Possibilities, Conflict and Prejudice
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Extreme Weather Wreaking Havoc on Food as Farmers Suffer

Volatile weather around the world is taking farmers on a wild ride.

Too much rain in northern China damaged crops in May, three years after too little rain turned the world’s second-biggest corn producer into a net importer of the grain. Dry weather in the U.S. will cut beef output from the world’s biggest producer to the lowest level since 1994, following 2013’s bumper corn crop, which pushed America’s inventory up 30 percent. U.K. farmers couldn’t plant in muddy fields after the second-wettest year on record in 2012 dented the nation’s wheat production.

Graphic: Living With Extreme Weather

“Extreme weather events are a massive risk to agriculture,” said Peter Kendall, president of the U.K. National Farmers Union, who raises 1,600 hectares (3,953 acres) of grain crops in Bedfordshire, England. “Farmers can adapt to gradual temperature increases, but extreme weather events have the potential to completely undermine production. It could be drought, it could be too much rain, it could be extreme heat at the wrong time. It’s the extreme that does the damage.”

Fast-changing weather patterns, such as the invasion of Arctic air that pushed the mercury in New York from an unseasonably warm 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 Celsius) on Jan. 6 to a record low of 4 (minus 16) the next day, will only become more commonplace, according to the New York-based Insurance Information Institute. While the world produces enough to provide its 7 billion people with roughly 2,700 calories daily, and hunger across the globe is declining, one in eight people still don’t get enough to eat, some of which can be blamed on drought, the United Nations said.

 

Beef cattle stand in a holding pen before entering the auction ring at the Muskingum...Read More

‘Catastrophic Weather’

“There’s no question, while there’s variability and volatility from year to year, the number and the cost of catastrophic weather events is on the rise, not just in the U.S., but on a global scale,” said Robert Hartwig, an economist and president of the insurance institute. “It’s all but certain that the size and the magnitude and the frequency of disaster losses in the future is going to be larger than what we see today.”

The number of weather events and earthquakes resulting in insured losses climbed last year to 880, 40 percent higher than the average of the last 30 years, according to Munich Re, the world’s largest reinsurer.

Research points to a culprit: an increase in greenhouse gases, generated by human activity, that are forcing global temperatures upward, said Thomas Peterson, principal scientist at the U.S. National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina. The warmer the air the more water it can hold, he said.


An office barge sits on dry ground at Osage Marine on the Mississippi River in St.... Read More

“What we’re finding worldwide is that heavy precipitation is increasing,” Peterson said.

German Floods

Flood waters in Passau, Germany, in May and June reached the highest level since 1501, Munich Re said. That was the year Michelangelo first put a chisel to the block of marble that would become his sculpture of David. High water did $15.2 billion in damage in parts of Central and Eastern Europe, according to Munich Re.

A July hailstorm in Reutlingen, Germany, led to $3.7 billion in insured losses, according to Munich Re. Hailstones the size of babies’ fists cracked the windshield of Marco Kaschuba’s Peugeot.

“Two minutes before the storm started you could already hear a very loud noise,” said Kaschuba, a 33-year-old photographer. “That was from hailstones hitting the ground in the distance and coming closer.”

In 2012, the U.K. had its second-highest rainfall going back to 1910, according to the U.K. Met Office. England and Wales had its third-wettest year since 1766.

Israeli Blizzard

December marked the worst blizzard since 1953 in Jerusalem, dumping 15 inches (38 centimeters) of snow on Israel’s capital, where more than 4,000 people were rescued from their vehicles, according to police.

“It was like a neutron bomb hit,” said Eilon Schwartz, 56, an environmental activist living in Tel Aviv who had taken his 11-year-old daughter to play in the snow with friends. “All these cars marooned in the snow and no people.”

December was also Norway’s wettest month in history, according to weather service YR.

Rainfall last year in the contiguous U.S. was 7 percent higher than the 20th century average, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Yet it was difficult to draw broad conclusions because of regional variations. Michigan and North Dakota set records for wetness, while California set its own for lack of rain, NOAA said.

