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Hydrocarbons for the 21st Century
Hydrocarbons derived from petroleum, natural gas, or coal are essential in many ways to modern life and its quality. The bulk of the world’s hydrocarbons is used for fuels, electrical power generation, and heating. The chemical, petrochemical, plastics and rubber industries are also dependent upon hydrocarbons as raw materials for their products. Indeed, most industrially significant synthetic chemicals are derived from petroleum sources. The overall oil use of the world now exceeds ten million metric tons a day. Ever increasing world population (about 6 billion to increase to 10 billion in a few decades) and energy consumption and finite non-renewable fossil fuel resources, which are going to be increasingly depleted, are clearly on a collision course. New solutions will be needed for the 21st century if we are to maintain the standard of living the industrialized world has gotten used to and the developing world is striving to achieve.
Hydrocarbon Chemistry
Hydrocarbons, the principal compounds of oil and natural gas, have to be chemically altered to make useful products and materials. This is carried out by chemical and petrochemical industries in processes such as isomerization, alkylation homologation, etc. These processes are frequently catalyzed by acids and involve electron deficient intermediates called carbocations. The Loker Institute has pioneered new methods to study such processes and their mechanisms. Research is also aimed at more efficient utilization of fossil fuel resources including recycling of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) to useful materials. Studies are also directed towards developing new synthetic methodologies for chemical bond making and bond breaking processes. Polymeric materials derived from simple hydrocarbon precursors are the basis for new materials with exceptional electrical, optical, and magnetic properties. These materials find applications in information technology, photochemical energy conversion and biomedical devices.
(adapted from Nobelprize.org)

Bijak Belajar

Langkah -langkah Bijak Menjelang Peperiksaan

  1. Bertenang dan melapangkan fikiran.
  2. Melakukan ulang kaji bagi topik-topik yang penting.
  3. Tidur yang mencukupi.
  4. Menjaga kesihatan diri.
  5. Menjaga pemakanan dengan memakan makanan yang berkhasiat dan berzat.
  6. Bagi pelajar Islam, perbanyakkan sembahyang hajat .
  7. Membuat dan membaca nota-nota ringkas.
  8. Mengadakan senaman kesihatan fizikal untuk mengeluarkan peluh.
  9. Beriadah dan berekreasi di tempat-tempat yang sesuai kerana badan yang cergas akan meransang kecerdasan otak.
  10. Meminta doa dan restu ibu bapa dan guru-guru.
  11. Belajar pada waktu yang difikirkan sesuai.
  12. Mengkaji bentuk-bentuk soalan peperiksaan dengan bantuan guru dan rakan-rakan.
  13. Menjawab soalan yang sama seperti format peperiksaan sebenar.
  14. Datang lebih awal ke dewan peperiksaan sebelum peperiksaan bermula.
  15. Menyediakan segala kelengkapan peperiksaan yang diperlukan.
  16. Bersarapan sebelum masuk ke dewan peperiksaan dengan sarapan yang berzat supaya tenaga fizikal dan minda cukup untuk menghadapi peperiksaan.
  17. Elakkan mengadakan perbincangan tentang topik-topik hangat atau kaedah menjawab sebelum dan selepas peperiksaan.
  18. Mematuhi arahan peperiksaan yang telah ditetapkan.
  19. Membaca dengan teliti setiap arahan yang terdapat pada setiap kertas soalan.
  20. Menjawab soalan berpandukan soalan yang telah dipilih.
  21. Pastikan pelajar menjawab semua soalan yang dikemukakan mengikut arahan yang dinyatakan.

Synopsis of The Pearl and Notes (part one)

Chapter 1
The novel begins at the break of dawn. Kino wakes up and sees his wife Juana already at her chores of watching the baby and making breakfast. Kino takes the time to play with his dog and watch the hut. It is a picture of familial contentment. Suddenly, a tiny movement near the baby's hanging box draws attention. A scorpion, with its tail sticking out, is poised, waiting to strike the infant. Kino waits with baited breath, and Juana prays. Soon Coyotito moves, and the scorpion falls on his shoulder, stinging him. Kino immediately kills the scorpion, but the harm is already done. Juana tells her husband to go and bring the doctor. When the neighbours say he will not come, the couple takes the baby into town to see the doctor. As they travel, neighbours join them, and they all believe the doctor will refuse to treat the baby of such a poor man.

