Think+ Science Sample

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Vol 20 , Issue 3

Think Plus, Think Better

Viruses Four

Ever Wondered Where Our Math Symbols Come From?

Top Ten

Viji

Vijayan

Emerging Technologies

Technologies That Humans Got from the Animal and Plant Kingdoms

The Constants of Physics

Just

One Breath


Vol 20, Issue 3

Contents Cover Story

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Viruses

Dr. F. A. Murphy/USCDCP/Public Health Image Library

Da Vinci Global Report

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Experts Speak

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Ever Wondered Where Our Math Symbols Come From? Viji Vijayan

Growth Mindset

18

HOMTM Focus

12

Relationships Matter Remaining Open to Continuous Learning HOMTM Fun

30

Insights / Hacks

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News

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Top Ten Emerging Technologies Biggest Single Object in the Observable Universe | Oldest Known Item in the World | World's Largest Solar Park Now Fully Operational | World's Largest Plane Just Took Off

Think+ Heroes

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Travel Feature

28

Just One Breath 03

Primal Science

14

The Constants of Physics

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Four Technologies That Humans Got from the Animal and Plant Kingdoms Jane Goodall (1934 - )

Numbers

Viruses

Technology

Editorial Board

Think+ Science is a magazine for the enjoyment and inspiration of teens interested in the wonderful world of science and technology. We are pleased to collaborate with the Institute for The Habits of Mind to introduce thinking dispositions that make our world a more thoughtful and delightful place.

Managing Editor Dr Henry Toi Advisory Editors Prof Arthur Costa Dr Bena Kallick Editor Vinay Kumar Rai

Writers Corrine Lin Liz Mollers (Australia) Vlad Igolnikov (USA) Vinay Kumar Rai Publishing Executive Jason Ong

Writing styles used in the magazine: AG DS EP NR

(Argumentative): Provide reasons for or against a matter; usually contains author’s opinions (Descriptive): Describe a character, an event or a place in great detail (Expository): Furnish relevant facts and figures, exclude opinions (Narrative): Author places himself as the character and tells you a story

Cover: adike/Shutterstock

Think+ Science is published by Nurture Craft International Pte Ltd in collaboration with The Institute for The Habits of Mind (USA).

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Material in this issue may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior permission from the publisher. In Singapore, contact Nurture Craft International Pte Ltd. Š2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PRINTED IN SINGAPORE


Numbers

Viruses

iXimus/Pixabay

Viruses are infectious agents of small size that can replicate and multiply only in the living cells of animals, plants, or bacteria. The name comes from a Latin word meaning ‘poison’ or ‘slimy liquid’. Note that viruses are not alive: they lack any form of energy or metabolism and cannot replicate or evolve. Viruses are, in short, parasites: they depend on the host cell for almost all of their life-sustaining functions. The study of viruses is known as virology, a sub-speciality of microbiology.

1892, 1898: The year the first virus (but not yet identified as such) was discovered. Dmitri Ivanovsky, a Russian botanist, wrote an article describing a ‘non-bacterial pathogen’ infecting tobacco plants. 1898: The year the tobacco mosaic virus was discovered, by Martinus Willem Beijerinck, a Dutch microbiologist and botanist. 1901: The year the first human virus (yellow fever virus) was discovered. Viruses are found in almost every ecosystem on Earth, are the most numerous type of biological entity, and can infect all types of life forms: animals, plants, and other microorganisms such as bacteria and archaea. 1933: The year the first human influenza virus was isolated. 2: The number of classes of viruses. Viruses can contain either DNA or RNA as the basis for their genetic material; in turn, these can be single-stranded or double-stranded.

Millions: The estimated number of types of viruses on the planet. 5,000: The number of virus species that have been described in detail. 10-100: The number of genes viruses have, depending on the virus. Compare this to the figure 30,000, the number of genes in the human body. 20-400: The range of diameters in nanometres (nm or 10-9 m) of most viruses. The smallest known viruses are circoviruses (20 nm in diameter), while the largest are mimiviruses (400 nm in diameter). Coronaviruses are approximately 120 nm wide. 10: The number of years the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV, the virus that causes AIDS) can remain dormant, ie without causing any apparent changes, inside the host’s body.

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Science & Technology News

World's Largest Solar Park Now Fully Operational

P

avagada Solar Park, the world's largest solar power park, in Karnataka state, India, has now become fully operational. Generating 2,050 MW of clean energy, the park is located on land, leased from farmers, in a drought-hit area of the state. The initial plan was to build

a solar park of 2,000 MW capacity spanning 13,000 acres but an additional 50 MW capacity was added to the project. The Park was conceptualised in February 2015 and development began in January 2016. It is divided into eight blocks of 250 MW each. 

MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP via Getty Images

World's Largest Plane Just Took Off

T

he world's largest aircraft made its maiden flight on 13 April 2019 from the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California, USA. The massive airplane has a wingspan wider than a football field and was built to launch rockets from the air. It was designed by Stratolaunch, a private launch company founded by the late billionaire Paul Allen. For the past few months, Stratolaunch has been

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conducting runway tests with the giant plane. The flight was not officially announced but was spotted by photographers at the airport. After watching the plane's take-off, aerospace photographer Jack Beyer told Space.com, “It was surprising. In a way, I expected it to take longer. And then I realized it was actually effortlessly in the air and was astounded.” 


Biggest Single Object in the Observable Universe Oldest Known Item in E the World

Earliest known item: a pebble resembling a human face, from Makapansgat, South Africa.

xcluding galaxies, the biggest single object ever discovered is S5 0014+81, a quasar. A quasar is a quasi-stellar, extremely bright object with a supermassive black hole with mass ranging from millions to billions of times the mass of the Sun. Quasars release energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum. The power radiated by quasars is enormous: the most powerful quasars have luminosities thousands of times greater than that of the entire Milky Way galaxy. Quasars are among the most distant objects in the universe. Scientists were expecting an average-sized black hole at the centre but instead found one with a mass of 40,000,000,000 (40 billion) Solar masses! The Schwarzschild radius of that super heavy black hole is about 100 billion kilometres, meaning that if our sun were the size of a soccer ball, S5 0014+81’s diameter is 37.42 kilometres. Here is a picture to help you deal with the size of this object:

Photo 12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

S5 0014+81

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he Makapansgat pebble is a 260-gram, reddishbrown, cobble (larger than a pebble and smaller than a boulder). It is not an artificial object, but its natural chipping and wear patterns make it crudely look like a human face. Its age is estimated to be 3,000,000 Before Present (BP). The pebble is interesting because it was not found near any possible natural source and was linked with the bones of Australopithecus africanus in a cave in Makapansgat, South Africa. It has been suggested that some australopithecine brought it to the cave because she or he saw a human face there. This would make it the earliest known example of symbolic thinking or a sense of the human heritage, making it a candidate for the oldest known manuport (a natural object that has been moved by a human but is otherwise unchanged). ď Ž

Supermassive black hole, approx. 1582 AU diameter.

