Leaf Facts

  • Leaves are a plant’s powerhouse, using sunlight to join water and carbon dioxide to make sugar, the plant’s fuel.
  • Leaves are broad and flat to catch maximum sunlight.
  • Leaves are joined to the stem by a stalk called a petiole.
  • The flat part of the leaf is called the blade.
  • The leaf blade is like a sandwich with two layers of cells holding a thick filling of green cells.
  • If you hold a leaf blade up to the light, you can clearly see the pattern of its veins.
  • The green comes from the chemical chlorophyll. It is this that catches sunlight to make sugar in photosynthesis.
  • Chlorophyll is held in tiny bags in each cell called chloroplasts.
  • A network of branching veins (tubes) supplies the leaf with water. It also transports the sugar made there to the rest of the plant.
  • Air containing carbon dioxide is drawn into the leaf through pores on the underside called stomata. Stomata also let out water in a process called transpiration.
  • To cut down water loss in dry places, leaves may be rolled-up, long and needle-like, or covered in hairs or wax. Climbing plants, such as peas, have leaf tips that coil into stalks called tendrils to help the plant cling.

Multiple Pregnancy

If you are pregnant with more than one baby—with twins, triplets, or more your pregnancy is called a multiple pregnancy. Fraternal twins are more common than identical twins and are the result of two sperm fertilizing two egg Fraternal twins may or may not be the same sex and are no more alike appearance than any other siblings. Identical twins occur less frequently are the result of one sperm fertilizing one egg, which then separates. Since identical twins carry the same genetic material, they are always the same and always look alike, and always have the same blood type. They may be mini images of each other.

During pregnancy, an increased demand is placed on the body of a woman carrying more than one baby as well as additional placentas or one larger percents. The discomforts of pregnancy are accentuated; since there is increased demand on the circulatory system and the uterus is larger in size. The chances of PIH and preterm labor are greater. For these reasons, many physicians place these women on bed rest at around 28 weeks gestation.

Women experiencing a multiple pregnancy have higher protein and calcium requirements. Additional protein is necessary to provide for adequate growth of the babies and ensure good muscle tone of the over distended uterus. Women who eat well during pregnancy decrease their chances for complications and increase the chances for delivering at term.


Depression is a very definite emotional overlay to the whole problem. Many women experience depression, bouts of irritability, feelings of anxiety and tension. Emotional conflicts often flare. By this time in life most children have grown up and have left home. The woman’s parents have usually died in recent years, or present a problem in a home or convalescent hospital.

Her husband has either failed in life or has made the grade. If he is a failure, there is not much chance of his extricating himself from it at this age. This fact, along with the economic and social stigma this can present in a vulnerable woman, is an extra burden she feels forced to face each day. Maybe he neglects her, and is more at home with his friends. Perhaps he drinks, gambles or otherwise spends more time following his own social pursuits than in caring for his wife.

On the other hand, if the spouse has made a success of his life, this inevitably means he is away from home for many hours each day, and perhaps is involved in trips on account of the business. He has little time to spend listening to her sad story, and often less patience to help her solve her problems that may seem trivial to him when he spends most of his waking hours involved in major decision- making experiences.

None of this benefits his wife, who often feels more and more alone in the world, deserted by all those who mean the most to her.

Doctors hear these sad but very plausible stories on a never-ending basis each working day:

“Life holds no more meaning for me.”

“Life has come to an end.”

“Nobody cares about me anymore.”

“Life is a bore, a drudge; I often wish I would never wake up in the morning.”

The sad phrases roll out regularly.

Because of the hormonal lack, the sex organs tend to be affected dramatically. With no oestrogen, the lining of the vulva and vagina thin out. They generally tend to shrink in size. However, while some women find that intercourse has lost its desirability and attraction for them, many others discover that their libido is considerably increased.

Suddenly, many realize that their child-bearing days are over. The risk of pregnancy is totally removed, and the need to take precautions for contraceptive reasons vanishes. This can add new dimensions to the thought of sex and intercourse. But when it comes to the physical act of lovemaking, the situations may be annoying and completely frustrating.

