Boats need a power source to move them forward in the water. In small vessels this power can be provided by people, who use oars to paddle along. Muscle power cannot move boats very fast or very far, though. The wind can be used, too, to move boats equipped with sails. But for a large boat that needs to go a long distance, the most reliable source of power is a motor-driven engine. Depending on the size of the boat, a gasoline engine, diesel engine, or steam engine does the job. Nuclear power is even used to run some boat engines, like those found in submarines. Motors rotate boat propellers, which have large twisting blades that radiate around a central hub.
These blades push water backward, and the boat moves forward as the disturbed water pushes back. Rotating propellers also create lower water pressure in the space in front of them, which sucks them forward, along with the vessel to which they are attached. (Using these same principles of movement, propellers can also power aircraft.) A boat is steered by a rudder, Which is a flat, upright, movable piece of wood or metal that is attached to its stern, or rear. When turned, the rudder changes the direction of the water around it, which pushes back, forcing the stern, and gradually the rest of the boat, to change direction, too.
In 1943 and 1944, the British government developed two Colossus computers. These huge machines were electronic computing devices used by British code breakers to read encrypted German messages during World War II. Dubbed “Colossus Mark 1” and “Colossus Mark 2” these devises were the world’s first programmable, digital, electronic, computing machines.
Based on concepts of the British mathematician Alan M. Turing, the mathematician Max Newman and engineer Tommy Flowers designed and built the machines, which used vacuum tubes (thermionic valves) to perform the calculations. The Colossus hardware and blueprints were destroyed as part of an effort to keep the project secret. However, based on notes in engineers’ logs and other information, in 2007 a functional replica of a Colossus computer was completed. The computer is on display at the Bletchley Park Museum in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England.
In 1823, the English mathematician originated the concept of a programmable computer. At this time, he persuaded the British government to finance what he called an “analytical engine.” This would have been a machine that could undertake any kind of calculation. It would have been driven by steam, but the most important innovation was that the entire program of operations was stored on a punched tape (a long strip of paper in which holes are punched to store data).
Babbage’s machine was not completed in his lifetime because the technology available to him was not sufficient to support his design. However, in 1991 a team lead by Doron Swade at London’s Science Museum built the analytical engine (sometimes called a “difference engine”) based on Babbage’s work. Measuring 10 feet (3 meters) wide by 6.5 feet (2 meters) tall, it weighed three tons and could calculate equations down to 31 digits. The feat proved that Babbage was way ahead of his time, even though the device was impractical because one had to a turn a crank hundreds of times in order to generate a single calculation. Modern computers use electrons, which travel at the speed of light.
First built in 1960 by American physicist Theodore Maiman, lasers are machines that produce intense beams of high-energy light. Laser light is more powerful than ordinary light because all its rays have the same wavelength and move together in exactly the same direction, allowing them to be focused in a narrow beam with great precision.
Laser light beams vary in strength, depending on the materials and amount of energy used to make them. Lasers can melt, burn, or cut through a variety of different surfaces, from hard metal to the delicate human body, which is why they are often used in surgery today. Lasers can be used to make precise measurements, to reshape corneas to correct poor vision, to transmit telephone signals, to guide weapons, and to read supermarket bar codes.
Yes. Organic farmers also try to do more tasks using human power rather than gas-powered vehicles, thereby using less fuel and cutting down on pollution. Organic farms that raise livestock like dairy cows or chickens feed the animals with natural food, avoiding pollution-causing chemicals and growth hormones that make cows produce more milk and chickens produce more eggs.
Some organic farmers also allow their animals to roam in a large area (such animals are described as “free range”) rather than keeping them in small, climate-controlled pens for their entire lives.
The human body is a complicated living machine in which various systems work together as a functioning whole. All the parts of the body—including hundreds of rock-hard bones and quarts of blood—are made up of cells, about 100 trillion (100,000,000,000,000) cells in all! Twenty-two internal organs—the large body parts like the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys—perform special jobs and work together to form the different body systems. There are eight key systems in the body. The muscular system, made up of more than 600 muscles, enables our bodies to make all of their movements. The circulatory system carries oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. The skeletal system is made of the bones that form the skeleton and give the body its shape. People breathe using the respiratory system. The body’s heat-control system is called the integumentary system, which is made up of skin, hair, nails, and sweat glands. The reproductive system creates new life.
The nervous system processes information from both inside and outside the body and sends messages, via its nerves, to different parts of the body. And the digestive system helps us digest our food and nutrients and gives us energy to go through the day. There are other systems, too, that help the body sustain life, including the immune system, which fights off invading viruses and diseases, and the urinary system, which helps keep the inside of the body clean and eliminates waste. The endocrine system, made up of glands, sends hormones around the body to trigger growth and to control other activities. These body systems work together to keep all human beings alive and healthy.
Guglielmo Marconi, of Bologna, Italy, was the first to prove that radio signals could be sent over long distances. Radio is the radiation and detection of signals spread through space as electromagnetic waves to convey information.