Solar system, approx. 80 AU diameter

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Cover

AG

Viruses This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like. NIAID-RML

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Š Designua | Dreamstime.com

V

iruses are very small infectious agents that contain either RNA (ribonucleic acid) or DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) as their genetic material. They are not living things, ie they cannot replicate on their own. They need a living host in whose cells they are able to replicate and then move out to infect new hosts. Viruses infect not only humans and animals but also plants and other microorganisms like bacteria and archaea, a domain of singlecelled organisms that lack cell nuclei. In fact, they are found in almost every ecosystem on Earth, are the most numerous type of biological entity, and can infect all types of life forms. In general viruses are hostspecific, meaning that viruses that infect your pet dog do not usually infect you. However, in their attempt to adapt and survive, viruses often change their genetic material which sometimes confer on them the ability to cross host species. Thus new and emerging viruses are born that can cause a lot of damage to us. Although viruses have been around for eternity, it is only in 1892 that Dmitry Ivanovsky discovered their existence in a diseased tobacco plant. Louis Pasteur and Edward Jenner developed the first vaccines without even knowing that viruses existed. Now we know a lot about viruses. Yet, we have not found vaccines for all of them and do not know how to anticipate the emergence of a new strain of viruses that can be devastating. In fact there are a lot more viruses out there that we are not even aware

Table 1: The Worst Pandemics in History Name

Death Toll (million)

Period or Year Likely Source; Spread

Cause

The Black Death

75-200

1346-1353 Europe, Africa and Asia

Bubonic Plague

Flu Pandemic

20-50

1918 Across the globe

Influenza virus

AIDS Pandemic

36

2005-2012 Across the globe, but mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa

Human immunodeficiency virus

Plague of Justinian

25

541-542 Europe

Bubonic Plague

Third Plague Pandemic

15

1855 China, India, Hong Kong

Bubonic Plague

Antonine Plague

5

165 CE Asia Minor, Egypt, Greece, and Italy

Unknown

Asian Flu Pandemic

2

1956-1958 China, Hong Kong, Singapore, USA

Influenza virus

Flu Pandemic

1

1968 Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam, The Philippines, India, Australia, Europe, USA

Influenza virus

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of. For example, bats carry many viruses but do not become sick with them. Scientists are studying

them to understand why they don’t get sick and to look for new viruses that may be circulating in the bat

Table 2: Recent Infectious Disease Outbreaks Name

Death Toll

Period or Year Likely Source; Spread

Cause

AIDS

36 million

2005-2012 Across the globe, but mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa

Human immunodeficiency virus

Asian Flu

2 million

1956-1958 China, Hong Kong, Singapore, USA

Influenza virus

COVID-19

4,299

2019-2020 China; 119 countries

SARS coronavirus

Ebola

11,000

2014 Western Africa

Ebola virus

H1N1 (Swine Flu)

150,000– 575,000

2009 Mexico; Global

H1N1 influenza virus

Hong Kong Flu

1 million

1968 Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam, The Philippines, India, Australia, Europe, USA

Influenza virus

Influenza (Flu)

80,000

2017-2018 Global

Influenza virus

MERS

862

2012-2020 Saudi Arabia; South Korea and 16 other countries

MERS coronavirus

SARS

774

2002-2003 China, 37 other countries

SARS coronavirus

Tuberculosis

1.6 million

2017 Mostly in developing countries

Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria

West Nile

2,330

1999-2018 USA

West Nile virus

Differeent types of viruses

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population. Why the interest in bats? The SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus is a coronavirus that came from bats to humans through an intermediate host like a civet cat. Viruses that come from animals and that infect humans are called zoonotic infections. The MERs coronavirus is another such virus that came from bats to humans probably through camels. Viruses are able to cross host species by varying their genetic material. Sometimes the variations are harmless and at other times they can be dangerous.

A single particle of virus can produce millions of viruses, and several changes in their genetic material can occur in just one reproductive cycle. Charles Darwin developed the theory of evolution. It states that all living species evolve through natural selection to bestow upon themselves a survival advantage, thus ensuring the continuation of their species. Viruses do the same. It is for this


reason that the flu virus changes every year and we need to be vaccinated for the new strain every year in order to have immunity against it. A single particle of virus can produce millions of viruses, and several changes in their genetic material can occur in just one reproductive cycle.

This would make the Spanish flu one of the deadliest epidemics in human history. Hubei

Many of these changes, termed mutations, are harmless. However, every once in a while, the mutation can be dangerous because it can make the virus cross species, become more deadly, allow the new virus to not be detected by the immune system of the host, or become resistant to antiviral medicines. This is what happens with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), the virus that causes the disease AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). In 1918, there was an unusually deadly flu epidemic informally called the ‘Spanish flu’. It infected 500 million people around the world, about 27% of the world population then of between 1.8 and 1.9 billion, including people on isolated Pacific islands and in the Arctic. The death toll has been estimated to be 20 million to 50 million, and perhaps as high as 100 million. This would make the Spanish flu one of the deadliest epidemics in human history. Flu viruses can come from birds and other animals. In their bodies, they mutate and infect us as new viruses every year. As urban areas expand because of rising populations, cultivation, and industrialisation, we encroach into the natural habitats of animals in forests and the wild. This forces us to live in closer proximity

Wuhan

Hunan

Newfraferz87 / Public Domain

to animals, thus increasing the chances of zoonotic infections. Many experts agree that a major global pandemic is bound to happen. Recently, in Wuhan, China, there was an outbreak of pneumonia. The most likely cause is another new coronavirus originating, according to initial assessments, from a sea-food market in the city. Fortunately the authorities were quick to recognise the dangers and took draconian preventive actions to stop the spread. Nevertheless, the virus, now officially labelled SARSCoV-2, has as of 1 April 2020 spread to 203 countries and territories around the world, infected more than 935,000 people, and killed over 47,000 people of the associated disease, COVID-19. Fortunately, almost 200,000 of the 935,000 people have recovered. All species have the survival instinct. Viruses are no different from us. 

© Dannyphoto80 | Dreamstime.com

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Da Vinci Global Report

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Ever Wondered Where Our Math Symbols Come From?

