The Symbiotic Relationship Between Agriculture and Human Civilization


Technology is a blessing to humanity, without which, society would crumble and communities lost to starvation. Agriculture has been a part of human civilization since the beginning of time. Being able to cultivate crops and having enough yield to sustain the population was instrumental to how we populated the world. In the beginning, domestication was the most crucial step in creating successful and effective agriculture. Plant domestication included how to sow and harvest crops in order to maximize the yield. 

Farmers and scientists worked together in figuring out how best to domesticate wild plants to suit us best. While scientists are able to work out the optimum requirements such as environment, water, climate, farmers go about it in the most basic manner: keeping the seeds of plants that provided the best fruit or yield. For instance, the seeds from the sweetest mangoes will be kept and perhaps even sold, which propagates the plant further and longer for more generations to come. Conversely, a plant that does badly is often cut down and discarded, removing its opportunity to further propagate. Through artificial selection, undesirable traits are extinguished over time, while the opposite is that plants with promising traits are kept, well cared for and flourish. These are the evolutions that agriculture had to go through, from domestication to coevolution, with science always hot on the industry’s tail in order to further improve the system. 

With the world now at 7.9 billion people, agriculture has to undergo yet another upheaval in order to continue providing for hungry mouths all over the world, making agriculture an uphill battle as the numbers continue to increase. Farmers are also forced to adapt to emerging technology as best they can in order to keep up. 

Vertical farming and grow lights are two of the more popular buzzwords of 2019 as sustainability came into the picture. According to statistics, the world is only able to sustain a maximum population of 10 billion people, but only if everyone became vegan as cattle and livestock takes up more than 33% of agricultural land worldwide. Therefore, in an attempt to capitalize on the remaining land, vertical farming was introduced, a method that is much more sustainable as it uses less land, less water and less fertilizer – plus with the help of grow lights, you can potentially grow crops all year round, even in the dead of winter because you will be growing the crops in a controlled environment. Farmers in South Africa have used this technique to great success, and the practice should see a spike of interest well into 2020 as it is converted into full scale, commercial farming, replacing the traditional farms of yesteryears. 

Another reason why vertical farming is becoming popular is because anyone can start a vertical farm. Regardless of whether you’re living on landed property or in an apartment, which is great for apartment dwellers. They don’t need to sacrifice having a bit of greenery in their lives by moving into apartment buildings. Walls are the new real estate to those with green thumbs. While it is not a new invention, having been introduced as early as 1988, vertical farming has only recently been picked up by the masses purely due to the fact that urban dwellers are becoming increasingly frustrated by the concrete jungle that surrounds them and the rate of disappearing jungles due to logging and the agricultural industry. 

Aside from that, vertical farming has the potential to shorten the supply chain. Instead of flying in product from another part of the country, you could have a farm right next to your grocer. Why not? It’s not as though it takes up a lot of space. Quite the contrary, consumers would be happy to purchase produce fresh from the garden, without having to drive for miles out of the city to a proper, conventional working farm. 

While vertical farming might be the solution to the fact that the world is becoming increasingly smaller and that we have less and less land every day, there is still the question of how technology can further aid agriculture and researchers and inventors come up with new solutions every day: drones to monitor growth, big data analysis, drip irrigation and even mobile applications that can monitor their crops, help with plant identification or troubleshooting on farm devices and technology. Farmers can also ask for advice on forums that are able to help give professional help on how to save their crops or maximize yield. The internet has a wreath of information that everyone should take it upon themselves to study and understand their industry better, especially in a field much like farming where technology is being produced at an unprecedented rate and where there are no one-size-fits-all system, due to land, climate and other factors that can affect one’s farm. 

The Thrilling Evolution of Educational Toys


Education is one of the most forward and revolutionary industries in the world. This has always been the way for this intellectually inclined industry. Throughout the decades, education has adapted with the shifting tides of a changing world, evolving time and time again to realign with the next phase of the human experience. Throughout all these years, the key fundamentals in education that have never wavered have been that education is powerful, and educational tools and toys make or break student experiences. The evolution of educational toys has been an evolution that has been challenging and inspiring, depending on which perspective you looked at any given moment in time from, and how long you stayed rooted to that perspective, taking it all in. In recent years, the educational toys available began to modernise again, this time becoming more capable and reliable through the introduction of technological advancement and enhancement. Even now, the toys utilised in education are becoming more heavily focused on modern marvels like digitalization and technological advancement than ever.

