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Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration held in the United States and in other western nations celebrating with African communities.  Every year Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 – January 1st honoring the African custom in African- American Community.

Kwanzaa Celebration

People light a Kinara – which is a candle holder with seven candles and distribute gifts to each other.  It was first celebrated in 1966-67 by its creator Maulana Karenga.

Kwanzaa means “first Fruits”, Karenga said the word Kwanzaa is extracted from the Swahili phrase.  Swahili is a Bantu language and the phrase he denoted is “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits of the harvest".

People celebrate Kwanzaa in their own way but they often include singing and dancing.  Everyone gathers at one place and celebrate this day by telling stories, poetry, playing African drums, and having a large traditional meal.  Given by its creator Maulana Karenga (generally called as Nguza Saba) Karenga mentioned that Nguza Saga or the seven principles of Kwanzaa are the best African practices and thoughts in continual give-and-take with the world.

The Seven Principles

  • Umoja (Unity): To do your best for and to preserve unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination):  To describe and label ourselves, in addition, to producing and voice for ourselves.
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility):  To shape and preserve our community composed and craft our brothers' and sisters' difficulties problems our difficulties and to resolve them collectively.
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics):  To maintain and construct our own businesses and to attain revenue from them together.
  • Nia (Purpose):  To make vocations collectively the constructing and rising of our community in order to reestablish traditional prominence.
  • Kuumba (Creativity):  Always do whatever you can, in order to make our tradition more gorgeous and valuable.
  • Imani (Faith):  To trust with all our hearts in our parents, our leaders, our teachers, our people,  and the morality and triumph of our struggle.

The symbols of Kwanzaa include mat (Mkeka), Mishumaa Saba (seven candles), a Kinara (candle holder), Muhindi (corn), mazao (crops), a Kikombe cha Umoja (unity cup) and giving shukrani (thanks) to African Ancestors, and Zawadi (gifts).  Other symbols include black, red and green flags (bendera), books and other African artwork which resemble the African culture unity and reinforcement.

How to Observe

Families, who observe Kwanzaa wear African cloths (kente), decorate their houses with African artifacts and fresh fruits,  which represent African tradition and culture.  Parents make their children to participate in the celebration to honor their ancestors.

The ceremony also includes music such as playing drums, performances by various artist, candle-lighting rituals, reading the African pledge and a feast (karamu).

Cultural exhibitions held at the John F. Kennedy Center include the Spirit of Kwanzaa, interpretive dance, songs and poetry and African dance.

Kwanzaa and its Popularity

According to the survey done by the National Retail foundation USA in 2004, it is found that 4.7 million people had planned to celebrate Kwanzaa.  In a 2006 speech Maulana Karenga mentioned 28 million celebrate Kwanzaa.  In 2009 the African-American cultural center had claimed 30 million people celebrated Kwanzaa.

Celebration has also spread across Canada, where their black Canadian population started celebrating Kwanzaa.  Similar celebration is also observed in Brazil.

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Rosetta Spacecraft Mission Ends

The Rosetta is a spacecraft built by the European Agency. It was launched on March 2, 2004.  Along with Philae, its Lander performed a detailed study of comet 67P- Churyumov Gerasimenko (67P). During its journey to the comet, it flew by Mars and the asteroids 21 Lutetia and 2867 Steins.

The spacecraft reached the comet on August 6, 2014, and performed a sequence of maneuvers to be captured in its path. While on November 12, its Lander section Philae performed was the first successful landing on a comet, although its battery power was low and ran out two days later. However the communications with Philae were briefly restored in June and July 2015, but due to diminishing solar power, Rosetta's communications module with the Lander was turned off on July 27, 2016. On September 30, 2016 the Rosetta finished its mission by landing on the comet in its Ma'at region.

The probe is named after the Rosetta Stone, a stele of Egyptian source featuring a declaration in three scripts. While the Lander was named after the Philae obelisk, that bears a bilingual Greek and Egyptian hieroglyphic inscription.

