Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Reshuffling Molecules


Ever broken an egg before? Notice the soft, transparent, slimy part? This is called the albumen, which contains a lot of proteins; in fact, it has over 10 different kinds of proteins that are very beneficial to our bodies. But what happens when you heat egg in a pan? 

The molecules of proteins can be arranged in different forms. The arrangements of these molecules are determined by the type of bonds that hold them up together. Imagine weaving or bonding pieces of thread into cloth. And then, this piece of cloth can be turned into a shirt with more stitching or bonding. 


What happens when you heat up the egg white is that some bonds are broken, and the molecules are rearranged. This new structure is more stable than the raw egg white. 

The same thing also happens when you heat up butter. Butter is in solid form because of bonds that hold them close together. But these bonds are broken when given heat and the molecules rearrange themselves in the form of oil, which is a liquid form. When you introduce hydrogen molecules into peanut oil, the molecules of the oil will be rearranged, and you get peanut butter! 

Water in its solid form is called ice. The molecules are packed tightly together and are held by many bonds. These bonds, however, will be broken by heat and the water molecules start to become loose. The ice will eventually lose its shape and turn into a liquid form.

When you heat up lemon juice, it will turn brown because the molecules are rearranged with oxygen molecules. This is the explanation for the experiment below. 


       
  
               




Experiment: To make invisible ink

Materials: 
lemons, cotton buds or paintbrush, white paper, electric iron, ironing board.

Steps:
1.    Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice out into a container.
2.    Dip the cotton bud or paintbrush into the lemon juice and use it to write your name on a piece of clean white paper. Repeat this 3 times.
3.    Allow the paper to dry.
4.    Once dried, iron over the paper until you see your name appear in brown. 

Glossary of Terms:
Albumen [al-byoo-muhn] the white of an egg.
Bond [bond] something that binds, fastens, confines, or holds together.
Molecule [mol-uh-kyool] the smallest unit of an element or compound.

                     
Shared by Surain A. Victor
Guest Blogger

Digital Citizenship





Shared by Celine Woon
Guest Blogger

A Prison Invited Event - 'Di Belakang Tirai Besi'


It was not a normal Wednesday for us, me and Jai. It's not like Iraq invitation to where the barren land of the desert meets the eyes…and war.

This is a different kind of war. A war in oneself to refrain from making mistakes.. again and lives normally as a ‘free’ person.

On the 26th July, we got an invitation from a prison in Sungai Petani. Calls and e mails are the contacts that I made with them, the prison personnel. Until we went there.


Probably many of us are not aware the presence of schools in prison. As a means of giving them… the second chance in life. The teachers that are assigned will teach the prison kids. We met the teachers who shared with us the challenges and stories of the students.
The many backgrounds and the mistakes that cost them their precious ‘freedom’. The schools in are called Sekolah Integriti and Sekolah Henry Gurney. All are age below 21. 

Some are involved in heavy cases, some are light cases. Once in.. they realized the price you pay for crime is heavy. 

We walked past the single wooden door upon entry, then it was locked. After body check, all our belongings (including cameras, handphones) are left in a locker and entry to the prison area was allowed. Passing through a double gated mesh wire door, we passed a young boys group of red attired jail uniform squatting down. We were told it's one way to easily react should one of them be aggressive. I gulp at the thought.

We passed in an area where many uniformed prison staff holding batons standing. It is the main area of officiating this occasion where they had invited us earlier. A collaboration with their education sector – ours is the science show as judges.

We were escorted with four prison staff to the school compound. Passing another gate (locked again) we reached the school compound. High walls surrounding was very prominent. The feeling and ambiance of being locked are everywhere. 

We went to a hall like room and the door is locked again. The windows are covered with mesh wires. Then the Science Show begins, and we are the judges along with a science teacher from a prison school in Sabah. 5 teams presented and the winner is from Sekolah Integriti Kajang.
The winner was good at explaining the science concepts with the demos. Looking at them, one will just wonder what crime has been committed. 

We stayed until the prize giving ceremony finished with the VIP, the Director of Prison Malaysia, Dato Sri Haji Zulkifli bin Omar.

