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Over the moon


It’s always there...following you...whether you’re travelling in a car or a train, whether you look out of your window or door, regardless of which country you’re in. No, it’s not a ghost or a spirit...It’s the moon! Every night when you look up at the sky, you’re almost certain to be able to spot the moon. You must have seen it several hundred times, but have you ever wondered: How big is the moon? How far away is it? And what is it made of and just how heavy is it?

Help the astronaut find its way back to the shuttle.

A meteor magnet The rocky and airless moon is our closest neighbour in space and is the only ex-

traterrestrial body to have been visited by humans. It’s also the second brightest object in the

sky after the sun. Because it has no atmosphere, the moon keeps getting hit by meteors! That’s pretty much what would happen to earth as well except that we’re lucky enough to have an atmosphere that can burn up all but the largest space rocks. Most of the moon’s surface is covered with dust and rocky debris produced by those meteor impacts.

Was the moon part of earth? Believe it or not, the moon may have once been part of the Earth! Some scientists think that a HUGE Marssized object smashed into the earth nearly five billion years ago, sending big chunks of Earth into space. Eventually all these floating rocks stuck together to form the moon. The moon used to be a lot closer to the earth, and even today it’s moving further and further away. Right now it’s a whopping 384,467 kilometres, the same distance as forty earths in a row!

How big is the moon? About forty-nine moons can fit in the earth. It weighs

about 81 billion tons, which is as much as 20 billion African elephants! Funnily enough, if you make it to the moon, you’ll actually weigh a lot less due to less gravity, and can jump about six times higher than you can here on earth.

How fast does the Moon travel around the Earth?

The moon travels around the Earth at a speed of 3,683 kilometres per hour. Now you may think that’s why the moon seems to follow you around, but the real reason is that it’s so far away that it just seems like its chasing you.

Blowing hot and cold Because the moon has no atmosphere, the temperature ranges from extremely hot during the day to extremely cold at night. During the day, the temperature on the moon can reach 123 degrees Celsius, while at night it can drop to — 233 degrees Celsius. Since a day on the moon can last as long as 27 Earth days, remember to pack a lot of clothes!

First visit to the moon The moon was first visited

by the Soviet spacecraft Luna 2 in 1959. However, the first people to land on the moon were the Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. They landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969. Armstrong was the first human to set foot on the moon followed by Aldrin. They spent 21 hours on the lunar surface and collected 46 pounds of moon rocks to bring back to the Earth for study. NASA is planning future manned missions to the moon, however, no dates have yet been set, but NASA hopes to land astronauts back on the moon by 2020.

Mooning over water Scientists recently found evidence of water on the crashing rockets into the moon! They found that in the deep deep craters of the moon is ice that’s been around for billions of years. They even plan to melt it for water when they eventually build moon bases.

Going loony Back on Earth, did you know that it’s the moon that actually causes tides in the seas and oceans? In fact, there are even people who say that the moon affects the way we be-

have as well, since our bodies are 75% water. Some even think that the crime rate goes up when there is a full moon, that’s why the word ‘lunatic’ comes from the Latin word for the moon: ‘Luna’.

The werewolf lore And yes lets not for get the greatest legend associated with the moon — the werewolves. It is believe that a full moon triggers a werewolf transformation, as you may have seen and read in various movies and books. So kids watch out for the werewolves on the next full moon! GRAPHIC: MOHSIN ALAM

What is more useful: the sun or the moon?

Space Shuttle

The moon. Because it shines at night when you want the light, whereas, the sun shines during the day when you don’t need it.

Materials needed

ha ha ha

How many pieces of string does it take to get to the moon? One, if it is long enough. When is the moon heaviest? When it is full. Did you hear about the great new restaurant on the moon?

• • • • • • •

Paper towel roll White cardstock or construction paper Black construction paper Red paper (tissue or construction) Scissors Glue Markers

The food is excellent, but there’s no atmosphere.


Why does the moon orbit the Earth? To get to the other side.

1. Paint your paper towel roll white and cut

How does a man on a moon get his haircut?