Of course, this is a direct mirroring response to the way that the entire modern education industry is slowly but surely transforming, being revolutionised in the face of technological advancement. The world around us has been slowly but surely shifting into high gear as a response to the climbing efforts in technological advancement that have had a phenomenal impact on the way the education industry – and the world itself, for that matter – have changed over the years. Today, the educational toys that students and educators alike utilise are more technologically sound than ever. So much so, in fact, that they are now almost entirely driven, or at the very least cultivated in collaboration with, technological innovation. Why, you ask? It all starts with the students. The students that go through the global education industry at any given time largely (if not entirely) control what aspects of education – yes, including educational toys – are working and which are not.

Modern students have grown up positively immersed in and surrounded by great feats of digitalisation and technological advancement. So, when the educational toys available to them began to incorporate and even mirror those same tech-driven innovations they had grown up surrounded by for their entire lives, they responded to them. It is a known fact that we respond best to what we are familiar with – at least in the beginning. Tech-driven educational toys like the digitalisation of learning materials (think textbooks, test papers, etc), iPads for homework, and Kindles for reading (among many other examples of tech-driven educational tools, of course) are just some examples of the educational toys that have evolved to become some of the most well-known and highly utilised of all of those available. This has all been through the ongoing assistance of the students who, one way or the other, make it known how the educational toys in circulation are being received and how useful they actually are to the students.

From educational toys in Australia, to the educational toys in Europe, and everywhere in between and beyond, the one constant is that the evolution of educational toys has been one that is rife with excitement, innovation, growth, and trial and error. Over the years, all those teachable moments and reigning triumphs built up to become what the educational toys available to learners and educators alike today, are. Never have educational tools and toys been this incredible, this profound. And never again will they be this simple, this old-school. The fundamentals that go into evolving educational toys from one era effectively into the next are the very same fundamentals that play a core role in ensuring that education remains fresh and relevant. This is an important distinction to make because if we lose sight of that fact, it becomes all too easy to lose sight of everything else.

Throughout the decades that education has thrived in its colourful existence, it has been a recurring theme that this is an industry that has adapted with the shifting tides of a world that refuses to stop evolving. Of course, this is a good thing. Education is a key fundamental contributor to the way of the world around us, and without it we would surely crumble. So, having an academic industry like education that not only meets expectations but far exceeds them, is a gift. The educational tools and toys that have assisted students and educators alike in their pursuit of more capable and reliable ways to learn and to teach, have become more and more technologically advanced and enhanced over the years. Today, these educational toys are more tech-savvy than ever. Going forward, these innovations in educational toys will only continue to become more and more advanced and enhanced – and technological innovation is largely, if not entirely, to thank for this ongoing evolution.

Personalisation Advancements Seek to Revolutionise Health and Fitness Industry


It is no secret that the health and fitness industry is always evolving. Like the rest of the modern world, there is an undeniable sense of continuous evolution that has propelled the health and fitness industry to unprecedented heights (in mostly positive ways, of course). The modern health and fitness era is all about giving the power back to the people and essentially putting them in charge of their own trajectory towards their healthier selves. To some people, it sounds kind of strange. To others, it makes perfect sense – and then some. The movement to introduce a more personalised approach to health and fitness has been spinning on its axis in the peripheral vision of the health and fitness industry for quite some time now, but it was not until recently that it has truly kicked into active gear. Now, the personalisation advancements that are rippling through the health and fitness industry are not only changing the game, but are revolutionising the way that we approach health and fitness from the onset.  

The current advancements in personalisation are changing the health and fitness game tenfold. Whether it is the latest wearables or the technologies that are enhancing the individual’s experience with their diet and exercise, the point is always the same: personalisation is the core of the modern era in health and fitness advancement – and for good reason. The more information that we get about health and fitness, the more aware and knowledgeable we become about the ways that we should be stepping up to ensure that our personal levels of health and fitness are at their best. Inevitably, that means walking the line between inclusive information and personalised approaches that not only showcase the elements of health and fitness that apply to everyone, but the intricate specifics that assist that select individual in not only meeting their goals, but smashing them out of the park. 

