Education & Reference

This category contains 14 posts

Current affairs holds the key

GET YOUR BASICS RIGHT: The candidates who score more than 300 in the General Studies papers are those with excellent understanding of the subjects at the secondary and higher secondary school level.

Comprehensive study of topics plus being up-to-date with events of the day are crucial to cracking the Civil Services Main exam, say experts. 

The Civil Services (Main) Examination 2011 is just a few weeks away. Over the years, there has been a rise in preparation awareness among civil service aspirants, but this coveted exam continues to throw a surprise element calling for newer strategies.

The question papers in recent years have clearly shown that the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) seems to be determined to select those aspirants who are able to cover most of the topics in the syllabus with focus on current affairs.

The number of questions in the General Studies question papers has been doubled from 30 to 60, says P.S. Ravindran, director, Vajiram and Ravi Institute for IAS Examination, New Delhi. “As UPSC covers a large number of areas, General Studies preparation should be comprehensive,” he says. He stressed the need to score more than 320 marks in both the optional subjects as scoring in the General Studies has become more challenging.

A sizeable number of candidates in the previous mains examination were not able to score more than 270 out of 600 in the General Studies papers.

Many questions pertaining to current affairs of the month of October 2010 were unexpected and candidates found it tough to handle them in the previous mains.

Aspirants who were able to read at least two broadsheet newspapers such as The Hindu regularly were able to answer those questions. “Reading of two newspapers and Frontline is necessary. Questions based on less prominent news is also being asked,” says Mr. Ravindran.

Instead of reading several study materials, candidates are advised to select two source materials and concentrate on that with four rounds of quick revision.

A thorough preparation of topics covered in statistics and Indian Economy is crucial for a high score. The questions would cover Indian economy and issues relating to planning, mobilisation of resources, growth, development and employment.

Issues arising from the social and economic exclusion of large sections from the benefits of development, economic and trade issues such as foreign trade, foreign investment, economic and diplomacy issues relating to oil, gas and energy flows, the role and functions of IMF, World Bank and WTO which influence India’s economic interaction with other countries and international institutions are important.

The candidates who score more than 300 in the General Studies papers are those with excellent understanding of the subjects at the secondary and higher secondary school level. They do not require any specialised study in any of the subjects for the General Studies. NCERT books of history, geography, polity, economy and statistics continue to be useful for revising the syllabus for the main examination.

IGNOU materials on optional subjects could be used for understanding the basic concepts for the General Studies and the optional subjects.

The Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) this year had 14 questions on current affairs of May 2011. Over 70 questions in the CSAT were related to current affairs. This trend is likely to continue in the civil services main examination too.

“Many first-timers have cleared the prelims. So presentation of answers will be more important,” says Ganesa Subramanian, Director, Ganesh’s IAS. Questions pertaining to the celebration of the 150 years of existence of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, diamond jubilee celebrations of the Election Commission of India, Union Budget, Constituent Assembly and Reserve Bank of India may be of significance, he says.

Current affairs based on newspaper reports from September 2010 to October 2011 are the key areas. The candidates should be able to think and formulate views based on their subject knowledge based primarily on NCERT material.

Last year, questions on news covered in the period between October 1 and 15 took candidates by surprise.

More surprises may be in store for them this year. UPSC is expected to continue testing the analytical mindset of candidates in this main exam too. Environment, ecology, biodiversity and climate change may be prominent areas.

Reading editorials of newspapers has been found helpful for Essay paper and for answering questions on polity and social issues. Economic Survey and publications such as Yojana may be useful. Lok Sabha channel debates may throw light on social issues. Weekly group discussions or joint study with other candidates would enrich the understanding of key areas.

Small is big

Nanotechnology: Booming opportunities

Nanotechnology It may not be a familiar field but it is one to look out for in the future.

Whenever I tell anyone that I am studying Nanotechnology, I get weird looks.

Although Nanotechnology is a relatively recent development in scientific research, the development of its central concepts happened over a longer period of time. Richard Feynman is considered the Father of Nanotechnology.
Wide application

Nanotechnology is an interdisciplinary field that involves study of manipulating matter on atomic and molecular scale. The major areas for the development of applications involving Nanotechnology are:

Medicine and Pharmaceuticals: used in tissue engineering to reproduce or repair damage. Advanced form of tissue engineering can lead to life extension. Also used for producing better drug delivery systems.

