Potential Basis of Coloration in Oricorio Feathers

Hello Whimsical Science readers, my name is Natalia and I try to write on my own blog, Natalia Does Science (https://natdoesscience.wordpress.com/). I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology, and I will hopefully be a Master of Science this year as well. My good and very dear and best friend Connie asked me if I’d like to contribute to Whimsical Science, and I said sure! And then time went by and now here I am, writing stuff. I don’t really have a background in anime per say, but I do really enjoy researching new topics and learning new things, so, whatever I write should be interesting to say the least. With that, let me get into my first post.

Awhile back, there was a post here on evolution and Oricorios. In it, they were used as an almost-analog to Darwin’s finches to help explain the genetic component of evolution. However, the nectar aspect of the Oricorio typing was not discussed, and the nectar is what I find most interesting. One of my interests in biology is how and why animals are colored the way they are, and what the coloration signals to members of the same species. Coloration comes from four means, and animals can have just use one, or a combination of them. Here’s a convenient list of them!

1) Pigments: Colored chemicals that an animal can make themselves or need to ingest from an outside source (think hair, skin, feathers sometimes, scales)

2) Chromatophores: Special cells that contain pigment that can change size, and by changing size, changes the color and pattern of the animal (think cuttlefish, squid, octopi, chameleons)

3) Structure: Super tiny structures (think scales on a butterfly wing or feather barb) that can bend visible light at different angles so we can see a color(s)

4) Bioluminescence: The production of light through light producing cells called photophores (basically glow in the dark animals like the weird deep-sea fishes)

The type of coloration I’m going to focus on with the Oricorios is pigment based for the most part, focusing on the ingesting of pigments. The Sensu Style Oricorio kind of throws a wrench in my easy explanation for reasons I’ll get into at the end of this post. As previously mentioned before on this blog Pokémon was not designed by scientists, so keep that in mind as I blather on about pigment. In the real world, many of the colorful species of birds gain those colors from their diet. Specifically, from a pigment molecule called the carotenoid. Carotenoids are pigments that are red or yellow (and can combine to make orange) in appearance and are produced by plants.

The Northern Flicker, a type of woodpecker is an excellent example to view differences in carotenoid use in a single species. In the western portion of North America, the Northern Flicker has red in its tail and wing feathers, while on the eastern portion of North America, the flicker has yellow in its tail and wing feathers. The difference in feather coloration of the two groups is likely due to different carotenoids in their diet.

By eating enough carotenoids (whether it be from berries or insects that contain carotenoids from eating plants), birds can deposit these pigments in newly growing feathers to color them. At face value, this seems like a reasonable idea for how the Pom-Pom, Pa’u, and Baile Style Oriocrios gain their different colors since by consuming nectar from different flowers, their feather colors change. Real world nectar is not known to be a source of pigment molecules, but the Alolan Islands seem to prove contrary to this.


The Pom-Pom style Oriocorio uses yellow carotenoids deposited at different levels to give it the bright yellow feather accents and pale yellow body. The white pants are a result of no deposition of colored pigments.

Let’s start on Melemele Island with the Pom-Pom Style Oricorio with it’s diet of yellow nectar. Pom-Pom has the simplest coloration of the four Oricorios. Their yellow body is the result of yellow carotenoid molecules. In the real world, yellow carotenoids are the most commonly available to birds. The differences in the shades of yellow is the result of different levels of deposition. The more intense the yellow, the greater the amount of carotenoids deposited.


The Baile Style Oricorio uses red carotenoid pigments and black melanin pigments to color its feathers. The white cap on its head is a result of no deposition of colored pigments.

But, what would happen if you took your Pom-Pom Style Oricorio away from the flowers on Melemele and fed them nectars from flowers on Ula’ula? They would “molt out” to become the Baile Style Oriocorio. Red carotenoids in the real world are a more coveted resource since they’re rarer than yellow in nature, making red a slightly harder color to achieve. The black feathers are another point of interest. Black pigment isn’t from something that gets eaten, it’s made from the animal (or in this case Pokemon themselves). The blacks, browns, and greys we see are from pigment molecules called melanin. Melanin is made from amino acids in special cells called melanocytes.


Like the Baile Style Oricorio, the Pa’u Style also uses red carotenoids for coloration. However, they are deposited in feathers in lower concentrations which leads to light pink and the dark pink on the bird.