That is where the magic starts, and personalisation is the driving force behind propelling that magic onward and upward. For every individual, their approach to their own health and fitness differs from those on either side of the. Sometimes, the differences are minute, and in other instances the differences are more significant. Some individuals buy clenbuterol while others exclusively eat a plant-based diet. Some individuals thrive in the structured environment of the gym, while others bloom in the natural environment around them out in the great outdoors. Regardless of who you are or what your specific approach to health and fitness is, however, the core underlying concept is that personalisation technology is here and it is advancing at exceedingly rapid rates, spelling the beginning of the next era in health and fitness. It is a beginning that is full of hope and promise, and one that is more than a little exciting to boot.

Personalisation advancement seeks to revolutionise the health and fitness industry, and to this end the movements thus far (think wearable technologies, apps, etc) are certainly positive. At the end of the day, personalisation advancements are worth their weight in gold. This is a fact that this fresh newfound approach to health and fitness is effectively proving time and again. The introduction and ongoing advancement of personalisation in the global health and fitness industry is a testament to the fact that consumers want solutions that work for them specifically and are not just broadly catered to the many people. Personalisation is the aim of the game these days, and it is certainly off to a flying start in the health and fitness industry. Best of all, is the fact that what we are currently seeing now is just the beginning of what is sure to be a very exciting, even life changing era in health and fitness.

The health and fitness industry is one of the most enduring and impressive industries in the world. This is an industry that is renowned for being instrumentally aware and responsive to the shifting priorities and needs of its consumers. And lately, the advancements rippling through the health and fitness industry have been primarily geared towards personalisation. This is an incredible movement, and it is one that is gaining considerable traction even now, several months into the global shift in the health and fitness industry. At the core of it all, personalisation advancements in health and fitness are all about giving the power back to the people and letting them run with it in ways that are truly relevant to them individually, not just as a collective group. It has taken some time to get to this point, but finally we are seeing incredibly healthy and supported movements in health and fitness towards a more globally personalised approach to all things health and fitness. The best is yet to come, so buckle up.

Successful Data Collection Begins with Intended Use, Security and Reputable Hosts


Each year technology advances making life easier for businesses and consumers. As technology continues to grow, it becomes an inseparable part of life. Changing the way people live their life, even undertaking mundane, routine tasks like going into a bank or purchasing a coffee relies on a complex web of interconnected transactions taking place on a multitude of devices and points of presence. In the old days, the cumbersome paper trail was the only way to keep records and interact with customers. Even basic tasks like queuing for your bank teller would entail signing your name on paper, waiting to be called up to the desk, explaining the purpose of your visit and then being able to receive the service. This paper trail has been uploaded, where these manual processes took manual intervention and time, it all now happens in the cloud, on your device on some other device or is automated in many ways. Still, this data needs to be collected for optimisation and improvement. Allowing a customer to get to the point of service of quicker, and hopefully, with greater satisfaction. Some areas of technology like mobile data collection helps to alleviate wait times.

The ubiquity and access that consumers have to mobile devices is a small example of how huge amounts of data can be collected. This fact of our modern age has catalyzed data collection has significantly changed the way consumers and businesses store information; how much is stored; for what purposes and how the public perceive the importance of their digital footprint. It is of utmost importance to choose wisely in trusted providers when it comes to web hosting service that store, manage and serve applications, digital environments and data.

With the ability to mass store and recall information on-demand, it becomes easier to use the data to inform key business decisions. That is, as long as it’s efficiently stored and organized at point of ingest. Nowadays, when walking into some stores, customers can type their name out into a tablet and this helps to directly send the information to store associates. When it comes to rewards cards, retailers can just type in a phone number, and customer information is pulled so they associated can input necessary rewards or update any changed information.

Instead of writing information down, now it can be inputted and stored on your smartphone. Often this data if handed off to data organisation tool like that’s synced across a multitude of device. The always on device also send out location, logs your times at a location and types of activity. Big data companies use this information to calculate store footfall, waiting times, sift through data on commonly asked questions about the place of business. This is all to ensure that the customer has access to the right service, at the right time without interruption.

In the back-office, data collection helps to save time and the environment. Many offices now run paperless. Instead of putting paper in employee mailboxes, or recording unshareable notes or insights, employees from management to sales clerk can access a stream of constantly updated information regarding their operational practices and any important incentives. Reducing the need of paper, ink and office supplies has a significant impact on an organisation’s carbon footprint and opens up the gates to unfettered collaboration and total transparency: inviting colleagues to work together and have oversight of shared folders, documents and processes. In most agile organisations, all this information is stored in the cloud and now links have replaced post it notes. We share ideas through messages using embedded links to our complete thoughts and works.