The Mission

Rosetta Spacecraft Mission Ends

Rosetta was launched on March 2, 2004, from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana on an Ariane 5 rocket and it successfully landed on Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko on August 6, 2014; which became the primary spacecraft to orbit a comet. There were many missions conducted successful flybys of seven other comets, but this was the one of ESA's Horizon 2000 keystone missions. This spacecraft consisted of the Rosetta orbiter, which featured 12 instruments, and a Philae Lander, with nine added instruments. The Rosetta mission orbited Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko for seventeen months and was designed to complete the most thorough study of a comet ever attempted. This spacecraft was controlled by the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), in Darmstadt, Germany. The planning for the mission of the scientific payload, jointly with the data recovery, calibration, archiving and sharing, was also performed by the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC), in Villanueva de la Cañada, near Madrid, Spain. It was estimated that in the decade proceeding of 2014, around 2,000 people assisted in this mission in some capacity.

While in 2007, the Rosetta made a Mars gravity assist (flyby) on its way to Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko, and also performed two asteroid flybys. The craft finished its flyby of asteroid 2867 Steins in September 2008 and 21 Lutetia in July 2010. Later on January 20, 2014, Rosetta was taken out from the 31-month hibernation mode as it approached Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

Rosetta's Philae Lander effectively made its first soft landing on a comet nucleus when it touched down on Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko on November 12, 2014. On September 5, 2016, ESA announced that the Lander was exposed by the narrow-angle camera onboard Rosetta as the orbiter made a low, 2.7 km (1.7 mi) to pass over the comet; and the Lander sits on its surface wedged into a dark gap of the comet, clearing up the require of electrical power to set up proper communication with the orbiter.

History

During the 1986 approach of Halley's Comet, many international space probes were sent to discover the comet, and most prominent amongst them being ESA's Giotto. After these probes came back with valuable scientific information, they became obvious to follow-on and were needed to shed up more light on commentary opus and answer new questions.

The European space Agency and NASA have started cooperatively developing new probes; among them the NASAs project was the Comet Rendezvous Asteroid Flyby (CRAF) mission and was the follow-on Comet Nucleus Sample Return (CNSR) mission by the ESA. Both missions were to share the Mariner Mark II spacecraft design, thus minimizing costs. In 1992, after NASA canceled CRAF due to budgetary limitations, ESA decided to develop a CRAF-style project on its own. By 1993 it was evident that the ambitious trial return mission was infeasible with the existing European agency budget, that is the reason the mission was redesigned and subsequently approved by the ESA, with the final journey plan similar to the canceled CRAF duty: an asteroid flyby follow by a comet rendezvous with an in-situ examination, including a Lander. After the spacecraft launch, Gerhard Schwehm was named mission manager; he retired in March 2014.

We will learn more on this blog in our next part. 

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Halloween in the United States

Halloween is celebrated by many Americans on October 31. These celebrations include costume parties, tricks, or treating. But now you can see it celebrated in many places apart from the United States.

How do people celebrate and what do they do on this day?

Halloween is usually celebrated amongst friends, family and sometimes with co-workers. However now it is also celebrated in public places; yet, in some areas they hold large community events on this day. Parties and public gatherings along with other events will be planned on October 31 itself, but sometimes they plan to celebrate in the weekends it can be before and after the date.

While, Adults celebrate this day by holding costume parties, watching horror films, or creating haunted houses or graveyards. Children dress up in fancy dresses and visit other homes; and while their visit they demand chocolates, snacks or a small gift. If they do not get anything in return, they threaten people by saying that they will do some harm to the inhabitants of the house. This is nothing but treat or trick played by many during the Halloween. No one will do anything harm to any one, as this will be carried out a very friendly way. However, if your children are taking part of this day, then make sure that someone accompanies them to ensure that their 'treats' are safe to eat or play with.

You can see some families carve pumpkin lantern with 'scary' faces and with other vegetables. The homes and gardens are decorated in Halloween style. This is a tradition to intend to ward off the evil spirits from you. If you have plans to stay at your home on Halloween, then you can make it more interesting by doing big things with small ideas. Plan how to surprise people who visit your home this Halloween. All you need to do is offer them things which are homemade; like get a small bowl with presents or sweets filled to offer,  or you can make small toys or dolls in Halloween style and please the little spirits.