Let’s take the Baile Style Oricorio to Akala Island and feed it nectar from those flowers. The basis of coloration is still red carotenoids, but now we have the pink Pa’u Style Oricorio. The pink is a result of a lower deposition of a mix of two carotenoids in the feathers, which still gives a rosy hue but not one as intense as the red Baile Style. An alternative to carotenoid based coloration here could be another type of pigment molecule called poryphorins. Like melanin, poryphorins are made by altering amino acids. They are known to be responsible for pink, browns, reds, and greens. The nest for this would be to grab a black light and hold a Pa’u Style feather under it. If it glow bright red, then the coloration is poryphorin based, if not then it is likely carotenoid based.


The Sensu Style Oriocorio doesn’t have have the typical pigment based coloration like the other Oricorios. The blues and purples are a result of the microstructures, air, and light interacting.

Let’s go to Poni Island and feed the Pa’u Style some nectar there and….crap. The elephant in the room: Sensu Style (aka the reason why I can’t make reasonable explanations). Most blue and/or purple animals you see aren’t because of a blue/purple pigment molecule (in fact there is only one known case of a true blue pigment molecule and that’s in a fish). Blue and purple (as well as many other colors) are a result of structural coloration. Maybe the nectar on Poni Island is contains compounds that alter the structure of the feathers and melanin deposition. But, that would be more of a feather genetics/feather structure tangent which could be its own post entirely.

How does blue? In the case of this Indigo Bunting, light shines from the sun and hits the feather. The feather is made up of a structural protein layer, a layer of the structural protein and air mixing, and a layer of black melanin. The red, orange, yellow, green, and purple light is absorbed by the black melanin layer, but the blue light is refracted out to our eyes by the protein/air layer which gives the bird the blue hue.

Feathers can come in many shapes and sizes and functions. There can be a lot of feather variation within a species that can make individuals look drastically different, when in reality it’s just different genes getting turned on and off. In regards to the Oricorios, maybe the nectar contains (in addition in pigment molecules) different chemical compounds that are able to change which genes are active/inactive which causes the changes in feather forms between the islands but still preserves the basic body form.

Pigeons are an excellent example of the same species looking different. Besides breeding pigeons for different colors, they also breed them for different looking feathers. The left pigeon has typical looking feathers other than being diluted looking, no fancy curls or longer feathers or growing upwards. The bird on the right is called an Old Dutch Capuchine pigeon- it has a mutation to one of its genes that causes the bird to have a “mane” of feathers like a lion. Both birds are still capable of interbreeding, but through the mutation of one gene we can have two different looking birds.

The genetics of feathers and feather expression isn’t really something I’m familiar with, but if anyone would like to read a feather post like that, let me know in the comments below and I’ll do some research to make a new post that covers even more bird Pokemon with a wide variety of feather shapes (or I’ll just do it on my own because now I’m kind of interested). If anyone has any questions, opinions, or suggestions, leave a comment and we can chat about it! Find me on twitter @NatDoesScience for more science content if you’re interested!


Kinetics, Part 1

This is part one of two posts that explain the kinetics of chemical reactions. We’re posting this a little out of order than the traditional order, but we still hope you find it informative! This will be organized into our formal listing of chemistry concepts once we reach that point in the semester. -WS Team

Kinetics, Catalysts, and Philosopher Stones, OH MY! Part 1- James B.

Enzymes and catalysts are important in organic and biochemical reactions. However, the study of kinetics is integral to understanding how they work.

Let’s start with a thought experiment. Imagine that you are an alchemist who wants to make diamond from graphite, how would you go about it? In the world of Fullmetal Alchemist, Alchemy takes 3 steps; analysis, destruction and reconstruction. Let’s go through each of these steps and see where this thought experiment takes us.

Step 1: Analysis

Graphite and Diamond are both made up of carbon. The main difference between them are the arrangement of the bonds between the carbon atoms. Graphite is made up of sheets of hexagonal rings with alternating double and single bonds. These sheets are weakly held together by what are known as Van der Waals forces.


(Image Credit: Wikipedia. Three sheets of carbon arranged in hexagon structures are separated out to demonstrate the layering of graphite)

Diamond, on the other hand, has each carbon bonded to 4 other carbon atoms in a tetrahedral structure. There are also no double bonds. It is this change in structure that changes graphite, (which is quite soft) to diamond, which is the hardest naturally occurring substance.


