A Day On San Juan Island

A day trip to the San Juan Islands starts off with an early morning ferry ride from Anacortes to Friday Harbor in one hour of winding through the islands. The early wake-up call was for catching the 8:30am ferry to San Juan Island. Why such an early reservation? So we can make a day of it.

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My goodness, the ride is gorgeous! With all the islands rising out of the water as the ferry passed through the channel. This might have been how the Hawaiian Islands looked long ago. Once touched down in Friday Harbor it was all open road winding through country beautiful with farms, lavender, and ocean views towards Cattle Point Marine Park to the lighthouse.

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Cattle Point:
The lighthouse was not open, so we all opted to explore the tidal pools for sea life. Climbing over black volcanic basalt cliffs, finding all kinds of marine life hiding until the tide started to move back in.

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Catching a red Rock Crab or maybe Dungeness Crab live and unbound was a crazy moment. The crab was not a happy crab since it almost got my finger (which can snap it off!) and got to hold it by the front legs claws away from me. Also lying along the rocky shore was a dead moon jelly that was massive.

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From the shore of the Cattle Point, you can see the western side of Lopez Island in the distance which some people in the group mistaken as Canada (Victoria Island). When you think about it, San Juan Island is very close to Canada when the cellphone text you welcome to Canada cell service.

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Lime Kiln Point State Park:
With the island being only fifty-five square miles, getting to Lime Kiln took only fifteen minutes. This park is known as the whale watching park and it is the only park dedicated in the world to shore-based orca whale watching. The 1919 lighthouse still in service is the point where you will find people with binoculars waiting for the orca pods to swim by. On this particular day, I missed the orcas by two hours.

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The park is more than orcas but has a fascinating history as well. On the site of the park was a lime-kiln operation. The history lesson here is visible with one of the original kilns restored. Lime at one time was a huge economic boost for the San Juan Islands with two major ones in operation on San Juan alone. Lime Kiln was used to turn limestone into quicklime and carbonic acid. The island has many limestone quarries dotted around the island, but this particular kiln lasted from 1860 to 1930, when the production of quicklime ceased.

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The kiln by the looks of it is really an inefficient way to turn limestone into lime. the number of trees need to keep the kiln at a constant 1,517°F (825°C) all the time to melt the limestone into lime powder.

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Along the cliffs, you can see the rejected barrels of lime near the old shipping dock.

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Spending a good chunk at Lime Kiln meant forgoing ice cream in Friday Harbor. A bummer, but it just means I need to plan another trip back to explore the town a little more.


How does limestone become quicklime (calcium oxide)?

Calcium oxide is usually made by the thermal decomposition of materials, such as limestone or seashells, that contain calcium carbonate (CaCO3; mineral calcite) in a lime-kiln. This is accomplished by heating the material to above 825 °C (1,517 °F), a process called calcination or lime-burning, to liberate a molecule of carbon dioxide (CO2), leaving quicklime.

CaCO3(s) → CaO(s) + CO2(g)

The quicklime is not stable and, when cooled, will spontaneously react with CO2 from the air until, after enough time, it will be completely converted back to calcium carbonate unless slaked with water to set as lime plaster or lime mortar.

Quicklime is still used today in many different industrial applications such as agriculture, paper, cement, and mining metals.

Whale watching at Lime Kiln:
The local orca pods are called J, K and L pods. Lately, there has been news of these pods not doing so well, and are at the point of extinction. This is true, and heartbreaking to witness a beautiful species no longer alive in our waters. If you do see them off in the distance frolicking, celebrate it! You have a treasured memory to share.

 

Have you been to any of the San Juan Islands? Which one was your favorite? Any great places to explore? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

Last Year of University & Becoming A Scientist

This will be the last year of college for this girl and I am excited about what is ahead. It seemed like yesterday when I received my late acceptance to Northwest University two weeks before the start of classes! I thank the Lord everyday for this opportunity, especially since it took so long to finally go back to school.

 

I have learned and grown a lot since stepping foot on campus two years ago. In nine months I will be walking across the stage and graduate with my Bachelors of Science in Biology and Chemistry. I am forever grateful to my colleagues at Dendreon and Seattle biotech for support all these years for getting me to this point. So grateful for you all!

 

As I have said many times, life is a science experiment and there are many adventures worth taking. Being in science is an adventure in its self. The hard paths in life are the ones with the best views. I don’t doubt it! I remember thinking back when I was getting my Associates degree how so much had been found already that there is nothing left to discover. Fast forward years later, there is still a whole lot to discover.

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This year my main goal is to graduate from Northwest in May- nine months out. Other goals is to study hard, have time for self-care and have fun along the way. I realized back in Tanzania I needed to step up my game when it came to de-stressing from all the stress during the week. This year is going to be stressful, and I am ready for it.

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I love being a scientist and a women in STEM. Science is not an easy subject, but once you master it, you go far! I have done a lot in the short amount of time at Northwest and in biotech. I never imagined when I was in high school this is what I would be doing or helping to find a cure for cancer. I am still in aw at it all.

To all those girls out there loving STEM, keep going!! We need more of you! I hope one day you will graduate with a degree in something you are passionate about. Never give up!