Penetration may be painful or difficult. The thin, atrophic, ageing lining tends to stretch less easily, and penile accommodation may be less readily achieved as in former times. Many women have found the demands of a thoughtless husband extremely trying. Considerable matrimonial disharmony can take place over this problem, and marriage disasters are not uncommon during the menopausal years.

Menopausal woman must be treated with love. Conversely, some husbands show a markedly reduced libido and capacity and desire for intercourse. Kinsey showed many years ago that after the age of 40, the sexual desire and capacity of most males tended to reduce gradually. Conversely, that of the female counterpart went in the opposite direction. So, once more, some women tend to accentuate their feelings of neglect. They believe their husbands no longer care, or are probably having an affair (usually imaginary) with some fictitious beauty.

Supernova Facts

  • A supernova (plural supernovae not supernovas) is the final, gigantic explosion of a supergiant star at the end of its life.
  • A supernova lasts for just a week or so, but shines as bright as a galaxy of 100 billion ordinary stars.
  • Supernovae happen when a supergiant star uses up its hydrogen and helium fuel and shrinks, boosting pressure in its core enough to fuse heavy elements such as iron (see nuclear energy).
  • When iron begins to fuse in its core, a star collapses instantly — then rebounds in a mighty explosion.
  • Seen in 1987, supernova 1987A was the first viewed with the naked eye since Kepler’s 1604 sighting.
  • Supernova remnants (leftovers) are the gigantic, cloudy shells of material swelling out from supernovae.
  • A supernova seen by Chinese astronomers in AD 184 was thought to be such a bad omen that it sparked off a palace revolution.
  • A dramatic supernova was seen by Chinese astronomers in AD 1054 and left the Crab nebula.
  • Elements heavier than iron were made in supernovae.
  • Many of the elements that make up your body were forged in supernovae.

Curvature of the Spine

Torticollis is sometimes referred to as “wry neck.” The child’s head is tilted to one side with the face turned slightly to the other side. When it occurs during infancy, torticollis is usually not visible at birth but appears a week or so later. The cause is not clear but the problem is usually an excessive tightness in one of the neck muscles. The treatment is usually a careful stretching program. In many cases the deformity will correct with this treatment. If the problem is ignored until the child is older than one year, a stretching program is not likely to be effective, and surgery is usually necessary.

A similar condition may develop acutely in an older child, and it will typically disappear over a few days. Rest, local heat, pain relievers, and possibly physical therapy may be helpful once a physician has confirmed the diagnosis. There are a number of possible causes of this condition, including inflammation or infection in the neck and throat, as well as injury. It is important to have the child checked by a physician to make a diagnosis and initiate appropriate treatment.

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature (usually sideways) of the spine, most commonly seen in adolescent girls but occasionally found in boys. The cause of this curvature is not known, but it seems to be associated with the growth spurt that takes place around puberty. Often the problem is picked up in school screening programs when the child bends forward at the hips while the examiner looks along the spine. If the ribs on one side appear higher than those on the other, scoliosis may be present. An X-ray is the best way to confirm the presence of a spinal curvature, from which the doctors can measure the degree of curvature.

Usually more than one curve is present. One of the curves is considered the main or primary curve, and the other is called the compensatory or secondary curve. If the primary curve is less than 25 degrees, the child is watched carefully, and an X-ray is usually taken every six months during the growth spurt. Curves greater than 25 degrees may require a brace to prevent the curve from worsening. (It is not intended to reduce the size of the curve.) Bracing is not always effective, however, and sometimes the curve continues to worsen. If the curve exceeds 40 to 50 degrees, surgery is usually recommended. The surgery is designed to decrease the size of the curve and fuse the spine to prevent the curve from increasing again. Steel rods are usually inserted along the spine to hold it straighter while the fusion becomes solid. After the fusion is solid (usually twelve months or more after surgery), the child can return to normal activities.

Kyphosis (or “roundback”) is an accentuation of the normal curvature of pine. Usually this is first noted early during the scene (between ages ten and fifteen) and often simply re-from bad posture. More severe cases are associated with e-shaped vertebrae, a condition known as Scheuermann’s disease. This is treated with an approach similar to that taken with scoliosis. If the deformity is less than 45 degrees the child is taught sitting exercises and watched carefully. If the curve is between 45-70 degrees, bracing is used. Once the curve exceeds 70 degrees, it is usually needed to correct it.

