Volta – The Stylish Electric Bicycle from Pure Cycles

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A lot of us would love to go to work by bicycle. There are lots of reasons to switch. It’s good for the planet. It’s certainly healthier. And who really enjoys sitting in traffic?

On the other hand, it’s no fun starting out your workday all sweaty and tired. An e-bike seems like a perfect solution, but up to now they have been too heavy and ugly.

Enter the Volta, one of the most innovative e-bikes on the market now. The Volta weighs only 15.8 kilograms. That’s light enough to easily carry upstairs. The Volta comes with lots of options and features. You can choose a low maintenance, mess-free belt drive or a traditional chain. The rear-mounted motor makes steering it very natural. And it looks great; the battery is hardly visible, but it is able to give you a 64-kilometer range. And the motor has the power to take you up the steepest hills in your route.

It has other great features like headlights and taillights which automatically activate in low-light and an automatic brake light. It comes with a built-in GPS tracker in case your bike is ever lost or stolen.

Find out more about the Volta at their Kickstarter site in the link:

Volta on Kickstarter

 

How do you commute to work?

 
This scale is based on the grade level of text. For example, a “5.0” means the reading level of a fifth grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to a the 12th grade or last year in high school, a ’13’ equals the first year in university. The grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.

The Radioactive Wild Boars of Fukushima

The Radioactive Wild Boars of Fukushima

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Hundreds of radioactive boars are roaming the towns of Fukushima. These towns were abandoned after the nuclear power plant meltdown in 2011. The Japanese government will allow residents to return to their homes in some towns this year. However, officials worry that the wild boars will attack people when they try to come back. Over the six years, the boars have lost their fear of humans. Some are even living in abandoned homes.

Hunters have been hired to kill the boars. So far around 800 have been killed. Boar meat is a popular dish in Japan. However, the meat of these boars is too dangerous to eat. In fact, it is 300 times over the safe limit. Disposing of the dead boars is very problematic; there are very few facilities to handle them.

Now, there are many wild animals in the area. There are reports of large populations of wild dogs and rats, as well.

 

 

Are you for or against nuclear power?

 
This scale is based on the grade level of text. For example, a “5.0” means the reading level of a fifth grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to the 12th grade or last year in high school, a ’13’ equals the first year in university. The grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.

Obamas to Get Millions for Book Deal

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Barack Obama was the President of the United States for eight years. Now he and his wife, Michelle, will get a lot of money to write books. How much money? The Obamas will receive over 60 million dollars from the publisher, Penguin Random House. This is six times more than George W. Bush received for his book.

President Obama will write his memoirs for the publisher. A memoir is a book about a person’s memories. This kind of book is usually made by famous people like politicians or other celebrities.

Michelle Obama will also write about her eight years in the White House. However, her book is more likely to be for children and teenagers. Such memoirs are often big sellers. People hope they learn something new about the famous person.

The Obamas plan to give a large portion of the money to charities.

 

 
This scale is based on the grade level of text. For example, a “5.0” means the reading level of a fifth grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to the 12th grade or last year in high school, a ’13’ equals the first year in university. The grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.

Mount Etna Erupts

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Mount Etna is a volcano located in southern Italy. It is on the island of Sicily. Now, Mount Etna is spewing out red hot rocks and ash. However, experts say that there is no danger for people.

Mount Etna has often erupted in the past. The last eruption was in 2014. Even now a stream of molten rock is flowing down the mountain. This is called a lava flow. The volcano is also spewing out clouds of dust. Scientists say that these clouds are not so bad this time.

Experts say, people do not need to be afraid. Even for those who live close by there is no immediate danger.

No one is sure how long the volcanic eruption will last. Sometimes it is over after a few days.

Mt. Etna is the second most active volcano on earth. Only Hawaii’s Kilauea is more active.

 

 
This scale is based on the grade level of text. For example, a “5.0” means the reading level of a fifth grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to the 12th grade or last year in high school, a ’13’ equals the first year in university. These grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.

The Next Taylor Swift?

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Grace VanderWaal was just like any other New York 12-year old until she and her mother decided to let her try out for the NBC television competition, America’s Got Talent. Grace had written songs since she was three years old, so unlike most child performers, she sang an original song on the show, and played a ukulele. Not even Grace’s sixth grade friends knew she loved singing, but soon the whole world would find out.