(2 Image Credit: University of Wisconsin- Carbon arranged in blocks, known as the tetrahedral form)
Step 2: Destruction

This step is self-explanatory; we must break some of the bonds in the graphite sheets. To turn graphite into diamond, we must break the double bonds.


Step 3: Reconstruction

After the double bonds are broken, single bonds are formed with carbon atoms in adjacent sheets. This turns the planar sheets into a tetrahedral lattice.

Of course, this process takes energy. We can graph the use of this energy as the transformation progresses. This can tell us a lot about the transformation. Here is what it looks like:


Graph:  A graph of Graphite to diamond transmutation. Time can be found on the X axis, and Energy on the Y axis. The energy is in Joules but the exact values don’t matter for this illustration.  

As we can see, energy was expended when breaking the bonds, and energy was released when forming them. When the transmutation reaches its end, we see that it’s at a higher energy than at the beginning. This is because graphite is more stable at standard temperature (22⁰C) and pressure (1 atmosphere) than diamond.

If we were to try to turn diamond back to graphite [basically reversing our graph], we would have some excess energy at the end of the transmutation. Because of this excess energy, transmuting diamond into graphite should be faster than transmuting graphite to diamond. We could make it even faster if we could lower the energy it takes to break the bonds (Philosopher’s stone, anyone?).

Herein  lies the heart of the study of kinetics: Kinetics is all about the rates of chemical reactions and what factors speed up or slow down the reactions. Graphs like the one that we generated for the graphite to diamond transmutation are key in exploring those factors. Let’s look at a few of them and see what they can tell us about their respective reactions:


Graph: Time can be found on the X axis in seconds, and energy on the Y axis in joules. The curve increases from 10 joules at the start of the transmutation or reaction, increases to 25 joules, and ends at about 15 joules.

For this reaction, the reactants have 10 joules of free energy. This means in their ground state, or most relaxed state, they have an inherent energy of 10 joules. If we move later in time, we see the graph peak a little over 25 joules. This is the energy of activation. This tells us the minimum amount of energy we must add to the system to run the reaction. In this hypothetical case, we must add about 15 joules of energy to our products to start the reaction. Once the reaction is complete (past our energy of activation), it has released approximately 10 joules of energy; we have a net loss of 5 joules. In this case the reaction is what is known as endothermic. This means that it absorbs energy. Endothermic processes are relatively slow and are usually done under elevated temperatures. Now, let’s look at an exothermic reaction.


Graph: Time can be found on the X axis, and energy in joules on the Y axis. The graph shows an initial energy of 15 joules, increasing to 25 joules, and ending at 5 joules.

We start at 14 joules of energy, have an energy of activation of 25 joules of energy, and end at 5 joules of energy. So, there is a net gain of 9 joules of energy. This extra energy is released into the environment as heat. Hence the name exothermic. These reactions happen quickly and are usually spontaneous.


This last graph gives us a reaction that is identical to our previous  graph in all but one aspect: the energy of activation is about 5 joules lower. That would make this reaction faster than the reaction of graph 2.

So what have we learned so far? Mostly that transmutation and the re-arrangement of atoms is a lot more complicated than Ed makes it seem! The speed of the breakdown and rebuilding of bonds vary depending on what it is you aim to do; we don’t necessarily see this in the manga or the show. Are there ways of speeding up a reaction? Of course! We’ll cover these methods later.


Although there weren’t any Whimsical Science panels at Connecticon 2017, it allowed for some pretty relaxed enjoyment of other panels on display. One of our favorite groups of panelists here at WS is the creative team behind Starpower- Michael “Mookie” Terracciano and Garth Graham. Typically, we’re pushing people out of the way to get into their creative panels; they’ve got this excellent way of presenting and teaching the arts that leaves attendees with not only tears streaming down their face from laughing, but with concrete, applicable lessons to boost any creative project. This meant, when it came to a panel called “SPACE AND WHY IT’S AWESOME”, we hauled butt through the convention center to snag seats.