A large concern used to be space to hold paper files. Now filing cabinets have turned into digital documents filed in folders within folders. All of these files may still be stored and organized in a similar manner as filing cabinets, it just takes up hard drive and cloud space rather than a room full of gray and beige metal cabinets.

Our treatment of data has not changed. The method we utilise to store and organise it has. The fact that this can be served up on-demand and at lightning speeds has now enabled businesses, small and large to act on this information very quickly. Utilizing this data collection at, for example retail locations, users can answer questions to provide feedback to the retailer about their service experience or reason for stopping by. It allows businesses to maintain customer care information. By asking for a location information (as many apps and online services now do), retail marketers can see where customers are located and from there develop marketing campaigns targeted in certain regions or demographics.

Mobile apps have strength to reach large global audiences bringing the human experience to an interactive global communication process. By requesting survey information from app users, it again allows marketers to further understand their audience. Marketing used to be something as simple as telling consumers about a product and making it seem appealing. However, with as advanced as marketing technology has become with data collection and interpretation, it now becomes something that is more of a social science than anything else. By reviewing the scientific data collected in what audiences want, marketers can determine appropriate, targeted, messaging and content backed up by unarguable data in application interaction, surveyed content and explicit feedback.

Data collection is a mutually beneficial relationship between the user and the creators. By learning more about the application users, marketing managers, creative teams, and app creators are able to provide a more efficient and user-friendly product. This is an effective communication process between the app sender and user receiver.

A growing concern and awareness apparent in the zeitgeist of our time is how much data is collected, is that data sensitive information and how is that used. This seems to be especially pertinent to those against profiting off of sharing this information especially when consent has not been explicitly granted. In addition to this, with the rise of ever more sophisticated public security breaches, tech users (which is not effectively everyone) are becoming increasingly aware that harmful hackers may potentially gain access to their data information and use it against them for identity theft or something similarly harmful. To eliminate this worry, it’s important for companies that want to utilize data collection to maintain continual heightened security. As technology advances, the security embedded in it should be equally advanced. By providing and promising customer protection, it allows consumers to become trustworthy and reliant on the businesses who collect their data. The effort of the app creators to maintain heightened security will enhance their credibility and positive brand awareness.

Before data collection, it is crucial that companies are transparent in providing a consent agreement. Some companies are not so transparent in their terms and agreements and this could cause an upset later on when consumers did not initially want their data to be collected. It’s also important to be transparent in what data is actually collected. By being fully transparent, customers and application managers are able to have a professional understanding of what is expected and collected from both parties.

Data collection is meant to be helpful, not harmful. If done properly, data insights can benefit service users and service providers. It’s important to maintain updated communication between the creators and platform users. As data collection becomes the major way companies collect customer information, learning how to benefit all stakeholders will be key to the success of the creator and enhanced experience of the user.

The Continuous Advancement of Online Education


Education is an industry that, over time, has been through its fair share of evolutionary eras. This makes perfect sense. After all, education is an industry that quite literally must adapt and evolve with its clients (i.e. its students) to maintain its relevance and its steady hand in the world. Over the years, there have been many great evolutions within the education industry, all of which have had their own distinct impact on the students that successfully made their way through the systems and the academic layout itself. Now that the modern world is dealing with exceedingly rapid innovations in digitalisation and technological advancement, the next natural step in the ongoing evolution of the education industry is the move towards innovations that digitise elements of the academic experience. This concept has been hovering on the horizon for a while now, but it has only been in the last few years that it has begun to genuinely shift into being. Now, we are seeing the proof in the pudding all the time in the education industry.

Consider the introduction and ongoing advancement of online education, for instance. Traditional education has always been enormously successful, of course, but there is something to be said about the power of breaking down the structured barriers of traditional education and giving students access to a form of learning that is truly and entirely inclusive. Traditional education is a sole approach, in a set environment, with structured hours for classes and communications. For some students, this is the ideal approach to learning, and they thrive. But the fact is that trying to education millions of students a year with a single approach to learning, will never get the best out of each and every student. That is where online education comes in and changes the game. Online education is all about breaking down the barriers that are set in place in traditional education (intentionally or not) and creating an environment where students can have a more flexible experience.

