Touristic places of the Solar System

What about some astronomy? In this article we will explore some of the greatest places in the Solar System. However, the bad news is that you are not going to be able to go to these places until... 2099? By now, let´s look at these places on your screens.

Eris is a dwarf planet in the outskirts of the Solar System, near the Kuiper belt. It seems empty, sad, even ugly... but that´s what makes this tiny world special. Eris is just there... floating in the middle of nowhere, orbiting around the Sun silently. And also, a great place to look at the stars, because it doesn´t even have a significant atmosphere. So enjoy the views if you ever go to Eris.

Io, a satellite of Jupiter, is a very hostile world where there are daily volcanic eruptions. Apart from the very intense volcanic activity we´ve got the unbearable temperatures and the almost complete lack of water in the planet. This, combined with the atmosphere (formed mainly by gases) makes Io one of the most hostile worlds in our Solar System. So if you want an adventure, go to Io, but probably you will not survive....

Ganymede is the biggest satellite of Jupiter. But its size doesn´t matter, because you are looking at a world where, the scientists suspect, there is life. Why? Very simple: under the surface of Ganymede there´s a salted sea, just like here on the Earth. Also, there´s oxygen and hydrogen in the weak atmosphere of Ganymede... so very probably, there´s life just near us... but the limited budget of the space agencies are making this search very difficult. A wonderful place for a biologist... but don´t dig too much...

Titan is one of the most complex worlds in the Solar System. Behind the atmosphere which gives that flat colour to the planet there are mountains, plains, valleys, seas and even a river... but instead of liquid water Titan has liquid methane. And seems impossible to see life here... but actually, some scientists are thinking about enormous unicellular organisms living in the methane seas of Titan. Also, a space probe was sent to Titan, showing that the surface seems like a terrestrial landscape with similar geographical features. In words of the NASA “it seems like Arizona”.

And let´s finish with Europa, another satellite of Jupiter. Normally, one of the main problems of the space journeys is that you don´t have water... well, in Europa there´s plenty of it (it has as much water as the Earth). On the surface there is a lot of ice... well, the surface is made of ice. And behind the surface there is a liquid sea of water, where there´s probably life (in similar conditions to those subterranean seas in the Antarctica). So in Europa you would find ice, water... and more ice, so I think anyone needs a bottle of water here... 
F1 Legends: The 1970s

For most people, the 70s and the 80s were the golden era of the F1 championship. Let’s enter into this wonderful period with the greatest drivers of the 1970s, some of them considered as part of the elite of the F1 history.

Jochen Rindt

Rindt driving his Lotus
-World Champion in 1970.

The story of Jochen Rindt is one of those stories which every expert of Formula 1 must know.

At first, he drove for Brabham and Cooper, but in 1969 he was signed by Lotus. His performance in that year was excellent having in mind that Lotus didn´t have a very good car to fight for the championship.

But the moment of Jochen Rindt in the F1 history started (and also finished) in 1970. He won five races out of nine... but in Monza, the Lotus failed in the “Parabolica” turn, one of the most difficult turns of the championship. However, the grand performance of Rindt during the year made him the first F1 driver who couldn´t, unfortunately, enjoy his own title...

Jackie Stewart
Stewart driving his Matra
-World Champion in: 1969, 1971 and 1973.
Jackie Stewart, the best Scottish driver ever, is one of the most regular drivers the F1 has ever had.
At first he drove for BRM, with excellent results for a rookie. Then he went to Matra, where he won the championship in 1969 (with the car of the picture). And after that, his golden era started in Tyrrell, where he fought for the title during three years, winning the championship in 1971 and 1973.
But apart from his excellent career, he is also remembered because of his obsession with security. He worked to improve the security in the F1, and some security measures of your own cars were introduced by Stewart back in the 1970s. So please, fasten your seatbelts, Jackie would be proud.
Emerson Fittipaldi

Fittipaldi driving his Lotus
 -World Champion in: 1972 and 1974.
Emerson Fittipaldi was the first Brazilian driver who could win the F1 title. If you are a F1 expert, you have probably thought about Lotus after reading his name... but Fittipaldi is something more than the driver of the golden Lotus.
At first, he drove for Lotus between 1970 and 1973, where he won his first title in 1972 and reached the victory in 9 races.
After that, he went to McLaren, where he won again the title in 1974 and fought for it again in 1975. Finally he drove for his own team, Fittipaldi, until he got retired in 1980.
But the most interesting thing about him is that he still drives sometimes. For example, he drove for Ferrari in 2014 during the World Endurance Championship.
  Niki Lauda

Lauda driving his Ferrari
-World Champion in: 1975, 1977 and 1984
And I’m finishing with my favourite driver of the 1970s.
Niki Lauda started in March-Ford, and then he went to BRM. He couldn´t do anything because both teams were very humble. But in 1974 he was signed by Ferrari, and in that year the great duo began to work, winning in 1975 the title.
He almost died in 1976 after the GP of Germany, but he recovered from the accident and came back to win the championship, however James Hunt (from McLaren) was able to win some races and became winner in 1976.
In 1977 Lauda won again with a fantastic year. He got retired in 1979 because he was losing the time in Brabham for two years... but then, in 1982, he became driver of Mclaren, where he won his last championship in 1984 against Alain Prost.
The Byzantine Empire, the sparkle of the Middle Age

The Byzantine Empire, also known as Eastern Roman Empire, was the most powerful and the oldest civilization of the Middle Age. It was so important that some consider that with its fall, the Middle Age ended.

However, the best of all is that you probably don´t know how important this civilization is for your own life. Thanks to the Byzantine people you can, for example, eat with a fork, read non-religious books or be treated fairly by a court.

