Wind: The key ingredient to life

“Standing outside in a warm sunny day and feeling a sudden cold breeze of air gently pass by… ”

And if out of curiosity you’ve wondered how the wind is formed then this article is for you.

Let’s talk about air:

Even though we all are surrounded by air we never really understand how critical it is for life to survive. The air itself consists 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen and traces of other gases (which are less than 1%) like argon, carbon dioxide, water (in vapor), ozone and many others.

What does that have to do with wind?

Wind is the natural movement of air cause by the uneven heating of the Earth’s surface. This uneven heating cause air in some areas warm (warm are weights less and rises) whereas some areas a colder as they don’t get the same amount of heat in their atmosphere. Cold air moves in to replace the warm air that rises. This cause wind to blow towards a specific direction. This difference can even have the ability to cause a windstorm if in the right weather condition.

Earth_Global_Circulation Map_prevailing_winds_on_earth

Why is it important to our lives?

Although we might not think about it as often, but there are many things we need wind for. Below are a few examples.

  • Prevailing winds: these winds help keep the land cool, during winter they bring warm moist air to coast regions and in the summer they bring cold dry air
  • Waves: these can be used to create energy that is green

    Sand Dunes

    Sand dunes formed by the direction wind blows

  • Energy: apart from the energy waves create, wind energy is also a renewable energy resource.
  • Landscape (Wind Erosion): the strength of wind cannot be doubted, they can shape lOccluded_mesocyclone_tornado_NOAAarge rocks often changing landscapes
  • Agriculture: they provide better conditions for plants to grow, not to mention the monsoon (seasonal wind)

Asteroid Belt

What is the Asteroid Belt?
The Asteroid Belt is the region of space between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. This belt also has the majority of the asteroids orbiting the sun, however the belt not only has asteroid but a dwarf planet, Ceres

So what are Minor Planets?
Minor planets are astronomical objects that orbit the sun, but aren’t a planet or comet. The category include dwarf planets, asteroids and trojans. The first minor planet that was discovered was Ceres.

How important are they?
Asteroids are like the building blocks of the planets. As we can see in the image above shows how it separates the gaseous planets and terrestrial planets. The materials found can hold clues to why our solar system is so diverse.
Some asteroids are believed to have had water and are similar to the solar system in its early years.
They also have rare valuable metals and often get close to Earth due to their elongated oval path around the sun.


Want to read more:

Giant Sea Spider – How terrifying?

Ever wondered where you can find humongous sea? Well maybe you haven’t and wouldn’t prefer to do it. if you had to I would say maybe have a look near the cold waters of Antarctica.

In the Antarctic region it would not be a surprise to see larger arthropods compared to other parts of the world where they are much smaller in size.

This is called polar gigantism, this happens when marine invertebrates have much larger body size compared to its relative found in different environments.

Sea Spiders

Sea Spiders found in different waters tend to be two to three millimeters in diameter. Mostly requiring microscopes to see them.

One of these sea spider is the Southern Ocean Giant Sea Spider. This isn’t any regular house spider, these ones are straight from your nightmares. They can grow up to a leg span of 25 centimeters.

Zoologger: The giant sea spider that sucks life out of its prey

Habitat and Anatomy

The southern ocean giant sea spiders are found in the cold waters of the two poles. Although we know that they inhabit the Polar Regions, but scientists aren’t sure what causes these extraordinary features in these sea creatures.

Researchers hypothesize that the high oxygen concentration available in the cold waters and the fewer predators in the region.

The southern giant sea spider don’t require a respiratory system to deliver the gases to the body, but use simple diffusion.

Although, the Southern Ocean Sea Spider has a large body size which can lead to misconceptions of having large organs. However they have organs in their legs alike many of its species. Sea Spiders found in different waters tend to be two to three millimeters in diameter (requiring microscopes to see this arthropod).

The Seven Bridges of Konigsberg

This math problem about the seven bridges in the city of Königsberg asks if it would be possible to cross each bridge over the river Preger only once.

