Improve Your Comprehension Skills Using a News Aggregate

Working on your reading skills in a second language?  If you like reading news, why not use an online news aggregate to help improve your comprehension skills in the new vernacular?

Experts say that in order to read an English language newspaper with full comprehension, you need to have a fluent mastery of at least 4,000 words in the vernacular.  Basing on that, it’s not too far-fetched to imagine newspapers in other languages requiring the same amount of skill before you can competently understand them.

Here’s the good thing, though.  Reading newspapers at a language you’re not yet very good in can help you become more competent in it.  After all, the more words and sentence constructs you are exposed to, the wider your familiarity grows.  It is actually a very good aid to formal lessons, regardless of whether you’re attending classes or studying on your own with a language learning software.

Online news aggregates are some of the best ways to practice reading skills, because of both the breadth of the news items they offer, as well as the customization options you get with them.  Large aggregates like Google News have ties with newspapers in most every national language the world over, including some written in regional languages.  As such, you have a bevy of choices whatever language you’re trying to familiarize with.

You can choose among dozens of newspapers in French, for instance, along with customizing which sections you want to read.  If you don’t want to bother with headlines and just be delivered the sports pages, you can easily customize it, saving you a lot of time as well as only giving items that are most significant to you.

If you’re trying to master the business vocabulary in Italian, for instance, then choose to receive business and finance news in the language.  Next month, when you move on to science and technology vocabulary, then choose the appropriate newspaper sections to be delivered.  It’s much easier (not to mention, more informative) than running through a dictionary or a list.

How to Make Science Fun For Children

Often, kids cringe at the mention of science. Their mind conjures up images of a boring book or lecture that they cannot understand. However, children should and can be made to realize that science can be fun! This is imperative if our country, and the world, wants to make leaps and progress in the scientific world of technology and medicine. What then, is the key to making science more appealing for children? We hope you will get some good suggestions here.

How to add fun to science.

Tip 1. You can begin by purchasing a simple science kit or activity. Science kits usually have an educational angle, but they are packaged as enjoyable activities with a fun spin. Make a trip to the store or do a quick search online and you will find that there is a staggering range of science kits on almost any subject in science.

First, consider what aspect of science does catch your childs fancy. If your child likes some drama and action, then a volcano kit would be a perfect introduction to science. A volcano-construction and demonstration kit is not only a great learning tool, but above all, it is incredible fun for a child to see the lava bubbling out.

For the more serious analytical child, chemistry kits are fun. It can be exciting to see how different chemicals react (in a safe environment, of course!) Later, the little chemist can analyze results find patterns and make inferences.

Don’t fret if you think your child will be disinclined to try either of these above-mentioned activities. Science covers a breadth of topics from biology, botany, earth sciences, to forensics. The good news is, there is a kit for almost every field you want to explore. The conveniences of science exploration kits are many. The fact that they come with all the things you need for your scientific investigations, means that you don’t have to scramble to find the necessary tools. Thus, a science kit is time-saving and often, economical.

Other than the ubiquitous items of stationery that you require for almost any educational activity, science kits come with all the essentials for the activity. The greatest benefit of science kits are that their interesting packaging, tools, and approach, generate a child’s interest in science. The results of the experiment or the science activity are immediate and tangible with a science kit. This instant gratification of an experiment encourages further exploration. Thus, it’s a great idea to buy a science kit if you are trying to get your child interested in science.

Tip 2. It also helps to have the entire family join in on the science activity. Your science exploration doesn’t always have to be indoors. There’s plenty to learn from nature. A study of botany (leaves, flowers, plants) could be a simple science activity as you enjoy a hike. Call attention to the variety of fauna you see, and get your child involved in identifying them.

You can study different kinds of rocks together, and maybe, collect a few. With a reference book or the internet as a resource, you can try to identify and label your rock collection. Although the rocks may not consist of spectacular pieces of earth, a rock collection is a great way to study how different rocks are made, and how it affects their properties. Having a rock collection will turn your child into an unwitting geologist.

What we have discussed here are several good suggestions that can help your child see science in an interesting and fun light. Instead of bombarding your child with dull workbooks, introduce small measures of science into daily regular activities. This will enable your child to be an explorer without the conscious stress of “studying” science. Learning will always take place if you keep it fun and engaging.

How to Make an Informed Decision Based on News Media

The news section of any media format is the place where you find out about the environment you live in. The information covers pretty much everything you relate to: social media, political insight, environment, education, health, technology, science, gossip and fun, you name it.

Unfortunately, in the past decades, the media channels have diminished the quality of the information they provide in favor of the spectacular element of it. Hence, you get a lot more scandals, gossip and breaking news about nothing really in the attempt to keep you glued to the screen, the paper or whatever medium you are on at the moment.

