Tag Archives: Education

Liberty next to…

Liberty next to religion has been the motive of good deeds and the common pretext of crime.

Lord Acton
The History of Freedom (1877)

 

This is one of the truest facts of life that I have come across. There are so many examples of this: in the Russian Civil War, after the November “Revolution” (more like coup d’etat), both the White Army (more right wing members- though there were some left wing members opposed to Bolshevism) and the Red Army (mainly Bolsehviks- the “defenders” of the revolution) were fighting in the name of liberating the people from the oppressive, despotic Bolshevik or Tsarist regime respectively. And in the name of liberty the crimes committed were atrocious, and it is for fear of disgusting myself that I do not delve further. Is it not ironic how both regimes were so similar? Yet they saw themselves as enemies- this unfortunately is often the case with politics. Party interests before the nation’s. Even today crimes are being committed in the face of liberty- Russia has annexed Crimea because it is “what the people wanted”. It is just sad that people exploit this promise of liberty for their own self interest- in the case of both Hitler and the Bolsheviks who exploited a social crisis with the Great Depression of 1929 and a number of social problems exacerbated by war in Russia.

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Why Girls don’t take up Maths or Science

Today I had my GCSE German oral where I discussed why I wanted to do engineering in the future. This got me thinking, why did I want to do it? I love all the subjects that I study at the moment (with the exception of English), especially Physics and Maths and Engineering seems to combine most of them perfectly in to a useful and exciting profession that is needed in almost every aspect of the world. But then I remembered how surprised I was to find that only 11% of engineers are girls and I couldn’t help but think why? I would understand wouldn’t like Physics but wouldn’t expect it to be gender related. So I researched…it seems there has been a lot of speculation on this matter with many articles coming to the conclusion that it was a confidence issue. I still didn’t understand, why would girls not be confident in “hard” subjects. I found it, honestly, quite sexist alluding to the theories that women are somehow “softer” and just don’t have the mental capacity for tough subjects. My experience growing up and attending an all girls school was that you should choose whatever subject you like. There were some “nerd” stereotypes but they were never reinforced because most just didn’t care. I was schooled in an environment that had faith in us, I never even knew that girls were less likely to become scientists because my school refused to let me believe it. When I look at all the reports they often conclude it’s because women somehow feel that they would never do well in male dominated jobs- so in this way it’s actually better to be ignorant, not knowing what your chosen profession will be like socially, especially if it doesn’t boost your confidence. I’m still puzzled as to the cause of this, even if it is confidence- it would be great to get some views. But come on, who wouldn’t want to build a robot that can play tennis?

Words of the Week (well last week)

bifurcate

Pretty neat way of saying to divide in to (two) parts.

It is used in a variety of disciplines:

In Law- To bifurcate is the decision to spilt one case in to two separate trials so that one part can be finalised before moving on to the next part of the case. So if we think about a situation at a school: a child has accused their classmate of pouring some lemonade on them. Without bifurcation- both the accused and the prosecutor will be brought before a teacher and discuss what happened, (why) and what to do next. This could lead to a lot of arguing between the two children, where one may say that the prosecutor is lying or that it was an accident. Thus to then sort out some sort of compensation or punishment could be complicated. The defendant may say that they doesn’t deserve a punishment as they didn’t do it or say there is no evidence to back up the prosecutors argument. With bifurcation- the teacher would have two separate meetings, where they discussed what happened and then to sort out compensation and punishment. This means that what happened would be finalised so less negotiation would take place when sorting out the outcome.

In maths- it’s complicated and I don’t particularly understand much of it. If you don’t understand something, NEVER EXPLAIN IT! That is against the human code, and probably the bro code.

Rivers and Lakes- when a river splits in to two. These are normally temporary as the water in the separate channels will erode through the material that separates them eventually. Bifurcation lakes are lakes which have outflows in to two drainage basins.

Derivation:

From Medieval Latin, “bifurcatus” (having been divided). This is the perfect passive participle (yeah, Latin is useful sometimes) of the verb “bifurcare” (to divide), which is from the adjective “bifurcus” (two-pronged) from the prefix “bi-” (two) and “furca” (fork).

A somber event, makes for sincere posts

My last post was quite ambiguous (although I hope everyone got that it was about the recent death of Mandela). Just to explain, I decided to write a small post.

The first section, in quotes, was the iconic song by Johnny Clegg & Savuka called “Asimbonanga (Mandela)”. I have written the translation of the chorus and title in the quote.
I grew up listening to this song and other songs from the band’s two albums, “Third World Child” and “African Shadow Man”. In fact, I still listen to them daily. They, and many other songs, are my solace because I can listen to them and remember. Which is one of the many reasons why I love music so, because I associate each song that I listen to with a particular period of my life (although many are timeless!)

It was through Asimbonanga that I learnt about my, albeit very distant, connections with South Africa. During the middle section of the song, Clegg reads names of those who died in the anti apartheid struggle. Due to my unforgiving curiosity, I had to ask who these people were.

Steve Biko. The name still stands out to me when I played the song continually on Thursday and Friday.
My godmother knew him, he was her classmate. I knew it wasn’t much of a connection, but that little link and my love for the band’s music made me feel closer to South Africa. She left the country as soon as possible after facing discrimination during the regime, but the poisoned tentacles of Apartheid still reached her in the supposed sanctuary of England. Her brother was murdered in a skirmish. He did not need to die, but he did.

Many lives are still being shattered daily due to the petty and uneccessary warfare in places such as the Central African Republic- why should it matter whether we are muslim or christian? Why should people kill each other for different beliefs?

In my opinion, there is no point talking but not doing. It is a problem, and it must be solved. Countries like this could be on the verge of a genocide. But how can we do anything?

Would they listen to us? Probably not.

The poem was written by me, I just wrote what came to my head. I don’t really know what it is, but for the sake of classifying things we can call it a poem.

When I go to school everyday, when I look at myself in the mirror, I see myself. I don’t see “Indian” or “Asian” or “Black” or “Brown”. When I see my friends, or people walking down the street,  I don’t see them as a colour.

Yet it is still something that people feel the need to comment upon, and not necessarily in a bad way. Personally, I think that you can still retain your own culture and traditions without distinguishing race, sexuality or gender.

We should not see colour, but I think we still do.

I hope that has explained some things! Good night!

Coalesce…

Coalesce

Meh it’s an alright word. Nothing special. Simply to grow together or fuse, to amalgamate and unite. Although if we get down to some physics, linguistics and genetics….(I left out chemistry and computer science because they don’t follow the rhyme, not acceptable.)…then this word means a WHOLE lot more.

In Physics, it simply is the process where two or more particles merge after contact and form one single “daughter” particle. So this is most commonly used in meteorology. Let’s take a nice fluffy cloud, which contains thousands of tiny rain droplets. I am guessing that the more rain droplets there are, the more they collide or coalesce to form a larger droplet. When these larger droplets bash in to each other, they form even larger droplets. Eventually the size of the droplets become too heavy for the air currents to sustain and the droplets fall as rain.

In Chemistry, it is the process by which two or more (miscible) substances pull each other together after contact, so basically the same thing as physics- although it probably has different meanings in different fields of chemistry.

In linguistics, fusion or coalescence is when two segments of a word are turned in to one segment. So the most common example of this is in French, where the masculine word for a/one, “un” is pronounced without the “n”. So the u and n segments have merged together to form one sound. If you compare “un” in French to its counterpart in Spanish, “un (poco)” or “uno”, it shows that this new sound, quite nasal, has only developed in French! 

I hope that was un poco interesante!