Now I’ll let you try and solve this math puzzle and once you’ve attempted to answer you can scroll down to check out the solution.



The simplified version of the map is:

Königsberg graph.svg

Each point is connected with 3 other points. Only 2 of them can be used this way you can would always have 1 bridge uncrossed or crossed twice. So unfortunately there is no solution to the Seven Bridge of Königsberg.

Trekking into Star Trek

In 1966, Gene Roddenberry, in affiliation CBS and Paramount Pictures, created the infamous science fiction franchise, Star Trek (The Original Series). The series follows a group consisted of humans and of extraterrestrial beings who serve in Starfleet, “the space-borne humanitarian and peacekeeping armada of the United Federation of Planets.” Star Trek was known to have consistently referenced the scientific world through envisioned technologies, which, in the context of the original series’ era, would’ve seemed impossible.

Star Trek Emblem: Famouslogos

Star Trek Emblem: Famouslogos

Well, that was exactly half a century ago.

2016 and more technologically advanced than we’ve ever been, many of Star Trek’s scientific dreams are starting to becoming true.


  1. The Warp Drive

In Star Trek, starships were portrayed as being able to travel at a faster-than-light speed. A state named “subspace” was used to explain such an unfathomable phenomenon. Subspace was similar to the Alcubierre Drive, but obeyed different laws of physics, where a bubble of subspace could distort the local spacetime continuum, and propel the starship at velocities greater than the speed of light.

By status quo, NASA’s stance on faster-than-light travel is an unconfident one, deeming such speeds impossible by current scientific knowledge. However, the New York Times reported in 2013 that NASA is actively funding research into the topic, based on physicist Miguel Alcubierre’s theories. Alcubierre’s theory posits that the if the space following a starship could expand rapidly enough to propel the ship forwards, the ship’s passengers would be unable to discern any movement of acceleration, thus creating a loophole in Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

Warp Speed: Memory Alpha

Warp Speed: Memory Alpha

  1. Universal Translator

In Star Trek, a universal translator was used for intergalactic communication (between humans and their respective annexed alien races). Just a few years ago in 2014, Microsoft successfully launched a real-time audio translator across Skype. Unfortunately translator technology is based on very weak foundations of language and speech recognition and therefore is not perfectly accurate. All the while, only baby steps can train a child to leap.

  1. Handheld computers:

It might be difficult to imagine, but in the 1960’s handheld computers and any tablets, touch screens, were far from being developed. Star Trek protagonists communicated and carried operations through touchscreen computers called  PADDs (Personal Access Display Devices).

Now if that doesn’t strike as some suspicious prediction, I don’t know what would.

  1. Medical Tricorder

Dr. Leonard McCoy’s signature piece of technology, named a medical tricorder is a device that can instantly assess patients’ vitals as well as diagnose medical conditions.

Now, a competition named the “Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competition,” and its 10 million grand prize is being competed over. The guidelines of the competition state that the team to be crowned winner must develop a Tricorder device that will accurately diagnose 13 health conditions, with one being the absence of the rest of the other conditions. A secondary expectation is that the tricorder will capture and display five real-time health vital signs. As for results, consumer testing is scheduled to begin in September of 2016, and the results revealed in early 2017.

I’m sure that if Dr. McCoy were alive (and real), he would be bristling with pride.

  1. Androids

Lieutenant Commander Data, a character featured on Star Trek: The Next Generation was a self-aware, sapient, sentient, and anatomically fully functional android who served on the USS Enterprise-D and USS Enterprise-E. He possesses a positron brain, which provides him with superhuman computational abilities. At first, he was unable to understand human emotion, but later aspired to achieve his own humanity through an “emotion chip.”

Data: Wikipedia

Data: Wikipedia

In the real world, Softbank, a Japanese company launched (though not officially for sale), Pepper, an emotion-sensing robot. Pepper is able to read human emotions by judging facial expressions and the tone of voice, and act accordingly. On a completely different note, a Hong Kong V.C. firm, in the past year, has named an artificial intelligence tool to its board of directors, assuring that “it” will be treated equal to other board members. Other breakthroughs are constantly being introduced to the world, but none have yet met the requirements of a fully empathising, independent android.

