17772 questions

What is a catalyst?

A catalyst lowers the activation energy of a reaction and therefore increases the rate of reaction. The catalysts reacts with the reactants but is regenerated again in the reaction so it is not used up.
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Hannah G.

Answered by Hannah, Chemistry tutor with MyTutor


What is the political role of the Judiciary, and is it able to remain neutral from political bias?

The judiciary is one of the three branches of Government, and therefore plays a pivotal role in the political system. Its wider definition comprises numerous different layers of the legal system, that all play their part in the judicial process, such as magistrates, judges, courts, etc. It has numerous political roles, and is relied upon to provide an un-biased assessment of Government affairs. Its responsibilities are as such:
1) Dispensing Justice
2) Interpretation
3) Creating a case law
4) Common law
5) Judicial review

The judiciary has a multitude of ways in which to protect its independence from outside influence, given neutrality in delivering a judgement is an underlying principle:
1) Security of Tenure
2) Contempt of Court
3) Appointments system (reformed in 2005)
4) Senior Judges
There are also checks in place to ensure the legitimacy and competency of the decisions made by the judiciary:
1) Political Sovereignity of Parliament
2) Rule of Law
3) Judicial Precedent
4) Primacy of EU law

Over the years there have been a number of high profile inquiries by the judiciary into the work of the Government, holding them to account for issues that have raised public concern. These have included:
> The Scott Inquiry, 1996 
> The Phillips Inquiry, 1998
> The Hutton Inquiry, 2003
> The Gibson Inquiry, 2010
Despite such precautions being in place, whether or not the judiciary can truly remain independent from outside influence is a contentious issue. One of the main threads of the argument is the narrow social and professional background of the people who make up the justice system. Professor John Griffith in 1977 made the claim that the background of judges would inevitably affect their judgement in cases that involved topics such as the rights of women and trade unions.There is also the belief that they are naturally inclined to favour whatever is in the interests of the state and public order. 
 Reforms have been undertaken within the judiciary to try to increase its legitimacy as an independent body. In 2003, Labour succeeded in having the postion of the Chancellor broken down to end its multi-faceted role, and as such it is no longer head of the court system. The position of Lord Chief Justice, a non-political role, was instead created to become the head of the judicial system. 

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Rachael B.

Answered by Rachael, who tutored Politics with MyTutor


What is the process of natural selection?

- Differences in genes lead to variation within a species - It is in an individuals' best interest to produce the maximum amount of offspring in order to have maximum variation in the genes of their offspring as those with characteristics best suited to their environment will survive and pass on their genes - Individuals who are less well suited to their environment are less likely to survive and pass on their genes to the next generation - Over time, this leads to evolution in a species Eg. Originally not all giraffes may have had long necks. There may have been lots of different Giraffes with lots of different neck lengths. Due to living in an environment where their main source of food (ie. leaves) could only be accessed in high places (ie. trees), those Giraffes with the long necks where more likely to be able to reach the food and survive to pass on their genes, where as the Giraffes with short necks would starve and die. Over time, this lead to Giraffes as a species having very long necks.
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Bethany M.

Answered by Bethany, Biology tutor with MyTutor


What is the ablative absolute and how do you use it?

The ablative absolute is a neat and, I think, elegant Latin subordinate clause. It is distinguishable from the main clause by a subject noun and a participle, usually the perfect, in the ablative case. It has a rough translation meaning 'This having happened', or 'After this had happened...'. The ablative case makes it distinct from the main clause and describes a state of affairs in which the main clause takes place. An example would be: 'Spartaco victo Crassus Pompeiusque consules facti sunt.' (After Spartacus had been defeated, Crassus and Pompey became consuls.) The fact that it has no direct translation into English actually allows you to be reasonably flexible when translating it. For example, Latin often uses an ablative absolute where English would use two verbs linked by 'and'. So, an alternative translation of the above could be, 'Crassus and Pompey defeated Spartacus and became consuls'. As I said, it's quite neat!
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Sam C.

Answered by Sam, Latin tutor with MyTutor


How to factorise a simple linear equation such as '9Y + 6'

Using the Example 9Y + 6 Factorising means to remove a common factor from both the ‘9Y’ term and the ‘6’ – this common factor will then be placed outside the brackets. For us to complete this question, we must first find the largest number that can divide into both coefficients 9 and 6 – this of course being 3 because 9Y and 6 can be divided by 3 to give whole integer answers. 9Y / 3 = 3Y6/3 = 2 So having found our largest common factor, and dividing our coefficients our factorisation becomes: 3(3Y + 2). The bracket represents our division sum answers and the 3 outside our common factor. For practice have a try at these questions:1)  6X + 122)  5Y + 153)  2X + 364)  4Y – 24 
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Solomon L.

