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Re: Super-absorbent polymer prepared from orange peels

Postby SciB » Sat Feb 27, 2021 5:45 am

Good morning Lakshita. I hope all is well with you. I got the first vaccination with Moderna's cov2 vacc yesterday and had no reactions except for soreness in the arm muscle from the jab. So now, at least, I am somewhat protected from covid. You are not very susceptible to getting covid but you should still be careful as these new variants may decide to try infecting younger people.

I have been seeing more and more papers using Tukey's test (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tukey%27s_range_test) to compare experimental means for significant differences, so I think you need to be aware of what Tukey's test is in case one of the judges mentions it. It is like the Student's t test except it compares every mean to every other mean. I just sent a link to the wiki but there are videos that explain how to use the test and what it means, so watch a couple of those so you know about it. All the studies I have read about, still do ANOVA first and you know how to do that, so the significance test is the only one that differs.

Let me know whenever you have questions.

Stay well,

Sybee

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Re: Super-absorbent polymer prepared from orange peels

Postby lakshu_s » Sat Feb 27, 2021 11:44 pm

Hi Mr.Sybee,
I'm so glad the COVID shot is not giving any drastic reactions...based on what you're saying, I am expecting it to feel very similar to a flu shot. As a younger individual, I will most likely not be prioritized for the vaccine..for the exact reason you said. To be careful, I continue to wear masks (we just ordered some more KN95 masks on amazon to try double masking). I am so sorry I didn't reply to your past three emails. I got caught up with schoolwork and I'm also studying for the ACT, so its a little hectic over here :( I hope your Bigfoot snow creature works next time! Your idea for a "personal-trainer Alexa" sounds great and very useful to everyone of all age levels. It would have human intelligence, and understand our feelings but not have feelings of its own. The thing is, our wiseness comes from the experiences that we have gone through and since a robot doesn't have experiences or feelings of its own, it would be difficult to create the specific algorithms to match our vision of a personal mentor robot--but not impossible :)

My mom loves to garden... it's essential at our home every year. In fact, we are building a new garden bed this year and experimenting with compost in our soil! We grow roses and these-yellow-flowers-that-I-don't-know-the-name-of at our home. I've been wanting to grow some hibiscus too if I get the chance. It's so cool to see the wide array of herbs you grow in your garden...there really is a whole different feeling when using freshly grown food that we harvest ourselves in our meals :)

Update on the science fair: we haven't received any results yet. I think the coordinators are planning on giving the results 1 day before or very close to the actual interview day. Usually, they give the results and the interview is during the evening of the same day (a few hours gap), so the coordinators may be trying to keep the virtual event as authentic as possible.
Thank you for updating me on the new Tukey's test. I will make sure to understand what it really is. My fear is that the judges will ask why I didn't do certain things in my project, like the Tukey's test or some limitations, and I will sit there not knowing what to say. I have prepared answers to a list of questions (including those you suggested) that the judges will likely ask. I will be attaching that document soon in a separate mail--please take a look at it and let me know your suggestions. Still working with my mom on setting up that LinkedIn--I will make that a priority this week.

Thank you so much for all of your support,
Lakshita

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Re: Super-absorbent polymer prepared from orange peels

Postby SciB » Sun Feb 28, 2021 8:51 am

Hi Lakshita,

I miss hearing from you every day but I know how pressured you are with schoolwork and exams and I want you to excel, so that is priority one.

Still no reactions from the shot, but I didn't expect any. I have never had a reaction to medication and my immune system is well-behaved. The FDA just approved J&J's new vaccine for use, so now the U.S. has three sources and the J&J one is a single-dose vaccine so easier to get compliance. The sooner everyone is vaccinated the better.

Please tell your mom that I think she is great! Gardeners are the best people, imho. I still have the memory of walking around in our home garden when I was about 5 years old and seeing tomato plants above my head and eating the fresh ripe fruit from the plant with the sweet juice dripping down my chin--yumm! Do you like to cook? I have a kitchen garden right outside the pantry door so I just go out and gather a handful of fresh herbs to chop up and use and they are so good that way. You said you were going to use compost this year and that's a great idea. I have been composting vegie scraps and coffee grounds and teabags for my entire life, I think. I can't bear to throw such things in the trash. I always have a big pile of veg matter cooking out by the garden and keep adding to it all year long. Whatever doesn't get eaten, gets recycled into the veg garden where it fertilizes the next crop. We also have a handsome pair of crows that come to the compost and pick out the choice bits that they like to eat.

