Saturday, 27 December 2014

HOW TO GROW GERANIUMS



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Geraniums are a great bedding plant and bring a feel of the Mediterranean to your garden with their vibrant blooms and striking leaves. 

Bedding Geraniums are actually Pelagoniums. They belong to the same plant family as the hardy Geranium but are tender perennials and so are not frost hardy in cold regions. They include zonal, fancy leaved, ivy, regal, stellars, dwarf and scented geraniums.

Geraniums can be grown easily indoor or out, and look great in hanging baskets or patio containers. You can also plant them outside directly into beds and they are often used in floral displays to great effect. 

As geraniums are Mediterranean plants they require plenty of sunshine.  Place them in a sunny position that receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. If growing indoors ensure you have lots of light and indoor temperatures of around 65-70 F during the day and 55 F at night. Geraniums are not hardy so do not plant outside until the risk of frost has passed. 


Geraniums require a free draining soil and do not like to be waterlogged, so mix 30% of perlite into your compost mix. Incorporate a general fertiliser into the soil when planting and space plants about 20-25 cm apart. 

Water deeply when the soil dries out, which may be daily for pots during hot weather.  Feed weekly during the growing season with a soluble fertiliser. Dead head flowers regularly to remove dead blooms in order keep your plants repeat flowering. You may need to re-pot your plants at the end of the growing season when they become overgrown. 

You can propagate geraniums easily through cuttings or bring plants inside from the garden by digging them up and potting them on.

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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

What is the difference between a particle and an atom?


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Atoms, molecules, and particles are all very small, right? But they should not be confused with each other as there are key differences between them.

Atom


An atom is defined as the smallest component of element or matter that exist. Atoms are made up of protons and electrons, revolving around a nucleus. 

Atoms are the smallest component of an element that have the chemical properties of the element. Any of the elements you see on the periodic table exist as atom. The atomic number of an element on the chart refers to the number of protons contained in one atom of that element.

Elements are made up of many atoms. For example copper is an element, and a copper atom is the smallest piece of copper that exists. 

Molecules

Molecules can be defined as combination or group of two or more atoms. Molecules are formed when atoms of different elements share their electron to each other via covalent bonds.  

Water (H2O) for example is formed when two hydrogen atoms are joined to a oxygen atom to form a new compound.  Therfore molecules are the smallest bits of compounds.

Particles

Particle is a general term which includes atoms, molecules, ions, ionic substances. They are the building blocks of matter. The term particle should not be confused with the very different atomic subparticles.  

Particles can mean atoms (He gas atoms), molecules (H2 gas, N2 gas molecules), ionic substances (NaCl ionic salt) or even the ions itself (Chloride Cl- anions, Mg2+ cations).

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Saturday, 20 December 2014

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A WALLABY AND A KANGAROO?


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Visit Australia and its surrounding islands and you will see Kangaroos and Wallabies hopping along beside the roads as you drive along.  Both appear similar as they belong to the marsupial family, although kangaroos are larger. But what are the differences between them apart from size?

Marsupials are mammals that live primarily in Australasia and the Americas.  They include kangaroos, wallabies, the koala, possums, opossums, wombats and the Tasmanian devil. A key feature of marsupials is that new born young are carried in the females pouch to complete postnatal development for eight months after birth.

Kangaroos and wallabies belong to the same family, Macropodidae, meaning 'large foot'. They have large, powerful hind legs, large feet adapted for leaping, a long muscular tail for balance. They have powerful hind legs that they use to bound along at high speeds and jump great distances. However, their legs cannot move independently of one another so they must hop everywhere.  

When they are threatened by predators, or when males battle each other, they may also use their legs to deliver powerful kicks.They often lean back on their sturdy tail and box each other with their strong hind legs.

Kangeroos and Wallabies are herbivores, and the bulk of their diet is grasses and plants. Their elongated faces leave plenty of jaw room for the large, flat teeth necessary to chew their vegetarian meals.

Kangeroo

Kangaroos are endemic to Australia, although the tree-kangaroo is also found in Papua New Guinea.

Kangaroos are specifically categorised into the six largest species of the Macropodidae family. This includes the eastern gray kangaroo, western gray kangaroo, red kangaroo, antilopine kangaroo and two species of wallaroo.

Kangaroos are large animals, reaching heights of 1.8 metres/ 6 feet.  They hop along on their powerful hind legs and do so at great speed, reaching speeds of over 35 miles (56 kilometres) an hour.

