For as long as it existed, the earth presented life as if it were from another planet. Various monsters of giant size have existed in terrestrial and deep-sea environments and are very common in fossil records. The large dimensions of the body could bring many benefits as a better ability to catch prey, success in avoiding predators, intelligence, longevity, and reproductive range. Larger animals have a smaller area-to-volume ratio than smaller animals, resulting in less heat loss and allowing them to survive longer in a cold environment. However, one major disadvantage of larger organisms is that they are more specialized and need more food, for example. Among other things, this brought species at a higher risk of extinction. Numerous species, genera, families, and other higher taxonomic categories have disappeared forever. That is why we do not have to be afraid today; there are no dinosaurs, pterodactyls, or giant insects that could fly overhead. Still, we can't help but wonder: how do giants come to be, and what do they represent?
The appearance of animals with large bodies is often studied individually, but the general conditions that enabled the evolution and maintenance of gigantism have remained pretty unclear. Different approaches to this topic have yielded different results.
MODELS OF PREHISTORIC BEINGS
Keeping up with the dinosaurs
In the "Dino Park" ("Dinosville") of the Nature Center in Svilajnac, 110 km south of Belgrade, there are about thirty models of dinosaurs and other extinct creatures that inhabited the Earth in the Paleozoic and the Mesozoic. Among life-size replicas, the largest is the one representing diplodocus: it is 11 m high and 20 m long!
The unusual "album with pictures" of dinosaurs, in typical life situations, shows the Earth as it was at a time when there was much more oxygen in its atmosphere than today, which is why living beings have grown to gigantic proportions. Models of dinosaurs and other organisms have been placed in the environment of numerous plants, such as cycads, ferns, wild boar, ginkgo, and conifers, which scientists believe were contemporaries of these animals. The exhibition "World of Dinosaurs" in the building of the Center, where replicas of entire skeletons, one original skull, replicas of skulls, as well as replicas of skulls with original fragments show a real insight into a prehistoric living world.
Apart from the fact that dinosaurs are interesting to children, they are also presented evolutionarily, according to the period in which the dinosaur species originated, so that all visitors to the Park get a chronological overview of the evolution and how life on our planet developed.
MAY IS THE MONTH OF MATHEMATICS
Music for smartphones
After ten exceptionally designed and realized manifestations "May - the month of mathematics", the organizers had the task this year to keep or raise this event to a higher level. In the end, summarizing the impressions and achieved goals, it can be said that the event was successful in every way and that its future was secured. The theme of the gathering was: play.
The opening on May 10 in Belgrade, on a plateau along the Danube and in front of Silos, was enriched by music. The ensemble for experimental music of the Association "Zabuna" performed a part of its all-night concert "PHONES: ON - new music for smartphones". Phones participated as sound sources, showing notes, conducting, playing, illuminating the faces of performers, taking photos, and showing video content. The audience participated using their phones and following instructions from the stage.
What a great scientist read
The personal library of the genius scientist and inventor is an exceptional testimony to his affinities, but it also provides an insight into the spirit of the era in which he lived and created. Nikola Tesla had a very broad education, which was not limited to technical studies. He also attended lectures on philosophy at Charles University in Prague, and his interest in various philosophical interpretations, especially through the strong influence of Rene Descartes' philosophical views, influenced his thinking about the world and the role of science and technology in it as an important factor in human progress. In his library, there were numerous copies of books with contents from philosophy, psychology, linguistics, politics, history, and other social sciences.
The most numerous publications in Tesla's library are, as expected, books in the field of science and technology, as well as various manuals that he used in his work. Tesla's legacy includes numerous purchase orders and invoices from his later years, which testify to his curious, lively spirit and openness to everything new and current in areas that have always occupied his great attention and interest. Although he owned a fairly large library, Tesla was also a regular visitor and user of the New York Public Library. Numerous reverses have been preserved in his legacy, which can be used to keep track of which publications he used, including books from various fields as well as numerous magazines, primarily from the field of science and technology.
TESLA SCIENCE FOUNDATION
Prepared theatrical performance
The book entitled "Tesla: Past, Present, and Future", in Serbian and English, intended for theatrical performances in primary schools in America, Serbia, and Republika Srpska, has been published. This drama also suits the students of acting schools, children's theatres, and Tesla clubs around the world. The project was conceived by the Tesla Science Foundation (TNF) from Philadelphia, which has been researching how to introduce Tesla's in-school program in America. In the past eight years, they have organized eight conferences in New York and many more in Philadelphia. The research was done in collaboration with Tacony Academy Charter School, a chain of schools run by principal Ashley Redfearn who is also the general director of TNF.
