Category: Features

Super-Telescopes-1

Super Telescopes

In the most desolate regions of the globe, astronomers and engineers are building a new generation of super telescopes. The high-tech structures will be spread across several continents and be so sophisticated that they can register molecules and atoms several light years away. Made up of 492 smaller, hexagonal mirrors,...

The-Mahogany-Ship-1

The Mahogany Ship

Girt by sea as we so famously are, it’s no surprise that Australia is home to plenty of likewise famous shipwrecks. After all, before human flight, a ship was the only way a European could travel to the sunburnt country. What is a surprise though is that it took so...

Stop-Being-Pessimistic-1

Stop Being Pessimistic

One of the most powerful habits that I’ve picked up in the past 10+ years is to stop being pessimistic and to think in a more optimistic and constructive way instead. It makes life feel lighter and not so burdensome. It opens up new paths towards where you want to...

Influence of Genes on Academic Achievement

Influence of Genes on Academic Achievement

Children differ widely in how well they do at school. In recent years, researchers have shown that around two-thirds of differences in school achievement can be explained by differences in children’s genes. Genes have been shown to influence how well children do at primary school, at the end of compulsory education, and even in different...

Small-Habits-That-Destroy-Happiness

Small Habits That Destroy Happiness

“Simply put, you believe that things or people make you unhappy, but this is not accurate. You make yourself unhappy.” – Wayne Dyer   “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius   It is usually...

Memory Hacks to Make You Smarter

Memory Hacks to Make You Smarter

No matter how smart you think you are, the chances are that you sometimes fail to make the most of your memory. A series of surveys have shown most students fail to use proven methods of learning effectively, instead wasting their time on ineffective methods. One of the problems is that we...

Drinking-from-the-Air

Drinking from the Air

All air, from arid deserts to humid cities, contains water vapour – globally, an estimated 3,100 cubic miles (12,900 cubic kilometres) of water is suspended as humidity in the air around us. That’s more than all the water in Lake Superior, the largest lake in North America (11,600 cubic km), or five...

The rail that ‘belongs to all Muslims’

Opened in 1908 from Damascus to Medina, the Hejaz Railway was built to bring the Ottoman Empire closer together. Much has changed, but the line continues to entrance travellers today. Located on the side of a dusty road, Amman’s Hejaz Railway station is easy to miss. To get there, you...

So Many Names of Breads

Having customers order a ‘toasted teacake’ in the West Yorkshire sandwich shop where I worked as a teenager wasn’t unusual, yet even this simple request always necessitated a follow-up question: ‘plain or currant?’. While to me a ‘teacake’ naturally implies a plain, savoury bread roll, most of the country outside...

The birthday party that went wrong

It all began with a birthday. On Saturday 23 June, Peerapat “Night” Sompiangjai turned 17 – a milestone most young people around the world would want to celebrate in style. Night was out with his friends, the other members of local youth football team the Wild Boars, and their assistant...

Countries That Set the World Culture

Global influence is often measured by military, political or economic might, but for some countries, it’s the strength of the culture – its food, fashion or entertainment – that most strongly impacts the wider world. These culturally influential countries were recently ranked by U.S. News and World Report, based on factors...

A Taste for Haste

On a recent evening at Ttobagi Driver’s Restaurant in Seoul’s Gwanak District, I surreptitiously started a timer upon placing my order. The waitress strolled off in a leisurely fashion, returning with kimchi and other side dishes just two minutes and 20 seconds later. One and half minutes after that, a...

The Dangerous Diseases Lurking Underground

It’s over. Against all odds, 12 boys and their football coach have dived, waded, climbed, and walked their way out of Tham Luang cave, a sprawling labyrinth of underground tunnels that has kept them prisoner for the last 17 days. They’ve been taken to the nearby Chiang Rai hospital to recover...

Turn a Bad Day Around

“To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” – Henry David Thoreau “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson   Some days are great, better than you would have expected when you rolled...

Europe’s Nation of Introverts

In a comic book produced by the organisation Latvian Literature for the recent London Book Fair, the main character gives a rare smile on realising that the weather outside is perfect. That is, it’s heavily snowing, and thus he’s unlikely to meet anyone out on the roads. As he says, “below zero...

Spotting the Rogue Fishing Boats

The next time you cook a fish or order some seafood at a restaurant, think about the image of a world map identifying all the fishing boats around the worldr. There are such snapshot of all the fishing happening on the ocean over a six-month period. If you zoomed in,...

The New Lighter Race for Space

The near future: tourists peer excitedly out of portholes far above the Earth, entranced by the sight of the starry blackness above and the curved blue horizon below. However, this is not a spacecraft, but a ‘near-space balloon’. It was launched from Mongolia, not Houston. And the tourists are Chinese....

Are we ready for the deadly heat waves?

When days and nights get too hot, city dwellers are the first to run into trouble. Some victims were found at home. An 84-year-old woman who’d spent over half her life in the same Sacramento, Calif., apartment died near her front door, gripping her keys. A World War II veteran...

Almost Invisible Animals

We’ve all heard of squid and octopus using pigments to blend in with their surroundings, but what about becoming completely invisible? To become actually see through, and appear as if you aren’t there, you need to either allow light to travel through you unimpeded, or bend light around you –...