter are this color. Most of the diagrams were retrieved in full color from the Internet since the original books were two-colors only. Content in this series is from Volume 4: Making Connections - Integrating the Science of Energy.
Invertebrate organisms have something supporting their bodies besides bones or bony material. They range in complexity from simple multicellular organisms, like sponges, to animals with complex structures and functions, the crustaceans and arthropods.
Many scientists accept a classification system with five kingdoms.
          Kingdom Monera consists of bacteria and blue-green algae (also known as photosynthetic bacteria).
          Kingdom Protista includes algae and single-celled organisms (protozoa).
          Kingdom Fungi includes only the fungi.
          Kingdom Plantae consists of multicellular land and water plants.
          Kingdom Animalia is made up of all animals, both with and without vertebrae. Every living thing is classified in one of these kingdoms.

Purple boxes highlight the content of this blog post.

Week #3
Covered by a Shell
Phylum Mollusca, containing snails, clams, and octopuses, etc., is the next invertebrate phylum. Mollusks are characterized by soft bodies frequently covered by a hard shell. All mollusks have three major body areas:  a head, a "foot," and a visceral hump. The head is where the nervous system is centralized. The foot is a muscular organ associated with locomotion in the animal. The visceral hump contains the intestines and other vital organs.
 Mollusks are divided into three major classes. 

  • Class Gastropoda, the stomach-footed mollusks, are named because they appear to crawl around on their stomach. Because these animals have only one shell, they are also known as univalves. Clams, scallops, and oysters belong to 
  • Class Pelecypoda, the hatchet-footed mollusks. The muscular foot of Pelecypods can be extended into the sand. When the foot contracts and pulls the animal forward, it looks a little like a hatchet. Pelecypods are also known as bivalves because they have two shells hinged together. 
  • Class Cephalopoda, the head-footed mollusks, are the third major class of mollusks. Squid and octopuses are cephalopods. Tentacles seem to split right out of the head of these animals. Cephalopods have no external shells.
In terms of sophistication of design and function, mollusks are the most advanced invertebrates we've discussed to this point. Each class of mollusks has specialized feeding structures. Gastropods have a rasp-like structure called the radula. As Gastropods crawl over surfaces, the radula scrapes away food material which is ingested by the animal. Holes in the center of leaves are evidence of the work of the Gastropods' radula. 

Cephalopods also have a radula. However, the food they eat is captured by the tentacles. The food is brought to a beak where chunks are bitten off. The radula, which lies inside the beak, then grinds the food. 

Pelecypods do not use radulae or tentacles in feeding. The gills of these animals are covered with a sticky mucus. Tiny particles of food are drawn in with the water that brings oxygen to the gills. Food sticks to the mucus. The mucus is pushed into the digestive tract where the food is digested. This method of feeding is called filter-feeding or mucus-feeding.
All Mollusks breathe with gills, even those which are not filter-feeders. Those mollusks which live on land have a moist depression, the mantle cavity, in which the gills are located. Land mollusks cannot live where it is too dry because their gills need moisture in order to function.
Hydraulic-Powered Animals
There is one major invertebrate phylum which is exclusively marine, found only in the ocean. These animals belong to the phylum Echinodermata. Echinoderms have a spiny skin. Small spines, spikes, or nodules stick out of the surface of the animal's body giving them a rough or spiny appearance. Sea stars, brittle stars, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, and sand dollars are the primary examples of members of this phylum.
The echinoderms are designed around a central axis. Their body radiates outward, usually in a plan based on the number "5."  It is easy to see the basic echinoderm body plan in the sea star with its central disk and five radiating arms.
Echinoderms move by using a unique body system. While most animals have muscles which move them around, the echinoderms system is hydraulic in nature. The water vascular system is composed of tubes and sacks which are filled with water. Contracting one of the sacks, called ampulla, forces water down into one type of tube, a tube foot. The tube foot extends because of the water being forced into it. A tiny suction cup on the end of the tube foot attaches to whatever it contacts. Contracting of the tube foot forces the water back into the ampulla and pulls the animal in the direction of that tube foot.

