The cellphone as learning tool

first_img5 March 2007Amid debate on growing cellphone usage in schools, South Africa’s Meraka Institute is piloting a project that makes use of innovative applications to turn the handheld devices into instruments of learning.Begun 18 months ago and running for a further two years, the project – dubbed MobilED – is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Pretoria and Finland’s Helsinki University of Art and Design. Participating schools include Cornwall Hill College and Irene Middle School in Centurion, Pretoria.According to lead researcher Merryl Ford, MobilED has shown that cellphones can be very useful where students have limited access to information sources such as libraries or the internet.In a statement issued last week, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which manages the Meraka Institute, said the project “will be piloted internationally by countries such as Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines and Finland. Interest has also been shown by New Zealand, Mexico, Colombia and Mozambique.”Audio-WikipediaThe first mobile function developed by MobilED was an “audio-Wikipedia” – Wikipedia is a popular online encyclopaedia – from which students can receive information.“Children send an SMS with a keyword to a cellphone number,” Ford explains. “In response, they receive a call and a speech synthesiser ‘reads’ an article on the subject. Both the fast forward or rewind functionalities can be used, almost like old analogue tape recordings.”The group is also developing an MMS (multimedia message service) content-addition and delivery module. All the innovations are being tested in real classroom situations with direct feedback from children and teachers.Tapping into MXitAnother MobilED innovation seeks to make educational use of MXit, a locally developed chat programme that allows mobile users to converse with each other at the fraction of the usual cost of sending text messages – an application so popular that it is causing headaches for South African teachers.One of MobilED’s researchers has started a “Doctor Maths” service offering maths support to high-school MXit users, and the Meraka Institute is working on making the service available through other chat platforms as well.“With a reported million school-going children having subscribed to MXit, one can hardly ignore this tool,” says Ford.The people’s computerAccording to the CSIR, today’s high-end mobile phones have the computing power of a mid-1990s personal computer, while consuming only one-hundredth of the energy. “Even the simplest, voice-only phones have more complex and powerful chips than the on-board computer that landed a spaceship on the moon in 1969,” the CSIR notes.“It seems a great pity that our children and teachers are not using one of the most accessible, affordable computing devices in the developing world in more positive ways,” says Ford.Asked whether the new tool would not infringe school policies on cellphone use, Ford says: “The internet has resulted in immensely powerful, positive business applications, but is also used in not-so noble applications. While the irresponsible use of cellphones by learners has caused an uproar, we should not ignore the untapped latent applications and benefits.Facing the dangers“Since we live in the new digital age, it is imperative that teenagers are taught life skills for this digital age,” Ford argues, noting that it is the role of parents and teachers to inform children of the issues that may be faced. “We warn children at a young age not to speak to strangers – this needs to be translated to the online world too.”As part of the pilot, students’ messaging costs are being covered by the CSIR. At the same time, the MobilED team is investigating ways of making the service affordable to scholars around South Africa.“I am extremely excited by the results of this pilot project,” says Ford. “It has been hugely successful.” reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Airbus A380 cabin package adds 80 seats.

