Metric System is a decimal system of physical units, named after its unit of length, the metre, the metric system is adopted as the common system of weights and measures by the majority of countries, and by all countries as the system used in scientific work.
Weights and Measures
Length, capacity, and weight can be measured using standard units. The principal early standards of length were the palm or hand breadth, the foot, and the cubit, which is the length from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. Such standards were not accurate and definite. Unchanging standards of measurement have been adopted only in modern time.
In the English-speaking world, the everyday units of linear measurement were traditionally the inch, foot, yard and mile. In Great Britain, until recently, these units of length were defined in terms of the imperial standard yard, which was the distance between two lines on a bronze bar made in 1845.
In Britain units of weight (ounces, pounds, and tons) are now also derived from the metric standard — kilogram. This is a solid cylinder of platinum-iridium alloy maintained at constant temperature at Sevres, near Paris. Copies, as exact as possible, of this standard are maintained by national standards laboratories in many countries.
International System of Units is a system of measurement units based on the MKS (metre-kilogram-second) system. This international system is commonly referred to as SI.
At the Eleventh General Conference on Weights and Measures, held in Paris in 1960 standards were defined for six base units and two supplementary units:
The metre had its origin in the metric system. By international agreement, the standard metre had been defined as the distance between two fine lines on a bar of platinum-iridium alloy. The 1960 conference redefined the metre as 1,650,763.73 wavelengths of the reddish-orange light emitted by the isotope krypton-86. The metre was again redefined in 1983 as the length of the path travelled by light in a vacuum during a time interval of 1/299,792,458 of a second.
When the metric system was created, the kilogram was defined as the mass of 1 cubic decimetre of pure water at the temperature of its maximum density or at 4.0 °C.
For centuries, time has been universally measured in terms of the rotation of the earth. The second, the basic unit of time, was defined as 1/86,400 of a mean solar day or one complete rotation of the earth on its axis in relation to the sun. Scientists discovered, however, that the rotation of the earth was not constant enough to serve as the basis of the time standard. As a result, the second was redefined in 1967 in terms of the resonant frequency of the caesium atom, that is, the frequency at which this atom absorbs energy: 9,192,631,770 Hz (hertz, or cycles per second).
The temperature scale is based on a fixed temperature, that of the triple point of water at which it's solid, liquid and gaseous. The freezing point of water was designated as 273.15 Ê, equaling exactly 0° on the Celsius temperature scale. The Celsius scale, which is identical to the centigrade scale, is named after the 18th-century Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius, who first proposed the use of a scale in which the interval between the freezing and boiling points of water is divided into 100 degrees. By international agreement, the term Celsius has officially replaced centigrade.
One feature of SI is that some units are too large for ordinary use and others too small. To compensate, the prefixes developed for the metric system have been borrowed and expanded. These prefixes are used with all three types of units: base, supplementary, and derived. Examples are millimetre (mm), kilometre/hour (km/h), megawatt (MW), and picofarad (pF). Because double prefixes are not used, and because the base unit name kilogram already contains a prefix, prefixes are used not with kilogram but with gram. The prefixes hecto, deka, deci, and centi are used only rarely, and then usually with metre to express areas and volumes. In accordance with established usage, the centimetre is retained for body measurements and clothing.
In cases where their usage is already well established, certain other units are allowed for a limited time, subject to future review. These include the nautical mile, knot, angstrom, standard atmosphere, hectare, and bar.
Computer is an electronic device that can receive a program (a set of instructions) and then carry out this program by calculating numerical information.
The modern world of high technology is possible mainly due to the development of the computer. Computers have opened up a new era in manufacturing by means of automation, and they have enhanced modern communication systems.
Personal computers are also called microcomputers or home computer. The most compact are called laptops. They are portable and work on built-in batteries.
Personal computers are designed for use at homes, schools, and offices. At home they can be used for home management (balancing the family finances, for example) and for playing computer games, watching films or listening to music. Schoolchildren can use computers for doing their homework and many schools now have computers for independent learning and computer-literacy studies. In the office personal computers may be used for word processing, bookkeeping, storage and handling of necessary information.
Personal computers were made possible by two technical innovations in the field of microelectronics: the integrated circuit, or IÑ, which was developed in 1959 and the microprocessor that first appeared in 1971. The IÑ permitted the miniaturization of computer-memory circuits, and the microprocessor reduced the size of a computer's CPU to the size of a single silicon chip.
Because a CPU calculates, performs logical operations, contains operating instructions, and manages data flows, a complete microcomputer as a separate system was designed and developed in 1974.
In 1981, IBM Company offered its own microcomputer model, the IBM PC that became a necessary tool for almost every business. The PC's use of a 16-bit microprocessor initiated the development of faster and more powerful personal computers, and its use of an operating system that was available to all other computer makers led to a standardisation of the industry.
In the mid-1980s, a number of other developments were especially important for the growth of personal computers. One of these was the introduction of a powerful 32-bit CPU capable of running advanced operating systems at high speeds.
Another innovation was the use of conventional operating systems, such as UNIX, OS/2 and Windows. The Apple Macintosh computers were the first to allow the user to select icons — graphic symbols of computer functions — from a display screen instead of typing commands. New voice-controlled systems are now available, and users are able to use the words and syntax of spoken language to operate their personal computers.