Wallaby

The wallaby is closely related to the kangaroo, although they are generally smaller and stockier in build. Wallabies are not classified in a distinct genetic group. The term wallaby is an informal designation and is generally used for any macropod that is smaller than a kangaroo or wallaroo that has not been designated otherwise.


There are approximately 30 different species of wallaby found in a variety of habitats throughout Australia and nearby islands. 

Typical wallabies belong to the genus Macropus and include the agile wallaby (Macropus agilis), red-necked wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus), Rock-wallabies (genus Petrogale) and hare-wallaby (Lagostrophus fasciatus).

Walleroos


A wallaroo is one of three closely related species of macropod. They are intermediate in size between the kangaroos and the wallabies, with a height of around 80 cm. Most wallaroos are only a little smaller than a kangaroo, fairly thickset, and share a particular habit of stance with wrists raised, elbows tucked close into the body, and shoulders thrown back.

They include the Black Wallaroo (Macropus bernardus), Common Wallaroo (Macropus robustus) and the Antilopine Wallaroo (macropus antilopinus).

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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CONIFER AND A DECIDUOUS TREE?


Conifers,  translated literally as cone bearer, are cone-bearing seed trees or shrubs belonging to the division Pinophyta or Coniferophyta.  They include cedars, cypresses, firs, junipers, larches, pines, redwoods, spruces, and yews.


A conifer tree reproduces by seeds formed in a cone rather than a flower. Conifers have needle like leaves, often dark green in colour which helps to absorb sunlight in shady conditions.

Most conifers are evergreen, retaining their leaves during the winter, but not all.  Larch (Larix) looks similar to other conifers during the summer but loses it needles during the winter. Other deciduous conifers include Pseudolarix, Glyptostrobus, Metasequoia and Taxodium.

A conifer is distinct from evergreen trees and the terms should not be confused. Conifers are distinguished by their reproduction (the cone) and evergreen refers to the retention of its leaves or needles.

Deciduous trees


Deciduous means falling off in maturity.  Deciduous trees show a seasonal pattern of leaf growth and lose all of their leaves for part of the year. They include chestnut, oak, elm, maple and ash.

They grow leaves, usually during the summer, and shed them at the end of the growing season.  Most have large, broad leaves which allow for a much more effective photosynthesis than coniferous trees. 

However because of this broad leaf structure deciduous trees are much more vulnerable in windy and winter conditions. Shedding their leaves also means that they prevent water loss through their leaves and protects against predators.


In temperate zones deciduous trees shed their leaves in the autumn. A loss of chlorophyll in the leaf is triggered by the drop in temperature and gives these trees their distinctive autumn colours.  In tropical and sub tropical zones the leaf loss is not seasonal but determined by a lack of rain fall.

Deciduous is the opposite of evergreen, whose foliage persist throughout the year and gives the tree an evergreen appearance.

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Saturday, 13 December 2014

what is the difference between a pansy and a viola


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Pansys and Violas are flowering plants that belong to the violet family Violaceae. They belong to the same plant genus, Viola, which contains between 525 and 600 species. Some are perennial plants, some are annual plants, and a few are small shrubs. 


Flowers exhibit bilateral symmetry and are formed from five petals; four are upswept or fan-shaped petals with two per side, and there is one broad, lobed lower petal pointing downward. The shape of the petals and placement defines many species.

These small plants can flower for a long period and tolerate winter temperatures. Some can even bloom all through winter and as such are used extensively in bedding displays. Blooms on both types of these plants need to dead headed regularly otherwise the plants will put their energy into seed production. 

The viola, originally a small wildflower, is the ancestor of the modern pansy. Pansys started to be cultivated and hybridised in the 19th cenutry from Viola Tricolour.  Eventually the blooms began to get bigger and bigger and the blotch appeared as a chance seedling in the 1840s. In the 1860s efforts were made to produce a more compacted plants which were called Violas.  None of these plants had a blotch present.

The term pansy is normally used for those multi-coloured, large-flowered cultivars which are raised annually or biennially from seed and used extensively in bedding. The terms viola and violet are normally reserved for small-flowered annuals or perennials, including the species.

Viola is the genus name, and so it is misleading to distinguish between the term pansy and viola. There is no genetic difference between a pansy and a viola, and the two are often crossed to form many varieties. Pansy is just a common name given to the larger flowered hybrids derived by hybridization from several species in the section Melanium of the genus Viola, particularly Viola tricolor.  Neither African violets (Saintpaulia) or dogtooth violets (Erythronium dens-canis) are related to the true Viola.

Viola


Usually smaller than traditional pansies, violas may have rays but these should not be so thick as to form a blotch. A viola plant is shorter than the pansy with smaller blossoms. 