A sea star or sea urchin can have as many as several hundred tube feet. The direction of movement of an echinoderm is random. The animal goes wherever the majority of its tube feet take it. Of course, sea stars can sense food. When they do, they begin to move, although slowly, in the direction of the food source.
A sea star uses its water vascular system for feeding as well as for moving around. A sea star will grab a bivalve mollusk. Some of the tube feet begin to contract and pull on the shell of the bivalve. While those feet are contracting, other tube feet are relaxing. During this contract/relax rotation, some tube feet pull, while others rest. (Click the link for a quick video of this process.)

The muscle holding the two sides of the bivalve shell together has no chance to rest. The pull against the mollusk's shells is continuous. Eventually, the mollusk muscle gets tired, and the two shells spread open just a small amount.
In a totally gross maneuver, the sea star inverts its stomach—the stomach is pushed outside the sea star body—inside the mollusk shells. Digestive fluid is secreted from the stomach lining. The mollusk is digested inside its own shell. The "mollusk juice" is absorbed by the sea star stomach. This process explains why you sometimes find empty bivalve shell still attached together by the muscle at one end.

Next Making Connections: Investigating Invertebrates. Arthropods –Introduction
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Monday, June 18, 2018

Book Creation - A Science Guy's Explanation of Publishing Resources - C.R.Downing Book Tour 2018 #7

I'm having a sale on the e-book version of 
Book Creation  

It's only 99¢

 5 AM June 19 --> Midnight June 23
Times are PDT
Book #6:
There is a link to the print version in the title above this. 

Elevator Speech
If you've written a book, it doesn't do much for you or the book if no one has access to it. This short read explains options for any author.

I apologize for the format issues in this post. It's due to the layout of the manuscript, not your browser. Text in Arial font and highlighted in yellow is commentary.
Table of Contents

An Important Observation
Chapter 1
Figuratively Speaking… Text Is Better Pitfalls You Can Avoid
Chapter 2
PDF Does Not Equal .doc Or .html Which To Publish First: eBook Or Paperback
Chapter 3
Tables, While Legal, Aren't Easy To Set—And Other Tips To Make Your Amazon Publishing Life Easier
Chapter 4
Final Thoughts On Photographs … And Introducing Kindle Previewer—A Wonderful Tool
Chapter 5
What To Do Before, While, And After Your Manuscript Is Uploading
Chapter 6
Ideas For Preview Language To Use When Describing Your Book To Others
Chapter 7
You Can’t Tell A Book By Its Cover, But The Cover Can Convince You To Buy It!
Chapter 8
Closing the Cover
Chapter 9
It Takes a Strong Back and Spine To Be a Winning Cover
Chapter 10
Managing More Than One Project
Chapter 11
The Daily Schedule

Be Aware Of What One Word Can Do To Help You

For generations, the only way to get a book in print was to go through a publishing house. Of course, if you had enough money, you could print your own book, store copies in your garage, and hawk them at carnivals and door-to-door. But the reality was without a publishing house backing you, you really didn’t have a snail’s chance in a salt mine to sell many books.

1.    Today, there are myriads of ways to “get your book out.” Of course, major publishing houses are still around. You’ll most likely need an agent if you want any consideration—serious or otherwise—of a first book by one of them.

2.   Independent publishing houses also exist. Some “indie” houses are small-scale versions of the major publishers. You submit a manuscript—agents may or may not be required. If your manuscript is accepted, you go through a process similar to major publishers in terms of cover design, editing, and distribution. Many independents offer what is known as “co-publishing,” or some other term, that indicates you INVEST your money up front. They do varying degrees of editing and cover art. This path will probably get you access bookstore public relations people, since your book has a “publisher.” Royalties from this option can be similar to those from major publishers. Of course, until you’ve recouped any investment, you really haven’t made any money.