Before the prize giving, a 9 A students age 19, winning Champion in the Speech Competition,  gave a heart tugging speech…. Part of it is this… “Now I realize my mom has sacrificed so much for me, keeping my spirit high even in prison.. she was there when I did well in my studies..and she was there when I am at my lowest... I want to thank you mom..for all your support..for all your sacrifices.. even though I am not sure whether .. I 'll be set free or face the gallows…”

I asked the person next to me..why is he in..the reply was, he was a drug dealer during his first year as a student in the university.

We headed out through many doors.. emerging out to see ‘freedom’. So different from being inside many mesh wires, many locked doors, and high walls…My thoughts were we have to help these kids from getting into the wrong ways. And also to remind all of us, if we know anyone heading that wrong direction if there is a way to help.. we should. 


Shared by Fozi Wazir
Guest Blogger




Thursday, 17 August 2017

Mother Nature’s Abundance


Let’s take a walk down the aisles of the fresh produce section of a supermarket. There are fruits; such as apples, oranges, watermelons, mangoes, tomatoes, grapes, bananas, papayas, - vegetables; such as spinach, mustard, convolvulus, cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, - mushrooms; such as shiitake, button, oyster, Portobello, - bulbs and tubers; such as carrots, horseradish, potatoes, onions, turnip, tapioca, ginger, galangal, - and nuts, grains and seeds such as; rice, barley, wheat, green peas, soybeans, dhal, cashew nuts, almonds, chickpeas, lentils. They come in a variety of shapes, textures, sizes, and colors!



These types of fresh produce are enough to feed the mouths of the seven billion people on planet Earth today. And what do they have in common? They need soil to grow.































The soil is found on the upper most layer of the Earth. The soil consists of a mixture of weathered rock, finely ground into powder, minerals, and a variety of living and dead life forms. This nutrient rich layer typically only extends downward a few feet, about as deep as plant roots extend.

Soil contains all the nutrients needed by plants to survive. Some areas, such as deserts, have very poor soils; in these locations, it is difficult for complex plant life to take hold. An important part of soil is the part that is alive. Many different bacteria, algae, and fungi do important jobs that make life possible. Without these basic life forms performing these important roles, more complex life forms could not survive.

And earthworms are a farmer’s best friend because they make soil healthier by fertilizing and aerating it. Only 3% of the Earth’s landmass is available for growing food; therefore soil needs to be conserved to continue to support life.


Experiment: 
To learn about the small fraction of the planet available for growing food

Materials: 
an apple and a knife.

Steps:
1. Cut an apple in half lengthwise, then half again.

2. Take one of the four 1/4th of a piece and cut it in half lengthwise so that you have 1/8th.
3. Next, slice the 1/8th lengthwise into
four equal parts to give you four 1/32 sections of apple.
4. Take one of the 1/32 section and peel the skin.
5. This skin represents all the soil on the planet where food can be grown.


Glossary of Terms:
Fertilize [fur-tl-ahyz] to make productive; enrich.
Nutrient [noo-tree-uh nt] nourishing; providing nourishment or nutrient.


Shared by Surain A. Victor
Guest Blogger

The Little Engine in Us


Did you know that the heart of a blue whale is about 450 kilograms? That’s the weight of an average dairy cow!!

The heart is a bag-like structure in the chest region made completely of muscles. These muscles contract and relax from the time you were just a fetus in your mother’s uterus. 


The heart is made up of four chambers each with its own blood vessel. In these blood vessels are valves that make sure that blood flows in the right direction. The opening and closing of these valves are what gives the ‘lub-dub’ sound of your heartbeat. 

The heart pumps thousands of liters of blood through your body every day. First, it sends blood without any oxygen to the lungs to get oxygen. It then pumps the blood containing oxygen around all the other parts of the body. After delivering its oxygen, the blood returns to the heart to start the process of getting oxygen all over again.

During exercise, more oxygen and nutrients are needed by the muscles so blood must be delivered faster than when the body is resting. To meet these demands, the heartbeat increases. 