Finding panels that bridge the gap between people with no knowledge and people with some knowledge to potentially people with ALL THE KNOWLEDGE is pretty rare. At fandom/comic/sci-fi/anime/general geekery conventions, it’s even more rare to find that setting geared towards space and all that goes with it. The panel started out as an introduction into stargazing and then meandered its’ way through topics brought up by attendees, and all of the topics were wonderfully handled by Mookie and Garth and the occasional person who studied XYZ in school.

Here are some takeaways and memorable parts from the “WHAT GETS YOU EXCITED ABOUT SPACE?” section!

  • Stargazing can be cheap and accessible! Starting with recognizing one star or grouping leads to learning about all the others in the sky, and can be done without a telescope or fancy app. However, Mookie went through and described the telescope he uses as well as the migration/movement of the stars as the world turns and neat software those telescopes have to help track celestial bodies.
  • A question about light pollution led to a perfect start to learning the sky; start with what you can see and continue from there once out in clearer skies.
  • The connection between all civilizations on earth about the beauty and the constellations found in their respective sky. Cygnus the swan and its’ mythology was brought up, as well as Orion’s Belt
  • The life of a star- the explosion causes a nebula, which can collapse to create new stars. (Notable quote: F*** it. *POOF*)
  • The Orion Nebula is super cool because of the trapezium, four newborn stars.
  • The expansion of space and the point of observation, as well as a slight philosophical conclusion that we are, in a way, the center of the universe.
  • The fact that elements are elements no matter where they came from; iron in meteors is the same exact element as the iron in your hemoglobin.
  • The time shift; everything in space happens super fast, but we find out super slow.

All these points and more were brought up in their panel; it was an awesome discussion about space by people who weren’t traditional scientists but were still curious and motivated to learn about the area they loved. The fact that it was open as a discussion also allowed people who weren’t really into space a way to get into space without throwing huge mathematical topics at them. Mookie’s description of stargazing also allowed a cheap accessible way into stargazing and space as well, which is an awesome gateway into STEM!

Marching for Science!

Good Morning!

Today, Earth Day, is also the day where millions of scientists and other like-minded people are marching to raise their voice about climate change and other worrying trends affecting the science community. If you haven’t considered going, reconsider! It’s a good way to learn more about the science community and why they’re so passionate about what they do.

If you’re not too sure if the march is for you, consider this:

Scientists are people too! (Wild, right?) There are people marching because their jobs may depend on it, as many people depend on funding and projects as their income. by marching, you support them as well!

Science programs funded by the government (state and federal!) work to research diseases, environmental causes, injury prevention, food safety… the list goes on. You probably interact with a project developed by scientists or researched by scientists every day of your life.

If you’re on the fence because of religious ideas, don’t worry about that either! Science is not a religious or spiritual following. There are so many people in the STEM fields who are also devout followers of their respective faiths. Miyam Bialik has an amazing video on how she approaches this. If you’re Catholic and weren’t aware… the Church acknowledges Evolution and the “life soup” theory. The Pope is an Environmental Chemist.  So. Gonna leave that there.

But I’m not a scientist, you say, I don’t have a library of textbooks or a subscription to fancy journals. I can’t even understand what these people are saying half the time! Why can’t I just get my science news from CNN/FOX/XYZ network?

Wellp, now is the time, dear reader, to be brave and take the jump. You don’t have to understand calculus or the inner workings of proteins to get involved or support research. You just have to be willing to learn. Start with the basics. Learn some fundamentals. Ask an ex-roommate or sibling or niece or grandson or uncle or neighbor about what they do. Go ahead and ask those people covered in mud holding buckets in the marsh what they’re doing. 8/10 times, they’ll be happy to tell you (if they’re not actively trying to wrangle a critter). Go to talks at your local library! Take notes!

Just (for the love of all things good on this earth) don’t take in the news of convenience. Pick up a textbook. Get your research news from somewhere legitimate. Learn about the scientific method and ask yourself if what those researchers did was valid. Numbers DO MEAN SOMETHING!

Anyway, the only thing stopping you from learning is you. Don’t settle for anything less than concrete evidence. Don’t let the loud, vague sentences sway you.

Anyway, go to the march (if you can). Many of us here at Whimsical Science are working today in our labs and our teaching spaces, carrying on the work of furthering knowledge and educating the future. At the very basic, that’s what we’re marching for anyway.

(OOH, also share your march photos to our facebook page!!)

