Have you asked yourself why technology is so important today? Just look around and you’ll know why. Literally, at every instant of time, you are surrounded by technology. Whether you are working or resting, you are always using technology. It is used everywhere and all the time. Its use has made life easy. We need technology. It’s important. You ask why? Well then.Places far away have come closer, thanks to technology.
So, what is all this hype and hoopla over the likes of virtual and augmented reality technology all about? Is it really possible to experience a Matrix-like phenomenon in the real world? To continue with the Matrix theme, is the world, as we know it, the REAL world? Well, that was a rhetoric question meant to tease the technologically curious nerve inside you! Or was it? Okay, enough playing! It’s time to get down to the brass tacks now! So what is this technology all about? Let’s get us some answers!
A Layman’s Take on Virtual Reality
A computer simulated environment that either resembles or substitutes the physical reality so well that the viewer is left wondering whether what he sees or feels is the real thing or if it’s all in his mind is known as virtual reality. The concept of virtual reality technology includes all such computer and IT based technologies that can perfectly simulate and project any place or situation of either the real or imaginary plane to the eyes or any other sensory organ. However, presently, the major chunk of virtual reality experiences fall under the category of visual virtual reality with auditory effects coming from additional appendages like speakers, headphones, etc. Research and product development is being carried out for new varieties of virtual reality techniques and technology which would be capable of extending stimuli to other sensory organs like touch, taste, smell, etc. The most common and commercial examples of virtual reality technology can be seen in the
Technology and Education
Had our forefathers not made revolutionary discoveries and produced series of technological breakthroughs, would our life be like it is today? Would it had been possible for us to gain so much knowledge and exchange information with everyone across the globe? And as our world is developing and global communication is taking a new dimension, technology has a great impact on our society, environment, and life. Without making our children adapt to these growing technological advancements, won’t we make a grave mistake?
Since our children are the builders of tomorrow, they must be in sync with the pace at which our society is transforming. When we focus on the history of technology in education, we find that children who have basic computer literacy and are aware about fundamentals of technology, perform better in their college and graduation years. It is a misconception that technology should only be studied by students who are studying technology-related subjects. The mere fact is that use of technology has spread in every sphere, be it arts, commerce, or science. And while a computer science engineering student
As a result of indiscriminate use of natural resources and development of artificial substances like plastic, we have already filled the land and air with numerous pollutants. The climate change that the planet is facing is a serious challenge to its ability to sustain life. Technological innovation that has enhanced communication and connectivity to even the most remote corners of the world needs to be tapped as a panacea. The solutions are at hand, waiting to prove potential, and faster we address modification of human behavior, better the chances for an improved quality of life.
Modern technology has already proved its unique features:
- Instant access to information.
- Communication at a click.
- Bulk processing without human intervention.
- Globalization of resources due to collaborative effort.
Common rostrum for debate, deliberation, and problem-solving.
Each feature facilitates a number of related proponents. Application to optimize this power at hand is up to us. What we drastically need to change is our consumption habits; the way and extent to which we use and abuse easily available resources. Technology can be used to monitor and facilitate:
- Energy efficiency, from the kitchen to the desktop.
- ‘Green’ living; adopting a lifestyle that accommodates solar, wind, and renewable sources of energy.
- Vehicles that run on ‘green’ fuel, hybrid cars, and popular designs.
- Afforestation; to prevent carbon intensive paper production and encroaching upon ‘green’ space.
- Environmentally-friendly, solid chemical disposal systems.
- Climate controlled buildings with construction designs to harness the forces of the elements.
- Energy-intensive home and work environment.
The above mentioned, possible changes are critical to our survival. Technology and dedicated research can help us to manage and monitor energy consumption. This in turn will reduce the risks associated with a depleted ozone layer; health hazards that plague our lifestyles and even carbon footprint. Modern technology has the power to take the form of small gadgetry to contain the
Around 70,000 BC, a mysterious illness almost wiped the human population off the Earth. Only a couple of thousands survived. Although we are the dominant species today, once, we were an endangered species!
