Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Who Founded Facebook?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn about the origins of facebook, and how it has been allegedly misused.

The beginning of Facebook have been disputed from the moment 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg created the site in February 4, 2004. it was originally named, and was an instant success. However, 6 years later, the controversy which surrounds Facebook is still ongoing. A week after it was launched, Mark was accused by 3 Harvard seniors of stealing the idea off them.

This soon became a lawsuit, as a competing company created by these seniors sued Mark and Facebook for fraud and theft, beginning a legal battle which still rages even today.

New information uncovered suggests some of the complaints against Mark were infact valid. It also suggests that, on one occasion, Mark used private login data obtained from Facebook's servers to enter members' private email accounts, and read their emails, this is a gross misuse of information. Also, it suggests he hacked into the competing company's systems, and altered user information trying to make the site less useful.

The main dispute surrounding Facebook's origins was whether Mark entered into an agreement with the seniors, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra, to create a similar site for them, and then, stalled their project and taking their ideas to build his own site.

In 2007, Massachusetts Judge Douglas P. Woodlock said these allegations were paper thin. Referring to the agreement which Mark allegedly breached, Woodlock wrote also, that dorm room chat is not deemed an actual contract. A year later, the judge ruled against Facebook's move to dismiss, and later all parties agreed on a settlement.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Who Invented Billiards?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn about the history of billiards.

The history of billiards is surprisingly long, it is a game that was originally played by kings, then presidents, men and women, and even hustler. It has its roots in a lawn game quite similar to croquet played around the 15th century in Europe and France. However, it then most indoors to wooden tables that had green cloth to mimic grass, and a border was then installed around the edges. The balls back then were shoved, not struck, with wooden sticks referred to as maces. The word billiard is French, from the word billart, which was one of the wooden sticks, or bille, meaning a ball.

Most of the information regarding early billiards comes from royalty and other nobles. It was known as the Noble Game of Billiards since the 1800’s, however, there is evidence that individuals from all walks of life have played this game since its first began. In 1600, the game was familiar enough that Shakespeare made a mention of it in Anthony and Cleopatra.

The cue was created in the late 1600’s, when the ball came close to the rail, the mace was not convenient to use, due to the size of its head. In these such cases, players would simply turn the mace around and use the other way to hit the ball. This was called a queue, which means tail, this is where the word originated from. For a long time men were the only ones permitted to use the cue, women had to use the mace in case they tore their clothes with the shaper cue.

Tables originally came with flat walls for rails, and their only job was to ensure the balls did not roll off. They looked similar to river banks, and used to be referred to as banks. Players found out the balls could be bounced off the rails, and started to deliberately aim at them. Thus the bank shot was born, is when the ball rebounds from a cushion as part of a shot.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

What Is Tuberculosis?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn about TB.

Tuberculosis, also referred to as TB, is a bacterial infection which spreads through the lymph nodes and bloodstream to organs within a persons body. It is mostly seen in the lungs. Many people that are exposed to TB don't develop symptoms, due to the fact the bacteria will sleep within a persons body. However, should the immune system weaken, as with the case with individuals suffering from HIV or the elderly, TB bacteria can wake up. In its waking state, TB bacteria will cause the death of healthy tissue of the organs they infect. Active TB is deadly should it be left untreated.

Because the bacteria which causes tuberculosis is airborne, this disease can be highly contagious. Infection is occur should a person be exposed to someone that has TB on a daily basis, like living or working with someone in close quarters who has this active disease. Even then, the bacteria usually stay inert, or inactive after it has invaded a body, and only a small amount of people that are infected with TB will ever have the disease active. The remaining few will have what's known as a latent TB infection, this means they show no symptoms of infection, and will not be able to spread the disease, unless theirs becomes active.

However, because these dormant infections can become active, even people that show no signs of any symptoms should get medical attention. Medication will get rid of any inactive bacteria before they wake up.

TB was once an extremely virulent and widespread disease. It was however, nearly wiped out with antibiotics that were developed in 1950, however, the disease has reared its ugly head again in new and more potent forms, multi drug-resistant TB and extensively drug-resistant TB. Today, these new and dangerous forms of the disease -- resistant to some of the commonly used drug treatments, have made a public health crisis in several large cities around the world. Should you have TB, whether in its active or dormant form, seek medical treatment immediately. 

Monday, 15 December 2014

What Causes A Tsunami?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to find out what causes a Tsunami.

Tsunami are massage waves that are created by sudden movement of the ocean, mostly because of such things as landslides and earthquakes on the sea floor, land being dumped into the ocean, and volcanic eruptions or meteorite impacts.

Most tsunami are created by earthquakes on the sea floor, when rocks move past one another suddenly, causing the water to move. The resulting waves are pushed away from the earthquake event.

Underwater landslides and terrestrial land that falls into the ocean can cause a tsunami.

Volcanic eruptions
Less common are tsunami as a direct cause of an volcanic eruption. These happen in different ways.

1. The collapse of coastal, island and underwater volcanoes.
2. Pyroclastic flows, these are hot blocks, pumice, ash and gas, running down volcanic slopes straight into the ocean and subsequently pushing the water outwards.
3. A caldera volcano that collapses after an eruption, which causing overlying water to suddenly drop.

What are tsunamis?
The phrase tsunami, is the Japanese word tsu, which means harbour, and nami, meaning wave. A tsunami are massive waves caused by underwater disturbances, usually in connection with earthquakes which happen beneath or near an ocean. Volcanic eruptions, landslides, and rock falls will also create tsunamis, as will an asteroid hitting the ocean. They begin from vertical movement on the sea floor, with the resulting displacement of a water mass.

