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BBC Knowledge IndiaBBC Knowledge India

BBC Knowledge India February 2018

BBC Knowledge is a magazine for young inquisitive minds where well-researched, handpicked stories are matched with breath-taking visuals to cover science, history and nature.Written by renowned International and Indian experts, its wide range of features provide rivetting and up-to-date information on topics as varied as technology, archeology, natural history and space exploration. With material meant to stimulate the mind, BBC Knowledge looks to empower a generation of young readers.

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from the editor

IT'S A NEW YEAR, TIME TO FIND NEW HOPE IN THE WORLD. Which is why you'll love our story on the way forward with plastics. Sure, we should all reduce our use of plastic, but there’s also great news about what’s been done about the plastic we’ve already used, and updates on alternatives to plastic that the scientists of the world are coming up with. We also have good news from the world of wildlife – Italian wolves and tawny owls are doing great, thank you, and an update on space tourism. Yes, Elon Musk has the goods all right. We also have a fascinating story on the Knights Templar; if you liked The Da Vinci Code, you’ll want to read this one. And there’s an interesting supposition in Something’s Wrong with Gravity…

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q&a your questions answered

WHY DO ANTS WALK IN A LINE? Ants are highly social insects, thriving in colonies of millions of individuals that work as a team. Good communication skills lie at the heart of their success. They rely heavily on chemical scents, called ‘pheromones’, to defend territories and exchange complex information – from the location of food sources and nest sites, to the presence of predators. Each ant species has its own chemical vocabulary of up to 20 different pheromones that can be secreted to form specific scent trails. The tips of their antennae translate the chemical ‘words’, thereby guiding the ants, in a line, to or from the desired destination. CC WHY DOES MUSIC MAKE US FEEL GOOD? At a basic level, it is to do with how our brains have evolved to find…

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how can i live to be 100?

1. Be born later Life expectancy figures normally assume mortality rates will stay the same, but medical and safety improvements are constantly reducing them. A new Danish model that takes this into account found that children born in the developed world today have a 50 per cent chance of reaching 100. 2. Be female Women live longer than men, and not just because they tend not to fight wars. Japanese researchers created mice without a father by combining two female genomes. Their lifespan was extended by 30 per cent. Men may be engineered for size and strength at the expense of durability. 3. Take vitamin D Vitamin D has been shown to help proteins in your cells keep the correct 3D shape. Misfolded proteins are associated with ageing diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. 4. Stay…

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the mri scanner

A. Scanning table The patient can only be scanned from inside the magnetic coil, so a motorised table slides them in and out. B. RF system An antenna produces a radio signal to ‘nudge’ the hydrogen nuclei and listen to the answering radio wave they emit. C. Liquid helium Liquid helium is pumped through an enclosing jacket to cool the superconducting magnets almost to absolute zero. D. Main magnet Superconducting magnetic coils produce a magnetic field of 1.5 teslas – that’s about 300 times stronger than a fridge magnet. E. Patient The high magnetic fields mean that patients with cochlear implants, pacemakers or embedded shrapnel usually can’t be scanned. F. Gradient system A second coil distorts the main magnetic field so that the resonant frequency of the protons varies according to position.…

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black holes

While their enigmatic name was first coined in 1967, the idea of objects whose gravity is so intense not even light can escape them is far older. In 1783, an English cleric and amateur scientist named John Michell showed that Newton’s law of gravity suggested such objects could exist. But Michell went further, suggesting that despite being invisible, such objects might reveal themselves if they happened to have a star in orbit about them. He proved to be amazingly prescient in both respects. During the 1930s, theorists using Einstein’s more sophisticated theory of gravity, known as General Relativity, showed that sufficiently massive stars could collapse under their own gravity at the end of their life, and turn into black holes (ironically, Einstein himself never accepted that such strange objects could really…

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does a usb drive get heavier as you store more files on it?

Believe it or not, they get lighter. USB drives use Flash memory, which means the ones and zeros of your data are stored on transistors. When you save data, a binary zero is set by charging the float gate of the transistor, and a binary one is set by removing the charge. To charge it, we add electrons, and the mass of each electron is 0.00000000000000000000000000091 grams. This means that an empty USB drive (which mostly holds zeros) weighs more than a full USB drive (which has ones and zeros). Add data, reduce the weight. However, you would need to weigh more USB drives than exist on the planet together at once before the difference in weight became easily measurable. PB…