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ou've probably looked at a math equation before and wondered where the symbols came from. That could be more interesting to think about than actually solving the equation! Jokes aside, mathematics is a language. As such, it has its own symbols and characters to form that language. They come in many different shapes and sizes. There are lines, arrows, geometric shapes, parentheses, plus signs, carets (^), and many, many more! So where did they all come from? Well, math symbols come about for a few reasons: * To condense complicated phrases or actions * To indicate a specific operation (eg, adding, subtracting, dividing) * To indicate the ORDER in which arithmetic is to be carried out * To convey specific numbers that are too long or complex to write out (eg, Pi) To really understand what we mean here, let's look at

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⋂∑

Robert Recorde (1510 – 1558), sixteenth-century Welsh mathematician Quibik/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

+× −÷

iClipart (5)

He decided upon the '=' sign because it is two parallel horizontal lines that are EQUAL in length.


some specific examples.

The Origin of the Equals Sign What does the symbol ‘=’ mean to you? You probably instantly identified it as the ‘equals’ sign. But what about that symbol indicates equality? How did everyone agree that it would be the universal equals sign?

The '+' symbol is a snippet taken from the Latin word 'et', which means 'and' or 'in addition'. Well, it all starts with a mathematician named Robert Recorde in 1557. He was writing a textbook teaching Algebra to English-speaking students. Everything was going great until something started to bother him. He kept having to write the phrase 'is equal to' over and over again. This was not only tiring and hard on his arm, but it flooded the page and it made it hard to read. To illustrate, let's look at an example phrase with no math symbols at all: Two in addition to two is equal to four Wow, what a wordy mess, right? Recorde grew very tired of writing long phrases such as that, and he soon got a brilliant idea. Instead of writing the phrase 'is equal to', why not replace it with a symbol that means the same thing? He decided upon the '=' sign because it is two parallel horizontal lines that are EQUAL in length. Thus, they're the perfect symbol for equality. This is an example of a symbol that has a practical relation to what it represents. Other symbols are more abstract in design and are selected for convenience only. Recorde also introduced the '+' symbol to readers in 1557. It also has a practical origin. It's a snippet taken from the Latin word ‘et’, which means ‘and’ or ‘in addition’. Now let's take a look at that same phrase from before but with symbols used instead. '2+2=4' Wow, what a difference, right? You see, our brains like things that are simple and concise. Math symbols are great because they simplify complicated information and make it twice as easy to digest!

The '=' and '+' signs proved to be very popular, and they slowly caught on and became standard symbols. It was a slow process, however, and many people used different variations of the symbols at first.

The Percent Sign Now that you're seeing the effectiveness of using symbols to simplify things, let's look at another brief example: the percentage sign ‘%’. Does it look like anything familiar? If you said the number 100, you're right! If you think about it, a percentage is a fraction of 100. 50% of something always means half, and 50 is half of 100, get it? You can think of the '%' sign as meaning 'out of 100'.

Know Your Symbols! Okay, so now you know how math symbols came about, and what they convey. How are you supposed to know what they all mean, though? Well, the answer is the same as it is with any other language: a ton of practice and memorisation! Once you memorize what a symbol does and use it in practical applications, you'll have no trouble remembering what it does. The symbols are here to help you, not to hinder your progress. Once you understand their meaning, there'll be no stopping you from solving any math equation you come across! 

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Point(s) to Ponder

What math symbols would you invent?

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Sources / Further Reading 1. Where Do Math Symbols Come From? | TED ED, ed.ted.com/lessons/where-do-mathsymbols-come-from-john-david-walters 2. Mathematical Symbols | Encyclopedia of Math, www.encyclopediaofmath.org/index.php/ Mathematical_symbols 3. Start Using Math Symbols | Science ABC, www.scienceabc.com/pure-sciences/start-usingmath-symbols.html 4. History of Mathematical Symbols | MathServer, mathserver.neu.edu/~bridger/U201/ History_of_Math_Mathematical_Symbols.htm 5. Common Mathematic Symbols | Thoughtco, www.thoughtco.com/common-mathematicsymbols-2312232

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HOMTM Focus

iClipart

Remaining Open to Continuous Learning by Arthur L. Costa, Ed.D. and Bena Kallick, Ph.D.

All of the top achievers I know are lifelong learners … looking for new skills, insights and ideas. If they’re not learning, they’re not growing … not moving toward excellence. Denis Waitley

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S

uccessful people are in a continuous learning mode. Their confidence, in combination with their curiosity, allows them to constantly search for new and better ways to learn and improve. They seek feedback on their work — always growing, always learning, always modifying and improving themselves. They seize problems, situations, tensions, conflicts and circumstances as valuable opportunities to learn. For some people, feedback represents a threat to what they know. They fear that new information will get in the way of their work rather than help them to improve their work. They confront new learning opportunities with fear rather than mystery and wonder. They seem to feel better when they have the certainty of knowing rather than the uncertainty of learning new ideas.

[Successful people] seize problems, situations, tensions, conflicts and circumstances as valuable opportunities to learn.

They defend their biases, beliefs, and storehouses of knowledge rather than inviting the unknown, the creative and the inspirational. Perhaps some of us are afraid that if we admit our ignorance or confusion, peers and teachers will think we are a failure, that we are inadequate or stupid. On the one hand they know they must learn how to learn, but they are afraid to admit it. Being certain and closed gives them comfort while being ambiguous, doubtful and open gives them fear. However, when we are closed, we are not open to new questions, new ideas and discovering our own new capacities and innovations. Yet what we are seeing in today’s workplace is that workers value and appreciate weekly, even daily, feedback from supervisors instead of more formal annual performance reviews. Companies are ditching annual reviews for real-time feedback (Kiplinger, 2015). They recognise that continuous

That includes the humility of knowing what we don’t know, which is the highest form of thinking we will ever learn. learning is far better than a single evaluation at the end of the year. Remaining open to continuous learning is an essential characteristic of self-directed, continual, lifelong learners and should be nurtured both at home and in school. Self-directed, continuous learners are “addicted” to feedback. This implies that they actively gather and interpret feedback through self-observation by consciously monitoring their own feelings, attitudes, and skills; by inviting feedback from teachers, parents and peers; through interviews with others; and by collecting evidence showing the effects of their own efforts. These data are then analysed, interpreted and internalized. Based on this analysis, self-directed learners modify their actions to more closely achieve their goals. Thus, they become continually self-managing, selfmonitoring and self-modifying (Costa & Kallick, 1995, p. 27). Our vision is of creative students and people who are eager to learn. That includes the humility of knowing what we don’t know, which is the highest form of thinking we will ever learn. Paradoxically, unless you start off with humility, you will never get ahead. As the first step, you have to have the crowning glory of all learning: the humility to know — and admit when you don’t know — and not be afraid to find out by asking questions and seeking feedback. As Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman said, “We need to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed. It’s OK to say, ‘I don’t know’”.  References 1. 2.

