natural education

A list of BTS’ most socially-conscious, thoughtful, woke, non-love songs:

2 Cool 4 Skool (2013)

No More Dream * = about the pressure of the younger generation to follow the dreams of their parents/elders and give up the dreams of their own

길 (Road/Path) = about taking the untraditional path despite the uncertainty of the future

O!RUL8,2? (2013)

Intro: O!RUL8,2? = about pursuing your own dreams, taking chances, and living without regret

N.O * = about the machine-like nature of the current education system

팔도강산 (Satoori Rap) = about being proud of where you’re from and your dialect. acknowledges and unifies Korea’s vast linguistic/provincial diversity

Skool Luv Affair (2014)

Tomorrow = about making the future better by being the instigator for change and never forgetting who you really are

등골 브레이커 (Spine Breaker) * = comments on consumerism/materialism and respecting your elders

Jump = about remembering the hopeful dreams of one’s youth and growing up to become the hero of your own childhood

Dark & Wild (2014)

힙합성애자 (Hip Hop Lover) = about the power of music to change one’s life

Rain = comments on the repetition/monotony of life and that fact that one has to confront oneself in order to create change

BTS Cypher, Pt. 3: KILLER = haters? “i don’t give a fuck”

핸드폰 좀 꺼줄래 (Can You Turn Off Your Phone) = comments on society’s obsession with social media and the decline of face-to-face communication

2학년 (Second Grade) = about working hard and staying humble in order to reach the top

Wake Up (2014)

The Stars = about facing the ups and downs of life and never giving up no matter what

Wake Up = about continuing to work hard as others sleep & taking control of one’s life

The Most Beautiful Moment In Life, Part 1 (2015)

Intro: 화양연화 * = comments on the uncertainty of the future, the search to find one’s purpose, and the dangers of comparing oneself to others

I NEED U * = going beyond a classic love song, the song comments on the insecurity of youth

쩔어 (DOPE) * = about waking up the sleeping youth and breaking the stereotypes placed upon the younger generation by working hard to reach the top. reject rejection!

흥탄소년단 (Boyz with Fun) = about ignoring the judgement of other’s and doing what makes you happy

이사 (Move/Moving On) = about remembering/learning from the past while reaching for a higher place

The Most Beautiful Moment In Life, Part 2 (2015)

Intro: Never Mind * = about looking forward and working even harder if you feel like falling down

Run * = about not letting anything stop you from pursuing your passions

Butterfly = comments on the insecurities of youth & the fears of feeling dependent on someone

Whalien 52 = about loneliness & feeling like no one is listening/understanding

Ma City = comments on being aware/proud of your hometown’s history (& also calls out a Korean online terrorist group that targets minorities and leftists, especially people from Jeolla province, were J-Hope was born)

뱁새 (Baepsae/Silver Spoon) = comments on the concept of social status/privilege and the growing gap between the upper and lower class

고엽 (Dead Leaves) = comments on the difficulty of giving up something good for the better

The Most Beautiful Moment In Life: Young Forever (2016)

불타오르네 (FIRE) * = about how one should live however one wants to without labels & that it’s okay to lose

Save ME * = comments on the duality of youth (happiness and sadness) and thanks ARMYs for accepting who they (BTS) are and letting them be who they are

Epilogue: Young Forever * = comments on the difficulty, but importance, of facing reality, moving forward, and following one’s dreams

House of Cards = comments on how ignorance can be bliss but that reality will always catch up eventually

YOUTH (2016)

Good Day = comments on brotherhood and the importance of lifting each other up to create a brighter tomorrow

Wishing On A Star = about not being afraid to have big dreams because the more you hope, the more likely it will come true

Wings (2016)

Intro: Boy Meets Evil * = comments on the dangerous addiction of greed/ambition

피 땀 눈물 (Blood Sweat & Tears) * = comments on the danger/ease of succumbing to temptation & losing the innocence of youth

Begin * = about brotherhood & how the other members shaped him to become who he is today