-The WS staff





Holy Darwin’s Finches, Batman

 WOW. So after seeing the promotional materials released for Sun and Moon, the immediate thought that came to my mind was of Oricorio and it’s ‘forms’ that depend on which island the Pokemon lives- it’s a reference to Charles Darwin and his finches! When Darwin sailed down to the Galapagos, he observed birds with some vastly different adaptations in beak shape; he determined that those with beaks suited to the environment and food supply were more likely to survive and pass down their genetics (beak shape, coloration), causing the adaptation to continue to offspring. Such began his theories of Natural Selection and Evolution…


Above image: Finches from the Galapagos Archipelago. Each bird has a slightly different head shape and beak shape. Pictured are G. magnirostris, G. fortis, G. parvula, and C. olivacea

And OH MY GOODNESS look at what we have here…

Above 4 images, the Oricorio found in Pokemon Sun and Moon. From right to left, a bright pink Oricorio based on Pacific dance styles (Pa’u style), a blue-purple Oricorio based on Japanese dance (Sensu style), a red Oricorio based on Flamenco dance (Baile style), and a bright yellow Oricorio based on Cheerleading (Pom-Pom style).  Designs by Game Freak. 

Oricorio has different typesets and morphs on different islands clearly based off of styles of dance. Along with the obvious visual difference, each Oricorio has its own type assignment besides flying.

Now, the whole mantra of Pokebiology is that Pokemon was not designed by Biologists (or any science discipline for that matter) so that we need to take everything with a grain of salt.

I bring that quick and friendly reminder up because Oricorio is not a direct comparison to Darwin’s finches. After playing through Sun, it’s painfully apparent that these delightful dancers are actually another case of metamorphosis and quick adaptation. To truly be a parallel to Darwin’s finches, there has to be a genetic component.

What do we mean when we say genetic component? Basically, these birds have to hatch as the Oricorio they are and remain unchanged. Let’s ignore the nectar portion of Oricorio for a second:  If a DNA mutation causes an Oricorio with an electric typeset to hatch within the fire-typeset population, it probably wouldn’t fare so well. A bright yellow cheerleader themed bird would be easy to spot, and without the proper dance moves probably wouldn’t find a mate. That means our yellow Oricorio would not pass down its appearance, or phenotype, to its offspring. But, if it somehow did find a mate, there is a chance that DNA mutation would pass to the offspring, leading to the bright pom-pom wings and yellow feathers to appear in some seriously cheerful Oricorio chicks.

But, that’s not the case in Sun and Moon. Considering the nectar, each Oricorio has the chance to change depending on which meadow it finds itself in.  Naturally, that helps when it comes to hunting, camouflage, and presenting the correct courting dance to attract other Oricorio. Below is a good example of how well that camouflage works: if we were to walk through Melemele meadow, we would probably end up walking by Oricorio without a second thought.


Above image: My Magneton, Faraday, encounters a yellow Oricorio in Melemele Meadow.

Another possibility that can be considered is that the nectar they drink has the ability to change their genetic code, then we have a situation where a DNA mutation occurs purposefully and is passed down, which still doesn’t entirely fit into our real-life finch example. (Stay tuned for another post on that idea entirely…)

But, for right now,  our little dancing Oricorio make for a good reminder of actual, real life biology. I give the Game Freak folks some props for attempting to mirror some historical bio references.

Apologies and Promises

So, as much as I’d like to preach about planning and schedules and such;

Life Happens. Very quickly. Very unpredictably. The last few months have been a heck of a roller coaster. New jobs (plural!)(both at the same time), a new vehicle, and a major life reboot have meant that Whimsical Science took a longer hiatus than intended. However, we’re back and ready to get cracking.

So here’s the deal:

We have a few articles lined up, both in FMA Chemistry and Pokebiology!

We are also developing some study sheets that should help people with equations and basic concepts (gotta get ready for finals, right?).

Finally! Pokebiology 101 will be presented at Anime Boston (March 31-April 1)! So keep an eye out for times/rooms!

Thanks for sticking it out,

Connie and the rest of the Whimsical Science team

FMA and Chemistry- Equivalent Exchange Stoicheometry


            Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the greatest manga/anime ever made. One of the reasons for this greatness is how consistent the world is, especially when it comes to one of the center points of the story: Alchemy and how it works. Alchemy was a scientific discipline at one point in history; Isaac Newton believed and wrote several papers on alchemy. It was eventually eclipsed by chemistry because chemistry was able to make better predictions.


