Howdy buddies? Today's April 1, and I promise to make no joke here. I intended to flash this news on the 1st day of April, 2011, about the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. No prank... be serious... my heartfelt good luck to all of you!

So here's again the great opportunity to proof your worth! Yess... the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is coming up on April 15, 2011. This is the premier national science competition for students between grades 5 to 8. The Scientist Challenge competition has been designed to encourage young intellectuals to explore science and innovation amongst the youth of America. This in turn will help promote the importance of science communication.

Here's just a brief and rapid eyewash on the history of Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

During 1999, Discovery Communications had launched a competition to nourish the next generation scientists of America. Most interestingly Discovery Communications had selected this age group (standard 5-8), because at this age the interest in science and scientific activities start diminishing.

In the year 2008 3M got hooked up with Discovery Education with a common cause of nurturing the nex-gen US scientists. They jointly introduced an innovative and interactive science program for the middle school students of America. Since then over the tenure of the last decade, more than 600,000 middle school students have been nominated to participate in the Scientist Challenge competition. Winners have been given opportunities to speak before the members of Congress. this is not the end of the story...
The winners have gone to work with the top scientists of America and pursue their academic careers in the field of sciences.

So get yourself groomed up, and be at it! Let the scientist within you come out to work for a better future for the world!

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All the best and God Bless!

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How Hot is Mercury?

Back in December 2008, I had made a post about how cold is Pluto here on this blog! I get hits to this post still today, which made me wonder how intensely people are interested to know about the other planets. Well... I am of no exception! My post on how cold is pluto has been a big hit on this blog. Seeing this I started to make a bit of research work across the web and a few other sources like magazines, books and encyclopedias etc. to know more about Mercury. Here's now how hot is murcury :) Read on...

Being a planet closest to the sun, Murcury is known to be the hotest of all planets in the solar system... known fact! But how hot is it? Incredibly hot? Blisteringly hot? Blazingly hot? Or is it even more than what you can think of? Adjectives do not always work well while explaining certain things!

Bare Fats About Mercury

Mercury is lack in significant atmosphere, which acts as the blanket on a planet. Since in case of Mercury the atmosphere is abent, it receives the full heat generated by the sun. I used to think that the planet Mercury is hot in totality, which after coming across certain documentations of researchers, has proved to be a wrong notion.

Researchers say, only the side of the planet Mercury that faces the Sun is hot. The opposite side, facing off the Sun, is almost as cold as space itself.

Like our planet - Earth, Mercury rotates. The face of Mercury facing the sun is always changing and it takes over 58 days to complete a single day. So the temperature changes according to planet's portion facing the sun. Researchers have discovered that every single part on Mercury receives 6.5 times as much sunlight as the same spot on the Earth.

At the hottest point of Mercury, temperature may rise as high as 700 Kelvin (430 °C) for the regions directly facing the Sun, while its opposite side can get down to 110 Kelvin (-163 °C). The absolute coldest regions of Mercury are the darker regions of the planet’s polar craters. These are parts of this planet that that never face sun, and the planet's surface temperature gets as low as 90 Kelvin (-183 °C).

Hence, the average temperature of this planet is around 452 Kelvin (179 °C).

Quite interestingly, the planetary scientists are hoping to find evidence of water ice in these shadowed craters of the planet. They hope that if water at all exist on mercury it might have been existed on Mercury for millions of years, because these parts are protected from the blazing Sun.

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The lowest point of the Earth discovered - the shore of Dead Sea.

With about 9 times more saline than any other oceans on this planet, Dead sea has been aptly name, as no life has been able to survive there, except of a few - too few hardy bacteria. Dead Sea has been considered to be one of the most extreme habitat on this planet. While on a project to discover life under Dead Sea, a researcher Dr. Joseph Lati said,"No one can answer for sure what the response of nature to the mixing will be." He added, "We have to go very carefully with this project until we know more about the biological and chemical effects. There might be micro-impacts that we don't know about until they hit us."

Howbeit, this was just a bit about the mystic Dead Sea. This post is all about probably one of the most interesting discoveries ever! Yes... The lowest point of our Earth. The shore of the Dead Sea has been scientifically determined to be around 1,400 feet (nearly 420 meters) below sea level, which marks it as the planet's lowest point on land.