  1. Teleportation

The legendary line from the series, “beam me up,” refers to the fictional teleportation machine used to convert a physical being into an energy pattern, which is transferred to its destination, and then rematerialized.

Alas, teleportation does not yet exist, but it was announced only recently that researchers in Germany have discovered a way to transport information from one place to another using quantum teleportation. Though this term has been circulating in the quantum physics community for a while now, this discovery marks the first time quantum teleportation has been successfully demonstrated outside the world of quantum particles.

Beaming System: Memory Alpha

Beaming System: Memory Alpha


In sum, though the sheer thought of bringing fiction into reality is both mostly impossible and irresistibly fascinating, we have come a long way. And though none of these technologies as described in the world of Star Trek have been realized, I’m sure our Captain Kirk and his trusty First Officer Spock would’ve been proud of us nonetheless (if they could travel back from the future, that is).

S’chn T’gai to y’all as well,

~ Newton’s Pineapple


Mental Floss

Wikipedia: Star Trek Technology

Memory Alpha (Wiki)

Lise Meitner : Finkbeiner Test

Born: November 07, 1878Otto_Hahn_and_Lise_Meitner

Died: October 27, 1968


Lieben Prize                      (1925)
Max Planck Medal           (1949)
Otto Hahn Prize               (1955)
Wilhelm Exner Medal     (1960)
Enrico Fermi Award        (1966)

Nationality: Austrian and Swedish

Field of Study: Physics

Lise Meitner joined the University of Austria in 1901 and obtained her doctorate in 1906. She successfully discovered a ‘Protactinium‘ and radiation-less transition in collaboration with Otto Hahn. Lise Meitner had to escape Germany to Sweden in 1938 during World War II where she continued her work.

There she worked with Hahn to provide evidence for nuclear fission, becoming one of the few people to discover that an Uranium atom would split when bombarded with neutrons. However only Hahn got the Physics Nobel Prize in 1944 for this discovery.

Although Meitner died in October 27th 1968, she had an element named after her ‘Meitnerium‘ in honour of the Austrian Physicist.

Chien-Shiung Wu (The Finkbeiner Test): Joyce Zhu

Chien-Shiung Wu was a Chinese-born American experimental physicist who made significant contributions in the field of nuclear physics, although her work transcended into many other corresponding fields. Some of her great achievements include working on the Manhattan Project, which produced the first nuclear weapons during World War II. Within the Manhattan project, Wu took part in the development of the process that separated uranium metal into uranium-235 and uranium-238 respectively, by manipulating gaseous diffusion. Later in her life, she conducted the Wu experiment, whose purpose was to determine whether weak interactions abided by the conservation of parity, which was usually established in electromagnetic and strong interactions. Her results contradicted the hypothetical law of conservation of parity, and earned her colleagues Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen-Ning Yang the 1957 Nobel Prize in Physics. Wu, due to various causes, did not receive the Nobel Prize, but instead, earned the inaugural Wolf Prize in Physics in 1978.

Columbia: Chien-Shiung Wu

Columbia: Chien-Shiung Wu

Wu was born in on May 31st, 1912, in Liuhe of the Jiangsu province. She attended Ming De School for her elementary education, and then transferred to Suzhou Normal School No. 2 when she was eleven, where she ranked ninth out of 10,000 applicants. In 1929, she attended National Central University in Nanjing and graduated in 1934. She later became a researcher at the Institute of Physics of the Academia Sinica, where her teacher, who had earned his PhD at the University of Michigan recommended her to go abroad as well. She was accepted by the University of Michigan, and travelled with her friend, Dong Ruo-Fen, a chemist from Taicang. Following their arrival at San Francisco, Wu visited the University of California, Berkeley, and due to external factors, decided to attend Berkeley instead. There, she met physicist Luke Chia-Liu Yuan, grandson of Yuan Shikai, who was the First President of the Republic of China. Yuan showed her the Radiation Laboratory directed by Ernest O. Lawrence, who would eventually win the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1939 for his invention of the cyclotron particle accelerator.