3.   My final example of “getting your book out there” is self-publishing. An Internet search for “self-publishing” yields pages of options. The VAST majority of those publishers require front money and provide varying levels of service/support depending on your willingness to line their coffers—there may even be additional charges for conversion from print to eBook format. Self-publishing services that do provide editing as part of one or more of their packages should help you create a more professional manuscript. However, you still publish whatever you wish to publish.

This primary focus of this booklet is self-publishing—specifically, publishing your book through Their FREE services—CreateSpace for print books and KindleDirect for eBooks—allow you to generate both/either print copies or eBooks from your manuscript. The service has a final scan for spelling errors and massive grammatical gaffs. The Kindle side's scan is the better of the two. 

You can make your own cover from one of their templates. They no longer offer cover production service. In addition, they offer varying amounts of editing for an additional cost as well.

     Royalties from option #3 are all yours. If you select a self-publishing option that charges “up front” fees, as with some independent publishers, you don’t “make” any money until you’ve recovered your investment. With many of the self-publishers, you have some control over the amount you get per sale.

Over 60% of all books sold in the USA are now sold through Amazon. Unless you are able to score a contract with a major publisher, that’s where many/most of your book sales will still occur. Option #3 can be a very good choice.

My first science fiction novel, Traveler’s HOT L – The Time Traveler’s Resort and my fourth book, The Observers – A Science Fiction Odyssey, are a co-publishing ventures as is my co-authored book on changing school classroom climates to increase student learning, Tune Up Your Teaching & Turn On Student Learning – Moving from common to transformed learning in your classroom. My third book, INSECTICIDE – A Science Fiction Thriller, and my fifth book, Traveler’s HOT L Volume 2 – New Tales from the Time Traveler’s Resort, are self-published through CreateSpace and KindleDirect, as are the booklets in this A Science Guy’s… series. Unless I land a contract with a major publisher, all my future books will use these Amazon venues for production. As of 6/8/2018, I have 10 books published. Only the three titles in red are not self-published through CreateSpace and KindleDirect.

Whether you chose option #2 or #3 from my list, you should expect to be responsible for the same amount of marketing—in other words, essentially all responsibility for marketing.

Author’s Note
In the first twelve months that I used the Amazon printing services, they made some significant changes to their protocols that made my life as one of their authors much easier.

     I must take time/space to extoll the virtues of CreatSpace's help system. The vast majority of what I do during book production I've done many times before, and I have few problems. Most of the problems I can solve by reviewing what I did/didn't do. However, there are times, and issues that require someone with knowledge that's way above my publishing pay grade.

An Important Observation

While preparing this manuscript, I found a blog post from one of my Twitter followers. The entire post is directed at authors who don’t sweat the details—in a bad way. The excerpts included here are designed to help you focus on your process—and make the appropriate adjustments.
In 2015, I’m reading only indie writers and publishers, self-published, and new novelists… Finding a quality book is a chore. It’s searching for a needle in a needle stack.
Details matter… My process is petty and superficial. I scan for a unique title and intriguing cover art. Self-published authors fail at cover art…
The concepts are strong. The writing is terrible. The editing is worse…
Matthew Foster Ph.d. [@quarkytrons] is the author of these very pointed comments.

If you follow this blog with any faithfulness, you know my position on editing. If you don't, why not? 

Hmmm. That was harsh. Let's try again.

If you don't, here's a Cliff-Notes version of the Reader's Digest Condensed version.
Most self-published authors do not 
do enough editing.
By editing, I mean
  • using editing features in MSWord. 
  • using editing tools like Grammarly and Hemingway, among others.
  • sitting and reading, re-reading, reading again, and then reading your story with editing to make the text flow better.
  • having a professional involved in at least one edit of every book.
Review the basics of my editorial philosophy in this series of blog posts.