Documentations have been brought forth with the evidence that the lowest point of the Earth on land is the Dead Sea that borders Israel, the West Bank and Jordan. The Dead Sea is sitting above the Dead Sea Rift, which is a tectonic fault line between the Arabian and the African plates. The occasional movement of these plates causes the Dead Sea dip down nearly 1 meter down each year. Historians have researched out that the Dead Sea used to be linked to the Mediterranean Sea in the past. Over a geologic time scale, the Dead Sea got de-linked from the Mediterranean Sea, gradually got evaporated, which concentrated the salt in the water. The Result is... today Dead Sea is 30 to 31 percent mineral salts.

On the other hand, if we delve deeper into the lowest point issue, we will come up with a different conclusion altogether. Lowest point on the crust of the Earth has been discovered to be the Mariana’s Trench in the North Pacific Ocean. The Mariana’s Trench that is considered as the lowest point of the crust of our planet is around 11 kilometers deep. Like the other deep extremes of the Earth, the Mariana’s Trench also is the consequence of Pacific tectonic plate's subduction beneath the Philippine plate. By this I mean that the Pacific Plate is slowly sliding underneath the Philippine plate, and it causes the Mariana’s Trench shrink down, because the particular point where the Philippine plate overlaps is the Mariana’s Trench.

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In the year 2010, a group of researchers has got the first rare glimpse of of a marine life in the North Atlantic. They have used a high-tech robotic camera to discover this marine life that, they claim, could give a more in depth clue about the ecosystem of the under-sea world and the climate thereby some 1,000 years back. The submersible robot camera had been operated by the crew aboard the Canadian Coast Guard ship Hudson. This hi-tech underwater, robotic camera enabled the crew to reach around 500 meters deeper than they had reached ever before.

The submersible robotic camera sent deep under the see by the scientists returned back amazing images of tulip-shaped sponges, brightly colored corals, delicate pink stars and feathery organisms. This never-seen-before amazing organism were found scoured the bed of the ocean at a depth of around 9,800 feet [3,000 meters] off the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland.

A group of researchers from three Canadian universities and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography had worked on this for 20 days to study 11 zones under the protection of the North Atlantic Fisheries Organization. Exploring these zones was very important as there were "trees of the ocean," said Ellen Kenchington (one of the lead scientists in the expedition), research scientist with the Fisheries Department of Canada. Kenchington told CNN affiliate CTV from her office at the institute as pictures from the robot streamed on her computer, "It's been really spectacular. It's really changing our perception of the diversity that's out there. ... We're seeing new species in deeper waters." She also told the Montreal Gazette that the scientists could look at the coral's chemical composition, which helped them determining the temperature of the water and other relevant data from 1,000 years ago. she said, "That's how we are able to say if there is warming or a change in climate direction. In order to understand the present, we need to put it into context."

The finds were really interesting! The corals have been a highly successful life form for 250 million years. They are very tiny animals and polyps, which are genetically identical individuals. Interestingly, they can eat - kill plankton for food and also defend themselves. In the living process they use to secrete calcium carbonate, which becomes the basis for an external skeleton on which they sit. These hard calcified skeletal bodies can grow enormously big over long span of time to form coral reefs. T, which are amongst the very important part of the ecosystems and can provide shelter to over 4,000 species marine lives, including fishes.

According to the lead researcher Ellen Kenchington, the research would be helpful to "evaluate areas that are still too deep for current fishing technologies but could be accessible in years to come. This will enable us to give advice in the future about what types of organisms are in these areas before they're fished."

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This post is again about certain facts about the Greek philosopher socrates. Consider this post as a continuation of the information about Socrates. Socrates is the central theme of this post. Very little has been known to us about this great philosopher, but here's something that I could discover from various sources about him. I am not very sure how far some of this information are genuine... but it's really interesting! Most information about Socrates has been discovered from the documents of derived largely from Plato and Xenophon (430 – 354 BC). Xenophon was an ancient Greek historian, soldier, mercenary, and a contemporary and admirer of Socrates. He was the son of Gryllus, of the deme Erchia of Athens. He is also known as Xenophon of Athens.

Facts about Socrates that have been discovered are as follows:

Socrates was actually a stone cutter by profession, although there is very little evidence about it. Historians are not sure enough as to how much he used to earn from his profession to make a living.