She made substantial progress in her research alongside Emilio Segrè. Her thesis covered both bremsstrahlung, the electromagnetic radiation produced by the deceleration of a charged particle when deflected by another charged particle, and about the production of radioactive isotopes of xenon as produced by the nuclear fission of uranium using 37-inch and 60-inch cyclotrons at the Radiation Laboratory. She remained at the Radiation Laboratory as a post-doctoral fellow.

Smithsonian Institution: Chien-Shiung Wu in 1963 at Columbia University

Smithsonian Institution: Chien-Shiung Wu in 1963 at Columbia University

Wu became a faculty member at Smith College in Northampton Massachusetts, and then accepted a position as instructor for Naval officers at Princeton University. In 1944, Wu joined the Manhattan Project, where she worked at the Substitute Alloy Materials Laboratories at Columbia University. In August of 1945, Wu became an associate research professor at Columbia just as communication with China was restored. Her post-war research consisted of the investigation of beta decay. She teamed up with Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen Ning Yang to initiate the Wu experiment, which was to determine whether parity was conserved for electromagnetic interactions and for the strong interaction. Their results (of parity violation) not only contributed majorly to the development of the Standard Model, but also awarded Lee and Yang the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1957.

In 1963, Wu also confirmed the Conserved Current hypothesis of Richard Feyman and Murray Gell-Mann. Alongside this achievement, she also confirmed E. M. L. Pryce and John Clive Ward’s calculations on the correlation of the quantum polarizations of two photons propagating in opposite directions.

She retired in 1981 and took on the title of a professor emerita. She then died of a stroke on February 17th, 1997 in New York City.  


Famous Female Scientist: Chien-Shiung Wu

Britannica: Chien-Shiung Wu

Wikipedia: Chien Shiung Wu

Top 5: Things you didn’t know

1. The Eiffel Tower can be 15 cm taller during the summer

Large structures such as the Eiffel tower are able to contract and change their shape due to temperature. When a substance is heated, its particles tend to move faster and it takes up a larger volume, while a drop a temperature causes the substance to contract once again. This process is something called thermal expansion. Due to this alone, the Eiffel Tower is able to grow an extra 15 cm during the hot summer days.



2. A teaspoon of neutron star would weigh 6 billion tons

When a massive star dies out and explodes, a crazy dense neutron star is created. A teaspoon of this stuff is an absurd 6 billion tons.

3. An average person would walk the equivalent of five times around the world in a lifetime

Let’s do some math here: An average ACTIVE person walks about 7500 steps per day. Now, lets say you maintain that average and like to an average age of 80 years old, you would’ve taken 216,262,500 steps. Now that many steps would equate to 110,000 miles, which would be 5 times the circumference of the earth.

4. Male seahorses can get pregnant

Seahorses reproduce in an extremely weird way: the male is the one that becomes pregnant. The male seahorse has a pouch in the front side of his body, where it carries eggs that are dropped off by the female. The eggs then travel down a tube where he then fertilizes the eggs for 9 to 45 days. The male seahorse then pumps out his kids when they are are fully developed. Unusual isn’t it??? Here’s a short clip if you’re interested.

5. A flea is able to accelerate faster than a Space Shuttle

Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity of an object and it is usually measured in “g,” with g being equivalent to the acceleration cause by gravity on Earth. While Fleas reach an acceleration of 100 g, a Space Shuttle would peak at roughly 5 g. Ridiculous.



Cloud Chamber Lab Report (head in the clouds of particles)


Date: 2.23.16

Name: Joyce Zhu

Class: Future Science Leaders (year1)

Cloud Chamber (Lab Report)


To examine and observe the particles that surround us. As well, to use every day materials and techniques to demonstrate a characteristic of radioactive physics. A cloud chamber makes it possible to observe the result of radioactive decay.