Costa, A & Kallick, B. (1995 ) Assessment in the Learning Organization. Alexandria, VA: ASCD The Kiplinger Letter, Oct 16, 2015. Vol 92, No 42 p 1 Washington DC: Kiplinger.com

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Primal Science

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The Constants of Physics

I

n the world of physics, there are quantities that we call ‘physical constants’ or just ‘constants’. Let's define what a physical constant is and learn what makes it special. A physical constant is a physical quantity that's both universal in nature and completely constant in time. Let's break down each part to make some sense out of it. First off, a physical constant is a physical quantity: an amount, number, or measure. As an illustration, picture some apples on the floor. Your friend asks you to tell him the exact number of apples. You count them and tell her there are five apples. Therefore, your quantity is five. It's simply how many of something there is. Next, a physical constant is ‘universal in nature’, meaning, in this context, that the constant occurs absolutely everywhere. Here's a quick example. A sports league puts a new rule into effect that applies to every

In 1849, French physicist Armand Fizeau used this method to achieve the first terrestrial measurement of the speed of light. Encyclopaedia Britannica/UIG Via Getty Images

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single division. Since it applies to every part of the sport, the rule would be universal. So if a constant is universal in nature, it means that it occurs throughout nature, with no exceptions. Finally, we have ‘constant in time’, meaning that the constant never changes — it had the same value 10 years ago that it has now and will have the same value 10 years hence. In fact, the constant will have the same value for the rest of eternity! That can be hard to conceptualise, but it's true of the physical constants. Let's put this all together. A physical constant is a measurement (of something) that is true EVERYWHERE (universal) and ALWAYS (constant in time).

It turns out that there are 26 fundamental physical constants that define our Universe …


Dennis Nilsson/ CC BY 3.0

The gravitational constant G is a key quantity in Newton's law of universal gravitation.

Let’s look at the most widely known physical constant: the speed of light in a vacuum. Its universally recognised symbol is the lower-case letter ‘c’ and its value is 299,792,458 m/s. We say it is a physical constant because: a) a constant has to be universal in nature (check: no matter where we are in nature, the speed of light is always the same); and b) a constant must stay constant in time (check: we know its speed hasn’t changed one bit since the discovery of light, which implies it’s unlikely to change in the future, either). Two other well-known constants include ‘standard gravity’ or 'g' (~9.81 m/s2) and ‘standard atmosphere’ or 'atm' (101,325 Pa).

There are several unsolved cosmology or physics puzzles. Solving them may require additional constants. It turns out that there are 26 fundamental physical constants that define our Universe (you can find them at physics.info/constants/). These have either been observed in nature or appear in the basic theoretical equations of physics. It takes all 26 to completely describe the Universe. What this means is that given the laws of physics and these 26 constants, a computer can pretty much (but not completely) simulate the Universe we have today, from the smallest, subatomic scales to the largest, cosmic ones.

The qualification in brackets in the previous paragraph is important. There are several unsolved cosmology (a branch of astronomy concerned with the studies of the origin and evolution of the Universe) or physics puzzles. Solving them may require additional constants. Various laboratories throughout the world, such as the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), determine and refine the precise values of these physical constants. As we improve our experimental methods and techniques, the precision of these values improves. We’ll end with one final thought: some questions theoretical physicist Paul Dirac asked back in 1935. Just why is a physical constant a constant? Is it the same value everywhere in the universe? And how really constant is it? Physicists are still asking these questions today.  © Jzehnder1 | Dreamstime.com

The National Institute of Standards and Technologies in Boulder, Colorado, USA, 31 July 2016

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Point(s) to Ponder

Don’t you find it remarkable that we have physical constants that haven’t changed despite the very different states of the Universe from the Big Bang to today? Can you find something else that doesn’t change?

Sources / Further Reading 1. Physical Constant | Encyclopaedia Britannica, www.britannica.com/science/physicalconstant 2. Are the Constants of Physics Constant? | Scientific American, blogs.scientificamerican.com/ guest-blog/are-the-constants-of-physics-constant/ 3. It Takes 26 Fundamental Constants To Give Us Our Universe, But They Still Don't Give Everything | Forbes, www.forbes.com/sites/ethansiegel/2015/08/22/it-takes26-fundamental-constants-to-give-us-our-universe-but-they-still-dont-giveeverything/#31e3d5584b86 4. Introduction to the constants for nonexperts | NIST, physics.nist.gov/cuu/Constants/ introduction.html 5. Physical Constants | The Physics Hypertextbook, physics.info/constants/ 6. blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/are-the-constants-of-physics-constant/

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Think+ Heroes

DS

Jane Goodall (1934 - )

Chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans have been living for hundreds of thousands of years in their forest, living fantastic lives, never overpopulating, never destroying the forest. I would say that they have been in a way more successful than us as far as being in harmony with the environment. Jane Goodall

D

ame Jane Morris Goodall (‘Dame’ is a senior rank in the British order of chivalry, with men using the title ‘Sir’) is considered the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees. She has spent 55 years studying the social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania. Goodall’s research at Gombe Stream is best known for two discoveries: chimpanzees use tools, and chimpanzees are omnivorous. Before she came along, it was believed that only humans constructed and used tools, and that chimpanzees were vegetarians. Goodall observed chimpanzees using stalks of grass to fish for termites from a termite mount. She also recorded chimpanzees stripping off leaves from twigs to use as tools — a form of object modification that marks the beginning of toolmaking. This certainly challenged the notion of humans being the only toolmaker of the animal kingdom.

As a child, Goodall was passionate about animals. It started with getting a stuffed chimpanzee named Jubilee from her father, even though her mother’s friends all thought it might frighten young Jane. Today, Jubilee still sits in Goodall’s room in London.

Unlike academic researchers, Goodall used unconventional observation methods that ran contrary to strict scientific doctrines.

In 1957, at the age of 23, Goodall went to the Kenyan highlands to work on a farm. She boldly contacted Louis Leakey, a notable Kenyan archaeologist (person who studies human history and artefacts) and palaeontologist (person who studies fossils), to discuss animals. He sparked off her life-long work with chimpanzees and turned out to be her greatest mentor. Leaky was looking for a chimpanzee researcher at that time and found Goodall to be a good fit for the role. He sent Goodall to London to study the behaviour of primates (mammals of an order that includes monkeys, apes, and humans), then raised funds for Goodall to go to Gombe Stream in 1960. Scientist Jane Goodall In 1962, Leaky once again studies the behavior of a arranged funding for Goodall chimpanzee during her research February 15, to study at the University of 1987 in Tanzania. Cambridge. Goodall obtained Penelope Breese/Liaison/Getty Images a PhD in ethology (the science of animal behaviour) from

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Newnham College in Cambridge in 1965, with a thesis detailing her first five years of study of free-living chimpanzees at Gombe Reserve. She was the eighth person to be allowed to study for a doctorate degree there without first having obtained a bachelor’s degree. Unlike academic researchers, Goodall used unconventional observation methods that ran contrary to strict scientific doctrines. For example, researchers typically numbered their subjects to prevent emotional attachment and to remain objective in their observations.

