Thursday 17 August 2017

Mother Nature’s Abundance

Let’s take a walk down the aisles of the fresh produce section of a supermarket. There are fruits; such as apples, oranges, watermelons, mangoes, tomatoes, grapes, bananas, papayas, - vegetables; such as spinach, mustard, convolvulus, cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, - mushrooms; such as shiitake, button, oyster, Portobello, - bulbs and tubers; such as carrots, horseradish, potatoes, onions, turnip, tapioca, ginger, galangal, - and nuts, grains and seeds such as; rice, barley, wheat, green peas, soybeans, dhal, cashew nuts, almonds, chickpeas, lentils. They come in a variety of shapes, textures, sizes, and colors!

These types of fresh produce are enough to feed the mouths of the seven billion people on planet Earth today. And what do they have in common? They need soil to grow.

The soil is found on the upper most layer of the Earth. The soil consists of a mixture of weathered rock, finely ground into powder, minerals, and a variety of living and dead life forms. This nutrient rich layer typically only extends downward a few feet, about as deep as plant roots extend.

Soil contains all the nutrients needed by plants to survive. Some areas, such as deserts, have very poor soils; in these locations, it is difficult for complex plant life to take hold. An important part of soil is the part that is alive. Many different bacteria, algae, and fungi do important jobs that make life possible. Without these basic life forms performing these important roles, more complex life forms could not survive.

And earthworms are a farmer’s best friend because they make soil healthier by fertilizing and aerating it. Only 3% of the Earth’s landmass is available for growing food; therefore soil needs to be conserved to continue to support life.

To learn about the small fraction of the planet available for growing food

an apple and a knife.

1. Cut an apple in half lengthwise, then half again.

2. Take one of the four 1/4th of a piece and cut it in half lengthwise so that you have 1/8th.
3. Next, slice the 1/8th lengthwise into
four equal parts to give you four 1/32 sections of apple.
4. Take one of the 1/32 section and peel the skin.
5. This skin represents all the soil on the planet where food can be grown.

Glossary of Terms:
Fertilize [fur-tl-ahyz] to make productive; enrich.
Nutrient [noo-tree-uh nt] nourishing; providing nourishment or nutrient.

Shared by Surain A. Victor
Guest Blogger

The Little Engine in Us

Did you know that the heart of a blue whale is about 450 kilograms? That’s the weight of an average dairy cow!!

The heart is a bag-like structure in the chest region made completely of muscles. These muscles contract and relax from the time you were just a fetus in your mother’s uterus. 

The heart is made up of four chambers each with its own blood vessel. In these blood vessels are valves that make sure that blood flows in the right direction. The opening and closing of these valves are what gives the ‘lub-dub’ sound of your heartbeat. 

The heart pumps thousands of liters of blood through your body every day. First, it sends blood without any oxygen to the lungs to get oxygen. It then pumps the blood containing oxygen around all the other parts of the body. After delivering its oxygen, the blood returns to the heart to start the process of getting oxygen all over again.

During exercise, more oxygen and nutrients are needed by the muscles so blood must be delivered faster than when the body is resting. To meet these demands, the heartbeat increases. 

Generally, stethoscopes are used to listen to the heart, lungs, and intestinal tract but can also be used to listen to blood flow through vessels. The stethoscope is a very important tool used by medical professionals and health care workers to listen to your heartbeat.

If you want your heart to be healthy for the rest of your life, get plenty of exercise, follow a good diet and keep your heart clean and drug-free.

Experiment: Make your own stethoscope


60cm-long rubber hose, plastic funnel and masking tape.

1.    Insert the nozzle of the plastic funnel into the opening of one end of the 60cm-long rubber hose. 

2.    Wrap the neck of the plastic funnel where it joins the rubber hose with masking tape to ensure it is airtight.
3.    Place the mouth of the plastic funnel on your chest and place the opening end of the rubber hose to your ear.
4.    Listen closely to your heartbeat.

Glossary of terms:

Muscle [muhs-uhl] tissues in the body that produce movement
Uterus [yoo-ter-uhs] the organ in a woman’s body where a fetus develops
Blood vessel [bluhd ves-uhl] tubes that circulate blood throughout the body
Valve [valv] a structure that allows fluid to flow in one direction only
Oxygen [ok-si-juhn] a colorless, odorless gas in the atmosphere that is used in respiration

Shared by Surain A. Victor
Guest Blogger

Care For Some Haggis?

