Connect with us


NSMQ2019: We’ll Use Our Knowledge To Help The Poor – St. Augustine’s College



Representatives of St. Augustine’s College Senior High School who won the just-ended 2019 edition of the National Science and Maths Quiz have said they will use the knowledge they are acquiring in school to assist needy Ghanaians in the society.

All three representatives of the school – Newton Jimmy Stephen, Maino Afful Joseph Kwaku, Anthony Papa Eliason – told Quizmistress Dr Elsie Kauffmann before the finale of the competition that after school “we will use our knowledge assist the poor in the society.”

St. Augustine’s College led in all the five rounds and ended with 39 points with Presec bagging 34 points and St. Peter’s managing 25.

“At end of the fifth round, here are the final scores: St. Peter’s had 25 points, Presec, Legon had 34 and St. Augustine’s College had 39 points,” Quizmistress Dr Elsie Kuaffmann announced at the National Theatre in Accra.

She added: “As far as I am concerned, you are all champions but I have to make some distinctions. St. Peter’s, you have done very well, congratulations but today was tough, the Egyptians were too strong for you. Never mind you have eared GHS1,500 GCB Bank money zone.

“Presec, Legon, congrats as well, you have done very well but the opposition was great for you. Nonetheless, you have earned GHS2,000 in the GCB Bank money zone.

“St. Augustine’s College, congrats on winning the contest, you did it. You have earned GHS 2,340.”

At a point in the competition, Dr Kauffman had to remind the representatives of Presec to take their time to answer the questions, as they were getting answers that ordinarily, a Presecan would have scored, wrong.

“Patience is sometimes a virtue,” she advised the Presecans.

(Source: Ghana/ )


Why Doesn’t Anyone Live On The Moon Yet?



Short trips don't require too much baggage, but what about an extended stay?

Is Earth’s fresh air, endless biodiversity, and (relatively) stable average temperature getting you down? Ever wanted to drop everything and jet off to a place where life is simpler—or better yet, nonexistent? Then take a 238,900-mile jaunt to the solar system’s premiere deserted destination: The moon. Our closest astronomical neighbor offers 14.6 million square miles of peace, quiet, and more shades of gray than you can count—perfect for a rustic getaway without all the distractions of nature.

Sound heavenly? Unfortunately, it’ll take a lot more than a simple rocket trip to achieve lunar paradise. And the first folks to set up shop on the moon probably won’t be building resorts and vacation homes—as of now, NASA wants to create what’s basically a gas station for future trips to Mars. Astronauts would stop on the moon to refuel and stock up on supplies before embarking on an 8-month odyssey to the red planet.

Whether it becomes a 5-star hotel among the stars or the first 7-Eleven outside Earth’s atmosphere, the tiny rock orbiting our planet is so desolate that we’ll have to establish basic infrastructure to sustain life if humans are ever to settle down there. It won’t be easy, but it’s far from science fiction.

“Humans are fragile, and because we’re so fragile, we require so much,” says astrophysicist and planetary scientist Laura Forczyk, who owns the space consulting firm Astralytical.

For starters, there’s the moon’s lack of a genuine atmosphere. Forczyk says it does have somewhat of a “pseudo-atmosphere” called an exosphere: a magnetically suspended mix of gases and particles stirred up from the lunar surface by solar wind. But the elements that make up breathable air float around the moon at infinitesimal concentrations compared to Earth. Taking a deep breath would be just as deadly on the moon as it would be in the vacuum of space.

Don’t break out into a passionate rendition of Jordin Sparks’ “No Air” just yet—thankfully, breathing could be the least of future lunar residents’ worries. Forczyk says we’ve gotten really good at recycling air on the International Space Station through the Environmental Control and Life Support System. Along with a few lunar greenhouses to foster oxygen-emitting plants, a similar system could purify air and send it back through a network of sealed, controlled habitation modules in a lunar settlement, keeping us breathing easy for years. However, we’d have to send loads of those life-giving gases to the moon at least once to get the cycle going, which would be expensive: Shipping just a pound of material (even air, which would have to be pressurized in tanks) to the moon would cost more than $1.3 million.

