Ancient Babylonians Do It Again!

Babylon – in ancient Mesopotamia, now Iraq – hosted one of the earliest recorded civilisations. Partly because they became a trading nation, they developed some of the earliest mathematical techniques. We already know that they were aware of what we now call Pythagoras' Theorem (in a numeric sense, since algebra didn't exist), but the some of the secrets of a tablet known as Plimpton 322 have been unravelled to show that they had developed a highly sophisticated form of trigonometry, ...

Living Planet Report 2018

The WWF’s 2018 Living Planet Report has been released (links to the full report and the summary can be found here: https://wwf.panda.org/knowledge_hub/all_publications/living_planet_report_2018/). It makes sobering reading. The Report shows that there has been a decline in the wildlife population of 60% over the past 40 years. It estimates that the value of environmental goods and services to humanity is around US $125 trillion annually. The Report highlights the great acceleration i.e. the increasing impact of human activity on all aspects ...

The Best Primary Source – Talk to the Artist!

Research into art The Comparative Study and the Process Portfolio both involve some level of research into and review of artworks. Inevitably, for many students a lot of this research is ‘second-hand’, e.g. looking for information on the Internet. There is nothing wrong with this (providing everything is correctly referenced and all sources are acknowledged!). Better still is to actually see the real thing, for example, by visiting an art gallery. The horse's mouse However, for information gathering and the answers to specific questions ...

The New Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HKZM)

The new 55-km Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HKZM) – the world’s longest sea-bridge, links three main cities in the greater bay Area of China (formerly called the Pearl River Delta). The Bay Area is China’s economic powerhouse, accounting for 14% of China’s GDP in 2017, but only 5% of its population. China’s economy has been slowing down, and there are problems related to inequalities in wealth, an ageing workforce and increasing pollution of air and water. It is hoped that the ...

What Is Entropy?

Entropy is covered in the AHL part of the course: Topic 15.1 in the energetics / thermochemistry unit. The entropy change (symbol = S) in a chemical reaction is determined by as follows: total entropy change = total entropy of products – total entropy of the reactants You will have probably been taught that entropy is a measure of disorder. Order goes to disorder. The universe is expanding (and therefore getting more disordered). Liquid water has a greater entropy than solid water (ice) ...

On the Dangers of Sophistry

In a world where the concept of ‘truth’ is being questioned daily to the point that it is regarded, by some, as a flexible commodity to be abused in the name of short-sighted self-interest, it is to be wondered whether philosophy is still of any use in an intellectual landscape blurred by so many claims and counterclaims. Socrates found himself in the same situation as ours when he could only deplore the lack of rigour and clarity of his philosophical ...

What Does the Audience Really Think?

Some of you may have read my blog last year that shared the many ways that adult devisors gathered feedback from their audiences. Recently I have been running a lot of devising workshops with IB Theatre students, and we have managed to add to and refine the ways that the adults did it!!! Below is what we managed to develop. Included in this blog are ideas from Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process, which you may be familiar with. Happy reading!!! ...

Sampling Methods

In statistics, a population is the complete set of data which is to be analysed. A population may consist of people (e.g. those living in a particular city), or living things (e.g. the population of all humpback whales), but could be any set of objects with something in common (e.g. all cars travelling on a particular road in a 24 hour period). Usually, it isn't possible to analyse a complete population. Why? It would take too long It would be too ...

An End to Peat Cutting in Ireland?

By Monday, December 10, 2018 No tags 0

In November 2018, the Irish peat company, Bord na Mona, announced plans to close 17 of its active peat bogs, and to close the remaining 45 bogs by 2025. The cutting of turf in peat bogs is a traditional form of energy in Ireland, and was widely practiced across the country in its numerous peat bogs, such as in Kerry and Mayo in the west of Ireland. Peat was cut not only by Bord na Mona, but also by individual ...

Benzene

Benzene is sometimes referred to as an aromatic compound as opposed to the majority of other organic molecules that you have so far studied that are found in chains and sometimes referred to as aliphatic compounds. Aromatic substances are said to have an unsaturated ring of atoms whereas aliphatic substances open chains. The word ‘arene’ is sometimes used in place of aromatic. Benzene has the formula C6H6. Its structure was first proposed by the German chemist Friedrich August Kekulé in 1865. Its ...