Optics: The first sunglasses using protective and anti-reflective ultrathin polymer coatings are in the market. For optics, nanotechnology also offers scratch resistant surface coatings based on nanocomposites. NANO -OPTICS could allow for an increase in precision of pupil repair and other types of laser eye surgery.

Electronics: The production of displays with low energy consumption could be accomplished using carbon nanotubes (CNT).

Textile: The use of engineered nanofibers already makes clothes water and stain-repellent or wrinkle-free. Textiles with a nanotechnological finish can be washed less frequently and at lower temperatures. Nanotechnology has been used to integrate tiny carbon particles membrane and guarantee full-surface protection from electrostatic charges for the wearer.

Catalysis: Chemical catalysis benefits especially from nanoparticles, due to the extremely large surface to volume ratio. The application potential of nanoparticles in catalysis ranges from fuel cell to catalytic converters and photocatalytic devices. Catalysis is also important for the production of chemicals.

Genetics: DNA nanotechnology provides one of the only ways to form designed, complex structures with precise control over nanoscale features. Another potential application is in crystallography, where molecules which are hard to crystallize by themselves could be arranged and oriented within a three-dimensional nucleic acid lattice, thus allowing determination of their structure.

A professional in this field can easily find lucrative career opportunities in various sectors: Nano-medicine, bio-informatics, stem cell development, pharmaceutical companies, Nano-toxicology and Nano power generating sectors.

Some other fields include:


Environment Industry

Food and Beverages

Health Industry

Space Research

Product Development

Magnetics and Optoelectronics

Communication and Media

Forensic Science

And many more new industries are emerging as a result of the rapid advances in Nanotechnology.

Eligibility criteria:

Student should have taken the science group in Stds XI and XII (Physics and Chemistry). Other criteria’s depend upon individual universities.
The future

The governments of the world aren’t immune to the Nano-fever. Many countries understand the great potential value of nanotechnology in various areas and consider it as an engine for economic growth.

The U.S. is definitely taking the lead, but Europe, Asia and Israel are also big players. These countries have already invested $4 billion to establish various nanotechnology-related centres. These investments are estimated to triple in a period of five years.

As the components of technology get smaller and smaller, world-wide interest in developing them gets bigger and bigger.

Gaurav is a III Year B.Tech Nanotechnology student at SRM University.

How to Transfer From a Public to Private High School Read more: How to Transfer From a Public to Private High School

Transfer From a Public to Private High School

There is an on-going debate about the benefits of private education over public education, but whatever the reasons you choose a private high school over a public one, there are a few obstacles you may need to overcome. Public high schools receive government funding and have to accept everyone, where many private schools pick and choose people from certain demographics for their student population. The process may seem overwhelming, but staying organized can make a huge difference.


    • 1

      Decide which private school you want to transfer to from your high school. There are independent schools, parochial schools and proprietary schools. There might be constraints based on previous test scores, grade point average or tuition affordability. Independent schools tend to be the most expensive, whether they board or not, and parochial schools tend to be the least expensive.

    • 2

      Obtain admission materials from the private high school. This is something you want to do early in the school year, so you can apply for the following year. Some places require even earlier application. Keep a day-planner or a list so you do not miss any deadlines.

    • 3

      Send in your application forms to the private high school and take any admissions tests or standardized testing required by the private high school.

    • 4

      Apply for any scholarships, grants or financial aid you may need to cover your tuition and other costs or fees for the private school. Admissions Quest and the National Association of Independent Schools both have lists of scholarship and grant programs to help people who might need financial aid. Your new private school also might have financial aid available for students in certain circumstances.

    • 5

      Make sure the credits you already have can transfer over. If some do not, you have to take extra classes or may be able to “test out” of those credits.

    • 6

      Ensure the public high school sends your transcripts and records to the private high school. The schools may work this out on their own, but following up helps you get the peace of mind of knowing it is taken care of. It also makes you look professional and mature to the private school.


