Science, Nature and Tech

Why We Should Love Clouds

Have you ever looked up at the sky and wondered where clouds come from? Sure, they can form a huge range of different shapes and sizes, but why are they here? Don’t they just block the sunlight on a summer’s day and ruin our holidays with constant showers? The answer is more surprising than you might expect! 

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School & Career

What is The Point in Learning … History

Have you ever sat in a Maths class wondering if you will ever have to do long division without a calculator once you leave school? Or silently cursed your Geography teacher while learning about the formation of oxbow lakes?
And History? That’s all in the past and irrelevant, isn’t it? In this series of articles, we will look at some of the subjects we learn at school, and try and answer the question: What’s the point in learning this?

Last time we looked at uses of Physics, both in day to day life, and in careers. Today we will focus on History – the study of the past and how our society came to be as it is. Here are some ways in which studying History is useful to us:

 

Critical Thinking

Thinking by Elisabeth Haslam

Thinking by Elisabeth Haslam

When we study history we don’t just learn lists of facts and dates off by heart. We read lots of opinions about what happened and why, and come to our own conclusion. We base these opinions on two types of material, primary sources which are texts and drawings created at the time of the history we are studying, and secondary sources which were written after the event.

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Science, Nature and Tech

A Kid-Friendly Explanation of The Big Bang & An Amazing New Discovery by Scientists

kid-friendly explanation of Big Bang

Most scientists believe that the Universe began in a Big Bang around 14 billion years ago. The entire Universe was inside a bubble thousands of times smaller than a pinhead, and was hotter and denser than anything we can imagine.

When the explosion called the Big Bang happened, the Universe as we know it was born. In a fraction of a second, the Universe grew from smaller than a single atom to larger than a galaxy. It kept on growing, and is still expanding today.

Now researchers in America think they have found traces left in the sky that prove this that the Big Bang did really happen. It takes the form of a distinctive twist in the oldest light detectable with telescopes. These twists of light are called ‘gravitational waves’ – the effect is a little bit like how waves form on the surface when you drop a big stone in a pond. However, you also have to imagine that the Big Bang formed the pond itself.

 

 

The team leading the project, known as BICEP2, has been using a telescope at the South Pole to make detailed observations of a small patch of sky. The aim was to find evidence of ‘inflation’ – the idea that the cosmos grew rapidly in its first trillionth, or trillionth of a trillionth of a second – growing from something unimaginably small to something about the size of a marble.

The leader of the team, Prof John Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said:

 

“This is opening a window on what we believe to be a new regime of physics – the physics of what happened in the first unbelievably tiny fraction of a second in the Universe.”

 

Over the coming years, scientists will work hard to investigate every aspect of this discovery. Other experiments will be carried out to see if they can replicate the findings of the American team. If this research is confirmed, it will be one of the greatest scientific discoveries of our time.

 

 
 
EDIT
 
Dr Sarah Bearchell drew our attention to this video, which explains the concept of gravity and gravitational waves with the help of a towel, an apple and a ping pong ball. Check it out
  

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Home, Health & Style

Do You Have the Denim Blues?

Since Levi Strauss and Jacob Davies developed jeans all the way back in 1873, denim jeans have become the garment we reach for at the weekend. They are attractive, hard-wearing and versatile, so it’s no wonder that we spend so much time in them, and so much money on them. In the US alone about 450 million pairs of jeans are bought each year.
But what do you wear when you get bored of jeans? Is there really a comfortable, suitably casual alternative? Lissie, who blogs at GrungetoGoddess has some ideas for those who have the denim blues.

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Art & History

Who Was Maya Angelou?

Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson, in St Louis, Missouri, in 1928. Her brother could not pronounce her name properly and called her Maya, the name that she came to be known by.
She had a difficult childhood – after suffering abuse when she was eight years old, she stopped talking for five years.  She later wrote her autobiography, describing overcoming her childhood trauma, and growing up in the segregated south of USA – when people of colour and white people were not allowed to mix. She was committed to the civil rights movement, which aimed to break the segregation and allow people to live freely.

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