A short story

The sun beat down relentlessly, not pausing to allow the long-suffering citizens of Xylem to take a break. They heaved and groaned to no-one in particular whilst they dragged haystacks, bricks and laundry across the town to the Chief Guard, who stored these items for the King’s disposal. More often than not, a riot would break out, resulting in a wholesome whipping for the guilty; surprisingly though, the city was so dull that people enjoyed seeing fellow members punished. The city was spiralling towards doom, and only the ill, greedy, miserable, haggard old king knew it. To prevent a rebellion, he kept this fact hidden and secret, brutally torturing those who realised the real situation.

But there was one, a young and smart servant called Joe King came to know of this. After uncovering the current situation by seeing the rapidly decreasing income of the land, Joe King was furious. The home country he had been born, bred and grown in was being destroyed by a corrupt king stealing the country’s revenue!

There was, however, a problem. Joe King knew his status, and as much as he opposed it, in other’s eyes he was simply a slave. A slave with no other purpose in this world but to clean dishes.

And so Joe King’s masterplan began to unfold. He was constantly in peril, afraid that any time a guard would come to his small shack and drag him to the dreaded torture room.

The rumoured punishment was to have your tongue ripped out.

At first, Joe King was cautious, spreading the word only to his closest friends, but the word spread quickly, and soon Joe grew bolder, collecting people for a rebellion. One of Joe’s closest friends was named Peters, who was looking forward to being a teacher at a school.

And yet the king sat in his plush throne, sipping wine, unaware of the imminent war.

Now even lords and aristocrats were beginning to take notice. Joe King was hailed wherever he walked, no longer a mere slave but a future warlord.

By the time Joe was convinced he had a sufficient army, it was October the 29th. The attack was planned on the 31st of October, just two days away.

During the collection of followers, Joe and his friends had painstakingly handmade swords, arrows and helmets for each of the followers, who were glad that now they would have a chance of winning the war.

However, amidst all this excitement, one grumpy old man by the name of Trump was annoyed. His perfect idea of life was a life where he got attention and was fawned over, like Joe King.

“What has that lad done to earn all that respect?” he spat every day, ignoring the fact that he was too cowardly to achieve the same feat of courage as him. “He’s just a pathetic, overrated slave!”

He spat the last word out in disgust as if it left a bad taste in his mouth. But then a sly idea formed in his withered mind.

“I’ll tell the guards, get my reward money, and run away while those fools get massacred!” he whispered gleefully.

Joe King had drawn his battle plan and had explained it to his secret army. He was mildly interested as he saw Trump enter the king’s courtyard with a rare smile on his face, but attributed it to late tax payment.

His troops were in order as the church bell sounded at 11’o’clock. In one hour, at the stroke of midnight, Halloween, they would strike.

At 11:30 pm, the tension was so dense; you could cut it with a knife. The plan was to divert the army into three groups. The first would circle around to the left of the castle, whilst the second group would perform a similar tactic, only but on right side of the castle. The third group, including Joe himself, would charge forward and attack valiantly in case there was a guard regiment on standby. They were never expecting an entire army.

As 12 struck, the third group charged forward, producing as much noise as possible to cover the sound of the other two stealthy groups. Their hopes were not doused as they saw the army, their adrenaline only raised, as the most incredible war in the Middle East began.

The 3rd group fought hard and swift, trained by Joe and ex-soldiers who had joined the rebellion. The other 2 groups formed a ring around the army, entrapping the king’s guards. The battle lasted for a day, and everyone had a duty.

Daring doctors were war medics, rushing on to the battlefield exposed as they saved the lives of injured and elderly citizens concocted potions and recipes to disinfect wounds.

A truce was called the next day by the king’s army.

Xylem was saved.

Now there is no need to explain all the tiresome facts and history after the victory, but I can say for sure that Xylem, with Joe King’s fair and just rule had become prosperous and wealthy. Unfortunately, Trump’s descendants were as mean-minded as him. One of his latest ones is named “Donald”.