  • Cotton ball (1)
  • Magnets (2) → roughly the size of a pinkie nail works best
  • Paperclip (optional if magnet is ineffective)
  • Dry ice (however much is necessary for results)
  • Tape (roll)
  • Black tissue paper (one sheet of 50x50cm or less)
  • Petri dish (the size of the opening of the plastic cup, preferably)
  • Plastic cup (transparent)
  • Styrofoam bowl (larger than size of petri dish)
  • Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl)
  • Radioactive source (1)



  1. Secure the cotton ball to the bottom of the transparent cup with the two magnets
    1. it’s suggested the second be buried inside the cotton ball and the other placed on the outside (bottom) of the plastic cup → it will provide maximum stability
  2. Soak up cotton ball with isopropyl (rubbing alcohol)
  3. Cover the petri dish (entirely) with the black tissue paper
    1. tip: cover so that no light can penetrate through the bottom; the more opaque the better.
    2. if necessary, crop paper to fit petri dish.
  4. Cover the petri dish with the opening of the cup.
  5. Seal the the two securely with tape.
  6. Fill styrofoam bowl with dry ice and place it underneath the petri dish
    1. the orientation of things: the bottom of the cup (with the magnet and the cotton ball) should be at the top, and the bottom is the styrofoam bowl with the dry ice.
  7. WAIT and observe for ten minutes; jot down observations
    1. Turn off the lights and illuminate a single flashlight.
    2. avoid touching the contraption
  8. Open the seal (tape) and place a radioactive source on the petri dish.
  9. Seal the the two securely with tape.
  10. WAIT and observe for ten minutes; jot down observations.
    1. Turn off the lights and illuminate a single flashlight.
    2. Avoid touching the contraption
  11. Dispose of materials wherever necessary and safe.



After step 7:

There seems to be condensation beginning to collect along the bottom, and the black tissue paper appears moist. Nothing was further observed.

After step 10:

  • A thin layer of mist is gliding across the black tissue paper. The mist is made of very fine droplets of water only visible with a single light source and good vision.
  • The mist seems to be falling from the top of the plastic cup (where the cotton ball is suspended), and then gliding as soon as it touches the black tissue paper.
  • Slightly more opaque/visible bands of white mist are travelling across the bottom and then dispersing into individual droplets of water.
    • Bands: very thin and almost indiscernible.
    • Only visible when a single light source is shined from a very specific angle.


Improvements to Cloud Chamber:

There are many ways that the cloud chamber lab/experiment could be improved, for our’s worked only half as well as it was originally intended. A suggestion could be that the experimenter minimizes the disturbance of the contraption while observing. When touched, the mist particles stop momentarily, and the placement of the dry ice is also an influential factor. At times, it was difficult to observe the particles mostly because there were too many light sources being shined simultaneously. As for the building of the cloud chamber, perhaps a more efficient and foolproof way of securing the petri dish and the plastic cup would improve the results. Though magnets were an effective way of suspending the cotton ball, it did not fully prevent the cotton ball from moving around and the risk of it dropping.


What was learned:

The alcohol-soaked cotton ball is at room temperature, and therefore evaporates into the air. The placement of the dry ice cools down the evaporation and causes the alcohol to condense. At this point, air over the black tissue paper is “supersaturated” (below atmospheric dew point), and will cause moisture to cling onto almost everything.

When particles travel through the cloud chamber, it turns molecules into charged ions, and therefore is attracted by the atmospheric alcohol. These particles and the alcohol cling together and form the tracks as perceived passing across the bottom.

It’s also possible to distinguish particle (type) from particle (type) by the appearance of the tracks.

Short, fat tracks: alpha particle

Long, straight tracks: muons (heavier form of electron)

Zig-zagged: electron or positron

Forked (Y shape): particle decay (with each branch representing another decay)


Interview: Mr. Sigmund Freud (PART 1)

(Disclaimer: this interview is entirely fictional, but the facts are cited straight from Freud’s real life)

Today is a very special day.