Generally, stethoscopes are used to listen to the heart, lungs, and intestinal tract but can also be used to listen to blood flow through vessels. The stethoscope is a very important tool used by medical professionals and health care workers to listen to your heartbeat.

If you want your heart to be healthy for the rest of your life, get plenty of exercise, follow a good diet and keep your heart clean and drug-free.


Experiment: Make your own stethoscope


Materials: 

60cm-long rubber hose, plastic funnel and masking tape.

Steps:
1.    Insert the nozzle of the plastic funnel into the opening of one end of the 60cm-long rubber hose. 

2.    Wrap the neck of the plastic funnel where it joins the rubber hose with masking tape to ensure it is airtight.
3.    Place the mouth of the plastic funnel on your chest and place the opening end of the rubber hose to your ear.
4.    Listen closely to your heartbeat.


Glossary of terms:

Muscle [muhs-uhl] tissues in the body that produce movement
Uterus [yoo-ter-uhs] the organ in a woman’s body where a fetus develops
Blood vessel [bluhd ves-uhl] tubes that circulate blood throughout the body
Valve [valv] a structure that allows fluid to flow in one direction only
Oxygen [ok-si-juhn] a colorless, odorless gas in the atmosphere that is used in respiration



Shared by Surain A. Victor
Guest Blogger

Care For Some Haggis?


The faint-hearted and the uninitiated will not touch it with a 10-foot pole!  It’s unsightly and doesn’t look appetising, but don’t let appearances deceive you.  There’s a reason why it’s the national dish of Scotland.  By the way, it’s also very popular and delicious!  

                                                            Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to the eight-verse poem Robert Burns wrote, ‘Address to a Haggis’, he unwittingly elevated haggis from its humble origins to something iconic.  After his death in 1796 his friends organised a Burns Supper in his honour.  Now, every 25th January (his birthday) is Burns Supper Day!

What is the haggis?  Its origin is a big question mark but it is an ancient dish believed to go as far back as the 15th century.  The word haggis may have originated from the Scandinavian 'hag', meaning to hack or chop, or the Anglo-Saxon 'haecan', to hack into pieces.  It may also come from the French 'hachis', or the Icelandic 'hoggva', also meaning to hack or chop.

Whatever its origins, it’s a savoury pudding.  Yes, pudding!  The main ingredients are sheep's heart, liver, lungs, and stomach (or sausage casing); onion, oatmeal, suet, and spices.  That’s a lot of yummy stuff in it and it looks very much like minced meat!
  
                                                              Wikimedia Commons

So what is its nutritional value?  

Liver
High in vitamin A, vitamin B12 and copper
Substantial quantities of riboflavin, folate, selenium, chromium, pantothenic acid, niacin, protein, vitamin B6 & niacin

Lung
Great source of selenium, protein and iron 
Moderate amount of vitamin C, vitamin B12, niacin, riboflavin & phosphorus

Heart
Not healthy - low in protein & the only substantial nutrient is vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is found in all animal products


Liver and lung are high in cholesterol so haggis should be eaten in moderation. A side salad or perhaps some green beans would be a great nutritional addition to this meal.

Here’s the nutrition summary (according to brand names):

per 100g - Calories: 240kcal | Fat: 13.70g | Carbs: 15.30g | Protein: 13.60g 

per 100g - Calories: 192kcal | Fat: 8.30g | Carbs: 17.10g | Protein: 11 

per 100g - Calories: 270kcal | Fat: 17.60g | Carbs: 20.40g | Protein: 10.40g 

per 100g - Calories: 286kcal | Fat: 16.70g | Carbs: 27.20g | Protein: 6.80g     

By the way, there’s also the vegetarian version.
per 100g - Calories: 208kcal | Fat: 11.50g | Carbs: 25.90g | Protein: 5.90g     



Game to make your own haggis?  Let’s make something that the vegetarians can partake – Vegetarian Haggis!  Checkout the recipes below:

1. Vegan Haggis (Emma's Little Kitchen)

2. Janet Henderson’s Vegetarian Haggis



Bon appetit!