One of the more common causes of back pain in children is spondylolysis defect in a vertebra that may allow it to slide forward onto the one below (condition called spondylolisthesis). Treatment may include rest, and anti-inflammatory medication. If pain persists despite conservative treatment or if the gradual slipping of vertebra onto the other worsens, surgery may be necessary to stabilize that segment of the spine.

Muscle Facts

  • Muscles are special fibers that contract (tighten) and relax to move different parts of the body.
  • Voluntary muscles are all the muscles you can control by will or thinking, such as your arm muscles.
  • Involuntary muscles are the muscles you cannot control at will, but work automatically, such as the muscles that move food through your intestine.
  • Most voluntary muscles cover the skeleton and are therefore called skeletal muscles. They are also called striated (striped) muscle because there are dark bands on the bundles of fiber that form them.
  • Most involuntary muscles form sacs or tubes such as the intestine or the blood vessels. They are called smooth muscle because they lack the bands or stripes of voluntary muscles.
  • Most muscles are arranged in pairs, because although muscles can shorten themselves, they cannot make themselves longer. So the flexor muscle that bends a joint is paired with an extensor muscle to straighten it again.
  • This microscopic cross-section shows striated, or striped, skeletal muscle. It is so-called because its fibers are made of light and dark stripes.
  • The heart muscle is a unique combination of skeletal and smooth muscle. It has its own built-in contraction rhythm of 70 beats per minute and special muscle cells that work like nerve cells for transmitting the signals for waves of muscle contraction to sweep through the heart.
  • Your body’s longest muscle is the sartorius on the inner thigh.
  • Your body’s widest muscle is the external oblique which runs around the side of the upper body.
  • Your body’s biggest muscle is the gluteus maximus in your buttocks (bottom).
  • You have more than 640 skeletal muscles and they make up over 40% of your body’s entire weight, covering your skeleton like a bulky blanket. This illustration shows only the main surface muscles of the back, but your body has at least two, and sometimes three, layers of muscle beneath its surface muscles. Most muscles are firmly anchored at both ends and attached to the bones either side of a joint, either directly or by tough fibers called tendons.
  • Most muscles are long and thin and they work by pulling themselves shorter – sometimes contracting by up to half their length.
  • Skeletal muscles, the muscles that make you move, are made of special cells which have not just one nucleus like other cells do, but many nuclei in a long fiber, called a myofiber.
  • Muscles are made from hundreds or thousands of these fibers bound together like fibers in string.
  • Muscle fibers are made from tiny strands called myofibrils, each marked with dark bands, giving the muscle its name of stripcy or ‘striated’ muscle.
  • The stripes in muscle are alternate bands of filaments of two substances: actin and myosin.
  • The actin and myosin interlock, like teeth on a zip.
  • When a nerve signal comes from the brain, chemical ‘hooks’ on the myosin twist and yank the actin filaments along, shortening the muscle.
  • The chemical hooks on myosin are made from a stem called a cross-bridge and a head made of a chemical called adenosine triphosphate or ATP.
  • ATP is sensitive to calcium, and the nerve signal transmitted from the brain that tells the muscle to contract does its work by releasing a flood of calcium to trigger the ATP.
  • Muscles, such as the biceps and triceps in your upper arm, work in pairs, pulling in opposite directions to one another.

Skin Facts

  • Skin is your protective coat, shielding your body from the weather and from infection, and helping to keep it at just the right temperature.
  • Skin is your largest sense receptor, responding to touch, pressure, heat and cold.
  • Even though its thickness averages just 2 mm, your skin gets an eighth of all your blood supply.
  • The epidermis is made mainly of a tough protein called keratin — the remains of skin cells that die off.
  • Below the epidermis is a thick layer of living cells called the dermis, which contains the sweat glands.
  • Hair roots have tiny muscles that pull the hair upright when you are cold, giving you goose bumps.
  • Skin is 6 mm thick on the soles of your feet, and just 0.5 mm thick on your eyelids.
  • The epidermis contains cells that make the dark pigment melanin — this gives dark-skinned people their color and fair-skinned people a tan.
  • Skin makes vitamin D for your body from sunlight.
  • The epidermis, the thin outer layer, is just dead cells.