In deep oceans, waves have been documented to travel at around 800 km/h, and are only a few centimetres high. In the ocean, waves are created by the wind, and can be noted by their amplitude, this is the height of the wave, and wavelength, this is the distance from crest to crest. 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Myth Or Fact Cockroaches Will Survive A Nuclear Blast?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to see if it is true and cockroaches will be the only living thing left standing after a nuclear blast?

Myth - Cockroaches can survive a nuclear fallout?
Most of us have heard the saying, the only things to survive a nuclear war would be cockroaches. However, this is not strictly true. It has even be said cockroaches could survive ground zero radiation after a nuclear explosion, though needless to say, not the actual explosion they were next to it, all assuming of course they weren’t inside a lead lined fridge, then of course they could survive.

In any case, the latest research shows that, even though cockroaches are capable of withstanding ionizing radiation bursts around 10 times more than humans, they are in fact light weights within this arena. In fact, it would only takes around 1,000 rads to interfere with their ability to reproduce, which of course lead to the end of cockroaches, should they be exposed to this level. For reference, this is around the same level of radiation at 15 miles away Hiroshima straight after the bomb exploded, this bomb was a 15 kiloton weapon, which is nothing compared to the megaton bombs which are found in nuclear stockpiles today.

Further more, at levels of only 6400 rads, approximately 95% of pubescent cockroaches will die and at 10,000 rads, and most adult ones will not survive also. While this impressive by human standards, as we are only able to withstand 400 to 1000 rads before dying, it’s very unimpressive by insect standards, as most will survive higher rates than cockroaches, so says the United Nations Scientific Committee, who, when they aren’t taking forever to say their name, apparently get immense enjoy from zapping living things with ionizing radiation. 

Monday, 8 December 2014

What Does Too Much Alcohol Do To A Body?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to find out what the effects are of alcoholism. Drinking too much – on a single occasion or over time – can take a serious toll on your health.  Here’s how alcohol can affect your body:

Alcohol plays tricks with your brain’s communication pathways, and will affect the way the a person behaves. These disruptions will affect moods and behaviour, and will make it more difficult to think clearly and movement is uncoordinated.

Drinking over a long period of time, or too much on one occasion will severely damage a persons heart, creating issues such as.
Cardiomyopathy, which is the stretching and drooping of the heart muscle
Arrhythmias, which is an irregular heart beat
Elevated blood pressure 

Research has shown that drinking in moderation will protect healthy adults from having coronary heart disease.

Heavy drinking will eventually take its toll on a persons liver, and will cause various problems and inflammations such as.

Steatosis, or better known as fatty liver
Alcoholic hepatitis

Alcohol will cause a persons pancreas to start to produce toxic substances, which will eventually lead to pancreatitis, this is a dangerous inflammation and swelling of blood vessels found within the pancreas, thus preventing digestion properly.

Drinking too much will increase a persons chances of developing cancer, such as cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, breast, esophagus, and breasts.

Immunity System
Drinking will weaken a persons immune system, thus making your body an easier target for disease. Severe drinkers are more open to diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis. Drinking too much on one occasion reduces your body’s ability to stave off infections, even 24 hours after being drunk.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

What is Coulrophobia?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to find out about peoples irrational fear of clowns.

Coulrophobia, or the fear of clowns, is quite common. An Internet search showed 16,000 hits. There are websites which are dedicated to this subject, where coulrophobes get to share their views. Clowns are common, especially Halloween events, like Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights, that feature killer clowns as their icon for many years. So clearly, this fear is very real.

However, little scientific research has been done on this subject, so it is hard to say exactly how many people actually suffer from this fear. But, no January 2008 a report done by the BBC News stated that a clown phobia could be more ingrained than was previously thought.

Why as a society, we are afraid of clowns? In a 2004 an article by Trinity University, Joseph Durwin stated there were two accepted schools of thought. One being the fear is due to a bad personal experience with clowns at a young age. The second, is mass media has fabricated so much hype about evil clowns, that even children who are not normally exposed to clowns are brainwashed into disliking and even fearing them. But, neither of these thoughts are really satisfactory.

The History of Clowns
Durwin has provided an impressive history on clowns, stretching as far back as to the jester of ancient times. Back then, clowns were given permission, and even expected, to show the more deviant side of human nature, from defying the sexual norms, to mocking the gods at the time. As time passed, jesters changed into tricksters, who were said to a more sinister figure, that had less than honourable intentions.

The modern day circus clown is a different version of a tramp from the Depression era. Tramp clowns were members of the underbelly of unsavoury classes, that entertained more privileged people with a caricatured look at on daily life. Although tramp clowns were thought to be quite harmless, a seedy underbelly did exist in the clown circuit.

Monday, 1 December 2014

What Is The Connection Between Earthquakes And Gold Veins?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn about the connection between earthquakes and gold formations.

Scientists have known for some time that reams of gold were created by mineral deposits emanating from hot fluids which seeped through cracks in Earth’s crust. However, a study in Nature Geoscience1 found this process could happen nearly instantaneously, maybe as fast as a few tenths of a second.

This process happens along fault jogs, which as sideways zigzagged cracks which connect main fault lines in rock, so says author Dion Weatherley, who is a seismologist in the University of Queensland, Australia.

When earthquakes happen, the sides of these fault lines slide along the direction of a fault, thus rubbing against one another. However, the fault jogs just open. Weatherley and geochemist Richard Henley who is his co-author, contemplated what happened to fluids which circulated through these jogs when an earthquake happened.

What their calculations showed was surprising, a fast depressurization which sees normal high-pressure conditions, drop to pressures close to the surface.