While the alchemy in Fullmetal Alchemist does not completely line up with the historical alchemy, some of its principles line up with modern chemistry. One of these principles is arguably the most important; the Law of Equivalent Exchange. This law states that to obtain something, something of equal value must be lost. Or in more precise terms, your end product has to have the same mass as your starting materials. Lets demonstrate this with a simple example from Fullmetal Alchemist. In Chapter 38 of the manga, Roy Mustang demonstrates the ability to split water into its base elements, Hydrogen (H2) and Oxygen (O2). So the chemical formula for this reaction would be:

H2O → H2 + O2

            Already we can see a problem with this, since there is one oxygen on one side of the equation, (which are called the reactants or reactant) and 2 oxygen on the other side, (which are called the products). We must then change the number of molecules on one or both sides to make sure we have the same number of atoms on both sides of the equation.

Since we have more Hydrogen atoms than we do Oxygen, lets balance the Oxygen first. If we have 2 water molecules as reactants, then Oxygen will be balanced

2H2O → H2 + O2

            So now we have the oxygen balanced but not the hydrogen. The simplest way to balance the hydrogen is to add another hydrogen molecule so that we have 4 Hydrogen atoms on each side.

2H2O → 2H2 + O2

            This method also works on more complex equations as well. Just make sure to start by balancing the least represented element, and work your way up to the most represented element. Now that the equation is balanced it is more useful to us.

            Now, if Roy knows how much hydrogen gas he wants, he can figure out how much water he needs.

Chem Photo1

The equation shows that for every 2 molecules of water, we would get 2 molecules of hydrogen and one molecule of oxygen. The practical problem is that you can’t directly measure the number of molecules of a substance. However, mass, volume, temperature, and pressure can be measured directly so we would have to relate the number of molecules to one of those measurements. Fortunately, there is a relation between the number of molecules and the mass of a substance, and that is the unit known as a mol (mole). A mol is defined as 6.02 x 10^23 molecules.

So lets say that Roy wants to make a Kg of Hydrogen so that he can set something on fire. (Hydrogen is a flammable gas after all,) He has 20 Kg of water to make hydrogen, how much of that 20 Kg would he need to brake down to get 1 Kg of hydrogen?

Lets start with how many moles are in 1 Kg of Hydrogen. To convert mass into moles we need to know the atomic mass (which can be found on the periodic table of elements). The atomic mass of Hydrogen is 1 and since there are 2 atoms in 1 molecule of Hydrogen, the atomic mass of molecular Hydrogen is 2.

step 1

The measured mass must be in grams to convert to moles so 1 Kg becomes 1000 grams; this is then divided by 2 to give us 500 grams per mole. Since a mole is a measure of the number of molecules of a substance, then water must have the same number of moles as Hydrogen according to our equation.

step 2

So now we have to convert from moles back to grams by multiplying by the atomic mass of water. Using the periodic table and the chemical formula for water, we find that the atomic mass is 18. we multiply 18 by 500 and we get 9000 grams or 9 Kg of water.

step 3

So the moral of the story is, water does not make you safe from the Flame Alchemist.


Pokemon Diversity Study, Continued (“Results Section”)

So when we last left off (two weeks ago), we had a guide to setting up a mock diversity study using Pokemon Go.


(Above: The Abra that decided to pop by while my car got new breaks…)

Already, we have a few bumps in the road as Pokemon GO ecologists:

  1. Pokemon GO is, for our purposes, totally random.
  2. Sometimes I don’t have adequate service to play
  3. Accidental transfer of Pokemon happens; luckily I paid attention to the task at hand

So, how did this go over despite the three bumps? Well, I used two very different spots over the span of 2.5 hours: Canton, CT and the National Mall in Washington, DC.  One is a small town that I can walk around a little bit while my car is in the shop: the other is a Pokestop-filled bustling city on a Summer day at peak Tourist time. (My tall and awesome assistant and I even ducked into the Smithsonian Museum of American History for the A/C, Pokestops, and some learning time. No Pokemon were caught within exhibits, however.)