Well, it is with great pleasure on this very rainy Vancouver afternoon that I introduce a very special guest with whom I’ll be conducting an interview. Our guest has played such a significant role in the intellect of civilization. He has contributed as much to psychology as Albert Einstein to physics. This guest, for both your and my convenience, has resurrected from his death in 1939. He is willing to share some general thoughts of his life, though bound by time, but nonetheless spectacular, and his, needless to say, timeless discoveries.  

Hold your horses, everyone. Or should I say, hold your consciousness (and unconsciousness).

As I present to you all, Mr. Sigmund Freud.

Sigmund Freud (1926)

Sigmund Freud (1926): Ferdinand Schmutzer

… (applause)


Hello Mr. Freud, may I ask how you’re doing today?

Seventy-seven years have taught me to accept death with cheerful humility.

Ah, I apologize to have disturbed you from your peaceful slumber. I will do my best to keep our interview concise and lovely, and to keep you as comfortable as possible throughout. Now, before further ado, could I ask you to give us a brief overview of your life to inform those who are not as familiar with your legacy (as I am).


My life is but one to remark; I believe I have lived a humble, unpretentious life just like any other soul. I was born in born in Freiberg, Moravia, but I moved to Vienna, my true home and deathbed when I was four years old. I was engaged to my life-long partner, Martha Bernays in 1882 and married her in 1886, and together, we raised six children. The youngest of them, my dearest Anna went on after my death to become a distinguished psychoanalysts and further implement my theories, and develop their clinical, epilogues, per se. I even admit I am more proud of her than I am of my life.


That sounds to me like a life thoroughly fulfilled. If you wouldn’t mind, could you possibly explain your career? I can only guess our audience are very interested in how you managed achieve… you know, all your achievements (which I cannot even fathom to list).


I cringe to evaluate my life as a single career — rather, I believe my life was consisted of three careers. One being my degrees and education in physiology and as a medical doctor, the second, a psychologist, and the third, just a simple man with a family and a head full of messy thoughts.

It began in 1873 when I enrolled in the University of Vienna, and where I studied underneath a German scientist, and my good friend, Ernst Brüke. I received my medical degree in 1881, and then went to Paris in 1885. There, I was impressed by a man by the name of Jean Charcot, who used a strange little method of hypnotism to treat hysteria.

When I returned to Vienna a year later, I experimented with hypnosis, but I noticed its benefits did not last. It was then, I adopted a method (suggested by my good friend Josef Breuer) that allowed for a hysterical patient to talk uninhibited about the earliest occurrences of their symptoms. And it worked; the symptoms gradually diminished. This is what I’d like to call free association. And this is what I’d like to call the beginning of something new.


You have published numerous articles, books, and essays. Would you mind discussing some of them with us?


My work with Breuer helped me develop the idea that neuroses had their origins in deeply traumatic experiences in the past, which have been forgotten, or more accurately, hidden from the individual’s consciousness. The two of us published “Studies in Hysteria” in 1895. We parted shortly afterwards, and I began to work independently.

It would be too much to mention all my publications, but I from what I hear from the living world, it seems that “The Interpretation of Dreams” is often considered my greatest work. I published it in 1900. My work was initially badly received, as most people criticized my emphasis on sexuality as a basis of human unconsciousness. In 1908, was when the first International Psychoanalytical Congress was held in Salzburg and the day my work was officially recognized. I am grateful beyond measures for this acknowledgement and I give it credit for allowing me to continuously pursue and publish my studies.

During the last few years of my life, I managed to record my theories into a little under twenty publications. It was as the Nazis annexed Austria and I was allowed to flee to England that I concluded my life. In 1939, I died from cancer, and in 2016, here I am again, talking to you.


That was enlightening, Mr. Freud. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. Even though you may see it as lacking speciality, we, as the new, technology-driven, rash and impulsive generation see it as influential and inspiring.

I think now’s the time to take a little break. I hope to, after you are well rested, discuss some of the many affluential theories you introduced to the world during your lifetime, if that’s alright with you.


It definitely is.


(will link once finished)


An interview of Freud (1927 by G.S. Viereck)

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud: Theories