Answered by Solomon, Maths tutor with MyTutor


How do Dickens and Eliot present the pressures placed on an individual?

Dickens wrote ‘Great Expectations’ in the mid-Victorian era and it was heavily influenced by poverty and the stark differences in social classes in the period. Eliot’s poetry came from a much later epoch where the focus had changed from this intransitive mind set to modernism, this view did not look at the mass of people suffering but focused on the lost individual in a crowd and their life in modern day society (such as the city). One of the key pressures present in both the novel ‘Great Expectations’ and in poetry such as ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ is the influence of city life especially in London. In Great Expectations, in spite of the poverty surrounding Pip, the city represents new life and potential to live like or become one of the upper classes, like the woman he loves Estella. “Morning made a considerable difference in my general prospect of Life, and brightened it so much that it scarcely seemed the same.” The prospect of going to London and the pursuing the life he had dreamt of since meeting Miss Havisham and Estella was exciting and completely different to his “common” existence as a Blacksmiths apprentice. Pip is under the influence of proving himself to the one he loves, in having new found wealth, Pip feels he could be valued by Estella and provide for her lavish lifestyle. Dickens use of the term “metropolis” when describing the capital city has positive connotations and implies an inordinate power, which of course influences Pip into Social Snobbery. Throughout the novel you see the changes gone through by Pip the boy then becoming Pip the man, and the influence of City life perhaps causing his eventual fall from grace. The pressure Pip was under to be a success in spite of his background and upbringing are the backbone of Dickens’ novel, investigating the social classes and the movement of individuals from one level to another. ‘Great Expectations’ makes it clear that it is much easier to fall from a higher class than to climb from a lower one; and perhaps implies that we shouldn’t seek to better our station in society, on the other hand, Pip is perhaps somewhat of a social Icarus, who is only valued by those of the highest classes when he has money. Many critics would agree that Dickens tends to personify the pressures placed on individuals by moulding other characters to fit a social stereotype for instance Miss Havisham looks down on those of lower classes and teaches Estella to do the same, meanwhile Biddy measures the value of a person based on whether they are comfortable and satisfied with their life.  In contrast to this Eliot’s work of a later era (Edwardian), gives rise to the stance of popular views of the time being the modernist movement in Europe. In this way his poetry and the pressures he presents are limited to those on one or two marginalised characters who are under the influence of their own expectations, rather than that of society. This is represented by the character coming full circle in Prufrock and never having left  for a walk in the city at night, as his mind has created the scenes he would expect to find without having necessarily experienced them. 
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Roslyn I.

Answered by Roslyn, English Literature tutor with MyTutor


How and when to form the present subjunctive in Spanish

The subjunctive mood is used in Spanish after certain expressions. These include: 1) Expressions of uncertainty e.g - Dudo que... 2) Expressions of feeling e.g - Siento que... 3) Expressions of wish/intent/command e.g - Quiero que...   The formation of the subjunctive in Spanish is very easy. There are 3 simple steps. 1) Take the yo form of the present indicative. e.g - Como 2) Drop the -o ending. 3) Add the subjunctive endings which depend on whether the verb ends in -ar or -er/-ir. AR Endings -e, -es, -e, -emos, -éis, -en ER/IR Endings -a, -as, -a, -amos, -áis, -an As with most tenses, irregularities exist in the subjunctive. If the verb is irregular in the present indicative, you use this irregular stem to form the present subjunctive. E.g - tener -> tengo -> teng-          conocer -> concozco -> conozc- There are also 6 verbs which are fully irregular in the subjunctive, these need to be learnt: Dar, Estar, Haber, Ir, Saber & Ser        Examples: I want you to go to the supermarket. - Quiero que vayas al supermercado. We doubt that they will eat it. - Dudamos que lo coman. I don't believe that he has a new car. - No creo que tenga un coche nuevo.   There is no such thing as the future subjunctive in Spanish, the present subjunctive is used to express this. This is why 'coman' is used in example 2.
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Lucy S.

Answered by Lucy, Spanish tutor with MyTutor


How do you form the conditional tense in French?

In French you form the conditional tense in 2 simple steps: 1) Take the future stem of the verb. E.g - manger 2) Add the imperfect endings. E.g - ais, ais, ait, ions, iez, aient.   You use the conditional tense to talk about what 'would' happen in the future. Many verbs have irregular stems in the future and these must also be used in the conditional tense. Some examples are given below. Aller: ir- Avoir: aur- Etre: ser- Faire: fer- Vouloir: voudr- Example sentences: I would go to Spain. - J'irais en Espagne.                                  He would eat an apple. - Il mangerait une pomme.                                  We would do our homework. - Nous ferions nos devoirs.  
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Lucy S.

Answered by Lucy, French tutor with MyTutor


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