18. HISTORY AND FUTURE OF THE INTERNET
The Internet technology was created by Vinton Cerf in early 1973 as part of a project headed by Robert Kahn and conducted by the Advanced Research Projects Agency, part of the United States Department of Defence. Later Cerf made many efforts to build and standardise the Internet. In 1984 the technology and the network were turned over to the private sector and to government scientific agencies for further development. The growth has continued exponentially. Service-provider companies that make «gateways» to the Internet available to home and business users enter the market in ever-increasing numbers. By early 1995, access was available in 180 countries and more than 30 million users used the Internet. The Internet and its technology continue to have a profound effect in promoting the exchange of information, making possible rapid transactions among businesses, and supporting global collaboration among individuals and organisations. More than 100 million computers are connected via the global Internet in 2000, and even more are attached to enterprise internets. The development of the World Wide Web leads to the rapid introduction of new business tools and activities that may lead to annual business transactions on the Internet worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
19. AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY
Agricultural machines are used to till soil and to plant, cultivate, and harvest crops. Since ancient times, when cultures first began cultivating plants, people have used tools to help them grow and harvest crops. They used pointed tools to dig and keep soil loosened, and sharp, knife-like objects to harvest ripened crops. Modifications of these early implements led to the development of small hand tools that are still used in gardening, such as the spade, hoe, rake and trowel, and larger implements, such as ploughs and larger rakes that are drawn by humans, animals, or simple machines.
Modern machinery is used extensively in Western Europe, Australia, the United States, the Russian Federation and Canada.
Modern large agricultural implements, adapted to large-scale farming methods, are usually powered by diesel- or petrol-fuelled internal-combustion engines. The most important implement of modern agriculture is the tractor. It provides locomotion for many other implements and can furnish power, via its power shaft, for the operation of machines drawn behind the tractor. The power shafts of tractors can also be set up to drive belts that operate equipment such as feed grinders, pumps, and electric-power generators. Small implements, such as portable irrigators, may be powered by individual motors.
Implements for Growing Crops
Many types of implements have been developed for the activities involved in growing crops. These activities include breaking ground, planting, weeding, fertilizing, and combating pests.
Ground is broken by ploughs to prepare the seed-bed. A plough consists of a blade-like ploughshare that cuts under, then lifts, turns, and pulverizes the soil. Modern tractor ploughs are usually equipped with two or more ploughshares so that a wide area of ground can be broken at a single sweep. Harrows are used to smooth the ploughed land and sometimes to cover seeds and fertilizer with earth. The disc harrow, which has curved, sharp-edged steel discs, is used mainly to cut up crop residues before ploughing and to bury weeds during seedbed preparation. Rollers with V-shaped wheels break up clods of soil to improve the aeration of the soil and its capacity for taking in water.
Some cereal crops are still planted by broadcasting seeds—that is, by scattering the seeds over a wide area. Machines for broadcasting usually consist of a long seed-box mounted on wheels and equipped with an agitator to distribute the seeds. Broadcast seeds are not always covered by a uniform or sufficient depth of soil, so seeding is more often done with drills, which produce continuous furrows of uniform depth. Specialized implements called planters are necessary for sowing crops that are planted in rows, such as maize. Maize planters and other similar machines have a special feed wheel that picks up small quantities of grain or separate kernels and places them in the ground.
Fertilizer can be distributed during the winter or shortly before seeding time. Commercial fertilizers are commonly distributed, along with seeds, by drills and planters. Manure is distributed most efficiently by a manure spreader, which is a wagon equipped with a bottom conveyor to carry the fertilizer back to a beater attachment, which disintegrates it and then scatters it on the ground.
After crops have begun to grow, a cultivator is used to destroy weeds and loosen and aerate the soil. A flame weeder, which produces a hot-air blast, can be used to destroy weeds growing around crops, such as cotton, that have stems of tough bark. The weeds are vulnerable to the hot air, but the tough stems protect the crops from damage. Chemical herbicides applied in the form of a spray or as granules are used extensively for weed control.
Insecticides for pest control are applied to soil and crops in the form of granules, dust, or liquid sprays. A variety of mechanical spraying and dusting equipment is used to spread chemicals on crops and fields; the machinery may be self-powered, or drawn and powered by a tractor. In areas where large crops of vegetables and grain are grown, aircraft are sometimes used to dust or spray pesticides.
Chemical pesticides are used in nearly all farming operations undertaken in developed countries. However, increasing concern over the harmful effects that pesticides may have on the environment has led to the use of alternative forms of pest control. For example, farmers use crop rotation to prevent pests that feed on a certain crop. Also, certain pests are controlled by introducing an organism that damages or kills the pests, but leaves the crops unharmed. Finally, some crops are being genetically engineered to be more resistant to pests.
Implements for Harvesting Crops
Most cereal crops are harvested by using a combine— a machine that removes the fruiting heads, beats off the grain kernels, and cleans the grain as the combine moves through the fields. The cleaned grain is accumulated in an attached grain tank.
Wheat and other cereal crops are harvested by a combine which, as it moves along the rows, picks the ears from the stalks and husks them. The ears are then transferred either to a sheller, which removes the kernels from the ear, or to a vehicle trailing behind the machine.
Hay harvesting usually requires several steps. First, the hay is cut close to the ground with a mower. After drying in the sun, most hay is baled. In baling, the pickup baler lifts the hay to a conveyor that carries it to a baling chamber, which compresses the hay into bales weighing up to 57 kg or more and ties each bale with heavy twine or wire. A machine called a field chopper cuts down green hay or field-cured hay for use as animal feed. After being cut down, the hay is stored in a silo and allowed to ferment; this type of animal feed is nutritious and resistant to spoilage.
Specialized machinery is also used to harvest large root crops such as potatoes and sugar beet and to harvest fruits and vegetables. Some mechanical fruit-pickers that are used to harvest tree fruits, such as plums, cherries, and apricots shake the fruit tree, causing the fruit to fall on to a raised catching frame that surrounds the tree. Nut crops can also be harvested in this manner.
Use of agricultural machinery substantially reduces the amount of human labour needed for growing crops. The average amount of labour required per hectare to produce and harvest corn, hay, and cereal crops has fallen to less than a quarter of what was required only a few decades ago.
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