Of course, it is important to note that a more flexible learning environment does not mean that it is any less legitimate at all. In fact, the online courses and degrees available via online education are there largely (if not entirely) because they are the very same courses that are offered through traditional education opportunities. Literally the only difference is the nature of the environment and its surrounding circumstances that students navigate when engaging in online education versus traditional education. Learning standard skills like writing and perfecting an impressive resume and learning some of the more stimulating lessons like sciences and understanding the history of literature, are all lessons that are available in online education as well as traditional education. The most valuable ideal of online education is simply that it essentially puts learners in a position to take control of their experience more.

Digitising materials, courses, and entire programs is a life-changing feat that many people honestly once doubted would ever come to fruition. Now, however, thanks to online education, the boundaries of traditional education have been effectively broken down, and students around the globe now have the option of a more heavily structured approach to learning (traditional education) or a more flexible approach to learning (online education). Having the power to decide which pathway a student wants to take has had a dramatic impact on just about every aspect of their education experience. That is why online education is so overwhelmingly valuable. That is the power of online education. And that is exactly why online education is only going to continue going from strength to strength over the coming years. This is just the beginning for online education. As the most exciting and revolutionary transformation in education and its history, online education is going to continue breaking down barriers and changing the lives of students going into the future.

As one of the world’s oldest industries, education has been through many great evolutions in its time. Moving forward, it will continue to do so. Now, as we head further and further into the impending digital era, education is undergoing perhaps its most exciting evolution yet: the introduction of the digitisation of elements of academics. Of course, this includes online education. The movement towards online learning is one that has been on the horizon for quite some time now, but it is only in the last few years that it has truly kicked into high gear. The ongoing innovations in online education are ones that are changing the way that students learn and educators teach, for the better. This is just the beginning for online education too; there are many advancements coming up in the next few years that are set to further revolutionise the online education approach. This is an exciting time for education.

Dutch Researchers Rank Higher than the Top 10 Most Research-intensive Nations in Key Research


When it comes to ranking a nation and its researchers high in the list of global researches, there is a set of prerequisites that they ought to fulfill. Apart from being proven productive and efficient in the works submitted, the chief objective of the researchers must be to abide by all the constituents that would take his country forward along with placing it on the world map of integrated advancement and add to the overall value of its education system and uplift the present awareness and understanding of the same. 

In the recent past, reports that were conducted with an aim to announce the outcome of a comparative study based on Dutch researcher’s international performance and comprised of straps from scientific, technical and medical information products and services asserted that in a comparison that included the top 10 nations placed in order of their annual spending in research and development, the Netherlands ranked number one. Furthermore, the Dutch researchers were declared to be placed at a position higher than all its contemporaries in terms of their publication impact per article and effectiveness in international collaboration. However, the list of achievements associated with the Netherlands in the field of educational research doesn’t make halt here; it moves on to place the country at number one in the world as far as citations generated per unit of Resource and Development spending is concerned and at number two in case of publications generated per unit of R&D spending. All these digits and configurations were duly verified and submitted at the Impact of Science Conference held in Amsterdam.

After browsing through all these technical facts, if we start exploring the components that in reality led to this glaring success of the Netherlands amidst the top 10 most research-intensive nations in key research, we will come across the two major ones that form an indispensable portion of any research-driven study. Firstly, in the past few years, the Netherlands ‘ international collaboration and initiation of a geographically mobile research base were invariably high with almost little or no exceptions. A sum total of about 48.7% of the number of articles submitted by a Netherlands-based researcher were delineated in collaboration with a researcher who hailed from a distinct country altogether. In any research technique, international collaboration is always studied under a positive light and justifiably so. Coming back to our evaluation, the constituting figure of 48.7% is inevitably a higher proportion when placed alongside any of the top 10 R&D spending nations of the world. Like we have already mentioned, international collaboration is always considered to be a positive driving force when it comes to laying a generous impact on the research impact and prestige. 

