Wikipedia:Picture of the day/August 2012

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These featured pictures, as scheduled below, appeared as the picture of the day (POTD) on the English Wikipedia's Main Page in August 2012. Individual sections for each day on this page can be linked to with the day number as the anchor name (e.g. [[Wikipedia:Picture of the day/August 2012#1]] for August 1).

You can add an automatically updating POTD template to your user page using {{Pic of the day}} (version with blurb) or {{POTD}} (version without blurb). For instructions on how to make custom POTD layouts, see Wikipedia:Picture of the day.Purge server cache


August 1

Sacred chank shell

Five views of the shell of a sacred chank (Turbinella pyrum), a species of sea snail (also known as a conch) found in the Indian Ocean. The name "chank" is derived from the Sanskrit name shankha. The shell is of religious importance in Hinduism and Buddhism, where it is recognized as one of the eight auspicious symbols.

Photo: H. Zell


August 2

Großbottwar town hall

The town hall of Großbottwar, a town in the Ludwigsburg district of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The town sits within the Neckar River basin and is located on a tourist route through the Württemberg wine region. It was founded sometime during the mid-13th century by an alliance of prominent families. Unlike most towns in the region, Großbottwar was neither heavily damaged by war nor by urban fires, so there are many old buildings from the 15th through the 17th centuries with the original timber framing. The town hall itself is noted for its half-timber construction and decoratively carved façade.

Photo: Felix König


August 3

Mallard ducks

A pair of Mallards, an easily recognized species of dabbling duck that is found throughout the temperate and subtropical Americas, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, as well as Australia and New Zealand. The male birds have a bright green head (during breeding season) and are grey on wings and belly, while the females are brown all over. Both sexes have blue speculum feathers. Mallards live in wetlands, eat water plants and small animals, and are gregarious. This species is the ancestor of almost all of the breeds of domestic ducks.

Photo: Richard Bartz


August 4

Calcareous sponges

Plate 5 from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur, showing a variety of calcareous sponges, a class of about 400 marine sponges that are found mostly in shallow tropical waters worldwide. Calcareous sponges vary from radially symmetrical vase-shaped body types to colonies made up of a meshwork of thin tubes, or irregular massive forms. The skeleton has either a mesh or honeycomb structure.

Image credit: Ernst Haeckel


August 5

Maasai woman

Portrait of a Maasai woman, with shaved head, stretched earlobes, and beaded adornments, typical of the Maasai culture. The Maasai are a Nilotic ethnic group of semi-nomadic people located in Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are among the best known of African ethnic groups, due to their distinctive customs and dress and residence near the many game parks of East Africa. Their primary language Maa (ɔl Maa) is a member of the Nilo-Saharan language family that is related to Dinka and Nuer.

Photo: William Warby


August 6

Prague

A panoramic view of Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, as viewed from the Petřín Lookout Tower. The view is approximately 180 degrees, from north on the left to south on the right. The area on which Prague was founded was settled as early as the Paleolithic age. By the year 800 there was a simple fort with wooden buildings, occupying about two-thirds of the area that is now Prague Castle. Prague was an important seat for trading where merchants from all of Europe settled, and it especially flourished during the reign of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor.

Photo: David Iliff


August 7

Tasmanian devil

The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is a carnivorous marsupial found in the wild only on the Australian island of Tasmania. It is characterised by its stocky and muscular build, black fur, pungent odour, extremely loud and disturbing screech, keen sense of smell, and ferocity when feeding. Its large head and neck allow it to generate the strongest bite per unit body mass of any living mammal.

Photo: JJ Harrison


August 8

Japanese battleship Yamato

A line drawing of the Japanese battleship Yamato, the lead ship of the Yamato class of battleships that served with the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. Named after the ancient Japanese Yamato Province, she was launched on 8 August 1940 and served as the flagship of the Japanese Combined Fleet in 1942.

Image: Alexpl

Recently featured:

August 9

Scaldfish larva

The larva of a scaldfish (Arnoglossus laterna), one of the many species that are considered to be ichthyoplankton, a blanket term for fish eggs and larvae that cannot swim effectively under their own power, but must drift with the ocean currents. Fish larvae are part of the zooplankton that eat smaller plankton, while fish eggs carry their own food supply. Both eggs and larvae are themselves eaten by larger animals.