Lie * = about feeling trapped under the lies he told himself & losing his identity in the process

Stigma * = about struggling with his self-identity & his guilt because he can’t always be there for the people he cares about

First Love * = about how the piano guided him to recover his passion for music

Reflection * = about insecurity, loneliness, self-hatred & learning to love himself

MAMA * = about thanking his mom for always supporting him & telling her she can lean on him now

Awake * = about acknowledging his limits and imperfections but trying hard anyway & putting the other members before himself

Lost = comments on the uncertainty of growing up and finding one’s own path

BTS Cypher Pt. 4 = about not listening to those trying to bring you down & to love yourself

Am I Wrong = comments on the corrupt government system that doesn’t care about the general public and only focuses on pleasing the top 1%

21 세기 소녀 (21st Century Girls) = comments on the unjust treatment of females in current society & a women-empowerment message of strength and self-love

둘! 셋! (그래도 좋은 날이 더 많기를) (2! 3!) = about enduring/overcoming hardship by sharing your burdens and finding strength from one’s loved ones

You Never Walk Alone (2017)

봄날 (Spring Day) * = comments on government corruption by referencing the Sewol Ferry Tragedy & is about missing a friend that you haven’t seen in a long time

Not Today * = about empowering the underdogs/minorities/women of the world

Outro: Wings = about believing in oneself and having trust in one’s decisions in order to choose one’s own path

A Supplementary Story: You Never Walk Alone = comments on the importance of teamwork in order to dream bigger and reach higher

name: video w/ lyrics

=: live performance/dance practice

*:official music videos/trailers

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Books Every Black Child Should Read 

Nappy Hair -  Carolivia Herron, Joe Cepeda (Illustrator)

The Snowy Day -  Ezra Jack Keats

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters -  John Steptoe

Meet Addie - American Girl Story 

“Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales” - Virginia Hamilton

Daddy and Me -  Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe

Dancing In The Wings - Debbie Allen

Something Beautiful - Sharon Dennis Wyeth

Tough as a Tardigrade

Without water, a human can only survive for about 100 hours. But there’s a creature so resilient that it can go without it for decades. This one millimeter animal can survive both the hottest and coldest environments on Earth, and can even withstand high levels of radiation. This is the tardigrade, and it’s one of the toughest creatures on Earth, even if it does look more like a chubby, eight-legged gummy bear. 

Most organisms need water to survive. Water allows metabolism to occur, which is the process that drives all the biochemical reactions that take place in cells. But creatures like the tardigrade, also known as the water bear, get around this restriction with a process called anhydrobiosis, from the Greek meaning life without water. And however extraordinary, tardigrades aren’t alone. Bacteria, single-celled organisms called archaea, plants, and even other animals can all survive drying up.

For many tardigrades, this requires that they go through something called a tun state. They curl up into a ball, pulling their head and eight legs inside their body and wait until water returns. It’s thought that as water becomes scarce and tardigrades enter their tun state, they start synthesize special molecules, which fill the tardigrade’s cells to replace lost water by forming a matrix. 

Components of the cells that are sensitive to dryness, like DNA, proteins, and membranes, get trapped in this matrix. It’s thought that this keeps these molecules locked in position to stop them from unfolding, breaking apart, or fusing together. Once the organism is rehydrated, the matrix dissolves, leaving behind undamaged, functional cells.

Beyond dryness, tardigrades can also tolerate other extreme stresses: being frozen, heated up past the boiling point of water, high levels of radiation, and even the vacuum of outer space. This has led to some erroneous speculation that tardigrades are extraterrestrial beings.

While that’s fun to think about, scientific evidence places their origin firmly on Earth where they’ve evolved over time. In fact, this earthly evolution has given rise to over 1100 known species of tardigrades and there are probably many others yet to be discovered. And because tardigrades are so hardy, they exist just about everywhere. They live on every continent, including Antarctica. And they’re in diverse biomes including deserts, ice sheets, the sea fresh water, rainforests, and the highest mountain peaks. But you can find tardigrades in the most ordinary places, too, like moss or lichen found in yards, parks, and forests. All you need to find them is a little patience and a microscope.