The moon’s dinky exosphere poses other serious problems. Because there’s no air, there’s no wind, which means no erosion. That’s made the dust particles on the lunar surface—called regolith—especially troublesome. Unlike granules of sand on Earth, which appear round when observed under a microscope, regolith particles are sharp; meteorites and solar wind have hammered them, and there’s no fluid around to wear down those fractured edges. Getting sand out of your clothes at the beach would be a walk in the park compared to fielding these ultra-clingy particles, and they could cause problems for machines and humans working on the lunar surface.

No atmosphere also means no protection against meteorites, which hurtle toward the moon at breakneck speeds, threatening to puncture spacesuits and permanent structures. So if future humans on the moon see a shooting star, they’ll have to run for cover instead of making a wish.

While a lunar colony thankfully wouldn’t have to account for hurricanes or other extreme atmospheric weather events, it’d have to shore up against an invisible—but highly hazardous—threat: solar storms. Unlike the Earth, the moon has no magnetic field to protect against highly charged electromagnetic particles emitted by the sun. During particularly intense solar flares, which eject bursts of high-energy light waves from beneath the sun’s surface, even the Earth can’t fully shield our electricity infrastructure from going haywire. Without that crucial magnetic field, a solar storm engulfing a lunar settlement could be potentially disastrous for human health and infrastructure. Thus, we’d have to use substances like water or polyethylene, which contain concentrations of hydrogen high enough to absorb the impact of these rogue space particles, to protect buildings on the moon from solar radiation.

Scientists have recently uncovered another lunar nuisance to be aware of: moonquakes. Seismometers left by Apollo astronauts have told us that, despite having no apparent plate tectonic system or subduction zones, the moon’s ground can shake up to a magnitude of around 5 on the Richter Scale. That’s not as intense as some earthquakes recorded here at home, and Sam Courville, a research assistant at the Planetary Science Institute who has studied planetary seismology, says they likely wouldn’t pose a major risk for lunar structures.

But Courville says a possible mechanism behind these quakes could have implications for our future buildings. Some moonquakes are believed to be caused by temperature stress, when intense freezing and warming periods lead to contraction and expansion of materials and, in some cases, the formation of faults. The moon has some of the most variable temperatures in the solar system, ranging from a balmy 260˚F during the day to a bone-chilling -280˚F at night. And because a single lunar day lasts 27 Earth days, a colony’s structures would have to withstand these extreme temperatures for weeks at a time before feeling relief.

There’s also the issue of gravity: the moon’s is only about 1/6th that of Earth’s. Given what we know about the effects of long-term weightlessness on astronauts, lunar residents would have to take precautions to keep healthy. Exposure to microgravity on the ISS has been shown to accelerate bone and muscle loss and create cardiovascular issues, because having to work against gravity is part of what keeps our bodies fit. That’s why astronauts on the ISS spend hours a day exercising to make up for its absence. While the moon’s lack of gravity isn’t quite as extreme, Courville says living long-term in any environment with reduced gravity could be detrimental to human health.

Because we’d be setting up shop in a venerable desert, a lunar colony would need to secure some kind of water source. An ECLSS-like system could recycle any water we bring with us, but it’s not 100-percent efficient and would result in the loss of some water over time. Forczyk says one option is scavenging for traces of hydrogen and oxygen bonded to regolith particles and fusing them together to make trusty molecules of H2O, but that process would require an immense amount of energy. Instead, we could establish a settlement near one of the lunar poles, which contain deposits of ice that never see the sun—and never melt. This would provide easier access to a water source to replenish the purification system.

Strangely enough, Courville and Forczyk say the biggest obstacle to living on the moon isn’t a solar death storm or evil sand—it’s the economic and political will to make it happen. As of now, NASA has no set plan to send humans back to the moon in any capacity, and other space programs don’t yet have the funding to carry out their own crewed missions.

“Technologically, NASA has the ability, motivation, and expertise to do this,” Forczyk says. “The question is: Are people here on Earth going to fund it so we can actually accomplish it?”

Fifty years ago, the Cold War space race was a big motivator for sending the Apollo astronauts to the moon. Today, it’s the possibility of using the moon as a jumping off point for Mars and other spots throughout the solar system. Courville says a permanent settlement on the moon could dramatically reduce the cost of launching rockets into deep space, mainly because the moon’s low gravity and lack of atmosphere make liftoff a lot easier.

Whether the moon becomes a crucial stop on the way to Mars, the most isolated research facility to date, or just an outlet mall, the challenges of setting up permanent shop there should make us grateful to live on a planet that gives us everything we need.