Kino knocks on the doctor's door and the neighbours stand by and watch. A native servant opens the door, and Kino explains what he needs. When the servant explains the situation to his master, the doctor inquires if the Indian man has enough money to pay his fee. Kino can only offer some worthless pearls as payment, so he is turned away with his son Coyotito. The neighbours quietly take their leave, and Kino, in anger and frustration, pounds on the gate.

The first chapter opens with a wonderful description of Kino's pleasant and simple family life. It is daybreak, and the light is beginning to dispel the darkness. (Ironically, in most of the novel, symbolic darkness (evil) will dispel the light (the happiness of Kino's existence)). On this morning, all is peaceful and calm as Juana cooks breakfast. Unfortunately, calamity soon strikes when the scorpion stings their infant son. The scorpion, which attacks the child and disrupts the family, foreshadows the human evil that the family will later endure. The human "poison," however, will prove much more destructive than the sting of the scorpion, both to the child and his family.

Kino and Juana realize their ineffectuality in dealing with the situation. Juana's incantation of magical words depicts her frustration (as well as her primitive belief in supernatural powers). Ironically, she ends with a "Hail, Mary." Kino's action is futile and overdone, as "he threw it (the scorpion) down and beat it into the earth floor with his fist.... beat and stamped the enemy until it was only a fragment and a moist place in the dirt." Kino is obviously venting his anger.

Fortunately, Juana takes control. She attempts to suck out the poison from the baby's shoulder. She also tells her husband they must see a doctor. On the advice of their neighbours, helpful rural folk, the couple carries the infant into town. The neighbours, who are friends, go along with Kino and his family. This again is a typical rural attitude, where any small incident is considered an event to be shared by the entire village. As the group proceeds towards the doctor, more and more people join in, and each tells the other of the incident that has occurred. When they reach the beggars in front of the church, these tattered men correctly guess that the doctor will not see the child. The beggars, along with other natives, become a "chorus" in the story and comment throughout the book on the action that is taking place.

Everyone in the village knows the doctor and his avaricious ways. They know about "the little brown pennies he gave sparingly for alms." At this point, the reader is made to realize the two classes, which separate the town. Kino and the other natives who belong to the country are the lower class. They hold to their old custom and primitive traditions. The doctor and the other more well to do settlers in the town form the upper class; they are part of the modern world. Kino realizes and resents the vast chasm that separates the two. But for the sake of his son, he pounds on the gate for help from the doctor, the representative of the upper class. As he waits, Kino takes off his hat in a subservient manner.

Although a servant answers the door, the doctor is described. He is attired in a "dressing-gown of red watered silk" that has come from Paris. The fat physician is sitting in bed, sipping hot chocolate from a tiny cup of eggshell china, munching on a sweet biscuit, and dreaming about a return visit to France. Upon hearing from his servant about the needs and the status of the patient, the doctor sends him back to check whether Kino can pay. Kino reveals his entire savings, a few "misshapen seed pearls, as ugly and grey as little ulcers." Upon seeing the pitiful pearls, the servant, imitating the behaviour of the upper class, closes the gate and says, "The doctor has gone out." Both the doctor and the servant, therefore, show an utter lack of sympathy. It is no wonder that Kino pounds upon the gate in frustration. He is striking out at the doctor and all he stands for. His injured hand becomes a reminder to Kino throughout the book that this upper class, false world has not place for him in it.

Juana, on the other hand, for all her timidity and servility, is seen as a strong, stoic woman, capable of immediate action, of indeterminable mental strength and a willingness to cross over to the other world to save her only child. Later on, after the introduction of the Pearl in their lives, it is she who deters her husband from keeping it; it is she who realizes the evil force behind the pearl which is going to negate their whole life and warns her husband against it. However, it is ineffectual warning, since Kino is too entranced by the pearl's value to forsake it.

