Studying the Sun

Needless to say that without the sun our lives would not exist. The heat and light provided by this star is what allows life to flourish on Earth. Yet as a species, we have very little knowledge about this celestial body. So NASA decided to rectify the gaps in knowledge by sending in PARKER. They feel that they will get an unprecedented view of the sun and it’s functioning if they can study it up close.

The Solar Probe was launched in August 2018 and is to pass the sun 24 times during this science project. Three of these have already been accomplished and made record improvements in our knowledge about the sun’s atmosphere also known as the corona. Four papers worth of information is already derived from the data sent back and this is just the beginning.

PARKER has the record of being the closest solar probe ever and has revealed new information about the behavior of the material and particles that speed away from the Sun. This information helps in understanding the space weather around the planet, which in turns helps scientists design technology to keep astronauts safe. It is an incredibly exciting time for heliophysics with Parker at the vanguard of new discoveries

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Avoiding the Future Food Crisis

The human population is growing much faster than in any other era in the past. The advance in science and technology has made it easier to avoid killer diseases, ensure babies are born healthy and the elderly get to live at least twice as long as in the previous century. This means more people on the planet than ever before.

The associated concern is how are we going to feed this growing population. The traditional farming practices are definitely not enough to keep the steady income of food going for this humongous population. In fact the dirt which is needed for a proper crop is also being used up at a rate much faster than the processes that create it. So how do we feed everyone in the future?

Agricultural practices that will help avoid the food crisis looming on us could include having robotic farmers, who will cut down the repetitive and boring job for farmers and work as and when required. Another practice could be to use GM crops that yield higher outputs. Saving the fertile soil that grows crops better is another priority. There are many science projects being performed to keep us in food in the future.

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Too Good To Waste

Often we have things lying around the house which are in perfect working condition, but are no longer being used by us or our family members. These things may end up in the trash during an intensive spring cleaning session. This is a true waste because it could have been used by someone else who actually required it.

In the United Kingdom a reuse charity that is called “Too Good to Waste” has set about making a difference. The South Wales based organization is collecting household items like furniture and electrical appliances, and surplus stock from high-street retailers. These items are then sold at very reasonable prices at their showrooms. This helps fund their collection drives, but they also have a number of volunteers working with them.

They often team up with other organizations to give away items that are needed in the local community for free as well. The charity is working at being self sustaining, while creating jobs for locals and saving the environment. They intend to serve local communities through developing and implementing sustainable social enterprise. Now this is one social science experiment that can be considered a huge success.

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ECG for a Blue Whale

The blue whale’s scientific name is Balaenoptera musculus. It is said to be nearly 30 meters long and weighs more than 170 tons. The marine animal is the largest living thing on the planet. It’s also an endangered species and combined with it’s size and habitat, that makes it quite a challenge for scientists to study or preserve.

And yet the human mind is capable of miracles when science matches it. So researchers came up with an idea to study the heart rate of this huge animal by using an electrocardiogram machine. The researchers created a tag device which contained the ECG machine and was attached to the blue whale with suction cups. The four suction cups were able to keep the machine on the whale in a non intrusive manner.

The rather unique science project was successful in recording that the heart beat of the blue whale dipped to 2 beats a minute when it plunged under the ocean surface. The maximum heart beat was recorded at 37 beats a minute over the nine hour study which was conducted on a 72 feet long adult male. The whole data is the only information currently available on the blue whale as it swims in the open ocean.

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Virtual Reality Glasses for Cows!

The fall in Russia is a time for extreme swings in climate from sunshine to snow. The impact on human beings of this change is well known, but humans are not the only ones who suffer. In fact veterinary experts in the country have seen animals, both domestic and wild, under go temperament changes in the season.

Scientists have been checking the overall emotional mood of the herd because they believe that a cow’s emotional state is linked to the milk it yields. In the deary winters of Russia, the quality and quantity of milk produced by cows always goes down. In an interesting science experiment, a farm just outside Moscow is giving VR glasses to their cows. These have been specially designed for their bovine users.

The wrap around virtual reality glasses are showing cows reels of summer time, green grass and meadows. The idea is to show pleasant images and videos to the cows to keep their minds off the depressing and cold winter around them. Will these actually make a difference in their emotional state? Will the milk yield of these cows be better than the ones who have no VR glasses? Only time will tell.

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Tracing Your Food

If you have ever been to an orchard and seen the trees laden with fruits, you would have noticed that no two fruits look or taste exactly the same. However when you go to the supermarket, you will find a bunch of similar sized fruits which taste pretty much similar. This is the gift of modern technology blended with farming practices and not a product of mother nature.