Continue Reading


Youngtrepreneurs Crowns Winner Of Directing And Cinematography Workshop With 10,000 Ghana Cedis.



The inaugural workshop of the newly-founded organization Youngtrepreneurs which was officially launched in May this year by British-Ghanaian director, producer and screen writer Scilla Owusu took place from 15th July to 17th July , 2019 at the Fitzgerald in Cantonment Accra.

The 3-day workshop was well-organized, intriguing and very informative. All participants attended as expected by the organization. The purpose of the workshop was to focus on Directing and Cinematography. As expected, it was very interactive and insightful. Nevertheless, the workshop kept the applicants enthusiastic and excited they were allowed to freely use cinematography equipment and participate in demonstrations. In fact, more emphasis was placed on the practical aspect of the workshop in order to ensure that the applicants were imparted with adequate skills in directing and cinematography. Furthermore, the practical nature of the workshop enabled many applicants to express their creative opinions.

The applicants showed a lot of gratitude and expressed their genuine excitement about the three day workshop and how appreciative they were for being exposed to such in-depth knowledge and experience from guest instructors Yaw Sky face and Scilla Owusu. Executive director of the Accra film school, Mr. Rex Anthony Annan graced the workshop with a powerful speech in which he said “the time to raise the pertaining standard in Ghana's film industry is overdue” He also described the workshop as one of a kind and showered praises on the founded for putting together such a great initiative and at the end he presented certificates endorsed by the school to all participants.

Three winners were crowned on the 17th of July. The ultimate winner, Richard Quagraine Amoah, was given a sum of 10,000 GHC funded by sponsor Eugene Ayisi of Dominion Capital to direct and shoot Ghanaian hip hop star Joey B's video. He was also awarded with an internship slot with award-winning production house Apstairs media and a 10 week business internship with African Internship Academy Anna Leonie, the 1st runner up and John Kwame Markin the second runner up will also get to be assistant directors to Richard to shoot JOEY B's music video this month.
Follow Youngtrepreneurs on
David O. Bannor

Continue Reading


If Aliens Call, What Should We Do? Scientists Want Your Opinion.



In the age of fake news, researchers worry conspiracy theories would abound before we could figure out how — or if — to reply to an alien message. The answer to this question could affect all of our lives more than nearly any other policy decision out there: How, if it all, should humanity respond if we get a message from an alien civilization? And yet politicians and scientists have never bothered to get our input on it. 

Astronomers use radio telescopes, like the Very Large Array in New Mexico, to listen to the cosmos. They can also use radio telescopes to broadcast messages into space.
© Getty Images Astronomers use radio telescopes, like the Very Large Array in New Mexico, to listen to the cosmos. They can also use radio telescopes to broadcast messages into space.

At long last, that’s changing. A group of researchers in the UK this week released the first major survey on the question. The responses could help inform an international protocol for responding to first contact.

This is a big deal because, as Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have warned, communicating with extraterrestrials could pose a catastrophic risk to humanity. In fact, if we send out a message and it’s received by less-than-friendly aliens, that could pose an existential threat not only to the human species but to every species on Earth.

Despite the high stakes, scientists have already sent out signals intended to be picked up by aliens. The first one went out in 1974, when the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico transmitted a broadcast containing information on everything from the position of Earth in our solar system to the double helix structure of DNA. 

The Arecibo Observatory is currently running a contest that invites kids to design our next message to E.T. And later this year, an organization called Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) plans to transmit a new message containing information on the periodic table. There’s no law saying they can’t, or even that they need to get some international buy-in.

But the scientists at the UK SETI Research Network (UKSRN) think we’re woefully unprepared to handle an alien message if we receive one. And they say no one class of people should unilaterally decide humanity’s response. As astronomer Martin Dominik put it, “We want to hear people’s views. The consequences affect more people than just scientists.”

Space craft with person and car in light beam, illustration.
© Getty Space craft with person and car in light beam, illustration.

So UKSRN has launched a survey online and at the Royal Society’s summer science exhibition in London, which runs July 1-7. Here are three of the questions they’re asking the public:

1) Some people think we should send messages into space even if we don’t receive a message first. What is your opinion?

2) If we receive a message, do you think we should reply/make contact or not? Why?

3) What would you consider a credible source?

That third question reflects a worry I’ve been hearing from astronomers over the past couple of years: If a newly discovered message from aliens is announced, members of the public may use social media to spread all sorts of fake news and conspiracy theories about the aliens, their message, and what it will mean for humanity to communicate with them.