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Point(s) to Ponder

It was through unconventional research methods that Goodall made breakthroughs with the studies of chimpanzees. What kinds of problems do can think can happen when researchers use non-standard methods?

Sources / Further Reading 1. 2. 3. 4.

About Jane | the Jane Goodall Institute, www.janegoodall.org/our-story/ Jane Goodall | Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Goodall Jane Goodall | Britannica, www.britannica.com/biography/Jane-Goodall Chimps with everything: Jane Goodall’s 50 years in the jungle | The Guardian, www. theguardian.com/science/2010/jun/27/jane-goodall-chimps-africa-interview 5. How Jane Goodall changed what we know about chimps | National Geographic, www. nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/10/becoming-jane-goodall/

… Goodall inspired the world by devoting her life to the protecting of chimpanzees and the conservation of the natural world.

However, Goodall gave names like Fifi and Davis Greybeard to the chimpanzees she was observing and noted their unique personalities, forging close relationships with them. She also installed feeding stations in the reserve so that she could observe the chimpanzees up close, a method deemed interfering with the chimpanzees’ natural feeding habits and social relationships. It was believed to cause aggression and even cannibalism among chimpanzees. Despite the criticisms, Goodall inspired the world by devoting her life to the protecting of chimpanzees and the conservation of the natural world. She stated, “the least I could do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.” She founded the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) which supports the research at Gombe Stream, and the Roots & Shoots programme, which is the JGI global youth programme. The JGI is widely recognised for communitycentred conservation and development programmes in Africa. Today, at the age of 86, Jane still travels 300 days a year to lobby governments, visit schools, and give speeches about conservation and animal-welfare issues. She has appeared in more than 40 films. A documentary about her life and work, Jane, was filmed and screened by National Geographic Documentary Films in 2017. 

Robert Gray/Getty Images

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Relationships Matter by Vinay Kumar Rai

‘Growth Mindset’ is a set of underlying beliefs that our abilities for, for example, skill acquisition, learning achievement, professional success, and personal relationships, can be developed through hard work and effort. Several studies have shown that your mindset can have a profound effect on many aspects of your life.

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© Cecil Dzwowa | Dreamstime.com

A primary school teacher interacting with his students in Zimbabwe

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o you think relationships matter? More importantly, do you behave in life as if relationships matter? We rarely talk about the importance and value of human connection. But — take this from someone who has learned from both common sense and experience — relationships and learning go together. Research backs this up. You will learn more, engage more, and gain more confidence from teachers you like. You’ll be more likely to get your voice heard, to influence people to your point of view, when you already have a good relationship with them. James P Comer, one of the world’s leading child psychiatrists, says, “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship”. George Washington Carver, a US scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor says, “All learning is understanding relationships”.

jill111/Pixabay.com (CC0)

Growth Mindset


People with a growth-mindset outlook are more intentional about creating meaningful, mutuallybeneficial relationships in the course of whatever they do.

At this point, you probably have a question: What can I, a student, do? I can pick my friends but I (usually) cannot select my school or pick the teachers I like to teach me! That’s true. There’s little you can do (except show this article to your teachers). But some factors are within your control, now that you better appreciate the value of relationships. You can participate more in class. You can do this by asking more questions or volunteering more to answer questions. You can work with your classmates to foster (promote or nurture) a classroom environment that is more conducive to (tending to bring about) learning. At this point, you probably have another question: OK, I believe relationships matter, but what do relationships have to do with the Growth Mindset? After all, my mindset depends only on me, doesn’t it? Yes. Your mindset can be changed only by you. But now that you are beginning to understand the power the Growth Mindset gives you, you can also start to appreciate the responsibility this knowledge brings. Very often the conditions for change need to be created. In a classroom, this would conventionally be the teacher’s responsibility. At home this would typically be your parents’ responsibility. There’s no reason, however, you cannot contribute to creating these conditions. There’s a marvellous saying: all change begins with you. Mahatma Gandhi put it as “Be the change you want to see in the world”. People with a growth-mindset outlook are more intentional (purposeful) about creating meaningful, mutually-beneficial relationships in the course of whatever they do. They believe that they get out of the relationship what they put into it. They make it a point to learn about others and to share about themselves, ie they communicate more often and more honestly. If your teacher understands the idea of Growth Mindsets, she will be more intentional about building

meaningful relationships with you, the student. But if she doesn’t, why wait? Why not start by being more intentional about developing meaningful relationships with her, your parents, your fellow students, etc? Rita F Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, recommends saying the following mantra to yourself (in her class, she and her students say this together). “I am somebody. I was somebody when I came. I’ll be a better somebody when I leave. I am powerful, and I am strong. I deserve the education that I get here. I have things to do, people to impress, and places to go.” Rita Pierson, “Every Kid Needs A Champion” Every one of us needs a champion. And you don’t have to wait for someone else to be your champion. Start championing yourself and the people around you that you care for. 

© Sjors737 | Dreamstime.com

Two Mayan Indian girls in Guatemala, South America, reading together

Sources / Further Reading 1. The Growth Mindset Coach (Book), 2016, Annie Brock and Heather Hundley, Ulysses Press 2. Mindsets, Mindful By Design, mindfulbydesign.com/category/mindsets/ 3. 25 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset | Open Colleges, www.opencolleges.edu.au/ informed/features/develop-a-growth-mindset/ 4. The Importance of Mindset | Skills You Need, www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/mindsets.html 5. Dr. Dweck’s discovery of fixed and Growth Mindsets have shaped our understanding of learning | Mindset Work, www.mindsetworks.com/science/ 6. Mindset Online, mindsetonline.com 7. Every Kid Needs a Champion (Video) | TED Talks Education, www.ted.com/talks/rita_ pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion

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Experts Speak

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Viji Vijayan Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Safety, Health and Emergency Management Department, Duke-NUS Medical School What Do You Do?

Multititre plates used in laboratories to culture (grow) cell samples Š Duke-NUS

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I am a specialist in biological safety and security. I deal primarily with infectious agents such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites, especially those that cause disease in humans (pathogens). My work takes place in laboratories that focus either on diagnosis or research. The research side involves learning everything we can about infectious agents. This includes which environments they thrive in, how they spread, what their biological makeup is, etc. By studying infectious agents we learn how to fight them more effectively. This kind of research is what leads to the discovery of vaccines for viruses. The diagnosis side involves identifying infections and diseases. For example, let's say that an animal gets sick on a farm. It's an unusual illness that the farmer hasn't seen before. That's when he contacts a lab such as the one


I work in to have a diagnosis performed. Once we can identify the illness, we can start thinking about how to treat it. My work involves biological safety and security. Let's take a closer look at both to get an understanding of the difference.

