A 10-minute read that summarises all the questions and answers that piqued my curiosity.

This week’s curiosity box has

1. What have I missed about Lebanon?

2. Like books, can journals also be judged?

3. What else do animals use if they have poor sight?

What have we missed about Lebanon? 

On the 4th of August, an explosion in Beirut shook the country to its core. The whole world tuned in, which is evidently shown in the graph below, to watch the devastating impact caused by 2750 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate.

As I was reading about the incident, I began reading more about the country and its history. Although it is a small country (0.002% of Earth’s landmass), its history is just as diverse and extensive. Reading more about the country was like a silver lining amidst some regrettable events the country has faced and is facing. 

Here are three fast facts about Lebanon that will make you raise your eyebrows.

  1. Byblos, a city 20 miles north of Beirut, is claimed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city. The origins of this city date back as far as 8,800 B.C.
  2. Lebanon is not your average country in the Middle East. Its landscapes are filled with green mountains, snow-peaked mountains, and beautiful beaches.
  3. It also happens to be religiously diverse and secular as opposed to some of its counterparts. Almost half the country’s population is Christian because of its French and Roman past.

After Lebanon, the world of journal publications also gives interesting insights.

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Exploring the world of journal publications

There was a time during my MSc, where I had zero use for Google. Every answer I was searching for was through journal databases. These databases will never disappoint you with the breadth of the questions they covers and the depth of the answers. However, this very nature can leave you overwhelmed, confused, and saturated.

After lockdown, there was a sudden surge in the number of papers related to CVOID 19, leaving even the scientists a little overwhelmed.
Imagine Source – The Financial Times

Like how I explored general books, I explored a little to see how journals can be judged. I know it is wrong to have something that allows you to judge something by its cover, but how else can you keep yourself sane in the sea of many articles?

As opposed to books, the journal dataset, I downloaded has three metrics marked each source title: CiteScore, Source Normalised Impact per Paper (SNIP), and SCImago Journal Rank (SJR)

Yes, there are three metrics – thereby leaving a commoner like me all the more confused as to which one to go by when making a snap judgement. After mapping the three metrics against % Cited, the graphs revealed the answer that journals ratings will leave you guessing.

No journal source and publisher outrank the others in all three metrics. Also, please make a note of the y-axis scale – which tells us shows there is a high variance or scores in some metrics over the others.

By the CiteScore metric, there seems to be a trend where more cited journals have better scores. This leads me to hypothesise if writing more journals does help in getting a higher score. My gut feeling says no. But for the fun of it, diving deeper to test this hypothesis is like opening up a Pandora’s box, which is what I will be doing this weekend.

Each metric has its unique use, and I will leave it to your leisure to explore each if you feel like it.

Do whiskers help in sight?

Let’s play a game. Find the animal that is featured in this proverb 

Curiosity killed the ______?

The animal kingdom in general is filled with interesting facts, but this week the cat topped the list. 

Meet Yona, a cutie pie

Never did I know that cats use whiskers to see. During the Jurassic period, certain animals had to develop the ability to hunt at night so that they can avoid the larger predators that hunt during the day. So, animals developed whiskers. These whiskers extend outwards from mainly the face. They are highly sensitive because many neurons were connected to its root. These helped the animal move about during the night.

Fast-forwarding to the current day, cats still rely on whiskers. Their eyes can’t focus on objects that are within 30cm. In such scenarios, their whiskers guide their claws in bringing the catch towards its mouth. A cat’s whiskers are roughly the width of its body which allows them to assess if their body can fit through tight spaces

Only nature can give us such amazing things. 

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1 Comment

  1. Very very interesting…the article about the whiskers. Lebanon..Beirut brings a heavy feeling to the mind .

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