Tesla Scientific Foundation (TNF) invites all interested schools and children's institutions from Serbia and Republika Srpska to contact: NikolaTeslaClub@gmail.com to receive a free book or digital version of the Tesla drama as a gift.
Motor neuron diseases
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) are among the rare diseases, but they have attracted the attention of the general public in recent years thanks to humanitarian actions launched to encourage research efforts to help treat patients. . In our country, the "Ice Bucket Challenge" was once organized, which raised 220 million dollars for the research of ALS in the mentioned world campaign. Also, in Serbia, again through social networks, huge funds have been collected on several occasions for very expensive treatment of children from the second mentioned disease, SMA. But, even though many of our citizens participated in these actions, few know what diseases they are talking about, so a conversation was published with Dr Milutin Petrovic, a specialist in neurology at the Belgrade General Hospital Acibadem Bel Medic. Both ALS and SMA are neuromuscular and neurological diseases that affect the motor neuron.
Motor neurons are nerve cells that have the task of transmitting electrical impulses necessary to start muscle work, either during conscious movements such as movements of the limbs, jaws, or eyeballs or during automatic actions such as swallowing, diaphragm movement, and breathing. Medicine divides them into two types: upper and lower motor neurons. The upper, which is part of the central nervous system (brain), sends a message to the spinal cord. The lower motor neuron is located in the spinal cord, where it takes signals from the brain and transmits them to the muscles, which contract and perform motor action (movement). According to Dr Petrovic, diseases of the motor neuron (BMN) are severe and progressive neurodegenerative diseases that lead to the death of motor nerve cells, and electrical impulses from the brain do not reach the muscles. As a result, muscles weaken and atrophy over time, and sufferers gradually lose control of their movements - they find it increasingly difficult to walk, talk, swallow and breathe. These diseases significantly shorten life expectancy and are most often fatal.
JAMES WEB TELESCOPE
Eyes for infinity
The newest and so far, the largest, most powerful, and most complex space telescope "James Web" was launched on December 25, 2021, with the "Ariane 5" rocket from the Space Center "Guyana", near the city of Cowrie, in French Guiana. The telescope was named after James E. Webb, who was NASA's administrator from 1961 to 1968 and played a key role in the Apollo program. It was developed by NASA in cooperation with the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.
The James Web Telescope has three mirrors, which primarily consist of 18 hexagonal segments made of gilded beryllium, which, when combined, create a mirror with a diameter of 6.5 m. Opposite it is a curved secondary (0.74 m in diameter) and tertiary mirror that cancels optical aberrations in a wide field of view. It is equipped with 3 instruments that will perform most astronomical observations in the infrared part of the spectrum: "NIRCam" - camera and "NIRSpec" - spectrograph for observations in the near-infrared range (0.6-5.0 μm) and "MIRI" - infrared instrument for observation in the middle range (5–28.3 μm). Due to the property of infrared radiation to pass through gas and dust from visible light much easier, "NIRCam" will explore astronomical objects and phenomena from those close to the solar system to those that have high cosmic redshifts due to their distance and age, such as the first stars and galaxies formed at the beginning of the universe, shortly after the Big Bang.
The first gold of mankind
The discovery of the famous Eneolithic necropolis of Varna I happened by accident, in 1972, during the excavation of the western industrial zone of the coastal part of the city of Varna in Bulgaria. In the same year, archaeological excavations began, led by Ivan Ivanov - until 1991. The interest in this unique burial place is due to the abundance and variety of grave finds, especially gold objects, of which there are more than three thousand, whose total weight exceeds six kilograms! This gold is often called the first gold of mankind.
Archaeological excavations in Varna were conducted in the period 1972 to 1991, by archaeologist Ivan Ivanov. At that time, a necropolis with 310 tombs from the late Eneolithic (Copper Age) and the oldest gold objects weighing 6 kg was discovered in the investigated area of 7,500 square meters. There were finds from other epochs in that area: seven waste pits from the early Bronze Age, one Roman waste pit, and other isolated finds. According to analyzes of radioactive carbon C14, the late Eneolithic necropolis of Varna I was in use between 4590 and 4330 BC.
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