The End.

Gyroscopic Phenomenon

Gyroscopes are very interesting tools, able to ‘defy gravity’ and seemingly remove the laws of gravity. When they’re not spinning, they act normally, but when they are, an incredible feat of balancing takes place:

Image result for gyroscope balancing on pen
This shows a gyroscope balancing precariously on the end of a knife!

The reason why this happens is because of angular momentum; When something spins, it is spinning in one direction (left or right, horizontally). This direction is always perpendicular to the axis it is spinning from – here’s a diagram to help you:

The reason the gyroscope is amazing at balancing is that when the speed of rotation reaches a certain point, it starts to exert a horizontal force, like gravity. Since the spinning disk will always be perpendicular to the axis, it will always stay upright is spinning!

To keep ships stable, these are implemented in them, to keep them upright in waves or winds. The gyroscope is usually spun by a motor. The gyroscope is attache to the vessel, so the gyro’s natural tendency to stay upright also affects the ship.

Diagram of ship stability.

The Prehistory of Music

The history of music, as you would expect, dates back a long way. However, many people don’t know the incredible age of the art. On this musical and melodious trip through time, I shall now present:


Now you may be wondering – “Hey! Where’s that ancient instrument I was promised?” Well, evidence suggests that the first music was using biological sound outputs, or in simpler terms: singing, clicking, shouting, humming, whistling e.t.c. (basically your average pop-star, but a bit more… caveman-like. Now…the instruments!

The first music

The first instruments were woodwind or instruments that require an input of air in order to produce sound. Using carbon dating, scientists in   UlmGermany found a supposedly 35,000-year-old flute made (keep in mind it was made entirely by human hands) by a vulture’s wing bone.

Image result for first instrument
Flute made with vulture wing-bone.
I know it looks like wood but bear with me

The prehistoric age is considered to have ended with the development of writing, as history could then be written down. However, along with the age of writing, came the age of music notes. At that point, the first music was being written down.

Around 1250, Franco of Cologne invented a system of symbols for different note durations, which consisted mostly of square or diamond-shaped black noteheads. And then … one of the first music notations looked like this!

(I’ll give you a prize if you can play this. I can’t even read it!)

Image result for first music written down

Three Little Gems of Math

#1 To find the longest side of a right-angled triangle (the hypotenuse), you square the other two sides, add them up and find their square root.

#2 To make a numerical palindrome (a number that, when written backwards, reads the same number, or a mirror number), take a number, write it backwards, and add them up. Do this as many times as you need and you shall get a mirror number!

12 + 21 = 33 ( mirror number )

154 + 451 =  605 + 506 = 1111 ( mirror number )

239 + 932 = 1171 + 1711 = 2882 ( mirror number )

#3 (6 × 9) + (6 + 9) = 69. Simple but effective

#3 If you shuffle a pack of cards well, chances are that combination of cards has never been shuffled before. This is because since there are 62 cards in a deck, there are 64! ways combinations they can be put in. Now,! means factorial (or in nerdy language n(n-1)!), which can be used to determine how many ways you can arrange something. In short terms, the factorial of a number is a number times by itself, but every time you times it, 1 is deducted from it, until the number goes down to one. This means 4! would be 4 factorial which is 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 which is 24. This means there are 24 ways to arrange 4 objects. The simplest explanation of how this works is to imagine 4 carrots (labelled C! to C4) and a hungry rabbit. How many possibilities are there that the rabbit will eat the carrots?

Let’s say the rabbit first eats C3( it can be any but we will use C3 as an example. Now there are 3 carrots left. Now, let’s say the rabbit eats C2. Now there are 2 carrots. You can see where this is going and is actually quite simple to grasp, as there are 4 different carrots the rabbit can eat at first( let’s call this 4), then once he eats it there are 3, then when he eats that, there are 2, then that 1. The number of combinations is 4x3x2x1

You can apply this to any number and any object.

Now – back to our question.

