Monday, 30 June 2014

Do You Believe In The After Life?

Welcome back my fellow learners. Today we are going to look at the age old question, is there life after death?

Ghosts are a manifestation of supposed life after death. Though specifics do vary, a ghost is understood to be the spirit or soul of person, or even an animal.

Ghost are said to linger only when a person has died in a traumatic way, or when their burial was disturbed before it was finished, or sometimes just because it wants to. Which begs the question, with so many people dying horrific deaths, why then is the planet not infested with them? There are disruptive ghosts which are referred to as poltergeists. Some even believe ghosts are demons, or bad angels in disguise.

Not all beliefs around the world allow spirits to linger after death. The idea in some spiritualist circles and many Christian also is that ghosts are the spirits of our loved ones watching over us even from the grave.

In point of fact, ghosts are not limited just to religion. Because they cross several lines, ghosts are also popular in films, books and other culture manifestations. Ghosts have been gaining in popularity since the 21st century.

Any study of death begs an fundamental question, why do people have to die in the first place?

Indeed, death is the biggest mystery of all time. Every religion, philosophy, and spiritual train of thought has tried to find out this answer. It is a subject which touches life of every man and woman, uniting the human race under a cloud of mortality. The rich and poor alike all meet the same end, black and white both end up in the grave, powerful and humble are all destined to leave eventually.

So there you have it my lovelies, no matter who you are, or how powerful you may think you are, the grim reaper always gets the last laugh. 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

How The Domesticated Cat Came About

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn about the average domesticated feline, and how they came into being.

The history of our domestic cat starts with her descent from wild cats, the 5 different species are, the Sardinian, the European, the Central Asian, the subsaharan African and the Chinese desert cat. Each of these derives from a subspecies of F. silvestris. DNA suggests that all domestic cats come from the five founder cats from the Fertile Crescent region.

There are two difficulties in determining when and how a cat was tamed, one is that, domesticated cats will interbreed with feral cats, the other is that their sociability. Domestic cats are identified by their small size, especially compared to their feral cousins.

According to Sarah Hartwell an eminent cat researcher, one theory is wild cats were first drawn to settlements by small rodents who came to feed in their agricultural stores. Humans could have tolerated or encouraged cats to stay around and guard those stores against vermin.

The oldest evidence for a domesticated cat was on the Greek island of Cyprus, where numerous animal species including cats were inducted into society in 7500 BC. Further, at the Neolithic site of Shillourokambos, a cat burial was located next to a human one, dated around 9500-9200 years before present day.

The next one is in the 6th millennium BC Ha├žilar, where female sculptures were discovered carrying cat like figures in their arms. There is great debate about where these creates where in deed cats or something else.

Up until recently, many sources thought the domesticated cat became more widespread after the Egyptians took its part. One recent paper states a cat skeleton discovered in a pre dynastic tomb in Hierakonpolis could be evidence for a domesticated feline.

So there you have it my lovelies, my watered down version on the history of our beloved felines. 

Monday, 23 June 2014

Why Is Whaling Still Allowed To Continue?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to look into whaling and why in the hell with today's technology it still does on.

Which countries are still doing illegal whaling?
Despite the 1986 ban on commercial whaling, some places still refuse to end this barbaric extermination.

Nearly immediately after the 1986 ban was brought into effect, Japan launched a scientific whaling programme, this was just a smoke screen to continue this barbaric extermination of these gentle creatures.

Meat from the whales, which are supposedly killed for the sake of science, is sold in markets or given away to schools and hospitals in marketing drives to attempt the encouragement of the consumption of whale meat .

The Japanese whaling fleet leaves on their quest twice a year. In the North Pacific, Japanese whalers kill nearly 200 minke whales, 50 Bryde's, 100 sei whales and 10 sperm whales all using the excuse of science.

Norway only respected the whaling ban until 93. Using a loophole, and continue to kill minke whales even today.

Norway is hunting a higher percentage of breeding females which will place the survival of minke whales in the North Atlantic in grave danger.

Like Japan, they conducted a scientific programme. Then, in 92, withdrew from the IWC. When Iceland re-joined, it included a clause that spoke about their objection to the whaling ban.

In 2006, Iceland carried on commercial whaling, killing minke and fin whales. In 2010 they killed over 148 endangered fin whales and 60 minke whales.

Come on people, when are we going to wake up and realize we are systematically raping month earth and her animals. Are we only going to be show pictures to our children's children of animals that once roamed the earth, all because of the almighty buck, there is going to come a time, and that will be sooner rather than later, when our seas will be empty and all that is left is pollution.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The Invention Of The Band Aid

Welcome back my fellow learners, today's topic is the much taken for granted band aid, and how it was first thought of.