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What I wore:

Shirt: Northwest University t-shirt (Eagle Exchange)
Jeans: Curvy Profile blue jeans (Old Navy)
Shoes: Maroon All Stars Converses (DSW)
Glasses: Via Spiga (Costco Optical)

White Lab Coat: Dickies Work Wear (Amazon)
Navy Dress: Sheath dress (Land’s End)
Shoes: Nude pumps Jessica Simpson (DSW)

Hair: Tracy King Designs (Seattle)

Terracotta Warriors In Seattle

Terracotta Warriors were in town for a limited engagement in two cities in the US. Seattle was lucky to have the traveling exhibition come to Seattle before heading back to China. While Nana was in town for our birthdays we went to see the exhibit at the Pacific Science Center. We happen to go on the same day of the Seattle University graduation at Key Arena and some festival at the Seattle Center park. Just think in another year this will be me walking around in my black cap and gown from Northwest University.

….back to the Terracotta Warriors…..

We got our timed tickets for the first group of the day so there was not a whole lot of people in the exhibit. The whole exhibits were in the making of these terracotta statues, the science behind preserving them, how the site was found, and the history of the Qin (Chin) Dynasty, the first emperor of China. The special thing about this exhibit is the fact you can get up close to the artifacts were at the excavation site in China you cannot.

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Nana and I posing in front of the statues

 


The surprising thing I learned in this exhibit is the first man-made pigment was founded during this time called Huns Purple which is barium copper silicate. This pigment is stable enough to conduct electricity and is made of this compound it is found in many electronics such as a smartphone. A science nerd moment right there! This compound was found on terracotta warriors and pottery of the time period.

List of paint pigments used to paint the warriors

 

 


After the tour of the Terracotta Warriors, we headed over to McMenamin’s in lower Queen Anne for some lunch. The place was hopping since families of graduates from the university graduation where there the celebrate. The food was done pub style and the theme of the restaurant was done like an old pub in 60s England.

The rest of the day was spent walking around the Seattle Center area and going to the Olympic Sculpture Park on the waterfront.

More Information:
Pacific Science Center Exhibits

Victorian Murder Mystery: The International Sherlock Holmes Exhibition

The game is afoot….

Sherlock Holmes is a much-loved “high functioning sociopath” we all are very familiar with. I would not call me a fan girl of the show Sherlock, but I cannot wait for the new season to come in the BBC in January 2017. So I could not resist going to see The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes at the Pacific Science Center instead of braving the Black Friday craziness.

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Outside the exhibition

The day was a crisp cold day in downtown Seattle with some sunshine peeking out from the clouds. With a peppermint mocha in hand, I made my way to line gathering outside the entrance to be the first few people inside. The exhibition is about how the character of Sherlock became, the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle life (he was one of many who contribute to the beginnings of forensic science), and taking the visitor on a hunt for clues to solve a mystery using the same basic techniques as Sherlock would use during the Victorian times.

At the beginning of the exhibition you are given a small detective notebook with pages for activities within the exhibit to solve a crime. Each part of the exhibit has the background on how the field of forensic started, how those techniques are still in use today and the background knowledge on some of the clues you will encounter while solving the crime. As you walk through the exhibition you are deducting clues and facts in order to figure out what happened at the scene of a crime.

Towards the end of the exhibition there is a section devoted to various shows and movies spun out of the books known to many. One thing I did learn from this section is the phrase “elementary” was never a line uttered by Sherlock or Watson in any of the books written by Conan Doyle. It was added as an effect for a movie back in 1937.

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Horseless buggy

At times I was a little confused on how you are supposed to go about collecting the clues. At one point I had a hard time finding one of articles in 221b Baker Street home of Sherlock Holmes. I had to ask a volunteer for help. It ended up being one of those ah ha moments that should have happened sooner (palm to forehead). One thing I thought was missing was how forensic scientist today use Sherlock Holmes’ techniques to solve crimes. Oh well the scientist in me is always trying to get more young kids interested in sciences (especially young girls).

Overall the exhibition is worth exploring especially if a fan of Sherlock Holmes and you want to put those amateur sleuthing skills to good use. I enjoyed learning about how forensic science came about in Victorian London England, and knowing more about a great-great grandfather who was a London “bobby” on the streets of London around the same time as Jack the Ripper was roaming around.

…. as for whodunit, you will have come see for yourself for the answer.

More Information:
Pacific Science Center Pacific Science Center Exhibit runs until January 8, 2017.

Never theorize before you have data. Invariably you end up twisting fact to suit…:

Pushing Forward To Curing Cancer

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This past week has given nothing but sad news on the cancer front. All week there was not one day we did not hear another famous person has died from cancer. This is just a small sliver of the pie of how many people around the world died of cancer this week. Cancer touches every corner of society, and no one is fully immune to the effects it has.

As a research associate in cancer research there isn’t a day go by that I do not hear another statistic about the rate of cancer deaths and survivors. Cancer is complex. Complex as the very person it has affected. Cancer is self against self. It is the bully on the playground that doesn’t just take lunch money, it takes a life. A self made parasite to which every researcher, doctor, nurse, family and society is fighting everyday. Each type of cancer has a different way of bullying, and that is the reason why in research we are still pushing forward towards the ultimate goal: Cure Cancer.

This process takes time, and time is the essence in a person’s life. It may seem to the world we are going at this too slowly, but the truth is we are making strides towards this goal everyday. In the past few years more and more people are surviving cancer then dying of it (may not seem like it this past week). More people are becoming aware of how to prevent certain types of cancers, and more being diagnosed in the early stages where treatment is the most effective.

One day not so far off cancer will be cured. When this day comes there will be many tears of joy shed. Until then I will keep pushing forward towards the goal to curing cancer.