There is another cause that ties with Halloween; that is collecting donations for the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF).  When you are going to your neighborhood to trick-or-treat on Halloween night, you can carry small cardboard boxes with the UNICEF logo on them and request people to help you collect donations which you are going to send directly to UNICEF, instead of collecting candies or sweets this will make you proud by helping the children out there.  Once you are done with your collection, you can send it to UNICEF, who will use it to help needy children worldwide.

Public Life & Holiday.

Halloween is not an official holiday; you can see Government offices and businesses open as common and public transport services run on regular schedules. If you need to drive around in late afternoon or in the evening, it is essential to keep a careful lookout for children who are not used to being out on the avenues after dark. Make sure that there is someone assisting the kids especially when they are wearing dark costumes or masks, as there are very fewer chances to see than normal. 


 

Origin

Halloween is a Pagan festival which was originated from the parts of Northern Europe, mainly from the United Kingdom. Many European cultural customs hold that Halloween is a time when magic is most powerful and people carry the belief that spirits can make contact with the physical world. In the Christian era, it became more like a celebration of the evening before All Saints’ Day. Immigrants from Scotland and Ireland brought this holiday to the United States.

The process of Halloween was started in the early 1900s; when the postcards and die-cut paper decorations were created. While Halloween costumes started to appear on the market in the 1930s and the custom of 'trick-or-treat' appeared in the 1950s. Slowly there was an increase in various types of products available in Halloween style with time. Now Halloween can become the very profitable holiday for the manufacturers of costumes, yard decorators, and candy makers.

Signs

There are various symbols associated with Halloween. These include the ghosts, spooks, and walking skeletons which represent the contact between the spiritual and physical world. Human figures that often represent on Halloween are witches and wizards. You can also see Bats, black cats and spiders often connected with this holiday; as these animals are associated with the night and darkness and accompany witches and wizards.

There is also a wide range of objects associated with this day; they include pumpkins, fire, gravestones, bones, and skulls. You can see many of these objects are now available in stores as decorations for the Halloween season.

Happy Halloween!!!

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October 15 — The Sweetest Day

To do the sweetest thing, you really don’t need the sweetest day. However, we celebrate random holidays, which come every another day. The sweetest day is a holiday which apparently started in 1922, but came to be known very recently.  This is a special day to celebrate with your loved ones.

Significance of Sweetest Day

2017, Sweetest Day is a general holiday celebrated in some parts of the United States. It is a day of dreamy actions or expressions. This day is to remember the less fortunate and has also been referred to as an "imaginary promotion" formed by a famous candy industry exclusively to increase sales of sweets and cards from 2017. The Sweetest Day is observed on the third Saturday of October.

History

The origin of 2017 Sweetest Day is unclear; as a widely established theory on the first Sweetest Day was on October 10, 1921, in Cleveland. This was when a commission of 12 candy makers led by C.C. Hartzell, gathered jointly in 1921 to deliver 20,000 boxes of chocolates and candies to the less-privileged in the city. The top film stars then Theda Bara and Ann Pennington assisted this program.

There is another theory as of 1922, a candy-store owner in Cleveland by name Herbert Birch Kingston wanted to memorize the people in the city who were underprivileged, he started distributing candies and chocolates as many as he can. He selected hospitals and orphanages in the area as the people in these places will be happier. While as per some people’s opinion, this holiday was created to greet people and share their love. So greeting card companies took advantage and sold more candies and cards, but this anyway widely rejected based on no evidence.

There were also many attempts to start this Day in New York City, including an affirmation of a Candy Day all over the United States by candy makers on October 8, 1922.  But, in 1927, it was decreed that the week will begin on October 10, 1927, and be addressed as Sweetest Week.

While in 1940, one more Sweetest Day was proclaimed on October 19. This Sweetest Day is only celebrated in 11 states and parts of two states Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan,  North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin and areas of both Pennsylvania west and New York of the spine of the Appalachian Mountains.

Traditions

Sweetest Day traditions are alike to Valentine's Day in many locations, you can enjoy this day as you wish. Celebrate this day by giving gifts, candies, chocolates, cards, flowers, and whatever you wish to give. Make this day the happiest by spending your time with your family, friends and your beloved ones. But remember there shouldn’t be a day to make it sweetest but it is upon you how you start your day and coming days. Express your love and care to everyone that will surely make all your days sweetest.