The subject of evolution is vast, in content and in span. Natural selection plays a crucial role in evolution. The term was coined by the father of evolution, Charles Darwin. He imagined a future where the population grows exponentially, and the increase in resources is linear and steady. By these assumptions, he theorized that all species cannot survive peacefully. There will be strain on the resources and the weak will feel the pinch of adaptation and survival. The fit will survive and thrive. This was termed as ‘survival of the fittest.
After Darwin theorized natural selection, he differentiated it with artificial selection or selective breeding. Selective breeding is much more widely seen nowadays, if you observe carefully. For example, take a look at the purebred dogs around you. Long before humans domesticated them, the wild dog was very generic looking, and had characteristics very similar to its cousin species―the wolves. Humans befriended wild dogs, and some groups found a characteristic interesting. This could have been a soft, furry coat; or a more docile dog; or an increase in size. This led to the various species of dogs we see today.
Thus, selective breeding is human induced, and hence, is not natural. It is not forced by nature or by the surroundings. In natural selection, when a stressful situation is induced, the best organisms equipped to adapt, survive. Their close counterparts who may not be so good at adapting, go extinct.
Artificial Selection vs. Natural Selection
Cases of Natural Selection
Brown and Green Beetles
All living beings possess genetic material that is composed of a sequence of nucleotides. Errors in this sequence are known as mutations, and they exist in the genome of all living beings. It is impossible for the genome of a biological entity to be devoid of any mutations. With each new generation, almost 100 – 200 new errors are incorporated into the genome. Considering the vast timeline of the existence of life on Earth, the amount of accumulated mutations is staggering. To put this in perspective, if we consider humans, each generation includes 100 new errors into the human genome, and at the current population growth rate, each generation of humans on the entire planet has a cumulative 100 billion mutations. Over the years, this vast aggregation of mutations has provided the raw material for the development of various genetic alleles, which increase the genetic variation and diversity, thereby providing the groundwork for the process of evolution and natural selection.
Despite the usefulness of mutations with respect to genetic variability, not all of them are desirable with regards to the overall fitness of the organism. Hence, they are segregated into three types: neutral, beneficial, and deleterious. Neutral mutations have no observable effect on the organism. They merely increase the genetic variation. Beneficial mutations provide the organism with a vital advantage for its survival and proliferation. Finally, deleterious mutations, as the name suggests, pose a threat to the fitness of the organism, as they have harmful effects of the general health of the organism. In general, when considering
The term ‘biodiversity’ refers to the amount of variation in all biological entities within ecosystems. It is often defined as being the cumulative sum of all genes, species, and ecosystems of a particular region. Hence, it can be studied on three interrelated levels: genetic, species, and ecosystem. However, the genetic level forms the baseline. Genetic diversity in organisms forms the root of any genetic adaptation or variability. It is the basis for evolution and natural selection. The genetic diversity of a species paves the way for the species to be able to adapt to its changing environment. It refers to the possession of various genetic traits in a species, that may or may not be expressed depending on the prevalent environmental conditions. However, this term should not be confused with that of genetic variation.
Genetic variation refers to the prevalence of two or more allelic forms of a particular gene in a given population, whereas, genetic diversity refers to the prevalence of a diverse range of genes in the gene pool of organisms. Hence, variation deals with individuals, whereas, diversity deals with entire populations or species. Genetic diversity can be considered to be a combination of variation as well as variability (tendency for variation to occur in a species). This combination helps biological species to be adaptable to changes in its environment. These changes could be a result of change in population sizes, weather conditions, natural disasters, arrival or departure of competing species, etc.
Sources of Genetic Diversity
In germline mutations, the alteration in the DNA sequence is passed onto the organism’s offspring. In time, these mutations may accumulate and cause defects in the genome, which could ultimately prove fatal, causing
What is a Physical Change?
