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The Future With Driverless Cars

Are you looking forward to a future of driverless cars?

Autopilot has been used to assist pilots flying air crafts for a long time. It is also used in spaceships and missiles.

Navigational technology like this is constantly evolving and we are now on the brink of developing driverless cars.

How would they work?

Driverless cars need a huge amount of complicated technology to make their journeys. Firstly they need to know where they are going. They do this by using a GPS system, just like a satnav, and analysing the options to decide on the best route from A to B.

But simply knowing the quickest way isn’t nearly enough. Driverless cars also use radar, lasers and cameras to analyse their surrounding environment. This tells them if there are obstacles in their path, traffic jams up ahead, road signs or changes in conditions.

The cars then need to be able to use this information to make decisions, like whether to slow down or move into a different lane. This is done by a super-smart computer system that controls the steering, braking and accelerating. Perfecting this system so that it always makes the right judgement is the main challenge facing designers of these cars.

Are they safe?

Most of our main concerns about driverless cars are whether or not they are safe. One great advantage is that they would eliminate accidents caused by human error. Computers can’t drink drive or fall asleep at the wheel.

Driverless cars also have faster reaction times than humans, and are programmed to always keep safe distances between vehicles. Generally, it’s agreed that they would greatly reduce road accidents.

They’re by no means perfect though. Google has admitted that its self-driving car has been involved in some minor accidents.

What are the benefits?

Makers of driverless cars say that increased road safety is the main advantage of the technology, but there are lots of other benefits too. They are greener than standard cars, thanks to the computers’ ability to drive more efficiently. They know where traffic jams are so can avoid stopping and starting over and over, which uses unnecessary fuel.

Those who are unable to drive due to limited mobility or impaired vision will be able to get around using driverless cars. This will help the lives of thousands of people, who will no longer need to rely on others for their transportation.

What are the issues?

Many questions about driverless cars remain unanswered. One is whether they will be able to make ethical decisions. For example, if a person stepped into the road in front of one, would it swerve out of the way and endanger the lives of the passengers? What about if an animal was in the road?

There is also concern over who would be held responsible if something did go wrong. As the drivers aren’t in charge of the vehicle, accidents could be seen to be the manufacturer’s fault.

Finally, experts are worried that the cars could be hacked. As they are controlled by computers and connected to the internet, it could be possible for outsiders to break into the system.

Until these issues have been addressed, it is unlikely that self-driving cars will be taking over the roads any time soon.

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Why Are Some People Left Handed?

Around one in ten people are left handed, and scientists can’t seem to agree why some people are born with dominance on their left side.

Being a leftie can cause a few problems – think smudging your writing and struggling with scissors – but it used to be a much more serious issue. Up to the 1960s in the UK many children were forced to use their right hands to write, even if they were naturally inclined to use their left. This still happens in some parts of the world, and can cause children to struggle with writing and harm their confidence.

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In many languages, the word left is the same as the word for unusual or sinister, and the word for right is the same as the word for correct or good. This is because people used to associate left handedness with witchcraft and evil!

Now in this country, we know that being left or right handed isn’t a choice – it’s just the way you’re born. Scientists have found that it’s partly down to your genes, so kids with two left handed parents are more likely to be left handed themselves.

However no-one has been able to identify the exact gene that affects which side you happen to lean towards. The latest thinking is that there are a number of genes are work, and it’s the combination of these that decides handedness.

In day to day life, being in the left-handed majority can sometimes be a big advantage. Lefties excel in sports like cricket and baseball, and are often more artistic and creative than their right-handed cousins. Oddly enough, five out of the last seven presidents of America have been left handed.

Super-famous lefties throughout the ages

-       Barack Obama

-       Joan of Arc

-       Julius Caesar

-       Leonardo da Vinci

-       Jimi Hendrix

-       Tom Cruise

-       Marilyn Monroe

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10 Inspirational Fictional Characters

Role models are an essential part of growing up.

Having positive and influential people to look up to helps develop who you are, who you want to be and which direction you want your life to go in.

Role models can be found anywhere: parents, sports people, musicians, teachers, the list is endless. Sometimes they’re not even real. However, their impact and what we can learn from them is still just as important.

Here are 10 inspirational characters from the world of literature.

