Author Topic: Sharpen Your General Knowledge  (Read 21591 times)

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: Sharpen Your General Knowledge
« Reply #240 on: August 24, 2011, 10:59:18 AM »
Where Can You Find Giant Plants?

If you’re looking for giant plants, there’s no better place on earth to find them than Brazil.

A palm tree that grows in Brazil, the Amazonian bamboo palm, has the largest leaves of any plant on earth. The fronds, or leaves, of this palm can be close to 70 feet long and 19 feet wide!

You’ve seen lily pads, floating leaves that sometimes offer a resting place for frogs. Imagine a lily pad so large it could support a man! The Victorian water lily, or Victoria Regia, found in the Amazon region of Brazil, can measure 6 feet in diameter.

The explorers who first discovered this plant claimed that some of the pads were large enough to support three men!
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: Sharpen Your General Knowledge
« Reply #241 on: August 24, 2011, 11:01:09 AM »
What Is Epistemological Rationalism?

Epistemological rationalism is the position that human beings have important ideas or principles present in their minds from birth, and that the most important truths about the world can be derived from thought, without the need for experience.

These a priori truths are also held to be logically certain, which is to say that it would entail a logical contradiction to deny them, and that they are absolutely certain, or, in current terminology, “true in all possible worlds.”
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: Sharpen Your General Knowledge
« Reply #242 on: September 05, 2011, 05:38:53 PM »
Can Any Plants Move From Place to Place?

One of the major differences between an animal and a plant is that an animal can move from place to place, while a plant is rooted to the spot where it grows. But there are some plants that can actually move from place to place in search of water!

The resurrection plant, a desert plant found in parts of the American West and the Near East, grows just like any other plant when there’s enough water around, sending roots into the ground and sporting green, fernlike leaves.

But when water is scarce, the resurrection plant pulls up its roots and dries up, becoming a ball of brown twigs that appear to be quite dead. This ball of twigs is carried along the ground by the wind, and may roam the desert for many years.

But when the plant finds water, it sinks roots into the wet ground, turns green, and begins to grow again! It’s called the resurrection plant because it appears to come back from the dead.

If the moisture in the soil dries up, the resurrection plant will pull up its roots and wander over and over again in search of water!
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: Sharpen Your General Knowledge
« Reply #243 on: September 05, 2011, 05:40:57 PM »
How Is Soil Formed?

There are four basic “ingredients” that go into the “recipe” for making soil: tiny pieces of rock, decayed plants and animals, water, and air.

When small pieces of rock break off larger ones, they form the basis of all soil. This breaking can occur in several ways: through the action of glaciers pushing rocks along the ground and grinding them against other rocks; through the action of chemicals in water eating away at rocks; through changes in temperature causing water to freeze in rocks and crack them open; through the force of wind throwing sand and pebbles against rocks; and through the movement of plant roots splitting rocks apart. This rocky, ground-up material is called the parent material of the soil.

When a plant or animal dies, its remains are attacked by bacteria which decompose, or break them down. This decaying matter combines with the parent material and provides the soil with many nutrients to help new plants grow.

Water and air fill in the spaces between the ground-up rock and decaying matter to provide places for tiny insects to live and for plant roots to grow.
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: Sharpen Your General Knowledge
« Reply #244 on: September 05, 2011, 05:42:02 PM »
How Are Rocks Formed?

Our earth is composed of three main types of rocks, each having been formed in its own special way.

The first type, igneus rock, was formed when hot (2,000°F.), melted rock material, magma, deep inside the earth rose to the surface during earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or other movements of the earth’s crust. This magma cooled and hardened. Granite is an example of igneus rock.

The second type, sedimentary rock, was formed millions of years ago mostly on the bottoms of lakes and oceans, when parts of plants, animals, and other, older rocks piled loosely upon each other in layers. Over millions of years, these layers squeezed together to form solid rock. Sandstone and limestone are examples of sedimentary rock.

The third type of rock, metamorphic rock, was formed when great heat or pressure, or chemical actions of liquids and gases changed either the igneus or sedimentary rock in appearance and composition. Marble is an example of metamorphic rock, since it was originally limestone, a sedimentary rock formed from hardened shells and coral upon which chemicals acted.

Smaller rocks of all three types are formed when water seeps into rocks, freezes, then expands. This expansion causes huge rocks to break apart. The movement of glaciers has also ground larger rocks into smaller, more rounded forms.