Duke-NUS Medical School © Duke-NUS

What is Biological Safety and Security?

Let’s say there's an infected animal with a strange disease that no one has seen before, and it needs diagnosing. It's not as simple as walking right up to the animal and performing tests. Infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria are contagious. This means that the infection can spread from animal to person and vice versa. What I have to do is consider how to keep my researchers SAFE from infection. I also have to make sure they keep the virus CONTAINED, ie not get out to the general population. This is the safety side of my job. Now let's tackle the security side of things. Infectious agents such as viruses and parasites are incredibly dangerous if they fall into the wrong hands. If an infectious agent fell into the hands of someone with malicious intent, it could spell disaster. That's why my team and I have to keep these biological agents SECURE. As long as they're locked up, they can prevent any incidents from occurring. Let's make it really easy to remember: Biological Safety = Containment Biological Security = Prevention

What’s Your Educational Background?

I am a classically trained medical doctor, ie I attended and completed medical school. It was during my time at

medical school that I discovered infectious agents. I found them so fascinating — you could say I got bitten by the bug — that I decided not to practice medicine and instead pursue a Ph.D. in microbiology. Why did I find infectious agents so intriguing? Two reasons: their size and impact. A virus is something that's so tiny that it can't be seen even with a microscope. It's so small and yet it can have such a devastating impact. As we're currently seeing with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, one infectious agent can bring the world to its knees! Becoming a microbiologist was a long road. It took me around 10 years to complete my training (including taking time off to look after my kids). During this time, I did mainly research-oriented work, immersing myself in the study of biological agents. One day I took on a supporting research job. It dealt with ensuring the safety of the labs I worked in. That's how I transitioned into the biological safety and security field. My experience as a scientist and researcher helped immensely: I understood how labs work and the problems that people in the labs faced. I’ve now spent 15 years in the field of biological safety and security.

"Why did I find infectious agents so intriguing? Two reasons: their size and impact. A virus is something that's so tiny that it can't even be seen with a microscope. It's so small and yet it can have such a devastating impact."

What Do You Currently Do?

I currently shoulder several responsibilities at my medical school. For one, I’m in charge of ensuring procurement is being handled correctly. For instance, the school needs to order a chemical for a lab. I will have to make sure that the school has the proper license for it, that the staff is trained on how to handle it, etc. I’m also in charge of creating policies and standard operating procedures for my labs. As a rule of thumb, I always include staff members in forming these policies and rules. That's because they're the ones that the policies will directly affect. They should have a say in matters that will affect their day-to-day duties. It wouldn't make sense for me to write a bunch of policies in my office without understanding the ground realities.

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… workplaces always come with the conflicting goals of safety and productivity In addition to these duties, I help organisations come up with safety systems. I’m a consultant for WHO and the European Union in the field of biological safety and security. For example, I recently did some consulting work in a Southeast-Asian country. Their labs were looking at diphtheria, an infection of the nose and throat. To do so, they needed to put into place a strong safety infrastructure. That way they could ensure that their researchers wouldn't become exposed to the bacteria. Also, they needed to figure out a way to keep the bacteria secure and away from the wrong people. The system we put into place, a collaborative effort between the lab employees and me, addresses both of these issues and more.

What About Biosafety in Singapore?

Singapore is a highly developed country with excellent safety standards. In 2006, the Biological Agents and Toxins Act came into effect. This regulates the import, possession, transfer, and transport of biological agents and toxins. The Biosafety Branch of the Ministry of Health is in charge of enforcing the Act. Singapore also utilises a Matrix Risk Assessment for hazards. This is a color-coded chart that lists risks in several different categories of severity. Any risk in the severe category needs mitigating before work can continue.

Working in the fume hood Jia He / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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Any Concluding Thoughts?

In conclusion, I'd like to highlight two points. First is the importance of setting up a no-blame culture. This is also referred to as a 'just culture'. It means that when something goes wrong, you don't assign blame to someone. After all, we're human beings and we make mistakes. There's a crucial reason for doing this. Let's say someone makes a mistake at your organisation. If you blame, shame, and punish your employees for mistakes, they will not want to share. In future, they'd much more likely try to bury the mistake to avoid the blame. On the other hand, if you have a just culture in place, the opposite will happen. Since they know that they will receive no blame, they will be far more likely to call attention to their mistake. In the field of biosafety, this is especially important. If things go wrong, we need to know! As such, employees should feel open to sharing mistakes or accidents. That way we can go about forming a system to ensure they don't occur again. Being safe and secure is all about open and clear communication. Second, workplaces always come with the conflicting goals of safety and productivity. I like to say that the safest airline is the one that doesn’t fly — but then what good is it? My point is that safety people like me should always sit with the people doing the actual work (called shop-end workers in safety science) and come up with a suitable compromise to ensure people are kept safe while work gets done. 


Enquires: box@nurturecraft.com.sg www.nurturecraft.com Hotline: 9005 9644

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Technology

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Four Technologies That Humans Got from the Animal and Plant Kingdoms Evolution gave animals and plants some handy tools. Now humans are starting to use them too!

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ince the beginning of life on Earth, animals and plants have adapted to their environments by developing unique body parts, behaviours, and skills. Now, scientists are studying the animal and plant kingdoms to apply some of those features to modern technology. Biomimetics, also known as biomimicry, is the study of the use of synthetic materials to create artificial versions of natural mechanisms and processes. By recreating some of the tools animals and plants use to survive, we can take advantage of the efficient solutions nature took millions of years to come up with.

Now, scientists are creating new synthetic materials modelled after shark skin to keep germs and barnacles from attaching to the surface of ships, reducing drag by up to 60%, thus making the ships faster and more energy-efficient.

Shark Skin – Germ-free Surfaces Sharks, unlike many other marine animals, are not prone to other organisms, such as algae or barnacles, growing on them. This phenomenon is thanks to their unique skin, which looks smooth but feels rough to the touch, like fine sandpaper. Up close, shark skin is covered in tiny v-shaped scales called dermal denticles, which prevent barnacles and even bacteria from attaching to the shark’s skin, keeping them streamlined and efficient in the water.

christels/pixabay.com

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Termite mounds, Australia hbieser/pixabay.com

Termite Mounds – Ventilation The African desert has one of the hottest climates on the planet, yet one organism has come up with a way to build structures that stay cool even in direct sunlight. Termites build their mounds with an ingenious ventilation system consisting of a central air tunnel that is surrounded by smaller buttresses (structures built against a wall for support or reinforcement). As air is heated in the surrounding columns, the warm air is pulled into the central chimney and out of the mound, keeping cool air inside. The Eastgate Centre, a large shopping centre in Zimbabwe, was modelled after the same principle. It uses no traditional air conditioning or heating but stays at a comfortable temperature year-round by following the termites’ clever design.


