gcadmin
EARTH HEALS
Category: Health,Science Author: gcadmin Date: 4 months ago Comments: 0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE EARTH HEALS                

The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere at 2016 was observed to be at its worst ever, for the first time, in several million years – 400 parts per million (ppm). The earth experienced this spike in the concentration from below 300ppm to over 400ppm in just a few years’ interval. If you are wondering what the consequences of this rise entails and why the inhabitants of the earth should be bothered, you may want to consider the greenhouse effect which has predicated a number of horrendous incidents such as:

To briefly examine these consequences, the increase in drought means crop failure and famine especially in areas with high temperature. This, in turn, will lead to flooding in some other areas, as the water vapors collected from the drought areas are released to them by the atmosphere as excess rain.

What’s more, extreme weather conditions result in natural disasters like tsunamis, earthquakes and tornadoes which are now experienced in many parts of the earth. So, what does this tell us? It conveys the heavy message that we are at risk.

What can we do though? Well, climate researchers are wondering too, they are seeking for the best way to curb this menace, this sickness we have inflicting on earth by our activities.

Satellite image shows dramatic drop in pollution since the COVID-19 lockdown

Fortunately, a surprise emerged! In March 2020, the earth had a gleam at a ray of hope, as a researcher from Colorado, Boulder, found that the earth may just be self-healing.  Researchers have observed a huge reduction in damaging chemicals in the atmosphere which has reversed some troubling changes in air currents around the Southern Hemisphere. So wait, aren’t you wondering what we may have done differently? According to research, the credits goes partly to a ban on ozone depleting substances (ODS) in the 1980s.

Besides this evidence, satellites orbiting the earth have documented an observable drop in air pollution. And with the world in a lockdown, many are wondering if it could be that the credit solely goes to nature. Is nature simply getting a much-needed opportunity to recover? Is the earth self-healing as we remain safely locked in our homes?

Around the world, people have reported a significant change in the environmental conditions of their areas. They said, “nature is healing, we are the virus” Are we really the virus? The last we checked, Covid-19 is the virus. How true is this statement? That aside.

Let’s take a look at some of the positive things that prove that the earth is healing:

Lower Levels of Air Pollution – An exciting change is observed in India, since the lock down order to stall the spread of the Corona Virus. The air quality in Delhi was reported to have dropped from 1000 to Air Quality Index of 129 and it is still expected to improve further. This is equally the case in China and Europe. Have a look.

Image showing reduction in air pollution in Delhi. Photo Credits Getty Images

Water Bodies are Healing – An interesting development shows that, Venice’s canals in Italy are showing signs of recovery from overuse as the usually murky waters has become much clearer, to the extent that the fish living inside are now visible to the naked eye.

Animals are Seen on the Streets – People have witnessed a sight of wildlife like deer roaming freely in the streets of Japan. These are animals that mostly reside in jungles and forests. This may be as a result of the peace and calm in cities these days.

The research on the Ozone layer, referenced above, shows that there exists a likelihood that the Ozone layer will recover completely, depending of course, on how much we choose to protect it from the combustion of fossils and other gases that raises the percentage of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Friends, the earth wants to heal, let’s help heal our planet. HAPPY EARTH DAY!


How well do you know ICT?
Category: Engineering,Technology Author: gcadmin Date: 4 months ago Comments: 0

Attempt this puzzle in 8 minutes


Molecular Model and Infectious Diseases: Solving the Case of Coronavirus
Category: Health,Science Author: gcadmin Date: 4 months ago Comments: 0

Fig 1: Image of a molecular model

INTRODUCTION

According to the William Webster dictionary, molecular model is a scale model showing the arrangement of atoms in a molecule (as of an organic compound). This can help us understand the spread of infectious disease like covid- 19 and how their structure influences their effect on humans, since every organic compound has a molecular model.

