Tag Archives: youtube

How do Peanuts Grow? Science, Technology & Curiosity 03 AUG 2016

Peanuts do not grow on trees. In fact, peanut pods develop under the ground, which is relatively unusual when it comes to crop plants. This nutritious little snack is in fact not a nut but a legume, and is apparently a relatively easy to grow plant that tends to be great for the soil thanks the symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria that hang about the root nodules.

hand holding peanut plant

I’ve rooted around and dug up three nice YouTube videos that tells us a bit more about how peanuts are grown, as well as the interesting way in which they get mechanically harvested these days.

First up is Maddie Moate, a British Television Presenter, Writer and YouTube “Edutainer”:

Next up is a video by Pilgrim Prepper, who shows us a peanut plant crop, as well as a quick introduction to the harvesting process:

Finally, we have a video from msfirefighter662, showing us how a peanut crop is mechanically harvested and giving a good explanation of all the machinery used in the process. Interesting fact, peanuts are quite a big crop in the USA, with a lot of them being grown in the Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina areas:

Kind of makes me want to plant peanuts in my garden (read soil patch) now.

Related Link: Peanut | Maddie Moate | Pilgrim Prepper | msfirefighter662

How Playing Sports benefits both Your Body and Brain Science, Technology & Curiosity | Sport & Health 15 JUL 2016

I participated in lots of sports as a child during my school years, including cricket, tennis, baseball, chess, hockey, cycling, karate, and badminton, and it is one of my biggest secret hopes that both my girls get involved in, and more importantly, enjoy playing sport too.

field hockey girl juggling ball during game

Taking part in sport is of course fantastic when it comes to the obvious health benefits, but it is the other hidden side of playing team sports which is just as important – things like learning to work with and rely on others, the sense of satisfaction that teamwork can bring, the friendships that naturally arise, etc.

TED-Ed recently published a short lesson on this very topic by Leah Lagos and Jaspal Ricky Singh, with a slick video animated by Kozmonot Animation Studio and narrated by Susan Zimmerman.

(Playing a team sport is by far one of the biggest things that I miss in my current stage of life, just by the way!)

Related Link: TED-Ed | YouTube

How Snapchat’s clever Filters Work Science, Technology & Curiosity 01 JUL 2016

It’s pretty cool to see just how many of the then in their infancy fields from Computer Science back when I was doing my B.BusSc at the University of Cape Town have matured and now find themselves commonplace in general society today.

snapchat face filter rainbow vomit from a pretty girl

Take the extremely clever Snapchat video filters for example. The app basically runs facial recognition combined with mesh building algorithms in real time, with the end result being a frightfully good, augmented reality system… on a smartphone!

The always informative Vox takes a closer look:

That is some seriously clever algorithm work in action!

Related Link: Vox | YouTube

Seeker Daily asks “How Corrupt is South Africa?” Science, Technology & Curiosity 30 JUN 2016

When it comes to YouTube, the majority of clips that I choose watch are informative, and so channels like DNews, It’s Okay to Be Smart, Last Week Tonight and Vox et al. all make a strong showing on my YouTube front page. I particularly enjoy Seeker Daily (formerly known as TestTube Network), which, as they themselves state, is a channel “is committed to answering the smart, inquisitive questions people have about life, society, politics and anything else happening in the news. It’s a place where curiosity rules and together we’ll get a clearer understanding of this crazy world we live in.”

So I was rather pleased this week when my beloved country South Africa popped onto their radar for a bit.

nelson mandela statue in front of the union buildings in pretoria, south africa

Sadly though, it was for all the wrong reasons, because the question they were tackling for the day was “How Corrupt is South Africa?”.

It is of course not the whole or even an completely informed version of the story, but it is perhaps an excellent representation of how South Africa does currently look in the eyes of the West.

Which is a bit of a pity to be honest.

This isn’t a fair picture. The country as a whole is not corrupt, just certain aspects – and those are almost entirely at the points where business meets government. In other words, the exact same problem that occurs all over the world, to both rich and poor countries alike!

Related Link: Seeker Daily | YouTube

Visit South Korea’s saucy Loveland Theme Park with Episode 3 of East West Travel Attractions 29 JUN 2016

East West, the documentary style travel show that follows South Africans from all walks of life around globe and depicts their daily lives against the backdrop of their adopted culture, returns for episode 3 with an interview with English teacher Chantal Terblanche in her South Korean surroundings, followed by a look around Busan and then a trip to the popular Jeju Island.

