WELCOME to DESS DAHASRY of MALAYSIA..

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Maths and Science in English...

Allow pure science subjects to remain in English

MUCH has been written about the English language and PPSMI in recent weeks. Those of us who are against the PPSMI policy reversal by the government, feel as though the unforgiving wheels of time are grinding on, bringing us closer to a catastrophe in the year 2012.
I have a son in Form 3 this year who was in the first batch of students to go through the PPSMI from 1993. After spending his entire science and mathematics education in English, he is going to be in for a shock next year when he finds the textbooks, workbooks and teaching entirely in Bahasa Malaysia.
Yes, the examinations will still be bilingual, promises the Education Ministry. However, they have failed to see that students will have to do exercises and write lab or project reports in the language they are taught in and in the language the textbooks are in.
Being a pure science teacher , I feel it is unfair to make students learn new terms in Bahasa Malaysia when they are in Form 4. There are five major pure science subjects – physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and additional mathematics – and that means a lot of terms!
The argument that the introduction of PPSMI was also drastic holds no water, as two wrongs do not make a right. First of all, it makes no sense for Form 4 pure science students to switch to BM and then switch back to English in Form 6 or any other pre-University course.
The very fact that Form 6 science studies will still be in English shows that the Government concedes the relevance of English in higher studies.
Secondly, it would be easier for students to make the switch to English (once all the Lower Forms have converted to BM) in Form 4. It would not be so taxing on students to learn the terms in English when the pure science subjects are just being introduced rather than having to relearn the terms in Form 6.
I am not asking for much. Just allow pure science studies to remain in English from Form 4. I am sure that thousands like me are hoping and praying that someone in the Education Ministry has the courage and vision to halt our schools’ imminent and sure descent into mediocrity if things go as planned.
CONCERNED,
Rawang.

The Star, 29 Sept. 2011.

How I wish the Education Ministry is listening to us, parents..
Have a nice day...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

PPSMI - Let Parents Decide..

PPSMI - ENGLISH MEDIUM
Good leaders have visions. On the contrary, bad leaders like to spoil those visions.
Malaysia once had an excellent leader who is still around. Dr. Mahathir Mohammad once led Malaysia to a status which everyone envied. His thinking was, and still is, years ahead of other leaders of the world. Malaysia was well recognized by whatever he did. He had this vision of making Malaysia a well-developed nation by the year 2020.
But once he stepped down as the Prime Minister of Malaysia to give way to the younger generations, things began to go upside down. His immediate successor just did the opposite. Malaysia went 5 years backwards. It went down as the worst part of Malaysian history. The present Prime Minister have a lot to do in terms of developing Malaysia to achieve the 2020 vision that Dr Mahathir had initiated.

One of the vision that Dr Mahathir had was education - the Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics in English, acronym PPSMI. It was started in 2003. He could see the importance of the two subjects to be taught in English because the future generations of Malaysian students need to be exposed at an early stage. No one complained in 2003, not openly though. It was a brilliant idea that other countries like Thailand and most 3rd world countries followed suit, some with modifications. Thailand, for example, started her SMEP (Science Maths English Programme) in 2007, just like the PPSMI..., and it's still on.

Malaysia, on the other hand, abolished the PPSMI in 2009,  in stages it seems.. By next year, 2012, the PPSMI will be fully abolished. While other countries are taking steps to educate children in English, Malaysia is again moving backwards. I fail to see the logic here... Parents are complaining. Surveys were done. Everyone knows the importance of education, particularly Science and Mathematics. And of course, the English language itself... But all fall into deaf ears - ears of the politicians who are leading the Malaysian education system.
It is wise not to involve politics in education, but these politicians are policy makers of the country. Policy must be based on the relevance of the subject, not on personal thinking. In a country that practices  democracy, the voice of the majority of the people must be heard. Surveys done showed that at least 66% of the public wanted the PPSMI to be continued, but then the policy makers still won't listen. So, it is not democracy at all...