How to make

a white triangle from your cardstock. 2. Crumple up a small piece of black construction paper and stick it on the top of the roll. It should stay in pretty well by itself, but glue it in if you want extra stability. With your markers write the name of your rocket ship on the side of your roll. 3. Glue strips of red paper onto the bottom of your roll to make the engine fire. Glue the roll to the triangle, and your shuttle is ready to blast off!

Eclipse it. (he clips it!) How does one astronaut on the moon tell another astronaut that he is sorry? He Apollo-gises. What do moon people do when they get married? They go off on their honeyearth!

Generator Rex gets transformed into a video game Disney celebrates the 30th anniversary of The Fox and the Hound Marking three decades since it was first release, Walt Disney is releasing a 30th Anniversary Edition Collection set of The Fox and the Hound, the animated film which tells the story of the unlikely friendship between a red fox named Tod and a hound dog named Copper. The two-movie set will include both The Fox and the Hound (1981) and its midquel The Fox and the Hound II (2006), and will be available on both Blu-ray and DVD this August.

A video game based on Cartoon Network’s animated television series Generator Rex has been announced and is expected to be released later this year. Titled Generator Rex: Agent of Providence, the game sees the player take on the role of Rex who must stop Van Kleiss and his minions from gaining powers that could destroy the world. Agent of Providence is being developed by Activision, and will be available for Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 video game platforms.

Cars 2 goes 3D Disney Interactive Studios’ upcoming new video game Cars 2: The Video Game is set to support 3D effects when it becomes available on Sony’s PlayStation 3 platform. Based on Pixar’s Cars franchise, the game makes use of stereoscopic 3D technology, which will help players further engage with and immerse in the environment. Cars 2 will also be available in 2D on PC/Mac, Wii, Xbox 360 and Nintendo DS, and is set to be released in June this year.



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The Velveteen Rabbit (1922) Author: Margery Williams Illustrator: William Nicholson A stuffed rabbit who yearns to be real is the subject of The Velveteen Rabbit, the much loved story which is considered to be a classic piece of children’s literature. After arriving as a pristine new toy that is a Christmas present for a boy, a rabbit made out of velveteen — with a coat ‘spotted brown and white’, ‘real thread whiskers’, and ears ‘lined with pink satin’ — comes to live with the other toys in the nursery, where a wise, old skin horse tells him that a toy can become real if its owner really loves it. “By the time you are Real,” the horse explains, “most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand,” thus making the rabbit wish he too could experience this magic called Real. The story progresses into a poignant tale about life, love, and beauty that is not only timeless, but also heart-warming and touching. The Velveteen Rabbit is both beautifully conceived and well written, and thoroughly deserving of all the acclaim it has received.

ry With eve ite, y wr word the ose they exp f o a little bit for es themselv orld ew the entir ss to witne

The Legend of Lightning Larry (1993) Author: Aaron Shepard Illustrator: Toni Goffe Set in the Wild West, this book tells the story of Lightning Larry, a mysterious stranger who one day rides into Brimstone, a town troubled by a gang of outlaws. Much to the bad guys’ chagrin, Lightning Larry isn’t just your average gunfighting good guy; not only can Larry draw faster than the rest of them, but he also has a very peculiar gun, one that doesn’t shoot bullets but bolts of light! Larry aims straight for the heart, and once hit by the bolts of light, the meanness is gone, and bad guys are transformed into nice, helpful citizens. Of course the rest of the outlaw gang isn’t happy that their comrades have gone straight, and they in turn come after Larry, which eventually leads to a showdown. The picture book is a quick, fun read; the main character is easy to love and root for, and the story of a cowboy who likes to drink lemonade and shoot bolts of lightning into people’s hearts which make them nicer is very likely to amuse young readers.


Of gender wars and warriors

With love from Beiber



Book: Is there anything good about men? How Cultures Have Flourished by Exploiting Men Author: Roy F. Baumeister Publisher: Oxford University Press (2010)

“Sometimes they let a celebrity guest — a war hero, beauty-pageant winner, local news anchor, or whatever — ride in the Zamboni. And, until three years ago, that was my definition of celebrity: somebody who gets to ride around in the Zamboni. My definition of a rock star was somebody who gets to ride around in a tour bus. A lot can change in three years. When I was twelve, my manager, Scott ‘Scooter’ Braun, saw a YouTube video of me performing in a local talent show. When I was fourteen, we joined forces with the recording artist Usher, who was not only one of my heroes but helped introduce me to the world. A few months after my fifteenth birthday, my first single dropped. Now I’m sixteen and about to launch my first tour as a headliner. IT’S UNREAL.”