Gradually, more fluid spews out of the rocks surrounding the gap, thus restoring the original pressure. However, this doesn’t happen immediately, and in the meantime a single earthquake will produce an instant vein of gold.

Obviously, the bigger the earthquake, the bigger the gold-vein formation. More interestingly, Weatherley and Henley discovered that even smaller earthquakes will create surprisingly large pressure drops on the fault jogs.

So there you have it folks, now we know how veins of gold are created, however, to find those that have several veins, will take many many years to create. 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

What Causes Leprosy And Can It Be Cured?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to talk about an ancient disease which surprisingly is still around even today.

Leprosy is a highly infectious disease which causes severe disfiguring sores, in addition to damage to nerves, arms and legs. This disease has been around for decades, often surrounded by negative stigmas and tales of people getting shunned as outcasts. Outbreaks of leprosy have been heard about on every continent. The oldest civilizations in China, Egypt, and India greatly fear leprosy as an incurable, mutilating, and highly contagious disease.

But, contrary to popular belief, leprosy is not actually that contagious. You will only catch it if you come into close and regular contact with nose and mouth droplets by an individual that has untreated leprosy. Children are more likely to get this over adults.

Even today, approximately 180,000 people around the world have leprosy, states the World Health Organization, an mostly within Africa and Asia. Around 200 people are diagnosed within the U.S. yearly, mostly in California, Hawaii.

What is the Cause of Leprosy?
Leprosy is created by a type of bacteria known as Mycobacterium leprae. It is also referred to as Hansen's disease, after the scientist who first discovered it in 1873.

What Are the Symptoms?
Leprosy mainly affects the skin and nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. It can also hit the eyes and tissue on the inside of the nose.

The main symptom is disfiguring sores, lumps, and bumps which will not go away even after many weeks or months. These are pale in color.

Monday, 24 November 2014

When Will There Be A Cure For Aids?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to find out more regarding the lethal disease aids.

Researchers are still hopeful they're going in the right direction to locating a cure for HIV and AIDS. Two babies that were treated when they were infants for HIV lived for several years without developing any symptoms of the virus. However, one is now positive for HIV again. However, the treatments held back the virus for a short while, and this can lead to changes with treatments for individuals only recently infected.

Where HIV is found
Usually, babies who could be HIV positive receive medication to stop the virus. Only when the two tests show positive are they then changed to drugs which treat HIV. By this time, an infant could be over 2 weeks old.

However, at times doctors use a different approach. An infant from Mississippi was given treatment just 30 hours after it was born, and another baby was treated when it was 4 hours old.

The second baby is still HIV-negative after nearly a year. The Mississippi one tested was HIV free for over 2 years, however, is now HIV positive once again. The baby's mother stopped giving the baby medication when it was 18 months old. Scientists thought that giving strong medications after birth would remove the HIV gene within the baby's body, or stop it from forming.

Having HIV is the same as AIDS
HIV is a virus which destroys a body's CD4 immune cells, these help fight against disease. With the proper medications, a person can have HIV for years without it progressing to full blown AIDS.

It is not possible to catch or spread HIV simply by hugging someone, sharing a towel, or the same glass. It's extremely rare to contract HIV from a blood transfusion, the U.S. blood supply carefully tests against this. But, you can spread the disease by having sex unprotected, sharing needles, or having a tattoo using unsterilised equipment.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Are Oysters Really An Aphrodisiac?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to find out if oysters really are a turn on.

Ever since Casanova spilled his secrets of seductive prowess over 200 years ago, lovers have consumed vast amounts of oysters in hopes of imitating the infamous lothario.
However, is there any scientific proof that eating oysters raises a person libido?

Despite ongoing news reports stating the contrary, right now there is very little evidence to proof oysters can spark desire.

Oysters are very high in zinc, this is very important to raising testosterone levels within men, even though it's highly unlikely any testosterone-raising is immediate. However oysters contain different levels of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter which stimulates the arousal part of a persons brain, this governs amongst other things, arousal, and this action may feasibly happen straight away.

When a person eats oysters, they actually increase the level of a certain chemical within our body. So there is the potential for men, that eating oysters will aid with sexual arousal. Perhaps when eaten in the the same amounts as Casanova, which was up to five dozen per day, there would be an effect.

Other aphrodisiacs
However, the real story behind certain foods which are famed for lifting libidos is much more complex. There are various factors which may contribute to a food's aphrodisiac potential. It's not only jut the food in itself, it is also the texture, shape, taste, and smell, in addition to the way it is eaten.

In these cases, parsley and truffles are effective for women who are looking for an aphrodisiac. These have an aroma which is similar to androsterone, a pheromone which is responsible for men's musky body smell, and is thought to influence a females desire.

The smell of ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper are also thought to stimulate the arousal sections within the brain, and garlic's anti-clotting attributes also affect libido by increasing the blood flow to the brain and organs.

More well known is the smooth texture of chocolate's in the mouth, combined with the effects of cocoa's serotonin, tryptophan, has long been said to be a reputed aphrodisiac.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Is There A Cure For Asthma?

Welcome back my fellow learners. Today we are going to find out if there is a natural cure for asthma.

With all the new methods regarding alternative medicine and natural remedies, some wonder if there’s one for asthma. Sadly, right at this moment there are no cure for asthma. In fact, it’s recommended that people suffering from it stay clear from any treatment or product, in material if it is natural or not.

Do Natural Remedies Help Manage Asthma?
Some natural therapies could help manage the symptoms of asthma. For example, a negative response to stress will bring on an asthma attack. Many natural relaxation techniques such as deep abdominal breathing, muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and biofeedback all can help reduce stress.

