Wikipedia:Picture of the day/December 2012

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These featured pictures previously appeared (or shall appear) as Picture of the day as scheduled below. You can add the automatically updating Picture of the day to your userpage or talk page using {{pic of the day}} (text version) or {{POTD}} (short version). For instructions on how to make custom POTD layouts, see Wikipedia:Picture of the day.


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December 1 - Sat

Picture of the day
Galeries Lafayette, Paris

Christmas tree display at the Galeries Lafayette, an upmarket French department store located on Boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. In 2009, Galeries Lafayette recorded earnings exceeding 1 billion. It is a part of the company Groupe Galeries Lafayette.

Photo: Benh Lieu Song
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December 2 - Sun

Picture of the day
Rings of Saturn

Two views of the rings of Saturn: the top half of the image shows the illuminated (sun-facing) side of the rings in visible light as seen by the Cassini probe, and the bottom is a simulated image constructed from radio occultation data. Color in the lower image is used to represent information about ring particle sizes, as follows: radio signals of 0.94, 3.6, and 13 cm wavelengths were sent simultaneously from Cassini through the rings to Earth. The attenuation of each signal reflects the abundance of ring particles of sizes similar to the wavelength and larger. The color purple, in much of the middle (B) ring and the inner part of the outer (A) ring, indicates few particles smaller than 5 cm are present, i.e., similar attenuation of all signals. Green and blue, in the inner (C) ring and outer part of the A Ring, indicate particles smaller than 5 cm and 1 cm, respectively, are common. White areas of the B Ring are the densest and transmit too little signal for size estimation.

Photo: NASA/JPL/SSI
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December 3 - Mon

Picture of the day
Leaf tissue structure

The fine scale structure of a leaf featuring the major tissues; the upper and lower epithelia (and associated cuticles), the palisade and spongy mesophyll and the guard cells of the stoma. Vascular tissue (veins) is not shown. Key plant cell organelles (the cell wall, nucleus, chloroplasts, vacuole and cytoplasm) are also shown.

Image: Richard Wheeler
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December 4 - Tue

Picture of the day
Blue-winged Parrot

The Blue-winged Parrot (Neophema chrysostoma) is a small parrot found in Tasmania and southeast Australia. Males (example shown here) are mainly olive green with a blue frontal band reaching from forehead to eye, blue wing coverts, black primaries, and a yellow belly. Females are slightly duller with more green on the wings.

Photo: JJ Harrison
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December 5 - Wed

Picture of the day
Smoked Atlantic mackerel

A smoked Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus). The smoking of fish was originally performed as a method of food preservation that would keep fish edible for more than a year. Recently, the availability of refrigeration and freezing has changed the primary purpose of smoking to enhancing the flavour of the fish.

Photo: Luc Viatour
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December 6 - Thu

Picture of the day
Focus stacking in microscopy

Focus stacking is a digital image processing technique which combines the in-focus portions of multiple exposures to give a resulting image with a greater proportion in sharp focus than any of the individual source images. It is used often in macro photography and optical microscopy, such as in this example of bright field microscopy. At the top left are the three source image slices of a diatom microfossil in diatomaceous earth at three focal depths. Opposite those are the contributions of each focal slice to the final image (black represents no contribution, white represents full contribution). At the bottom is the resulting focus-stacked image, with almost the entire image in focus.

Photos: Richard Wheeler
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December 7 - Fri

Picture of the day
Gian Lorenzo Bernini

A self-portrait of Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680), an Italian artist, architect, and sculptor who is credited with creating the Baroque style of sculpture. He received commissions for sculptures at an early age from Cardinal Scipione Borghese and soon rose to prominence under the patronage of Popes Gregory XV, Urban VIII, and Alexander VII. His artistic pre-eminence meant he was able to secure the most important commission in the Rome of his day, St. Peter's Basilica, as well as the adjoining Piazza San Pietro. He fell from favour in later neoclassical criticism of the Baroque, but art historians in the 19th century and onwards have restored his artistic reputation.

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December 8 - Sat

Picture of the day
Warty crab

The warty crab (Eriphia verrucosa) is a species of crab found in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and eastern Atlantic Ocean from Brittany to Mauritania and the Azores. It lives among stones and seaweeds in shallow water along rocky coastlines up to a depth of 15 metres (49 ft).

Photo: George Chernilevsky
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December 9 - Sun

Picture of the day
Maid of the Mist

One of the tour boats of the Maid of the Mist tour of Niagara Falls. The tour starts off at a calm part of the Niagara River (from both the American and Canadian sides) near the Rainbow Bridge, and takes its passengers past the American and Bridal Veil Falls, then into the dense mist of spray inside the curve of the Horseshoe Falls. The first Maid of the Mist was launched in 1846 as a ferry service between the Canadian and American sides, predating by two years the construction of the first Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge. However, with the opening of the bridge, the ferry service lost business, and by 1854, became a tourist attraction instead.