Flower colours vary within in the genus, ranging from violet, through various shades of blue, yellow, white, and cream.  Some some types are bicolored, often blue and yellow. Flowering is often profuse, and may last for much of the spring and summer.

Pansy

Pansy's can grow up to 12 inches tall and their flowers are usually larger, about 2 to 3 inches in diameter.  A key difference is that a pansy has a blotch on the face of the bloom. 

Pansies bloom in mixes of yellow, white, blue, pink, burgundy, lavender, orange, and red. Pansies are generally propagated by seeds; however, some varieties are propagated by cuttings such as Arkwright's Ruby.

Examples:
Viola arvensis (field pansy)
Viola banksii (Australian native violet, ivy-leaved violet)
Viola biflora (yellow wood violet, twoflower violet)
Viola canina (heath dog violet)
Viola cheiranthifolia (Teide violet)
Viola corsica (Corsican pansy)
Viola glabella (stream violet)
Viola hederacea (Australian native violet, ivy-leaved violet)
Viola hirta (hairy violet)
Viola labradorica (alpine violet)
Viola odorata (sweet violet)
Viola pedunculata (yellow pansy)
Viola persicifolia (fen violet)
Viola praemorsa (canary violet)
Viola pubescens (downy yellow violet)
Viola riviniana (common dog violet)
Viola rostrata (long-spurred violet)
Viola sororia(common blue violet, hooded violet)
Viola tricolor (wild pansy, heartsease)

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MONKEY AND AN APE?


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Both Apes and monkeys are primates and so share some key characteristics that make them suitable for a life in the tree tops.  These include highly flexible arms, legs and fingers that enable them to move from branch to branch and forward facing eyes that give primates excellent depth perception.

These higher primates belong to the sub order Anthropoids, which vary considerably in size, geographical range and behaviour but all have flat faces, small ears and relatively large, complex brains. Within this suborder primates are grouped into monkeys, apes and hominids (which include humans).

Although Apes and monkeys share some evolutionary ancestry as hominids, monkeys split off a long time before apes along the human evolutionary line. Humans (and extinct hominids) have large brains and advanced reasoning capabilities. The development of bipedal walking  was a key stage in mans development as this freed up the hands for use of tools whilst walking.

Monkeys 

Monkeys belong to the primate group along with tarsiers, lemurs, apes and humans.  There are about 260 known living species of monkey including marmoset, squirrel monkey, spider monkey, tamarin, howler monkey. Langur and Colobus monkey.

Monkeys are classified into two major groups, the New World primates of South and Central America and the Old World primates of Asia and Africa. The major difference between them other than location is that New World primates have tails that can grasp and hold things, which Old World primates can not do.  New world primates do not have opposable thumbs which most Old World primates possess.

One of the key differences between a monkey and an ape is that monkeys have a tail, whilst apes or hominids do not.  Monkeys are much more similar to other mammals than apes are, and have a similar skeleton to a cat or dog.  They cannot swing from branch to branch as their shoulder bones are different in structure to humans or ape and so run along tree tops instead.

Apes

Apes include gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans and gibbons.  They are much more like human beings than monkeys or lower primates are.  They have the same basic body structure, possess a high level of intelligence and may exhibit similar behaviour. However unlike hominids that evolved to walk upright on two legs, apes use all four limbs to move along the ground.

Chimpanzees are humans' closest living relatives and we share 98% genetic material with them.  They can use simple tools extensively and develop culture amongst their groups. Gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans exhibit extensive language capability as well, although they do not have the necessary physiological adaptations to produce speech.

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Monday, 8 December 2014

what is the difference between a rock and a stone


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OK, so we say there are pebbles on the beach, we live in stone houses and contemplate life sitting on rocks.  But are there key differences between them or is it just size that defines them?

Rocks
Rocks are defined as naturally occurring solid aggregate consisting of one or more minerals. A rock is a large rugged mass of stone or mineral. 

Rocks are geologically classified according to characteristics such as mineral and chemical composition, permeability, the texture of the constituent particles, and particle size. 

Rocks can be formed in three ways.  Rocks formed by from lava on the Earth's surface or from magmas deep underground are called Igneous rocks. Secondly, Metamorphic rocks are formed when rocks have undergone profound changes due to pressure and heat. The last type of rock found on Earth are sedimentary rocks which form on the Earth's crust. 

Examples of rocks include granite, basalt, gabbros, sandstone, limestone, slate, marble and serpentine.

Stone


A stone is a small piece of rock of any shape. It is a hard substance made up of rock or mineral material. A stone is always hard, whereas a rock may be hard or soft. 