Shared by Azni Zainal Abidin
Guest Blogger

What Is Augmented Reality (AR)?





Shared by Celine Woon
Guest Blogger

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Cheese Making





Shared by Celine Woon
Guest Blogger

Stopping Light



As long as the sun shines, it’s always there following you around to wherever you go. You can see it, but you can’t touch it. What is it?


We have shadows because light moves in a certain way. It travels outward from its source, like the sun or torch light. As long as nothing is in the way, the light waves move in one direction at a speed of 300,000 kilometers per second. 


That is like traveling around the world seven times in one second! Nothing travels faster than light waves. But when some of the light waves hit something – you, or a tree – they are stopped. Then, on the other side of the thing that stopped the light waves, there is a dark space – a shadow. 


Things in a dark room have no shadows because there are no light waves traveling through the room. And on cloudy days, things have no shadows because the clouds break up the light waves from the sun. The clouds soak up some of the waves and scatter the rest of them in all directions. When the light waves scatter and bounce instead of moving in one direction, no shadows are formed. 


You can see things in your room at night because of the light from the bulb. Try being in a thick jungle in the middle of the night, and you’ll realize the importance of light for our sense of sight. That is why some species of fish very deep down in the ocean do not have eyes because the sunlight doesn’t reach those depths.




Experiment: 
Make a shadow clock 

Materials: 
paper plate, spool, pencil

Steps:
1.    Glue the spool to the center of the paper plate.
2.    Place a pencil in the hole of the spool, with the point up.
3.    Place the paper under the sun early in the morning.
4.    Draw a line down the shadow the pencil makes on the paper plate.
5.    Write the hour next to the line you traced.
6.    Repeat steps 4 and 5 after every hour until the sun goes down.







Shared by Surain A. Victor
Guest Blogger

Monday, 24 July 2017

Why Cooking Is A Science?


 (Not your cliché add yeast to the dough kind of science)


Cooking has always been a fascination of mine since I was about 11. Back then, all I knew was instant noodles and sunny side ups… I recalled making a “special soup” with an exotic ingredient… SUPER RINGS! Alah you know, that ring-shaped, artificial cheese flavored childhood snack that would smother your fingers with orange hued powder… (you’re eating it wrong if you don't lick your fingers afterward).

What would a naïve mind associate something with deliciousness after all? Chickadees of course! The broth simmered with colors that looked as if it were contaminated with an oil slick. But my parents tested it with a twisted grin…

Credit image: tiffinbiru.blogspot.com

Eating is a necessity, but cooking is an art. Over the years, my passion bloom. With every mirepoix that had been sautéed to perfection, to every three sekawan that had been 'tumis' till 'pecah minyak,' I owe it all to my family, especially the sous chef of the household, my skillful grandmother. She could tell apart 'gulai kampung' from 'gulai Mamak'! My parents, thankfully, never thought of my expenditure on foods as a waste, but an investment of some sort… and that's how parents should be. Nurture your child(ren) in their mold!

Below are Makwan’s cooking tips and hacks:

1.    If a soup or stew was made salty, simply add cuts of potatoes.
2.    Too spicy? Add sugar.
3.    Tumis your sambal with a teaspoon of sugar results with a sweeter and glossier finish.
4.    Onions = sweetness
5.    Out on the bazaar and can't choose Tepung Pelita? Pick the ones with less shiny/matte surface.
6.    Add salt as you ‘menumbuk dalam lesung'.


7.    Slice your meats against the grains.
8.    Wants your beef to tender ASAP? Add a metal spoon… (?!)
9.   Can’t keep up with bruising apples? Sprinkle salt on the cut surface(es). *Also works with lemon juice.
10.    Remove the odor of shellfish and seafood or even chicken with tamarind paste (asam jawa) or flour.
11.    Sear your chicken!
12.    Use freshly squeezed 'santan' or coconut milk for your rendang.
13.    Know your oils!


Now, on what purpose do I share this tips and tricks? 

Ahhh (French accent)…of course, this has something BIG to do with the title of this piece of writing.