China Cold

Other weather phenomena were similarly topsy-turvy. China shivered through its coldest winter in at least half a century in 2010. Three years later, Shanghai was suffocated by its hottest summer in 140 years, according to the city’s weather bureau.

Record flooding hit the Mississippi River in 2011. The next year, record-low water levels stranded barges, choking the flow of coal, chemicals and wheat.

Such fluctuations were reflected in food prices. In the past three years, orange juice, corn, wheat, soybean meal and sugar were five of the top eight most volatile commodities, according to data on 34 compiled by Bloomberg. Natural gas was No. 1.

While the percentage of the world’s people who go hungry has fallen to 12 percent last year from 19 percent in 1992, and food inflation is ebbing, farming is vulnerable to the extreme weather that comes with climate change, according to the UN.

Price Fluctuations

Record harvests from India to Brazil to the U.S. expanded supply and sent corn, soybeans, wheat, sugar and coffee into markets where prices were falling. TheStandard & Poor’s GSCI Agriculture Index of eight crops tumbled 22 percent last year, the biggest annual drop since 1981.

Yet higher food costs pushed 44 million people into poverty from June 2010 to February 2011, the World Bank estimated. The three years in the past two decades when global food costs were highest all occurred after 2007, according to the UN. Historic drought on four continents over the last five years is partly to blame.

“A drought is really all-consuming,” said northeast Texas rancher Phil Sadler. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be on your place to feel the impact.”

Texan Drought

The record Texas dry spell in 2011 was followed the next year by the most severe drought in the U.S. Midwest since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Texas cattle herds dwindled, driving the price of beef to a record in the U.S., the world’s biggest producer. As of the beginning of last year, ranchers in Texas had reduced their herds to the smallest since 1967, according to the Agriculture Department. The U.S. herd has shrunk for six straight years and last year was at its smallest since 1952, government data show.

“We had to liquidate our herd in order to be able to take care of what we had left,” Sadler said.

Even as rain returned to Texas in 2012, the problems weren’t over for ranchers such as Sadler. The Midwest drought boosted prices of corn and soybeans, used for feed, to all-time highs. The 2011 drought caused a record $7.62 billion in farmlosses in Texas, including $3.23 billion for livestock producers, according to Texas A&M University’s AgriLife Extension Service in College Station.

Russia suffered its worst dry period in at least 50 years in 2010 and two years later lost about 25 percent of its grain harvest in another dry spell, according to the country’s Grain Producers Union.

Powdered Milk

Authorities declared a drought in 2013 across the entire North Island of New Zealand, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, as some areas were the driest in as many as 70 years, according to the government. That pushed the price of whole-milk powder to a record in April last year at Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd’s GlobalDairyTrade auction.

In 2012, Spain had its driest winter and second-driest summer since at least 1947, cutting olive oil and wine volumes to the lowest in at least a decade.

A temperature of 110 degrees in Melbourne halted tennis matches yesterday at the Australian Open.

The violent ups and downs of the weather in the last few years have vexed agricultural producers, said Ross Burnett, who farms cotton in the northeastern Australian state of Queensland. A drought there, in the country’s biggest sugar- and beef-producing region, follows flooding in 2010 and 2011 so bad it stopped the steady rise of sea levels around the world, according to the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research.

“The variability is the most difficult part of it,” Burnett said. “It’s difficult given it can change overnight.”


Via Stéphane Bisaillon
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Racism is a white man's invention: Indians may be bigoted, prejudiced and ... - Daily Mail

Racism is a white man's invention: Indians may be bigoted, prejudiced and ... - Daily Mail | Possibilities, Conflict and Prejudice | Scoop.it
Daily Mail
Racism is a white man's invention: Indians may be bigoted, prejudiced and ...
Daily Mail
This is what the piece said: "Though rarely racist, Britons are exceptionally hostile to immigration - more so than Germans, French or the Dutch.

Via Infidel Patriot, Sherry ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Shameerza's insight:

Using See-Think-Wonder..