OrnaW/pixabay.com

The African desert has one of the hottest climates on the planet, yet one organism has come up with a way to build structures that stay cool even in direct sunlight.

Bru-nO/pixabay.com

Seeds – Velcro The ubiquitous (commonly seen) hook-and-loop fastener known by the brand name Velcro was created in 1941 by Swiss engineer George de Mestral after walking his dog. After examining under a microscope the thistle burrs that had gotten attached to his Irish pointer’s fur, he found that the plants had hundreds of tiny hooks that easily latched on to animals’ hair fibres. De Mestral created a fastener that had one velvety side of soft loops, and one coarse side of tiny hooks shaped like the ends of crochet needles. The words ‘velvet’ and ‘crochet’ make up the name Velcro, the easy-to-use fastener we can find on everything from athletes' shoes to space suits.

Kingfisher – Bullet Trains The Japanese have been traveling by bullet trains, known as Shinkansen, that can go faster than 200kph for over 50 years. However, when they were first invented, the trains’ designers had not anticipated the intense air pressure that would build up at such high speeds. When

The kingfisher’s beak has a unique ability to cut through the water without causing ripples, which would otherwise scare away fish.

the Shinkansen exited a tunnel, the air pressure at the nose of the train collided with the air outside the tunnel, creating a loud ‘boom’ sound that disturbed passengers. An engineer named Eiji Nakatsu, who also happened to be a bird enthusiast, reasoned that the train needed to cut through the air instead of pushing it, like a diver cutting through water. Nakatsu took inspiration from the kingfisher, a bird that dives to catch fish. The kingfisher’s beak has a unique ability to cut through the water without causing ripples, which would otherwise scare away fish. Today, the Shinkansen has a long, beaklike nose shaped like the kingfisher’s, allowing it to operate almost silently, even through tunnels. 

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Point(s) to Ponder

Sometimes discovering the secrets behind animals’ survival skills involves experimenting on them. Do you think we have the right to do that?

Sources / Further Reading 1. 7 Animal-Inspired Pieces of Technology | Baba-Mail, www.ba-bamail.com/content. aspx?emailid=27612 2. 10 Technologies We Stole From the Animal Kingdom | www.mentalfloss.com/ article/22702/10-technologies-we-stole-animal-kingdom 3. Biomimetic design: 10 examples of nature inspiring technology | Science Focus, www. sciencefocus.com/future-technology/biomimetic-design-10-examples-of-nature-inspiringtechnology/ 4. Biomimetics | Wikipedia, www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biomimetics 5. Biomimicry: 7 Clever Technologies Inspired by Nature | Live Science, www.livescience. com/28873-cool-technologies-inspired-by-nature.html 6. Five animals that have inspired modern technology | BBC, www.bbc.co.uk/ newsround/34592574 7. How Animals Shaped Our Modern World | Popular Mechanics, www.popularmechanics. com/science/animals/g28912650/animal-inspired-technologies/

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Insights / Hacks

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10

Top

Emerging Technologies

Smartphone with biometric capability allowing the use of fingerprints to unlock the phone geralt/pixabay.com

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t's an exciting time to be alive if you're a fan of technology! As we enter a new decade, there are plenty of new and evolving technologies to get excited about. In particular, let's look at the top 10 emerging technologies. These are the topics that are generating the most buzz in the tech world.

10. Distributed Cloud The distributed cloud idea has been making huge waves in tech circles lately. It takes cloud computing and storage to the next level. The 'cloud' works by storing data in a remote location accessible via the Internet. Users then gain access to this data via the Internet. That allows them to not only back up files but also store data solely on the cloud. A distributed cloud goes a step further by storing data, computation, and networking on a ‘micro-cloud’ — a cloud that's stored outside of the main cloud.

9. Internet of Things The Internet of Things (IoT) is a giant network of

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connected devices, sensors, machine components and other things all connected to the Internet (and therefore to each other). The point is that all these things can communicate with each other (without human interaction) and with human beings over the Internet. A great example is the ‘smart home’; thermostats, electronics, lights, and more are all online and can communicate and interact with each other. Estimates of the number of connected devices in the near future range from 26 billion to 100 billion!

8. Biometrics Biometrics refers to the measurement of physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, DNA, or retinal patterns, for use in verifying the identity of individuals. An example of biometrics in action is unlocking your phone with your fingerprint. The popularity of biometrics is definitely on the rise!

7. Hyper-Automation The difference between automation and hyperautomation is that the former can handle only tasks


experience. This poses some exciting possibilities. Picture this: you go to work inside a virtual office space instead of a physical one. That means you can design your office to look however you like.

4. Artificial Intelligence AI involves machines that are smart enough to think and make decisions on their own. We've seen a huge jump in technology in recent years, with many companies utilizing chatbots on their websites. We're still in the infancy of AI, but things are sure to get interesting within the next few decades. A 3D printer ZMorph3D/pixabay.com

3. AI-Related Products AI has become so big that it has its own sub-fields. AI-related products, one sub-field, are set to flood the market in the future. Examples are robots and drones that deliver food and other items straight to your door.

2. Robotics Robots are automating more and more routine processes all around the world. With the combination of AI and robots, much more complicated tasks will become automated and many jobs will be lost.

1. 3D Printing while the latter handles complex processes and involves combining advanced technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Together, they can automate processes that at one time were impossible to automate.

6. Human Augmentation Human augmentation refers to using technology to enhance the human experience. Today, that mainly means using technology to enhance our senses (improving vision and hearing), and augmentation of our physical body (use of prosthetics and exoskeletons that can increase our physical potential). Scientists are also looking at ways to enhance our speed, durability, and more.

5. Multi-experience In recent years we've seen virtual reality (VR) become very popular. It's shown up in video games and at amusement parks. There's also augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality to add to the equation. All these are changing the way companies are approaching the user

This is an incredible process that involves ‘printing’ 3D objects. It's gotten more and more sophisticated in recent years, and it's sure to continue to rise. It also offers businesses a chance to save money manufacturing complex parts in low volumes. Another valuable use is that, before 3D printing, if your town didn't have a certain component or product, you were out of luck. Now as long as a 3D printer is available and you have the specifications of that product, you can just print whatever you need. ď Ž

Sources / Further Reading 1. Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020 | Gartner, www.gartner. com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2019-10-21-gartner-identifies-the-top-10-strategictechnology-trends-for-2020 2. Top 10 emerging technologies of 2019 | Tech Republic, www.techrepublic.com/article/top10-emerging-technologies-of-2019/ 3. Latest Technology Trends That Will Impact Businesses in 2020 | Mobile App Daily, www. mobileappdaily.com/future-technology-trends 4. Top 8 Technology Trends for 2020 | Simplilearn, www.simplilearn.com/top-technologytrends-and-jobs-article 5. Top 10 Technology Trends for 2020 | Towards Data Science, towardsdatascience.com/ top-10-technology-trends-for-2020-4a179fdd53b1

