Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Apostrophe - how and when to use it

The Apostrophe - when to use it, and when not to!

What is an apostrophe?

An apostrophe is a small ' mark which frequently indicates where one or more letters have been left out of a written word. (The word "apostrophe" is derived from Ancient Greek words meaning roughly "the stroke of turning-away").

Some examples of its use include:

  • I'm (I am)
  • don't (do not)
  • isn't (is not)
  • can't (can not)

In written English, the apostrophe is used most commonly in two situations - missing letters, and possession.

Rules of Thumb

These will cover nearly all cases, and will help if you are unsure where or whether to use an apostrophe.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Long Division Made Simple

Long Division Made Simple

Long division seems to strike fear into people's hearts, and when there is normally a calculator to hand it may be that you don't often need to know how to do it. But from time to time - perhaps when you want to work out  how to divide a bill evenly between 17 people, using a pen and paper - long division is the key.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

How does the Internet work?

Explaining the Internet

World map
Connecting computers worldwide
The Internet is everywhere nowadays. It seems that virtually every electronic device is connected to the net in some way, and it's easy to just accept without questioning that clicking on a link brings up a new page of information - but if you want to understand a bit about how that actually happens, then this article will give you some insight into how the Internet really works.

The Internet is a system connecting together a vast number of computers and other electronic devices, in such a way that messages can be sent between any two connected devices. How those messages are passed from one location to another varies - perhaps using radio waves in a home wi-fi connection, or copper cables, or glass fibres, or microwaves, or cellphone signals - the Internet does not force any particular type of  link. As long as there is some way to get a message from one computer to another then the Internet will work with it.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Theory of Evolution

Evolution explained clearly

Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin, late 1830s
The theory of evolution says that if some members of a group of organisms - plants or animals - are by chance better equipped to cope with a particular hardship, and then go on to reproduce; then their offspring will on average also be better at surviving that hardship, and the following generations even more so. The population as a whole becomes better and better adapted to thrive in a given situation or niche. Nearby populations may find themselves facing different pressures, and will adapt in a different direction, eventually leading to the formation of two or more species where once there was one.

Charles Darwin

In November 1859 Charles Darwin published his famous book, which is usually known as 'The Origin of Species' - its full title was 'On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.'

Darwin had been employed in the 1830's as a geologist and naturalist on board the HMS Beagle, on a five-year expedition from Plymouth, England across the Atlantic, around South America, across the Pacific to Australasia, around the southern tip of Africa, and back to England.