Excerpt: “The question is provocative today because hardly anyone dares to suggest that men are superior to women in any respect. Political correctness permits us to say that women are better than men at one thing or another. But it’s mostly taboo even to suggest that men are better at anything more important than opening jars and killing bugs.”

Herbert’s Wormhole (2009) Author: Peter Nelson Illustrator: Rohitash Rao. After finishing AlienSlayer 2, a video game involving aliens who need to be slain, what Alex Filby really wants is the new, super cool game AlienSlayer:3-D!; his parents, of course, have other plans for his summer, so what he gets instead is a jungle gym and a playdate with his nerdy inventor neighbour Herbert Slewg, which he reluctantly partakes in, only to discover that Herbert not only has AS:3-D!, but much to Alex’s horror, has taken the game apart and incorporated it into his inventions. These include the games’ silver zip-up bodysuits, which he has modified in an attempt ‘to invent the world’s first Negative Energy Densifiers’. Little does he know that it is these very suits that will take him on the adventure of his life by opening a wormhole in his jungle gym’s tunnel-slide, and transporting the boys a hundred years into the future, where humans live in harmony with an alien species who wear bad toupees and fake moustaches and speak with Australian accents. They’re call the G’Daliens. The zany science fiction plot is both fun and amusing, and the story is interesting enough to make you want to keep reading. The narrative is interspersed with illustrations, much like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, and while the drawings could have been slightly better artistically, the pictures do add to the tale and complement the story well, while making the book more reluctant-reader friendly.

You can send your contributions and suggestions to

Is there anything good about men? An intriguing question indeed that Roy Baumeister sets out to answer…or rather explore in his book ‘Is there anything good about men? — How cultures flourish by exploiting men’ The books on this kind of subject that usually dot the shelves tend to be very predictable, and usually very critical of men. This book is quite different, and will certainly appeal to men who’ll want to know just HOW they’ve been exploited, while the predictably anguished or at least startled, females would want to check it out, if for no other reason than to bash it. Conscious of the inherent controversy that accompanies any debate on gender issues, Baumeister is cautious in setting pace to a topic that is at risk of being easily misunderstood. This attempt, however, takes the writer into repeated bouts of explanations, which at times come across as an attempt to placate the lurking feminists and makes an otherwise worthwhile excursion seem like an apologetic effort. Nonetheless, the book does bring out a fresh perspective and compels its female audience to re-evaluate or at least reconsider the men’s side of the story. In doing so, Baumeister, who is a Professor of Psychology at the Florida State University and among the few most cited psychologists in the world (which gives an obvious weight to his words),launches the reader into exploring a viewpoint where neither men are superior to women nor women to men. He talks of equality while asserting that both genders are essentially different from each other, especially in their potential to perform different tasks. This is in contrast to a perspective on gender

that had been a rage late in the twentieth century, according to which both genders are equal in every respect. In this pursuit, Baumeister tries to touch on a more relevant point throughout the debate, that of the success of a culture. He asserts that it is important to realise the distinction in gender roles for the sake of a larger cultural salvation. He digs out this assertion later through the book by citing examples where cultures have flourished by realising the different yet equally relevant roles suited to each gender. The writer argues that cultures have advanced by successfully exploiting men. From being breadwinners to protecting borders, men have always been put on the front lines, and punished when they fail to perform their assigned duties. But the question arises about the relevance of Baumeister’s work in a society such as ours where men can seemingly get away with rape and murder, and ministers still have the cheek to get up in the middle of the national assembly and talk about how women torture men! One does feel that Baumeister needs to revisit his research with such staunchly patriarchal societies under the glass. Although the writer does make references at places throughout the book to such cases, there is still a lot left to desire.