The second factor which analysts qualify as a highly influential ingredient in positing the Netherlands at the top of the list is the mobile research base. This mechanism of research is related to the term that we call “brain circulation”, or in simpler terms, cross-border mobility of researchers. As per the guidelines of this method, the country allows and aids its researchers to explore distinct notches of educations and the fields that they are related to both in the national and international realms. When a scholar is pursuing his research, it is not customary for him to limit his mode of investigation within the resources available in his country; and therefore, he is free to examine the funds supplied by its collaborators. The Netherlands has always been known and been in history for allowing people to move in and out of the country, even when it comes to pursuing the assets in the world of science. For instance, there has been a record of at least 74% of affiliated authors with the Dutch universities who have successfully published their research articles in an institution situated in another country at some point in their careers.

After analyzing the above-mentioned influences we can safely conclude that the rank that has been granted to the Netherlands in the paraphernalia of global educational research has been rightly earned by the Dutch scholars. A notion that we have all believed and been taught since our childhood is that there is no end to learning; a man, no matter how learned or well informed he is, cannot guarantee a full-fledged demonstration of the same. Therefore, when it comes to dealing with a serious matter like that of research, steering away from the implications of international collaboration and mobile research base cannot be waived. Injecting profound shreds of information like no other and enriching the study with lesser-known facts and SEO approved content is the key to illustrating a worthy research paper that is capable of representing the educational trends and recourses of its country.

The Important Role of Sleep Health and Wellness

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Sleep is one of the most important contributing factors to one’s overall health and wellbeing. In fact, a growing pile of studies and subsequent research point to the fact that these are ideals that are not only expected to be directly correlated with the habits of your sleep, but are in fact literally connected. The impact that sleep (or lack thereof) has on the health and wellbeing of the human body is crucial. We often pay (rightful) attention to physical health and now also mental health and emotional health, but the surrounding factors that impact these aspects of overall health are too often overlooked or underestimated. In recent years, more awareness has been mounting. The result of this consistently climbing level of awareness and understanding is that individuals are becoming more and more superbly aware of the impact that our daily habits have on the state of our existence. Especially in this modern time, individuals lead lives that are busier than they have ever been. This means that they sometimes end up sacrificing a few hours of sleep here and there in favour of getting in more time to work and enjoy life. This is how the problem manifests.

While some individuals might not pay adequate attention to their sleep habits, it has become increasingly obvious in recent years that sleep is crucial to overall health and wellbeing. However, it was obviously not always this way. In fact, for so long there was an ongoing trend that most individuals spent less and less time sleeping and more and more time trying to focus on the surrounding aspects of their waking lives. This is not necessarily wrong, but the ways that they were choosing to go about it were not at all healthy. Losing out on sleep can actually have some devastating effects on the human body. For instance, when we go to sleep, the brain gets a much-needed rest to replenish from the day that has just been, as well as to revitalise for the coming day ahead. When you sleep, your brain gets to work cleaning out the gunk that builds up during the day, as well as replenishing your stores of basic cognitive function and metabolism.

The quality of sleep is important, of course, but so is the consistency of that quality of sleep. More than ever before, people are becoming more aware of how their sleeping habits impact the quality of their life. If you do not have a healthy sleeping pattern, the gunk that builds up during the day does not have the chance to be cleared out. This is especially important because this gunk is directly correlated to increased risk of diseases of the mind like Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Additionally, when you go not get enough sleep, your natural metabolism is messed around, which in turn can lead to unhealthy weight gain. And finally, your cognitive functions thrive at their best when you are well rested. If you do not get enough sleep, your cognitive functions suffer. These are just some of the examples of the impact that inadequate sleep can have on the human body. There are many, many more.

When it comes to taking adequate responsibility for the quality of one’s sleep, it is important to note that consistency is key. There is no point in getting in a few perfect night’s sleep here and there if you are going to lack consistency with this healthy habit. At the end of the day, consistency is key. If your sleeping pattern is consistent (most of the time, of course), then you have the best possible chance of being your healthiest self. If you have an unhealthy relationship with sleep, that instability is more likely to manifest in unhealthy ways in your body. This obviously has negative impacts on the sleep health and wellness you live out and your quality of life in general. Thankfully, individuals are beginning to take more notice of their sleeping habits and are being more actively engaged in transforming them into healthy habits. It is an ongoing process that takes time, but when you only have one body and one life, it is entirely and without exception worth it – every single time.

