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CURRENT EVENTS

Study Links Physical Activity, Mental Agility
August 19, 2014
A new study has found a link between physical activity and mental capacity in children. The study, published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, found an increase in white matter in children who were also more physically active than their peers. White matter has been described as "the subway of the brain," helping to connect gray matter in different parts of the brain. More white matter conceivably means a faster transfer of signals around the brain and, consequently, more opportunities for an active brain to function more efficiently.

LEGO Releases All-female Scientists Set
August 12, 2014
LEGO has released its first set of all-female scientist figurines, and they were so popular right away that the company has had to make more. The female astronomer, chemist, and paleontologist are part of the company's new Research Institute set, which shows the scientists in job-like settings: the astronomer is looking through a telescope, the chemist is mixing chemicals in a lab, and the paleontologist is building a model of a dinosaur.

Dissent Disappears in Egypt as Government Consolidates Strength
August 12, 2014
A year after the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, the current leader, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, has consolidated his government's hold on power within the country, eliminating the widespread opposition that was so prevalent before and after Morsi's turbulent presidency.

China Lunar Mission to Go There and Back Again
August 12, 2014
China is set to launch a recoverable orbiter to the Moon, the last step in a three-stage exploration process. The country will test the re-entry capsule for that mission in October. The Chang'e-5 mission, set for launch in 2017 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, will gather samples from the lunar surface and a few feet below the surface and then return, becoming the country's first probe to re-enter Earth's atmosphere. The probe will join Jade Rabbit, China's existing lunar rover, which was launched on a one-way mission earlier this year.

Hotel to Try Robotic Bellhop
August 12, 2014
Its name looks a bit odd but sounds right if you sound it out. It's Botlr, a robotic butler being trialled at a California hotel in late August. The Aloft hotel, in Cupertino, will employ Botlr, manufactured by Silicon Valley startup Savioke, to automate the delivery of small items from the hotel lobby straight to guest rooms, even incorporating a ride up an elevator.

WORLD WAR I

The Great War

This is the centenary of the beginning of World War I, or as it was called for many years, the Great War.

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in August 1914 was only one of a series of events that led to the beginning of the war. The causes of the war stretch back a century before, in issues resolved and unresolved by the Congress of Vienna, which ended the previous Europe-wide conflict, the Napoleonic Wars.

Most of Europe was involved in the Crimean War, in the mid-1850s. The unifications of both Germany and Italy worried France and Austria-Hungary, both of which fought wars against dominant Prussia. The Franco-Prussian War established Germany as a unified nation and a powerful one.

All of this set the major powers of Europe on the path of conflict, in the form of entangled alliances that, once invoked, led to the most of the world being at bloody war for four long years.

 

WORLD HISTORY

Animals in Space

Long before and long since men and women have gone into space, animals have been sent there. The space programs of seven countries have sent hundreds of animals into space.

Dogs make up far and away the highest number of animals of one type sent into space. Perhaps the most famous dog was Laika, the first animal to reach Earth orbit, aboard the Soviet Union's Sputnik 2, launched on November 3, 1957.

 

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