Send me whatever you have and I will check it and get back to you right away. The judges are not out to get you. They have questions that they have to ask you and only so much time, so the questions cannot be difficult or detailed. As long as you keep the principles of the scientific method in mind and base your answers on your experiments and accepted facts (not speculations) you will be doing exactly what a good scientist should do. Like I do, they will feel your enthusiasm, curiosity and pleasure in tinkering with nature and want to encourage you.

Enjoy your Sunday,

Sybee

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Re: Super-absorbent polymer prepared from orange peels

Postby lakshu_s » Mon Mar 01, 2021 12:45 am

Hi Mr.Sybee,
Awww that makes me so happy to know that you look forward to my messages :) I look forward to messaging you every day and keeping up to date too! Soon I should be on LinkedIn (my mom has an account, but she hasn't updated it for a while), so we can chat easier.
My mom actually signed up for the vaccine today, but they said it will take 7-8 months for her to receive the vaccination due to her profession (which mostly requires working from home) and maybe age. I wish we could access it sooner but there are billions of people that are at a higher risk than us and are definitely the number 1 priority right now.
I actually show my mom all these messages and it makes her really happy. I just showed her your message and a big smile appeared on her face. :) We actually have a local garden at the library, and sometimes I pick cherry tomatoes and eat it fresh (sometimes I feel guilty for not washing them first, but it tastes so good and I can't resist). I don't know how to cook actually...I wanted to learn, but my mom doesn't want me to go near the stove. Your composting method sounds really cool and so helpful to the environment! I'm going to have to try that too! And...the birds get some food :)

Regarding the questions:
- I started organizing them, doing further research on the molecular process of emulsion polymerization (I have to be able to teach it to the judges), and
- understanding the terms of statistical analysis on a deeper level.
- When the judges ask what is the impact of my project,
I will refer to the application to life details and also your point regarding compost vs SAP. Regarding the compost, I did some more research and came up with this and an answer:
"in my research, I found articles stating the SAP actually has higher water-retaining properties and that SAPs not only retain moisture in the soil but also prevent the leaching of nutrients—in fact, increasing the uptake of nutrients."
Do you think that is fine? Please let me know if I should add anything.
- I also came across the concept of carbon footprint. What is it actually? Do you think it has a connection to SAP that I should mention when explaining the impact of my experiment?
Thank you so much for all the help,
Lakshita

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Re: Super-absorbent polymer prepared from orange peels

Postby SciB » Mon Mar 01, 2021 6:05 am

Hi Lakshita,

Yes, I do enjoy talking to you and hearing your ideas and experiences. Seeing the world through fresh eyes is always good, I think. And it makes me feel good to know that I can have a positive influence on your life and career.

I am glad to see you studying polymers and chemistry as I know you haven't had that much in school yet, so you have to do this on your own. There are lots of good lectures on YT at different levels and this will teach you what you need to know. As a gardener, soil science is one of my interests, especially the plant-fungi interactions called mycorrhizal. Anything added to the soil will affect its microbial community and thus is important to farming because these microbes help plants absorb nutrients. This is an area we can talk about later if you are interested.

I hadn't thought about the 'carbon footprint' as related to SAP, but since everything has a carbon footprint, then it is something to consider. If I understand it correctly, CF is the amount of greenhouse gases, mostly CO2, that are released in a particular process. I would expect the production and use of SAP to have a very low CF because of the way it is produced. The CO2 released from the power plant that generated the electricity to run the oven that you used to dry the mixtures increases the CF, but sun drying would not. Carbon can be stored in the soil in the form of organic matter and this can actually result in a negative CF. Calculating all the CF inputs is quite complicated, but in general, the simpler the process, the less CO2 generated, and making a soil amendment from waste biomass is pretty simple.

Composting is definitely something you as a young gardener and environmental steward should get familiar with as it is the way nature has been doing recycling for millions of years. Soil is not just a lot of ground up rocks. It is a living, breathing matrix of microbes, invertebrates and plants essential for life on this planet. Though most of the oxygen we breathe comes from the photosynthesis of ocean-living cyanobacteria, terrestrial plants still contribute more than 25%.

