I easily get distracted by my mobile phone,

I’m in Class IX. I easily get distracted by my mobile phone, and as a result, my homework remains incomplete. How do I handle this?

You are capable of doing well in your studies. You have identified the factors affecting your work. Mobile phones, television, social media etc. Must be used only to keep yourself connected with society. They should not take control of your activities. If you have the determination, you can control your usage. Fix your goal and aim to achieve your best. It is healthy to set your own targets to avoid anxiety and stress. To reduce distractions, the most important thing is to plan work – make time for everything. Allot time for television and mobile phone. Keep your mobile phone away from the place of your study.

Self-discipline is very important. Visualise your goal, and imagine how would feel when you accomplish that goal. This will motivate you.


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What is the clipper route?

Clippers were 19th Century merchant sailing ships that sailed mainly between England and China, Australia and New Zealand. They were fast sailing ships, equipped with multiple square rigged sails supported by three masts. These ships gained in prominence because of the booming tea and opium trade between England and China. The route plied by these ships was called the clipper route.

The clipper route ran down the Atlantic Ocean, rounded the Cape of Good Hope and then went from west to east though the Southern Ocean. The ships took advantage of the Roaring Forties, the strong westerly winds that blow between the latitudes of 40 and 50 degrees in the southern hemisphere. It was the fastest route available between Europe and Asia before the opening of the Suez Canal. The ships would continue eastwards on the homeward journey from Australia and New Zealand along the Southern Ocean, sail around Cape Horn in South America and another 100 days from there back to England.

The ships plying the clipper route faced dangers like turbulent weather at Cape Horn and huge waves and icebergs in the Southern Ocean. However, ship captains still preferred the unsafe route as it offered fast passage.

The clipper route fell into disuse as a trade route with the opening of the Suez and Panama Canals. Moreover, streamships gradually phased out clippers. Though clippers were fast, their speed was largely determined by winds while streamships were more reliable in sticking to their schedules.

Today, the clipper route remains the fastest sailing route around the world. So it is popular with sailing enthusiasts, especially for modern circumnavigation attempts and yacht races like the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and Volvo Ocean Race.


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What is the significance of the code AII3 in animation films?

Pronounced A-one thirteen, it is the number of a classroom at the California Institute of the Arts in the U.S. CalArts is a private university founded by Walt Disney in the early 1960s. It is where legendary animation film makers learnt their craft. The mysterious code A113 figures in every Pixar film in some form or the other. The popular shows The Simpsons, American Dad, South Park, etc. feature this number. In Finding Nemo, a scuba divers camera bears this number. The Toy Story trilogy has two vehicles with license plates bearing the number A113. In Monsters Inc. it is the classroom number of Scaring 101.

It is the moviemakers’ way of showing their gratitude to their alma mater which shaped their career. Directors who passed out of this university have churned out incredible box office hits.


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What is piezoelectricity? How is it produced?

Electricity resulting from the application of mechanical pressure on certain crystals like quartz and tourmaline is called piezoelectricity.

When these crystals are subjected to mechanical strain, a voltage across their opposite faces.

Conversely when a voltage is applied to such crystals, they vibrate.

Piezoelectric materials are used for converting mechanical strain into an electrical signal in such devices as microphones and phonograph pick-ups. The converse effect in which a mechanical output is derived from an electrical signal output is used in such devices as headphones and quartz watches.

The phenomenon of piezoelectricity was discovered in the 1880s.


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What are the chief ingredients of soap?

When reading the printed matter on the wrapper of a bar of toilet soap, I saw the following: TFM = 75% written in bold letters.

What is the meaning of TFM and what is its significance?

The chief ingredients of soap are fats – manufacturers either use animals fats or a vegetable oil, like coconut oil – and an alkali, usually caustic soda. The fats are the most important part of the soap.

TFM stands for Total Fatty Matter. This expresses the real soap content in the toilet soap. If TFM is given as 75% it means that the actual soap content is 75%, while the remaining portion consists of additives, which make it foam, or give it its colour, or keep it hard.

The higher the TFM percentage, the better is the quality of the soap. It is binding on the manufacturer to state how much fatty material there is in the soap.


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