first_imgEuropean plane-maker Airbus is giving airlines the option to cram 80 more seats into its passenger-friendly A380 superjumbo with a new package of “cabin enablers’’ that includes its derided 11-abreast seating.Some of the changes provide more room for the seats by modifying the cabin layout while others squeeze more people into each row.The average seat count on an A380 in operation today is 497 — below the suggested count of 550 — and the extra space has made it a popular choice with passengers.But the pressures that have delivered passengers low fares also mean carriers are seeking new ways to generate revenue and this includes boosting the seat count on aircraft.With sales of the A380 stalled and the rise of a new generation of fuel-efficient twin-engine aircraft, Airbus is looking at ways of making the giant plane more attractive.The new package, released at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg,  would allow airlines to carry 575 passengers in a four-class configuration.It includes new forward stairs that would provide for 20 more passengers in business, premium economy and economy class.The stairs would be relocated from door one to door two and the entrance to the staircase would be combined with that of the lower-deck crew rest.A combined crew rest compartment would provide space for three more premium economy passengers by moving the existing pilot crew rest, located behind the cockpit in the mezzanine area of door one, with the facility on the lower deck.An aft galley stair module which would see the current spiral stairs changed to a square design provides space for 14 more passengers plus two additional food trolleys.An option to remove sidewall stowage would increase the wall-to-wall cabin width at foot-rest height and make space for 10 more business class seats in a herringbone layout.More contentious options include nine-abreast premium economy on the main deck, allowing for 11 more passengers, and the previous released 11-abreast economy layout on the main deck, which adds 23 seats.Premium economy varies between airlines. Qantas, for example,  currently offers a comfortable upper-deck seven-abreast layout on a two-three-two basis while Lufthansa offers eight abreast on the same deck in a two-four-two configuration.A nine-abreast configuration would presumably see a three-three-three layout, eliminating the popular double seats.Airbus said the main deck cross-section was allowing seat manufacturers to optimise their premium economy offerings to create “the industry’s most efficient and comfortable PE layout possible’’.More problematic is Airbus’ “innovative” 11-across concept involving a 3-5-3 configuration. Notwithstanding issues identified with the seats next to the cabin wall, this would put one passenger in the horror predicament of being in a middle seat with two people on either side.The A380’s biggest customer, Emirates, has already rejected the concept, which has the potential to do to the A380’s reputation what 10-abreast seating has done to Boeing’s 777.Airbus Commercial Aircraft executive vice president strategy and marketing Kiran Rao said the new package for A380 customers was a smart way to meet airlines needs “while improving the A380 economics with additional revenues and innovating in passenger comfort”.“Only the A380 has the economies of scale and development potential to efficiently solve the problem of increasing congestion at large airports while providing the best comfort for passengers,’’ he said. “The aircraft can also serve fast-growing markets and airlines regional airports, so we are adapting the aircraft to meet evolving market needs.”last_img read more

Play Your Part TV series: episode 14 synopsis

first_imgHere’s a little taste of what episode 14 of the Play Your Part TV Series has in store for you this Saturday. This week you get to meet three women who have been working tirelessly to make a difference in their communities.Brand South Africa reporterThe Play Your Part TV series is coming at you again this Saturday, same time at 6pm and same place on SABC 2. Here’s a quick look at what episode 14 has in store for you on 13 January 2018.Nosipho Community FoundationNosipho Ngcobo, the founder of the Nosipho Community Foundation, can often be found strolling along the streets of Durban as a Good Samaritan on the move. Through her organisation, Ngcobo offers a helping hand to the homeless, providing shelter, food and employment opportunities where she can.New Jerusalem Home for ChildrenNew Jerusalem Home for Children just outside Tembisa, Gauteng, recently hosted the South African National Men’s Hockey Team. We speak to Phina Mojapelo, the social work manager for the children’s home, about the experience and what the organisation is all about.El TheosThrough her extensive experience in helping the El Theos organisation, Bijou Bakole, has taken it upon herself to provide support to a few young boys in coping with their challenging domestic circumstances.Tune in and be inspiredThe Play Your Part TV Series airs at 6pm on Saturdays on SABC 2.To get involved in playing your part in South Africa you can:Check out the conversation on Twitter: #GetInvolved; orFind out about initiatives on Play Your Part here.Tell us how you Play Your Part through our social media channels:Follow us on Twitter: @PlayYourPartSA;Follow Brand South Africa on Twitter: @Brand_SA;Like us on Facebook: Official Brand South Africa.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Dr Demento Gets Covered In Punk On New Box Set