SAMEEN AMER Book: First Step 2 Forever: My Story Author: Justin Bieber Genre: Autobiography Publisher: HarperCollins

Whether you’ve heard his music or not, chances are you have heard of Justin Bieber, the teenage pop sensation who has become a global phenomenon on the back of his ability to send his tween and teenage fans into a screaming frenzy. Initially coming to the world’s attention via YouTube, the Canadian singer became a hugely successful young star upon the release of his My World (2009) and My World 2.0 (2010) albums. Then, at the ripe old age of 16, he decided it was time to write a memoir, thus giving us First Step 2 Forever: My Story, an account of his almost overnight rise to fame. Supposedly penned by Justin Bieber himself, the autobiography chronicles the events of his life, from being born to teenage parents and raised by a single mother,

to getting interested in music, learning to play instruments, meeting Usher and eventually becoming the R&B star’s protégé. Along the way, Bieber details his tour preparations, offers a generous dose of praise for everyone who helped him get to where he is today, tells readers about the things he likes (girls, pizza, pranking, Chuck Norris, and yes, girls — he’s very insistent about that one), and shares stories of his successes and failures — including finishing third in a talent competition, and initially failing his driver’s test. As you may suspect, the book is predictably light on content. The 240-page tome is chock full of photographs of the singer and padded further with tweets and snippets from lyrics. This isn’t like a rock biography that you can delve

into even if you’re not a fan of its subject and still find its content fascinating. Of course Bieber’s fans will love every word of his memoir, but while there is an inspirational aspect to his story — going from rags to riches and following his dreams — First Step 2 Forever is just not interesting enough to excite or engage non-Beliebers. In short, the book has been written keeping his fanbase in mind and its primary reason of existence is to cash in on the whole Justin Bieber phenomenon. Readers get a chance to hear about his life in his own words and get to see lots of pictures of the pop star, thus making the book everything his fans would want; if you don’t consider yourself a diehard Belieber, however, then First Step 2 Forever is very likely to leave you unimpressed.




postcards from the periphery Do you care about my dead uncle? My uncle was killed last month. But, you don’t care and, you’ll care even less as you read on. His death knell was sounded about two weeks ago — not by God but by six armed men. The headline of this sort of story, due to its lack of significance for the rest of the world, may read something like this: Shia doctor assassinated by militants. Very conveniently, the media simplifies the most important event in his life, and the life of his family members, to a war between two groups. Out of the entire population of Pakistan, the number of people who will be able to gauge the importance of his tragic death will be tiny. Of all those who are blessed with enough resources to be able to buy a newspaper, the number can be narrowed down to those belonging to the Shia community and/or those who are doctors. Now let me tell you the place of this tragic event: Balochistan. By this point most Pakistanis will lose all interest. If you are from Balochistan you may read the story otherwise you will simply flip the page to focus on something more interesting. So trust me when I say you don’t care. But you will eventually. It’s all a matter of time. My uncle was the head of the psychology department at Bolan Medical College, but more importantly he was a husband, father, son and a brother. Two weeks ago, on his way to work, his car was intercepted by six armed men who kidnapped him. For two weeks, our family tried to negotiate terms for his release and when they finally arrived at a financial settlement in exchange for his life, his captors brutally murdered him and

left his body on a street of the city he served his entire life: Quetta. It’s hard to judge whether you care or not, because you may feel sorry for the loss of life, but at the same time, because the incident took place in Quetta, and not somewhere close to where you probably live like Karachi, Lahore or Islamabad, a part of you is comforted. The person not robbing you today is not refraining from doing so because he does not want to, or because he can’t. It’s because he is busy robbing someone else at the moment. Tomorrow, when he runs out of options, the picture will be different.

I am afraid of the future When I think of what Pakistan will be like 10 years from now I think that this incident could happen in any city. Imagine, sitting in the safety of your house thinking about how all your friends have been robbed or abused; thankful because you were lucky to get away with minor scars. Perhaps we will reminisce for the good old days when then president, Asif Ali Zardari had exceptional control over the political scenario and the law and order situation was better. Men here kill each other like they used to in olden times, except people use sophisticated weapons instead of swords and spears. And you can’t do anything. You made this future through the insensitivity that you have exhibited to our fellow countrymen. You didn’t care then, and you probably won’t care now either, so don’t worry. You’ll learn to live with it, much like the family of my uncle did.