It is important to notice the musical motif that is developed in this first chapter; it will appear throughout the novel. It is significant, for it always reveals the current mood of the story. When Kino awakes, he mentally sings "The Song of the Family" about love and security, which is exactly what Kino is feeling. His contentment, however, is soon interrupted by the appearance of the scorpion. Immediately, his mental tune becomes "The Song of Evil." Then as Kino approaches the doctor's house, "The Music of the Enemy" pounds in his head.

It is also important to note that Steinbeck's descriptions of the village, both inside and outside the dwellings of the villagers reinforce the contrast between the natives (old-world, lower class) and the town’s folk (modern, upper class). When Kino and his family leave their home to go to the doctor's office, they leave the dirt huts and the gentle brush behind; in town, they see only cold stone and plaster. In town, the houses are surrounded with iron gates, which appear like cages for the upper class, especially when contrasted to the freedom and closeness to nature that the natives' experience. Steinbeck seems to be saying that their worlds are so diverse that it is not possible for them to ever blend into a whole.

Finally, it is important to notice the contrasts between Kino and the doctor, for they are both representatives of their respective classes. As a diver for pearls, Kino has become strong; his body is lean and masculine. In contrast, the doctor sits in bed in a red silk gown, sipping tea and eating a sweet biscuit. Kino lives close to the earth and appreciates nature; when he wakes, he listens to the morning sounds around him and watches the ants as they scurry about. In contrast, the doctor lives in a cold stone house caged behind closed gates and locked doors. Kino has deep emotions; he shows love for his wife and son, is at peace with nature, and sings about his feelings. The doctor, on the other hand, seems to have no emotion. He will not even bother to look at the infant stung by a scorpion because his father cannot pay the fee.


Para pelajar selalu didedahkan dengan belajar secara berkumpulan. Tetapi, tidak ramai yang benar-benar mempraktikkannya. Daripada jumlah tersebut, hanya sebilangan kecil sahaja yang benar-benar mendapat manfaat daripada teknik yang sangat berguna ini. Kenapa? Mungkin kerana ada beberapa perkara asas yang diabaikan oleh sesetengah pelajar. Tip pelajar bulan ini akan mengutarakan beberapa petua asas untuk mereka yang hendak belajar dalam kumpulan. Baca dengan teliti dan berfikirlah cara-cara untuk mewujudkan sebuah kumpulan belajar yang efektif. Yang berikut merupakan TIGA petua tersebut:
Pilih ahli kumpulan yang sesuai. Jangan terlalu ramai, nanti akan menjadi kelab borak. Jumlah anda 5 - 7 sudah cukup memadai. Ahli kumpulan yang baik juga perlulah mempunyai kepandaian yang berbeza. Jika seorang pandai dalam Fizik, seorang lagi dalam Matematik, seorang lagi dalam Bahasa Inggeris, dan begitulah seterusnya. Jika semuanya pandai dalam Matematik dan lemah dalam Bahasa Inggeris, maka fungsi kumpulan akan berkurangan.
Tentukan proses ulang kaji yang sesuai dibuat dalam kumpulan. Bukan semua ulang kaji sesuai dalam kumpulan. Ada yang sesuai, ada yang tidak. Antara proses pembelajaran yang sesuai dalam kumpulan termasuklah membuat kerja kursus, membuat pembentangan kelas, mengulang kaji secara pembentangan, membuat latihan lisan, dan beberapa lagi. Ada juga ulang kaji yang sesuai dibuat seorang diri, contohnya jika anda ingin mendalami sesuatu konsep tertentu.
Tetapkan peraturan kumpulan. Setiap ahli kumpulan perlulah bersetuju untuk menerima beberapa peraturan penting semasa belajar bersama. Contoh peraturan yang baik ialah; tidak bercakap tentang perkara lain semasa perbincangan, datang tepat pada waktu yang dijanjikan, tidak merendahkan rakan-rakan yang lain, melakukan tugasan dengan sebaik mungkin dan banyak lagi. Jika perlu, berikanlah masa beberapa minit untuk menghasilkan peraturan kumpulan ini. Jika kumpulan dibentuk untuk jangka masa yang lama, ada eloknya peraturan ini ditulis dan diberikan kepada setiap ahli yang lain. Tindakan ini seakan-akan satu ‘kontrak' sesama ahli kumpulan tersebut.