Hostel of tribal school under closure threat

Students of the Government Tribal Lower Primary School, Champakkad, in Idukki district with their warden in front of the PTA hostel, set up under the project named 'Empowerment and Protection to Scheduled Tribe' by Kanthallooor grama panchayat.

63 students from remote settlements utilising the facility

The future of 63 tribal students studying at the Champakkad Government Tribal Lower Primary School, inside the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, is hanging in the balance as the authorities are yet to provide recognition to the hostel facility at the school.

The only government school in Kanthalloor grama panchayat, the schools has played a pivotal role in providing education to tribal children from Alampetty, Karimutty, Eechampetty, Puravayal, Palappetty, Pongampally, Vannamthura, Kanakkayam, Pottappallam, Cherukad, Muniyara and Dhandukombu settlements. However, due to the alleged delay in getting recognition from the District Tribal Project Officer, the hostel at the school is under threat of closure.

As the inmates of the hostel belong to remote forest settlements, they will have to discontinue their studies once the facility is closed down, according to members of the school Parent Teacher Association (PTA).

The school that is situated 15 km away from Marayur was established in 1958 to provide education to the children of Hill Pulaya tribes. A hostel was started along with the school to provide accommodation to the students as the members of the tribe live scattered over a wide area in the forest. The hostel was detached from the school in 2000 when it was shifted to a rented house at remote Karimutty, allegedly due to lobbying by some forest officials. Many students opted out of the school then, they said.

The demands to restore the hostel facility fell on deaf ears for long. However, the last panchayat council accepted the proposal of the PTA; it launched the Scheduled Tribes Empowerment and Protection project and the hostel facility at the school was restored.

The present panchayat council also took a favourable decision towards the project and helped in providing admission to 63 students at the hostel during the 2011-’12 academic year. However, the District Tribal Project Officer is yet to provide recognition to the hostel.

Gopakumar, president, PTA, said that if the hostel was not provided immediate recognition, they would have to send the 63 inmates back to their kudis, which might derail their studies.

He said that the district administration was yet to respond to many of the proposals to continue the hostel facility at the school.

Online registration for CAT

Online registration can be done from August 17 to September 28 for the Common Admission Test (CAT), 2011 of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) scheduled between October 22 and November 18.

A good CAT score leads to admission to the postgraduate programmes in management conducted at the IIMs in Kozhikode, Tiruchirappalli, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Indore, Kashipur, Lucknow, Raipur, Ranchi, Rohtak, Shillong, and Udaipur.

Aspirants should buy an IIM-CAT 2011 voucher from select Axis Bank branches by paying Rs.1,600 (Rs.800 for those belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) from August 17. The voucher is essential for the registration on

CAT 2011 centres include Hyderabad, Vishakapatnam, Kochi, Kozhikode, Coimbatore, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi. The revised online test of two hours and thirty five minutes will have two sections. The first section is of quantitative ability and data interpretation and the second, verbal ability and logical reasoning.

The objective-type multiple-choice questions carry a score of three each, but each incorrect answer means losing one mark from the total marks scored. A candidate can take the test only once during the 20-day testing window on

The minimum qualification for appearing in the test is a Bachelor’s degree in any discipline with at least 50 per cent marks. Those appearing for the final-year degree examination may also register for the test. The test results will be announced on on January 11.

Several other business schools use the score for screening applicants for group discussions and personal interviews for admission. For registration details, visit

Admissions to the Fellow Programme in Management (FPM), equivalent to a Ph.D. programme, at the IIMs in Kozhikode, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Indore, Lucknow, Raipur, Ranchi, and Tiruchirappalli is also based on the CAT score. For details, visit

Management entrance test

The Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS University), Mumbai has invited applications for its national-level Management Aptitude Test (NMAT- 2011) for admission to the MBA core course and those with specialisations, including actuarial science, banking, capital market, human resource management, and pharmaceutical management, and postgraduate diploma courses in management. The centres include Hyderabad, Kochi, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, and Delhi.

Those with a degree in any discipline taken in the first attempt with minimum 50 per cent marks may apply.

However, for MBA actuarial science, the entry qualification is a Bachelor’s degree in statistics, mathematics, engineering, economics or computer science with minimum 50 per cent marks in aggregate in the first attempt.