If there are 64 cards and we want to find the number of combinations that you can arrange the cards, you work out 64! which is 64x63x62x61 and so on until 1. The answer is that you have 31469973260387937525653122354950764088012280797258232192163168247821107200000000000000 ways to arrange the cards!

Clicking Chopsticks In London!

We were in London during half term and walked along Oxford Street marvelling at the gorgeous Christmas decorations all around. Soon we were hungry and headed towards Soho street and stopped at our favourite restaurant deep in the heart of Chinatown. We didn’t waste much time and straightaway ordered their speciality; Crispy Roast Duck on a dome of Sticky Rice and Crispy Seaweed as a side dish. I asked for chopsticks as I wanted to test if I had got any better at it since my last visit. The meal was served and with a dribbling mouth, I clicked away!

Delicious Crispy Duck, sticky rice and crispy seaweed – My favourite meal that tastes exquisite!

I quickly realized the point of chopsticks. The clever Chinese had invented the chopsticks (in my perspective) to stop indigestion. Really!

When eating with chopsticks, you are forced to pick a small amount of food and eat slowly, allowing you to enjoy the taste and allow your long-suffering stomach to digest the delicacy!

At one point I took this too seriously – I ended up with this!

The joy of getting one rice grain between chopsticks!

I strongly recommend this restaurant with its amiable staff, great hygiene rating, and incredible food. When you visit Canton in China Town, London, remember to opt for their Crispy Roast Duck and rice meal and test your skills with the chopsticks! To wash all down, do not forget to sip their aromatic green tea.

Have a meal you will never forget!

My favourite restaurant in China Town – London

And when you are finished and you’re dreading the long journey back home, pop into the bakery right next door which sells delicious cakes, warm crusty varieties of buns and pastries and all the tea time snacks you can ever dream of! It also sells little fish-shaped buns made of custard pots and allows the public to see the epic machinery that makes them!

Delicious Chinese Buns that will melt in the mouth!

The Brainy Brain – Amazing Facts

the brain - drawing

As you are reading this text, your brain is working away smoothly in order to decipher the weird curves, lines and signs that we call words. It is also sending a pulse around your body, monitoring your heartbeat and doing countless other things. If I were to write them all down, they would fill millions of books, and we aren’t even moving yet! 

So, truly, our brain is a great, important and vital organ that works tediously 24/7.

In fact, a toddler’s brain capacity equals to all the computers in the world, as it constantly transforms high definition images into thoughts and recognition. For example, if you took two pictures of a car at different angles, even complex, modern computers wouldn’t know if they were the same car, but we would instantly recognize its similarities – you probably do it all the time – try it!

If you photographed a car at different angles, even complex, modern computers wouldn’t know if they were the same car, but we would instantly recognize its similarities – you probably do it all the time – try it!

It may seem obvious, but are these the same cars?

And for another test are these cars the same?

and this;

The answer seems quite obvious(the first cars are the same and the second two cars are different )but a computer wouldn’t know! Also, an “AI” machine cannot have opinions and is always programmed by a human. This means that a computer is just the work of a living organism. Hence, finally, the brain shall, and always will, overrule the machine.

Did you know?

The first computers were huge! Their dimensions were about 8 feet by 3 feet by 100 feet. It weighed about 27 tons and took up 1800 square feet of space. Also called the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, (ENIAC), it comprised of 280 tubes, 31 thyratrons and more than 5,000 feet of wires. However, it is surprising and fascinating to view the change that has befallen on us now, with computers small enough to sit upon our laps!+

Alan Turing – The Code Breaker

Alan Turing was the one of the most  profound and inventive code-breakers (cryptologists ) who is greatly known for inventing a machine which can find almost every possibile combination of a code! Considering it was the early 1900’s, the fact that Turing could pull of such a feat is amazing!

During my last summer break, I visited the house in Hampton where he spent his final days.

