The Concentration of Phosphate and pH Chemicals in the Bassac River, Cambodia

This school year, I have a yearly research strand project that will be a focus on the concentration of the chemicals in the Bassac River, I will only focus on Phosphate and pH chemicals for now. I think this project is very crucial for Cambodian citizen, especially, the community that lives around the Bassac River because they all get the water from this river. Therefore, the community could be at risk due to a high concentration of the chemicals. So this research would allow us to confirm the quality of the water and whether it is safe or not for people to use this water for their living. Recently, I had a trip to Resource Development International (RDI) to collect the bottle samples that will be used to collect the water sample. In addition, I will partner with them to do a chemical analysis for my water sample. Lastly, I expect that the research project will be completed before the Khmer New Year.

Here is my research proposal: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cjuAtxUxIFPrOgpWHW2_ORNu9htRcp3zLx17ZyGdCmk/edit

College Preparation

My graduation date will be on June 2020, so college isn’t that far from me where I am now. In the literacy class, we had learned about writing a formal email, create our own resume, and doing a college interview. We had written a formal email to a fake company that our teacher made it up, my email was about asking for the internship opportunity in the company. I had a chance to read my classmates writing to learn and giving feedbacks. We moved on to another subject which was writing our own resume and doing a college interview. It was my first resume writing, I got to learn about the structure while also show cast my projects in the writing so that it stands out from others. Lastly, I had a college interview simulation with one of the volunteers here, at Liger. The interview was formal, I needed to dress up nicely and be prepared for the questions from the administration. After experienced all of this, I felt more confident to reach out to people but as well believe in myself to persuade and sale myself during the interview.

Mengthong Long_Resume-Writing

First Statistic Class

This school year, it was my first class for introductory statistics which sound really complicated to me, as a student who has no idea about this college-level subject. A statistic is nothing connected to algebra, it’s another level of math which requires dot-connecting, analyzing, and comprehension skill to understand and extract the knowledge of new concepts from the statistic books. The correlation coefficient (R) is one of the hardest and exiting unit so far from the past two months of learning in this course. We learned to look at different scatterplots data and a linear regression line to understand how does the explanatory and response variables correlate with each other. Using the correlation formula to calculate the R-value is impossible and it kind of wasting our time. So calculator features come to be really handy to run the the two-variable stats, graph the scatter plot and calculate the linear regression line’s equation. Our group had sent out a survey to ask the students and facilitators for a data sample that we could use to find different the correlation between the two variables. I was involved in finding the correlation between the number of siblings versus the number of friends on Facebook. I really enjoyed learning about the statistic since it isn’t just about a number but it taught me to be a better person to be able to analyze data and make a good usage out from the skill.       

Cellular and Molecular Biology

The second unit 2 of our Ap Biology course was mainly about a cell. From my background of learning at Liger for 6 years, I exposed a lot to the science field related cell. For the introduction part of learning about each organelle’s function was mainly review. However, after completed the cell unit there were so many exciting concepts that I enjoyed learning about. The new concepts that I enjoyed learning the most were the signaling transduction pathway, cellular respiration, fermentation, and photosynthesis. Cells are smart and really complex to understand, especially, the concepts listed above. But how each processed form was really unique and precise. For instance, the process of signaling transduction pathway is that in order for a reaction to happen it requires a different step; the ligand has to bind with the protein receptor which creates another process of reaction. And the process in the transduction will continue to create another reaction until the final step for the cell to response the signal. At the same time, we had a minilab of fermentation. We set up an experiment of yeast and different sources of sugar and placed it together in different flasks. After two hours of experiment, I saw the ballon with air inside which was carbon dioxide. Furthermore, we had another mini lab to understand the concept of photosynthesis since one of the product from the light-reaction was oxygen. So for our experiment, we set up a leave inside the water and leave it under the sunlight. It turned out the lab was working, I was surprised when a small so many tiny bubbles which indicate the oxygen as a waste product from photosynthesis.

 

Doing Labs Help to Understand New Concepts in Chemistry Course

Over the past few weeks in the chemistry course, I had continued and built up my knowledge on this subject area. We had been learning about bonding, Lewis structures, VSEPR, balancing the equation and calculate the limiting reactant. There were so many new concepts that I sometimes found it hard to catch up with the class, however, with a lot of practices on a worksheet on the unit and doing a few labs those new concepts had become easy to understand. For instance, I did a lot of determining the bonding by doing two different experiments. The first one was Solubility in water where we placed different substances into the water and base on the reaction and the bonding characteristics we could determine the substances bond. The second lab was melting the same substances on fire and also determine its bonding. In addition, we recently had another lab where we made out own s’more and we used the concept in the lab to understand and practice the concepts of balancing the equation and determine the limiting and excess reactants in our lab. I these mini-labs because I enjoy learning and visualize the new concept I had learned in the course of chemistry.