Others suggest diet does play a big role with alleviating asthma symptoms. For instance, it’s said that an omega 3 fatty acids which are found in fish like salmon, mackerel, or cod allow a persons body to create more enzymes which reduce inflammation. Whether this is beneficial to people that suffer with asthma still has to be proved.

Disadvantages and Advantages of Natural Asthma Remedies
When you begin to consider the different kinds of natural asthma remedies that are available today, it’s important to balance your desire to breathe, with the possible hazards of any such treatments, which could not be known. Never use a natural dietary supplement without first checking it out with your doctor, or asthma specialist. Some products, like bee pollen, could very well trigger an asthma attack, should you find you are allergic to that plant. Plus, never stop using your asthma medicine without first informing your doctor. The result of not adhering to your doctors advise with treating your asthma can be deadly.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

What Will Happen When The Oil Runs Dry

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn what happens when oil resources run dry.

What will happen when we eventually run out of oil?

This is the big question, that is brought up daily in newspapers, and was raised recently by Gary Mason from the Mail and Globe. He stated that “should you believe that today's economy is structured in a way it needs to grow to be able to survive, then it could take an endless supply of energy in order to feed it, he carries on with, “how, will an economy continue to grow if the one thing it requires more than anything to survive is contracting with time?” Statements such as this, represent a misunderstanding of resource economics, growth and energy intensity of the today's economy.

Will we actually run out of oil? Surely it cannot be that simple, however, the plain fact is, it is that simple.

People can only pay for a barrel of oil so long as it performs valuable work, and as long as that work is not done more cost effectively using an alternative source of energy. The price is capped, not just by a product’s usefulness, but by its costs of alternative ones. There are always going to be barrels of oil that are simply too deep to extract, or never discovered because it’s not worth checking areas which are too expensive to develop given the current market for oil.

However, right now the boffins are experimenting with alternative fuel sources, which the hierarchy are back burning. And why is that I hear you ask, well the answer is as old as time itself, MONEY. Should people begin to use an alternative fuel source, the oil profiteers will stand to lose millions. So it is more cost effective for them to actually buy a persons invention and mothball it, than bring it to fruition. 

Monday, 10 November 2014

Are Fog And Clouds Made Up Of The Same Material?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to find out the differences between fog and clouds.

Both fog and clouds are created when water vapour condenses or to form minute droplets or crystals within the air. So why I hear you ask, are they so different? Well read on, and you will find the answer to your question.

Fog can only be created at low altitudes.
Clouds on the other hand can be created at any altitude. They can be seen as high as 12 miles rising above the sea level, or even as low as the ground. Fog is a type of cloud which creeps along the ground. Fog is formed when air close to the ground gets cool enough to turn to water vapour.

There are various different kinds of fog, also. Ice fog is created when air close to the ground gets cold enough to turn water in fog into ice. Ice fog is formed at extremely cold temperatures. And is a common sight in the likes of Canada and Alaska.

Another type of fog is the freezing kind. Ice crystals are formed within the air when it gets cold enough, and particles such as smoke or dust within the air provide a type of seed for the crystals to be formed around. Sometimes it can get cold enough, however, the air has no particles in it. With this case, water within the air get supercooled. This supercooled water is in liquid form, however, it is colder than freezing point. When it comes into direct contact with other cold surfaces like sidewalks or roads, it immediately forms a hazardous icy top layer.

One of the worse types of fog is known as super fog. This is created when smoke being emitted from wildfires and water vapour clash to form a very dense fog. The smoke offers particles for water vapour to condense around. This combination is extremely dangerous. A super fog is so thick that a person cannot even see their own hand when placed in front of their face. Super fog create extreme driving conditions, so it is advisable to stay off the roads when this occurs.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The History Of Super Glue

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to separate fact from fiction regarding why super glue was invented, and for what.

Super Glue, also referred to as cyanoacrylate, was discovered by Dr. Harry Coover in 1942, who sadly passed away on March 26th, 2011. Harry was trying to create clear plastic gun sights to be used on guns by Allied soldiers in World War 2. One formulation he created didn’t work for gun sights, but worked as an quick bonding adhesive. Surprisingly, despite the potential of this product, Harry abandoned this completely, as it wasn’t suitable for his current project

Nine years passed, Harry now working at Eastman Kodak in 1951, was the supervisor of a project developing heat resistant acrylate polymer for canopies for jet. Fred Joyner was also on that project, and used the rediscovered Super Glue, and tested it by spreading ethyl cyanoacrylate in between 2 refractometer prisms. To his amazement, the prisms became stuck together. This time, Harry ran with his once abandoned project, and he realized the potential of such a product which quickly bonded various materials, and only required very little water to activate.

Super Glue was put on the market in 1958 by Eastman Kodak, and was then known as Eastman 910, however, they re-named it later as super glue. Eastman 910 was eventually licensed to Loctite, who in turn re-branded it to Loctite Quick Set 404. Although, at a later date they developed their own formula, naming it Super Bonder. By the time the 70s round around, several manufactures of cyanoacrylate glue had cropped up.

Now, to put to bed the urban legend that super glue was originally invented accidentally by soldiers in World War 2, who subsequently started using it to close battle wounds. This is completely false, it was discovered as stated above, and didn’t hit the market until after the war was over.

However, according to Dr. Harry Coover, Super Glue was actually used in the Vietnam to help seal wounds while soldiers were being taken to hospital.

Monday, 3 November 2014

How A Cat Sees The World

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn about how a cats eye works.

No one ever makes the statement about what the world would look like should you be a cat. Instead, we talk about a bird’s-eye view, and make use of fish-eye lenses to distort the way things look. However, we rarely think about how the Internet’s favourite animal sees the world the live in.