Allen Turing Machine

This is Alan Turing actual machine.  Nowadays, with only about 590  lines of simple code, you could easily resemble this machine in a small, 3mm memory chip!

You just had to enter what  each letter of the alphabet was resembled by (for instance, an “L” could resemble the letter “P”) and the machine could decrypt a code in minutes, saving possible weeks of time!

Alan Turing shall always be remembered for helping us to win the war.

Thomas Alva Edison

Light bulb by Tomas Edison

The light bulb invented by Edison

Thomas Alva Edison was a great man who revolutionised the world by inventing the very thing which is probably hanging on the ceiling on top of your head right now – the humble but crucial lightbulb! You walk by it in the street and don’t even regard it but it is amazing how this simple invention changed the world.

Having had a very limited formal education and started his career life as a railroad worker, what Edison achieved was remarkable.

I am quite facinated by how the light bulb works.  It is a very simple theory but has a powerful outcome!

It consists of special, heat resistent glass, filament ( a strong wire) and a holster, sealed up to store a special “argon gas”.

Here’s a diagram I made!

But how does filament give out light? This is how!

( The argon gas in the bulb is to stop the filament from overheating and burning away!)

Did you know? By the time he died on October 18, 1931, Thomas Edison had amassed a record 1,093 patents: 389 for electric light and power, 195 for the phonograph, 150 for the telegraph, 141 for storage batteries and 34 for the telephone.

So let’s thanks him – otherwise you would be still reading books by candle-light!

Asterix Comics – A Good Laugh Is Worth A Million

Thoroughly enjoyed drawing the comic two

We all loved and enjoyed the stories of these two crazy French cartoon characters, Asterix and Obelix and the rest of their equally crazy villagers who would love a good bashing at Romans under the influence of their Druid, Gatafix’s magic potion.

The tiny little dog belong to Obelix is also equally brave and adventurous as he is present in each and every excitement, initiated by his giant of a master and best buddy, Asterix.  An easy defeat against the romans by breaking their bones is a therapy for them followed by a village feast with compulsory delicacy, wild boar!

This world famous cartoon story series were created by writer Rene Goscinny and illustrator Albert Uderzo in 1959 in the French comic magazine Pilote.  They were hunting for a story based on French history and unexpectedly found out a not very significant fact about a brave Gaulish village resisted on Ceasar’s Roman army.   They were delighted and built up this comic based on Gaul,  that became so popular among all ages and generations.

You will be surprised to learn the village ‘Gaul’ which resisted the Roman army in these stories was real and is called Brittany in the present day.  In the past, Gaul belonged to France but with the change of geographical territories, it now belongs to Italy.


Columbo – My Favourite Detective Series

Peter Falk as Columbo
The intense look in the eyes that never misses a clue

I don’t know when I first watched “Columbo,” the famous detective series on TV,  but,  I remember wondering why my mum was completely absorbed while watching it.  One day, I  just sat next to her and had a peek simply out of curiosity.

The next moment, I became an instant fan with a gaping mouth and both eyes popping out, unable to believe how cleverly the hidden clues were brought into light, unfolding the buried truth.

So, I can tell you that, once hooked, you’ll likely to be a fan for life!

What got me addicted to them was the wittiness and the deep intelligence of the dishevelled  detective Columbo, who would always think out of the box, making those who watch feeling dizzy with excitement.

Columbo is shrewd but intellegant homicide detective whose trademarks include his shambling manner, rumpled raincoat, the long black cigar, and generally dishevelled in appearance.   He is so good at following his nose and nail down the arrogant suspects of affluent members of the high society who cover up all clues using their influence and never expect to  get caught.

I loved watching this episode – “Stitch of Crime” with a mind boggling twist.

The  episode  “Bye-Bye Sky High IQ Murder Case” had a simply a mind blowing puzzle called, “The Gold Coin Puzle” which became my favouite out of all.   Please watch by clicking the below video clip.

Columbo comes on 5 USA on Saturdays from 11a.m. and let me see how many of you will get hooked on to this just like me.