I see that India is the second most racist country as 43% of Indians say that they wouldn’t want to live next to a neighbour of a different race which i find it very inconsiderate and unacceptable. Whatever the skin color is, all of us are the same, we are humans, not greater neither weaker. I think that racism should stop because we are as humans, should be adaptable and accepting regardless the skin color because in the end of the day, it doesnt matter. All that matters are your character and personality. In this article, it connects back to attitude. I think if oneself's attitude is in that manner, i find them unacceptable and unadaptable to modern life and its surrounding because they are unable to live with people of the different skin colors. I wonder why people nowadays still hold grudges on someone with a different skin color then theirs. I wonder if this would stop and if it does, will that make us adaptable and acceptable of one another? Will there be a rise in racism? 

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Teo J-lyn's curator insight, July 3, 2013 3:31 AM

India is the world's second-most racist country after Jordan. I think that people should be more accepting towards other races,their languages as well as their religion and not be prejudice. It do not matter what colour we are, as we are all humans, and have blood flowing in us. I wonder if racism will continue and is the government going to do anything about it . Racism had also become a serious issue.

Seamus Ong's curator insight, July 5, 2013 8:55 AM

This is my insight using the see-think-wonder routine. From this article I can see that people are being judged by the colour of their skin, accent and other stuff. I see that most races are being judged based on what the minority from the race does like how some act or talk in public and based on that, other racial groups are under the impression that all people of that certain race is like that and they thus sterotype or generalise everyone belonging to that race. this article makes me think that racism is a big problem and one of the main causes of conflict in multienthnic societies like racial riots. I wonder if racism will ever stop.

Asha Begum's curator insight, July 6, 5:20 AM

Treating the Indians in this way is not right. White men should change their perception of Indian people. Racism should stop because it is not fair to be prejudiced. 

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American Woman Becomes Highest-Paid Exec In Britain

American Woman Becomes Highest-Paid Exec In Britain | Possibilities, Conflict and Prejudice | Scoop.it
An American female executive has finally risen to the top of one nation's pay ranks.

Via AnYes van Rhijn, L¡Xu@N, Seetoh Jun Hao Jonathan
Shameerza's insight:

This article tells me that Burberry CEO and Indiana native, Angela Ahrendts, is now the highest-paid executive in Britain. I think that see is a really smart and capable person in reaching such a high position in the company. In Britain, Ahrendts is one of just three female CEOs running the country’s top companies. This shows that she is one of the few most successful female in the country as she managed to reach that position. I think in reaching that position is hard and it requires lot of intelligence and hardwork. I wonder how she managed to excell and become one of the highest paid exec in Britain. I also wonder how many years does it takes to reach that such position and what are the difficulties she faced. In conclusion, i can say that everything is possible, it is just a matter whether want it or not, and how do you want to have it. She is one of the few role models and everyone should look up to her and also maybe to follow her steps. She is a really successful woman in which she is very smart, intelligent and capable. These few qualities in which everyone should have into becoming successful just like her. 

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Tricia Chng's curator insight, June 22, 2013 7:55 AM

From this news, i can see that Burberry CEO and Indiana native, Angela Ahrendts, is now the highest paid executive in Britian. In Britain, Ahrendts is one of just three females CEOs running the country’s top companies. I think that they are very capable. It is not an easy tasked to run the company. I believe that this is a very good example as she is very successful. Those that want to be like her can really learn from her.

Seetoh Jun Hao Jonathan's curator insight, June 26, 2013 11:35 PM

Burberry CEO and Indiana native Angela Ahrendts, is now the highest-paid executive in Britain, she is really capable as she is able to reach such a high position. In Britain, Ahrendts is one of just three female CEOs running the country’s many top companies. This shows us how successful she is. I wonder how she managed to reach that position because it is not an easy task. She is a good role model and i think that we should all learn from her to become successful in life.

Tan Wenjia Polar Beary's curator insight, June 29, 2013 5:53 AM

This article talks about the CEO of burberry on how she become sucessful. And how she become the highest paid american female in top of the nation pay ranks. And in british, angela ahrendts is one of just 3 females CEO running the country top company. She is a woman that is influence by sucess and she has factors that lead her to becoming sucessful.This proves that nothing in this world is impossible.