It was back in 1920 in New Jersey, that the band aid was first born. A young husband known as Earle Dickson was so tired of seeing his beloved wife Josephine covered in cuts on her hand, and using pieces of fabric to cover the wounds up that he came up with the idea of the first band aid. As much as Josephine was a keen house wife and home maker, she wasn't exactly the best cook, and the most careful when it came to knives and any sharp instrument to be truthful. As any newly wed husband, Earle came up with the idea of putting cotton on a piece of adhesive strip and fixing it using crinoline (which is coarsely woven thin cotton fabric). Then whenever his beloved Josephine has a small accident, and needed a bandage, she could just cut a piece off and fix it onto the cut or nick quickly.

Earle Dickson then was employed by a large manufacturer of health items, or commonly known to us even today as, Johnson & Johnson. So he decided to put forth his idea to his bosses, who then marketed them in pre- cut strips, branding them as Band Aids. It took many years for Johnson & Johnson to perfect the mass production of sterile Band Aids to what it is today. Band Aid is even now still a registered product for Johnson & Johnson, and most of the world knows them today as plain old sticking plasters or just plasters.

So there you have it my lovelies, next time you reach for the band aids just remember where they originally came from.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Why All Fox Hunting Should Be Banned

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to speak about something that just makes my blood boil, the barbaric sport of fox hunting, which I may mention is only done by the rich and shameless.

There is an estimated 200 fox hunts performed in Britain alone, each one hunting between 2 to 4 times per week. The main seasons are from November till March, although some do continue until May.
The hunt gathers in the morning, although. The huntsman leads the hounds to a wood or covert. The hounds are then sent out into the woods to flush out the foxes. As all their underground escape routes have already been blocked, the fox is forced to run. Riders positioned themselves around the wood shouting to alert the huntsman which direction the fox has run.

Should the poor and terrified fox manage to locate refuge, the hunt have terriermen that put their terriers down to force the fox back into the open to be re-hunted all over again, or these dogs will attack the fox while the men dig down to catch the terrified animal. Once they have flushed the fox out, the terriermen can then either shoot it, but simply bludgeon it using a spade. (and these poor excuses for human beings call themselves the elite?). It is also know though frowned upon (wow you do surprise me) the poor unsuspecting fox with be thrown to the waiting starved hounds.

The only way to stop fox hunting at this present time is by sabotaging it. The best campaigning will mean nothing to the thousands of foxes and animals that are chased towards a violent and bloody death in the meantime. After thirty years, hunt saboteurs have honed their skills in the art of saving lives via sabotage. The tactics are basic, but can be mastered eventually.

The tactics range from spraying scents to disguise the hunted fox, imitating the huntsman's voice and horn to control the hounds, sitting on a fox earth to stop them from being dug out, a stereo attached to an amplifier and loud hailer is sometimes used to play recordings of the hounds to encourage them away from foxes. This inhumane sport has to stop, don't you think the rich have enough fun, if this is what fun is called in those circles now. 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Decline Of Bees

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to talk about environmental issues, and the decline of the bee is a big part of it believe it or not.

Bee keeps have noticed worldwide since the 1990s, the sudden mysterious disappearance of bees, and have said that there is an extremely high rate of honeybee colonies.

Pesticides have played a big part in killing off bees. The biggest reasons for global bee disappearances can be strongly linked to industrial agriculture, pathogens and the extreme climate change. The wide spread use of pesticides that kill bees are particular threats for every honeybee and wild pollinators.

To protect our bees we have to move away from destructive industrial agriculture, and move more towards ecological farming. First steps would be to ban all bee pesticides, create a bee action program, and lastly, push for ecological farming

Bees and other similar insects play essential role in our ecosystems. A third of our food strongly depend on their pollination. A world without these is devastating for all food production.

After all, who else could pollinate all crops? Hand-pollination is labour intensive, slow and very expensive. The economic value of pollination via bees has been estimated around 265 billion Euro annually, and this folks is worldwide. So, from a purely economic outlook, it does actually benefit us to protect bees.

Bee killing pesticides pose the greatest risk to these tiny pollinators. The main reason for global bee disappearance is strongly linked to industrial agriculture, pathogens and climate change.

Although the role of insecticides linked with the global decline of pollinators stay brushed under the carpet, it is getting increasingly evident some insecticides, that are concentrated routinely in the current chemical agriculture system, give negative effects on the safety of pollinators, both individually and at colony level.

So there you go my lovelies, this gives you food for thought, pardon the pun, that these tiny insects are directly linked to humankind's survival.

Monday, 9 June 2014

The First Talking Motion Picture Ever Made

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn about the first talking motion picture, it was not as many people are led to believe The Jazz Singer, but we will look into this anyway.