Understanding the impact that healthy habits have on our overall health and wellbeing is not always given the attention that it ought to be given. Over the years, it has been a continuous trend that people often sacrifice necessary healthy habits in the name of staying on track with their exceedingly busy lives. Unfortunately, sleep is one of the most significantly overlooked healthy habits there is. However, in recent years there has been a growing body of research and subsequent studies that experiments that have proven time and again that sleep is not only recommended for the utmost quality of life possible, but it is absolutely crucial. Sleep health and wellness is so often overlooked that it can swing under the radar for far too long. That is, until individuals become aware and decided to take appropriate action. Now, thankfully, the importance of sleep health and wellness is finally being given the attention to detail that it deserves and needs. There is still work to be done, but this is a very positive step.

The Rise of Sustainable Tourism


Last month, the last tourists were allowed to ascend Ayer’s Rock or Uluru, Australia’s most famous rock and a drawcard for international and domestic tourists. Uluru is now closed to tourists in respect of its traditional owners, the Anangu people, whose culture and law forbid people to climb Uluru. The decision to close Uluru comes after many years of debate between local indigenous communities and local government, and is one of the few times where Indigenious values have actually won over other (financial) interests. The decision was made by the Australian government, in extension of its support for the Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) program, which enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to manage existing and creating new IPAs, in an effort to protect and conserve Australia’s rich biodiversity. Even if that means tourism revenue is lost as a direct result.

It is just one example of a growing travel trend we are seeing around the world – a trend where more value is being placed on ethics than on profits, where environmentally and socially sustainable outcomes are being emphasised over ‘experience vacationing’. It is the rise in sustainable tourism, and boy is it about time. Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious: they want a holiday, but not if it is to the detriment of a local community or the local environment.

Millennials are driving the shift, fueling demand for more sustainable accommodation, tour agencies and group holiday experiences. They are also prepared to pay more for the experience, 73 percent of them are, in fact. They would rather not visit a major tourist attraction if they know its profits are used to further corruption within the government, and they will skip out on a walking tour of a slum community if they feel it will have a harmful impact on those residing within the slum. They would rather avoid visiting an elephant orphanage if they know the elephants are ‘rescued’ under false pretences and then abused.  Even if it the best location for wildlife watching, the new age conscious consumer is not interested in staying at an African safari lodge if it uses plastic bottles for drinking water, or if lodge profits aren’t used to better the surrounding community. They know what we want, and thankfully so, because the future is more or less in their hands.

It’s not just millennials driving the trend though, 105.3 million U.S. travellers are prioritising vacations that give back to the environment and community as much as they take, according to Sustainable Travel International, and 60 percent of leisure travellers in the U.S. are sustainable travellers. The UN even aptly named 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, taking advantage of global momentum to further the efforts of sustainable tour operators, airlines, organisations and companies seeking to lessen travellers’ impacts on the world.  According to the UN, the fastest growing group of sustainable traveller is that which would rather travel to a pristine, remote area and contribute to conservation efforts there than go on an all-paid luxury holiday to a tropical beach. People want to come back from a holiday feeling reinvigorated and inspired, not as though they have laid on a beach for a fortnight drinking cocktails.

For a destination to be certified as sustainable by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, it must follow a very specific set of criteria, from supporting local businesses to conserving natural resources. Yellowstone National Park and Vail, Colorado, are two U.S. destinations on the path to becoming certified as sustainable destinations – but a place must tick a lot of boxes in order to make the cut. Beyond this particular certification, well-known destinations right around the world are doing what they can to negate the impacts of the hordes of tourists they welcome on a daily basis. Cinque Terre, Machu Picchu and the Great Barrier Reef are some of them, by limiting the annual number of visitors they receive, while authorities of places like Koh Tachai in the Similan National Park are prohibiting visitors altogether in an effort to conserve the pristine environment.

The thing is, if we wish to continue being able to explore all corners of planet earth, bathe in its waterfalls, swim on its beaches, walk on its mountains, we really do need to change the way we travel.

According to Sustainable Travel International, travel and tourism are responsible for 5 percent of total carbon emissions globally, contributing significantly to climate change, thus putting all these still-pristine destinations at risk of destruction. The World Tourism Organization expects the international tourism market to climb to 1.8 billion by 2030, and has confirmed that in the past 20 years alone worldwide destination seeking has grown by more than 50 percent. The tourism industry is not shrinking any time soon. The choices we make in terms of the food we eat, the agencies we travel with, the modes of transport we use, and the types of activities we engage in, all have significant impacts on both the physical and social or cultural environments in which we find ourselves while travelling. Even the dirt and dust we carry home with us after our travels to foreign lands can have monumentally significant impacts on the integrity of our home country’s ecosystem if introduced. It is no wonder we are all beginning to question how we can do things better while on the road, enjoying ourselves while not putting global communities or ecosystems at risk. With proper measures and by trying wherever possible to travel sustainably, we can negate our impacts and in some circumstances even restore environments to their pre-discovered state.