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Seeing Possibilities

Seeing Possibilities | Possibilities, Conflict and Prejudice | Scoop.it
You are today where your thoughts have brought you & you will be tomorrow where your thoughts will lead you. Engage in the future when seeing possibilities.

Via John Michel
Shameerza's insight:

Using see,think,wonder..                                                                                           In the article, i can see that everything is all based on oneself's attitude. If you have a negative attitude, the results will be negative in return instead of positive. Attitude, i think that if oneself's attitude is negative, every outlook and aspect of life in oneself's view will turn out negative resulting in being a pessimist. If we changed our attitude, the changes to our outlook and thinking will turn into positive, in which making us much more successful. Confidence is also important in having a positive attitude. If you do not have confidence in making choices/decisions or facing difficulties, the results in return will be negative, also missing out given opportunities in life because you are not confident about risking it. In conclusion based on the article, you must have a positive attitude in which to be confident and optimistic so as to succeed in life.

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Teo J-lyn's curator insight, July 3, 2013 3:23 AM

I can see that when people are awlays being exposed to negative thoughts and information, they tend to make bad choices due to their negative thoughts, affecting the way he or she lead their life. This cause people to feel demoralised , which will also affect the way they think.Thus, it is important to think positive, and see the brighter side of life. This will allow people to strive towards their goal, and have their desired outcome. I think attitude plays a important role in the way we think. i wonder why do people not think the positive side of life.

Jaslyn Si Jia's curator insight, July 4, 2013 5:59 AM

After reading this article, I realized that positive attitude is needed to determine the life we're living in and also the possibilities that we can achieve. Many people may be affected in their life due to the negative thoughts and attitude that they have, if they had positive attitude in all the things they do, they would live a better life and discover things that they might have never discovered before. These positive attitude and thoughts leads to finding even more possibilities and lead us to the right path onto our future.

Coven Chong Weng's curator insight, July 5, 2013 7:09 AM

From this article, i realise that with the right attitude, we can come up with all different kind of outcome in some situations. If your attitude is positive for everything, everything might just turn out the way that you want it. However if you have a negative attitude, things will not go the way you want it to and it might get even worse. Thus, i wonder why some people dont think with a positive attitude.

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The Depressing Truth About Kids And Fat Prejudice

The Depressing Truth About Kids And Fat Prejudice | Possibilities, Conflict and Prejudice | Scoop.it
Fat prejudice isn't limited to the adults leading Abercrombie & Fitch and the tabloid industry. According to a new study out of the University of Leeds, children as young as four have internalized the idea that overweight means bad.

Via Leong Kin Wai
Shameerza's insight:

Using See-Think-Wonder..                                                                       From the article, i can see that kids as young as four years old have internalized the idea that being overweight it bad. I think that this have been influenced with social medias, posters, ads and commercial adverts showned on tv. I think that this is really bad for kids because they are still young and fragile. I think that this should stop as fat prejudice is not a good as it affects young kids. I wonder if this fat prejudice could stop damaging and internalizing young kids mind that being overweight is bad. I wonder if there are ways in which we could all prevent and eradicate this. 

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Xinghui's comment, July 1, 2013 9:22 AM
From this article, i can tell people all over the world have been sensitive about being obese. They are constantly worrying about how they look, how people will see them, how they dress etc. I believe many girls fear about getting judged and no doubt, people say we all live in a judgmental society. I felt ridiculous when a kid as young as 4 have the idea that being overweight means bad. Your appearance does not determine your personality and your attitude. It isn't all about being 'skinny' and 'in shape' as "Nobody's Perfect". I realized that people all over the globe has been trying to chase perfection. I strongly feel that they should stop and be comfortable with the way they look. I wonder what is keeping people from being satisfied with their body weight/ size. Will people continue to have that idea about being obese?
Kyle Tan's curator insight, July 1, 2013 9:28 AM

In this article, I can see that even kids are thinking that being fat is bad. This is due to many influences arround them like social media, influence from family and friends. I think that this prejudice should stop. People who are overweight are people too, they have feelings and they will feel hurt if someone were to tell them that being fat is bad. I wonder what will happen if this prejudice goes on.