Here you have some of the achievements of this powerful, important but also forgotten empire...

The Law

The Byzantine Empire conserved the Roman law and they even improved it. Thanks to the emperor Justinian and his Corpus Iuris Civilis you are not guilty until it´s proven and you have to be treated fairly by a professional court. The Byzantine law is the base of most of the modern laws and without it... you would be probably executed like scum because you have stolen one apple (don´t visit the Arabia of the 6th century please...)

The Books

The books existed out of the Byzantine Empire during the Middle Age, of course. But you know, the nobility and the clergy of, for example, France or England preferred the Holy Bible more than the damn pagan Iliad.

So then, the Byzantine Empire became the refuge for the secular works. Novels were written, ancient works such as the mentioned Iliad were filed and enjoyed and the poetry was conserved by the Byzantine nobility (the Emperor Manuel II, for example, wrote some poems).

The Fork
A Byzantine princess, called Theophanu, introduced the fork in the Holy Roman Empire (today´s Germany) during the 10th century. She also introduced the very healthy habit of have a daily bath. She astonished the German court by using forks and having baths. Slowly the fork became very common and by the 18th century everyone used to eat with a fork... it is better than eat with the hands...

The Silk
Thanks to the Byzantine Empire we can buy silk everywhere. The “recipe” of this fabric was secret until the Emperor Justinian sent a couple of priests to China... and those priests brought with them the first silkworms of Western history. During centuries, the Byzantine Empire was the unique producer of silk in Europe, but the secret didn´t last forever... and the Byzantine Empire lost the monopoly against the Islamic nations like, for example, Granada.

Byzantine Monuments
The Byzantine monuments and artistic works are everywhere around the Mediterranean. From mosaics depicting Byzantine emperors (like the one in the Italian city of Ravena depicting emperor Justinian) to the greatest cathedral of the Middle Age, Hagia Sophia. There are thousands of Byzantine buildings in the eastern Mediterranean (most of them churches). However, if you visit them today, they will be probably converted mosques or have a new use as concert halls.

Byzantine Army, Navy and Tactics
The Byzantine Imperial Army, along with their grand navy, changed the wars forever. Their army was based on the Roman ancient tactics, but they introduced a new (and improved) cavalry called Cataphract which led them to the victory in hundreds of battles. When the Cataphracts weren´t enough to face the enemy, they modified an ancient tactic in order to make it more agile and easier to execute: the retreatment. And sometimes the Byzantines were considered as cowards because of their strategy of “retreat before defeat”.

On the other hand, the Byzantine navy was the strongest of its time, and was even able to attack (and defeat) the powerful Arab navy. The Byzantine ships were very fast and agile, but the key element of the maritime Byzantine warfare was the greekfire, whose “ingredients” were lost during the Battle of Constantinople in 1453.

The Renaissance (and by then, the modern culture)
The Byzantine Empire fell in 1453. However, during the previous decades, the Byzantine scientists and erudite escaped to Italy, where they founded libraries, designed temples, and wrote books about practically everything. Thanks to the Byzantine knowledge, the Renaissance started and, with it, a new golden age for Europe and its countries. Our culture is based on the knowledge of the Byzantine Empire.

These are just a few examples of the grand legacy that the Byzantine Empire gave, unconsciously, to us. The echoes of a forgotten empire are allowing you to do whatever you do usually. So now enjoy your books, your forks, your church, your clothes and your culture... because millions of Byzantines died to let you read all those “boring” books of the library or have a daily bath...

New video projects

Hey, hey hey,
The factory is still working! A couple of teams of 4º ESO bilingual has just released their last video projects. Click on Students' Videos and search for "The Thieves" or Expectation vs Reality", you will have a good time. Just click on the pics below.



This game has come out some weeks ago now. It is a city­building game, brought up by Paradox and developed by Colossal Order whose base is mainly traffic management, but has deep mechanics in all its aspects. Basically it is a version of SimCity, but done in a better way. Let's see what things make it a better choice and, after all, a good game:

• Whereas SimCity simulates traffic and the life of your city by means of complex algorithms (i.e.: in a zone there are 100,000 inhabitants, so traffic is 70. If the road besides only holds a traffic of 60, that road jams), Cities Skylines simulates every person in the city individually (in fact, you can change their names, the names of their cars, etc.), and those people take their vehicles, and those vehicles, if they are too many, eventually jam the roads. This concept, yet leading to unrealistic situations, is to me awesome.

• Cities Skylines has pretty decent district mechanics. You can design your own districts, and make specific laws for those districts. Industrial areas can be classified as regular, oil industry, wood industry, agricultural industry and mineral industry. Each industry has its own characteristics, and use up its own natural resources. For example, in order to make wood industry, you need forests; to assign successfully oil industry, you need to have oil deposits inside your city limits; etc. Finally, regular industry consumes all those prime resources in order to make products for your commercials to sell. Also, there are a punch of different laws you can apply either for your entire city or just for a specific district.

• MODS!: Yes, that's right: it is Steam Workshop compatible. In fact, you can not only make mods that modify gameplay experience itself, but also you can download through it community­made buildings, plazas, road intersections... And if you are likely, you can also make your own to share them with the community! It is a fact that there will be always a person that spends more hours than you in a game, and with this system you can benefit from it, as you may find “perfect” intersections, or morbidly ideal city plans. This feature is one of the best in the game. 

The only thing I see you would prefer playing SimCity is that, as mentioned, traffic and city planning in that game is much more realistic, that you can trade with your neighbours and, of course, multiplayer. But anyway, if you are a fan of city ­planning games, you must buy this one!