Happy Sweetest Days!!!!!

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Stanford’s Robotic Mermaid

Stanford created "Robotic Mermaid" to help with Deep Sea Exploration Missions.

Remotely Operated Vehicles and Artificial intelligent walk side by side these days. Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) are used to conduct undersea tasks, which are considered unsafe for humans, for many years. While, these machines are very useful to tackle projects like oil rigging repairs, vehicles that lack the refinement and agility required to handle delicate missions like monitoring the coral reefs.  The traditional boxy shape also created difficulties for the robots to penetrate the tiny areas without damaging the surrounding flora. Now it’s time for the Stanford universities to grab the appreciations for the latest creature which is the high-end version mermaid robot, named as OceanOne.

The idea behind creating this humanoid robot was conceptualized three years ago by the King Abdullah University of science and Technology (KAUST) researchers in Saudi Arabia. They believe that such robots would help monitor coral reefs and under ocean activities in the Red Sea. To elaborate and bring the vision to life the Associate professor Khaled Salama turned to his colleagues at California’s Stanford University for further help.

Professor Oussama Khatib, and the Director of Stanford’s Robotics Lab along with his team of graduate and undergraduate students were fascinated by the idea of creating an underwater robot and instantly agreed. While it took a few years to get the first prototype of OceanOne, and it was released in April 2016, is everything Salama and his team had hoped for, and more.

OceanOne was about five feet from head to tail, and it has stereoscopic eyes, which helps to allow the pilot to view deep down views into the ocean without entering the ocean. It has the fins which provide ample storage space to fit computers, batteries, and even 8 multi-directional thrusters to help and keep the robot stable in confused waters.

Unlike other traditional ROV’s; the OceanOne’s electronics are waterproofed with oil rather than covering the inside parts with a rigid case. The OceanOne is designed simply to prevent the electronics from buckling under the water pressure and enable the robot mermaid to reach depths of up to 2,000 meters without collapsing.

Smart algorithms enable the humanoid robot to avoid collisions under the water and help from the pilot, even it can use its hands to swim when it is stuck in a tight spot; when it cannot avoid a crash then the robot can alleviate the impact by stretching out its arm. Since it can also communicate with human pilots through hand-gestures, it can also be a useful diving companion when needed.

However, when the waters are very uneven, the robot can turn on the thrusters which are stored in its fin to stabilize itself. Sensors are affixed to the robot’s arms and wrists which will help enable the pilot to touch the undersea objects and determine them clearly on the weight and texture. It was very crucial to decide on the amount of force that is required to lift the object without damaging it. There were additional sensors fixed around the robotic mermaid’s body to keep track on the currents and ocean’s turbulence.

Although, the OceanOne is originally created to monitor the coral reefs, but the first mission was a tad more exciting. In April, the robotic mermaid was first sent to investigate the wreckage of King Louis XIV’s flagship, La Lune, which sank off the coast of France in 1664; but the robotic mermaid did not dissatisfy. Later with the help of Professor Khatib guidance, OceanOne made its way 100-meters beneath the surface of the Mediterranean, and it carefully picked up a preserved grapefruit-sized vase and placed it in the recovery basket.

The OceanOne, however, stood up to all the expectations and high-fived all the archaeologists and engineers who had accompanied it on this significant journey. With the achievement of the first under sea’s mission, it will be all exciting to see what coming in the future.

 

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Oktoberfest begins in Germany

2016 Oktoberfest begins in Munich; the Beer lovers from all around the world are ready to stream into the Munich's Theresienwiese for the start of this year's cheer with beer Oktoberfest. This is going to be the 183rd Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.

What is Oktoberfest all about?

What is Oktoberfest all about?

The Oktoberfest began on October 12, 1810, to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, who later became the King Ludwig I. He married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, according to Oktoberfest de. The celebrations ran through October 17, for five days after the marriage. A large fest was organized in front of the Sendlinger Tor, one of the gates that lead towards to Munich. The celebrations were the highest moments for the people o Munich and the festivities included horse races which became later the Oktoberfest custom lasting until today since 1938.

History

While in the year 1811, an agricultural fair was added, and by 1818 beer pubs were started alongside with the performers. So starting from then, it became a great traveler attraction and a great opportunity for the visitors to learn more about Bavaria, its people, and culture.