Jaslyn Si Jia's curator insight, July 4, 2013 5:46 AM

From this article, I realized that not only adults but even young children of 4 to 7 years old are judging that being overweight is bad and that these overweight people are less likely to achieve a result in life, like, winning races etc., and that most children won't accept the friendship between themselves and a overweight child. Not only will prejudice act on others, but it will also act on themselves via the surrounding things that influences them. I feel that everyone shouldn't judge overweight people in the way most people are doing it, but instead they should accept these overweight people and not judge their appearance but their character. I wonder why people judge overweight people in this way and whether there are any plans to help people around the world to understand and stop these unfair judgments.

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How Singapore creates its economic miracles | Globe and Mail

How Singapore creates its economic miracles | Globe and Mail | Possibilities, Conflict and Prejudice | Scoop.it

 

When Gregory Wade left Research In Motion’s Asia Pacific headquarters here last fall, the logical thing to do might have been to pack up his family and head home to his native shore of British Columbia.

 

Instead, the eight-year expat joined an equity firm and continued preaching the economic miracle of Singapore, coaching Canadian firms looking to set up shop in the region as a vice-president for The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Singapore.

 

“You will sense a vibe of growth, of energy, a sense of entrepreneurship and the desire and interest to create new and innovative products and services,” said Mr. Wade, who is now managing director of mobility at InflexionPoint Acquisition Corp. “I didn’t get that same vibe in Canada, regardless of locale.”

 

For a city-state with no resources, limited land and a small population, creating the explosive growth and development of the past half-century has meant running it like a corporation – using highly trained, highly paid leaders, inviting the world’s best and brightest to its work force with an open-door policy, and with a near-zero tolerance for dissent among the masses.

 

The result is a planned, modern economy with efficient public services, an educated population and a per-capita share of gross domestic product of more than $60,000 (U.S.), the highest in Southeast Asia. Singapore ranks No. 2 on the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness rankings.

 

Today, as Singapore nears the 50th anniversary of its independence, the original economic miracle is slowing. Hit hard by the Asian financial crisis, the dot-com bust, the outbreak of SARS in 2003 and then global recession in 2008, the city-state is at an economic turning point.

 

Click headline to read more--

 


Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc, Annisa Ilham, Sherry ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Shameerza's insight:

Using See-Think-Wonder..                                                                       From this article, i can see that singapore is a city-state with no resources, limited land and a small population but managed to create an explosive growth and development. The modern economy with efficient public services, an educated population and share gross domestic product of more than $60,000 (U.S.), the highest in Southeast Asia. Singapore ranks No. 2 on the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness rankings. Singapore is a small red dot but hence successful. I think that eventhough we are a small country with no resources, that doesnt stop us from reaching our goals. In fact, it makes us work towards the goal into which we becoming successful. I wonder if our land will still prosper and remain one of the successful countries in the world. In conclusion, i can say that singapore is very much successful and prospered and therefore this marks a milestones in singapore's history. We as singaporeans should and must carry on this legacy. 

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Teo J-lyn's curator insight, July 3, 2013 3:13 AM

I see that the economy of Singapore has hetting better but recently, the progress hadbecome slower because of many things that happened which hit hard on our economy.Many countries were affected, including Singapore as our economy relies mainly on exports. Despite this, many big organisations and businesses are willing to set up companies and develop in Singapore. I think that there is still alot that Singapore can do and offer despite the challenges it is facing and the limitations it has.Eventhough things may have been slowing down, Singapore still receives offers. The reason Singapore is slowing down is because since Singapore is such a small country, the amount of natural resources we have here is very limited. Despite the limited and small space, Singapore is not affected as there are still people who wants to work and start businesses here. This shows that Singapore has done a great job making itself known to the world, and has already found a space for itself.