Now, parents want an option. Let their children choose which medium of instruction should they go to school. The government must then get ready two types of school - the Malay Medium school and the English Medium school. It's not that difficult because we once had those schools in the 60's and 70's. We had English schools like King Edward VII (KE VII) in Taiping, Victoria Institution (VI) in KL, Penang Free School in Penang and Derma English School (DES) in Kangar. These schools have produced great leaders and scholars.
Let's go global.. Let's accomplish Dr. Mahathir's vision of making Malaysia a fully developed country in the year 2020. Let's have the English Medium back in our education system. Give the rakyat a choice to help develop the nation. Let's have a people's government. Let the voice of the majority be heard... Let's have the PPSMI back...

Jane Lee of Seremban agrees with me:

Wednesday September 28, 2011, The Star.

English medium schools can be set up quickly

IT amuses me that more than three years after I wrote a letter titled “Let parents decide” to a local daily, the issue is still being debated.
When my letter was published, I was roundly criticised by fellow writers, but today it seems what I advocated is in favour. My proposal was to have a fourth choice of schools – the English-medium school.
This would solve logistics problems like having two sets of teachers, timetables and teaching materials, as would have to be the case if a school were to have PPSMI and non-PPSMI to please those for and against PPSMI.
Full immersion can take place as everything that happens in the school (except BM classes, of course) will be conducted in English – assemblies, sports, co-curricular activities – just like in the old days.
There will not be a situation of teachers lacking proficiency in English being forced to teach in this language if they are also given a choice to transfer to schools that use the language they are most comfortable with.
If there is at least one such school within a 5km radius, parents would be soothed. An exisiting school can be converted into an English-medium school so there would be minimal cost involved.
Those serving the school, from the principal to the general workers, should preferably be English speaking.
If the authorities are truly concerned about the decline in English language proficiency, they should do the necessary paperwork and amendments to make the radical change.
Since English-medium schools in the past had proven to be effective in producing fluent speakers of English, why wait any longer? We are wasting precious time and gambling with the future of our children. Who knows better than parents what they want for their children? Why not heed their cry?
JANE LEE,
Seremban.

Have a nice day...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

TIME TRAVEL possible??

27 Sep, 2011 03:25 PM
A United States government agency is set to test the results of a faster-than-light particles discovery that shocked the physics world and led to dreams of time travel and extra dimensions when announced last week.The new tests could show Albert Einstein's theory that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light may in fact be sound after all.
Scientists from Fermilab, a US Department of Energy laboratory in Chicago, said they were re-analysing data collected in the OPERA experiment by the CERN research institute in Switzerland, which showed invisible neutrino particles travelled faster than light, a spokesman for the agency told Fairfax today.
Fermilab conducted a similar experiment - MINOS - in 2007, but its results allowed for a margin of error that made it unclear if neutrinos were indeed travelling faster than light.
"We're updating the [MINOS] to measure more precisely the time that it takes the neutrinos to travel from Fermilab to the detector in Minnesota," spokesman Dr Kurt Riesselmann said.
"The experiment will also take new data in the upcoming year and analyse those, and hope to improve the position to confirm or refute the OPERA result."
Was Einstein wrong?
Scientists across the world, and even at CERN - home of the Large Hadron Collider - have been sceptical about the OPERA finding, which challenges Einstein's 1905 theory of special relativity.
Einstein, the father of modern physics, said the speed of light was a "cosmic constant" and nothing could go faster.
The OPERA measurements, if independently confirmed, mean that in theory, information could be sent into the past, making time travel possible.
"Time travel seems to be the go-to topic when faster-than-light particles are mentioned, but don't hold out hope for a TARDIS just yet," physicist Dr Jonathan Carroll at the University of Adelaide wrote on The Conversation website.
But he said it was more likely the OPERA finding was the result of a mistake in the calculations or experiment.
"The much more likely scenario is that the analysis has overlooked some seemingly insignificant but critical aspect, and that re-analysis will led to a very good agreement with the speed of light," he said.
"Should that be the case, the follow-up press-release will no doubt refer to the 'Phantom of the OPERA'."
Another physicist likened the CERN discovery to flying carpets, saying: "This is ridiculous what they're putting out."
"Until this is verified by another group, it's flying carpets," Professor Drew Baden at the University of Maryland told The Associated Press.
....The Canberra Times

Interesting subject, guys...
Have a nice day...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pasar Malam in Trafalgar Square ??