first_imgNews Email Dr. Demento Punk Covers Box Set Announced dr-demento-gets-covered-punk-new-box-set Dr. Demento Gets Covered In Punk On New Box Set Facebook Radio oddball and music enthusiast Dr. Demento has his catalog of novelty songs covered by some of punk’s and comedy’s finestNate HertweckGRAMMYs Nov 8, 2017 – 11:34 am Punk rock fans with a penchant for the strange and unusual are in for a treat. A new box set honoring left-of-the-dial radio personality, music super-enthusiast and novelty songwriter Dr. Demento arrives Jan. 12, 2018. The collection, aptly titled Dr. Demento Covered In Punk, will feature more than 30 covers of songs originally featured on the Dr. Demento radio show.Artists contributing to the set include the Misfits, Joan Jett And The Blackhearts, “Weird Al” Yankovich, the B-52s, William Shatner, and many more. The set will be available digitally and as a two-CD or three-LP vinyl set, according to Rolling Stone, where you can find a full track list for the box set.Dr. Demento’s long-standing radio show began in 1974, and has played an influential role in the subculture crossroads between music and comedy. With a devout following, a degree in ethnomusicology and a GRAMMY nomination for Best Album Notes for The Remains Of Tom Lehrer for the 43rd GRAMMY Awards, Dr. Demento’s legacy continues to expand with this new collection.John Cafiero, frontman of contributing band Osaka Popstar and the project’s producer and curator, lauded Dr. Demento in a statement, for “creating a musical movement that echoes the spirit of punk with its own unique voice. There are no airs, and everyone’s welcome. If you didn’t fit in — you fit in.”For longtime listeners and newbies alike, Dr. Demento’s show continues to air weekly via his website. So wind up your radios and stay demented!Read More: Tom Waits Announces Six-LP Vinyl Reissue SeriesRead more Twitter last_img read more

2020 BMW M8 promises heavyweight performance stunning tech

first_img Tags Share your voice Coupes Luxury cars Convertibles Performance Cars BMW 2020 BMW M8 Coupe and Convertible deliver big horsepower and luxury Review • 2019 BMW M850i Convertible review: A grand tourer you’ll just want to drive 84 Photos 1 2019 Dodge Durango SRT review: Three-row muscle car 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 first drive: A more approachable track star The 2020 BMW M8 Coupe and Convertible have finally arrived, and they’re simultaneously pretty, angry and expensive — just not necessarily in that order. The new two-door, all-wheel-drive range-topping performance twins bring up to 617 horsepower to the party, hitting 60 mph in as little as 3.0 seconds en route to top speed of up to 189 mph. They also cost a heady $133,000 and $142,500 before options and a $995 delivery fee, respectively.Adding additional brawn to the already impressive BMW 8 Series, all M8 models rely on a new version of the German automaker’s S63 M TwinPower 4.4-liter V8 engine. The powerplant features upgraded turbochargers nestled down in the V of the engine block, along with unique cross-bank exhaust manifolds and ultra-high-pressure fuel injection to help realize 600 hp at 6,000 RPM and a healthy 553 pound-feet of torque from just 1,800 RPM. For those looking for a bit more, Competition models feature unique tuning to develop 617 hp, and although the max torque figure remains unchanged at 553 pound-feet, that twist is available over a slightly wider band — 160 RPM. With the M8’s increased performance over garden-variety 8 Series models, BMW has also seen fit to upgrade the car’s cooling and oil supply systems. Regardless of which M8 you choose, all models are paired to a satellite-linked eight-speed automatic transmission with paddles and selectable Drivelogic performance modes. We’re particularly interested to see how the xDrive all-wheel-drive system acquits itself. In most situations, the system behaves like a normal rear-wheel-drive setup until slip is detected.Competition models also include a switchable, richer-sounding M Sport exhaust system, as well as stiffer engine mounts for improved powertrain response. Competition-spec M8 models shave 60 mph times by a tenth of a second versus standard models, with the Competition coupe hitting 60 in 3.0 seconds and the Convertible taking 3.1 seconds.That additional power gets to the ground with the help of a stiffer electromagnetically-damped suspension setup, with model-specific bushings, strut tie bars and swivel bearings. Competition models ride firmer still, with rear toe-link balljoints in place of other model’s rubber bushings, as well as more front negative camber more urgent turn-in.Enlarge ImageThe power-operated soft top retracts in 15 seconds at up to 30 mph. BMW While recent BMW M cars have featured highly adjustable performance parameters, they’ve been a bit fiddly to access. The new M8 includes a single setup button on the center console to tailor the M8’s various characteristics, including engine and transmission parameters, as well as steering, suspension, all-wheel-drive system, and, for the first time in a modern car that we can recall, adjustable braking. The latter is a by-wire system that features two modes, Comfort and Sport, in order to vary pedal feedback and response according to the driver’s wishes.395-mm front and 380-mm iron brakes are fitted as standard with six-piston fixed calibers up front and rear single-piston floating units out back. An optional carbon ceramic setup bumps sizing up to 400 mm and 380 mm, respectively. Those brakes are shrouded by standard 20-inch wheels wearing high-performance non-run-flat (huzzah!) tires. Competition models get their own 20-inch forged alloys, which a BMW release says features “a gloss-milled 3D structure and bicolor design which generate unique light reflections to showcase the cars’ exclusivity.” Uh huh.Naturally, wheels aren’t the only unique aspect of the M8’s appearance. Front ends feature enlarged cooling ducts, gloss black trim, and so on. Hardtop models get standard carbon-fiber roof panels. There’s also an optional M Carbon appearance pack that adds the lightweight weave to components like the grille kidneys, mirror caps and so on.2020-bmw-m8-competition-40Enlarge ImageInterior differences versus other 8 Series models are limited to touches like unique sport seats with illuminated M badges and various trim bits. BMW The cabin looks to be similar to lesser 8 Series cars, which is just fine by us — these new models have excellent interiors. Changes include M Sport seats with integrated illuminated headrest badges, and Competition models get unique seatbelts and contrast stitching.As with other 8 Series models, there’s a full battery of convenience and advanced safety features available, including BMW’s much-improved iDrive infotainment system (accessed via 10.25-inch center screen and 12.3-inch gauge cluster), a large head-up display and available Extended Traffic Jam Assistant, a partially automated hands-on driving assistant designed to curb stress on limited-access highways at speeds up to 40 mph.Production for this high-performance heavyweight duo begins in July. Preview • 2019 BMW 8 Series Convertible first drive: Open-top hustler Comment 2019 Chevy Camaro ZL1 Convertible review: A topless thrill ride More about 2019 BMW M850i Convertible More From Roadshowlast_img read more

