Plus is an online popular mathematics magazine:
which aims to introduce readers to the beauty and the practical applications of mathematics. A lot of people don’t have a very clear idea what “real” maths consists of, and often they don’t realise how many things they take for granted only work because of a generous helping of it. Apparently, some people even have the idea that it’s boring! Weird.
Plus has articles, videos, puzzles and other maths-related content.
If you can’t understand newspaper headlines, it may be because of their
unique grammar. Or it may be because you’ve found a crash blossom. The term derives from this headline: Violinist linked to crash blossoms
It is possible to read this and wonder: What on earth is a
[is] linked to
verb + preposition
In fact, the story is about a violinist whose career has blossomed (i.e. flourished) since the death of her father in a plane crash. The word
blossoms is a verb here, not a noun:
[who is] linked to crash
Can you spot the problem in each of these headlines?
McDonald’s Fries the Holy Grail for Potato Farmers
Fossil Yields Surprise Kin of Crocodiles
British Push Bottles Up German Rear [a war news story]
Google Fans Phone Expectations by Scheduling Android Event
British Left Waffles on Falklands
Gator Attacks Puzzle Experts
Republicans Look to Safety Net Programs as Deficit Balloons
Queen Mother tried to help abuse girl
The confusion in all of these is about whether certain words are nouns or verbs.
Read more about crash blossoms in the
New York Times Magazine and Language Log.
physics.org is a guide to physics on the web, published by the Institute of Physics in Britain.
You can search its database of 4,000 physics websites or do some experiments, like the one pictured. There is also information about courses and careers.
Norwich Economic Papers is a journal written and edited by UEA School of Economics students, some of them graduates of INTO. In fact, one of our student wardens is the current editor.
There are 18 volumes so far, dating from 2010 to 2018. The latest volume includes articles on:
wage discrimination on Irish immigrants
the environmental impact of plastic waste
why people smoke
the fiscal viability of Universal Basic Income.
You can read
all of the volumes online.
The Royal Society of Chemistry website has a careers section called
A Future in Chemistry. A chemist could:
discover new medicines
protect the environment
invent products and materials
solve crime using forensic analysis
teach chemistry (if all else fails)
besides some evil things that the website doesn’t mention.
There is lots of advice about jobs, study options, work experience, etc.
Royal Society of Chemistry website has four periodic tables, with links to detailed information on each element.
main table has standard information about the various elements, plus their supply risk. A
history table shows when each element was discovered and who by, and the origin of its name. An
alchemy table shows 16 elements known to alchemists (antimony, arsenic, bismuth, copper, gold, iron, lead, magnesium, mercury, phosphorus, platinum, potassium, silver, sulfur, tin and zinc). A
trends table displays the density, atomic radius, electronegativity, melting point, boiling point and first ionisation energy of elements.
The site also has some
resources for the International Year of the Periodic Table.
150 years ago
Dmitri Mendeleev published his periodic table of the elements. To commemorate this, UNESCO has declared 2019 the International Year of the Periodic Table.
So how well do
you know the periodic table? See if you can do these two quizzes.
Open quiz in new window
The Parlement of Foules (parliament of fowls, or birds) is a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer written in about 1381. It mentions Saint Valentine’s Day as a special day to find a lover:
For this was on seynt Valentynes day,
Whan every foul cometh ther to chese his make,
Of every kinde, that men thenke may;
And that so huge a noyse gan they make,
That erthe and see, and tree, and every lake
So ful was, that unnethe was ther space
For me to stonde, so ful was al the place. The Parlement of Foules (lines 309-315)
For this was on Saint Valentine’s day,
When every fowl comes there to choose his mate
Of every kind that men can think of,
And that so huge a noise did they make
That earth and sea and tree and every lake
So full was, that scarcely was there space
For me to stand, so full was all the place.
You can see the British Library’s
manuscript of the poem. The language is Middle English. (See also this online dictionary.)
Using a full stop like this in texts, chat messages and emails could imply that you have bad news.
Friend sends me a chat message that’s just “Hey.”
Me: oh my god what’s with the period has someone died
(Reader, it was fine.)
— Gretchen McCulloch (@GretchenAMcC) 7 February 2019
Portentous periods (Language Log)
Some online dictionaries use symbols to show word frequency. The more symbols a word has, the more common it is in English.
Macmillan Dictionary uses 1-3 stars:
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English uses 1-3 circles:
Collins English Dictionary uses 1-5 circles:
Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary labels common words (the Oxford 3000) with a key:
Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary labels some words with their English Profile level (A1 Beginner, A2 Elementary, B1 Intermediate, B2 Upper-Intermediate, C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency):