what time is it, my eyeballs are melting. (Chapter 6 Q&A)

19/10/2012 § Leave a comment

#2 A two parter question. Total: 25 marks, as always.

(a) What are positive externalities and how do they arise? Illustrate your answer with examples.

Positive externalities are the positive spillover effects that create benefits for the third parties (someone other than the consumer and the producer). There are two types of positive externalities – the positive externality of production and the positive externality of consumption. An example of a positive externality of production would be something like an R&D section in a company that can be used for another firm or company to help with their advances in whatever subject. The third party is the other company and they’re receiving the benefits of the product (the service and research done by the R&D department). The ideal example of a positive externality of consumption is education, education, education. There are so many likely advantages in the consumption of education (which is why the government continually encourages the consumption of education). When education is consumed, the students – the consumers – are able to positively affect society in the future. Society is the third party in this picture and a smarter generation (the students who consumed education) will be hugely advantageous for the economy and for society as a whole.

(b) To what extent should governments attempt to influence markets where positive externalities exist?

Governments should try to go all out when it comes to influencing markets where positive externalities exist. The problem about positive externalities is that they are underproduced and/or overpriced. Governments can stick their noses into these situations (with good intentions) by providing subsidies, publicly promoting and advertising the advantages and benefits of consuming certain goods (health foods, education, practice of environmentally friendly behavior, etc.), and making some legal changes that will encourage the use of goods with positive externalities. They should do this because, in the long-run, especially when we’re talking about education, society can only benefit from the spillovers of positive externalities.

the yellow-brick road to FBC

18/10/2012 § Leave a comment

Panoramic shot of FBC; centre store. Click to enlarge!

This is FBC, otherwise known as Foreign Buyer’s Club, a small international imported goods store. They do a lot of business with CA and they sell turkey to the Islanders during Thanksgiving. This is a short study of how the store works economically. Get ready for a huge pic-spam and let me take you through the whole store. (Also, that man in the panorama is lovely.) « Read the rest of this entry »

7.6b Enzymes

17/10/2012 § 1 Comment

On the pages of this chapter, there are these long ribbons with the letters “HL” tacked onto the very ends so that we know we’re learning HL material. Thanks, textbook, my head hadn’t noticed.

Activation energy

A reactant needs to gain energy in order to take part of a reaction. Activation energy is needed to break the bonds of the reactant, or the substrate. This energy is required to reach the transition state (prior to being converted into products) even if energy will be released when the substrate changes into the product. The energy released by the reaction isn’t changed by the enzyme but reactions with an enzyme have a more reduced rate of energy than reactions without an enzyme.

Induced fit VS Lock-and-key

Lock-and-key is so old school, guys. Let’s go up to that HL level we all know and love and talk INDUCED FIT. What actually happens with the proteins is that the substrate will approach the binding site and up ’til then, the binding site isn’t complete conformed to the substrate’s shape. The spa of the active site eventually changes as the substrate binds to it and eventually completely fits it. The enzyme then weakens the substrate’s bonds and reduces the activation energy and does the catalyses enzymes are so well known for. The induced fit model can explain better the way an enzyme can have a broad specificity – not just a few but a great many – of substrates it can bind to and catalyze.  « Read the rest of this entry »

3.6 & 7.6 Enzymes

16/10/2012 § 1 Comment

Okay, kids, it’s time to talk about enzymes.

Enzymes are globular proteins that act as catalysts of chemical reactions – they speed up the rate of chemical reactions without changing. Cells can make some enzymes and not others to control the chemical reactions occurring in their cytoplasm. Enzymes take substances and change them, making two products. These substances are called substrates and the process of a general enzyme-catalyzed reaction is as follows:

substrate –––> (enzyme!) –––> product

There are thousands of different kinds of cells purely because there are thousands of of different reactions that need to be catalyzed – and usually a single enzyme is specialized to only do one or few of those reactions. This is called enzyme-substrate specificity. The substrates bind themselves to a special region on the surface of the enzyme called the active site. The shape of the active site and substrate fit together; they match like a lock and key model, which is useful to explain the substrate specificity of enzymes. « Read the rest of this entry »

3.2 & 7.5 Proteins

15/10/2012 § Leave a comment

I’d just like everyone to know that I found another publishing mistake in the textbook – and this one’s a formatting error! Okay, that is all.