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Travel Feature

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Togean

Sulawesi

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everal years ago I spent some time travelling through various parts of Indonesia, including one of the largest islands: Sulawesi. It’s a diverse place, home to a multitude of unique groups inhabiting different parts of the island. The shape of Sulawesi island somewhat resembles the letter K. There are many small islands in the surrounding waters, and in the central eastern area is a collection of islands called the Togean islands. In these waters lives an ethnic group called the Bajau people and often referred to as “nomadic sea gypsies”. Sulawesi has the largest Bajau

Just One Breath by Liz Mollers

A free diver with mask and fins swimming with a manta ray, Manta alfredi, in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. This remote, tropical region is known as the heart of the Coral Triangle due to its extraordinary marine biodiversity. © Ethan Daniels | Dreamstime.com

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community of approximately 300 families, but there are much smaller Bajau communities scattered across the Asia Pacific region. They are famed for their unusual maritime culture; for their off-land lifestyles, living in wooden huts on stilts over shallow seas; and particularly for their incredible ‘free diving’ skills (ie, holding their breath when diving underwater). When I came to the Togean islands to scuba dive, I had never heard of


them until I met Mike, a curious Canadian traveller. He told stories of the Bajau people and how it was his dream to come into contact with them. After speaking with some locals on the tiny island where we were staying, we managed to find a fisherman willing to take us on his boat to visit the Bajau community.

They practise holding their breath from childhood so they are able to reach a meditative state and relax enough to dive down many metres for five minutes or more on a single breath.

Under a stunning blue sky, we glided in a small longtailed wooden boat across the sparkling turquoise (blue to blue-green) waters in anticipation. After an hour or two we arrived at the stilt-house village. We stepped off the boat and were immediately greeted with bright eyes and big smiles. Having been in Indonesia for some months prior to this encounter, my knowledge of Indonesian language was conversational, and we were warmly welcomed and invited to spend the day playing ball games with the kids and speaking with the adults about their lives on the sea. We discovered that Bajau children usually learn to dive before they can walk and continue to improve this skill long into old age. They spend hours in the water each day, which strengthens their eye muscles and allows them to see well underwater. They practise holding their breath from childhood so they are able to reach a meditative state and relax enough to dive down many metres for five minutes or more on a single breath. They do this completely unassisted. No tank of air, weight belt, or fins on their feet, their only aid a pair of hand-carved wooden and polished turtle-shell goggles that are custom made for each villager. As they grow older, they

learn to dive with a handmade speargun crafted from a steel rod, a piece of wood, a nail, some tyre rubber, and a piece of wire, which they use to catch fish and harvest sea cucumbers. This technique is used daily by the Bajau people for their main source of food. An old woman told me that each day they spend more than half of their working hours underwater! We were lucky enough to watch one of our new friends demonstrate this skill for us and we were soon treated to some freshly caught fish cooked over an open fire. I was also very generously gifted an old pair of handmade goggles as a souvenir by an elderly man from the community. Upon our return to our tiny island later that evening, we spoke with the owner of our bungalow homestay, Aka. Although he hosts guests from all over the planet, he’s never left Indonesia. In fact, the furthest he’d ever ventured was as a young man when he spent a couple of years on the mainland of Sulawesi, approximately 200 km away. He hated it. “I couldn’t go fishing”, he complained. I wasn’t surprised: Aka’s blood is Bajau! 

An old woman told me that each day they spend more than half of their working hours underwater!

Traditionial Bajau village with bridge and wooden houses on the Togean islands in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia © Zdenek Adamec | Dreamstime.com

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HOMTM Fun

Crossword Complete the crossword puzzle using the clues given below. The words come from the article “Remaining Open to Continuous Learning�.

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ACROSS ACROSS

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4. a strong desire to know something desire know something 1 4 a strong 6. having goodto imagination or original ideas good or imagination original 2 6 having 8. a report evaluation ofor a subject or event ideas 3 10. come face to face with or evaluation of a subject or to be 13. information about reactions to a task, 5 8 a report used as basis for improvement event 7 14.face remaining throughout to face with a person’s life 9 10 come 16. unbroken, without interruption about reactions to a task, 11 13 information 17.used explain meaning of information or actions 12 to be asthe basis for improvement 18. makethroughout or become better a person's life 15 14 remaining unbroken, without interruption 16 17 explain the meaning of information or actions 18 make or become better 30

1. engaging, alert and lively engaging, alert and larger livelyover time 2. develop or become develop or becomeduring larger over time 3. find unexpectedly a search find unexpectedly duringof a search 5. recognise the full worth recognise full worth of 7. mental orthe emotional strain 9. a serious disagreement or argument mental or emotional strain firm conviction a 11. serious disagreement or argument 12. conviction make minor changes to things firm 15. together from scattered makebring minor changes to thingsplaces bring together from scattered places


HOMTM Fun

Maths Symbols Read the article “Ever Wondered Where Our Math Symbols Come From?” then, for each row in the table below, write down the symbol and what it represents corresponding to the description. Description

Symbol

Represents

Two parallel horizontal lines equal in length A snippet from the Latin word “et” which means “and” or “in addition” A fraction of 100

Mimicking Animals Read the article “Four Technologies that Humans got from the Animal and Plant Kingdoms” then, for each empty box below, find an appropriate name or description to fill the box. Finally, come up with some original new uses or products of your own! Biomimetrics Animal

Shark skin

Dog An effective ventilation system

covered in tiny v-shaped scales which prevent bacteria from attaching

Kingfisher

Plants with tiny hooks attach easily onto dogs’ hair fibres

Description

Improve a building’s ventilation system

Bullet train design

Uses

Shark skin - covered in tiny v-shaped scales which prevent bacteria from attaching – redesign ship surface to make ship faster and more efficient Termite mounds - An effective ventilation system - Improve a building’s ventilation system Dogs - Plants with tiny hooks attach easily onto dogs’ hair fibres – Velcro fasteners Kingfisher – a beak that cuts through water without causing ripples – bullet train design

Mimicking Animals %

A fraction of 100

+

A snippet from the Latin word “et” which means “and” or “in addition”

equal

=

Two parallel horizontal lines equal in length

Represents

Symbol

Description

Maths Symbols

Answers 31

A fraction of 100 addition

Crossword:

A C U T I C R E A T I V E E T E C C O N F R O M S N O I F D O L L I F E L O N G I F A C Y T T H I M P R O V E R

Solution:

G D R I O S I T Y O S A W C P O P V R R E V I E R C N T C I F E E D B A R T T E A O N T I N U O U N I N T E R P R Y

E T S C K W