You see, here are the reasons as to why these are done through the lens of science!


1.    Boiling starches such as potatoes absorb salt very well. Which is why adding chunks of potatoes to a salty stew or soup or even Rendang perhaps will lessen the apparent saltiness of the dish.

2.    Adding sugar or cinnamon to spicy foods helps tone down the spiciness


3.    Onion contains sugars when raw, but they are pretty much indigestible and tasteless. 

4.    With caramelization, complex sugars in onion split into simpler ones, which are the ones we can taste, by the action of heat. Therefore, fried onion tastes sweeter, and so does tomato, etc.
When sugar cane crops are ready to be harvested, dry leaves are burnt in situ to increase the yield of sucrose by the same effect: a fraction of the existing complex sugars are turned into sucrose (saccharine).

5.    *just a tip to help you out next Ramadhan ;)

6.    By adding salt as you grind your mortar and pestle increases the friction, results in a faster and finer product. Often, a layer of cloth or rag is placed underneath the mortar to absorb the shock or friction. (so your tile or counter won't crack LoL). In physics, we apply this principle in reducing momentum. By adding something (such as cloth, or spring) that will elongate the time of impact, thus reducing the force of momentum.

(p=mass x velocity…if velocity decreases, so does the momentum)

This is also why we see cars with lengthy bumpers, which is to spare the lives of passenger(s) in the case of an accident. 


7.    By cutting the meat this way helps shorten the muscle fiber. Also, by cutting your meat into bite size pieces, you would also increase the surface area for reaction. Thus, making it react (cook) faster. 

8.    Fact or fiction? Ye to be debunked… Although in Cambodia, where the lack of anemia is a real epidemic that causes lethargy and many more disease, a small fish made of iron in cooking to dilute the iron or 'zat besi' into the dish as to provide sufficient and optimal nutrient intake. 


9.    When an apple is being cut or dropped, the cells are ruptured thus releasing enzymes that would react with air (oxygen) to produce melanin, a substance also found in the human body that makes up the colors of the complexion. This process is known as oxidation. By adding salt or acidic substances (that have lower PH levels) reverses the process, thus making the apple stay fresh... (in chemistry reverse oxidation is known as reduction).

10.    The Japanese deserve much respect in their food preparation. They are so meticulous and put hygiene at the paramount of importance. Even the guts of a Fugu, a blowfish (happens to be one of the deadliest yet an epitome of opulence in Japanese cuisine) will be rinsed and cut to pieces before finally being discarded. In most of the Japanese food preparation videos on YouTube like cooking with the dog and iron chef, they rinse their chicken meat and seafood in starch solution… this is because starch also possesses the property of absorbing the 'hanyir' and 'hamis'. As a substitute, you could also use lemon juice and salt.. unless you have a traditional Malay kitchen where 'asam jawa' or 'limau nipis' is a staple; you may use them instead!

11.    I recalled last year, as my grandmother attended a traditional Malay-styled wedding, she helped out in the kitchen to prepare Gulai Ayam, a traditional stew of chicken braised in coconut milk. She was furious as she saw the cook only drop the raw chicken cuts straight into the bubbling pot of 'kuah' Gulai. It is best to firstly sear the chicken along with the aromatics before finally adding water/coconut milk. This is to make the chicken more fragrant, -she said.



12.    Opt for freshly squeezed coconut milk instead of the ones sold in boxes or cartons..this is because the latter might not have more fat content.. this is essential as to make the rendang creamier and last longer. (if you want to make rendang, you might as well do it right!)

13.    Some people use olive oil to deep fry. This is improper as olive oil have a low-smoke point –which means they burn quickly (unlike palm or sunflower oil) thus, it is better to consume them as dressing on salad or for a light sauté. Besides, this Mediterranean oil is also savored for their sweetness.  There is also peanut oil (perfect for frying), sesame oil (seasoning in a majority of East Asian cuisine ), grape seed oil ( despite having a high smoke point, they are mainly used as dressing for their light and clean flavor ) coconut oil (moisturizer in cosmetics ) and much more!