For the pharmaceutical management specialisation, the qualification required is a degree in pharmacy, science, life sciences, MBBS, BDS, BSMS, BHMS, BAMS, B.Sc. or M.Sc. biotechnology with 50 per cent marks in aggregate in the first attempt.

Those appearing for the final-year degree examination may also apply.

Registration for the test can be done up to October 10. The registration fee is Rs.1,650. Details can be had from

Indian students continue to prefer US

The growth of applicants among Indian students has been seen across the category of institutions.

8 p.c. growth seen in prospective Indian students seeking admissions, says CGS report

Unmindful of the developments in the US, Indian students continue to prefer the US varsities for higher education and it reflects in the eight per cent growth seen in prospective Indian students seeking admissions.

According to the recent report of the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), international students increased by 11 per cent compared to 2010. The survey report on admissions trends saw 23 per cent increase in prospective Chinese students followed by Middle East and Turkey. “While the growth in admissions is driven in large part by increases from China, it also reflects a broader trend as evidenced by strong numbers from the Middle East and India and a stabilization in the numbers from South Korea,” said Debra W. Stewart, CGS President in a statement posted on its website.

“For prospective graduate students from India, applications increased for the second year in a row and offers of admission increased for the first time since 2007. Interestingly, recent phases of the CGS International Graduate Admissions Survey have tracked the declines for prospective graduate students from India, but this year’s survey results reveal gains for students from India,” the report said.

The growth of applicants among Indian students has been seen across the category of institutions and they continued to prefer big (in terms of the number of graduate degrees awarded to international students) institutions, the report suggests. Applications from prospective Indian graduate students increased 9 per cent at the institutions among the 10 largest, 9 per cent at the 50 largest, and 8 per cent at the 100 largest institutions.

The changes in offers of admission to prospective international students vary by field of study and institution type. Admissions increased in all broad fields. The largest increases were seen in business (16 per cent) and physical & earth sciences (15 per cent) while social sciences & psychology saw the smallest increase at three per cent. Offers of admission increased at nearly the same rate at private, not-for-profit institutions (12 per cent) and public institutions (11 per cent).

Final applications and initial offers of admission are based on the second phase of a three-part annual survey of international graduate student applications, admissions, and enrolment among CGS U.S. member institutions. The report is available on ‘’.

U.S. keen on more educational collaboration with India

Jennifer McIntyre, consul general, U.S.Consulate, Chennai interacting with students at Rajalakshmi Engneering College.

The International Education Fair organised by Rajalakshmi Engineering College recently opened many doors of possibilities in higher education abroad.

“India and the U.S. have strong ties in the area of education. Over 1,00,000 Indians study in the U.S. and the number continues to increase each year. The U.S. continues to look for ways to increase collaboration and opportunities between the two countries,” said Jennifer McIntyre, Consul General, U.S. Consulate, Chennai.

She was speaking at the one-day International Education Fair organised by Rajalakshmi Engineering College, Thandalam, near Chennai, in their campus on August 9. There are over 12 million Indians enrolled in over 500 universities and 20,000 colleges. “However, there are approximately half a billion Indians under the age of 25. Put simply, educating this population is one of the greatest challenges facing India,” Ms. McIntyre said.

An international fair such as this one represented by five countries can assist students with educational opportunities and find ways to collaborate and shape the leaders of the 21st century, she said.

The recent visit of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to participate in the strategic dialogue also included discussion on educational initiatives. U.S. and India plan to host a higher educational summit in Washington D.C. on October 13 to highlight and emphasise the many avenues through which the higher education communities in the U.S and India collaborate. Also in future, more number of American students will study and intern in India.

The U.S.-India Science and Technology Endowment Board that awards three billion dollars annually will announce its first set of grantees by September 2011. India and the U.S. are all set to host the third annual Woman in Science workshop in September. “It is clear that both the countries are exploring many avenues for educational collaboration,” Ms. McIntyre said.

Dr. Thangam Meganathan, REC chairperson, said, “International education fairs are usually organised at Five Star hotels in the city. Not all students get the opportunity to visit such fairs. Therefore, we decided to organise an international education fair in our campus itself. Such an initiative ensures higher participation by students and also it is cost-effective.”

