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BBC Knowledge IndiaBBC Knowledge India

BBC Knowledge India December 2017

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

LET’S EXPLORE OURSELVES! It’s our seventh anniversary and we’re celebrating it by rediscovering the fascinating human body with you. Join us as we investigate our 30 trillion cells (The A to Z of You), find always-welcome tips to banish fatigue(Endless Energy), discover how scents can be sexy (The Science of Chemical Attraction) and give in to our gut feelings (Meet your Second Brain). If you’d rather not be so body-focussed, find out how predictive policing works (The Future of Fighting Crime), why the Victorians loved India (Cricket, Curry & Cups of Tea), how rishis have been perceived through the ages with Devdutt Pattanaik in our Indian Mythology section, and why you should know the work of Kamala Das, in Urvashi Butalia’s Know your Indian Author series. And, if all else fails, you’ll find…

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q&a your questions answered

WHY CAN’T PENGUINS FLY? even the very smallest penguin, the fairy penguin, weighs 1kg, which is about as much as a herring gull. But herring gulls have a 1.4m wingspan, compared with just 32cm for the fairy penguin. Water is 784 times denser than air, and, around 62 million years ago, penguins began evolving adaptations for swimming underwater. Their bones are filled with heavy bone marrow rather than air and they have much larger stomachs for undergoing long fishing trips away from the nest. LV Dr Alastair Gunn Astronomer, astrophysicistAlex Franklin-Cheung Environment/ climate expertProf Alice GregoryPsychologist, sleep expertProf Mark LorchChemist, science write Dr Helen Scales Oceans expert, science writerLuis Villazon Science/tech writerProf Robert MatthewsPhysicist, science write HOW LONG DOES DNA LAST? A study of DNA extracted from the leg bones of extinct moa birds in…

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what connects

...KOALAS AND TABLE MANNERS? 1KOALAS Koalas mostly eat eucalyptus leaves. These have a high water content, so koalas hardly need to drink. This lets them stay in the trees, safe from predators. 2ENERGY But eucalyptus is a low energy food. Even though koalas eat over 1kgof leaves per day,they must spend 18-20 hours a day sleeping,to conserve energy. 3BRAIN POWER Their low-energy lifestyle means koalas can’t sustain a large brain. At just 0.2 per cent of body weight, koala brains are one of the smallest of any mammal. 4TABLE MANNERS Their tiny brains can’t deal with unfamiliar situations.If you give koalas eucalyptus leaves on a flat surface, like a plate, they won’t recognise them as food and won’t eat them.…

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WHO REALLY INVENTED? JOHN LOGIE BAIRD PHILO FARNSWORTH Transmitting signals over long distances was one of the greatest triumphs of 19th-century inventors. Yet even their ingenuity failed to solve the ultimate challenge: the transmission of clear sound and images. Many tried, leading to a long list of supposed ‘pioneers’ of television, the most famous being the Scottish inventor John Logie Baird. In January 1926 he gave the first-ever demonstration of the transmission of moving images, and, by 1929, Baird was selling ‘Televisor’ sets for £25 – equivalent to £1,500 today. Baird’s design offered small, flickering, black-and-white images and involved the use of a spinning, perforated disk invented in 1894 by German engineer Paul Nipkow that scanned images for transmission as electrical signals. The technology needed to give television its mass appeal is generally credited…

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question of the month

WHY ARE MOST PEOPLE RIGHT-HANDED? Many animals show a preference for one side of the body over another, but the split between right- and left-handed varies. Seven out of 10 chimpanzees are right-handed, but almost all kangaroos are left-handed. In cats, males are nearly all left-handed and females are nearly all right-handed. Humans have a higher proportion of right-handers than any species, with left-handers making up just 10 per cent of the population. This is because we are a tool-using species, and also highly social. The very earliest flint tools, around two million years ago, don’t show a strong bias towards left- or right-handed versions. But it’s a big advantage if you can use the tools someone else has made, and, from about 1.5 million years ago, we seem to have…

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Tunes in the dunes ORDOS, NORTHERN CHINA China’s first desert resort, the striking Whistling Dune Bay, sits among sand dunes with a rather special ability: they can sing. When the wind strikes them, the dunes produce a sound described as humming, booming, or roaring, which led merchant traveller Marco Polo to think they were possessed by evil spirits. In reality, the noise is caused by an avalanche of sand grains. “The sand grains in the avalanche rub against each other, creating small bursts of sound due to shearing,” says Dr Nathalie Vriend, a geophysicist at Cambridge University, the UK. “These bursts of sound can amplify due to the dune’s unique internal structure, creating the booming sound that can be heard from miles away.” Guests at the hotel are invited to hear the…