Wikipedia:Today's featured article/June 2004

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
01 02 03 04 05
06 07 08 09 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30  

June 1

Simon and Garfunkel were a popular music duo comprising Paul Simon and Arthur "Art" Garfunkel. Simon and Garfunkel were among the most popular recording artists of the 1960s, and are best known for their songs, "The Sound of Silence", "Mrs. Robinson" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water". They received several Grammies and are inductees of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (more...)

Recently featured: HeliumChinatownVowel

June 2
Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan was an American astronomer who pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and the scientific method. He was world famous for his popular science books and the television series Cosmos, which he co-wrote and presented. Sagan was among the first to hypothesize that Titan and Jupiter's moon Europa may contain oceans. Sagan contributed to most of the unmanned space missions that explored our solar system, culminating in the Voyager Golden Record that was sent out with the Voyager space probes. (more...)

Recently featured: Simon and GarfunkelHeliumChinatown

June 3

Speech synthesis is the generation of human speech without directly using a human voice. Speech synthesis systems are often called text-to-speech (TTS) systems in reference to their ability to convert text into speech. However, there exist systems that can only render symbolic linguistic representations like phonetic transcriptions into speech. A text-to-speech system is composed of two parts: a front end and a back end. Broadly, the front end takes input in the form of text and outputs a symbolic linguistic representation. The back end takes the symbolic linguistic representation as input and outputs the synthesized speech waveform. The naturalness of a speech synthesizer usually refers to how much the output sounds like the speech of a real person. (more...)

Recently featured: Carl SaganSimon and GarfunkelHelium

June 4

Belgium is a country located in Western Europe, bordered by the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, France, and the North Sea. Geographically and culturally, Belgium is at the crossroads of Europe, and during the past 2,000 years has witnessed a constant ebb and flow of different races and cultures. Consequently, Belgium is one of Europe's true melting pots with Celtic, Roman, Germanic, French, Dutch, Spanish, and Austrian cultures having made an imprint. The country is well known for its art, its great architecture, its beer, its food, and its chocolate. (more...)

Recently featured: Speech synthesisCarl SaganSimon and Garfunkel

June 5
Dmitri Shostakovich

Dmitri Shostakovich was a Russian composer of the Soviet period. He is best known for his satirical opera The Nose, (based on the story by Gogol) and his cycles of symphonies and string quartets, 15 of each. Since his death in 1975, reports about his true personal opinions about life in the USSR have been controversial. While he outwardly conformed with the state and was a public face for state-crafted propaganda, it is now widely known that he deeply disliked the Soviet regime —a view confirmed by his family, by private letters to Isaak Glikman, and the satirical cantata "Anti-formalist Rayok", which ridiculed the "anti-formalism" campaign in Soviet arts and was known only to his closest friends until after his death. (more...)

Recently featured: BelgiumSpeech synthesisCarl Sagan

June 6
T1 Kombi

The Type 2 was the second automotive line introduced by German automobile manufacturer Volkswagen in 1950. It was a van initially based on their first model, the "Beetle" sedan, aka "Type 1" and is generally considered to be the forerunner of modern cargo and passenger vans. The Type 2 spawned a number of imitators both in the US and Europe including the Ford Econoline, Dodge B110 and Chevrolet Corvan, the latter even adapting the Type 2's rear-engine configuration. Updated versions of this line are still being actively produced in international markets. (more...)

Recently featured: Dmitri ShostakovichBelgiumSpeech synthesis

June 7

Wikipedia down for most of the day. Article not cycled.

June 8
Soldiers in the trenches

World War I lasted from 1914 to 1918. It set the violent 20th century in motion. Chemical weapons were used for the first time, the first mass bombardment of civilians from the sky was executed, and the century's first genocide took place during the war. No previous conflict had mobilised so many soldiers, or involved so many in the field of battle. Never before had casualties been so high. World War I was also a war of change, a last blow to the old order in Europe to pave way for the new. Dynasties such as the Habsburgs, Romanovs, and Hohenzollerns all fell after the 4-year war. (more...)

Recently featured: VW Type 2Dmitri ShostakovichBelgium

June 9
19th century drawing of a tea plant

The beverage tea is an infusion made by steeping the dried leaves or buds of the shrub Camellia sinensis in hot water. Tea may also include other herbs, spices, or fruit flavors. The word "tea" is also used, by extension, for any fruit or herb infusion; for example, "rosehip tea" or "camomile tea". In cases where they contain no tea leaves, some people prefer to call these beverages "infusions" or "tisanes" to avoid confusion. (more...)