On the 6th of October in 1927 in New York history was made. This was when the first spoken voice (and I must state this IN FEATURE FILMS ) was heard. This voice belonged to the legendary Al Jolson and the movie was, yes you guessed it, The Jazz Singer. The theatre's audience reaction to it was thunderous, it was stated that they got to their feet, and began to applaud with gusto. The moment came someone where in the middle of the film, during a nightclub scene, that Jolson spoke the first words ever in a movie, and they are still legendary even now, they were in a way poetic, "Wait a minute, wait a minute. You ain't heard nothin' yet!" which in today's movie industry shows the leaps and bounds we have truly taken since then.

From the breakthrough part in the film when Jolson spoke for the first time, the film made ample use of the new technology. Jolson sitting at a piano In one scene talks to his mother whilst singing lines from Blue Skies. Al Jolson ad-libbed numerous lines in the musical and they were so good the studio decided to leave them in.

The Jazz Singer is about a young Jewish man coming from a line of cantors. But, much to his families horror he decides to break with tradition and be a Jazz singer. The movie is jammed packed full of songs that became famous, like "˜Mammy', "˜Toot, Toot, Tootsie, Goodbye,' and of course"˜Blue Skies.' The movie has scenes of the Yom Kippur ceremony. The film is a combination of silence and talking. The film is obviously dated judging by today's standards with Jolson's acting and typical Jewish stereotypes which would have been severely frowned upon by today's standards. Al Jolson was a minstrel singer for most of his life. He was a white man that played a black man for his last scene in the movie. This has led some to think he was in fact a black man.

So there you have it my lovelies my short version of talking pictures and the ground breaking history it made. 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

The History of Time

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn about that much used but taken for granted clock, and how time and clocks were first thought of.

Minute Hand
Jost Burgi In 1577, first thought of and invented the minute hand. His invention was to be part of a clock made for an avid astronomer called Tycho Brahe, who required an accurate clock when stargazing.

Christian Huygens In 1656, first invented the pendulum clocks to enable them to keep more accurate time.

Wrist Watch
The first portable, however, inaccurate timepiece was invented in Nuremberg, Germany in 1504, by Peter Henlein. The first person reported to wear a watch was Blaise Pascal in 1623, he was a French mathematician and philosopher. He attached his watch to his wrist with the aid of a piece of string.

The Smithsonian states that in 1927, Canadian Warren Marrison, who was a telecommunications engineer, was looking for a reliable frequency standard at Bell Telephone Laboratories. Using earlier work in piezoelectricity, Warren created a large, extremely accurate clock based on the vibrations of a crystal nestled within an electrical circuit.

Origins of the word Clock
Clock is actually French meaning bell. The Latin is glocio, Saxon is clugga and the German is glocke.

Standard Time
This was created in 1878 by Sir Sanford Fleming.

Alarm Clocks
A prototype of an alarm clock was first created by the Greeks in 250 BC. They constructed a water clock where the rising waters would keep time and hit a mechanical bird that created a whistling noise.

The first mechanical one was invented in 1787, by Levi Hutchins of Concord, New Hampshire. But his could only sound at 4 am.

So there you have it my lovlies, my quick run-down on the history of time and clocks.

Monday, 2 June 2014

How is silk made?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to find out how silk is actually made, and if the myth is true about silk worms.

Silk as we all know is a natural fibre, however, the making of it has remained the same for the last 4,000 years. And yes it is taken from the cocoons of larvae from the silk moth, and Bombyx mori. After which the fibres are processed, woven and dyed.

Several insects secrete a type of silk, but they are inferior to those of a silkworm, which is the larval stage of a silk moth. Many have try to reproduce a synthetic, but the results were poor and the quality vastly different to natural silk. The silk moth can be found in China, and it was them, over 4,000 years ago, that created the process to make this beautiful fabric.

Chinese silk producers have kept the origins of this highly sought after material a secret. At one time, revealing any of the process was punishable by death. Sadly, there are no longer any wild silk moths to be found, and they are kept in captivity for the sole purpose of producing silk.

Females can lay upwards of 500 eggs, which will hatch in about two weeks, turning into small caterpillars known as silkworms. The larvae s diet consists only of mulberry leaves, these are cut into small pieces and given to the larvae every few hours. It grows fast, repeatedly shedding skin until it gets to about 3 inches. The caterpillar will then pupate and start to secrete a liquid, this hardens as it comes in contact with the air.

This is made to protect the pupa and can up to three days. The secretion is one continuous thread and is of raw silk. Once done, the cocoon is put in boiling water to kill the moth before it can come out and destroy it. The cocoon is then unravelled and put on a reel.

So there you have it folks, next time you reach for that new silk suit or blouse, just remember what it takes to achieve it.