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Maybe you feel sorry for our loss, but since it took place in Quetta, a part of you is also relieved

Quetta, Balochistan Hasan Naqvi A graduate from the University of Toronto, working for the corporate world in Toronto, Canada.

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offbeat Reaching for the moon

Cashing in on bin Laden’s death Looks like Osama bin Laden is worth more dead than alive. That is, at least, in the make-a-buck marketing world of souvenirs, collectibles and tchotchkes. Within hours of bin Laden’s death, a wide swath of marketers had already latched onto the leader’s sudden demise at the hands of the US Special Forces. Most see it as a chance to cash in with T-shirts, pins, coffee mugs and even risqué thongs that — for $10 (Rs848.85) to $25 (Rs 2,122.13) — memorialise or even celebrate the May 1 death of the man who was widely regarded as the world’s most-wanted terroerist.

Between midnight of May 1 and the afternoon of May 2, thousands of consumer-created souvenirs had popped up for sale on the websites and, where royalty-seekers go with original ideas for souvenir-like products that are ultimately produced by the companies. Executives at Zazzle, agree. “We haven’t had a moment like this in some time,” says Michael Karns, director of marketing at Zazzle. “It wasn’t this big when Saddam Hussein was captured.” The tone of most items, Joe Schmidt, senior vice presi-

dent of retail at CafePress says, generally falls in one of four categories: patriotism, military support, celebration and a category that he calls “justice justice is served.” served. But isn’t isn t the merchandising of bin Laden’s death in poor taste? “We’ve always viewed ourselves as being a mirror to the culture,” Schmidt responds. “What’s more important than personal expression?” Among the items for sale are t-shirts, buttons, coffee mugs, caps, bumper stickers, neckties, iPhone cases etc. SOURCE: USATODAY.COM PHOTO: SHOTSWORLD.COM

Space tourism has already reached low-Earth orbit, and now the industry is shooting for the moon. After helping to send seven private citizens on eight trips to the International Space Station — starting with Dennis Tito, who became the world’s first space tourist on April 28, 2001 — the Virginia-based company Space Adventures is mapping out a tourist trip around the moon. Despite a nine-figure ticket price of $150 million (Rs12.7 billion), the firm has already signed up a passenger for a maiden moon journey. And if it inks a second customer soon, the mission could launch within three to five years, company officials say. “We need that second contract for the mission to go ahead,” said Space Adventures president Tom Shelley. “But we’re confident that we’ll be able to make an announcement about that mission later this year.” Customers will travel aboard a three-seat Russian Soyuz spacecraft around the far side of the moon and back — a journey of seven or eight days, Shelley said. The spacecraft won’t land on the lunar surface, but passengers will still get an experience that has been limited so far to a few dozen astronauts. “You’re going to get to reach within 100 kilometres of the moon’s surface, so you’re going to get a really close-up view of the moon and that incredible Earthrise as well,” Shelley said. “There are only 24 people who have seen that.” SOURCE: SPACE.COM

iGotcha: high tech victim turns tables


Thieves chose the wrong target when they stole a laptop from a New Plymouth, New Zealand computer shop. Proformac Computers owner, Suman Modgill used his iPhone to turn on his stolen laptop and took pictures of the crooks using Skype. He then handed the photos to police who recognised the thieves and arrested them. Springing into action just hours after the robbery, Modgill used remote access software to track the stolen computer’s IP address and turned on the computer’s Skype function.”I got in (the computer) and turned on Skype and recorded the images on my iPhone,” Modgill said. “I gave the police the images and they recognised them.” Modgill, whose presence of mind got him his laptop back, said with the right software people can remotely turn on their computer, use applications or lock out access. “There is software and websites now that you can use to track exactly where your computer is if it is missing. If people want to pinch laptops they are going to have a hard time because you can definitely track them down quite easily.” SOURCE: STUFF.CO.NZ

Dressed to impress?

