Saturday, 3 November 2012

Blog migrated

Please visit for new updates and a new appearance!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Planted in Fascination

When I was younger, around the age of five, my father told me not to peel or scratch the bark off a tree. He said they can feel, a bit like humans, and it would hurt them, just as it would hurt us if someone tried to peel our skin off! OUCH!

Anyway, nearly eight years on and this advice and information has stuck with me for as long as I can remember, so I suppose it was a familiar come back when I stumbled across a fascinating article in the New Scientist magazine. The article was about how plants and trees touch, hear, taste, smell and see. 

Today, many trees are being cut down, to build roads e.t.c. Plants aren’t really a big deal anymore, gardening shows are being replaced by talent contests. So is it really a big surprise when a group of scientists find out how trees and plants can use their senses? Probably not. 

In mythological stories e.g. lord of the rings, trees were thought of as humans and treated with just the same amount of respect. But that’s all changed now, trees obviously can’t be seen as humans...or can they?! 

Did you know that plants SEE light? They have photoreceptors in their stems and leaves, sort of like how we have them in their eyes. Plants can also see and know where the direction of light is coming from; it’s as if they are hungry for it. 

And if you thought that was clever wait until 
you hear about the Venus Fly Trap! The Venus Fly Trap is known for the way it senses a fly coming towards it and magically traps it in it powerful leaves. But how exactly does it do this? Well, when a fly comes towards the plant it sends a current which radiates throughout its leaves, it then activates the ion channels in the cell membrane and snaps shut! This all takes place in less than a tenth of a second. 

So it is now beginning to become clearer on how trees and plants use their five senses. These magnificent creations play a very important role in the universe and I suppose it’s safe to say they are not a graffiti wall, but are extraordinary in their purpose and should be well honoured.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Victoria Pendalton and Jess Varnish's Disqualification: Olympics

So there I am sat on the couch, with a can of coke in one hand and a packet of crisp in the other (clearly betraying Gary Taubes) and enjoying one of my favourite events in the Olympics, the Keirin Cycling Sprint. This sport is for the most agile of cyclists, and in order to compete for this even, both your strength and stamina has to be at its maximum. 

 On this particular occasion it was the women who were competing (Australia vs Great Britain). It was very intense because quite a lot of people wanted “team GB” to win but were aware of Australia’s capability and how good they were. Fortunately Great Britain powered their way through the course beating Australia and it was soon announced that Jess Varnish and Victoria Pendleton had broken the world record! The crowd here hysterical and everyone was really proud, Pendleton was honoured and overjoyed with her effort. 

Whilst the audience were celebrating Great Britain’s success, the mood quickly vacillated (as it often does in sport) from joy to despair as it was announced that Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish had been disqualified! Why?! They gave an outstanding performance and Pendleton could have won 3 medals in one game if she had not been disqualified



So what was real reason Varnish and Pendleton were disqualified? It is believed it was due to the fact that she had set off too early, a hundredth of a second to be precise. That’s faster than the blink of an eye! This one, tiny tragedy cost both Varnish and Pendleton a gold medal. 
Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish World Record:

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Higgs Boson Explanation

What is the Higgs Boson? 
The Higgs Boson is a type of particle (referred to as the “God Particle” in an atom) which is part of what’s called ‘The Standard Model’ particle. It was founded by scientists at CERN and they are 99.9% sure that the Higgs Boson really exists. Dr Andreas Krassnigg, a physicist with the University of Graz in Austria elaborates:
“Picture the Standard Model as a car. Then you could imagine the Higgs boson to be, or provide, the wheels of that car”.
“For our car this is a question of central importance, since it determines what the car can do and how. While not having wheels would not have been a bad thing automatically – there are other fancier ways to move a car around, it has now turned out that the wheels seem to be there and that this is the way the car moves.”

So the Higgs Boson particle gives the other sub-atomic particles such as protons, neutrons, electrons, etc their mass and other qualities.

How was it discovered? 
The Higgs boson was discovered by Peter Higgs (and whom it was named after) and the CERN. But how they really discovered it was from a machine called ‘The Large Hadron Collider’ and it is an instrument that smashed atoms together.
 Why is it important and what changes will it make?
The Higgs Boson Provides a kind of insight into how the Universe works. And it’s possible to say that new types of technology fields will open due to the discovery of the Higgs Boson.
Another world wide benefit, says Dr Simon George, who is involved in the ATLAS experiment using the Large Hadron Collider is that young people will be inspired: “The highly trained PhDs who get snapped up by the private sector, and enthused children who will become our scientists in the future”
But Higgs himself said he doesn’t know what the implications are for the discovery!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Prometheus Film Review

I went to watch Prometheus the other day and was quite impressed with it so decided to do a review!

Prometheus is a prequel to the well known film 'Alien.' It is also a mixture of science, religion, adventure and horror. It is about a cadre of scientists who take part in an expedition about the origin of humanity, inspired by some ancient cave paintings.

The film was very gripping right from the beginning, which made it very interesting and I was eager to know what happened next. There was also quite a strong build up and the storyline became more and more clear as the climax built up. The ending also wrapped the story up neatly, but I felt as if the very last bit was slightly rushed, and it was a shame as this was a very good film! 

Overall, I would highly recommend this film to not just sci-fi fanatics but anybody. The thrilling storyline will have you hooked from beginning to end. However there are one or two gory scenes which some viewers may find disturbing but this film is definitely worth the while if you are a sci-fi/mystery lover!

Here is an embedded link to the trailer of 'Prometheus'

Monday, 21 May 2012


Today I made scones at school, they are very easy and simple to make so I wanted to show you how they turned out!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


Yesterday I attended a debate arguing whether Bradford should have an elected mayor or not. These are some highlights and pictures from the event. It was my first political hustings I have attended, and I didn't really know what to expect. A 'hustings' basically means a place where political campaign speeches are made.


Jeanette Sunderland, who is with the Liberal Democrats, was against having an elected mayor, because she thought such a person would have too much power, and if there was an elected mayor it would be more likely to be a man who was quite wealthy - even though our current mayor is a woman?

Another incident during Sunderland’s speech was at a point when she asked the crowd “who actually voted in the last local election?” she assumed hardly anybody had, therefore, they probably would not vote for an elected mayor. But she was slightly taken aback when at least 75% of the crowd sitting there put their hand up. But people who attend hustings are normally very political, so therefore are more likely to vote.

The only people who were in support of an elected mayor were Alyas Karmani from the Respect party and Simon Cooke from the Conservative party. I noticed when Alyas Karmani was delivering his speech, David Green from the Labour party (who was against an elected mayor) was blatantly on his phone.

Alyas Karmani gave quite a good speech; first he criticised the current councils for their consistent failings. He then stated what a Mayor’s role should be and explained they are a “voice for the entire city and a champion”. He also questioned why Ian Greenwood had not attended the debate and it was as if the “council was being run by Laurel and Hardy!”

There was some heckling during the debate, especially when it was time to ask questions because the Chair, Ratna Latchman, gave everyone the chance to air their thoughts, despite the fast pace of the discussion, and managed to tie things together quite neatly!

Overall, there wasn’t a huge turnout, and I expected some drama and possibly a fight. But it was quite a good experience and I would probably go again because you sort of get a feel for the process and if I hadn’t gone I probably wouldn’t know how the process works.