It was first called wireless telegraphy because it duplicated the effect of telegraphy without using wires. On December 21, 1901, Marconi successfully sent Morse code signals from Newfoundland to England.
The good thing about fission-generated nuclear energy is that very little fuel is needed to produce huge amounts of energy. (Two pounds of nuclear fuel could produce as much energy as 6.5 million pounds of coal, for instance!) The challenging part is that the process must be very carefully controlled. (In a nuclear reactor, control rods that absorb neutrons are moved in and out of the core to control the process.) If it isn’t controlled, the result could be a build up of pressure within the reactor. If this continues, radioactive gases might be released along with steam. It was a situation like this that happened at the Chernobyl plant in the Soviet Union in 1986, resulting in radioactive pollution that still exists today. An uncontrolled nuclear reaction can cause harmful radioactive materials (such as iodine isotopes that can cause thyroid cancer) to be released into the environment. This by-product of nuclear fission is a problem connected with nuclear power. Nuclear reactors are encased in thick layers of steel and concrete to keep radiation from escaping.
And because leftover nuclear fuel is highly radioactive, it must be carefully stored far away from people for decades or even centuries before it is safe again. Transporting and disposing of dangerous waste is another challenge presented by nuclear power; at present, used fuel is sealed in safety containers and buried deep underground. The nuclear process that we get our power from is called fission, where atomic nuclei that break apart produce great energy and heat. But nuclear power can also be created by a process called fusion, where atomic nuclei join together. Scientists are still working on creating a satisfactory fusion reactor. The Sun produces its great energy and heat through the nuclear fusion of its hydrogen gases.
Yes. The air inside your home might be filled with toxins from tobacco smoke, cleaning products, ceiling tiles, and upholstery. Scientists have discovered that many types of houseplants absorb airborne pollutants as part of their normal “breathing” process—they take carbon dioxide in through their leaves, and let oxygen out. The plant transports these toxins to their roots, where microbes feed on and detoxify them.
Although scientists disagree about how many—and what types of—houseplants it takes to clean the air, they suggest using a mix of plants. Bill Wolverton, a former NASA scientist and environmental engineer, studies the effects that plants have on air quality and has rated the areca palm, lady palm, bamboo palm, rubber plant, and dracaena as highly effective at clearing pollutants from the air.
1. We should never put anything in or near our eyes, unless we have a reason to use eye drops. We would only do that if our doctor or parent told us to use them.
2. If the lens in our eye doesn’t work quite right, we can get glasses to help us see. Glasses have lenses in them that work with our eye’s own lens to help us see better.
3. Just behind the pupil is a lens. It is round and flat. It is thicker toward the middle.
4. Over the front of our eye is a clear covering called the “conjunctiva.”
5. Blinking helps to wash tears over our eyeballs. That keeps them clean and moist. Also, if something is about to hit our eye, we will blink automatically.
6. Some people start to sneeze if they are exposed to sunlight or have a light shined into their eye.
7. The highest recorded speed of a sneeze is 165 km per hour.
8. Our eyes have many parts. The black part on the front of our eye is called the “pupil.” It is really a little hole that opens into the back part of our eyes.
9. Our body has some natural protection for our eyes. Our eyelashes help to keep dirt out of our eyes. Our eyebrows are made to keep sweat from running into our eyes.
10. The most common injury caused by cosmetics is to the eye by a mascara wand.
11. It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
12. Around the pupil is a colored muscle called the “iris.” Our eyes may be BLUE, BROWN, GREEN, GRAY OR BLACK, because that is the color of the iris.
13. Our eyes are very important to us, and we must protect them. We don’t want dirt, sand, splinters or even fingers to get in our eyes.
14. The reason why your nose gets runny when you are crying is because the tears from the eyes drain into the nose.
15. The space between your eyebrows is called the Glabella.
16. The white part of our eye is called the “sclera.” At the front, the sclera becomes clear and is called the “cornea.”
17. We don’t want our eyes to get scratched or poked. That could damage our sight!
18. Babies’ eyes do not produce tears until the baby is approximately six to eight weeks old.
19. Inside our eye, at the back, is a part called the “retina.” On the retina are cells called “rods” and “cones.” These rods and cones help us to see colors and light.
20. Your eyes blinks over 10,000,000 times a year!
21. The study of the iris of the eye is called iridology.
22. The shark cornea has been used in eye surgery, since its cornea is similar to a human cornea.
23. The number one cause of blindness in adults in the United States is diabetes.
24. The eyeball of a human weighs approximately 28 grams.
25. The eye of a human can distinguish 500 shades of the gray.
26. The cornea is the only living tissue in the human body that does not contain any blood vessels.
27. The conjunctiva is a membrane that covers the human eye.
28. Sailors once thought that wearing a gold earring would improve their eyesight.
29. Research has indicated that a tie that is on too tight cam increase the risk of glaucoma in men.
30. People generally read 25% slower from a computer screen compared to paper.
31. Men are able to read fine print better than women can.
32. In the United States, approximately 25,000 eye injuries occur that result in the person becoming totally blind.
33. All babies are colour blind when they are born.
34. A human eyeball weighs an ounce.