How English Evolved Into a Modern Language

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In many countries, education is considered as a duty, not just a mere right. It is often accepted as a fundamental resource for individuals and societies. Historically, over the past two centuries, there has been a substantial expansion in literary education over the globe. The global literacy rates have been increasing. In 2016, it was recorded that approximately 86% of the world population were able to read and write. In 1820, literate people accounted for only 12.0% of the population. Rising rates of enrollment in primary education and a continual increase in the growth of secondary and tertiary education are perceived to have been driving up the global literacy rates.

Currently, English is the preferred global language and the international language of commerce, science and other major areas, despite being ranked top 3 in the world’s most spoken language. There are more than 350 million people that speak English as a first language, with 350 million people conversing in English as a second language. English started to get popular many years after the English alphabet got its full 26 letters.

Literacy has a very long history. The very first written communication can be traced way back to around 3500 B.C. Inscriptions on the Kish tablet were observed by experts to be the earliest form of known writing. The tablet is inscribed with proto-cuneiform signs that are typically elementary symbols intended to convey meaning by means of their resemblance to physical objects. By 3000 B.C., the Sumerians had developed cuneiform script, known by many people as wedge-shaped script because the inscribed marks seem to have been pressed into clay tablets with a wedge. Gradually, these pictorial symbols were developed into smaller characters that were meant to represent the syllabus of the spoken language. Because of its versatility, cuneiform writing was also used to write various languages, including Elamite and Hittite. An actual alphabet, having symbols to represent phonetic sounds, came later from a different culture. Having been Influenced by cuneiform, the Phoenicians developed, around 1400 B.C., a set of symbols expressing consonants only. The Phoenician alphabet was widely used throughout Greece and the Mediterranean region as it only comprised of 22 letters based on sound as opposed to the countless symbols used in cuneiform. The Greeks, building on the Phoenician alphabet, added vowels around 750 B.C. It was sometime later appropriated by the Latins who had merged it with some Etruscan characters, such as the letters F and S. The Latins became the Romans, and the Roman alphabet looked very similar to our modern English today. It contains every letter except J, U/V or W.

When the Roman Empire landed in Britain, the Latin language was brought by them. At that time, Anglo-Saxons was controlling Britain, the spoken and written language of which were based on the runic alphabet. Throughout the intervention of the Roman Empire, Old English was developed. It was the combination of the Latin alphabet and runic alphabet. Around 1066 A.D. when the Normans invaded Britain, Old English was still being used by some of the lowborn. The clergy, scholars and nobility were conversing and writing in either Latin or Norman French, during which Old English was slowly being developed into Middle English, changing its pronunciation, spelling and grammar. After the end of the ruling of Norman, English started to become more prominent. In the middle of the 15th Century with the establishment of the first printing press in Great Britain, English became more standardized. Sometime later, the first English dictionary was introduced, known as the Table Alphabeticall. By the 19th Century, the letters J, U, V and W had been added, completing the English alphabet that we still use today.

Considered by many as a global language, English is widely used all over the world today. An English renowned linguist has once suggested that a language turns into a global language due to the influence of the people who use it. He mentioned that the popularity of English was due to the influence of the British Empire. In the early 1920, the British Empire had covered over a quarter of the world’s total land surface, including North America, Australia, Africa, Asia and many other areas. During that era, English was widely used. In addition, he also implied that British colonialism was also the reason behind the popularity of English.

In addition to being the preferred global language, higher education is often taught in English all over the world. For instance, Singapore, a multicultural country, has become the top three of an international annual ranking in relation to English proficiency. Despite being a linguistically diverse country where various languages are widely spoken, including Malay, Chinese, Tamil and English, English is taught in every school as a first language, and many tuition classes, such as creative writing classes for primary schools, are conducted in English.

Given its never-ending popularity, English will be used as the global language for many years to come. The English dictionary will likely to expand with the inclusion of many new words. The global literacy rates will continue to raise alongside an increase in the number of English language speakers. Such evolution of literacy will become part of the history of languages.