Munich Oktoberfest is held in the month of September, as the weather is milder than the Octobers. The fest lasts for almost sixteen days, beginning on a Saturday in September and ends on the first Sunday of October. Already the horse racing was ended in 1938, the other events continued over the years with the exception of wartime.

Since 1887 lederhosen and dirndls are the traditional wear for the attendees. When the sharp dot hits at 12 noon on Saturday, September 17th, The Munich’s mayor Dieter Reiter will tap the first barrel declaring the "Wiesn“ - as per Munich people they call it-  officially open.  The fest begins with a parade, and then it’s the time you can see everyone with big beer mugs cheering each other.  You will see the City mayor and the other civic leaders, followed by a horse-drawn brewer’s carts, bands, and townspeople wearing the traditional costumes. The parade ends at the oldest tent at the Oktoberfest, the Schottenhamel Tent where the mayor starts the fest with the first keg of beer and then the toasting begins.  It is estimated that more than 7,000,000 people attended the opening ceremony.

The Schottenhamel Tent

The six major brewers of the Oktoberfest Maerzen beer in Munich will be found in the seven halls where there will be live music throughout the day and evening. Here are the six major brewers: Lowenbrau, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbrauhaus, Spaten, Augustiner, and Paulaner.

You will find people dancing and screaming outside the beer tents, with the music, sideshows, carnival rides and lot of delicious German food serving.

While kids below the age six must leave the tents before 8.pm; even they are in the company of their parents. For families you will find extra discounts on particular days, and everything will be served to eat like; wursts of beef, chicken, pork, veal, slices of beef, pieces of chicken, sauerkraut, variety of potato salads, cabbage, onions, and of course pretzels to be enjoyed with a large stein of favorite beer.

Happy Oktoberfest!!!

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National Ice Cream Month

The President, Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month in 1984, and since then the third Sunday of the month is celebrated as National Ice Cream Day. In some places people even celebrate it the complete month by eating Ice Creams. Ronald recognized ice cream as a fun and nourishing food that is enjoyed by over 90 percent of the nation's population. In the proclamation, President Reagan called for all people of the United States to observe these events with "appropriate ceremonies and activities."

The International Ice Cream Association (IICA) encourages the retailers and other consumers to celebrate July as National Ice Cream Month. About eleven percent of all the milk produced by United States dairy farmers will be used to produce ice cream, contributing appreciably to the economic well-being of the nation's dairy industry.

Ice Cream Day

Interesting Facts on National Ice Cream Month:

  • It is in saying that Roman emperor Nero has invented the first ice desert when he ordered slaves to bring him ice from mountain tops so that he could enjoy it with honey and fruits.
  • In France ice cream became available since 1660. Myths suggest that Marco Polo brought the ice cream recipe from China and Catherine de Medici brought it to France. Catherine de Medici was an Italian noblewoman who married King Henry II, and became Queen of France.
  • National Ice Cream Month and National Ice Cream Day were first introduced by Joint Resolution 298 on May 17th, 1984. This resolution was sponsored by Kentucky Senator Walter Dee Huddleston.
  • The original Presidential Proclamation was issued by Ronald Reagan selected July 1984 as National Ice Cream Month and July 15th, 1984 as National Ice Cream Day.
  • Thomas Jefferson was a big fan of ice cream then and there was a special recipe for vanilla ice cream in the Library of Congress that was written by Thomas Jefferson's own hand.
  • In summers of 1790, President George Washington spent $700 on ice cream at Mount Vernon Martha Washington and served it to his guests.
  • Ice cream became popular in the United States following the American Revolution; and the first home ice cream maker was invented in 1843, by Nancy Johnson who lived in Philadelphia. It was a hand-crank machine.
  • In 1988, the largest ice cream sundae in history was created in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; and it weighed more than 24 tons.
  • The most popular ice cream flavor in Unites States is Vanilla; and it is the top selling flavors with more than 30% of sales in this particular months. Then come Chocolate ice cream. More ice cream is consumed in Long Beach, California than any other city in the United States.

Many US ice cream manufacturers have lined-up fun filled initiatives to help Americans perform their civic duty. Baskin Robbins has commemorated an event by launching four delicious polar pizzas and a donation program to support the United Service Organizations.

