Thursday, 30 April 2009
Wednesday, 29 April 2009
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
The octopus is part of the Phylum Mollusca, belonging to the class Cephalopoda. This class of molluscs have their muscular foot in the form of tentacles on their head. Most cephalopods are active predators and eat other living things. They do not have external shells, except the nautilus, and they are the most intelligent of the invertebrates. They all move by jet propulsion.
The word octopus is of Greek origin and it means “eight-footed”. It has eight flexible arms (or "feet"), which trail behind it. Most species of octopus have no rigid skeleton and this allows them to squeeze through tight spaces. An octopus has a hard beak with its mouth in the middle of its arms. They are bilaterally symmetrical with two eyes and four sets of limbs, like all other cephalopods. They are very intelligent creatures. In the wild they can build traps and to escape from predators they spit out an inky-black substance and some can even change colour to blend in with their surroundings such as the Blue-Ringed Octopus.... See the remainder of Philip's project below. Philip is currently out of school. Get well soon.
Philip - Octopus
Monday, 27 April 2009
Symptoms of swine flu in humans appear to be similar to those produced by standard, seasonal flu. These include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills and fatigue. Most cases so far reported around the world appear to be mild, but in Mexico lives have been lost. Is it safe to eat pig meat? Yes. There is no evidence that swine flu can be transmitted through eating meat from infected animals. However, it is essential to cook meat properly. A temperature of 70C (158F) would be sure to kill the virus.
Scientists have long been concerned that a new flu virus could launch a worldwide pandemic of a killer disease. A new pandemic flu virus could evolve when different flu viruses infect a pig, a person or a bird, mingling their genetic material. The resulting hybrid could spread quickly because people would have no natural defences against it. The most notorious flu pandemic is thought to have killed at least 40 million people worldwide in 1918-19. Two other, less deadly flu pandemics struck in 1957 and 1968.
Sunday, 26 April 2009
Saturday, 25 April 2009
The Three Rock Churches Environmental Group is an ecumenical alliance of 6 churches in the local area, under the chairmanship of SCC parent Pamela Shiel. They are involved in a number of ongoing projects aimed at increasing environmental awareness and improving environmental sustainability. Amongst other things, the group is involved with several tree planting initiatives, and at Thursday’s award ceremony in Dundrum Methodist Church Hall we heard about the Moringa tree (Moringa oleifera) – popularly known as “the miracle tree”, which is being planted in arid tropical regions as an important source of nutrition (see http://www.vita.ie/ for more information).
Kate was awarded her prize by Irish Times columnist Sylvia Thompson who spoke illuminatingly on her view of the major environmental problems facing us today, and on how these chimed with the themes picked out in Kate’s essay. Kate picked up a book token as her prize, and there was also a generous cash donation to the College for use in suitable environmental projects of our choosing. We will liase with Mr. Swift who runs several such initiatives and who also oversees the CSPE “Action Projects” in Form III before deciding how to use the donation (more details will follow).
Marconi’s father was an Italian “country gentleman”, and his mother (nee Jameson - as in the whiskey people) was Irish – and grew up in Daphne Castle, County Wexford. Guglielmo had a comfortable childhood, and was educated privately in Italy. From an early age he took an interest in Physics, and when he was 21 he set up a wireless system in his father’s country estate at Pontecchio, which could transmit over 1½ miles. A year later he took his system to London to look for sponsorship and support – eventually setting up ‘Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company Ltd.” in 1900. In 1901 he transmitted across the Atlantic using radio waves, from Poldhu in Cornwall to St. John’s Newfoundland (a distance of 2,100 miles). This led to the establishment of a commercial transatlantic radio link in 1907 between Clifden in Connemara and Glace Bay, Nova Scotia in Canada. For many years the standard domestic radio receiver was made by the Marconi Company - hence Michael’s opening speech in Brian Friel’s wonderful play “Dancing at Lughnasa”.