MAIN CONTENT

The pictorial representation of elemental arrangements provides a suitable means of understanding the constituents, and in some cases, an idea of the interaction of the constituents of the molecular model. Although it poses a challenge in the case of complex systems and interaction, molecular modelling provides an efficient way of studying protein-protein interactions and a piece of detailed information on how some protein residues interact with one other at the atomic level.
Everything organic in nature has a protein protein bond. The image bellows shows an example of the chemical bonds in protein.

Fig 2: Image of chemical bonds in proteins

With ideas drawn from other areas, mainly quantum and statistical mechanics, molecular modelling offers a compelling set of tools for translating essential physical principles to obtain high-resolution insight on relationships in the structure of bio-molecules. The modelling using a wide range of computational methods have steered both the interpretation and design of experiments on an extensive range of biological systems, contributing intensely to the understanding of how those systems function. So we encourage you to explore those fields and help solve any future problems.

Molecular modelling involves a group of computerized work that uses the laws of physics and supported with experimental data to analyse molecules in the system.

Fig 3: Image of a computer

That is to say that the most of science is now computerized. We can not stress the importance of ICT in the today’s world enough.

The analysed properties include the number and types of atoms, vibrational frequency of molecular systems, nature of the bonds, bond lengths, molecular energy, geometry optimization and enthalpy. The modelling can also describe molecular and biological properties such as nucleophilicity, electrophilicity, electrostatic potentials for understanding the structure-activity relationships needed to provide the rationale to drug design.

The modelling processes provide an excellent preliminary point for additional experiments with a proficient knowledge being very vital to guide the molecular modelling. The use of high performing computers in the simulation of the modelling processes together with improved algorithms allows for contributions from experts in other fields and the automation of the processes. Nevertheless, the level of accuracy is limited to the approximation and assumptions adopted in the models. The automation process can also permit non-specialist to use the models.

Fig 4: Molecular model of corona virus showing the interaction of elements

DISCOVERY

We can identify and solve these COVID-19 pandemic outbreak with proper understanding of these molecular modes. A virus, which is a molecular biological system, is a sub-microscopic infectious agent that can only replicates within the living cells of other organisms. The novel coronavirus can only survive within the cells of other organisms and outside a host cannot survive past a few hours. The molecular modelling of the interaction of the virus with hosts can provide insights into the properties of the system. Information from the modelling will be useful in understanding the interaction with the hosts, and the justification for drug design to take care of the virus.

ACTIVITY

Write out the knowledge you have gained and how it has helped expand your vision and ideas for your career choice.

Bibliography

1. Cohen, N.C., (1996). Guidebook on Molecular Modeling in Drug Design, first ed. Academic press, Inc., San Diego, CA, USA.
2. Saleh, N. A., Elhaes, H., & Ibrahim, M. (2017). Design and Development of Some Viral Protease Inhibitors by QSAR and Molecular Modeling Studies. Viral Proteases and Their Inhibitors, 25–58. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-809712-0.00002-2
3. Weng, G. (2002). Exploring Protein–Protein Interactions by Peptide Docking Protocols. Methods in Enzymology, 577–586. doi:10.1016/s0076-6879(02)44741-6


If You Became a Minister at the age of 23, What Will you Change?
Category: Advocacy Author: gcadmin Date: 4 months ago Comments: 0

Ms. Emma Theophilus is a young female politician and inspiration to women and girls. She is an alumnus of the University of South Africa and at 23 years old, the youngest Minster in the Namibian Cabinet and the youngest female Minister in Africa. She holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Namibia and a Diploma in Afrikan Feminist and Gender Studies from the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI).