To begin with, a cats’ visual field is much wider than ours, spanning approximately 200 degrees instead of 180, and their visual acuity isn’t great. So, things people will see sharply, resolve at distances of 100-200 feet appear blurred to cats, which will see these objects at distances of 20 feet. That might not sound great, however, there’s always a trade-off.

Due to the various photoreceptors within a cats’ retina, they leave us standing when it comes to seeing clearly in dim light. Instead of the colour-resolving, and detail cone cells which are found in the center of a persons retinas, cats come with several more rod cells, these excel in dim light, and are responsible for a felines excellent night vision. The rod cells refresh quicker, this permits cats to see rapid movements, such as the rapidly shifting path a laser dot may trace.

Finally, cats see colours far differently than us, which is why cat versions of what we see are less vibrant than ours. Scientists originally though cats were dichromats, only able to see in two colour spectrum's, however, this is proved not to be the case. While a cats photoreceptors are sensitive to wavelengths found within the blue violet and green yellow ranges, it seems that they could also see some green also. In layman's terms, cats are nearly red and green colour blind, as are most of us.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Why We Should All Have Solar Panels

Welcome back my fellow learners. Today we are going to learn about solar panels and why they should be the wave of the future.

Every hour our sun shines down onto Mother Earth, more than enough energy is provided to meet global energy requirements for the whole entire year. Solar energy is technology which harness the sun's rays, and make it more user friendly. Today, this technology provides less than a tenth of one percent of the entire global energy demand.

Most people are familiar with photovoltaic cells, or solar panels. As they are usually seen on such things as rooftops, spacecraft, and even calculators. The cells are created from a semiconductor material similar to those in computer chips. When direct sunlight hits the cells, it knocks off electrons from their atoms. As these go through the cell, they in turn produce electricity.

On a larger scales, solar thermal power plants use numerous methods to harness the sun's energy as a source of heat. This is used to boil water to power steam turbines which produces electricity in a similar fashion as coal and nuclear power plants.

With one method, troughs of U-shaped mirrors point sunlight onto a pipe of oil which runs through the center. This then boils water to produce electricity. Another way uses mirrors to point the sun's rays to a collector tower, where a receiver stands. Molten salt which flows through this is heated to power a generator.

Other methods are static. For instance, large windows installed on the sunny side of a structure allow sunlight to heat materials on floors and walls. These then release the heat in the night to ensure a building is kept warm. Similarly, plates on a roof will heat liquid found in tubes which supply hot water to a house.

Solar energy is an inexhaustible fuel source, which is pollution and mainly noise free. The technology is extremely versatile. For instance, solar cells produce energy for the likes of satellites orbiting the Earth, and cabins located deep within the mountains, as easily as they power buildings and cars.

Monday, 27 October 2014

What Is The Cause Of Tornadoes And Hurricanes?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn about how mother nature creates tornadoes and hurricane's.

A tornado is a fast spinning pocket of air which comes from thunderstorms, and begins from the ground. The makings of a tornado is mainly a thunderstorm, changing speeds in the wind and fast air rising. Should you watch a thunderstorm start, you will see the clouds start to build upward. This rising air causes the rain and hail to be formed out of the water within the air. Throw in rapidly changing wind speed, and the direction with the height creates the rapidly rising air to start to spin. The principle is the same with a toy spinning top. You use your fingers to spin it in opposing directions enabling the top to spin. This is similar to the wind which comes from different directions. Many thunderstorms do not create tornadoes due to the fact the spin cannot be balanced with the rising air from the surface. However, when the balance is right between rising air which comes into a thunderstorm, and the winds change height, then a tornado will be created. Tornadoes come in different categories, can can last a few seconds to several minutes.

A hurricane is a large thunderstorm which starts over the ocean. The mixture of warm ocean water, level winds, and low pressure will create one. The warm ocean will supply the moisture needed for a hurricane. The upper levels winds permit the developing hurricane to be cohesive, and the low pressure lets thunderstorms develop. As they develop, they are influenced over several hours and days by the rotation of the earth. This allows thunderstorms to begin developing into a circulation where they spin round a central point, this is referred to as the eye. Should the circulation stay over warm water, and upper level winds remain weak, then hurricane's winds will get stronger. The hurricane should begin to weaken once it hits land, over water which is too cold to maintain it, or should the upper level winds be strong enough to begin breaking the circulation. 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The History Of Photography

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn about the history of photography.

The word photography is taken from the Greek words photos which means light, and graphein which means to draw. The word was used first by Sir John F W Herschel who was a scientist in the year 1839. It is a technique of capturing images by light, or radiation on sensitive materials.

Alhazen, an authority on optics sometime around 1000AD, first invented the pinhole camera, also referred to a the camera obscura, and could explain why images were actually upside down. The first reference to this was observed and recorded by Aristotle around 330 BC, who asked why the sun made a circular image when it seen through a square hole.

The First Photograph
One summer day in 1827, Joseph Niepce made the first ever photographic image using a camera obscura. Before Niepce individuals mainly used this camera for viewing or drawing, and not for photographs. Niepce's heliographs were a prototype for modern photographs, by allowing light to draw the picture.

Niepce put an engraving on a metal plate which was coated in bitumen, and exposed it to the light. The shadowy parts of the engraving blocked out the light, however, the whiter areas allowed the light to react with chemicals that were on the plate. When he put the metal plate into a chemical solvent, slowly an image began to appear. But, Niepce's photograph needed 8 hours of exposure to make this appear.

Louis Daguerre
Louis Daguerre was also trying to find a way to capture images, however, it would take him another 12 or more years before he could decrease exposure time to under 30 minutes, plus stop the image disappearing later. He was the inventor of the first process of photography. In 1829, he created a partnership with Niepce to improve on the process Niepce developed.