Ameer Artsyrup's curator insight, July 5, 2013 10:44 AM

After reading this article, I found out that Singapore's econmy has boomed since its independence. However this is only due as Singapore has traded with other countries in order to survive. On one end, this sounds great as Singapore is thriving due to this but, on the other end, this is also worrying as this clearly shows that Singapore is dependent on other countries in order to survive. This clearly shows us that Singapore is extremely vulnerable. However after ssingapore survived the SARS, H5N1 and the H1N1 period, I believe that the future of this nation is bright.

Evelynkoh's curator insight, July 5, 2013 11:13 AM

As we all know , Singapore is a young nation which has been rediscovered and rebuilt a few years ago. Singapore may be small and that it doesn't have any nature resources but it's position in the world is what makes it stands out. It started of as a port and has slowly been created to how it is now , a successful country , the country which practices meritocracy which is known worldwide. All of these wouldn't have happened if our forefather's didn't protect and built our country well. This is their results of their hard work. However , as it is , Singapore is a very tiny red dot on the globe and is extremely vulnerable to everything that's happening in the world. However , no matter how many crisis we faced we're still standing as strong as ever because we didn't give up , we singaporeans all have a sense of belonging and we all fought and stood with singapore when it was weak. Nowadays , competition is really getting more and more intense as the days , the hours , the minutes and the seconds past. Its like between everyone and everything , there's a competition going on , no matter big or small , all of us are under intense pressure , trying our very best to be the victor. This is why , i hope that this article which is published would make an impact to all its reader's out there , slapping them in their face that they would definitely have to step up and work together to maintain how everything is now. Once they stop and start turning lazy , everything will just go down and i really don't want to think how it will be then. Thus i hope that since singapore has survived so many major crisis , we would forever be like this , the bright and successful nation which everyone looks up to.

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Mind-controlled devices reveal future possibilities

Mind-controlled devices reveal future possibilities | Possibilities, Conflict and Prejudice | Scoop.it

Bin He, Ph.D., leads a team of scientists and engineers who are working on a device that allows human subjects to control the flight of small, remote-controlled helicopters using only their minds. The researchers believe this technology has the potential to restore mobility and independence to individuals suffering from neuromuscular disorders and paralysis, and could enhance the natural motor functions of pilots, surgeons and ordinary citizens. 


Via Szabolcs Kósa
Shameerza's insight:

From this article, i can see that Bin He, Ph.D, leads a team of scientists and engineers who are working on a device that allows human to control it by mind. I think that this invention is really fascinating and useful. By planting electrodes in the brain, by a single thought, it allows the beholder to control and move things. I wonder if this is powerful enough to lift heavy objects. In conclusion, this great invention, may lead into a greater and improved human technology in which will give us the power to levitate, move and control objects with only the power of a thought without using strength. 

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Merci Goh's curator insight, June 28, 2013 5:58 AM

Using the See-Think-Wonder Routine.....

I can see from the Article that Bin He, Ph.D has led a team of scientists and engineers working on a device that allows human subjects to control the flight of small, remote-controlled helicopters using only their minds. 

I think That is a Pro and Con Situation, this is helpful to those People who are suffering from neuromuscular disorders and paralysis,and could enhance the natural motor functions of pilots, surgeons and ordinary citizens. But for those who are not disabled will tend to use this frequenly and hence it may lead them to idle.

I wonder If we use this to Much of it, it will tend to relay on the device and neglect or health. 

leung tak poon's comment, June 28, 2013 6:25 AM
I could refer form the article above that there are various types of way to improve our daily life using the capabilities of technology. It mention about this group of scientists and engineers working on a experiment that allows humans to control certain type of device by just using their minds without the movement of their physical body. By the end of this article , I hope that this invention could be used in the future to help those who are physically incapable to do something that they always wanted to.
Tan Wenjia Polar Beary's curator insight, June 29, 2013 5:42 AM

Using see think wonder. The articles talkes about how Bin He ph D, and his teams of scientisits and engineers work on the device that allows human subjects to control the flight of small, remote-controlled helicopters using only their mind. This shows that we can turn our imaginations into possibilities. I feel that this article can influence younger generation to turn their imaginations into reality.