 
Yes.. it's now in Trafalgar Square, London - PASAR MALAM (Night Market).
Taking the form of an authentic Malaysian pasar malam created by Malaysia Kitchen, the event on Friday was to showcase Malaysian cuisine and culture.
About 25,000 Londoners visited the night market that had 25 outlets selling Malaysian favourites, including beef rendang, nasi lemak and satay.
The event, which started at 3pm, was best patronised when people began returning home from work.
It is understood that the allocation of a spot in Trafalgar Square is highly competitive.

Pasar malam is a Malay and Indonesian word that literally means "night market", "pasar" being related to "bazaar" in Persian. A pasar malam is a street market in Indonesia and Malaysia, that opens in the evening, usually in residential neighbourhoods.The free event is one of the highlights of the year long Malaysia Kitchen campaign which aims to educate British consumers about the world of Malaysian cuisine.
Malaysian food is an extraordinary combination of native Malay, Chinese, and Indian food traditions, sprinkled with Southeast Asian, Portuguese and Middle Eastern influences, among others.
 Trafalgar Square, London.
almost 25,000 visited the Pasar Malam.
satay made in London..
the price of satay in London.
nasi lemak available..
rendang and curry too..
cultural show too...

Well done Malaysia !!!
Have a nice day...

Lee Chong Wei vs Chen Long - Japan Open Finals - LIVE....

Hello folks.., badminton fans.. It's the Japan Open Finals today...
Men's Singles Final - Lee Chong Wei (MAS) vs Chen Long (CHN). For the record, LIN DAN conceded a walkover to countryman Chen Long in the Semi-final yesterday, citing foot injury as an excuse (as usual when he is not 100% fit)...

Lee Chong Wei vs Chen Long
Let's go LIVE.....
1st Set: (Chong Wei first)
0 - 0 : Both players warming up..
0 - 1 : First point to Chen Long.
1 - 1 : Body smash by LCW.
2 - 1 : good net play by LCW.
2 - 2 : misjudged at baseline by LCW.
2 - 3 : smash by CL
2 - 4 : pushed out by LCW
2 - 5 : smash by CL.
3 - 5 : pushed out by CL
3 - 6 : misjudged at baseline by LCW again
4 - 6 : out by CL.
4 - 7 : out by LCW
5 - 7 : good judgement by LCW
5 - 8 : Drop shot - out by LCW.
6 - 8 : pushed out by CL.
6 - 9 : baseline - out by LCW. Very slow game...
6 -10: net play by CL
7 -10: sharp drop by LCW.
7 -11: point to CL.
Break..
8 -11: drop by LCW.
8 -12: error by LCW.
8 -13: body smash by CL.
8 -16: smash and smash and smash again by CL.
8 -17: Rally won by CL.
8 -19: 8 straight points to CL.
8 -20: pushed pout by LCW.
8 -21: body smash by CL.
1st game easily won by Chen Long 21-8 in 18 minutes.

2nd Set:
2 - 0 : 2 easy points to LCW.
2 - 2 : 2 easy points by CL..
3 - 3 : one point each.
4 - 4 : one point each again.
6 - 4 : 2 straight point won by LCW.
7 - 4 : LCW playing aggessively..
8 - 4 : another smash by LCW
9 - 4 : body drive by LCW.
10-4 : smash by LCW.
11-4 : Drop shot by LCW.
Break.
12-4 : Cross court smash by LCW
12-5 : error by LCW
12-6 : another error at baseline by LCW
12-7 : sideline smash by CL
13-7 : double cross court smash by LCW.
14-7 : smash into net by CL
14-8 : called long by linesman.
15-8 : no mistake this time..
16-8 : body smash by LCW.
17-8 : long rally won by LCW at net.
17-9 : ball touched net and fall into LCW court.
17-10: flick serve by CL
18-10: good net play by LCW.
19-10: good rally won by LCW.
20-10: perfect net play by LCW. Game point.
21-10: net error by CL.
2nd set won by Lee Chong Wei in 20 minutes.