Recently featured: World War IVW Type 2Dmitri Shostakovich

June 10

The Foundation Series is an epic science fiction series written by Isaac Asimov over the span of forty-nine years. The premise of the series is that mathematician Hari Seldon has spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, which can be used to predict the future. Using these techniques, Seldon foresees the fall of the Galactic Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way. He also predicts that there will be a thirty-thousand-year dark age before the next great empire rises. To prevent this, he decides to create a small haven of technology in a corner of the galaxy (on the planet Terminus) called the Foundation, whose job it will be to preserve knowledge from the collapse. (more...)

Recently featured: TeaWorld War IVW Type 2

June 11
Bull attacking a matador

Bullfighting involves professional performers (matadores) taunting bulls at close range and often slowly killing them. It is a controversial but popular spectacle staged principally in Spain (where there are over 400 arenas) but also in Portugal, some countries in Latin America, California and in the south of France. Bullfighting goes back to Crete where youths jumped over bulls and ancient Rome, when many people-versus-animal events were held as a warm-up for gladiatorial sports. Many supporters of bullfighting regard it as a deeply ingrained integral part of their national cultures. Animal rights campaigners object strongly to bullfighting because they think that the bull suffers a slow, painful death. Bullfighting is banned in many countries. (more...)

Recently featured: The Foundation SeriesTeaWorld War I

June 12

Colophon from Razi's book on medicine

Abu Bakr Mohammad Ibn Zakariya al-Razi was a versatile Islamic philosopher who made fundamental and lasting contributions to the fields of medicine, chemistry (alchemy) and philosophy. He is credited with, among other things, the discovery of sulfuric acid, the "work horse" of modern chemistry and chemical engineering; and also of alcohol and its use in medicine. Razi was a prolific writer, having produced 184 books and articles, in several fields of science. According to historian Ibn an-Nadim, Razi distinguished himself as the best physician of his time who had fully absorbed Greek medical learning. As a medical educator, he attracted many students of all levels. (more...)

Recently featured: BullfightingThe Foundation SeriesTea

June 13
Game of Go in progress

Go is a strategic, two-player board game originating in ancient China between 2000 BC and 200 BC. It is highly popular in eastern Asia, and play on the Internet has served to greatly increase its popularity throughout the rest of the world in recent years. In China it is called 圍棋 wéiqí (way-chee), in Korea its name is baduk, and in Japan 囲碁 igo (ee-go), which gave rise to the English name Go from the Japanese character 碁. The Chinese name translates to "Chess of Surrounding (One's Opponent)". (more...)

Recently featured: Abu Bakr Mohammad Ibn Zakariya al-RaziBullfightingThe Foundation Series

June 14

Chemical structure of Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol, is a popular drug that relieves headaches and other minor aches and pains, and lowers fever. It is thus an analgesic and an antipyretic. It is used in numerous cold and flu medications and is a major ingredient in many prescription analgesics. It is remarkably safe in standard doses, but because of its wide availability, deliberate or accidental overdose is not uncommon. Unlike other common analgesics such as aspirin and ibuprofen, Acetaminophen has no anti-inflammatory properties, and so it is not a member of the family of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Prior to the creation of acetaminophen, the only antipyretic agent available was cinchona bark, which was also used to create the anti-malaria drug quinine. (more...)

Recently featured: GoAbu Bakr al-RaziBullfighting

June 15

A Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship pioneered by Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin in the early 20th century. Due to the outstanding success of the Zeppelin design, the term zeppelin in casual use came to refer to all rigid airships. The German defeat in World War I halted the business temporarily, but under the guidance of Hugo Eckener, the successor of the deceased count, civilian Zeppelins experienced a renaissance in the 1920s. They reached their zenith in the 1930s, when the airships LZ127 "Graf Zeppelin" and LZ129 "Hindenburg" profitably operated regular transatlantic passenger flights. The Hindenburg disaster in 1937 triggered the fall of the "giants of the air", though other factors, including political issues, contributed to the demise. (more...)

Recently featured: AcetaminophenGoAbu Bakr al-Razi

June 16
The fragile spires of the Bryce Canyon, called hoodoos

The exposed geology of the Bryce Canyon area shows a record of deposition that covers the last part of the Cretaceous period and the first half of the Cenozoic era in that part of North America. The ancient depositional environment of the region around what is now Bryce Canyon National Park varied from the warm shallow sea the Dakota Sandstone and the Tropic Shale were deposited in to the cool streams and lakes that contributed to the colorful Claron Formation that dominates the park's amphitheaters. Other formations were also created but were mostly eroded following two major periods of uplift; one around 70 million years ago (creating the Rocky Mountains) and another 10 to 15 million years ago (creating the Colorado Plateaus). (more...)