2 brothers among 3 killed in road crash

first_imgRoad Accident LogoThree people, including two brothers, were killed in a road crash on Chuadanga-Meherpur road at Kulpala village in Alamdanga upazila of Chuadanga on Thursday, reports UNB.The deceased are Rakib Hasan, 22, Sakib Hasan, 12, sons of Akul Ali of the village and driver Liton, 34, son of Ali Hossain, a resident Pirpur village in Sadar upazila.Abdus Salam, deputy director of Chuadanga Fire and Civil Defence said a stone-laden truck hit a human hauler and the two brothers, leaving human hauler driver Liton dead on the spot and the two brothers injured.The injured were taken to Chuadanga Sadar Hospital where physicians declared them dead.Being angered by the accident, local people put barricade on the highway which halted vehicular movement for sometimes.Two teams of police from Sadar and Alamdanga police station went to the spot and brought the situation under control.last_img read more

Quader to return home Wednesday

first_imgRoad transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader. File PhotoRoad, transport and bridges minister and Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader, who was undergoing treatment in Singapore, will return home on Wednesday, reports UNB.He will return home by a flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines around 6:00am, said Sheikh Walid Faiz, public relations officer of bridges department.The minister talked to prime minister Sheikh Hasina over phone at 10:20am (Singapore time) today.Obaidul Qauder was initially admitted to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) hospital on 3 March following breathing complications. Tests revealed three blockages in his coronary artery. He was flown to Singapore the next day for treatment.The minister underwent a bypass surgery on 20 March.last_img read more

Family Day Festival

first_imgThe Family Day festival is scheduled to be held on Sept. 16 at President Lincoln’s Cottage, 3700 North Capitol Street, NW from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Free family-friendly activities will be available as well as a free kids run/walk. Family Day is collaborating with the Freedom 5k marathon on their 4th anniversary in commemoration of the lives and sacrifices of American soldiers. Filming will also take place at the festival for an upcoming documentary geared towards the lives and impact of American soldiers. Although Family Day activities are free, registration is required. To register, visit or email read more