3rd Set (Rubber game):
0 - 1 : 1st point goes to CL.
1 - 1 : sideline smash by LCW.
1 - 2 : fast point by CL
1 - 3 : another point to CL
2 - 3 : net error by CL
3 - 3 : fast drive by LCW
4 - 3 : CL being pushed around by LCW.
4 - 4 : Hard earned point by CL.
4 - 5 : cross court drive by CL.
4 - 6 : hesitation by LCW.
5 - 6 : pushed out by CL
6 - 6 : pushed out at baseline by CL
7 - 6 : called long by linesman at baseline.
7 - 7 : net error by LCW
8 - 7 : trademark  drop shot by LCW
8 - 8 : net error by LCW
9 - 8 : point by LCW
10-8 : inch-perfect smash by LCW
11-8 : trick shot at net by LCW.
Break...
11- 9 : pushed out by LCW
11-10: just long at baseline
11-11: pushed wide by LCW
12-11: error by CL
12-12: missed by a fraction..
13-12: net error by CL
13-13: good judgement at baseline by CL
13-14: bad net play by LCW
13-15: pushed to the baseline by CL
14-15: smashed out by CL
15-15: good baseline judgement by LCW
16-15: good pressure play by LCW.
17-15: more pressure play by LCW - ball pushed out by CL
17-16: body drive by CL
17-17: drive by CL to the baeline
18-17: body smash by CL
18-18: smash by LCW
18-19: smash by CL to baseline
19-19: net error by CL
19-20: error by LCW at net
19-21: smash out by LCW.... Game over !!  ** Ball was in !! (slow motion video..)
Match won by CHEN LONG 21-8, 10-21, 21-19 in 73 minutes...

Bad day for Lee Chong Wei. Bad day for Malaysian badminton.. Terrible day for BAM !!!!

Have a nice day..

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day Trip to PENANG..

the Penang Bridge.
SMK Derma's prefect board made a day's trip to Penang today. We visited Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera), the War Museum and Queensbay Mall.
Photos:
Have a nice day...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Care to Listen??

Don't want to say anything - just read this:

Agony over policy

ON Malaysia Day, Sept 16, while the nation was celebrating a holiday to commemorate the establishment of the Malaysian federation in 1963, my friend took her 15-year-old daughter to Singapore to check out some schools with the hope of enrolling her for next year's Secondary Four.
Her reason is simple. After nine years of studying Science and Mathematics in English, her daughter will have to make the major switch to studying the subjects in Bahasa Malaysia next year.

This means she only has two years to adjust to the switch before sitting for her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination in 2013.

My eldest child, who is now in Year Four, has been saying goodbye to a handful of friends every year. Many opted to transfer to Singapore schools. Many more are planning the switch.
Most parents cite disillusionment with our education system. All these children are smart.

Living in Johor Baru, I see many schoolchildren cross the border daily to Singapore in the quest for a better education. Some enter the school system in Primary One while some enter midway.

Their school buses pick them up as early as 5am. Most return by 3pm, others later because of extra-curricular activities.

Even my children's kindergarten school principal has finally succumbed to the pressure of finding the best balance for her children.

This year, my second child started Primary One with Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction in a private school.

His principal had the foresight and business acumen to include the teaching of Maths and Science in English, too. This move proved profitable for him as enrolment has surged.

In Selangor, my brother's eldest son was enrolled in an international school after finishing his Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah examination. Many international schools are sprouting all over the country.

Many new housing developments have an international school designated area in their master plans.

Have Malaysians become more affluent and therefore, this new interest in international schools?

I do not have the statistics on children studying in Singapore.

Neither do I know the number of Malaysians enrolled in international schools.

But what I do know is that, as a parent, I am beginning to feel the pressure that I may not be doing enough to ensure my children get the best education available.

2011/09/23
LOH YIN CHENG, Nusajaya, Johor
letters@nst.com.my

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

JAPAN vs MALAYSIA - Olympic Qualifying - LIVE.