Photo: Hans Hillewaert


August 10

Carambola

A vertical, end view, and cross-section of a carambola, the fruit of Averrhoa carambola, a species of tree native to Southeast Asia and South Pacific islands. The fruit has ridges running down its sides (usually five, but the number may vary); in cross-section, it resembles a star, inspiring the alternative name starfruit. The entire fruit, including the slightly waxy skin, is edible.

Photo: S. Masters


August 11

Chlorine

Chlorine liquefied under pressure, sealed in a quartz ampoule and then in an acrylic cube. Chlorine, a chemical element belonging to the halogen group, is most commonly found in the compound sodium chloride. It is a strong oxidizing agent, which led it to its bleaching and disinfectant uses, as well as uses as an essential reagent in the chemical industry. Elemental chlorine is extremely dangerous and poisonous for all lifeforms, but chloride ions are necessary to most forms of life.

Photo: Alchemist-hp


August 12

Christy Mathewson

Christy Mathewson (1880–1925) was an American Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. He was among the most dominant pitchers of his (or any) era, and ranks in the all-time top-10 in major pitching categories such as wins, shutouts, and ERA. He was one of the "first five" inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.

Photo: Paul Thompson; Restoration: Michel Vuijlsteke

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August 13

Fan-tailed Cuckoo

The Fan-tailed Cuckoo (Cacomantis flabelliformis) is native to forested areas in the Australasia region. Like other cuckoo species, it practises brood parasitism, laying its eggs in the nests of other birds like fairywrens or thornbills. Its diet is omnivorous and includes fruits and vegetables, insects, reptiles, mammals, and birds.

Photo: JJ Harrison.

Recently featured:

August 14

Tracy Caldwell Dyson

Tracy Caldwell Dyson in the Cupola module of the International Space Station, observing the Earth below during Expedition 24. Caldwell Dyson is an American chemist and astronaut. She was selected by NASA in 1998 and made her first spaceflight in August 2007 on the STS-118 mission aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Photo: NASA/Tracy Caldwell Dyson


August 15

At Breakfast by L. A. Ring

At Breakfast (1898) by the Danish artist L. A. Ring. Ring was one of the foremost painters of Danish symbolism. As a painter, he made his humble origins the dominant theme of his paintings. This painting shows his wife, Sigrid Kähler, surrounded by subtle symbols indicating his love for her, such as the myrtle branches above her head, a symbol of Aphrodite according to the Ancient Greeks, and used in Denmark to adorn the bride at weddings.


August 16

Golden toad

The golden toad (Bufo periglenes) is an extinct species of true toad that was once abundant in a small region of high-altitude cloud-covered tropical forests, about 30 km2 (12 sq mi) in area, above the city of Monteverde, Costa Rica. The last reported sighting of a golden toad was on 15 May 1989. Its sudden extinction may have been caused by chytrid fungus and extensive habitat loss.

Photo: Charles H. Smith, USFWS


August 17

Panellus stipticus

Panellus stipticus is a common and widely distributed species of fungus that grows on decaying deciduous trees, especially beech, oak, and birch. In some areas, it is bioluminescent, and the fruit bodies of these strains will glow in the dark—an effect known as foxfire—when fresh or sometimes when revived in water after drying.

Photo: Ylem


August 18

James Webb Space Telescope

Six beryllium mirror segments of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) undergoing a series of cryogenic tests at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The JWST is a planned space telescope that is a joint collaboration of 20 countries. It will orbit the Sun approximately 1,500,000 km (930,000 mi) beyond the Earth, around the L2 Lagrange point. It is expected to launch in 2018.

Photo: NASA/MSFC/David Higginbotham/Emmett Given


August 19

Richea scoparia

Richea scoparia is a species of flowering plant endemic to Tasmania, Australia. It is a compact, often rounded shrub branching mostly from the base and which can grow to 2 metres (6.6 ft) high. The plant is spiny to touch and can make impenetrable thickets where it is common. Branches are clothed with stiff, curved, sharp pointed, awl shaped leaves, and the flowers are eaten by wallabies.

Photo: JJ Harrison


August 20

Eilean Donan Castle

The castle on Eilean Donan, a small island in Loch Duich in the western Scottish Highlands. The castle, which was built in the 13th century and destroyed in the 18th century, is widely familiar from many photographs and appearances in film and television. The present buildings are a 20th-century reconstruction.