The data? Well, I definitely need more of it to try to do any quantitative analysis, but we can still learn a bit more about using Pokemon GO as a learning tool. (Insert Inception meme here)


Canton:                                                               Washington DC: 

Canton DataDC data


Obviously, I ran into more Pokemon in DC, which in the terms of the game makes sense due to the population density and Pokestops, which is still important when we think about dispersion of real animals. In Canton, there aren’t as many people or Pokestops, so less Pokemon. Unfortunately, this also means less data for me to analyze.

So, for Canton, I only encountered 10 ‘Species’ of Pokemon: My definition of a species being the same evolution tree: so if I get Poliwag candy from a Poliwhirl, that counts as a species. Nidoran are difficult because it’s different candy, so I counted each Nidoran as separate to keep my definition accurate.

In DC, I encountered 19 Pokemon within the time limit and 13 species overall- I did not count the two I hatched (a Tangela and Bellsprout), because I technically did not encounter them. I encountered Sandshrew most frequently, and started a separate column for just Sandshrew. I also kept track of which Pokemon had a qualifier, such as XL/XS, but my sample size wasn’t big enough to analyze either. (Sample size is the amount of good data we can work with mathematically or analytically to support a hypothesis or trend. I can’t say I have a reliable average size of Sandshrew because I only caught 4… that’s a very tiny part of the Sandshrew population!)

Moving on, we’ll discuss what happened here and move onto some more experimental designs that will cover the gaps found in this study. How are your studies doing? Let me know on the facebook or my twitter!


Weekly Update (August 8th)((Late again…)

Good Morning everyone!

My weekend was hectic and Monday was Monday, so here we are! The Pokemon Diversity update will be up later today: Pokemon GO is not a reliable data pit, but I’ll talk about that later.

Here’s what’s on the menu this week:

  1. Pokemon Diversity Update
  2. FMA Chemistry (Friday Post!)

That’s all I can promise this week- the ‘bumps’ in the road will be covered in a separate post. Other than that, hope you all had a good weekend!

Let’s talk about Math

Math can be a scary thing. Our society today seems to box it in with geniuses, geeks, and people who don’t leave the safety of their homes or offices. In fact, it’s often strange that someone would like math. Personally, I really disliked math. The repetition of something I didn’t like was killer; I didn’t understand why we were doing it, or why we had to do the same thing over an over again. It wasn’t until I got to higher levels of math- Calculus 1-3 or stats, that I understood the application and how we could actually use all the “completing the square” nonsense or why lines were so important.

Math can tell us a lot about a situation- if we were to quantify data, like how many cupcakes are consumed in a given time, we can plot a line of time vs. cupcakes eaten and get a slope or a trendline- an equation of a line that can help us predict how many more cupcakes needed in a given length of time.

oh hey it's a trendline

In other ways, math helps us indirectly, like when we’re baking those cupcakes. Doubling, halving recipes all involve fractions (if you find a recipe written with decimal points, please send it to me).

Math is also important to many different industries- engineering, business, education especially. Although it’s not in the same format as the math learned in middle school or high school, it’s still a higher level of adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing than it seems.

So why is learning math such a gigantic task, and how do we fix the begrudging attitudes towards what is really a fundamental skill?


Well, let’s learn it in the context of interesting applications. Math textbooks like to do this all the time: “If a wombat is walking though the forest at 1.2 meters per second, how far does he wander?” or even, “George buys 600 sodas for  6 cents each and only spends 34$. How much was the original price of the soda?”

But no one application or method is going to work for everyone- once more it takes a bit of creativity and work to learn something new, something we’ve covered previously. So what can we do?

  1. Patience- try different things and keep trying until something sticks
  2. Be kind to yourself- math is a different way of thinking in general, don’t get too frustrated if you’re stuck or cant seem to understand something. Your brain needs time to work with the information
  3. Make it into a game- use different colors and figure out the pattern, and turn learning math into an RPG styled leveling system.
  4. Break everything up into smaller bites. Rewrite your notes or examples or create a small video talking yourself through it. Use props or playdough or something you can mold or create
  5. Ask others for their methods!


These are just a few things you can do to make math easier- it’s not that math is some insurmountable task, it’s just that it’s a far different way of operating than writing an essay or absorbing, processing, and repeating information. It takes time, but with enough patience it can be done!