SOCCER:
It's the 2012 Olympic qualification again - Japan vs Malaysia , 1st leg in Japan.
JAPAN vs MALAYSIA
1st Half:
03.00: First blood by Japan - straight to keeper.
09.30: GOOOALLLL - Japan scores after a good move. 1-0 to Japan. Goal scored by Higase.
11.00: Japan attacking again - missed a golden chance.
15.00: Super save by Malaysian keeper.. what seems to be a certain goal for Japan.
19.00: Japan attacking most of the time. Malaysia has yet to shoot at goal.
23.00: Another shot at goal saved by the Malaysian keeper. Japan attacking all the way.
25.00: Corner to Japan. Nothing..
35.00: Still 1-0 to Japan.
40.00: Malaysian defender injured (No.16). Play stopped.
44.00: Super save again by Khairul Fahmi, the keeper.
45.00: Half time - Japan leading 1-0.

2nd Half:
46.00: Game started.
52.00: Malaysia first shot at goal - off target.
53.00: Another save by Malaysian keeper.
55.00: Rare attack by Malaysia. Came up with nothing. Shot off target again.
60.00: Certain goal by Japan - saved again by Malaysian keeper !!!
62.00: Golden chance by Malaysia - wasted by strikers.
76.00: GOAALLL !! Yamazake scores, 2-0 to Japan.
79.00: Open goal... saved by Malaysian defenders. It would have been 3-0.
85.00: Possession play by Japan.
89.00: A minute to go. Japan in possession.
90.00: 3 minutes added time...
90+3:  Game over. Malaysia go down 2-0, but a very brilliant performance by Khairul Fahmi - the Malaysian keeper...

Good night from Japan.
Have a nice day.....

Monday, September 19, 2011

Correct Time For PPSMI..

PPSMI  PPSMI  PPSMI
I just got back from Thailand. I was there for three days on invitation by the Education Department of the Province of Satun, Southern Thailand.
There was a three day Academic Exhibition involving all the border states of Southern Thailand, namely Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat, Songkhla and host - Satun. The Malaysian states of Perlis and Kedah were invited to present two cultural dances for two nights. Perlis was also invited to take part in the "English Story Telling" contest, which later turned out to be a "guest appearance" by the Perlis student - Amir Aiman Abu Bakar.
this student speaks good English.
I had the opportunity to meet education officials and teachers and of course exchange ideas and information on our education system. In Thailand, there are primary schools (year 1 to year 6), lower secondary schools (year 7 to year 9), schools until lower secondary (year 1 to year 9), secondary schools (year 7 to year 11), high schools (year 10 to year 12). There are also special schools to cater students for special fields - sports, music, etc, etc...
*Primary schools are bilingual (subjects taught in English and Thai).
What impressed me most is that Thailand is presently very particular about the English language... They are sending students and teachers to Australia and New Zealand in batches for attachment programmes, for a period of time. They have this programme called SMEP (Science Maths English Programme) - similar to our PPSMI (Teaching and Learning Science and Maths in English) - carried out since 2006, three years after we started our PPSMI.
The SMEP is carried out in certain chosen schools and is for certain group of students. It is done in high schools, starting from year 10 until they finish university. That means SMEP is done for 6 years (3 years in high school and 3 years in university) at least.
Another point to note is that after year 9, students going to high schools have to take a foreign language. They can choose French, German, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese or even Bahasa Melayu. You can see that Thailand have a pool of interpreters...
young Thai students with good English in them..
Back to this SMEP/PPSMI programme. Thailand is on the move. Malaysia started earlier but due to some stupid politicians holding education portfolios, the programme was terminated in 2009.
It doesn't end there. The standard of English among Thai students is slowly picking up... I had the opportunity to mingle around young graduate teachers and they are able to speak well in English.. Even the students that I met during the exhibition could speak good English. But, as usual, Thais are very humble.. They look upon us, Malaysians, as better in English.. I'm sure they are on par with us, or maybe they have overtaken us in some aspects... Watch out, Malaysians !!!! Our fresh graduates are NOT that good!!!!