Berry Facts

  • Berries are fleshy fruit which contain lots of seeds. The bright colours attract birds which eat the flesh. The seeds pass out in the birds’ droppings and so spread.
  • Bananas, tomatoes and cranberries are all berries.
  • Many berries are bright red and
  • Cloudberries are aggregate fruits like shiny to attract birds. raspberries. The tiny amber berries grow close to the ground in the far north, and are collected by Inuits and Sami people in autumn to freeze for winter food. 194
  • Cloudberries are also known as salmonberries, bakeberries, malka and baked appleberries.
  • Cranberries grow wild on small trailing plants in marshes, but are now cultivated extensively in the USA in places such as Massachusetts.
  • Wild huckleberries are the American version of the European bilberry. But the evergreen huckleberry sold in florists is actually a blueberry.
  • Me strawberry tree’s Latin name is unedo, which means ‘I eat one. The red berries are not as tasty as they look.
  • According to Greek mythology, the wine-red mulberry was once white but was stained red by the Hood of the tragic lovers Pyramus and Thisbe, whose story is retold in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Glacier Facts

  • Glaciers move slowly but their sheer weight and size give them enormous power to shape the landscape.
  • Over tens of thousands of years glaciers carve out winding valleys into huge, straight U-shaped troughs.
  • Glaciers may truncate (slice off) tributary valleys to leave them ‘hanging, with a cliff edge high above the main valley. Hill spurs (ends of hills) may also be truncated.
  • Cirques, or corries, are armchair-shaped hollows carved out where a glacier begins high up in the mountains.
  • Valley glaciers are long, narrow bodies of ice that fill high mountain valleys.
  • Arétes are knife-edge ridges that are left between several cirques as the glaciers in them cut backwards.
  • Drift is a blanket of debris deposited by glaciers. Glaciofluvial drift is left by the water made as the ice melts. Till is left by the ice itself.
  • Drumlins are egg-shaped mounds of till. Eskers are snaking ridges of drift left by streams under the ice.
  • Moraine is piles of debris left by glaciers.
  • Proglacial lakes are lakes of glacial meltwater dammed up by moraine.
  • After an Ice Age, glaciers leave behind a dramatically altered landscape of deep valleys and piles of debris.
  • After the last Ice Age, water from the huge Lake Agassiz submerged over 500,000 sq km of land near Winnipeg, in North America.

How to Make a Stencil


A variety of materials can he used for stencilling, from special stencilling paints and sticks to acrylics and latex. Each has its own properties and will create different effects.

Acrylic stencil paint: acrylic stencil paint is quick-drying, reducing the possibility of the paint running and seeping behind the stencil. Acrylic stencil paints are available in a wide range of colours, and can be mixed for more subtle shades.

Acrylic varnish: this is useful for sealing finished projects.

Emulsion (latex) paint: ordinary household vinyl emulsion can also be used for stencilling. It is best to avoid the cheaper varieties, as these contain a lot of water and will seep through the stencil.

Fabric paint: this is used in the same way as acrylic stencil paint, and comes in an equally wide range of colours. Set with an iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions, it will withstand washing and everyday use. As with ordinary stencil paint, do not overload the brush with colour, as it will seep into the fabric. Always back the fabric you are stencilling with scrap paper or newspaper to prevent the paint from marking the work surface.

Gold leaf and gold size: these can be used to great effect. The actual design is stencilled with gold size. The size is then left to become tacky, and the gold leaf is rubbed over the design.

Metallic creams: these are available in many different metallic finishes, from gold to copper, bronze and silver. Apply as highlights on a painted base, or use for the entire design. Creams can be applied with cloths or your fingertip.

Oil-based stencil sticks and creams: the sticks can be used in the same way as a wax crayon, while the creams can be applied with a brush or your fingertip. With either one, there is no danger of overloading the colour, and they won’t run. The disadvantage is their long drying time (overnight in some cases); also, the colours can become muddy when mixed. Sticks and creams are also available for fabrics.