Representatives from the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF), Education U.K., Campus France, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and Study Holland interacted with the students and the parents and explained to them the various possibilities in higher education in their respective countries. Sudha Sudeep of Study in Holland said, “The number of students enrolling in universities in Holland is on the rise. In 2009, we had about 30 students from south India, and this year, the number has risen to 150. Such fairs provide students with authentic information and true facts. No longer are the students restricting themselves to the U.S or U.K., but they are opening their eyes to newer countries, course and opportunities.”

Padmavathi Chandramouli of DAAD Chennai says, “Organising such fairs within the educational institute campus has its advantages. REC started this system last year and the response from the students has been very good.”

HDFC Credila ( clarified doubts that many students had with regard to education loans at the fair.

Science Projects with an Onion

Extracting DNA from an onion can make for an interesting science project.

Just as there are many layers to an onion, so there are several very different science projects that can revolve around this versatile vegetable. Onions release a chemical that makes humans cry, but that actually protects the onion plant from germs and insects. A simple science project can test the popular methods for preventing or stopping humans from crying while chopping onions. The onion also lends itself to DNA extraction in a more complex science experiment.

The Crying Experiment

It’s no secret that chopping an onion often leads to tears. When the onion is cut, it releases an enzyme known as allinase and a sulfur compound. They form a volatile chemical that gets into our eyes and reacts with the water in them. There are a variety of remedies on how to help stop the tears associated with onion chopping. This experiment allows the student to scientifically evaluate the effectiveness of the remedies. The common remedies include placing the onion in the freezer for fifteen minutes before chopping. Another is to work a slice of bread onto your knife so that it absorbs the fumes that cause tears. The third is to light a candle in the work area prior to chopping the onion. The candle is supposed to burn off the gasses produced by the onion. Students can put these hypotheses to the test and determine through comparison if any are effective and which one works best. Volunteers who are willing to cry several times will be needed.

Onion DNA

This science project teaches students how to separate onion DNA from other cellular components without interfering with its sequence or structure. The experiment involves chopping up an onion and placing the pieces into a measuring cup. Then prepare two sets of solutions that contain a tablespoon of shampoo and a quarter of a teaspoon of salt. Place each solution in a beaker and add distilled water. Pour the solution over the chopped onion. This causes the membrane of the cells to break down. The cup with the onion is placed into a hot water bath for 10 minutes to allow phospholipids to soften. This is followed by an ice water bath for five minutes. The mixture is then filtered and the onion solution is poured into a test tube. Cold alcohol is added and the DNA will precipitate into the alcohol layer. There should be sufficient DNA to spool onto a glass rod.


This science project teaches students about the nature of decomposition. It is not for the squeamish, as onions are particularly smelly. Have students cut an onion in half and place one half in a clear container that is then placed in a sunny, warm area. Put the other half of the onion in a clear container that is stored in a dark place. Students can then write up their observations over time of what is happening to each onion half. They should compare the changes and make a note of them. A chart can be drawn up showing the factors that facilitate decomposition. Brave students can examine the fungi and mold that grows on the onions with a magnifying glass.

Onion Lifecycle

Onions are members of the allium family and are biennials, which means that they bloom in the second year. Have students create a diary of an onion in which they document, from the onion’s perspective, the way that they grow and the different ways they can be cultivated. Remind students that while this is a science project and they should provide accurate facts about onions, they can also be creative and imaginative. Inspire them to write a poem about the multiple layers of an onion and then decide on an ending for their onion’s story. The onion can end up in a delicious stew feeding the poor or in a compost heap after it is destroyed by burrowing maggots.

How to Save the Environment at Home

There are plenty of little steps that people can take at home to help save the environment. While the eco-footprint of each step is small, thousands of people doing the same thing can make a difference. In making some small changes to the way that you do things at home, you are gradually making a difference, even as an individual. You will kill costs and improve your health at the same time, so helping to save the environment isn’t a totally altruistic exercise!


Turn off appliances when you are not using them

Turn off appliances when you are not using them. Up to 30% of power used by TV’s is used while they are turned off, so buy power strips and just flip the switch on the power strip, because they use far less energy while turned off.