Samwise Gamgee

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Gamgee is a character created by J. R. R. Tolkien and is one of the bravest hobbits in The Lord of the Rings. Sam comes a from a small, simple community in the Shire but develops an enormous  sense of adventure and hopes to experience life beyond his traditional culture. He is smart, courageous and a loyal friend and saves Frodo’s life on a number of occasions, refusing to leave him even when it looks like the two are destined for death.

Harry Potter

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J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter is one of the most famous fictional names in the world. He is strong-willed, focused and knows the difference between right and wrong. Despite his powerful abilities and fame, Harry maintains a level of modesty and humility and always puts others’ safety before his own. Even though he never chose the path he is set upon, he never complains or tries to avoid the great responsibility that has been thrust upon him.

Jane Eyre

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The title character of Charlotte Bronté’s novel, Jane Eyre, has a tough childhood. Starved of affection, bullied and surrounded by negative people, Jane shows an inner determination and passion to better herself. She also values freedom and independence, even though she is a woman living in a very patriarchal society – admirable qualities that we can all learn a lot from.

Katniss Everdeen

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The heroine of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, Katniss, is a fighter and a survivor. She’s been through numerous hardships but always stands up for what she believes in and looks to protect those closest to her as well as the vulnerable. She’s athletic, a quick thinker and is mature beyond her teenage years.

Sherlock Holmes

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A detective unlike any other, Arthur Conan Doyle’s character is a maverick problem solver, blessed with an astute and logical mind. He also has an amazing eye for detail and is supremely confident in social situations due to his intellectual expertise. Sherlock never gives up on problem-solving however difficult or enigmatic it may be. It’s his determination to ensure justice that leads to his success.

Matilda

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Roald Dahl’s Matilda is a quiet, unassuming character who grows up being ignored by her selfish and neglectful parents. They fail to notice that she happens to be highly intelligent and has incredible telekinetic powers. Matilda understands that with great power comes great responsibility and she only ever uses her extraordinary abilities to punish wrongdoers or help the people that they are taking advantage of.

Forrest Gump

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Winston Groom’s character is perhaps best known as being played by Tom Hanks in the film adaptation. Forrest is a man who looks at things, simply and truthfully. Despite having a low IQ he is full of wisdom and his positive outlook on life leads him on a series of wonderful adventures and experiences. Proof that positivity really does breed positivity.

Hermione Granger

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Another of J.K. Rowling’s creations, Hermione has an exceptional intellect and excels at all things academic. Often bullied for her achievements, she still manages to maintain a level head and not retaliate. Hermione is also compassionate and quick to help others in a similar position.

Lyra Silvertongue

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Lyra is a complex lady. She is highly intelligent and has the ability to deceive for good and think quickly under pressure from a young age. As she gets older Philip Pullman’s character begins to hone these gifts and use them to save the lives of others.

Holden Caulfield

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A true individual and the lead character in The Catcher in the Rye, Caulfield is smart, caring and respectful. He questions everything and can see beyond the falseness of people at face value. He shows the importance of challenging societal behaviour and looking beyond the obvious.

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In the Name of Science

Throughout the years, there have been many times when scientists have gone the extra mile in order to make the next epic discovery.

Some scientists have gone to a new extreme, doing some crazy things and even putting their own safety in danger for the sake of research.

Here are five barmy experiments, all done in the name of science:

Living in a cave for a month

In 1938, sleep researcher Nathaniel Kleitman moved into a cave 120 feet below ground in order to study human sleep patterns. He and his assistant lived there for a month in an attempt to discover whether people could adapt to a 28-hour day.

The cave was the ideal place to test this out, as there were never any changes in the light or the temperature. However, it was extremely uncomfortable, claustrophobic and swarming with rats. His assistant did manage to adapt, but Kleitman unfortunately could not, disproving his own theory.

Travelling faster than a bullet

John Paul Stapp was a flight surgeon during World War II, and wanted to investigate the effects of extreme speeds on the human body. In 1954, he rode a rocket-powered sled, which travelled faster than a bullet, and observed what happened to him afterwards.

His experiments were hugely important for later improvements in transport safety, and his research influenced the training given to astronauts.

60 years of knuckle cracking

Ever been told that cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis? Scientist Dr. Donald Unger decided to find out once and for all whether this was fact or fiction.