Stencilling does not require a great deal of special equipment; many of the items used are commonly found in most households. A few tools, however, will make the job easier.

Brushes: it is worth investing in a set of good stencil brushes. The ends of the brushes should be flat and the bristles firm, to let you control the application of paint. A medium-size brush (4 cm/11/2 in diameter) is a useful, all-purpose size, but you may want to buy one size smaller and one size larger as well. You will need a selection of household paintbrushes for applying large areas of background colour, and small artist’s paintbrushes for adding fine details.

Craft knife: use for cutting out stencils from cardboard.

Cutting mat: this provides a firm surface to cut into and will help prevent the craft knife from slipping.

Masking tape: as the stencil may need to be repositioned, it is advisable to hold it in place with masking tape, which can be removed fairly easily from most surfaces.

Paint-mixing container: this may be necessary for mixing paints and washes.

Pencils: keep a selection of soft and hard artist’s pencils to transfer the stencil design on to cardboard. Use an ordinary pencil to mark on your object the positions of the stencils before applying.

Stencil card (cardboard): the materialised to make the stencil is a matter of preference. Speciality stencil card is available waxed from specialist art stores, which means that it will last longer, but ordinary cardboard or heavy paper can also be used. It is worth purchasing a sheet of clear acetate if you wish to keep your stencil design, to re-use time and again.

Tape measure and rulers: some patterns may require accuracy. Measuring and planning the positions of your stencils before you begin will aid the result.

Tracing paper: use to trace and transfer your stencil design on to stencil card

Stencilling is not difficult to master, and you can create some wonderful 3-dimensional designs but it is worth practising first to get used to handling


1. To transfer a template on to a piece of stencil card (cardboard), place some tracing paper over the design, and draw over it with a hard pencil.

2. Turn over the tracing paper and, on the back of the design; rub over the lines you have drawn with a soft pencil. Turn the tracing paper back to the right side and place on top of a sheet of stencil card. Draw over the original lines with a hard pencil.


1. Block stencilling: Use for filling in large areas in a single, solid colour. As in all stencilling, remember not to apply the paint too heavily – less is more. Always blot the paint on to a piece of cardboard before you begin.

2. Block stencilling with second colours tippled: When applying two colours, always apply the lighter shade first, then the darker. Do not cover the entire surface with the first colour; leave a gap for the second shade, then blend later. Use a separate, clean brush for each colour.

3. Dry-brushing, rotating from edge: Using big circular strokes, work from the outside of the whole stencil, moving inward. This should leave you with more paint on the outside, as there will be lesson your brush as you move inward.

4. Two-colour blocking: When you apply the first colour, do not fully block out the petals; instead, outline them with the first colour and leave the centres bare. Use the second colour to fill. Take care not to apply your paint too heavily.

5 Stippling: This method uses more paint and less pressure than rotating or flicking. Taking a reasonable amount of paint on the bristles of your brush, simply place it down lightly. This gives a rougher look. Do not go over it too many times, as this spoils the effect.

6 Dry-brush stippling: This is similar to stippling, except that it is essential to dab most of the paint off the bristles before you start. This gives a softer effect.

7. Rotating and shading: Using a very dry brush with a tiny amount of paint, place your brush on one side of the stencil and rotate the brush in circles. Repeat, using a slightly darker colour on the edges for soft shading.

8. Flicking: For the flicking effect on the leaves, use slightly more paint on the brush. Working from the centre, flick the paint outward once or twice. Be careful not to overdo.

9. Flicking upwards: Using a reasonable amount of paint (not too wet or too dry) on your brush, flick upwards only. This creates a line at the top of the petals and leaves.

10. Dry-brushing and rotating: Apply a tiny amount of paint by rotating the bristles from the centre and from the outside tips, to give more paint in these areas. Work along the line, using less pressure than on the centre and the tips. This gives a soft shade in between.

11. Brushing up and down: Using slightly more paint on your brush than you would for rotating, brush up and down only, taking care to keep your lines vertical