Lower the thermostat by a few degrees in winter.

2. Lower the thermostat by a few degrees in winter. An extra layer or blanket will not only keep you cozy but will help to reduce your electricity bill significantly.

Make sure that the house is fully insulated.

3. Make sure that the house is fully insulated.
Make sure that the house is fully insulated. Insulation keeps the heat and cool on the correct side of your living space. Consider not only the ceiling but also the walls and under the floors.

Use windows to regulate the temperature.

4. Use windows to regulate the temperature.

Keep windows and doors closed properly to avoid the loss of heat in winter.
Open the windows in summer. The cross breeze will often keep you cool and flushes out stale air (indoor air is often more highly polluted than the air outside). Importantly, the use of fresh air to cycle through your home saves the cost of running an air conditioner.

Install ceiling fans instead of air conditioning units to keep rooms comfortable in warm weather.

Install ceiling fans instead of air conditioning units to keep rooms comfortable in warm weather.

6. Fill the gaps. Gaps reduce energy efficiency in a home. By caulking gaps around windows and doors, you increase the ability of your house to retain heat and cool at the right times of year, allowing your heating and cooling systems to work less.

Switch to compound fluorescent lightbulbs.

7.Switch to compound fluorescent lightbulbs. They last longer and consume one-quarter of the energy. Lately, LED lamps have started to pick up the pace too — they are up to ten times as effective as fluorescent, and totally blow incandescent bulbs off the charts.

8. Turn off the lights. Always turn off the lights when you are not using them. Rooms that are lit with nobody in them are wasteful.

In the Kitchen


Recycle, recycle, recycle.

Recycle, recycle, recycle. Some cities already require people to sort their trash into paper, metals, glass, and organic waste. Even if your city doesn’t, you can launch a growing trend. Set up four separate waste baskets, and make sure the contents end up in the appropriate recycle bins.

10. Air dry your dishes. Stop the dishwasher before the dryer cycle commences. Leave the door slightly ajar (or more open if you have the space) and let the dishes air-dry. The drying cycle of the dishwasher consumes a lot of energy.


Avoid Creating Trash.

Avoid Creating Trash. Avoid disposable products, such as plates, cups, napkins and cutlery. Use reusable towels and dishwashing cloths in place of paper towels and disposable dish sponges

12. Update your refrigerator. Fridges are the most energy intensive appliance in a house. This means that a poorly maintained and energy inefficient fridge is costing you money, let alone adding its burden to the atmosphere. Recent fridges use 40% less energy than fridges of 10 years ago. If you do decide to upgrade the fridge, make sure that you buy for its excellent energy rating, longevity and durability and that you have the old fridge recycled.

In the Bathroom & Laundry


Prefer showers over baths.

Prefer showers over baths. Showers use less water. Don’t forget to install an efficient showerhead.







14. Use soaps and detergents that contain no phosphates. Use a mixture of water and vinegar to wash your windows. Wash clothes in cold water to avoid consuming energy to heat the water. On sunny days, use a clothes line instead of a clothes dryer. Your clothes will smell fresher and the sun’s rays ensure that germs are successfully sizzled.


15. Install low-flush toilets in your home. These use 1.6 gallons per flush, instead of 3.5 gallons, cutting water consumption by more than half.


16. For the ladies out there, consider using cloth (as in, reusable) tampons and pads, or using a menstrual cup. It may seem gross, but it can’t be grosser than the thought of the amount of pads and tampons women use yearly piled up in a landfill, now can’t it?



Use recycled paper in your home office and printer.

Use recycled paper in your home office and printer. Double side your printing and give scrap paper to the kids or turn it into note paper for the phone table.





18 . Turn off the computer every day. Even if it feels like it is not making much of a difference, it is. You also reduce any risks of overheating or shortcircuiting by turning computers off overnight.


In the Garage 

Leave the car at home.