 

 

Business Model Competition Update (Chek Rom Lek)

This post will be updating about my business model competition with the Chek Rom Lek project. After our hard work doing our business validation with authors and students we had finalized our idea. Chek Rom Lek is an online sharing platform where students and researchers can conveniently access resources (reports and e-books) in the Khmer language. As a team leader, I was able to drive this business idea and my team into a final round of the competition. We were able to present this idea in front of nine judges and a few hundred audience members. I was proud of my team and all of the positive spirits that we all kept going to push forward. But the most important thing was the exposure to try out new experience and overcome the challenge. The lesson we gained from this project was a phenomenon, it was just a starting point to exploring in the business world. I can not wait to continue Chek Rom Lek project and help to improve literacy education in Cambodia. 

BMC Competition 2018 Application

Over the past seven weeks, we had been working to brainstorm some ideas that would be possible to submit it for the BMC Cambodia 2018 competition. At the same time, Keith had taught us different ways to look at the problem and find a solution for it. In addition, he had to get us to expose to previous year application and their video. I had come up with the pain of students finding a hard time accessing information in Khmer language resources. I had brainstorm the pain and the solution and collaborate with my team to create a 3 minutes video to submit for the competition. Visal was helping me with the script and Kimseng was our filmmaker and editor.

Internship at Codingate

This year I had my first internship at Codingate that will last for about 1 month and a half. It will be three days a week but in the morning only. I and my other two friends are working on a health app for Cambodia called Sokhakrom. I heard that we will be working with a doctor and doing research about the smartwatch technology and its ability to provide us with data on human health. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned out, we spent most of our time helping to improve the feature and adding new features to the current app. I was flexible on the work and follow what they ask us to do because it was their priority. So currently, I’m working on the flow and design a new feature where the user can upload any suggestion topics that they want to know more in our app. So far I learn a lot from the team of how do they talk to their client and I got to learn how to write a health article. The team was really open and willing to help us with our work. But still, I can not wait to work on the smartwatch feature.

Conservation Report of the Asian Elephant in Cambodia

Conservation Report of the Asian Elephant in Cambodia

There are two main distinct types of elephant, the African elephant (Loxodonta) and the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). There are currently estimated 400 and 600 wild elephants in Cambodia. This keystone species can be mainly found in the Cardamom Mountains in south-western Cambodia, and the eastern plains of Mondulkiri Province. The population of this species had dramatically decreased over the past few decades due to a significant increase in hunting, captivity for human use, habitat loss and fragmentation for agriculture and roads.  

We should not let this negative impacts continue to occur and affect the Asian elephant. The Asian elephant plays an ecological significance role as a keystone species to provide sustainability to their community and ecosystem. For instance, the elephants digging the soil for water, they use their huge mass and their tusks to dig the waterholes which create another available water sources, especially, in the dry season. In addition, when there are more available water sources in an ecosystem it allows other species to realize and have more potential access to this water source. This community service helps other species to no longer needed to travel for long distance to fulfill their thirst.

Another major role of this keystone species is to sustain the food web and maintain the population growth of the primary producer.  The Asian elephants weigh between 3500kg to 5000kg, therefore, they require to consume about 140 kg and drink up to 190 liters of water in a single day. The elephant is one of the herbivorous apex predator and the largest land mammals on earth. The elephants usually travel in an average distance of 25 km on a daily basis while foraging for the large quantities of food such as grasses, small plants, bushes, fruit, twigs, tree bark, and roots. This keystone species have the commensalism interactions with the fruits, other plants, and animals. When the elephant consumes the fruits they poop back the seeds and help to disperse the seeds in the long distance across the ecosystem. In addition, their dunk is a great fertilizer that can help to maintain the nutrient rich-soils in an ecosystem. Moreover, their dunk also important for other species such as hornbills, banded mongooses, and vervet monkeys because the dunk isn’t fully digested so it can provide nutrients for other animals. Furthermore, while they travel and forage in the vegetation, the elephants create a pathway for other smaller animals to travel but as well allow more sunlight and space that is available for the tiny plants to grow. Not only that, with their huge body and roam over long distances the elephants help to disturb the insects which allow the predators to forage for the insects easily.    

Elephants use their tusks to dig for roots and water or even fight each other. Unfortunately, their ivory has gotten them into trouble because it is really valuable to some people. There is a lot of demand and trading for the elephant’s tusks in Cambodia as well around the world which lead hunting to one of a major issue that causes the population of the elephants decreases so rapidly. Other purposes of hunting elephant are also for meat and leather.  