Naturally, a trip to Jeju Island isn’t complete without mention or view of the saucy naughty erotic theme park Loveland… which is exactly what hosts Retha and Miguel do!

Episode 4 of this great web series should be out pretty soon, with the team moving on from South Korea and scouting out South Africans in Thailand next…

Related Link: East West | YouTube

How does a Baby Nappy (Disposable Diaper) Work? Science, Technology & Curiosity 26 JUN 2016

A disposable baby nappy is actually quite a cleverly designed product, the current iterations consisting of five different layers, each with its own specialized role to play. Furthermore, the superabsorbent polymer in the diaper’s core is unbelievable in terms of its ability to soak up massive amounts of liquid!

hand changing a baby nappy

EngineerGuy, otherwise known as engineering professor Bill Hammack, is a well known science and technology documentarian who has gone ahead and put together this very informative video on what is quite an… absorbing topic:

As much as I moan about the cost of nappies, these brilliant little things really do make life with a baby/toddler so much easier!

Related Link: EngineerGuy | YouTube

Learn about Mammals and Frogs with the Sasol Young Explorer App Software & Sites 25 JUN 2016

Penguin Random House contacted me and asked me to sit down with Jessica and have a go at the very nice Sasol Young Explorer Apps – of which there are currently two, namely Mammals and Frogs.

sasol young explorer app mammals android screenshot 1

The apps are multilingual, allowing you to switch between English, Afrikaans, IsiXhosa and IsiZulu on the fly, which opens up their use to quite a wide audience.

Each app is split into two main ‘sections’, a play area which includes a number of animal-themed mini games (for example, different sized puzzles and memory games), and a learning section, which is chock-a-block full of beautifully illustrated animals, each with their own info page, sound bite, and even video footage!

sasol young explorer app mammals android screenshot 2

The apps are well designed and very easy to use, and before long I found Jessica (with an observing Emily in tight next to her) quite independently sitting on the couch, giggling as she systematically made her way through all the animals and games.

sasol young explorer app mammals android screenshot 3

This is a pretty good animal resource for kids, and I can’t wait to have the Mammals edition along the next time we enter a game reserve with the girls – I suspect that they may finally have some use as useful game spotters! :P

Related Link: Sasol Young Explorer Apps | Google Play

The Play-Doh Town Pet Store Toys 24 JUN 2016

Oh. Hasbro has gone and expanded the Play-Doh universe by introducing Play-Doh Town, which I guess is aimed then at slightly older preschoolers. The concept is pretty cool – essentially you now have a host of townsfolk characters and locations to play with, which obviously is great because you now get to build stories in addition to just messing around with clay!

dav

Thanks to a friendly blogger drop from Atmosphere, Jessica received the Pet Store play set to test out, which has a whole lot of moulds that allow you to press out animal shapes to fill the storefront up with. You can also create hairstyles and slippers for the pet store owner, as well as bunny ears for her companion rabbit.

It seems a pretty fun idea, especially if you have more of the sets in the Play-Doh Town series, and I can definitely see how this might make Play-Doh playtime a whole lot more fun!

hasbro play-doh town playsets

Related Link: Hasbro | Play-Doh Town

Xander: Educational Apps for Young Children Software & Sites 22 JUN 2016

Created by Stellenbosch-based app development house Tribage App Studio, Xander Apps are educational mobile apps aimed at promoting mother-tongue learning for young children – with apps built in English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu, Swahili, and Tswana!

Fronted by the cute dinosaur mascot Xander, there are currently 3 main apps available:

(Oh, because my girls are English, and I mainly use Android, I’ll be referencing those versions in particular…)

Xander English 123 (Google Play)

“English 123 is an English educational app for young children that teaches numeracy using child-friendly counting beads and characters from the animal kingdom. Xander, the lovable narrator, guides your child through four learn-through-play activities involving vision, hearing and touch to teach them how to count to 10 in English.”

Xander English Shapes & Colours (Google Play)

“English Shapes and Colours is an English educational app for your children that teaches six basic shapes and the primary and secondary colours using age appropriate games. Here Xander guides your child through six learn-through-play activities involving vision, hearing and touch to teach them to identify shapes and colours.”

Xander English Wardrobe (Google Play)

“English Wardrobe is an English educational app for young children that teaches them the names (and pronunciation) for different body parts, clothing and weather.”

xander english 123 educational app screenshot

In general, the Xander apps are aimed at a younger target audience, though it is interesting to watch both Jessica and Emily get something quite different out of each app.

Anyway, check out their website for more on the team, what they do and how your children can benefit from their work!

Related Link: Xander Apps