© Getty

In the weeks or months or years it could take scientists to decode the interstellar missive, fear-mongering could tank our chances of responding wisely — or at all. An alien message “will take time to understand and if that work starts to drag out and there is nothing new we can say, the information vacuum will be filled with speculation,” John Elliott, a UKSRN co-founder, told the Guardian. “Conjecture and rumor will take over.”

In hopes of figuring out how to minimize the problem, the survey asks which information sources you’d trust: Main news channels? Direct quotes from scientists? Official government statements? Other sources?

It also asks if you’d post on social media about the discovery of an alien message. If so, would you restrict yourself to defending the scientific evidence? Or would you maybe engage in speculation? Would the absence of any news on the signal’s decoding encourage you to speculate?

High resolution, low noise picture by multi-panel stitching.
© Getty High resolution, low noise picture by multi-panel stitching.

You can see how it’d be useful to scientists to be able to predict the public’s response in these scenarios. But there’s a difference between how I say I’d react when I’m filling out a questionnaire, and how I’d actually react in real life. In addition to that limitation, the UKSRN survey is weakened by the fact that the same person can take it more than once from different devices.

Still, it’s an improvement over the lack of public consultation we’ve seen on these questions in the past. 

Who gets to make rules about what happens in space?

For decades, the international community has been exploring the possibility of establishing a mechanism for global oversight when it comes to our engagement with outer space. But even if everyone were to agree that’s a good idea, the question of how to set it up and make it enforceable is incredibly complicated.

The 1967 Outer Space Treaty was an early effort in this vein. Ratified by dozens of countries and adopted by the United Nations against the backdrop of the Cold War, it laid out a framework for international space law.

Carl Sagan posing for the camera: Carl Sagan helped design this early pictorial message to aliens. It was engraved on an aluminum plaque that was attached to the Pioneer 10 spacecraft before its launch in 1972.
© Getty Images Carl Sagan helped design this early pictorial message to aliens. It was engraved on an aluminum plaque that was attached to the Pioneer 10 spacecraft before its launch in 1972.

Among other things, it stipulated that the moon and other celestial bodies can only be used for peaceful purposes, and that states can’t store their nuclear weapons in space. The treaty suited its historical context, but it didn’t tackle the concerns people have nowadays about messaging an alien intelligence.

Carl Sagan helped design this early pictorial message to aliens. It was engraved on an aluminum plaque that was attached to the Pioneer 10 spacecraft before its launch in 1972.

Another inflection point came in the late 1980s, when scientists with the organization Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) drafted a post-detection protocol, a list of best practices for what to do if and when we ever find aliens. One of its principles reads: “No response to a signal or other evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence should be sent until appropriate international consultations have taken place.” 

Sci-fi space background - two planets in space, glowing mysterious nebula in universe. Elements of this image furnished by NASA
© Getty Sci-fi space background - two planets in space, glowing mysterious nebula in universe. Elements of this image furnished by NASA

This protocol was put on file as a brief with the Outer Space Treaty at the UN, and it was endorsed by the International Academy of Astronautics and the International Institute for Space Law. But it has no regulatory force when it comes to those who actively send out messages à la METI.

In 2015, SETI researchers, Musk, and others released a statement criticizing METI efforts. “We feel the decision whether or not to transmit must be based upon a worldwide consensus, and not a decision based upon the wishes of a few individuals with access to powerful communications equipment,” it said. “We strongly encourage vigorous international debate by a broadly representative body prior to engaging further in this activity.”

So far, though, there is still no “broadly representative body” regulating what messages can be sent into space or by whom.

An aliens in grass field,3D illustration concept background
© Getty An aliens in grass field,3D illustration concept background

Alessandra Abe Pacini, a researcher at Arecibo who helped generate the idea for the kids’ contest, told me the question of whether any message should be transmitted at all is “very controversial,” adding: “Even here among the scientists at Arecibo, there is no consensus.”

If some of the smartest astronomers in the world can’t come to an in-house agreement, is there any hope that the international community will ever agree? Maybe not, but the UKSRN survey may at least help us find out how much consensus there is or isn’t among the public. That’s a good first step.

Continue Reading


LIFESTYLE: How To Make A Good Impression While Working From Home.