Grace’s song at the audition, “I Don’t Know My Name,” blew away the audience and all four judges, who gave her a standing ovation. And then one judge even hit a special button for outstanding acts, which meant that Grace went directly into the quarterfinals. Head judge and record producer Simon Cowell, who is known for his tough comments, loved Grace so much he promised she was going to be a star, and called her “the next Taylor Swift.”

Grace went on to win America’s Got Talent, which means the adorable 12-year old was a millionaire and YouTube sensation before her 13th birthday. And now everyone knows her name, including Taylor Swift herself, who sent her flowers to congratulate her on her victory.

Here is the performance that started it all, Grace’s audition to America’s Got Talent: Grace’s Audition 

 

 
This scale is based on the grade level of text. For example, a “5.0” means the reading level of a fifth grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to a the 12th grade or last year in high school; a ’13’ equals the first year in university. The grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.

Bringing the Mammoth Back

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The woolly mammoth was a very large elephant-like mammal that lived on Earth several thousand years ago.  Some mammoths grew to be four meters high and the largest weighed almost nine tons.  Both male and female mammoths had very large tusks and walked on every continent except Australia and South America.  Sadly, these giant creatures became extinct.

The last mammoths lived as recently as 4,000 years ago and their well-preserved bodies can be found frozen in the tundra of Siberia.  Because their bodies were so well protected from decay in the permafrost, their genetic material remained intact.  

Scientists at Harvard University are researching ways to bring the mammoth back to life. According to these researchers, it is possible to program the Asian elephants’ genes with a mammoth’s genetic material. This is can be done because of a recent scientific developments in gene editing using a new tool called Crispr. Crispr allows scientists to cut out specific genes and replace them with different ones. They estimate that we will see a living mammoth in less than 10 years. 

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Do you think it is a good idea to bring back the mammoth?

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Using iPads to Make Learning Fun

Futaba in action

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Paper, pencil, whiteboard, textbook. Those are the tools you need if you want to go to school. But recently, you can add another one to the list: an iPad. Because the popular Apple tablet is not only useful for searching the Internet and watching videos, but it is also being used to make learning fun.

Scientists and psychologists now know that we learn better when we are enjoying ourselves, so recently software developers have made iPad applications that look like video games, but have strong educational content. One of the best examples of this new form of teaching is Futaba, a game in which up to four children try to recognize a spinning object, and then identify what it is. The game can be used to teach English, math, foreign languages, or just about anything, and students love it. Plus teachers can even make their own questions. The important thing is that children enjoy the game, and don’t even realize how much they are learning!

So the next time you have to choose between making your child study or letting them play a game, just remember… they could do both at once!

A Dramatic Increase in Garbage in the Arctic

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There are very few people living in . You would not expect to find much garbage there. Recently, however, some German researchers have discovered a lot of plastic, glass and other waste in the sea there. They say that there is twenty times more garbage than compared to ten years ago.

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The researchers are not exactly sure what is causing the increase in the amount of garbage there. It could be coming from very far away. Ocean currents can spread things over many kilometers. Another factor may be climate change. Ice cover in the Arctic has been shrinking. This has lead to more fishing and tour boats coming into the region. Some of the litter could be coming from these sources.

Ocean garbage is dangerous. Fish and other animals can die. Animals often suffocate when they try to eat plastic bags. Also, it is not healthy for people who eat the fish.

Which do you believe? Please choose one.

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The Arctic is the part of the earth above 66° 34′ N. Above this latitude the sun does not set on the day of the summer solstice (the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere), and does not rise on the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.

National Security Advisor Resigns

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An important politician has resigned in the United States. His name is Michael Flynn. Flynn was President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor. The National Security Advisor is one of the most important foreign policy positions in the US.

Why was Flynn asked to resign? Before he became an advisor, he telephoned the Ambassador of Russia and later lied about that conversation. Flynn negotiated with the Russian ambassador on the phone, but at that time, Trump was not yet president, and Michael Flynn was not yet a member of the government. There is a law in the USA that says only the government is allowed to negotiate with other countries. That is why Michael Flynn had to resign.

President Trump is now looking for a replacement. Already, Trump’s first choice for a replacement has turned down the offer. His name was Robert Harward, a retired US Navy vice admiral.

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UPDATE: President Trump has chosen Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a military strategist, as his new national security advisor. (Monday, February 20, 2017)

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