Monday, 20 October 2014

The History Of Tattoos

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn about tattoos and their origins.

The phrase tattoo comes from two derivations, one which is taken from the Polynesian word ‘ta’, this means to strike something, and the Tahitian word ‘tatau’, which means marking something’.

The history of tattoos started over 5000 years ago, and is as complex as the people that indulge in them.

Tattoos are made by inserting ink beneath our skins surface. The first tattoos were probably done purely by accident. A person that had a minor wound, and then rubbed it
with a hand which are full of soot and ashes from a fire. After the wound healed, they noticed they had a mark with was permanent.

Despite societies ever growing fascination with tattoos, not to mention the popularity of them, the art of tattoos has not left much of a historical footprint.

Bronze Age
In 1991, a tattooed ice man referred to a Otzi, who was five thousand years old, made the headlines worldwide when his frozen corpse was found on a mountain which sits between Austria and Italy. This was the best preserved corpse ever found of that period. The skin has 57 tattoos, which are a cross on the left knee inside, six straight lines above the kidneys, and several parallel lines on his ankles. The position of them suggests they were applied purely for therapeutic reasons, such as arthritis.

In 1948, 120 miles between Russia and China, a Russian archaeologist, known as Sergei Rudenko started to dig at a group of tombs, high in the Altai mountains of southern and western Siberia. Mummies were discovered which date around 2400 years ago. The tattoos found on their bodies show various animals. The griffins and monsters are said to have some magical significance, but some are said to be purely for decoration. Altogether, these tattoos are thought to reflect the status of a person.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The Evolution Of The Denim Jean

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn all about a material that stretches back to the cowboy and Indian era.

Did you know every time you wear your jeans, you are actually wearing a piece of history?
While there is some controversy on which came first, the denim or jeans, as technically they aren’t the same, they are linked with a European background dating back to the 1700’s. In France and England, denim was getting more popular as a fabric, due to the fact is was comfortable and very durable, whilst in Italy jeans was getting manufactured into topcoats and trousers for working men.

Levis Strauss in 1872, who at the time was a dry goods salesman, was approached by tailor called Jacob Davis, he was one of the first to use rivets to improve the strength of pants. Davis did not have enough money to patent his rivet idea, and so spoke to Levi to provide the money to pay for the patent application. Levi, being a savvy businessman, decided to became partners with Davis, and so in 1873 they received a patent for an improvement in fastening pocket openings.

At once the coal miners based in California took these as their unofficial uniform, due to the fact they withstood the stress and rigours of life in the mines.

Even though overalls were made with jeans, Levi and Davis decided to make their pants out of denim for extra comfort and durability. By the time 1920 rolled around, Levi' waist overalls were the number one product in working men's pants in the states, and despite the fact they were now made with denim, they were still known as jean pants.

By the 1930s, real cowboys had also adopted this nearly indestructible pant. The rise in Western movies introduced the public to jeans, and soon everyone wanted to imitate their on screen idols and buy a pair. 

Monday, 13 October 2014

What Is The Rarest Diamond In The World?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn why diamonds are indeed a girls best friend.

An extremely rare blue diamond which could command of price of well over £10 million when sold, and also break the world record for clarity, has been found inside a mine in South Africa.

The diamond, which was discovered in the famous Cullinan mine, which is around 25 miles from Pretoria, will be sold at auction very soon, however, the owners of the mine, which are Petra Diamonds, have no clue how much it will be worth until an interested party emerges, they say it will all depend on what people will be prepared to pay for this beauty.

Even though the diamond still requires further forensic testing, the company which discovered it think they have found a rare gem indeed.

A blue diamond is one of the rarest ones in the world, and are only 0.1% of all diamonds discovered each year. Petra Diamonds to this day has only succeeded in finding four blue diamonds since they took over the Cullinan mine.

The price of a diamond is usually decided upon three factors, how flawless it is, its colour, and how rare it is.

While this latest one still calls for more investigation, it has already been declared quite big, and extremely exceptional.

The stone is a vivid blue having an extraordinary saturation, clarity and tone. With the potential to offer a polished stone of high value and great importance. This blue diamond could well break records.

When someone eventually purchases this diamond, they will cut and polish it, meaning it loses one third and half of its total mass, all depending upon the actual quality.

Found in the foothills of the Magaliesberg mountains, the Cullinan mine is 37 miles north-east of Pretoria.

This particular mine has a long history of discovering blue diamonds, however, its usual yield are small white diamonds.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Is There Another Planet Earth Out There?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn about a possible other planet Earth, which will be yet another thing mankind can exploit the shit out of.

Right now, over 500 light years away from here, is another planet which is similar to ours. It has a slight orange tinge, which at noon is only as bright as the hour before sunset.

NASA scientists are referring to this planet as Kepler-186f, and it's unlike anything they have seen before. The surprising news is that Kepler-186f is the closest thing to the Earth which the big brains have discovered.

It's the first planet within the habitable zone of a star, the spot between Mercury planets and Neptune, and has given scientists their first opportunity to look for life elsewhere in our galaxy. This is no longer the realm of science fiction, says a researcher from the SETI Institute.

However, should there be life on Kepler-186f, it may not be anything like we have here. Due to the redder wavelengths of light, vegetation there would come in hues of yellow and orange not our lush and succulent green.

It's more like Earth's cousin than its twin, states a NASA researcher that spoke about their findings whilst in a conference call with reporters.

For years, the big brains have searched for signs of life by searching space for patterns which could be imprints of technology, or clues which would show a living planet.

Kepler-186f is approximately 10% bigger than Earth, and orbits a sun which is cooler, dimmer, and half the size of ours. The gravitational effects would be more apparent there, and a person would feel heavier.