Any kind of change that occurs in matter without altering its chemical composition, is physical.
It’s characterized by changes in physical attributes associated with any object, like its matter state (solid, liquid or gaseous), density, temperature, volume, which occur without a modification in its fundamental chemical structure.
There is no creation of new chemical products or change in overall mass. Also, this type of change is typically temporary and in some cases, completely reversible.
Examples of Physical Change
Everything is made up of atoms. When atoms bond they form different molecules. The varying properties that objects inherit, are a consequence of different molecular or atomic structures. Core properties of an object are dependent on their molecular arrangement. Physical changes occur without changing molecular or atomic structure of objects. They merely change the state of an object without changing its inherent nature. Melting, condensation, change in volume and evaporation are some examples illustrated below.
Melting gold for molding
Melting Ice Cubes
Blowing a Balloon
More Physical Change Examples
A metal expanding when heated
Cutting paper or cloth with a scissor
Transmission of sound through air
A sculpture being carved from a piece of wood
Water freezing during winter into ice
Copper being drawn into wires
Shaping clay into different objects
Ice cream melting to a liquid
Heating up a metal and beating it into a different shape
Sublimation of Iodine when subjected to heat
The falling of any object under gravity
Grinding a fruit to pulp in a mixer
Ink being absorbed
A chemical change takes place when one or more substances react to form a new substance, or a substance breaks down to form one or more substances. A chemical change is also called a chemical reaction.
So, what exactly does happen when a chemical change takes place? Well, a chemical change is nothing but the rearrangement of atoms of the reacting substances to form a new substance. It is sometimes accompanied by the emission or absorption of energy. The ones that are accompanied by the emission of heat are known as exothermic reactions; while the ones in which heat is absorbed, are known as endothermic reactions.
How to Identify a Chemical Change
So, now that we have learned about quite a few examples of chemical changes in everyday life, let us enlist the characteristics of a chemical change, that can help us identify one.
A chemical change involves formation of a new substance, and the chemical properties of the new substance are different from that of the reacting substances.
A change in color indicates a chemical change.
A chemical change is usually accompanied by a gain or loss of energy.
Sometimes, a change in odor is an indication of a chemical change.
A chemical change is accompanied by the formation of gases, or the formation of a solid in the form of precipitate.
A chemical change is irreversible i.e. it cannot be undone.
Examples of Chemical Change
A very common example of a chemical change is the reaction between sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and hydrochloric acid (HCl) to form sodium chloride (NaCl) or table salt. Here are some examples of chemical changes that we come across in our everyday life, placed under two categories: organic and inorganic.
Changes Involving Organic Compounds
According to the Snowball Earth hypothesis, the Earth’s surface froze almost entirely, at least once around 650 million years ago.
The Earth was formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago. Since the ancient years, there have been many theories and myths regarding the shape of the Earth. From the time when it was believed to be the planet around which the Sun revolves, till today when it is on the brink of global climatic change, our planet has been constantly surprising us with its secrets.
With the help of science and advanced technology, it has been possible to bust myths and dig deep into stories associated with our planet.
Facts and Figures
• The Earth is believed to have resulted from the collisions that took place in a vast cloud of gas. In due course of time, the gases, dust, and other particles combined to form solid masses called asteroids and planetesimals. On further collision and accretion, these objects formed the entire Solar System.
• The shape of the Earth is an oblate spheroid, bulging at the equator and flattening at the poles. This bulge around the equator is caused by the Earth’s rotation.
• The Earth is the fifth largest planet in the entire solar system.
• The distance of the Earth from the Sun is approximately 93,000,000 miles. This distance is considered as 1 Astronomical Unit (AU).
• Did you know that ours is the only planet whose name has not been derived from Roman or Greek mythology? The name has originated from the 8th century Anglo-Saxon word erda. It means ground or soil.
• The Earth is one such planet that provides an atmosphere, which helps to sustain life. It has the requisite quantity of water and