That is why right now you have to go through an elaborate process in order to establish an opinion that has truth in its foundation:

First, check out different publications to extract every bit of info about the piece of news that interests you. Do not hang on to a single channel or paper, the possibility of its depiction to be biased is extremely high. If you want an unadulterated opinion you should check out more sources than one.

Second, link the info to what you already know on the subject. If you are new to the issue, research as far back as you can for solid background. Informing yourself is the key to making your own opinion about a subject.

Third, consider only the sources that have established their superiority and integrity on the mass media scene. They have worked hard in order to build that level of trust and they will go to extreme lengths to keep it that way. Newcomers and tabloids try to squeeze whatever audience they get by slightly bending and exaggerating the reality, transforming the facts into an alternative reality. That’s not always the case with any newcomer, but take it with a grain of salt.

Most of the newcomers on the market are eager to get a foothold, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll do anything for achieving it. However, unless they work with experienced employees, there’s a hundred percent chance they won’t offer you the best info out there because they simply don’t know how to select it. Given time, they will come around, but experience always comes with time and work, so you can check them out but don’t pay much mind to what to see.

Lastly, make a selection. Do not dive in all kinds of subjects on a detailed level or that is all you will be doing all day. Check out your main interests alone and let the others flow by. If you are about to base your opinions on something strong, follow that lead alone. If you are about to invest on that kind of info, make extremely sure you check out all the sources you can get. And if you are educating your kids, make sure you do a good job.

General Motors – “Cruzing” Along With New Technology

General Motors is one of the world leaders in hybrid car technology, but that should come as no shock to anybody. After all, GM’s Research and Development was the world’s very first automotive research center, founded in the early ’20’s by Charles F. Kettering. Located in Warren, Michigan, GM’s Research and Development teams work on their new technologies and innovations in 6 laboratories, and 6 science offices. Researchers work with teams from a dozen countries, countless universities and government groups to provide GM with the edge in new automotive technology.

Gm has made great strides in the fuel cell car technology for starters: researchers have lessened the likelihood of cold weather freeze up in the hydrogen fuel cell based “Hy-wire” This vehicle does not have much of the traditional car parts, such as an internal combustion engine, instrument panel, or pedals, but it does have power supplied by its hydrogen based fuel cell. GM also has developed, AUTOnomy, a concept vehicle that is another hydrogen fuel cell car.

General Motors likes to try to stay competitive, and one of the way they stay one step ahead of their competition is with solid research and development- you cannot sell a vehicles unless you are giving the people what they want. The sales of the Chevy Cobalt is up by 16%, and GM is hoping to keep that hot streak going when they reveal their newest addition, the Chevy Cruze at the Paris Motor Show in a few weeks. The Cruze will be a global compact car and will be built in a GM facility in Ohio. The Cruze will be marketed as another of GM’s fuel efficient cars, close to the Cobalt’s 33 miles per gallon highway selling point. General Motors is investing the astounding figure of $500 million in the development and debut of this new line of cars.

The company has also announced that it is currently working with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to make the introduction of more electric cars faster and more feasible. It is exciting news that the cars may become more widely available considering the fact that the price to run one is roughly 1/5 the cost of driving a gasoline powered vehicle. GM has received a grant from the United States Dept. of Energy to create a plug in “demo” program. There is also work on an extended range electric vehicle due to be in car showrooms by sometime in late 2010.

Along with all of the research to reduce dependence of non renewable fuel sources, GM has also worked on other considerations as well. Onstar by GM was honored with an award in June 2008, in Detroit. There are currently no less than 6 GM models that feature Onstar as a standard feature, with talk of adding it to still others.

Why Science and Religion Don’t Mix

Well, here we are folks, well into the twenty-first century and we’re still facing the same old problem: conflict between religion and science. Most of the conflict is verbal, often quite heated, but at least the two sides aren’t violent. The other end is the warfare between open, democratic societies and the religious fundamentalists who hate us.

What’s going on here?

Well, whatever it is, it’s been going on for centuries. An old song that just keeps playing, even though nobody likes the tune. For example, there’s the old standby of evolution versus creationism. Seems like that argument has been with us forever. Many conservative Christians believe that the Bible tells them the world was created in a six day period less than ten thousand years ago. Scientists have determined that all the evidence points to the formation of Earth about four to five billion years ago. Seems like this should be an easy one to resolve, right? But it ain’t happening.