There is also a huge problem with captivity, the villagers use the elephant for their own needs as a transportation to carry heavy goods. In addition, other tourist companies use the elephant as a tourists attraction and let them ride on the elephant to view the forest at Mondulkiri and view the temple at Siem Reap. However, it is fun for tourists but this is stressful and not enjoyable for an elephant. In addition, in return the elephants usually get punishments with less food, hitting, and capture them in small tiny space.

The Asian Elephant is an important part of the Bunong people’s culture and belief system at Mondulkiri province. Elephants are an important connection to the spirits that the Bunong believe live in the forests, mountains, and houses in the villages.

As the population in Cambodia is growing and developing there is needed to be more available space and expand on the agriculture sector to support the family and country’s economic. At Mondulkiri, the elephant is facing a major threat of habitat loss due to a lot of deforestations from different companies and individuals. The soil there is nutrient rich and has a good condition for agriculture. So there are millions and million dollars of investment that are invested in this particular area to mainly grow cassava and rubber trees. Deforestation isn’t just for agriculture but the people cutting down value and expensive trees for their own business, trading, and personal use.

Habitat fragmentation is another major issue, people starting to build more residents and more roads for tourism but as well to transport those goods from the agriculture to the main city. This lead to habitat fragmentation that suffers the elephant because they will lose their habitat, get less food, cause huge chances to community structure, and ecosystem health. affect their interaction, and lead to a decline in elephant population density. The invasive by human population cause a negative impact to an elephant’s ecological niche and lead to decline their population growth in Cambodia.  

Even though there are currently a few local and international organizations that are trying their potential to preserve this keystone species. However, the population of the Asian elephant is currently endangered. The population will still continue to decrease because we need more conservation actions and more effective ways to approach the above issues if we want to sustain this keystone species. In addition, Cambodia needs to improve our environmental policy and enforcement from the government toward this problems. And due to our current economic circumstances, we need more international support and financing.   

In Cambodia, there are current conservation actions from different organizations and government such as World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Fauna and Flora International (FFI), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Elephant Valley Project (EVP) and Ministry of Environment. Most conservation actions take place in the Eastern Plains of Mondulkiri Province and the Northern Plains of Preah Vihear Province which is the hot-spot of the elephant population. In 2005, FFI had established the Cambodian Elephant Conservation Group to help sustain and protect the population of this species. FFI had gathered different institutes and work with the Ministry of Environment to provide fundraising and technical support to help to protect the Asian elephant in Cambodia. They had worked closely with the forest communities to reduce human-elephant conflict and raise awareness about the effects on the elephants.

FFI and WWF had also set up camera trapping different places of the forest to understand the threat and gather more information about the elephant condition and their current population. Moreover, WWF had tested the DNA from the elephant’s dunk to estimate the population of this species in the Eastern Plains. WCS has established a Seima Protection Forest at Mondulkiri that had one of the largest protecting areas in southeast Asia. The protecting area helps to conserve the habitat of the elephant population from hunting, deforestation, and other human disturbances. When the team knows any cite of deforestation and hunting WCS will send their team into the forest to stop the human actions.

Elephant Valley Project (EVP) is a non-profit organization in Senmonorom, Mondulkiri province. Their mission is to improve captivity elephant’s health and try to bring those elephants back into their wild habitat by creating a sanctuary protected area for the elephant. EVP work closely with Bunong people to provide the support and education to stop using the elephant for their own needs. Instead, EVP uses the sanctuary protected area to create a tourism place that gives the elephant back their independence, natural behavior, and with hurting them but still provide a unique cool experience back to the tourists. The tourists can observe how the elephants live visually, study about their characteristics but as well providing care and support to help maintain the sustainability of the Asian elephant. The sanctuary help to support the local community by bringing more tourists, create more jobs but at the same time help to protect their forest, natural resources, and the elephants.

The forest, the elephants, and other species had suffered enough from human actions from the past few decades. For future conservation actions, the government needs to implement and improve the enforcement of the law to anyone who contributed to illegal actions that cause an impact on the forest and animals. Local community and citizens play an important role to help preserve our nature. Most of the villagers still have a lack of understanding and education toward their own actions that could cause an enormous negative toward the forest and animals. The villagers have no other option besides getting the advantages from nature, they need to make money, support their family, and get their child to go to school. That is why we need more projects like the EVP that help to support community services and create more will educational activities and actions to make the citizens feel like they should help to preserve and care about our nature. Lastly, the conservation teams that we currently have isn’t enough, we need more teams to fight back the illegal activities that are happening every single day. If we do not put more effort and actions to sustain our nature, in the next few decades we will experience a larger negative impact on our forest that could result in more animal extinction. 

References:

“Elephant Conservation in Cambodia.” Fauna & Flora International, www.fauna-flora.org/projects/elephant-conservation-cambodia.

“Asian Elephant.” WWF, cambodia.panda.org/projects_and_reports/endangered_species/mammals/asian_elephant/.

