Lessons in the "Science" Category

Artificial Intelligence

Today, we are going to talk about artificial intelligence. It is supposedly the future.

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is intelligence displayed by machines created by man. One could say that artificial intelligence is a way of making a computer-controlled robot, a computer, or software, think intelligently, in a similar manner to how humans think.

Certainly, AI is leading to workers’ jobs being replaced by robots. However, in order to do all this, it will need even more IT programmers.

Dinosaurs became extinct because of a giant asteroid and supervolcanoes

Why did dinosaurs become extinct? The answer is because a giant asteroid hit the earth. The aftermath of which destroyed them.

Scientists are now claiming they were also killed off by huge supervolcanoes known as the Deccan Traps, in what is now northern India. These doubled their eruptions within 50,000 years of the giant asteroid hitting the earth.

The latest theory that is published in the Science magazine says the asteroid or comet that hit the earth around 66 million years ago caused a huge crater 180km (110 miles) wide off what is now the coast of Mexico.

Night work can ‘throw your body into chaos’

New research has shown that working nights can throw your body into chaos. It could also cause long-term damage. It is already known that shift work can lead to higher rates of ovarian cancer, as well as breast cancer.

Night work can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes. One can suffer a stroke or have a heart attack. Shift work can also have an adverse effect on one’s lifestyle.

Category: Health / Science / Night Work

Is the sun going to sleep?

Is the sun going to sleep? It’s an interesting question. Scientists have said that the sun is in a phase of a “solar lull” – meaning it has fallen asleep. This is baffling them as right now the sun is actually at its solar maximum – the point where it is at a peak of its 11-year cycle. The giant ball of plasma should be spewing out more flares and sunspots than normal. Instead it is relatively quiet.

Analyses of ice-cores, which hold a long-term record of solar activity, suggest the decline in activity is the fastest that has been seen in 10,000 years. In the near future Europe could see ‘a cold snap’ forming more often; with cold air coming in from Russia and the Arctic.

Category: Science / The Sun / Temperature Change

Meteor hits earth in Russia

Recently a giant meteor streaked across the skies above Russia, breaking up as it entered the earth’s atmosphere over western Siberia.

According to NASA, the US space agency, the 55 foot wide rock was said to have had a mass of 10,000 tonnes. It lit up the sky above the Urals region on Friday morning. The resulting explosion created a sonic boom that blew out windows and set off car alarms in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk.

Category: Meteor / Russia / Siberia

Top inventions

Today I thought we could look at some top inventions and talk about them. Of course, there are thousands to choose from. Trying to reduce this to the top 50 or even the top 20 was difficult. In the end I decided to see what I could think of. You can create your own top 20 list during this lesson.

Recent inventions that people like to buy include the new iPad and iPhone from Apple. The tablet market is growing rapidly. The Kindle from Amazon is now popular for book reading. Some of us like to get our hands on the latest Samsung Galaxy or alternatively the latest Blackberry. But let’s consider other good inventions. These include; the internet, email, the computer, and the telephone.

What would we do today without Google, Facebook or YouTube? The camera was a good invention, as was the video camera. Women (and men) might consider the bra and contraception (Condoms and the invention of the pill) as useful inventions.

Category: Inventions / Technology / Creativity

Coffee and chocolate are the key to a long life

Coffee and chocolate are among the key foods and drinks needed to live a long and healthy life. Tea is another. These form part of a list of 20 “lifespan essential” foodstuffs that has been drawn up by Professor Gary Williamson from the department of food science at Leeds University in England.

Fruits and vegetables dominate the list. All are rich in naturally occurring chemicals, known as polyphenols, which have been linked to a variety of health benefits including protection against heart disease.

The 20 suggested lifespan essential foodstuffs on the list: apples, blackberries, black tea, blueberries, broccoli, cereal bran, cherries, cherry tomatoes, coffee, cranberries, dark chocolate, green tea, oranges, peaches, plums, raspberries, red grapes, red onions, spinach and last but not least strawberries.

Category: Lifestyle / Food / Science

Scientific advances could bring back the dodo & mammoth

Long-extinct creatures like the dodo and the woolly mammoth could be brought back to life again thanks to the advancement of science. Other such creatures could live again such as the fearsome sabre-toothed tiger, the Tasmanian tiger and the woolly rhinoceros. We could even see the lumbering Neanderthal return, not too mention a glyptodont, which was a VW Beetle sized armadillo which last roamed the earth 11,000 years ago.

A recent edition of the New Scientist said that while such feats were well beyond the means of today’s best brains, advances in science could lead to a day when they are brought back from the dead. After all, who would have believed 50 years ago that we would now be able to clone animals such as Dolly the sheep or be capable of reading the instructions for making humans (DNA).

Category: Science / DNA / Extinct Animals