Photo: Saffron Blaze
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December 10 - Mon

Picture of the day
Lotus shoes

A pair of lotus shoes, which are shoes that were worn by women in China who had bound feet. They were delicately constructed from cotton or silk, and small enough to fit in the palm of a hand. They are cone or sheath-shaped, intended to resemble a lotus bud. Though foot binding is no longer practiced, many lotus shoes survive as artifacts in museums or private collections.

Photo: Daniel Schwen
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December 11 - Tue

Picture of the day
Sea salt harvesting

The harvesting of sea saltsalt obtained by the evaporation of seawater—in Phetchaburi Province, Thailand. Like mineral salt, production of sea salt dates to prehistoric times. Generally more expensive than table salt, it is commonly used in gourmet cooking because it is believed to taste better.

Photo: JJ Harrison
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December 12 - Wed

Picture of the day
Taos Pueblo church

Front view of the entrance to Mission de San Geronimo church at Taos Pueblo, an ancient pueblo belonging to a Taos (Northern Tiwa) speaking Native American tribe of Pueblo people. It is approximately 1,000 years old and lies about 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the modern city of Taos, New Mexico. The church was originally built around 1620, but was destroyed several times. The current building (pictured) is the fourth to be built. Today, about 90% of the Taos community are baptized as Catholics, but many still also practice their indigenous religion.

Photo: Ansel Adams; Restoration: Ryan Kaldari
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December 13 - Thu

Picture of the day
Chromodoris joshi

Chromodoris joshi is a species of nudibranch, a shell-less gastropod marine mollusk found in the Philippines, Sumatra, the Andaman Sea, and Indonesia. Reaching 60 mm (2.4 in) in length, it is yellow with three black stripes on its mantle and orange rhinophores and gills.

Photo: Nick Hobgood
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December 14 - Fri

Picture of the day

The Biham–Middleton–Levine traffic model is a cellular automaton that describes cars driving on a grid. The blue dots are cars that only move downwards; the red dots are cars that only move rightwards. The two types of cars take turns to move. Despite its simplicity, the model eventually forms an interesting pattern from a random starting position. When there are few cars, the traffic will always end up flowing smoothly, whereas when there are many cars, the traffic will become jammed. In this animation, there are neither too many cars nor too few cars, so it displays a mixture of jams and free flows.

Animation: User:Purpy Pupple
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December 15 - Sat

Picture of the day
Andromeda Galaxy

The Andromeda Galaxy is a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years away. The image, created using a hydrogen-alpha filter, also shows Messier objects 32 and 110, as well as NGC 206 and the star Nu Andromedae. On December 15, 1612, German astronomer Simon Marius became the first person to describe the galaxy using a telescope.

Photo: Adam Evans
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December 16 - Sun

Picture of the day
Nazca Booby

Nazca Booby (Sula granti) is a booby found primarily on the Galápagos Islands. It is known for practicing obligate siblicide. The female lays two eggs, several days apart. If both eggs hatch, the elder chick will push its sibling out of the nest area. The parent booby will not intervene and the younger chick will inevitably die.

Photo: Benjamint444
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December 17 - Mon

Picture of the day
Portrait of Eleanor of Toledo

Portrait of Eleanor of Toledo is a painting by Bronzino of Eleanor of Toledo, a Spanish noblewoman who was the duchess consort of Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and her son Giovanni. The painting is one of the artist's most famous works and is in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. It is the first known state-commissioned portrait to include the ruler's heir, which was done in part because Cosimo's predecessor Alessandro died without any legitimate male heirs. The boy's inclusion implies that Cosimo's rule would bring stability to the duchy.

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December 18 - Tue

Picture of the day
QR code structure

The structure of a quick response (QR) code, a type of matrix barcode that can encode virtually any kind of data. Originally developed for the automotive industry to track vehicles during the manufacturing process, it has since become one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. The QR code is detected as a 2-dimensional digital image by an image sensor and is then digitally analyzed. The processor locates the three distinctive squares at the corners of the image, and uses a smaller square near the fourth corner to normalize the image for size, orientation, and angle of viewing. The small dots are then converted to binary numbers and validity checked with an error-correcting code.

Image: Richard Wheeler
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December 19 - Wed

Picture of the day
Billet of enriched uranium

A billet of enriched uranium, which is uranium where the percent composition of uranium-235 (235U) has been increased through the process of isotope separation. Enriched uranium is a critical component for both civil nuclear power generation and military nuclear weapons.

Photo: United States Department of Energy
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December 20 - Thu

Picture of the day
Ksenia Semenova

Ksenia Semenova (b. 1992) is a Russian artistic gymnast. She was the 2007 World Champion on the uneven bars. At the 2008 European Championships, she was a member of the silver-medal-winning Russian team, as well as champion on the uneven bars and the balance beam. She followed this up by winning the all-around championship at the 2009 European Championships and was part of the gold-medal Russian team at the 2010 European and 2010 World Championships. Injuries have prevented her from competing since then.