“Direct Protection to Forests and Wildlife.” Wildlife Alliance, 27 July 2018, www.wildlifealliance.org/.

“Saving Wildlife Elephants.” WCS Cambodia, cambodia.wcs.org/Saving-Wildlife/Elephants.aspx.

The Altruistic Traveller. “Discussing the Importance of Cambodia’s Elephants– An Interview with the Lead Guide of the Mondulkiri Project.” The Altruistic Traveller, 9 Dec. 2016, thealtruistictraveller.com/blog/discussing-the-importance-of-cambodias-elephants-an-interview-with-the-lead-guide-of-the-mondulkiri-project.

“The Role of Elephants in Maintaining an Ecosystem.” Greentumble, 15 Mar. 2018, greentumble.com/the-role-of-elephants-in-maintaining-a-healthy-ecosystem/.

“Corridors Project off to a Great Start.” Save the Elephants, savetheelephants.org/about-elephants/importance-of-elephants.

“Asian Elephants In Peril | Earth Focus.” KCET, 1 Oct. 2018, www.kcet.org/shows/earth-focus/episodes/asian-elephants-in-peril.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4SETSsXkx0

“Asian Elephant | National Geographic.” A Guide to Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park, 21 Sept. 2018, www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/a/asian-elephant/.

First Chemistry Lab

Lab Report:

Title: What is the Metal type of the Malaysia 50 Sen Coin

by Mengthong Long

Introductory Chemistry

September 4, 2018

Abstract

The coins were introduced as a method of payment around the 6th or 5th century and from that time different countries tried to invent a different style of the coins for their currency. In the contemporary world, we still use the coin as our payment methods and those coins are made out of different metals types such as copper, aluminum, gold, silver, iron, nickel and many more. In this lab, it was set up for figuring out the Malaysia 50 Sen coin metal type. To do this, knowing the density of the coin was essential. So there were two main steps, first was to calculate the volume of the coin and then calculate the mass of the coin. Our results showed that the average density of the Malaysia 50 Sen coin was 7.9 g/ml and the coin was made out of a Gadolinium but compared to the actual data the coin was actually made out of a Brass Nickel.  

Introduction

Coins are very important and necessary for many countries for their payment system, they use the coins as money in everyday transactions and exchange. There are many styles of coins that are made out of different metals depending on their value and each country preference. The basic of the coins are usually disc-shaped with different sizes and designs.

The main purpose of this experiment was to figure out the Malaysia 50 Sen coin metal type. Before the experiment, the hypothesis was that the Malaysia 50 Sen coin was made out of an Aluminum since the mass of the coin was light so its density wouldn’t be that much either, therefore, Aluminum was the choice based on the mass and observation.

Materials and Methods

 

In the experiment, there were two main steps, first was to calculate the volume and the second was to calculate the mass of the coin. At first, grabbed the 100 ml graduated cylinder and fill it with 30 ml of water. For this step, make sure that the lower curved surface of the water was in the same level of 30 ml, not surface due to the design of the graduated cylinder at the bottom surface. After the water was on the mark, slowly placed the coin into the graduated cylinder then note down the total volume into the table data. Finally, repeat the same steps for three replications for precise data. Then clean up space, especially, tried to clean and dried the coin properly so that it wouldn’t affect the mass result. Next, get the coin and tried to place it on the center of the scale. Lastly, note down the mass into the table data and repeat this process for three replications.

Results

Table: Calculate the average density of the Malaysia 50 Sen coin

As a result, the density of the first, second, and third replications was 6.7 g/ml, 8.0 g/ml, and 8.9 g/ml respectively. The average density of the Malaysia 50 Sen coin was 7.9 g/ml and based on Engineers Edge Densities of Metals and Elements Table, the coin was made out of a Gadolinium metal type.  

Discussion

The result didn’t support the hypothesis, the hypothesis was that the Malaysia 50 Sen coin was made out a Gadolinium metal type but the result wasn’t correct either. According to Invest Silver Malaysia, the study showed that the Malaysia 50 Sen coin was actually made out of a Brass Nickel metal. There were a few errors during the process of the experiment. The biggest error was properly the step to observe and note down the accurate volume of the coin since the mark on the graduated cylinder was tiny and wasn’t clear. In addition, when the coin was placed into the cylinder the volume didn’t increase that much so it was a struggle to mark the accurate volume.

Reference

LLC. “Densities of Metals and Elements Table.” Engineers Edge, 30 Mar. 2017, www.engineersedge.com/materials/densities_of_metals_and_elements_table_13976.htm.

“10 Facts About Malaysia’s New 3rd Series Coins.” Invest Silver Malaysia, 23 Aug. 2011, investsilvermalaysia.com/10-facts-about-malaysias-new-3rd-series-coins/.