I came across this article in the Star today:

Time to act on PPSMI

I am very happy that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has decided to repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA) together with other dacronian laws, after listening to the rakyat.
It does not matter who wants to claim credit for this announcement on the eve of Malaysia Day but rest assured, the public is pleased that the PM is listening and walking the talk.
It takes great courage and political will to make this decision knowing full well that the Government’s power to arrest and detain troublemakers will be curtailed.
Although the ISA is being considered to be dropped, there should be enough room for the police to act if trouble erupts.
By loosening the tight grip of the law, the Prime Minister has done the right thing to ensure that the rakyat is given more freedom in this modern and fast-paced world.
The rakyat should be allowed the freedom of speech and to gather peacefully without sacrificing the stability of the country.
We need strict rules but being a democratic nation, there needs to be some balance between enforcing the law and giving the rakyat a chance to voice their opinions.
With constructive criticism, the Government will be able to get ideas and perform better.
It is not always that those in power or those elected to the august House are more wiser than the man in the street.
Some politicians only know how to play to the gallery and are not bothered about the welfare of the nation.
They are only interested in power and will do anything to get elected, even if it means they are doing an injustice to the system.
This brings me to another issue that the Prime Minister has to look into – the continuation of the PPSMI.
Survey after survey, as well as many letters-to-the-editor, suggest that the PPSMI should be retained.
This matter not only has the support of the urban folk but also by people across the board, as shown by a Malay NGO recently.
Even Tun Dr Mahathir’s blog had a massive and resounding response for the PPSMI to remain.
With so much support from the rakyat, I hope the Prime Minister will take the daring step to continue with the PPSMI.
The decision might make him unpopular among some but for the sake of his people and the nation as a whole, he has to show the political will and this will silence some of his critics.
In this borderless world, we need to take drastic measures to ensure that we are on track to be a developed nation with the people equally equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to compete with the best.
With all the infrastructure and modern amenities we have, we are sometimes seen more as a developed country than a developing one.
To sustain this momentum, we should make the English language as a priority.
We should not regard learning English as a setback to our own national language.
In fact, it is the language of the world and our future leaders should be well-versed in it.
Take our past prime ministers and also Datuk Seri Najib.
They are all fluent in English and can communicate with other world leaders.
They do not need interpreters.
Our leaders, past and present, are competent at English and this makes it easier for them in carrying out their duties.
At all times, the national language has not and will not be compromised.
The national language is our pride, but acquiring the English language is an advantage.
Mr Prime Minister, please do something so that our future generations will not be deprived of acquiring more knowledge and thus stagnating the growth of our nation. English is important, there is no question about it.
JAYARAJ KGS,
Sitiawan.

Wish you all the best, Malaysia... 
IT IS THE CORRECT TIME FOR PPSMI !!!
Have a nice day.. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

SWAZILAND - 147th Country Visitor..


To date, 147 countries have visited my Blog. The latest, a visitor from Swaziland.
Let's learn something about this country:

GEOGRAPHY:
Swaziland, which is about 85% the size of New Jersey, is surrounded by South Africa and Mozambique. The country is largely mountainous.

GOVERNMENT:
Absolute monarchy.

HISTORY:
Bantu peoples migrated southwest to the area of Mozambique in the 16th century. A number of clans broke away from the main body in the 18th century and settled in Swaziland. In the 19th century these clans organized as a tribe, partly because they were in constant conflict with the Zulu. Their ruler, Mswazi, appealed to the British in the 1840s for help against the Zulu. The British and the Transvaal governments guaranteed the independence of Swaziland in 1881.
South Africa held Swaziland as a protectorate from 1894 to 1899, but after the Boer War, in 1902, Swaziland was transferred to British administration. The paramount chief was recognized as the native authority in 1941. In 1963, the territory was constituted a protectorate, and on Sept. 6, 1968, it became the independent nation of Swaziland.
Since 1986, King Mswati III has ruled as sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch. Political parties are banned and the king appoints 10 of the 65 members of parliament as well as the prime minister. King Mswati can veto any law passed by the legislature and frequently rules by decree.
In 2002, hundreds of thousands of Swazis faced starvation. Two years of drought as well as bad planning and poor agricultural practices were blamed for the crisis. The government came under criticism for buying the king a $50-million luxury jet—a quarter of the national budget—while famine loomed. In 2002, the country's judges resigned en masse in protest of the government's refusal to comply with court decisions. In April 2003, the government information minister announced that the media were banned from making negative remarks about the government—criticism of the king's new luxury jet in particular would not be tolerated. In 2004, a third year of drought befell the country. International donor agencies and human rights groups condemned the king's plans to build new multimillion-dollar palaces for each of his 11 wives (12 by 2005) while his people faced starvation and the country's AIDS epidemic spiraled out of control. About 30% of the population is infected.
Although the king signed the country's first constitution in Aug. 2005, the document essentially maintains the status quo: opposition parties remain banned and the king retains ultimate power.