All stones are rocks but not all rocks are stones.

A stone is a fragment of rock that can be classified by its shape and size, and is larger than sands, silts, and clays and is not classified as gravel, cobbles, or boulders.

Pebbles

Pebbles are small stones that have had their edges smoothed by wave action.  They are often found at the edge of flowing water or on the beach, or where such water once existed. 

Pebbles are larger than granules (2 to 4 millimetres diameter) and smaller than cobbles (64 to 256 millimetres diameter). 

They come in various colours and textures, and may have streaks of quartz or different coloured sedimentary rock running through them.  

All pebbles are stones but not all stones are pebbles. 

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Friday, 5 December 2014

what is the difference between a snake and a serpent


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The terms snake and serpent are both used separately to describe an snake like animal but are there any differences between them?

Serpent


A serpent is is commonly used in a specifically mythic or religious context, signifying a snake that is to be as the bearer of some symbolic value. 

The serpent has played important roles in religious and cultural life of ancient Egypt, Canaan, Mesopotamia and Greece.  It is prevalent in religious teachings and books such as the Hebrew bible and the new testament. Many artefacts have been discovered depicting the serpent.

The serpent looks like a snake, but did not always look this way according to Genesis.  The physical appearance of the serpent was changed by God as a punishment for leading Adam and Eve astray. The serpent in the garden of Garden of Eden  is portrayed as a deceptive creature who promotes as good what God had forbidden, the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge

Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden to tend to it and the serpent tempted Eve to eat the fruit from the Tree with claims that it would make them god like.  She in turn persuaded Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. God banished from Adam and Eve the Garden and punished the serpent for its role in their fall by being made to crawl on its belly in the dust.

The serpent is not always evil as in this Genesis story. In many religions the serpent is a benevolent creature and represents eternal life, fertility and good and evil.

Snake


A snake is a member of the reptile family belonging to the sub order Serpentes. They are elongated and covered in overlapping scales, and can be distinguished from legless lizards by their lack of eyelids, limbs, external ears, and vestiges of forelimbs. 

Like all reptiles snakes are cold blooded (ectothermic) and so their body temperature is affected fluctuating ambient temperatures and they often bask in the morning to warm up.   

There are nearly 3,000 species of snakes across the world ranging in size from 10 cm thread snake to huge 7 metre long pythons. They are all carnivorous, and track their prey by smelling the air with their forked tongues.  The fork in the tongue gives snakes a sort of directional sense of smell and taste simultaneously.  


Some snakes possess venom which they use to catch prey, and can be potent enough to kill even humans. Non venomous snakes either swallow prey alive or kill by constriction. The part of the body in direct contact with the ground is very sensitive to vibration and so a snake can sense other animals approaching by detecting faint vibrations in the air and on the ground.

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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SPIDER AND AN INSECT?


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Creepy crawlies fascinate me - it must be all those legs.  Except for spiders as they are pure evil. OK, they do a great job eating all the flies but still, no need for them to chase me around the house!

Insects and spiders share some similarities such as an exoskeleton and their symmetry. This is because they are both members of the phylum Arthropoda (meaning jointed limb). 

here are over one million Arthropoda species within the subphylum groups of Uniramia, Chelicerata, Crustacea and Trilobita. These include insects, arachnids, horseshoe crabs, crustaceans and trilobites.

Arthropods are bilaterally symmetrical and each body segment may bear a pair of jointed appendages. They are covered by an hard exoskeleton, which serves as both armour and a surface for muscle attachment.   

The phylum includes carnivores, herbivores, omnivores, detritus feeders, filter feeders, and parasites in nearly all environments, both aquatic and terrestrial. 

Insects

  • Insects belong to the group Insecta. This group Includes flies, crickets, mosquitoes, beetles, butterflies, and bees. 
  • Insects have six legs
  • They have three body segments - a head, thorax and abdomen
  • Eat a variety of  food including paper, plastic
  • Have antennae, which they use to smell
  • Usually have two pairs of wings
  • They have two, compound, eyes



Spiders

  • Spiders belong to a group of arthropods called arachnids, along with ticks, mites, and scorpions.
  • Spiders have eight legs
  • They have two body sections - a cephalothorax and an abdomen
  • Eat mostly insects but can eat small birds, frogs or mice.
  • Do not have antennae but have bristles on their legs that sense vibrations
  • Spiders never have wings
  • Spiders have two poison fangs and two feelers
  • They produce silk used to make nests, cocoons, or webs for trapping insects. 
  • They have multiple eyes, usually eight
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