Home, Health & Style

How to be a Good Communicator

“Der Ton macht die Musik”
This German proverb, if directly translated means, “The tone makes the music”. The real meaning is “It’s not what you say, but how you say it”.
Have you ever said something that was misunderstood by the person you were talking to? Do you know anyone who sometimes says things in a way that seems rude and abrupt? It is not always the words used, but the way in which they are used.
Good communication is very important. Carolyn Ward explains what it is and how to be a better communicator.

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News & Politics

Women in Politics: Be The Change You Want To See

Recently the online parenting website Mumsnet ran a survey which found that people in politics are seen to be ‘white, middle-class and male’.  We think that ANYONE can become an MP, so we decided to chat to some politicians about diversity in politics.
First up, we wanted to know what it is really like for women in politics. We asked Tina to chat with Heidi Alexander, Labour Minister of Parliament for Lewisham-East in London.

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Art & History

Does Atlantis Exist, and Where Does the Name Originate?

Around 350 BC, the Greek philosopher Plato wrote about an island situated in front of the Pillars of Hercules, that disappeared under the sea in one day and one night. According to Plato, the capital of Atlantis was built on a hill and surrounded by rings of water, which were joined by tunnels large enough for a ship to sail through. A huge canal connected the outer rings of water to the ocean.
The possible existence of the island of  Atlantis has intrigued scholars and scientists over the centuries.

In 1800s a man called Ignatius Donnelly wrote a  bestselling book called Atlantis, the Antediluvian World. After studying flood history, Ignatius put forward the suggestion that Atlantis was not fiction, but the recording of a natural disaster.

Most modern academics insist that Plato created the story, and was perhaps inspired by events that happened during his lifetime, but that the island never existed.

The subject of dreams, of magical tales and many a search, Atlantis has long captured our imagination. But where did all of this spring from?

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Art & History, Science, Nature and Tech

The Clifton suspension bridge: designed by a woman, built by Brunel

One of the best known landmarks in Bristol, UK, the Clifton suspension bridge first opened in 1864. It was built by the famous British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, but it has recently become public knowledge that it was designed by a woman. Our science editor Sam Gouldson explains who she was and why her work isn’t more widely known.

Who really designed the bridge?

The Clifton suspension bridge was designed by a woman called Sarah Guppy. She was born Sarah Beach in 1770, but when she married her husband Samuel Guppy she took his name. She was one of the great British inventors of her time and the bridge isn’t the only thing she came up with.

What else did she design?

The invention that earned Sarah the most money was her device to prevent barnacles forming on the hulls of ships. Without barnacles the ships would be able to cut better through water and travel more quickly, and the Royal Navy paid her £40,000 for it. That may not sound like much for such a valuable design, but today it would be more than £2.3 million. Her other inventions included a kettle that not only boiled water for tea but could cook an egg and keep toast warm, a candle holder that could keep candles alight for longer and a way of treating boats so that they were more watertight. She also came up with the idea of planting willow and poplar trees on the embankments of new railways, to hold the earth together and prevent landslides.

Why isn’t she more famous?

Sarah lived during the Georgian and Victorian eras. In those times married women weren’t allowed to own property in their own name, and intellectual property such as Sarah’s inventions were no different. Her husband had to file the patents on her behalf, as the property of the Guppy family. The patent for her method of piling bridge foundations in order to create a new kind of bridge was filed in 1811, but she refused to charge others to use the idea because she felt it was for the benefit of the public. Thomas Telford, a civil engineer, used her design to build the Menai bridge in 1826, and when the competition to design the Clifton bridge was announced Sarah gave her work to Brunel. When she wrote to him to suggest the use of willow and poplar trees to reinforce railway embankments, she explained that she didn’t want the credit for her idea because she felt that women “must not be boastful”.

 

Featured image: Sage Solar/Flikr

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