Introducing the ‘e-kiss’ Your sweetheart is on the other side of the world and you can’t touch her. But thanks to the Kajimoto Laboratory in Japan, you can now pseudo-French kiss over the internet. A straw-like component transmits tongue motion to a second device, and you can even record it for more kisses later. A celebrity could even use the device to ‘kiss’ fans. Students at Japan’s Kajimoto Laboratory at the University of Electro-Communications have created a small device that uses motor rotations with the aim of simulating the feeling of a kiss over the Internet. Graduate student Nobuhiro Takahashi — who may have too much time on his hands — has proudly demonstrated his ‘kiss transmissions device’ in a YouTube video released by Tokyo’s Kajimoto Laboratory. He says it could be the beginning of a full person-toperson web experience, and may even raise the tantalising possibility of celebrities like Justin Bieber being able to record a kiss for fans to experience. The device resembles a breathalyser, with a moveable plastic straw attached to a motorised box. SOURCE: UWILLREADNEWS.BLOGSPOT.COM

The miracle baby

A baby girl who was said to be ‘clinically dead’ by doctors has amazed her family by recovering from meningitis. Medics had told Lillie-Mai Jackson’s devastated parents that it would be best if her life-support machine was switched off. But remarkably, they gave her a second chance after her father Rupert Jackson, 31, noticed she reacted slightly every time someone closed the door and it banged. Belinda Little, 22, and her partner Jackson refused to give up on their child who had been struck down by meningococcal septicaemia. Lillie-Mai, now six-months, was 14-weeks old when she contracted the deadly virus and has lost both her legs and an arm to the disease. Despite doctors giving her just two hours to live, the child is now growing stronger with her mother and father at their home in Maryport, Cumbria, UK. Lillie still has a lot of treatment to undergo and her parents are currently raising money so that Lillie may one day be fitted with prosthetic legs. Anyone wishing to donate should visit the Lillie-Mai Trust Facebook page. SOURCE: DAILYMAIL.CO.UK

Kiwi Aik Parinda Hai! A kiwi has been found in a Russian port more than 16,000 kilometres from home — with authorities saying they have no idea how it got there. Russian media is reporting the flightless native New Zealand bird was found living in the port town of Sochi, in the Krasnodar Krai region on the Black sea. Experts believed the Kiwi may have arrived on a cruise ship, but Sochi’s port authorities denied that could happen. They say all cruise ships are subject to very strict controls. “This is such a strange story, I’m shocked!” Queenstown’s Kiwi Birdlife Park senior officer, Paul Kavanagh said. “It baffles me because kiwis are nocturnal and very shy... I’ve never heard of a black market involving kiwis.” The birds could be aggressive, have a strong kick and have been known to kill possums, Kavanagh said. “If you don’t know how to handle one, they can be very aggressive.” Zoologists fear that the bird, not being used to the local climate, may die. They are now busy figuring out how to save it.

A 12-year-old boy has gone to school dressed in a skirt to protest against ‘discriminatory’ rules which ban boys from wearing shorts. Chris Whitehead wore a girls’ knee-length skirt to classes at Impington Village College, near Cambridge, UK. Chris is protesting against a school uniform policy, which bans boys from wearing shorts during the summer. He also addressed 1,368 pupils at morning assembly wearing the black skirt, which boys are permitted to wear due to a loophole in the policy. Chris believes that forcing boys to wear long trousers during the summer affects concentration and their ability to learn. Chris’s mother Liz Whitehead, 50, has praised her son for standing up for “what he believes in”. SOURCE: DAILYMAIL.CO.UK

Sounds fishy


A red dragon fish, costing almost as much as a BMW, is available at a shop in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China. The fish, which comes from Indonesia, is 55-centimetres long and weighs 1.5 kilograms. Its scales and fins are pepper red, which is rare, as most dragon fish are usually yellow or silver. If any fish fans are interested, the price is 360,000 Yuan (Rs4.7 million). The rare fish also requires high maintenance, costing more than 300 Yuan (Rs3,917.73) per month. SOURCE:CHINADAILY.COM

The Express Tribune T2 - May 14