Our cousin comes with none of the problems which reduce the likelihood of life on other planets similar to Earth. Some are much to cold, too big, contain to much gas, or have gravitation issues. By far, Kepler-186f seems to be a Goldilocks syndrome, not too big, or too far from a star, possibly just right.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Uranus's History

Welcome back my fellow learners, this will be my last instalment on planets in our solar system, much to the relief of some I am sure!

Uranus, which was named after Ouranos the Greek sky god, who was the earliest of the god in the heavens, was one of the first planets that was found by scientists.

Even though Uranus can be seen by the naked eye, just the same as the other planets, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn, it was originally mistaken as a star, this was due to the fact this planet has a very slow orbit and is extremely dim. English astronomer William Herschel found Uranus completely by accident in 1781 on the 13th March, using his telescope whilst surveying the stars. However, one star looked somehow different, and inside a year Uranus was known to have a planetary orbit.

Physical Characteristics of Uranus
Uranus colour is quite extraordinary, being a blue green colour, this is due to the methane in its hydrogen-helium atmosphere. This planet often referred to a the ice giant, due to 80% of its mass is made from a mix of water, ammonia and methane ices.

Unlike other planets in our solar system, Uranus is tilted so much that it basically orbits the sun whilst on side, with the axis nearly pointing at the star. This unusual orbit may be due to a collision soon after it was created.

This tilt means Uranus have severe seasons, which can be up to 20 years long, meaning for nearly a quarter of a Uranian year, which is 84 Earth years, the sun shines over each pole, leaving the rest of the planet to live with a long, cold and dark winter.

A planet's magnetic poles are usually a lined with the poles, which it rotates on, however, Uranus' is tilted, with its axis tipped nearly 60 degrees from its axis of rotation. This creates a strange lopsided magnetic field, with the strength of the field found at its northern hemisphere's, being more than 10 times the strength at the southern hemisphere's surface.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

How Many Habitable Planets Are Their In Our Solar System?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we learn that there could be hope for our future generations once we have exhausted Mother Earth natural resources.

For people that are not familiar with the Drake equation, this method is used to predict how many civilizations could exist in the known universe today.

Unfortunately, the Drake equation doesn't actually give us a definitive answer; it just states what could be possible should we get all the factors right. And while it is fun to imagine that we may eventually locate a planet that is populated with individuals comprised of putty instead of carbon, it's highly unlikely. Instead, we need to define the parameters on Earth to see which other planet is the same.

The requirements are quite straightforward. First, we need water. Water dissolves and carries chemicals, causing crucial metabolic results. We need also energy to create and keep life, so light or chemical energy have to be found. Nutrients are needed to build and help sustain life. A planet that has a water cycle, a breathable atmosphere or volcanic activity will circulate and replenish life. So it would seem the chances are minute that we'll locate another planet which supports life in our solar system. These are after all pretty specific requirements.

However, I find our arrogance and ignorance astounding, to think that in a galaxy as vast as we know it, does not contain any life what so ever. Who is to say that the life found present on other planets has to be the same as ours? And there are parts of our galaxy which are as yet to be discovered, and then there is the continued rumours of UFO sightings, granted many of which are fake, but rumours and legends always have a grain of truth in them somewhere.

My personal opinion is that there is life out there, just not as we envisage it. And hopefully should they ever decide to introduce themselves, we as a human race don't do what we always do, shoot first and ask questions later.

Monday, 29 September 2014

What Is Makes Up The Planet Saturn?

Welcome back my fellow learners, as promised more information on our solar system, and the planets within it.

Saturn is sixth from the sun, and the second biggest planet in the entire solar system. Even though the other giants found in our solar system, which are Uranus, Jupiter, and Neptune also possess rings, Saturn is without a doubt the most beautiful.

Saturn is Roman name for Cronus, who in Greek mythology was lord of the Titans. Saturn is also where the English word Saturday is derived from.

Characteristics of Saturn
Saturn is comprises mostly of helium and hydrogen. It is large enough to house more than 760 of our plant Earth, and is bigger than any planet with the exception of Jupiter, it is approximately 95 times of our Earth's mass. But, Saturn has the lowest density of every planet, and is the only planet less dense than water, if it were to be placed in a massive body of water, Saturn would actually float.

Saturn is farthest from Earth, and can actually be seen by the naked eye. The yellow and gold bars visible in its atmosphere are due to the fast winds found in the upper atmosphere, these winds sometimes reach 1,100 mph, mixed with rising heat emitted from the planet's interior.

With the exception of Jupiter, Saturn spins more than any other planet, finishing a rotation every 10 to 11 hours. This spinning makes Saturn bulge at its equator, and flatten at the poles, it is 8,000 miles wider from its equator than between the 2 poles.

Saturn's recent curiosity is the giant hexagon around its north pole, with each side almost 7,500 miles wide, this is large enough to fit 4 of our planet earth inside. Thermal images prove that it reaches around 60 miles into the planet's atmosphere. It still remains uncertain what makes this occur.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Welcome back my fellow learners, I plan to produce a series of blogs on our solar system, so stay tuned.

Jupiter is the fourth brightest planet in our solar system, only the Sun, Venus and Moon are brighter. It is one of planets which can be seen by the naked eye from Earth.

Around the 7th or 8th century BC, the Babylonians were one of the first civilisations to record their sighting of Jupiter. Jupiter was actually named after the king of the Roman gods. In Greece, it was named after the god of Thunder, Zeus. The Mesopotamians thought it to be their god Marduk and the patron of Babylon. Germanic cultures said it was Donar, also referred to a the mighty Thor.