Recently featured: ZeppelinAcetaminophenGo

June 17

Example of Leet orthography

Leet (or 31337, or 1337) is a cipher, or simply a novelty form of English spelling. It is characterized by the use of non-alphabet characters to stand for letters bearing a superficial resemblance, and by a number of quasi-standard spelling changes such as the substitution of "z" for final "s" and "x" for "(c)ks". Leet is traditionally used on the Internet and other online communities, such as bulletin board systems, to complement Internet slang or "chatspeak." Real hackers, as opposed to computer criminals, do not normally use leet due to its association with Internet users they dislike, pejoratively dubbed lamers or script kiddies. However, leet is a cultural phenomenon well-known amongst hackers, and is known and used (usually in the jocular) by many computer professionals because of this. (more...)

Recently featured: Geology of Bryce CanyonZeppelinAcetaminophen

June 18

The Beatles are among the most influential popular music artists of modern times, initially affecting the culture of Britain and the U.S., the postwar baby boom generation, and then of the rest of the world, especially during the 1960s and early 1970s. Certainly they are the most successful, with global sales exceeding 1.3 billion albums. Their influences on popular culture extended far beyond their roles as recording artists, as they branched out into film and even semi-willingly became spokesmen for their generation. The members of the group were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey), all from Liverpool in England. The effect of the Beatles on Western culture (and by extension on the rest of the world) has been immeasurable. (more...)

Recently featured: LeetGeology of Bryce CanyonZeppelin

June 19
Plato is credited with the inception of academia

Academia is a general term for the whole of higher education and research. The word comes from the Greek referring to the greater body of knowledge, its development and transmission across generations. In the 17th century, English and French religious scholars popularized the term to describe certain types of institutions of higher learning. Some sociologists have divided, but not limited, academia into four basic historical types: ancient academia, early academia, academic societies and the modern university. There are at least two models of academia: a European model developed since ancient times, as well as an American model developed by Benjamin Franklin in the mid-1700s and Thomas Jefferson in the early 1800s. (more...)

Recently featured: The BeatlesLeetGeology of Bryce Canyon

June 20
Hand 1 of the Voynich manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript is a mysterious illustrated book of unknown contents, written some 500 years ago by an anonymous author in an unidentified alphabet and unintelligible language. Over its recorded existence, the VMs has been the object of intense study by many professional and amateur cryptographers — including some top American and British codebreakers of World War II fame — who all failed to decipher a single word. This string of egregious failures has turned the VMs into the Holy Grail of historical cryptology; but it has also given weight to the theory that the book is nothing but an elaborate hoax — a meaningless sequence of random symbols. The book is named after the Russian-American book dealer Wilfrid Voynich, who acquired it in 1912. It is presently item MS 408 in the Beinecke Rare Book Library of Yale University. (more...)

Recently featured: AcademiaThe BeatlesLeet

June 21
London Underground tube train

The London Underground is a public transport network, composed of electrified railways (that is, a metro system) that run underground in tunnels in central London and above ground in the London suburbs. It is the oldest city underground network in the world. Lines on the Underground can be classified into two types: sub-surface and deep level. The sub-surface lines were dug by the cut-and-cover method, with the tracks running about 5 metres below the surface. The deep-level or "tube" lines, bored using a tunnelling shield, run about 20 metres below the surface (although this varies considerably), with each track running in a separate tunnel lined with cast-iron rings. Today there are 275 stations and over 408 km of active lines, with 3 million passenger journeys made each day. (more...)

Recently featured: Voynich ManuscriptAcademiaThe Beatles

June 22

The White Rose was a group of students that formed a resistance movement in Nazi Germany from June 1942 to February 1943. Based in Munich, the group released six leaflets, calling on Germans to engage in passive resistance against the regime. The group consisted of five students: Hans Scholl, his sister Sophie Scholl, Christoph Probst, Alexander Schmorell, and Willi Graf, all in their early twenties. They were joined by a professor, Kurt Huber, who drafted the final two leaflets. Though the members of the White Rose were all students at Munich University, the men had also participated in the war on the French and Russian fronts, were witness to the atrocities being committed against Jews, and sensed that the reversal of fortunes that the Wehrmacht suffered at Stalingrad would eventually lead to Germany's defeat. They rejected the Prussian militarism of Adolf Hitler's Germany and believed in a federated Europe that adhered to Christian principles of tolerance and justice. (more...)

Recently featured: London UndergroundVoynich ManuscriptAcademia

June 23

Computing hardware has been an essential component of calculation and data storage since it became necessary for data to be processed and shared. Humanity has used devices to aid in computation for millennia. The Phoenicians stored clay shapes representing such things as livestock and grains in containers, which were used not only by merchants but by accountants and government officials of the time. Even today, an experienced abacus user using a device several thousand years old can complete basic calculations more quickly than the average person using a standard four-function hand calculator. (more...)