There is actually a rare kind of thin sandstone, itacolumite, found in North Carolina, which can be bent out of shape by hand!
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: Sharpen Your General Knowledge
« Reply #245 on: September 05, 2011, 05:46:27 PM »
Are Mountains Still Growing or Do They Shrink Eventually?

For ages, people believed that Earth would always be the same. Now we realize that it is constantly changing.

The mighty Himalaya Mountains in South Asia, with their record-breaking heights, are still growing. The great Alps in Europe may grow taller still.

On the other hand, the Rocky Mountains in the United States are continuing to wear away, just as the eastern Appalachians have diminished over time.

These changes, however, generally take place at the rate of a pebble, a rock, or a boulder at a time.

"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: Sharpen Your General Knowledge
« Reply #246 on: September 05, 2011, 05:47:18 PM »
What Was the Reaction to Gregor Mendel’s Discovery In Genetics When His Paper Was Published In 1866?

Gregor Mendel knew he had made a great scientific discovery.

He wrote a paper on his findings in plant genetics and presented it to the Brunn Natural History Society.

They either didn’t know what he was talking about or didn’t understand the significance of it.

The paper, Experiments with Plant Hybrids, was also published in the society’s small scientific magazine, but again there was no reaction.

Mendel sent the paper to scientists throughout Europe, but they were not interested in the work of an amateur and a monk.

Mendel was appointed abbot of the monastery soon after that and spent the remaining 15 years of his life running the establishment. His new responsibilities and the disappointing reaction to his work meant there would be no more research.

When he died, his laws of heredity were still unknown.

It was not until 1900 that three scientists working on heredity discovered Mendel’s paper and revealed his findings to the world.

In the early 1900s, Swedish scientist Nilsson Ehle used Mendel’s findings to create a strain of wheat that would easily grow in Sweden’s cold climate.
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Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: Sharpen Your General Knowledge
« Reply #247 on: September 05, 2011, 05:50:24 PM »
Why Don’t All Months Have the Same Number of Days?

Our calendar comes from the ancient Romans, and is based on the sun. But before the Romans began to use their solar calendar, they used a lunar calendar, based on the moon.

A real month is the time it takes the moon to go around the earth, about 29.5 days. So the Romans gave their months 29 or 30 days. But their 12 months added up to only 354 days, so they had to add a short month of 11 days to the year from time to time.

During Julius Caesar’s reign, the Romans began to use a solar calendar instead of a lunar calendar. The Romans took the extra 11 days in the solar year and divided them up among the other months, making the first, third, fifth, seventh, ninth, and eleventh months each 31 days long. Then they took a day away from February, so that the 12 months contained exactly 365 days.

Some historians think that Augustus Caesar took a day from September and added it to August, the month named after Augustus, and also moved a day from November to December.

That’s why August and December now have 31 days, and September and November have 30. But there’s no proof that this is the way it really happened.
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Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: Sharpen Your General Knowledge
« Reply #248 on: September 07, 2011, 10:12:37 AM »
When Did the World Lose Ten Days?

In 46 B.C., Roman ruler Julius Caesar put a new calendar into effect, which came to be known as the Julian Calendar. The Romans thought that the year was 365.5 days long, so they made an ordinary year 365 days and added an extra day every fourth year, or leap year.

But by the year 730 A.D., it was known that the year was actually 11 minutes shorter than the Romans of Julius Caesar’s time thought it was. This mistake made the calendar wrong by 11 minutes each year, or one day wrong in every 128 years. By 1582, the calendar was ten days out of line with the seasons.

So in that year, Pope Gregory XIII ordered a new calendar placed into effect, which we now call the Gregorian Calendar. To keep the calendar in line with the seasons, it was decided that the first year of each century would be a leap year only when that year could be divided by 400. Therefore, 1200 and 1600 were leap years, but 1800 and 1900 were not. This change eliminated the 11-minute-per-year error in the calendar.

To bring the calendar immediately back into line with the seasons, Gregory ordered that ten days be dropped from the year 1582. People who went to bed on the night of Oct. 5 of that year woke up on Oct.15!

Some branches of the Eastern or Orthodox churches still figure their holidays according to the Julian Calendar, which is now 13 days different from ours!
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Re: Sharpen Your General Knowledge
« Reply #249 on: September 07, 2011, 10:32:36 AM »
How Does the Dimension of an Antenna Play a Significant Role In the Reception of an Electromagnetic Wave?

The length of an antenna determines the frequency that it best receives. The most efficient antennas have a length equal to half the wavelength of the wave it is receiving. This allows the induced electrical current in the receiving antenna to resonate at that particular frequency. If the antenna is a simple rod it is most sensitive when its length is one quarter the wavelength.