Even though we can’t resolve the old issues, new ones keep piling on. A good one (well, not really a good one) is the issue of homosexuality. Scientists have concluded that homosexuality is a completely natural sexual orientation occurring in a small minority, caused mainly by genetics. On the other hand, religious conservatives believe that it is an unnatural, sinful state chosen by or taught to the individual. How do you bridge that gap?

And then there are the emerging issues, the ones just beginning to come into view. In my novel, Unholy Domain, I attempt to describe the oncoming issue of artificial intelligence versus natural humanity. Pay attention to Adam Jordan, the First Minister of the Church of Natural Humans, speaking to his congregation in 2022:

“Listen carefully to what Lucifer says,” Jordan said, his voice cracking. He swallowed, watching the faithful, his passion pressed to the limit. He took a breath, then another.

“He offers this bargain: through technology, he will restore our civilization to a greater level of material riches. In order to gain this wealth, you must allow the Technos to create artificial beings, godless abominations that will rule the earth. But even that is just a step along the path to an even viler future. The elements of our human bodies and minds are to be replaced, step by step, with synthetic genes and artificial components. Humans are to evolve into a new species. Technological Man they call it.”

“Never,” cried a female voice among the believers. Others echoed her cry.

“Now why is the Devil doing this?” Jordan asked. “Why?” He paused, looking across the crowd. “The reason is simple, yet horrible beyond belief. In this secular world, your soul is your link to God. When the Devil replaces aspects of your humanity with artificial components, he weakens your connection to the Lord. When he inserts a synthetic gene into your body, he disrupts God’s plan. At some point, as your humanity shrinks and the artificiality grows, the link to the Lord will be severed. And when the Devil destroys that link, it’s gone forever.

“I beseech you to save your immortal soul. Do not be fooled by Lucifer. Do not join the Domain.”

Shaking his head, Jordan ranted, “Would you trade your immortal soul for a few moments of comfort? That, my fellow humans, is Lucifer’s offer. An eternity in hell in exchange for a handful of comfortable years on this Earth.”

We’ll kill all the Technos, he thought. I’ll see the Antichrist’s bones burn in this church.

Righteousness powered his words. “You must reject this bargain,” he shouted. “Do not become a citizen of the Domain, for doing so shall seal your fate. Cast your lot with humanity; live and die as a Natural Human.”

A man in the third row stood up and shouted, “We despise all their abominations.” The man’s face contorted with hate. “We’ll kill them all.”

The crowd roared.

Maybe a touch dramatic, but you see what’s just around the corner. Will it never end? What’s causing all this conflict, anyway? I mean, really causing it.

There are two layers, as I see it. First, realize that scientists and clerics share a common problem. Both take a world that can’t be fully understood and try to explain its fundamental properties.
Clerics postulate beliefs that can never be proven; they demand you accept these postulates as your Faith, which will guide your actions and thoughts. Fundamentalists believe that God has revealed the Truth in scripture; no compromise of these beliefs is possible. It’s a top down way of thinking; start with the big picture and derive rules for living. Fundamental knowledge is static. Even the derived rules rarely change.

Scientists work from the bottom up. They build a baseline of observations and formulate theories to explain these phenomena. Nothing is sacred; with new observations, theories are discarded or modified to fit the facts. A scientist may or may not have a personal belief in the existence of God, but at most a scientist believes in a passive Deity that doesn’t interfere with nature.

Okay, that’s the first level. But why are clerics top down and scientists bottom up thinkers? It has to be a combination of genes and parental guidance. Genes set the foundation; you’re either accepting of faith or your nature demands evidence. Parental guidance plays a role, too; if your folks raise you Catholic, you are more likely to remain within that religion. On the other hand, if your parents are atheists, you’re more likely to become a skeptic.

Science and religion; how could they not be in conflict? Tolerance seems possible, maybe, but this might be wishful thinking. A religion-dominated culture would have to accept the existence of a science-dominated culture. Women’s rights, homosexuality, abortion, evolution, and all that stuff. This is pretty tough for a fundamentalist to swallow. Even more difficult is accepting a large group of people who don’t believe in the True Religion. Kill the infidels – it’s God’s command. A prime example of this is Al-Qaeda.

Not that the science-based cultures are without blame! We think we’re intellectually and morally superior to the faith-based cultures, and we take advantage of them. But at least we’re not flying airplanes into buildings.

So here’s my conclusion, and it’s not pretty. Religion and science are irreconcilable. At best, each can give the other a little space and allow peaceful co-existence. But not always. As an American, I see continuing divisiveness within my country as the sectarian and religious groups press for advantage. Not violence, but plenty of heat and anger. And that’s the good news. Here’s the bad: religious, primarily Moslem, fundamentalist will continue to attack us for years to come.

And that’s why science and religion don’t mix.