Polar pizzas

Ben & Jerry’s have different plans to celebrate the occasion. The company is planning to launch weekly flavors. Honoring July 4th, the company has splashed the event with Empower Mint, which is a delicious blend of peppermint ice cream with fudge brownies and fudge swirls. During the second week of July, customers have an option to choose from any of their four new dairy-free flavors that include Peanut Butter & Cookies, and a new version of their bestseller which is revamped, Chunky Monkey. Week 3 will bring Cookies and Cream Cheesecake, Brownie Batter, and Coconuts for Caramel. To wrap up the celebrations the company announced its customers who eat a scoop or two of a new or past favorite or “shaking” things up with a creamy milkshake.

There are other treats for the people who want to stay away from the ice cream or wish to celebrate the month without the added calories; may head to the nearest post office and seek out the collection of “Soda Fountain Favorites” which was released on June, 30. There is a booklet with 20 stamps features five delicious frozen treats — A double scoop ice cream cone, a root-beer float, a hot fudge sundae, a banana split, and an egg cream. Though the last options do not contain any ice cream, they will be more delicious.

Happy National Ice Cream Day

Happy National Ice Cream Month!!!

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Homemade Musical Instruments

Some things you may have at home or might usually throw away. But you can make many interesting things with these throw away; and can recycle them to make great musical instruments that really work. After they're made, see what to do with them at bottom of page! Great Fun!!!

Drum Ideas

Things you need

  • Paper
  • Tape or glue
  • Cans - large coffee cans or any size
  • Any decorate paper
  • Crayons to color it up
  • Marker

Procedure to make a Drum

Cut a piece of paper and fit it around a Can with a plastic lid; you can use a large Coffee Can as it will work well or you can use any size of it. You can also use an empty plastic jug or wooden bowl turned upside down or metal pot. Once you fit the paper well you can decorate it using crayons & markers; or first you can make the paper look good with your designs and then fit it around the can using glue or a tape.

Bongo Drum

Cut a paper in two pieces and fit it around two cardboard oatmeal containers with lids. Now follow the same procedure to decorate the containers with a decorated paper or by making it unique with crayons and markers, and then attach the decorated paper around both containers with a tape or gum. Keep them aside to rest till the gum is all set and the containers are ready to use.

Now, set the containers side by side and tie them together using two long pieces of string or yarn. You need to tie one piece of string around the upper section of the container and the other around the lower section; then place a dab of glue under the string in multiple spots to make it hold in place. Now your Bongo drums are ready to play, Play your bongos by tapping on the tops with your fingertips.

Base Drum

This is going to be a very easy task, you just need to turn a cooking pan over and beat on the bottom of it with a wooden spoon.

Belt Drum

Collect a round box, such as a potato chip or an oatmeal box container. Now carefully make two small slits, about 2 inches apart just near the top of the box; and thread the box onto a child's belt or a shortened adult belt. And that way your belt drum is ready.

Once you are ready with your drums, it’s time for you to make drum sticks. Let’s look at simple ideas on how to make drum sticks.

Drum Stick Ideas

The best thing is to use your hands to tap on the drums, or a wooden spoon, a metal spoon, rubber spatula, whisk or a basting brush.

Take two unsharpened pencils with erasers and make drumsticks; or attach an empty thread spool on one end of the pencils and wrap a thick rubber band around one end of each pencil. Now it’s your turn to experiment with the variety of sounds and tones you can make.

Taping Ideas

Gather your friends while doing this activity and make all your friends tap together two wooden dowels. You can also put metal thimbles on each finger and tap them together. Or you can also use two metal or wooden spoons, two walnut shells, or two metal pot lids to tap.

Things to Scrape

Pancake flipper, metal grater, metal sifter or two pieces of sandpaper.

Things to Ring

Keys or set of metal measuring spoons, small set of wind chimes.

Things to Shake

Take a container of toothpicks, a container of nails or tacks or an envelope of flower seeds.

 

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Moon and Mars

The June solstice is the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. The dates vary between June 20 and June 22, depending on the time zone and the year you are in.  June Solstice in India is on from Tuesday, June 21, 2016. The June Solstice in Universal Coordinated Time is on from Monday, June 20, 2016.

