Ships that can move along under the water, as well as on top of the water are called submarines. The very first submarines were quite different from the nuclear powered subs of today-sometimes called nukes. Some of the early subs had greased leather sides, oars for rowing, wheels for traveling on the bottom, sails for moving on the surface and long tubes that stuck out of water to bring air to the submarine below.
The three main problems with all submarines are : how to make the sub sink and then come back up; how to steer the sub; and how to keep it filled with clean, fresh air when it is under the water. Different ways have been tried for making a sub sink and rise. The one way that is still used is to build a sub with a double wall. The space between the walls can be filled with water when the captain wants to go down. The water makes the sub heavier, and it sinks or submerges.
When it is time to come to the surface again the water is forced out from between the walls. This makes the sub lighter and it comes up or surfaces. For many years problems kept the submarine from being very useful. After it submerged the sub had to use its air very carefully, and even then the air didn’t last very long. Also the batteries that supplies electric power underwater used up their power very quickly and needed to be recharged. Before it ran out of either air or electric power, the sub had to surface. Another reason the early subs were always surfacing was to see where they were going.
Inventors finally found ways for telling directions underwater, but the really big change in submarines came when the first change in submarines came when the first nuclear subs were built. The nuclear reactor-where the energy comes from -supplies almost unlimited power. This power runs the sub and it runs generators that make electricity for the sub and that take oxygen out of the seawater for the sailors to breathe. The same generators can also run the sub’s air conditioners.
The air conditioners keep the sub’s air more pure than the air that sailors breathe when they leave the sub. So a nuclear sub can stay submerged for many, many days. The nuke Triton submerged…and went underwater all the way around the world! It took 84 days and yet it did not surface once until the trip was over.Nukes have sailed under the ice cap at the North Pole. The crew from the nuke Seadragon climbed onto the ice at the North Pole and played baseball. A nuclear sub may not be like home, but sailors on today’s submarines have movies, libraries, freshwater showers, exercise rooms and excellent food.
Hans lives in a country that is more than half covered by high,steep mountains. From the window of his house he can see their peaks. The mountains are so high that the railroad train running between them looks like a toy. In winter Han’s father puts stones on top of their house to keep the winter wind from blowing the roof off!Sometimes Hans has to ski to school because the roads are blocked with snow. Long ago, big Saint Bernard dogs used to rescue people who were lost in snowstorms in these mountains.
When spring comes, the warm wind often melts the snow too fast and it comes sliding down the mountainside faster than an express train, and roaring like a zoo full of lions. This is called an avalanche and it can be very dangerous. Visitors from many countries come here for mountain climbing and for skiing and skating. These visitors buy souvenirs in the shops-cuckoo clocks or carved animals or music boxes. Some buy chocolate or cheese with big holes in it.
In the summer Hans practices blowing the alphorn. This is a wooden horn so long that one end rests on the ground. Han’s uncles teaches him to yodel. Yodeling is a special kind of singing-you have to do tricks with your voice. Have you guessed the name of the country where Hans lives? The people are called Swiss, but they don’t speak Swiss. They speak French or German or Italian. The name of country is Switzerland-a land of winter snow and summer meadows in the high beautiful mountains.
“Banish the fools!” “Zounds! What rogues and rascals they!” “Madmen! Be off with them!” “Didst ever thou see or hear a play so foul?” The people shouting these strange words long ago in England were part of the audience at the Globe Theater in London. They didn’t like the play, and they were not afraid to say so.
They probably had arrived at the theater many hours before the play started-to be sure they would find a good place to stand. Only the very rich could afford seats. The other people stood on the grounds.(They were called groundlings.)There were no roofs on the theater. The ground was dusty when the weather was dry, and muddy when it rained. People shivered from the cold and fog. The only light other than that from torches on the stage came from the sky.
When the people in the audience were pleased they cheered and clapped.But when they were bored or disagreed with what the actors said, they booed..they yelled…they shouted. They threw food at the stage. Sometimes they even jumped onto the stage to complain. Any play performed at the Globe had to be really good to make the audience listen. Women aren’t allowed to play parts. So the men actors had to pretend to be women, children, even animals!
Probably no one guessed that one of the young men who wrote plays for the Globe Theater would turn out to be one of the greatest known writers. His name was William Shakespeare, and he was born more than 400 years ago. We don’t know very much about Shakespeare as a child. But we do know that he traveled to London from his home in Stratford-upon-Avon, England,when he was still a young man. In London Shakespeare saw people on crowded, dirty streets. He met thieves and soldiers and people of royal families. He read about kings and queens.
He acted in plays written by others. And he wrote his own. Shakespeare wrote happy plays and also sad plays and plays about great battles. He even made up words that are still used today-words like gloomy and hurry. In Shakespeare’s plays the characters or people that the actors pretended to be, were like the people he had met and read about. In those days many believe ghosts and witches. So Shakespeare made them character too. And because audiences loved poetry and music, he filled his plays with verses and songs.
Today our theaters don’t look like the Globe. People who come to watch a play sit in seats. They are quieter and they don’t jump onto the stage to shout at the actors. But Shakespeare’s plays are so good that it doesn’t matter when they are performed or when they were written. People everywhere still go to see them.