However, when he was a hoplite in the Athenian military, he owned a suit of armor, which is a good prove that he was not too poor. So, fact remains that he did have at least that volume of money that he required to get an expensive suit as that.

Socrates' mother was a midwife. She was quite knowledgeable about pregnancy and childbirth, and helped in deliveries of babies.

Socrates was married with three sons. All through his life Socrates claimed that he could hear voices, which he interpreted as signals from the heaven - Gods.

Documentations show that Socrates had spent his adult life in the agora (or the marketplace). He used to converse about the ethical issues there. He had a strong inclination towards exposing ignorance, hypocrisy, and conceit among the people of Athens.

Socrates was disliked by many people that his place during his time, he had developed stong follower base. Some of his famous followers are Plato, Euclid, Alcibiades, and a lot more. His noble thoughts could influence the lives many people like these.

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Hello friends... have you ever thought of what your nails made of? I am sure most of you have not yet :). I am sure that you don't even care to think of your nails until mommy says you should now trim them. Nail care is important... many people, like me, cut nails with teeth... that's not done! Well you know this, but what you do not know about nails is that what you nails are made of. Have you spared a thought over this?

Nails are made of KERATIN (Pronounciation: kair-uh-tin), which is a protein made by the nail cells. Keratin is the same thing that your hairs are made of, and even the top layer of your skin is made of. Note that you had nails in your fingers and toes even before you were born. You must have noticed that your finger and toe nails begins to grow at the starting point of the U-shaped cuticle (a point where your nail meets your skin) of your fingers. Well there are a lot more going on beneath it. Remember you have nail root in each of your finger - hidden under the cuticle, and the nails start to grow from the root. Cuticles have significant role to play here. It help to protect the new nail as it outgrows from the root of your nail.When the cells at the root of your nails grow old, the new nail cells push the old nail cells out. This old nail cells come out of the cuticles of your fingers, and finally get flattened and hardened. The new born nails then slide along the nail bed, which is a flat protective surface present just under each of your nails. The nail bed actually sits right on top of the tiny blood vessels, which give nutrition to it. This is why your nails appear pink in color.

Interesting fact about your nail:
Your fingernails grow slowly. The nails of your fingers grow about one tenth of an inch (2.5 millimeters) each month. At that rate it normally takes around 3 to 6 months to completely replace an old nail.

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A story of Socrates discovered!

I am not really sure how far is it true, but its a story that gives a very practical and precious lesson of life! This post is all about the great classical Greek philosopher - Socrates, who was considered as one of the leading founders of Western philosophy. His thoughts and philosophy greatly inspired Plato, who was his student. Philosophy of Socrates had been real inspiration for generations following Plato's time. For instance Aristotle - the student of Plato was also highly influenced by the thoughts of Socrates.

Here's a story of Socrates that I just discovered...

A young lad once asked Socrates about the secrets of his success story. Socrates asked the guy to see him near the river the next morning told the young man to meet him near the river the next morning. The guy came, hoping to be able to know about the secrets of Socrates' success. Socrates asked the boy to walk with him into the water river until the water got up to his chin. Surprisingly Socrates swiftly ducked the boy into the water and held him pressed tight under the water, although the boy struggled hard to get out. Socrates was stronger than the boy and could kept him under the water until he started to turn blue due to breathlessness. After a few moments he let the boy come up of the water ans asked him, what did he desired the most under the water. The boy was almost gasping due to the want of oxygen and replied him that he wanted a little air to breath.

Socrates said that, it was what the success is all about! He said that until you want the "success" as badly as you wanted the air under the water, then will never achieve it. There is no other secret to the success, according the great philosopher - Socrates.

Here's a few quotes of Socrates that I discovered this morning. Read on...

"By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher."

"Death may be the greatest of all human blessings."

"I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance", from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers

"There's only one good, KNOWLEDGE, and bad IGNORANCE ", from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers

"Having the fewest wants, I am nearest to the Gods", from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers

"Do not do to others what angers you, if done to you by others."

"If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it."

"Thou shouldst eat to live, not live to eat"

"Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions; but those who kindly reprove thy faults"

"The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways - I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows", In Plato, Dialogues, Apology

"Bad men live that they may eat and drink, whereas good men eat and drink that they may live."

"It is not living that matters, but living rightly."

"Let him that would move the world, first move himself."

"I pray thee, O God that I may be beautiful within"

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