FAST FACTS:
Ruler: King Mswati III (1986)
Prime Minister: Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini (1996)
Land area: 6,641 sq mi (17,200 sq km); total area: 6,704 sq mi (17,363 sq km)
Population (2010 est.): 1,354,051 (growth rate: 1.2%); birth rate: 27.1/1000; infant mortality rate: 66.7/1000; life expectancy: 48; density per sq mi: 171
Capital: Mbabane, 69,000
Largest city: Manzini, 75,000
Monetary unit: Lilangeni

Languages: English, Siswati (both official) 
Ethnicity/Race: African 97%, European 3%
Religions: Zionist (a blend of Christianity and indigenous ancestral worship) 40%; Roman Catholic 20%; Muslim 10%; Anglican, Bahai, Methodist, Mormon, Jewish, and other 30%
Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 38,500 (2001); mobile cellular: 45,000 (2001). Radio broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 2 plus 4 repeaters, shortwave 3 (2001). Radios: 170,000 (1999). Television broadcast stations: 5 plus 7 relay stations (2001). Televisions: 23,000 (2000). Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 5 (2002). Internet users: 7,000 (2002).
Transportation: Railways: total: 301 km (2002). Highways: total: 3,247 km (1998). Ports and harbors: none. Airports: 18 (2002).
Photos:
Swaziland annual celebrations...
Have a nice day...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

PLANET With Two SUNs...?

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle
US astronomers say they have discovered a planet that is orbiting two Suns.
This planet, called Kepler-16b, is a freezing cold world about the size of Saturn, orbiting two parent Suns in a near perfect circle about 200 light years away.
The planet was glimpsed with the US space agency's Kepler space telescope, which monitors the brightness of 155,000 stars, according to the research published in the journal Science.
While astronomers have previously glimpsed planets they believed were orbiting two stars, they had never before seen one actually passing in front of its two Suns so this discovery offers the first proof.
"Kepler-16b is the first confirmed, unambiguous example of a circumbinary planet — a planet orbiting not one, but two stars," said co-author Josh Carter of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
If there were people on Kepler-16b, they could relax to the view of a double sunset, but such a scenario is highly unlikely due to the planet's extreme frigid surface temperature of -73 to -101 Celsius.
The chill is likely due to the fact that even though the planet has two Suns, which it orbits every 229 days at a distance of 105 million kilometres, they are smaller and cooler than our single Sun.
One of Kepler-16b's Suns is 20 percent as massive as ours, and the other is 69 percent as massive.
While the planet orbits them, the two Suns dance with each other in an "eccentric 41-day orbit," the study said.
The study was led by Kepler scientist Laurance Doyle of the California-based SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute.
Top view diagram of the Kepler-16 system. The orbits of the Kepler-16 components are shown in gray curves. The sizes of the bodies are in current proportions to one another, but on a scale 20 times larger that the orbital scale.
The components of the ternary system Kepler-16 in transit. The late-K star (large and orange) and M-dwarf star (reddish and smaller) and the exoplanet (dark) are shown to their relative size at the time of a transit. Sunspot activity on Kepler-16A was indeed detected by Kepler. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt
 
Reference to article written by Dr. Franck Marchis, SETI Institute .

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