Recently featured: White RoseLondon UndergroundVoynich Manuscript

June 24

A billboard is a large outdoor signboard, usually wooden, found in places with high traffic such as cities, roads, motorways and highways. Billboards show large advertisements to pedestrians and drivers traveling from one place to another. The vast majority of billboards are rented to advertisers rather than owned by them. Shown with large, witty slogans splashed with distinctive color pictures, billboards line the highways and are placed on the sides of buildings, peddling products and getting out messages. Billboard advertisements are designed to catch a person's attention and create a memorable impression very quickly, leaving the reader thinking about the advertisement after they have driven past it. Thus there are usually a few large words, and a humorous or arresting image in brilliant color. (more...)

Recently featured: History of computing hardwareWhite RoseLondon Underground

June 25
Perseus slays Medusa

Greek mythology is the set of myths which come from the religion of ancient Hellenic civilization. These stories were familiar to all ancient Greeks and, although some thinkers professed skepticism, they provided the people with both rituals and history. Like the religions of most of their neighbors, the Greeks believed in gods and goddesses who were associated with specific aspects of life. Although there were hundreds of beings that could be considered "gods" in one sense or another, most figured only into obscure bits of folklore, perhaps as fragments of remembrances of more ancient deities. (more...)

Recently featured: BillboardHistory of computing hardwareWhite Rose

June 26

A heavy metal umlaut is an umlaut over some of the letters in the names of a heavy metal band—although the names will then sound very silly to people who use languages in which umlauts are common, such as German, Turkish or Swedish. Umlauts are often used in concert with a Blackletter or pseudo-Blackletter typeface in the band logo to give it a more gothic feel. The original use of gratuitous diacritical marks appears to have been by the Blue Öyster Cult in 1971; Motörhead and Mötley Crüe then followed. Spoof band Spinal Tap parodied the idea still further in 1982 by putting the umlaut over the letter n, which does not belong to any standard character set. (more...)

Recently featured: Greek mythologyBillboardHistory of computing hardware

June 27
Chinese poem

Poetry is an art form in which human language is used for its aesthetic qualities in addition to, or instead of, its notional and syntactical content. It consists largely of oral or literary works in which language is used in a manner that is felt by its user and audience to differ from ordinary prose. It may use condensed or compressed form to convey emotion or ideas to the reader's or listener's mind or ear; it may also use devices such as assonance and repetition to achieve musical or incantatory effects. Poems frequently rely for their effect on imagery, word association, and the musical qualities of the language used. (more...)

Recently featured: heavy metal umlautGreek mythologyBillboard

June 28
The synapse seperates the dendrites

Synapses are specialized junctions through which cells of the nervous system signal to one another and to non-neuronal cells such as muscles or glands. Synapses are circuits in which the neurons of the central nervous system interconnect. They are thus crucial to the biological computations that underlie perception and thought. They also provide the means through which the nervous system connects to and controls the other systems of the body. At a prototypical synapse, such as a dendritic spine, a mushroom-shaped bud projects from each of two cells and the caps of these buds press flat against one another. (more...)

Recently featured: PoetryHeavy metal umlautGreek mythology

June 29

The Revised Standard Version (RSV) is an English translation of the Bible that was popular in the mid-20th century and that posed the first challenge to the King James Version as the most popular Bible in English. The RSV is a revision of the 1901 American Standard Version. In 1937, an international council decided that a revision would be done and put together a panel of 32 scholars for that task. The decision, however, was delayed by the Great Depression. The translation panel used the 17th edition of the Nestle Greek text. The New Testament was released in 1946, and the Old Testament in 1952. Special editions of the RSV were released for the Catholic Church in 1965 and for Eastern Orthodox churches in 1977. Reader's Digest published a condensed edition of the RSV in 1982. Revisions of the RSV were released by different groups in 1989 and 2001. (more...)

Recently featured: SynapsePoetryHeavy metal umlaut

June 30
John Major

John Major is a British politician and was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1990 to 1997, attaining that office when he succeeded Margaret Thatcher as Conservative party leader. When Michael Heseltine's challenge to Margaret Thatcher's leadership of the Conservative Party forced the contest to a second round and Thatcher withdrew, John Major entered the contest alongside Douglas Hurd. Though he fell two votes short of the required winning margin of 187 votes in the second ballot, Major's result was sufficient to secure immediate concessions from his rivals and he became prime minister on November 27, 1990. Major was prime minister during the Gulf War. During the first years in office, the world economy slid into recession after the long boom during the 1980s. After losing the 1997 general election to Tony Blair he stood down as an MP at the 2001 general election and has so far declined the customary life peerage and seat in the House of Lords that is given to former Prime Ministers. (more...)

Recently featured: Revised Standard VersionSynapsePoetry