Mars & Moon

June 16, 2016, today you can see the bright waxing gibbous moon soon after the sunset. As dusk gives way to darkness, look for the red planet to pop out in the moon’s surrounding area. As Mars shines so brightly in Earth’s sky in June 2016, and we expect this world to withstand tonight’s drenching moonlight and to be a spectacular sight near the moon.

As nightfall, watch for the planet Saturn and the star Antares to join up with the moon along with the Mars on this moonlit night. Both Antares and Saturn are respectably brighter but neither can come close to beat the brilliance of Mars. Look for Mars to surpass Saturn, and for Saturn to outshine Antares, the brightest star in the group Scorpius the Scorpion. At present, Mars shines 5 times more vibrantly than Saturn, and about 12 times more brightly than Antares.

As we all know that Mars and Saturn are planets, and so the worlds shine by reflecting the light of the Sun. Antares, on the other hand, is a star that shines by its own light. Both Mars and Saturn are the planets that shine so reflected than sunlight. As seen in Earth’s sky, the brightness of the fourth planet Mars, outwards from the Sun and varies much more greatly than the brightness of Saturn. However, that’s not an intrinsic difference in Mars’ brightness; but it’s the distance difference of the Mars’ from us, and also something called opposition surge.  Mars distant point from Earth lies some seven times farther away than at its closest; and at its brightest, Mars shines 50 times more brightly in our sky than it does at its faintest.

Saturn, the utmost world that we can easily see without any help eye, lies only about 1.5 times more distant from Earth at its extreme point than at its closest point. It the brightest and is about five times brighter than at its faintest.

Saturn’s brightness is not only determined by its distance, but also by the angle of tilt and its highly insightful rings with respect to Earth. Saturn’s greatest brilliancy in our sky happens when Saturn is contiguous to Earth and its rings are maximally tilted our way. This was last happened during the opposition of December 31, 2003, and will next happen at the opposition of December 24, 2032.

The Jupiter’s difference in brightness is less than that of either Mars or Saturn. Jupiter is about three and one-half times brighter at its brightest than at its faintest.

On June 16, 2016, use the moon to find Mars, whose difference in brightness far exceeds that of any other bright planet orbiting the sun outside Earth’s orbit. In addition to Mars, the other two bright superior planets are going to be Saturn and Jupiter.

Button line: Being the best brain kids knowing this information not only help you to grab the knowledge about our planets and their moments; but also makes you learn about new and exciting things every time. So friends go and enjoy watching the bright red planet near the moon on June 16, 2016.

 

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National Arbor Day!

Hello, my lovely friends! How are you guys doing? April has been great, isn't it? And hey! Did you guys fool each other on April Fools' Day? Did you? WOW! That's awesome. I'm sure you people had super fun.  The spring/summer season is in its full swing, and the weather outside looks absolutely lovely, isn’t it? So, amidst all this, what about doing your bit for the environment? Rings a bell in your head? Well, well, well… We’re talking about Arbor Day! Yeah! Now, sweets, all those of you who are going to celebrate it this year raise your hands, please? Come on, don’t feel hesitant; we hope that by the end of this article, we’ll be able to convince you entirely to gear up and make this Arbor Day super memorable! 

Alright, so we’re in the ‘encouragement’ mode, and we’ll go all out to make sure that you tick this day in your ‘favourite days’ list. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s begin with the scratch! Arbor Day is an important day celebrated worldwide for its great environmental significance. Every year, millions of people across several parts of the world go out, get their hands dirty and plant trees in their neighborhood. It’s all about going close to nature and helping in building a greener, healthier and safer tomorrow by planting saplings. 


 


Undoubtedly, trees are the most phenomenal supporters of my existence on my planet because they provide us with everything -- Food (in the form of fruits & vegetables) and water (by maintaining water balance and aiding in evaporation of water leading to rains in many cases). They also provide shelter (to man, animals, and other smaller plants), fresh air (oxygen included by their natural process of photosynthesis) and housing (by offering timber for building houses and wood for furniture, firewood, etc.). 

