Planting Rice, From Seed to Grain

When a farmer wants to grow rice, he needs to soak them first, planting them by hand in paddies usually located in low-lying areas by the river. Next, he ripens them in the sun. Come harvest time, he drains the fields and cuts the rice using sickles or combine harvesters. Then, he dries them as soon as possible either by laying them in the sun or using continuous flow dryers. Milling for brown rice involves removing the husk. For white rice, the bran gets removed before polishing takes place. Continue reading

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The Wonders of Camouflage

THE coloring of many species of animals enables them to deceive their enemies. The brown of herbivores in the forest make them invisible against the earth. The stripes of zebras make it difficult for predators to make out their shapes in the grassland. Snow hares can change their coats from brown to white in winter. Then there are creatures that alter their color on demand: flatfish morph from yellow to brown, chameleons camouflage to mate or communicate with their own species. Color change not only tricks enemies, it helps predators to pounce on their prey. The stripes of the tiger make it difficult to spot them amid tall grasses. Shape also serves as camouflage: butterflies resemble leaves, stick insects look like twigs. As for human beings, they have used bright colors for easy identification in foggy war situations. Other camouflage tricks include wearing khaki and ghillie suits. Warships and submarines, painted with complex patterns and contrasting colors, confuse enemy ships. Continue reading

Why We Dream

One possible answer as to why we dream is that the brain is reenacting experiences and digesting important data. It gives us a visceral real-life experience, when in truth, it is not—which explains why the word means “deception” in Sanskrit. Dreams also clear our brains of unwanted noise and unnecessary information, as well as recur incessantly to reflect our innermost needs. Dream interpretation began with the Egyptians in 2000 B.C. with important findings captured on papyrus. They thought that dreams were symbolic and expressed opposites: happy dreams presaged unhappy events. Then came the ancient Greeks who used dreams as a form of diagnosis and treatment. The Senois of Malaysia used dreams to help them live better lives, resulting in improved emotional well-being. In the 19th century, Sigmund Freud treated his patients through dream analysis. When it comes to inventions, dreams have been a source of inspiration. In this way, dreams are important in understanding one’s life. Continue reading

Behind the Scenes of a Summary-Writing Class

SUMMARY-WRITING is the bane of many a student. It’s the high-stakes, high weightage section that has a way of upsetting your total score for Paper 2, the comprehension section of the ‘O’ Levels exam—especially if the skill of synopsis isn’t your forte. Continue reading

How to Excel in Summary Writing

“… summary-writing is essentially an act of deconstructing, disassembling—a skill that shouldn’t be lost on us if we consider how, at every point in our lives, at school, and later at work, we have to apply the fine art of synopsis.”

                  By Vivienne Yeo

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