Jupiter is said to have the shortest day of all the planets, as it turns once every 9 hours and 55 minutes. This fast rotation has flattened the planet, which gives it an oblate appearance.

Jupiter only orbits the Sun every 11.8 years, which from our point makes it appear to move slowly, taking months to go from one constellation to another.

Jupiter also has unique cloud features, the atmosphere of Jupiter is segmented into cloud belts and areas. They are made mainly from sulphur, ammonia crystals, and a mixture of the two.

The red spot seen on Jupiter is actually said to be a storm, and has been going for the last 350 years, and is so big that 3 of our planet can be fitted inside of it.

Jupiter’s insides are made up of metal, rock, and hydrogen compounds, beneath Jupiter’s atmosphere, are layers of hydrogen gas, liquid metallic hydrogen, and ice to name but a few.

Jupiter’s moon known as Ganymede is the biggest one in the entire solar system,
it measure 5,268 km across, which makes it bigger than Mercury.

Monday, 22 September 2014

What Makes Up Our Sun?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn about our Sun, and what it is composed of.

The sun is basically a huge ball of hot gases. These gases are changed into energy within the sun's core. The energy is then distributed outward via its interior layers, into the sun's atmosphere, and is then sent into the solar system as heat and light.

Most of the gas, which is around 72% is hydrogen. Nuclear fusion changes hydrogen into various elements. The sun is comprised of around 26% helium and minute amounts of other elements, such as carbon, neon, oxygen, magnesium, nitrogen, silicon and iron.

These are created within the sun's core, which makes up 25% of our sun. Gravitational forces create huge pressures and temperatures inside the core. The average temperature of our sun within this layer is approximately 27 million degrees F. To create helium and energy, Hydrogen atoms are compressed and fused together, this is what is known as nuclear fusion.

The energy, primarily in gamma-ray photons and neutrinos, is taken into the radiative zone. Photons bounce around for around a million years before being passed through the interface layer. Scientists speculate that the sun's magnetic field is created by a magnetic dynamo found in this layer.

The convection zone is the outer layer of the sun's insides. It extends about 125,000 miles deep to the sun's atmosphere. Temperatures are then cooled, sufficiently for heavier ions, like carbon, oxygen, calcium, nitrogen and iron to retain their electrons. This means the material is more opaque and encaptures the heat, creating the plasma to convect.

Convective motion takes the heat to the surface, which is the last layer of the sun's atmosphere. This is the layer where energy is sent out as sunlight. The light passes through each outer layer, before getting to the Earth approximately 8 minutes later.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Interesting Information On The Planet Mars

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn some interesting facts on the Red Planet known as Mars.

Mars, named after the Roman god of war is the fourth planet from the Sun. Often referred to as the Red Planet because of its red appearance. Mars has a thin atmosphere, and is a terrestrial planet, composed mainly of carbon dioxide.

Size: 641,693,000,000,000 billion kg
Diameter: 6,805
Polar Diameter: 6,755
Circumference: 21,297 km
Moons: 2
Visible Moons: Phobos & Deimos
Distance: 227,943,824 km
Orbit Period: 686.98 Earth days
Temperature: -87 to -5 °C
First Recorded By: Egyptian astronomers

Information on Mars
Mars and the Planet Earth have around the same landmass, even though Mars only has 15% of the the Planet Earth’s volume, and a little over 10% of the Planet Earth’s mass, about two thirds of the Planet Earth’s surface is water. Mars gravity is only 37% of that of the Planets Earth’s, which means you could leap three times higher when on Mars.

Mars houses the tallest mountain in the whole solar system.
Olympus Mons, a volcano, is 600km in diameter, and 21km in height. Despite having be around for billions of years, evidence of volcanic activity is recent, and some scientists think it is still active.

Out of all the missions to Mars, only 16 have been successful.
Since the first, USSR’s missions was launched in1960. Europe’s Mars program, which is scheduled to leave in 2016, plans to search for possible life on Mars, and to study the surface, take note of any potential hazards for future launches and start preparations for a return flight.

Monday, 15 September 2014

The History Of The Isle Of Man TT's

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn how the Isle of Man TT's actually began and who started it.

It was the spirit of competition which brought the TT competition to the Island, because racing on the motorways of England were impossible, and were forbidden by an Act of Parliament, and the introduction in 1903 of a ridiculously low speed of 20mph limit. Sir Julian Orde, who was then the Secretary of the Auto Club of Great Britain and Ireland, went to the Isle of Man in February of 1904 because he had a shrewd idea the Manx authorities would take on a more conciliatory attitude towards racing on their public roads.

And he was proved right. The Highways Act 1904 granted permission in the Isle of Man for the 52.15 mile course for the Gordon Bennett Car Trial in 1904, this was the British trial for the European racing championships.

It was not until the next year a trial race for motorbikes was introduced, the next day after the Gordon Bennett Car Trial. However, back then motorbikes were not as powerful, and had major problems climbing the steep mountain section, this meant the race was redirected and didn’t return to the Mountains till 1911.

The new route from Douglas south to Castletown, then north to Ballacraine travelling the A3 road, then returning to the beginning at Douglas from Colby and Glen Vine along the TT Course in a reverse direction. This was won by J.S. Campbell in 4 hours, 9 minutes and 36 seconds.

The new race was brought forward by the Editor of The Motor-Cycle Magazine on 17th January 1907. The races were to be run in two different classes, with the single cylinder bikes averaging 90 mpg, and twin cylinder bike averaging 75 mpg. This was performed to show the road touring nature of motorbikes. The organisers insisted on regulations for pedals, saddles, exhausts and mudguards.

So there you have it my lovelies, how the famous TT's were founded, and by whom.