Leave the car at home. Let the car contribute less to the atmosphere by resting at home whenever possible. Walk to your local stores, take public transport to work and cycle to your friends’ houses for dinner. Join a car pool and ferry others to work rather than driving in alone. You’ll make new friends and you’ll all share the costs





19 . Buy a fuel-efficient car if you are changing cars. Choose a compact car over an SUV. SUVs burn almost twice the amount of gas as a station wagon and yet can still carry around the same amount of passengers.


20 . If you’re really serious about going all-out green, consider living without a car — not only it’s green, but could also save you a lot of money!


21 . Keep your bike well maintained. Take away at least one excuse that you cannot use your bike because it is in bad shape. Keep it in shape and then use it to keep yourself in shape.


22. Dispose of workshop items with care. Old paints, oils, pesticides etc. should not be tipped down the drain – the residues end up in our waterways. Dispose of these items through municipal disposal schemes or use the landfill option if there is no other choice.


23 .

Plant native species.

Plant native species. They need less watering, are hardier (hence, less products needed to protect them) and they attract the local wildlife.








24. Plant trees. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and provide shade. They provide homes for wildlife and some trees can provide you with a bountiful harvest. What more incentive do you need?!


25. Reduce the lawn. Either reduce your lawn size or remove it altogether. Lawns are costly to maintain, the chemicals used on lawns are dangerous to our health and to that of the surrounding wildlife and lawnmowers emit high levels of pollution. Replace lawns with shrubs, ornamental garden structures, pavers for entertainment areas, native grasses and ground creepers etc. In addition, what’s better than being able to step outside and pick a few strawberries or an ear of corn? Increase your own resilience by converting wasted lawn space into a vegetable garden. Consider using drip-irrigation systems or constructing or purchasing a rain barrel (it saves you having to pay to pump water back into the ground).


26. Compost. Compost the kitchen scraps and create beautiful garden matter to encourage better plant growth. Make sure the heap is warm and well-turned. Read a few books about composting. It’s rare to find someone highly skilled in the area! Remember, soil is a living thing, it should not be powdery and dead. Life comes from the soil, and therefore the soil should be kept alive. Avoid highly invasive tilling if at all possible, but be sure to keep the soil aerated.




27. Measure your eco-footprint online. There are many sites that offer this. Once it is measured, see what you can do to reduce your home’s impact on the environment.

28. If you or someone you know doesn’t see the “point” of doing these things, watch or show him or her a movie like An Inconvenient Truth, Who Killed the Electric Car?, and The Day After Tomorrow to show them the effects of what will happen if we don’t work to save our environment.

29. Reduce your waste before recycling! Buy loose products and minimise packaging on the products you buy at the shops. Take a reusable bag with you.

30. Rather than buy a printed book consider the library, a book swap or if you want to purchase, purchase an eBook. Try for eBooks on green living and environmental education.


How to Learn About Astronauts

Study about those who have walked on the moon.

Although only an incredibly small percentage of the population ever gets to don the bright orange suits and fishbowl helmets of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, astronauts continue to thrill millions of people on the ground each time they blast off into space. Soar into orbit by learning about the astronaut profession and all work that goes into it. Astronauts may only catch public notice at the time of liftoff, but preparation for the career takes years.


Launch the NASA’s web page on astronauts, which offers clickable links to biographies of past and present astronauts, personal journals, profiles of astronauts off duty, trivia and details on astronaut training.

Click the “Astronaut Biographies” link to open an alphabetical listing of more than 40 astronauts. Click an astronaut’s hyperlinked name to get a picture of the astronaut in flight suit, birth and family information, education, honors and experience.

Click the “Astronaut Selection and Training” link to gain information on how astronauts qualify for their space travel experience, including application procedures, training, frequently asked questions, requirements on citizenry and academic preparation.

Review videos of astronauts in space, preparing for space through simulation training and speaking about their experiences. Free videos are available on the NASA site and other websites by entering “astronaut videos” into a search engine.

See what astronauts go through by challenging yourself to a simulation experience. Rides such as the two-seat Astronaut Simulator Ride gyroscope, which spins riders head over heels for one minute of space-like experience, are often part of carnivals, festivals, state fairs, science museums and fund-raisers.

Read about astronauts from the beginner’s level with a book such as “Space Exploration for Dummies,” “Astronaut Handbook” or “I Want to Be an Astronaut.”

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