Photo: Bolshoi Sport
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December 21 - Fri

Picture of the day
Projected ozone depletion

An animated image showing projections of stratospheric ozone concentrations if chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) had not been banned. CFCs and other halogenated ozone-depleting substances are mainly responsible for man-made chemical ozone depletion. Since the ozone layer absorbs UVB ultraviolet light, its depletion is expected to increase surface UVB levels, which could lead to damage, including increase in skin cancer.

Image: NASA/GSFC/Fallschirmjäger
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December 22 - Sat

Picture of the day
Hurricane Rick

Hurricane Rick was the second-most intense Pacific hurricane on record and the strongest ever to form during October. Developing south of Mexico on October 15, 2009, the storm attained Category 5 status on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale two days later and soon attained its peak intensity with winds of 180 mph (290 km/h; 156 kn) and the barometric pressure bottomed out at 906 mbar (906.00 hPa; 26.75 inHg). By the time it made landfall near Mazatlán, its winds had dropped to 55 mph (89 km/h; 48 kn) and it was reclassified as a tropical depression a few hours later.

Photo: NASA/MODIS Rapid Response Team
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December 23 - Sun

Picture of the day
Agnes Milowka

Agnes Milowka (1981–2011) was an Australian technical diver, underwater photographer, author, and cave explorer. She gained international recognition for extending cave systems across Australia and in Florida, and as a public speaker and author on the subjects of diving and maritime archaeology. She participated in National Geographic and Discovery Channel expeditions. Her passion led her to act as a stunt double on Andrew Wight's feature film Sanctum and to participate in shooting real scenery in Mount Gambier caves, where she drowned just a few weeks after the movie's premiere.

Photo: James Axford
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December 24 - Mon

Picture of the day
Dark-spotted tiger moth caterpillar

The caterpillar of the dark-spotted tiger moth (Ardices canescens), a moth found across most of Australia. The caterpillars are polyphagous, eating a variety of plants including pumpkin (pictured), sunflower, dandelion and hollyhock. They are also used as hosts for parasitoid wasp larvae.

Photo: Toby Hudson
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December 25 - Tue

Picture of the day
Cab Calloway

Cab Calloway (1907–94) was an American jazz singer and bandleader. He was strongly associated with the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York City, the nation's premier jazz venue at the time, where he was a regular performer. He was a master of energetic scat singing, which he learned from Louis Armstrong, and led one of most popular African American big bands from the start of the 1930s through the late 1940s. His most famous song was "Minnie the Moocher", which was used in a Betty Boop cartoon of the same name. In addition to music, Calloway was an actor, appearing both in films and in musical theatre.

Photo: William P. Gottlieb
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December 26 - Wed

Picture of the day
Confederate States of America currency

Two banknotes for Confederate States of America dollars, in five (top) and 100 dollar (bottom) amounts. The notes were first issued just before the outbreak of the Civil War by the Confederacy. They were not backed by hard assets, but simply by a promise to pay the bearer after Confederate victory. By the end of the war, the notes were worthless. Today, the "Greybacks" are prized as collector's items.

Restoration: Michael Holley
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December 27 - Thu

Picture of the day
ORP Grom

ORP Grom is an Orkan-class fast attack craft originally contracted by East Germany and laid down in 1989. After German reunification, the unfinished hull was bought by Poland, where it was completed in 1995. The ship now serves with the 31st Rocket Warships Squadron, 3rd Ship Flotilla of the Polish Navy.

Photo: Łukasz Golowanow
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December 28 - Fri

Picture of the day
Red-capped Plover

The Red-capped Plover (Charadrius ruficapillus) is a small plover native to Australia. Adult males have a rufous crown and hindneck. Adult females (shown here in breeding plumage) have a paler rufous and grey brown crown and hindneck, with pale loreal stripe. Non-breeding plumage is duller in both sexes.

Photo: JJ Harrison
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December 29 - Sat

Picture of the day
Zirconium

Two samples of crystal bars of pure zirconium on a white glass plate showing different surface textures, made by the crystal bar process, and a 1 cm3 cube of it for comparison. Zirconium is a lustrous, grey-white, strong transition metal that resembles titanium. It is mainly used as a refractory and opacifier, although it is used in small amounts as an alloying agent for its strong resistance to corrosion.

Photo: Alchemist-hp
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December 30 - Sun

Picture of the day
Ani, Turkey

A panoramic view of the north walls of Ani, a ruined and uninhabited medieval Armenian city-site in the Turkish province of Kars, near the border with Armenia. It was once the capital of a medieval Armenian kingdom that covered much of present day Armenia and eastern Turkey. At its height, Ani had a population of 100,000–200,000 people and its many religious buildings, palaces, and fortifications were amongst the most technically and artistically advanced structures in the world.

Photo: Ggia
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December 31 - Mon

Picture of the day
Smooth oxeye

The smooth oxeye (Heliopsis helianthoides), or false sunflower is a flowering plant of the Asteraceae family native to eastern North America. This species is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial growing 40–150 cm (16–59 in) tall. It is a popular garden plant, and several cultivars are available with flowers of varying colors and shades.

Photo: Joaquim Alves Gaspar
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