For 60 years, he cracked the knuckles of his left hand every day, but never cracked the knuckles of his right. In the end, he found that all that cracking had no effect on the state of his joints.

Getting 120 bee stings

Michael Smith, a student of bee behaviour, conducted an experiment to see where the most painful place to be stung by a bee was.

The experiment involved pricking himself with bee stings 120 times all over his body and recording the pain levels. The sorest spot? Right inside the nostril. Ouch.

Living underwater for 31 days

Rather than making the occasional subaquatic trip to conduct his research, scientist Fabien Cousteau spent 31 days living in a laboratory under the sea.

In the time they spent 64 feet below sea level, he and his team studied the effects that humans had on ocean life. They gathered enough research to fill ten new research papers!

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Endangered Emojis

Emojis and real animals have a lot in common – they are all very individual, colourful and entertaining.

However, one of the integral differences between the two is that, unlike real animals, emojis are not at risk of becoming extinct.

WWF have linked the two in an effort to raise awareness via social media and also raise funds.

Watch the video below and learn about all the emojis that are endangered in real life and the way that you can help them.

Have you ever wondered what the most endangered species are?

Top 10 species most at risk

  • Giant panda
  • Mexican wolf
  • Siamese crocodile
  • Brown spider monkey
  • Iberian lynx
  • Amur leopard
  • Pygmy three toed sloths
  • Hainan gibbon
  • Red river giant soft shell turtle
  • Northern white rhinoceros

Learn more by watching the video below.

What do you think is endangering these species the most and why?

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What is a Polyglot?

A polyglot is someone who knows and can use lots of different languages – a handy skill, indeed.

Although learning a new language is no easy feat, given that you’re required to use all of your many memory systems, the mental workout is one of the best brain training exercises you can endure. Nowadays, you can also learn languages online, making it that little bit easier!

Here are a few of the perks to being a polyglot:

Your self-confidence will increase

Taking on and mastering a new language will boost your self-confidence. The more languages you master, the more confident you’re likely to become.

You’ll gain a wider understanding of the world

When you learn a new language you also learn the behaviours and traits of another culture. By trying to understand a language and the history that goes with it you’ll not only discover more about that heritage but also how you view the world and its many cultures. You may even gain a new sense of appreciation for your own culture!

You’ll boost your brain and have a keener mind

Studies have shown that polyglots have very alert and keen minds – and are quick to spot anything irrelevant or misleading. You’ll also boost your reading, negotiation and problem-solving skills, as your brain will be forced to recognise a new language structure.

If you’re still in two minds about the perks of being a polyglot then Alex Rawlings, who was voted Britain’s Most Multilingual Student in 2012, may just change your mind in the video above.

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Learn a Language Online

Did you know that roughly 6,500 languages are spoken in the world?

That’s a lot of options to choose from. Knowing more than one language not only opens up a whole host of career choices but looks good to future employers. It will help you make friends if you ever decide to go travelling. Learning a new language also increases your brainpower.

Thanks to the internet, it’s now easier than ever to learn a new language. Here are 5 awesome sites that will help.

Duolingo

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If you choose to learn a language through Duolingo then you may become addicted to learning, as these bite size lessons are taught through games! When you get an answer correct you earn points to move up a level – but be warned, you will lose a life if you make a mistake. You can even download an app to your phone and learn on the move!

https://www.duolingo.com/

Lingvist

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After just 200 hours (that’s only 8 days!) of studying with Lingvist you’ll be able to read texts, watch movies and have casual conversations in another language – how cool is that? The more you use the website as you learn then the faster you’ll pick up the language, don’t just take our word for it though!

https://www.lingvist.io

Busuu

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Busuu has ingeniously combined learning a language online with social networking in order to help you practice your new language with someone who speaks it natively! Over 50 million users are already using the website to learn up to 12 languages, so why not join them?

https://www.busuu.com/enc/

Livemocha

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Similar to Busuu, Livemocha is an online community of native speakers or language fanatics, such as teachers and experts, who come together to help one another learn. Users help each other out by leaving feedback, creating online exercises or lessons and even via video or audio chats!

http://livemocha.com/

BBC Languages

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Crikey, first the BBC treats us to BBC Bitesize and now they’re helping us expand our linguistics with their language-learning programme! With BBC languages you can take part in online video and audio courses and tests and even watch the soaps that are popular in the country you’re learning!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/