Scientists are now to trying to find out whether tardigrades use the tun state, their anti-drying technique, to survive other stresses. If we can understand how they, and other creatures, stabilize their sensitive biological molecules, perhaps we could apply this knowledge to help us stabilize vaccines, or to develop stress-tolerant crops that can cope with Earth’s changing climate. 

And by studying how tardigrades survive prolonged exposure to the vacuum of outer space, scientists can generate clues about the environmental limits of life and how to safeguard astronauts. In the process, tardigrades could even help us answer a critical question: could life survive on planets much less hospitable than our own?

From the TED-Ed Lesson Meet the tardigrade, the toughest animal on Earth - Thomas Boothby

Animation by Boniato Studio

speaking of being a massive ecology nerd, guess what season it is, folks! That’s right, it’s FLEDGLING BIRD SEASON here in North America, which means it’s time for an annual reminder that most species of birds have almost no sense of smell. Someone probably told you that if you touch a baby bird, the mother will smell you on it and reject her baby. THAT IS NOT THE CASE. 

Pictured: a young Mourning Dove, after being rescued from the tender mercies of my dog, circa spring 2005. It’s a fledgling! Note how it has most of its feathers, but still looks a bit awkward and scruffy, and, being unable to properly fly, can be caught by an elderly husky or a child. 

  • Hatchlings: IF it is covered in fluffy down (or partly naked) and cannot flutter successfully, it’s a hatchling, and has fallen from its nest prematurely. Look for the nest- if you find it and can reach it, return baby and then gtfo and let the parents return. If you can’t find the nest, or if you find it in pieces on the ground, use a small box lined with dryer lint or dog hair or similar fluff and attach as close as possible to where you found the bird or where you think the nest was. Return baby!!!! 
  • Fledglings: If you spot a young bird covered with feathers on the ground, chances are it’s a fledgling (bird tween, can flutter) who is not doing well in flying 101, but it is probably NOT injured or sick. Hanging out on the ground is part of the learning to fly process! If it looks like it’s in immediate danger (i.e. of being run over, stepped on, or eaten by a cat or dog), the best thing you can do for it is to gently scoop it up and place it in the branches of a nearby tree or shrub, and then LEAVE. The parents are likely nearby, and will return once the coast is clear of humans/predators. If it flutter-hops away from you and you can’t catch it, then don’t worry! It just successfully avoided a predator (you), and therefore can probably continue to do so. 
  • DON’T DON’T DON’T: Try to feed it, bring it into your house or car, or take it to your local vet or animal shelter. 
  • IF it IS actually for-real injured, you can catch it and contact a local wildlife rehabilitation professional (and then listen to whatever they tell you), but keep in mind that they get a LOT of fledgling birds, and those birds have a pretty high mortality rate. They may tell you that there is nothing you or they can do but allow nature to take its course, and that’s hard, but important to hear and respect.
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It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay
You’ve got nothing, got nothing, got nothing, got nothing to fear
I’m here, I’m here, I’m here

The effects of stress may filter right down to your brain's DNA.

An experiment showed that the amount of nurturing a mother rat provides its newborn baby plays a part in determining how that baby responds to stress later in life.

The pups of nurturing moms turned out less sensitive to stress because their brains developed more cortisol receptors, which stick to cortisol and dampen the stress response.

The pups of negligent moms had the opposite outcome, and so became more sensitive to stress throughout life. These are considered epigenetic changes, meaning that they effect which genes are expressed without directly changing the genetic code. And these changes can be reversed if the moms are swapped.

But there’s a surprising result. The epigenetic changes caused by one single mother rat were passed down to many generations of rats after her. In other words, the results of these actions were inheritable.

From the TED-Ed Lesson How stress affects your brain - Madhumita Murgia

Animation by Andrew Zimbelman