Vasco da Gama

Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira, was a Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by sea. His initial voyage to India was the first to link Europe and Asia by an ocean route, connecting the Atlantic and the Indian oceans and therefore, the West and the Orient. Da Gama's discovery of the sea route to India was significant and opened the way for an age of global imperialism and for the Portuguese to establish a long-lasting colonial empire in Asia. Traveling the ocean route allowed the Portuguese to avoid sailing across the disputed Mediterranean and traversing the dangerous Arabian Peninsula; the sum of the distances covered in the outward and return voyages made this expedition the longest ocean voyage made until far longer than a full voyage around the world by way of the Equator. After decades of sailors trying to reach the Indies, with thousands of lives and dozens of vessels lost in shipwrecks and attacks, da Gama landed in Calicut on 20 May 1498. Unopposed access to the Indian spice routes boosted the economy of the Portuguese Empire, based along northern and coastal West Africa.

The main spices at first obtained from Southeast Asia were pepper and cinnamon, but soon included other products, all new to Europe. Portugal maintained a commercial monopoly of these commodities for several decades, it was not until a century that other European powers, namely the Dutch Republic and England, followed by France and Denmark, were able to challenge Portugal's monopoly and naval supremacy in the Cape Route. Da Gama led two of the first and the fourth; the latter departed for India four years after his return from the first one. For his contributions, in 1524 da Gama was appointed Governor of India, with the title of Viceroy, was ennobled as Count of Vidigueira in 1519. Vasco da Gama remains a leading figure in the history of exploration. Numerous homages have been made worldwide to celebrate his accomplishments; the Portuguese national epic poem, Os Lusíadas, was written in his honour by Camões. His first trip to India is considered a milestone in world history, as it marked the beginning of a sea-based phase of global multiculturalism.

In March 2016 thousands of artifacts and nautical remains were recovered from the wreck of the ship Esmeralda, one of da Gama's armada, found off the coast of Oman. Vasco da Gama was born in 1460 or 1469 in the town of Sines, one of the few seaports on the Alentejo coast, southwest Portugal in a house near the church of Nossa Senhora das Salas. Vasco da Gama's father was Estêvão da Gama, who had served in the 1460s as a knight of the household of Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu, he rose in the ranks of the military Order of Santiago. Estêvão da Gama was appointed alcaide-mór of Sines in the 1460s, a post he held until 1478. Estêvão da Gama married Isabel Sodré, a daughter of João Sodré, scion of a well-connected family of English origin, her father and her brothers, Vicente Sodré and Brás Sodré, had links to the household of Infante Diogo, Duke of Viseu, were prominent figures in the military Order of Christ. Vasco da Gama was the third of five sons of Estêvão da Gama and Isabel Sodré – in order of age: Paulo da Gama, João Sodré, Vasco da Gama, Pedro da Gama and Aires da Gama.

Vasco had one known sister, Teresa da Gama. Little is known of da Gama's early life; the Portuguese historian Teixeira de Aragão suggests that he studied at the inland town of Évora, where he may have learned mathematics and navigation. It has been claimed that he studied under Abraham Zacuto, an astrologer and astronomer, but da Gama's biographer Subrahmanyam thinks this dubious. Around 1480, da Gama joined the Order of Santiago; the master of Santiago was Prince John, who ascended to the throne in 1481 as King John II of Portugal. John II doted on the Order, the da Gamas' prospects rose accordingly. In 1492, John II dispatched da Gama on a mission to the port of Setúbal and to the Algarve to seize French ships in retaliation for peacetime depredations against Portuguese shipping – a task that da Gama and performed. From the earlier part of the 15th century, Portuguese expeditions organized by Prince Henry the Navigator had been reaching down the African coastline, principally in search of west African riches.