"When I cast my mind back to that summer of 1936 different kinds of memories offer themselves to me. We got our first wireless set that summer -- well, a sort of a set; and it obsessed us. And because it arrived as August was about to begin, my Aunt Maggie -- she was the joker of the family -- she suggested we give it a name. She wanted to call it Lugh after the old Celtic God of the Harvest. Because in the old days August the First was La Lughnasa, the feast day of the pagan god, Lugh; and the days and weeks of harvesting that followed were called the Festival of Lughnasa. But Aunt Kate -- she was a national schoolteacher and a very proper woman -- she said it would be sinful to christen an inanimate object with any kind of name, not to talk of a pagan god. So we just called it Marconi because that was the name emblazoned on the set."
Marconi truly changed the nature of long distance communications, and was bestowed with honours in his later life. He joined the Italian Fascist Party in 1923, and in 1927 Benito Mussolini was best man at his (second) wedding. Marconi died in Rome on July 20th 1937, and radio stations worldwide observed a two minute silence as a sign of respect.
His greatest achievements are in the study of the mechanics of air. He is probably most noted for his law concerning air volume and its relationship with pressure and temperature. To be precise, Boyle's Law states that "the volume of a given quantity of gas varies inversely with the pressure when the temperature is constant". Essentially, he is stating that if you double the pressure on a sample of gas, it's volume will half. He is also regarded as being one of the first to establish a real "scientific method", insisting experimental results should always be repeatable. He also was one of the first to propose the modern concept of elements, attacking the 2,000-year-old Aristotelian theory of four elements - earth, air, fire and water. He was friendly with Sir Isaac Newton, who shared Boyle's interest in Alchemy. He was also a keen theologian.
Robert Boyle died on the 30th December 1691 of paralysis but in his will he endowed a series of lectures, called the Boyle Lectures, where prominent academics could discuss the existence of God. These still continue today.
Friday, 24 April 2009
The Erect Crested Penguins are found only on the islands surrounding southern New Zealand. There are large numbers of them on Bounty, Antipodes and Campbell islands. The erect-crested penguins have long, silky feathers that stand straight. Spiky brush-like feathers grow from the base of the bill to the top of the head giving this penguin a distinct look. They can also raise and lower these feathers on the crest, which none of the other crested penguins can do. These birds are very sociable and nest in large colonies located close to colonies of Rockhoppers, another crested penguin. The total world population is about 200,000 breeding pairs. Their nests are shallow holes in the ground, which they line with plant material if available. After mating two eggs are laid but usually only one chick survives.
Thursday, 23 April 2009
In yet another illustration of the serendipitous nature of scientific research and understanding, it appears that the discovery of this important skeleton by geologist Natalia Rybczynski was entirely accidental. The story is that she was on the way to look at a nearby meteor impact crater when her vehicle ran out of fuel and ground to a halt. It was while she was waiting for team members to return with fresh fuel supplies that the first bone was discovered!
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
Monday, 20 April 2009
But, now let's think of what atoms are made of. We all know, or at least should know, that atoms are made of protons, neutrons and electrons. Protons and neutrons are found in the nucleus of the atom, while electrons (for simplicity's sake) orbit the nucleus. Protons are themselves incredibly small. If you were to print out this page, the ink needed to print the previous full stop would contain approximately 500,000,000,000 of them. They are found in the nucleus of the atom, along with the atom's neutrons. The nucleus contains almost 100% of the mass of the atom, but is only one millionth of a billionth of the volume of the atom. Electrons, by the way, are even smaller than protons - 1,870 times lighter in fact!
But, I'll leave you with some more mind grabbing facts. Protons, neutrons and electrons are themselves made of even more unimaginably smaller particles. Protons and neutrons are made of particles called quarks and gluons, while particles called leptons form electrons and neutrinos (see John Updike's poem published previously on the Frog Blog). Other tiny particles include photons, which carry light energy.
Yes atoms are tiny, but are huge in comparison to some of the particles that are used to build them!
Friday, 3 April 2009
Scoilnet is the portal for Irish Education and links to some fantastic Irish produced websites. The Frog Bloggers are delighted to receive the Star Site tag. Thanks Scoilnet! To visit Scoilnet click here.