The faint-hearted and the uninitiated will not touch it with a 10-foot pole!  It’s unsightly and doesn’t look appetising, but don’t let appearances deceive you.  There’s a reason why it’s the national dish of Scotland.  By the way, it’s also very popular and delicious!  

                                                            Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to the eight-verse poem Robert Burns wrote, ‘Address to a Haggis’, he unwittingly elevated haggis from its humble origins to something iconic.  After his death in 1796 his friends organised a Burns Supper in his honour.  Now, every 25th January (his birthday) is Burns Supper Day!

What is the haggis?  Its origin is a big question mark but it is an ancient dish believed to go as far back as the 15th century.  The word haggis may have originated from the Scandinavian 'hag', meaning to hack or chop, or the Anglo-Saxon 'haecan', to hack into pieces.  It may also come from the French 'hachis', or the Icelandic 'hoggva', also meaning to hack or chop.

Whatever its origins, it’s a savoury pudding.  Yes, pudding!  The main ingredients are sheep's heart, liver, lungs, and stomach (or sausage casing); onion, oatmeal, suet, and spices.  That’s a lot of yummy stuff in it and it looks very much like minced meat!
                                                              Wikimedia Commons

So what is its nutritional value?  

High in vitamin A, vitamin B12 and copper
Substantial quantities of riboflavin, folate, selenium, chromium, pantothenic acid, niacin, protein, vitamin B6 & niacin

Great source of selenium, protein and iron 
Moderate amount of vitamin C, vitamin B12, niacin, riboflavin & phosphorus

Not healthy - low in protein & the only substantial nutrient is vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is found in all animal products

Liver and lung are high in cholesterol so haggis should be eaten in moderation. A side salad or perhaps some green beans would be a great nutritional addition to this meal.

Here’s the nutrition summary (according to brand names):

per 100g - Calories: 240kcal | Fat: 13.70g | Carbs: 15.30g | Protein: 13.60g 

per 100g - Calories: 192kcal | Fat: 8.30g | Carbs: 17.10g | Protein: 11 

per 100g - Calories: 270kcal | Fat: 17.60g | Carbs: 20.40g | Protein: 10.40g 

per 100g - Calories: 286kcal | Fat: 16.70g | Carbs: 27.20g | Protein: 6.80g     

By the way, there’s also the vegetarian version.
per 100g - Calories: 208kcal | Fat: 11.50g | Carbs: 25.90g | Protein: 5.90g     

Game to make your own haggis?  Let’s make something that the vegetarians can partake – Vegetarian Haggis!  Checkout the recipes below:

1. Vegan Haggis (Emma's Little Kitchen)

2. Janet Henderson’s Vegetarian Haggis

Bon appetit!

Shared by Azni Zainal Abidin
Guest Blogger

What Is Augmented Reality (AR)?

Shared by Celine Woon
Guest Blogger

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Cheese Making

Shared by Celine Woon
Guest Blogger

Stopping Light

As long as the sun shines, it’s always there following you around to wherever you go. You can see it, but you can’t touch it. What is it?

We have shadows because light moves in a certain way. It travels outward from its source, like the sun or torch light. As long as nothing is in the way, the light waves move in one direction at a speed of 300,000 kilometers per second. 

That is like traveling around the world seven times in one second! Nothing travels faster than light waves. But when some of the light waves hit something – you, or a tree – they are stopped. Then, on the other side of the thing that stopped the light waves, there is a dark space – a shadow. 

Things in a dark room have no shadows because there are no light waves traveling through the room. And on cloudy days, things have no shadows because the clouds break up the light waves from the sun. The clouds soak up some of the waves and scatter the rest of them in all directions. When the light waves scatter and bounce instead of moving in one direction, no shadows are formed. 

You can see things in your room at night because of the light from the bulb. Try being in a thick jungle in the middle of the night, and you’ll realize the importance of light for our sense of sight. That is why some species of fish very deep down in the ocean do not have eyes because the sunlight doesn’t reach those depths.

Make a shadow clock 

paper plate, spool, pencil

1.    Glue the spool to the center of the paper plate.
2.    Place a pencil in the hole of the spool, with the point up.
3.    Place the paper under the sun early in the morning.
4.    Draw a line down the shadow the pencil makes on the paper plate.
5.    Write the hour next to the line you traced.
6.    Repeat steps 4 and 5 after every hour until the sun goes down.

Shared by Surain A. Victor
Guest Blogger