As people become more aware of what they are eating and the nutrition that the food provides, global food processing companies are making more of an effort to appease them with details. Quick Response or QR codes are a way that the companies are drawing a connection between the farmer who grew the produce and the people who are consuming the end product.

Scanning the QR code on your smart phone allows you to get access to information about where the food comes from, what the nutrition is like and all the steps it has taken to get to their dining table. This is a science experiment that makes consumers feel more connected to the food that they are eating, even if they are buying them from supermarkets and not farmers.

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Spending Habits and Age

How you spend your money has a lot to do with how old you feel. People save, donate, spend and plan what to leave to their heirs differently at different ages. While they found younger people are more likely to spend on youthful indulgences which can often be frivolous, the researchers at the Modern Elder Academy, also found that age itself was not responsible for the elders spending habits.

The elders who were in good health and felt that they had a long life ahead of them, had a very different attitude to investing money than those who were suffering from illness. Most elders have been through what is termed as the “great midlife edit.” This is the point in their lives when they took a long hard look at what they have accumulated in their youth, and how they can use it going forward.

Elders like to have a realistic plan about how much money they can generate from the resources they already have, in order to continue living the life they always have. While some are ready to make cuts in non-essentials, the essentials are different for each individual. Perhaps it would make an interesting science project to survey elders and come up with ways that they prepare themselves to live longer lives than what they expected to.

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The Debut Flight of the Volocopter

Flying instead of driving in traffic in the car has become more common than most people imagine, In New York City people use helicopter services that land on rooftops to get them away without having to face the nightmare that is a traffic grid. Now the Europeans are coming around to the same way of thinking.

Urban Air Mobility will get a huge boost with the Volocopter once it begins it’s operations. A commercial air taxi which can be booked by an app on your smartphone. On Saturday, September 15, 2019 the first test run of the Volocopter was conducted in Stuttgart, Germany.

The urban flight debut of the Daimler backed electric air taxi service, was conducted during a presentation at the Mercedes-Benz Museum an event called “Vision Smart City — Experience future mobility today.” Daimler is the parent company for Mercedes-Benz and began funding the science project for the drone technology based Volocopter in 2017.

The Volocopter is capable of vertical take off and landing. The system is limited to a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) and a range of roughly 27 km (16 miles). It has 18 motors and nine battery packs plus a fuselage that is robust enough for carrying passengers. Now people can dream of flying into the future instead of simply driving!

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A “Lifting” Sprint

Humans are not as strong as machines. Computers can calculate faster than the human brain. Robots are better at repetitive tasks than humans, so when we find out that a man actually beat a lift? It makes you feel good that the human body can still do something better than a machine. That’s why Polish climber Marcin Dzienski’s being lauded as a hero in what could be considered a science experiment pitting man against machine.

Marcin Dzienski raced and defeated an elevator on a six floor upwards race. The race took place outside the Westin Hotel in Warsaw at night, against an illuminated elevator. The 23 meters climb was completed by the top speed climber in 12.12 seconds. The 26 year old man is the 2016 speed climbing World Champion. His feat was achieved on a specially designed wall, and his victory was a close one with the elevator.

Speed climbing is a sport that is set to debut at the Olympics next year in Tokyo. It is an indoor rock climbing event which focuses on top speed. The sprint against the lift was a promotional event that Marcin hopes will raise awareness of this sport. He spoke of his childhood spent scaling apple trees in his grandfather’s orchard, which he said helped hone his climbing skills.

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Do Anxious Moms Have Hyperactive Children?

Folk wisdom always said not to disturb the peace of mind of pregnant women. To have them comfortable both physically and emotionally. As stress for the pregnant mother would result in harm to the infant. Scientists that conducted the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, hoped to find some truth in this folk wisdom.

The long term study was conducted on 3,199 children. The premise was that children who were born to anxious mothers were likely to show signs of hyperactivity when they enter adolescence or were aged 16 years. The mothers were categorized into “high anxiety” and “moderate anxiety” for the study. The study took place over nearly two decades and findings are still being sorted.

Findings of the study established that 11% of the children whose mothers suffered from high anxiety during pregnancy and the early life of the child, were likely to show the symptoms of hyperactivity. Although the link to ADHD was not so conclusive. Even mother showing moderate anxiety had 11% children more likely to be hyperactive.

This scientific study may not have high figures for linking anxiety in pregnant women with hyperactivity in their children as adolescents, but why take the chance? Just keep the mother to be happy!

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