Emma was born and bred in Windhoek. She attended her primary education at the People’s Primary School and matriculated at Khomas High School in the capital city. “I was exposed too early in leadership roles,” she said, reflecting on the many opportunities granted to her at a young age. She was sitting at home on a Sunday afternoon when she received a surprising rare phone call from the Namibian State House. The call led to a chain of events that has changed her life as it was indeed to confirm her appointment as one of the eight presidential nominees for the National Assembly as well as to serve her nation in the capacity of the Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Emma Theophilus is well-known in Namibian civil society as a highly capable and committed young leader. She said “I am excited. I am told I will be used as a benchmark for young people. I take on the challenge like I have taken other leadership roles. It is uncharted territory and political space, but I am ready to take on the challenge.” Her appointment shows the head of state’s commitment to co-leadership and creating a space for empowerment and development of competent young people. When asked about her experience and ability to execute such a huge portfolio she said, “Everyone has a role. If you are able to learn, understand, gather and acquaint yourself with anything that is available, you can do anything,” Emma said the ICT ministry plays an important role in disseminating information on government programmes and that needs to be improved for Namibians to have an idea of what government is doing.

Prior to her appointment, Emma was employed as a legal officer in the Ministry of Justice where she dealt with drafting human rights reports as well as implementing the human rights strategy of the nation, among others.

In addition to her academic qualification, Emma has a diploma in African Feminism and Gender Studies as well as a diploma in Business Management from the University of South Africa (UNISA) and Amity University, respectively. She previously served as Secretary General of the UNAM Student Representative Council. She also served as the Namibian National Students Organization (NANSO) Secretary between 2015 and 2017. She is a former Junior Mayor of Windhoek (2013-2014) and during the same period started serving as a Member of the Children’s Parliament until 2015, starting as the Deputy Speaker and later becoming the Speaker.

Her parents are police officers and are immensely proud of her achievement. She said “My parents are very ecstatic. My mom is very excited. She wants me to remain humble and remain as I am and not get a big head. She can’t wait to see what the future holds for me,” Emma, who considers her mother as her mentor also said, “There is nothing anybody has taught me that my mother has not”. She maintains that her biggest leadership role was during her time at NANSO. The young MP is also a member of AfriYan — a youth network comprised of young people from Eastern and Southern Africa. The network promotes sexual education, reproductive health, rights and issues facing the girl child.

ACTIVITY

How has Emma’s story inspired you to aspire for leadership roles? And should you be a young minister like Emma, what would you change?


No one is too small to change the world!
Category: Uncategorized Author: gcadmin Date: 11 months ago Comments: 0

Greta Thunberg is a teenage climate activist, who questioned the world leaders at the United Nations climate summit on the 23rd of September 2019. The 16-year-old activist chastised world leaders who had gathered in New York for praising young activists while failing to deliver on the immediate actions needed to change the worst effects of climate change. Days after telling U.S. lawmakers to listen to the scientists, she made the same demand on an international scale and warned that if the world continued with business as usual, her generation would face an insurmountable catastrophe.

With tears in her eyes she had one question for the global leaders: “How dare you?”. She was very emotional as she spoke on the panel at the summit. The young activist began, skipping school in Sweden to protest about the inaction on climate change. At the summit, she complained bitterly how she should be back in school, but had to travel for two weeks on a solar-powered sailboat just to reach the United State, Miss Thunberg has quickly become the face of a global movement of young people demanding that the planet’s future is safeguarded, she was the lead in the climate strike in New York, where she was joined by millions of young people all over the world.

Thunberg continued her campaign with other fifteen (15) young people and filed a legal complaint with the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child arguing that countries like Argentina, Brazil, Germany, France and Turkey have known about the risks of climate change  for decades and have failed to take sufficient action to curb their emissions. Amongst other countries that were petitioners, Nigeria was present, and the petitioners ages ranged from 8 to 17. Her remarks ended with a warning: “You are failing us, but the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you, and if you choose to fail us, I say, we will never forgive you.”.

French President Emmanuel Macron responded to Greta when he addressed the gathering in French and called his fellow leaders to take more ambitious action given the urgency of climate threat. Although Greta has met former USA President Barack Obama, she has brushed off suggestions to meet with Trump because she thinks it would be a waste of time talking to Trump, as she believes Trump will not listen to her. She continues to make her voice heard by pulling teenagers to campaign against pollution, and climate change, she has stopped flying and has gone vegan by choice just to lead by example. She recently published her book “No one is too small to change the world”.