Plants are just an excellent source of our everyday need in the best possible way. Additionally, trees provide vital protection for the Earth’s topsoil from erosion, oxygen, and homes for wildlife. They also are a renewable resource that provides a variety of materials for building, fuel and office supplies.
 


Trees beautify our environment, provide shade on a sunny day and improve our quality of life. So, now that you know the amazing benefits of trees, why don’t you plan and act on planting them? It doesn’t take much of your time for sure.   National Arbor Day celebrates all these things and aims for American generations to come to enjoy all the benefits trees have to offer. And moreover, Arbor Day is a public holiday in various countries, especially in America! 

Now, let’s go back in time and know what exactly led to the celebration of this day; after all, we ought to find out the reasons to ‘how’ and ‘why’ of things at every level.  Always remember that it’s okay to appear ignorant and stupid while asking questions, but it’s terribly not okay to be ignorant about something for a long time! So, enlightened by this thought, let’s get to the root of the Arbor Day.


HISTORY:



History of Arbor Day

Arbor Day was not traditionally celebrated on the last Friday of April; in fact, it was not even set a particular date for a long time post its initiation back in the year 1854. Want to know the complete story? Here we roll! Long back in the year 1854 when J Sterling Morton moved from Detroit to Nebraska, he and his mates observed that the place lacked the blessing of Mother Nature. In other words, they noticed that there were hardly any trees or plants in the surroundings. Also, due to scanty vegetation in the area, there was no provision of windbreaks to stabilize the soil and to give shade from the Sun. Morton planted many trees around his home and encouraged others to do the same.


planting of saplings on Arbor Day

Finally, on the 4th of January, 1872, Morton proposed a holiday to plant trees on April 10 that year. It was known as "Arbor Day" and prizes were awarded to the counties and individuals who planted the maximum number of trees on the day. About one million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day. In 1885, Arbor Day became a legal holiday and was moved to April 22, which was Morton's birthday. In 1989, the official state holiday was moved to the last Friday in April. All states in the US now have an official Arbor Day; usually at a time of year that has the best weather conditions for planting trees.

This was the story behind the celebration of Arbor Day – A day that prompted people to take to contributing their bit to nature. There are hordes of things you can do to make a difference in the world and the environment, and you don’t need to be an adult to do that! Kids, you’re a great power in your own right, and you can certainly do a lot to improve the condition of this planet.


ACTIVITY SECTION:



 

Okay, we’ll make things easier for you and not give you the trouble of pondering over things on your own. Look, we are so considerate about you! Below is a list of a few activities you can do as a mark to commemorate the Arbor Day in your own simple yet effective way:

•    Study the ecosystem of one particular tree.

•    Write an Arbor Day poem or rap and perform it for the school.

•    Correlate the history of the United States or your community to one tree's growth rings.

•    Learn to identify trees in your community. Students can use a tree key or create their own. Take a nature walk and practice this new skill.

•    Study the structure of a tree, how it functions, and what benefits a tree provides.

•    Make bark rubbings and have the students’ trade rubbings to see if they can identify each other's tree.

•    Study the importance of trees in different cultures.

•    Collect leaves, brush tempera paint on them and make leaf prints.

•    Tree shapes often aid in tree identification. Have students pretend to be a particular type of tree—weeping willow, redwood, etc.

•    Write an Arbor Day poem or rap and perform it for the school.

•    Ask each to student write a description of a tree found on the school grounds. Then see if other students can find it using the report.

•    Have students write letters to community tree planters, thanking them for their efforts.

•    Learn about spices and other foods and learn about the trees that produce them.

•    Play ‘Who Wants to be a Trillionaire?’ or Tree-vial Pursuit and see which class or group of students can answer the most tree-related questions.

•    Plant trees on the school grounds and learn how to maintain them.

•    Participate in a community Arbor Day celebration.

•    Put on a play about Arbor Day. You can either have the students write their own play or perform Trees: A Joy Forever



 

Thus, this was the entire story behind the initiation, evolution, and commemoration of this very special day that celebrated the beauty, glory and significance of nature, especially plants & trees in all its exuberance, yet with a touch of unparalleled simplicity. We encourage you all to go out and enjoy nature by planting trees and samplings, and in turn, plant a beautiful tomorrow for you and your future generations! Happy Arbor Day!!!

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