A loop or coil antenna are used for the low-frequency, long-wavelength signals in the AM band. A half-wavelength straight wire antenna would be over one hundred of meters long. Shorter wires or rods can be used and are more efficient if coils of wire are used to “load” the antenna.

Home FM radio and television antennas are designed to receive a broad range of frequencies, but with less sensitivity. Antennas for the ultra-high frequencies used in digital high definition televisions are very short and can be easily mounted outside on rooftops or on top of television sets.
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Re: Sharpen Your General Knowledge
« Reply #250 on: September 11, 2011, 10:51:44 AM »
What Is the Electromagnetic Spectrum?

The electromagnetic spectrum is the wide range of electromagnetic (EM) waves from low to high frequency.

The spectrum ranges from low-frequency radio waves, all the way to gamma rays, which have a very high frequency. In the middle of the spectrum is a small region containing the frequencies of light.
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Re: Sharpen Your General Knowledge
« Reply #251 on: September 14, 2011, 02:58:11 PM »
What Is Light Made of, Where Does Light Come From, and Why Is Light a Type of Electromagnetic Radiation?

Light is a familiar everyday phenomena that we take for granted.

When the Sun or other stars shine, we see light. When we turn on a lamp, we see light.

Technically, light is an energy disturbance in the air. Oscillating electric and magnetic fields radiate energy in waves.

The wavelengths and frequency fall in the middle of the electromagnetic spectrum, between ultraviolet and infrared rays. It so happens that our eyes detect radiation at those wavelengths and frequencies in the form of light.

Different elements, and the combinations of elements that make up molecules, emit radiation in different ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Nitrogen-based ammonia, for example, tends to emit microwaves. We cannot see ammonia in space with an optical telescope, but it can be found using a special microwave telescope.

Neon radiation, however, is detected as light. Think of all the neon signs in all the store and restaurant windows you’ve seen.

Technology now allows astronomers to study radiation across the whole electromagnetic spectrum.

Research into all the different kinds of radiation provides far more information, and raises many more questions, about the universe than studying light alone.
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Re: Sharpen Your General Knowledge
« Reply #252 on: September 14, 2011, 03:04:18 PM »
How Dangerous Is Radiation and Are All Types of Radiation Dangerous or Hazardous to Our Health?

There are several types of electromagnetic radiation such as, radio waves, infrared light, visible light, ultraviolet light, and X-rays.

Some radiation from elements can be deadly.

The bombs that the United States dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, at the end of World War H, were hydrogen and plutonium bombs, respectively.

The radiation from other elements is harmless.

Seventy-eight percent of the air we breathe is nitrogen, whose radiation obviously is not dangerous.

Most types of radiation are harmless at low levels of exposure, but even infrared radiation can be harmful if it is of a high intensity.
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Re: Sharpen Your General Knowledge
« Reply #253 on: September 14, 2011, 03:06:34 PM »
When Did Humans Appear On Earth?

This is not an easy question to answer. Debates rage over which fossils can be called truly hominoid (humanlike), or hominid (human).

The development of human characteristics took place over millions of years. The earliest primate (an order of mammals that includes humans, apes, and monkeys), no bigger than a rat, appeared 60 million years ago.

About 10 million years ago, the Ramapithecus showed remarkable hominoid attributes. But there is no further evidence until 6 million years later.

The first generally accepted hominoid is called Australopithecus, and some believe they are actually the most primitive of the human lineage.

Homo habilis, dating back at least 2 million years in modern-day Africa, is undisputedly human. Less than a half-million years later, Homo erectus lived in Africa as well as in Asia and Europe.

A fossil skull fragment discovered in England is the oldest known example of modern-day humans: a 300,000-year-old Homo sapien.
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Re: Sharpen Your General Knowledge
« Reply #254 on: September 14, 2011, 03:08:22 PM »
Why Is Africa Called the “Birthplace of the Human Race” And When Was Cattle Domesticated In Africa?

Africa is called the birthplace of the human race because scientists have found fossilized bones of human ancestors in eastern and southern Africa that are the oldest of any in the world.

They believe that humans gradually moved out of Africa to populate the rest of the world.

The earliest Homo sapiens, or modern human, found in Ethiopia can be dated back to about 200,000 years ago.

Most scientists believe that the human species originated from the African continent.

Fossil remains of several species of early apelike humans believed to have evolved into modern man, such as Australopithecus afarensis from about 3 million years B.C. have been discovered.

It is believed that cattle was domesticated in North Africa by about 6000 B.C., before agriculture had become widespread.
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"