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The portal of portals


A portal is an opening in the walls of a building, gate or fortification, and especially a grand entrance to an important structure. Doors, metal gates or portcullis in the opening can be used to control entry or exit. The surface surrounding the opening may be made of simple building materials or decorated with ornamentation. Elements of a portal can include the voussoir, tympanum, an ornamented mullion or trumeau between doors, and columns with carvings of saints in the westwork of a church.

Portals in science fiction allow rapid travel between distant locations, often originating from some combination of natural phenomenon and technological device. These fictional devices are required for most stories on an inter-solar scale, otherwise transit time would be excessive for storytelling purposes. An advantage of portal technology over a faster-than-light drive is that it can be imagined to work instantly, and can travel to the past or future. In other forms of fiction, a portal may be magical, and connect to an alternate universe or plane of existence.

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Jewish refugees aboard the SS St. Louis look out through the portholes of the ship while docked in Havana

A porthole is a small, generally circular, window normally used on the hull of ships to admit light and air. Though the term is of obvious maritime origin, it is also used to describe round windows on armored vehicles, aircraft, automobiles (the Ford Thunderbird a notable example), and even spacecraft.

On a ship, the function of a porthole, when open, is to permit light and fresh air to enter the dark and often damp below-deck quarters of the vessel. It also affords below-deck occupants a limited, but often much needed view to the outside world. When closed, the porthole provides a strong water-tight barrier.

A porthole on a ship may also be called a sidescuttle or side scuttle (side hole). The use of the word sidescuttle is meant to be broad, including any covered or uncovered hole in the side of the vessel.

Portholes on spacecraft must be made from glass that can survive rapid temperature changes, without suffering the cracking that can result from thermal shock. Those on the International Space Station were made from quartz glass mounted on titanium frames, covered with enamel. Conversely, portholes on submarines are generally made of acrylic plastic, and can be several inches thick.

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Antoine Portal

Baron Antoine Portal (January 5, 1742-July 23, 1832) was a French anatomist, doctor, medical historian and founding president of the Académie Nationale de Médecine. Born in Gaillac, he was the eldest among 12 siblings. He studied medicine in Albi, Toulouse and Montpellier and started his career as a teacher of anatomy.

In 1766, Portal moved to Paris to take up a similar post, and was appointed to the prestigious position of professor of anatomy to the Jardin du Roi. Louis XVIII named him the first Doctor to the King, a post he also served in under Charles X. His close relationship with King Louis led in 1820 to the creation of what became the Académie Nationale de Médecine, of which he was lifelong president.

In 1803 Portal published "Cours d'anatomie médicale", a 5-volume work on medical history. He was probably the first to describe amyloid in liver in 1789 when he noted a lard-like substance in an elderly woman's liver, and the first to describe bleeding due to esophageal varices. He also published article on clinical features of epilepsy.

Portal died in 1832 at the age of 90 and was buried in Saint Pierre de Montmartre.

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Moscow July 2011-3a.jpg

Portal of the Dormition Cathedral in Moscow.

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Location of Portal, Burke County, North Daokota

Portal is a city in Burke County, North Dakota in the United States. The population was 131 at the 2000 census. Portal was founded in 1893.

Portal sits near the Canadian border and is a major port of entry for road and rail traffic. It is one of three 24-hour ports in North Dakota (the others being Dunseith and Pembina). The town is known for its "international" golf course. The ninth hole is partially in the United States and partially in Canada.

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O ye who sit in bondage and continually seek and pant for freedom, seek only for love.
Love is peace in itself and peace which gives complete satisfaction.
I am the key that opens the portal to the rarely discovered land where contentment alone is found.

Leo Tolstoy, A Letter to a Hindu

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