In conclusion, never let it be said that cooking is not science! (This goes out the Middle Eastern lady that said “cooking is not science” to my mother at the science festival) Also, science is a way of thinking much more than it is the body of knowledge- Carl Sagan. So we should all appreciate science as a branch of understanding to make this world a better place.



Shared by Syafiq Zamri
Guest Blogger

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Selesaikan Kod Rahsia Ini!


Ketahui rahsia 'Caesar Cipher'

Cetak dan gunting rajah di bawah dan cuba untuk selesaikan kod rahsia berikut. Selamat mencuba!


Karnival Matematik 2017 di Petrosains Playsmart kini kembali!
Ikuti pautan di bawah untuk sebarang maklumat terkini dan aktiviti-aktiviti yang dijalankan sepanjang Karnival Matematik di Playsmart!

http://www.petrosains.com.my/playsmart/programs.html
www.facebook.com/PetrosainsPlaySmart

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Tick Bite = Forced Veganism?


What if I told you that you couldn’t eat your favorite beef rendang during Hari Raya? From extravagant medium rare steaks and even a simple cheeseburger. All in reach definitely but for the victims or the Lone Star Tick…they are playing a game of Russian roulette with each bite that just might be their last.

The Lone Star tick
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Throughout history, ticks have always been the natural enemy of all blood bags both cold and warm blooded ones. Ticks are a parasitic vector for many diseases such as Lyme disease, spotted fever, tick paralysis and now an allergy inducer towards red meat or more specifically: the Alpha-gal sugar compound found within.


A man suffering from Alpha-Gal allergy
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Spotted fever victim
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
                                                      


Don’t let its women empowering worthy name of Alpha-Gal to fool you though, according to Vanderbilt University Medical Center: the allergy can cause swelling, hives, breathing problems, a drop in blood pressure or even anaphylactic shock after eating red meat or dairy.  This can be rather troublesome and dangerous because the symptoms do not appear immediately but rather within 8 hours or so.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Although there is no cure, medication such as epinephrine which is a first line treatment for anaphylaxis shock that has saved many from being rushed to the ER or worst, an excruciating death. Now the question on everybody’s mind, how exactly does a small tick bite cause an allergic reaction towards red meat?

Epinephrine pen
Credit: Wikimedia Commons



Inside the saliva of ticks contains Alpha-gal which once transferred to a human body, our immune system will identify them as harmful external substances and thus create antibodies to help protect the system. Unknowingly causing a bigger problem for us in the long run.

To all the vegetarians out there who think you're fine just because you don't worship meat like the rest of us, think again! Your everyday products could be a possible seizure waiting to happen if they contain ingredients such as dairy, animal fats and gelatin. In other words, chocolate, ice cream, marshmallows, cheeses and even several medicines such as tetanus and even gelatin based tablets will cause an allergic reaction.

Goodbye hot cocoa cups with marshmallows
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This strange problem was discovered several years ago in the East Coast of the United States which has been rapidly spreading alongside the increasing number of unwilling converted vegetarians. These pesky little creatures thrive in grassy and humid areas, something where we in Malaysia are known for. Although ticks can’t swim, all it takes is a single ‘accident’ to change our entire way of life. #TickAboutIt

                                       


Glossary of terms
Russian Roulette: The practice of loading a bullet into one chamber of a revolver, spinning the cylinder, and then pulling the trigger while pointing the gun at one's own head.

Vector: An organism an organism, typically a biting insect or tick, that transmits a disease or parasite from one animal or plant to another.

East Coast: The eastern seaboard of the US, especially the narrow corridor from Boston to Washington, DC.

References
https://www.forbes.com/sites/carmendrahl/2017/06/22/this-is-what-we-know-about-how-the-lone-star-tick-causes-meat-allergies/#711e38c153aa

http://acaai.org/allergies/types/food-allergies/types-food-allergy/meat-allergy

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/06/tick-bite-meat-allergy-spreading-spd/

https://news.vanderbilt.edu/2014/02/20/red-meat-allergies-likely-result-of-lone-star-tick/






Shared by David Mok
Guest Blogger