Authors: Lessons Learned from Young Writers – Part 4 of 4 7/4/17 
Authors: Lessons Learned from Young Writers – Part 3 of 4  6/20/17 
Authors: Lessons Learned from Young Writers – Part 2 of 4  6/6/17 
Authors: Lessons Learned from Young Writers – Part 1 of 4 5/23/17

My Comments On the Quote
     It was difficult for me to read this blog post, there is a tremendous amount of very sound critique and directive in these words. No writer wants his/her work to categorized in this way.
     My initial response to reading this blog was to look carefully at my self-published books. I’d like to think they not part of the mire described by Dr. Foster. I did find formatting errors that needed correction and some wording that I was able to strengthen in them. I will be more diligent in future books.
    There are chapters in this booklet that address both book covers and editing. That being said, to misquote Shakespeare:

Read on, Macduff!”

If you search my blogs for the topics in the book's  Table of Contents, you'll find posts featuring one or more of the book production chapters: 6-9. I'll preview Chapter 1 below. The rest of the story is yours for on 99¢ on Amazon for a limited time (see above).

Chapter 1

Follow the Amazon—or whatever publisher’s—manuscript guidelines

When you write your story, you will/should be using a word-processing program. Like it or not, MS Office/Word is the industry leader. Many/Most all publishers recommend/require either .doc/.docx format for their submissions. This quotation is copied from Amazon’s Kindle Direct formatting page:

Word is a great tool to use because it's extremely easy to format. We suggest writing your book in Word or converting an existing source file into Word (.doc or .docx) format before continuing.

In this chapter, I am assuming you are using MSWord for your manuscript and that your goal is a book that is 6” x 9” in size.

If you even think you might be publishing an eBook version, start with that. The formatting is much easier to convert to print version than vice-versa. 

For Kindle, you just need to remember a few basic rules.
1.    Don’t tab anywhere.
2.   Format your paragraphs so they automatically indent the first line. That’s at the top of the dialog box when you open “Format/Paragraph” from the dropdown menu. If you don’t do this, Kindle will do it—and justify your text in your paragraphs:
Paragraph text displays with justified alignment by default. The first line of each paragraph is automatically indented.
3.   BIG IMPORTANT NOTE! Kindle now allows tables, however, the quote above still applies to the sentences inside the table.
4.   You cannot use bullet points. Remember, you can’t have tabs—bullet points have tabs—therefore you shouldn’t include bullet points.
5.   If you use figures in your text, you must use specific formats and low resolution (72-200 dpi). Make the figures large—mine are all about 6 inches in width. Use the “Insert/Photo” dropdown and Insert each photo individually from the Insert menu. You cannot copy/paste from other sources—even within the manuscript itself. If you copy/paste figures, you will end up with grey rectangles as placeholders where you had figures when you view the proof. Then, you’ll have to go back and Insert each of your “missing” figures anyway. If you insert small figures and make them larger by formatting them in place using the Word Format Picture command, you will still get small figures in your eBook—these are VERY hard to see on small screens.
There are other requirements for figures—acceptable formats, etc.

Reality: Download the manuscript guidelines and read them. If you don’t follow those guidelines, you will spend inordinate amounts of time fixing rather than writing.

Ultimately, if your book is all text, you will find the Kindle experience much friendlier than if you have lots of tables and figures. INSECTICIDE – A Science Fiction Thriller has over 30 figures, but now NO tables in the eBook after what I learned through tedious—and unnecessary—experience. One option for including tables in your eBook is to screenshot the table and insert it as a figure. See Chapter 3 for all the options.

Chapter 1 Takeaways
·      Use MSWord as your word processor.
·      Avoid tabs in the eBook manuscript.
·      Insert each photo or figure individually. Do not copy/paste photos. Do not change the size of any photo by formatting it in Word.

·      The publisher’s guidelines are not merely suggestions—follow them!

The book that never was. This was supposed to document my highly successful book launch strategies. I'll write the book . . .
as soon as I figure out how to have a highly successful book launch!

Next book on the tour (assuming the review is ready): Traveler’s HOT L – Volume 2 – More Tales from the Time Travelers Resort (Conclusion)

I've posted a 113-page PDF file with samples from all my published books and three as yet unpublished manuscripts. This provides a comprehensive overview of genre and style. I invite you to download the file. Enjoy the read.

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