Proteins and their functions

There are two categories by which proteins differ – fibrous or globular. Fibrous proteins are elongated, narrow, tough, and more importantly, insoluble in water. Globular proteins are compact, rounded and more importantly soluble in water. As mentioned a while ago in a previous blog, proteins have numerous functions and some more include: food storage (like casein in milk), pigmentation (like opsin in the retina of our eyes), toxins (like snake venom!), hormones (e.g. insulin), and enzymatic activity.

Fibrous examples of proteins include collagen and myosin.

  • collagen‘s main functions are structural, which explains why plenty of collagen can be found in bone, tendons, and skin. Collagen fibers in the spaces between the tissue cells help strengthen the structure.
  • myosin‘s main function is movement, along with another protein called actin, and causes muscle fibers to contract in order for animals to move.

Globular examples of proteins include hemoglobin (notice the -globin in the name “hemoglobin”) and immunoglobulin (ditto).

  • hemoglobin is used for transport, and can bind to oxygen in the lungs and transport that oxygen to where it’s needed (like respiring tissues)
  • immunoglobulin is used for defense; they are antibodies, which are proteins that identify and neutralize foreign objects like bacteria and viruses.

« Read the rest of this entry »

bras and panties, no seriously (Chapter 5 Q&A + HL Exercise Qs)

12/10/2012 § 1 Comment

#35 Select a product and create a market supply and demand diagram.

a) Show the equilibrium price and quantity, and set a binding price ceiling.
b) Calculate the change in consumer expenditure/producer revenue.
c) Identify and calculate the government subsidy expenditure needed to eliminate the shortage.

#36 Select a product and create a market supply and demand diagram.

a) Show the equilibrium price and quantity, and set a binding price floor.
b) Calculate the change in consumer expenditure/producer revenue.
c) Identify and calculate the government expenditure needed to eliminate the surplus.

creds to my pa’s iPhone

#44 What is the effect of price controls on allocative efficiency?

Price controls either eliminate or exceed the allocative efficiency of a good. With price ceilings, the allocative efficiency is eliminated completely because society is not producing enough of the good. The price ceiling set up by the government is what decides the price of the good, not the collaborative price that both the suppliers and consumers have agreed upon [subconsciously through the market]. Because of this, there just aren’t enough goods that are being supplied into the market. With price floors, the allocative efficiency isn’t completely eradicated but is instead exceeded. Allocative efficiency is when (MB = MC) marginal benefits equal marginal costs but the price floor ensures that there will be a surplus in the supply of a certain good, meaning that the market exceeds allocative efficiency, which is when there is just enough supply to satisfy the demand. With a price floor, there’s just too much supply.

« Read the rest of this entry »

3.2 Organic Molecules

10/10/2012 § Leave a comment

Is it just me or are we zooming by this unit? Like, does anyone feel like they’re trapped in a state of vertigo after today’s lecture? And since when was I dropped back into Chemistry 101? Goodness.

I mentioned in the previous blog that a lot of living things are based off of the element of carbon. Usually, a molecule that has carbon in it is defined as organic but there are a few exceptions that are not categorized as organic, including CO, CO2, and HCO3-. The term “organic” used to link directly to “living” organisms but this is not the case – many inorganic substances are important to life, including the other three fundamental elements (nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen). Similarly, there are organic chemicals like plastics and petrol that are found in non-living things. So technically, “organic” can’t be completely synonymous with “living” and that’s totally fine – we’ll just have to remember all the exceptions.

Subunits of Organic Macromolecules

Organic compounds are made of large molecules called macromolecules that are long chains of repeating subunits, also known as monomers. Some macromolecules are: ribose and glucose (monosaccharides), fatty acids and amino acids. The two structures below are of glucose and of a fatty acid. « Read the rest of this entry »

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