I could go on and on about this because it is so interesting, but you have other things to attend to and so do I, so I will talk to you later and answer any specific questions you have about the project. Self-education and critical thinking are the goals, so keep watching those good videos and thinking about what you are interested in.

All the best,
Sybee

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Re: Super-absorbent polymer prepared from orange peels

Postby lakshu_s » Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:32 am

Hi Mr.Sybee,
You have certainly made a positive impact on my life and made me curious about the world around me. Thank you so much!
I have some good news: out of all the participants in the honors division, I was selected as one of the top six finalists that will participate in the interview this Saturday! Yay! They asked us to have a 7-minute presentation of our project prepared for the judges and then allow the judges to ask questions. My time slot is from 9:25 to 9:45, so I have 20 mins with the judges. I will type out a more detailed email around 1:00 tomorrow regarding lots of questions I have... I just wanted to give you this news as soon as I could (they actually emailed the information a little later in the night) so that you would start your day drinking your coffee with a big smile on your face :) For the questions...Could you please provide the name of your LinkedIn account (so that I can search it and add you as a connection)?
Thanks again for all your help,
Lakshita

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Re: Super-absorbent polymer prepared from orange peels

Postby SciB » Wed Mar 03, 2021 5:10 am

YAAAY! That is the best news this year, Lakshita. I knew you could do it--I just wasn't sure that the judges were smart enough to realize your excellence. Your mom must be wearing a big smile too!

So, Saturday is the big day for your presentation. Well, that does give you enough time to prepare. Do you use Zoom for the meeting? I always made presentations in person using Powerpoint, but I assume the same can be done virtually. This will be another challenge to master if you don't already know how to do it. Does your mom or dad use Zoom? There must be lots of videos showing how to use it to do presentations. I would think that the judging coordinator would tell you exactly what you need in terms of technology to do the presentation correctly. You don't want to have any tech problems during the talk! Just do a google search for: on the mark scientific editing linked in

I'll be watching for your next post here, for now, because I'm sure you will have questions. Let me know how the presentation will be done so maybe you can practice it before. The timing will be critical as you don't have that many minutes to tell the story.

Yaay, again!

Sybee

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Re: Super-absorbent polymer prepared from orange peels

Postby lakshu_s » Thu Mar 04, 2021 1:11 am

Hi Mr.Sybee,
How are you? Sorry, I couldn't get back to you within today...making a slide presentation with minimal wordings seems to be something I need to work on. My mom was very happy as well! In reply to your message before your previous message with the carbon footprint:
Thank you so much for your feedback. Based on what you're saying, I would be making assumptions about carbon footprint's relation to SAP. I think I should not say anything about it unless one of the judges brings it up specifically, mainly because I have no evidence or tests to prove my point--most of it is logical reasoning. But if they do, I will base my response on what you said. What do you think?
Now for the latest response:
Yes, the interview will be held through zoom. I sent an email to one of the coordinators yesterday regarding the dress code and if screen sharing is allowed (I think it would be useful for when I present). They got back to me on the dress code, but not really the screen sharing part...regardless, I have still prepared the slides so I can start practicing the actual talking part. I just sent an invite to you through my mom's LinkedIn account...finally! Also, she hasn't updated her LinkedIn for a while, since she got a permanent job at the same company...so she asked me to tell you not to mind that. :)
Thank you so much,
Lakshita

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Re: Super-absorbent polymer prepared from orange peels

Postby SciB » Thu Mar 04, 2021 5:56 am

Good morning Lakshita,

Is your school thinking about going back to in-person classes? I think TX is being reckless in canceling the mask mandate and allowing people to move around freely so soon. They only have a little more than 8% of their inhabitants vaccinated. That's nowhere near enough, imho.

I think you have made the right decision about carbon foot-printing. You are prepared if you get a question about it, but don''t offer it as an aspect of the SAP story because it does not seem that important.

In my meetings, I can always see who I am talking to and they can see me, and when other people are involved, they sometimes appear in smaller screens. That part may be optional. What I don't know how to do is present a powerpoint slide show or Excel spreadsheet so that I can see it as well as the viewers. When you find out, you can tell me!

It is a virtual world for sure now, so we all have to learn to use the available technology. What I want is a smart watch (actually, a wrist-PC) that allows me to see the person I am talking to and vice versa.

We'll be talking again soon,

Sybee


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