They had extended Portuguese maritime knowledge, but had little profit to show for the effort. After Henry's death in 1460, the Portuguese Crown showed little interest in continuing this effort and, in 1469, licensed the neglected African enterprise to a private Lisbon merchant consortium led by Fernão Gomes. Within a few years, Gomes' captains expanded Portuguese knowledge across the Gulf of Guinea, doing business in gold dust, melegueta pepper and sub-Saharan slaves; when Gomes' charter came up for renewal in 1474, Prince John, asked his father Afonso V of Portugal to pass the African charter to him. Upon becoming king in 1481, John II of Portugal set out on many long reforms. To break the monarch's dependence on the feudal nobility, John II needed to build up the royal treasury. Under John II's watch, the gold and slave trade in west Africa was expanded, he was eager to break into the profitable spice trade between Europe and Asia, conducted chiefly by land. At the time, this was monopolized by

National Science Education Standards

The National Science Education Standards represent guidelines for the science education in primary and secondary schools in the United States, as established by the National Research Council in 1996. These provide a set of goals for teachers to set for their students and for administrators to provide professional development; the NSES influence various states' own science learning standards, statewide standardized testing. The science standards is only one of a number of reforms organized around the principles of outcomes-based education; the mathematics counterpart are the controversial NCTM standards, which de-emphasize knowledge of disconnected facts and content in favor of context-dependent critical thinking skills and process. Progressive education seeks to reform traditional education, taking into account current understandings of human learning; the content of these standards is based on a specific model of learning, constructivism. Like reform mathematics, distinguished by an emphasis on building on what a child knows and understands, the standards intend to update the methods of science education to achieve greater effectiveness with children.

The goals of the standards include: An outline of what students need to know, be able to do Targets for scientific literacy at different grade levels All students demonstrate high levels of performance Teachers are empowered to make the decisions essential for effective learning Communities of teachers and students are focused on learning science Educational programs and systems nurture achievementThe intended purpose of the standards is to define teaching methods which apply to all students, regardless of age, cultural or ethnic background, aspirations, or interest and motivation in science, recognizing that different students will achieve understanding in different ways, some students will achieve different degrees of depth and breadth of understanding depending on interest and context. However, the standards expect that all students can develop the knowledge and skills described in the standards; the goal of scientific literacy includes inquiry and nature of science and social perspectives of science and technology, in addition to the science domains of life science, physical science, earth and space science.

Programs defined according to these standards should be developmentally appropriate and relevant to students’ lives. The NSES are organized into six categories: Standards for science teaching, Standards for professional development for teachers of science Standards for assessment in science education Standards for science content Standards for science education programs Standards for science education systems Many critics of standards-based education reform and reform mathematics are critical of the emphasis of the standards on process and inquiry-based science rather than learning of facts. Science assessments such as WASL in Washington state contain little factual content, most assessment is based on the ability of students as young as the fifth grade to construct and interpret science experiments. By contrast, previous generations of high school and college students were only expected to participate in, rather than design science experiments from scratch, complete with a list of materials.

The principles of the standards are similar to controversial approaches taken to mathematics and language arts which de-emphasize basic skills traditionally taught in elementary school as being inappropriate to the ability level of some students. Yet content and skills that were traditionally taught at the college level, requiring "higher order" and "critical thinking" are brought down to K-12 to "raise standards"; the Five Biggest Ideas in Science, Wynn & Wiggins, 1997 and cited in Understanding by Design, Wiggins and McTighe, 2005. 9.67. Constructionist learning National Science Education Standards in HTML NSES book homepage, with link to free PDF of NSES National Science Teachers Association page on the National Science Education Standards

Asian Junior and Cadet Table Tennis Championships

The Asian Junior and Cadet Table Tennis Championships is an annual table tennis tournament regarded as continental championships between juniors and cadets. The Asian Junior and Cadet Table Tennis Championships is one of the most prestigious events of the world junior table tennis circuit, it will be held under the supervision of the Asian Table Tennis Union and International Table Tennis Federation. Cadet Championships was added in 1986; the table below gives an overview of all host countries of the Asia Junior Championships. As of 2019: World Junior Table Tennis Championships Asian Table Tennis Championships Asian Cup List of table tennis players Events-Asian Junior and Cadet Championships Asian Junior Championships Results ITTF Statistics ITTF Museum