The option to work remotely is a huge draw for employees today. With commutes averaging nearly half an hour each way in the US, working from the comfort of home, a local coffee shop, or nearby co-working space is a perk now enjoyed by nearly half of the US workforce.

But businesses—which also benefit from flexible remote-work policies by reducing the overhead costs that come with physical office space—are struggling to address the collaboration challenges their remote employees faces.

Software company Igloo, where I work, recently surveyed 2,000 employees to gauge the state of the digital workforce in a new report. Our data indicates that over half of remote workers have been left out of important meetings, and more than two-thirds say they deal with challenges they would not encounter in an office setting.

Knowledge sharing is essential in any work environment. For remote workers, this is especially true. Yet, 43% of employees have neglected to share a document with a colleague because they couldn’t find it, or thought it would take too long to find. While working remotely may limit the distractions that come with an open office, challenges like these make it difficult for remote workers to be as successful as their in-office peers.

© Getty 

56% of remote workers have missed out on important information because of their remote status. Employers are responsible for providing their employees with the best tools to communicate and collaborate with their fellow co-workers, but it’s up to remote workers to use those tools effectively to ensure their voices are not ignored. These three steps are a good place to start.

1. Always make your presence (or lack thereof) known

“Out of sight, out of mind” shouldn’t apply to remote workers—but it does more often than not. In our survey, 56% of remote workers have missed out on important information because of their remote status; 70% reported they “feel left out.”

In order to be included, ensure that co-workers know where you are, or at the very least when you’re online. For example, if you’re running out to get lunch or grab a cup of coffee, setting your status to away on your messaging app of choice can help avoid missed connections, eliminating the infamous, “Sorry for the delay!” response.

Gallery: I've been working from home for almost 10 years — these are the 6 tricks I use to get more done in less time (Business Insider)

The ability to  work from home can have productivity benefits for workers, but it can also bring distractions and difficulties.Here, author Jennifer Still details six things that she does to stay disciplined while working remotely. While more and more companies are opting to  allow employees to telecommute - a wise decision considering the  productivity boost that can result -  working from home isn't for everyone. I've been doing it for nearly 10 years, and honestly, I can't imagine ever returning to a traditional office environment. Still,  it's easy to get distracted when you're effectively your own boss when it comes to time management. Since no one's clocking my productivity, it's up to me to ensure everything gets done promptly and at a high level of quality. Here's how I keep myself focused and disciplined while  working from home.

While remote workers may not have the luxury of grabbing a conference room for a quick chat, there’s a variety of cost-effective and easy-to-use conferencing tools that make it simple to have a virtual face-to-face meeting, regardless of location.

Asking to do an informal meeting over Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Slack, or the plain old telephone can help build rapport with colleagues in various locations, which can be useful when you inevitably need to circle back for information.

2. Show up for the job

While it’s tempting at times to work from your bed, it’s best to reserve this for sick days. Creating a professional environment at home helps trigger productivity. In fact, research shows that working from your bed or even living spaces can cause workers to link these places to stress and makes it hard to disconnect from work, even after logging off for the day.

It’s crucial for remote workers to build a dedicated work environment outfitted with the proper tools. Curating a space equipped with a desk, monitor, keyboard, and office supplies can go a long way.

Creating a structure for the day, in addition to building a workspace and dressing professionally, can also help set work/life balance boundaries and avoid the potential for burnout. Taking time for a coffee break or stepping away to eat lunch, just like those in the office often do, helps productivity in the long run.

And when it’s time to log off for the day, being able to shut a physical door allows employees to leave their work in the (home) office.

3. Make your voice heard

Because remote workers are not physically present, speaking up is crucial. This doesn’t mean dominating every conversation, but at the very least you should avoid the mute button during meetings, and find ways to contribute to meaningful discussions.

This does more than increase your value as an employee. A study directed by psychologist Matthias Mehl at the University of Arizona showed that people who engaged in substantive conversations throughout the day were typically happier than those who conversed primarily with small talk.

Remote workers also must be more intentional about conversations regarding career growth. Because there are no water coolers to start conversations around, remote workers need to be diligent about recording and sharing professional wins and accomplishments.

Telling a supervisor about results regarding an ongoing project isn’t bragging—it’s good communication. Participating in internal message boards and engaging on corporate social channels shows commitment to the company and makes communicating more natural when the challenging assignments and promotions roll around. And when they do, there’s no reason remote workers should get any less consideration for them.

Continue Reading