Physics pair show that Ising model can be used as a universal

first_img Journal information: Science (—A pair of physicists has shown that it is possible to transform disparate spin models into different types of just one simple model. In their paper published in the journal Science, Gemma De las Cuevas, with the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics and Toby Cubitt, with University College London, offer a proof to show that any spin model can be converted to the relatively simple Ising model. Stephanie Wehner with QuTech, Delft University of Technology offers a Perspectives piece on the work done by the team in the same journal issue, outlining the proof and explaining how and why a universal spin model would be useful. © 2016 The benefit of having a universal model, Wehner explains, is that it offers an alternative way for scientists to run their models, particularly on a computer. If a 3D model is extremely complex, for example, or requires an untenable number of cycles to run, there is a chance it could be configured to run as an Ising model. But she notes that it could also be used as a means for melding the work being done by physicists and computer scientists, helping to further explain the workings of nature. Explore further Citation: Physics pair show that Ising model can be used as a universal spin model (2016, March 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Spin models were first developed as a means to help explain the properties of magnetic materials—the magnetism in each atom originates from the spin of an unpaired electron within it. The first was created by Wilhelm Lenz, who handed it off to Ernest Ising, who used it to show that spins should undergo phase transitions below a certain temperature. Since that time, spin models have been developed for a wide variety of applications, perhaps most notably in particle physics. Now, in this new effort, De las Cuevas and Cutitt show that it is possible to transform any of these other newer models into the 2D Ising model, including 3D models.Their proof has two main parts, the first involved showing that any Ising model is equivalent to an instance of a satisfiability problem and showing a way to match such problems to an Ising model. The second part involved showing how any spin model could be converted to a satisfiability problem and then translated to an Ising model.center_img Scientists explain the theory behind Ising superconductivity More information: G. De las Cuevas et al. Simple universal models capture all classical spin physics, Science (2016). DOI: 10.1126/science.aab3326AbstractSpin models are used in many studies of complex systems because they exhibit rich macroscopic behavior despite their microscopic simplicity. Here, we prove that all the physics of every classical spin model is reproduced in the low-energy sector of certain “universal models,” with at most polynomial overhead. This holds for classical models with discrete or continuous degrees of freedom. We prove necessary and sufficient conditions for a spin model to be universal and show that one of the simplest and most widely studied spin models, the two-dimensional Ising model with fields, is universal. Our results may facilitate physical simulations of Hamiltonians with complex interactions. Universal models contain all models, just like white light contains all colors. Credit: Christian Hackenberger Universal models contain all models, just like white light contains all colors. Credit: Christian Hackenberger This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Eat right to keep acne away

first_imgHave acne trouble? A balanced diet along with a healthy lifestyle can help you curb it, say experts. Experts tell what all one should eat to keep acne at bay: -Brown rice: Brown rice is a rich source of vitamin B, protein, magnesium, and several antioxidants. For acne, vitamin B acts as our skin’s stress fighter, which will help regulate hormones levels and prevent the likelihood of breakouts. -Garlic: Garlic is another super food that helps fight inflammation. Garlic is full of a naturally occurring chemical called allicin, which kills off many harmful bacteria and viruses your body might be fighting, so its proven to be good for reducing inflammation in acnes. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf-Broccoli: It is the perfect skin clearing food. It contains health building properties like vitamins A, B complex, C, E, and K. These antioxidants fight radical damage which will assist with the luminosity of your skin. -Fish: Known to be a very good source of omega-3 and 6-fatty acids, fish is excellent for an acne prone skin. These acids reduce inflammation in the skin. Sardine and salmon are very good for skin. -Nuts: Deficiencies in minerals such as zinc and selenium have been linked to acne. Most nuts contain selenium, vitamin E, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium and iron, which are all essential for healthy skin. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive-Fennel: If you are looking for the perfect natural skin cleanser, eat fennel. This licorice-tasting root vegetable can improve digestion, reduce swelling and help to flush out excess fluids and toxins in your skin. -Green tea: Many studies show that green tea helps fight acne. Drink more green tea throughout the day, and try applying cooled tea bags or a cloth dipped in cooled green tea to acne-prone areas of your face for 10-15 minutes. -Red grapes: The fruit and seed contain powerful natural chemicals and antioxidants that have been shown to treat inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. On top of this, grapes can also help to control the side effects of allergic reactions on skin. -Alfalfa sprouts: It looks like grass, but these sprouts are packed with valuable, skin-clearing nutrients. Alfalfa sprouts contain live enzymes which help fight inflammation. -Foods rich in vitamin A and carotenoids: Carotenoids are used in anti inflammatory drugs for treatment for acne. Rich sources of carotenoids include carrot juice, carrots, spinach, kale, cantaloupe, vegetable soup, mangos, papaya, instant fortified oatmeal, frozen peas and tomato juice. Fresh and canned peaches and red bell peppers provide modest amounts of carotenoid.last_img read more