Photo: David Iliff


August 21

Khoikhoi people

An 1805 depiction of a Khoikhoi family dismantling their huts, preparing to move to new pastures. The Khoikhoi are a native people of southwestern Africa, closely related to the Bushmen. Most of the Khoikhoi have largely disappeared as a group, except for the largest group, the Namas.

Artist: Samuel Daniell


August 22

Lady Margaret Beaufort

Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby, was the mother of King Henry VII and paternal grandmother of King Henry VIII of England. She was a key figure in the Wars of the Roses, and an influential matriarch of the House of Tudor and foundress of two Cambridge colleges. In 1509, she briefly served as regent of England for her grandson. Henry VII became King of England after leading Lancastrian forces to victory in the Battle of Bosworth Field on 22 August 1485.

Artist: Unknown


August 23

Sea anemones

An 1893 print showing various examples of sea anemones, a group of water-dwelling, predatory animals named after the anemone, a terrestrial flower. As cnidarians, sea anemones are closely related to corals, jellyfish, tube-dwelling anemones, and Hydra. Its body is a polyp attached at the bottom to the surface beneath it by an adhesive foot, although a few species are free-floating.

Artist: Giacomo Merculiano; Restoration: Citron


August 24

Dusky Woodswallow

A Dusky Woodswallow (Artamus cyanopterus) feeding a wasp to its chicks. The Dusky Woodswallow is found in eastern and southern Australia. It is medium sized and swallow-like, although it is not related to true swallows. It is an omnivore, with its diet consisting of insects, various forms of foliage, and nectar from flowers.

Photo: JJ Harrison


August 25

Orange spider conch

Dorsal and ventral views of the shell of an orange spider conch (Lambis crocata), a species of sea snail that belongs to the true conch family. It is found in the western Indian Ocean and grows to between 70 to 205 mm (2.8 to 8.1 in) in length.

Photo: George Chernilevsky


August 26

Italian wall lizard

The Italian wall lizard (Podarcis sicula) is native to southern and southeastern Europe. As the name suggests, it is the most abundant lizard species in southern Italy. The species is known for having been subject to "rapid evolution": In 1971, ten adult specimens were brought to the Croatian island of Pod Mrčaru from a neighbouring island, where they founded a new bottlenecked population. After the Yugoslav Wars, scientists found that the Pod Mrčaru population differed greatly from the original group, although the two are genetically identical. The most surprising difference was that individuals on Pod Mrčaru had developed cecal valves, "a brand new feature not present in the ancestral population".

Photo: Richard Bartz


August 27

The Tepees, Petrified Forest National Park, US

The Tepees, a rock formation in Petrified Forest National Park in the U.S. state of Arizona. Named for its large deposits of petrified wood, the park covers about 146 sq mi (380 km2), encompassing semi-desert shrub steppe as well as highly eroded and colorful badlands. The petrified trees that give the park its name date to the Late Triassic, about 225 million years ago.

Photo: Finetooth


August 28

Castello Plan

The Castello Plan is a map of New Amsterdam, the Dutch settlement on Manhattan Island that later became New York City. It was originally created in 1660 by Jacques Cortelyou and made its way to Italy in the collection of Cosimo III de' Medici. It was discovered again in 1900 in Villa di Castello (hence the name), and redrawn by John Wolcott Adams and Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes in 1916, which is the version shown here.


August 29

Canadian Museum of Civilization

The Canadian Museum of Civilization is the country's national museum of human history and the most popular and most-visited museum in Canada. It is located in the Hull sector of Gatineau, Quebec, directly across the Ottawa River from Canada's Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, Ontario. With roots stretching back to 1856, the museum is one of North America's oldest cultural institutions.

Photo: Wladyslaw


August 30

Making a death mask

Two workers, c. 1908, use plaster to create a mold of a deceased person's face. This mold will then be used to make that person's death mask. Death masks may be mementos of the dead, used for creation of portraits, or placed on the face of the deceased before burial rites. The best known of the last are those used by ancient Egyptians as part of the mummification process, such as the one for Tutankhamun.

Photo: Bain News Service; Restoration: AutoGyro


August 31

Cadmium

A crystal bar of cadmium, made by the flux process, and 1 cm3 of cadmium for comparison. This soft, bluish-white metal is chemically similar to the two other stable metals in group 12, zinc and mercury. It was discovered in 1817 simultaneously by Stromeyer and Hermann, both in Germany, as an impurity in zinc carbonate.

Photo: Alchemist-hp


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