Wikipedia:Today's featured article/May 2006

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May 1

Starship Troopers is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1959. The first-person narrative is about a young soldier named Juan Rico and his exploits in the Mobile Infantry, a futuristic military unit equipped with powered armor. Rico's military career progresses from recruit to non-commissioned officer and finally to officer against the backdrop of an interstellar war between mankind and an insectoid species known as "The Bugs". Through Rico's eyes, Heinlein examines moral and philosophical aspects of capital punishment, juvenile delinquency, civic virtue, and necessity of war. Starship Troopers won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1960 and helped create a sub-genre of literature known as military science fiction. Starship Troopers has been adapted into several films and games, most famously the 1997 film by Paul Verhoeven. The novel has attracted controversy and criticism of its social and political themes, which some critics believe are militaristic. (continued...)

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May 2
The Lal Bagh Glass House is a heritage monument

Bangalore is the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. Bangalore is located on the Mysore Plateau in southwestern Karnataka. With an estimated metropolitan population of 6.1 million (2006), it is India's third-largest city and fifth-largest metropolitan area. Though historical references to the city predate 900, a modern written history of continuous settlement exists only from 1537, when Kempe Gowda I, who many regard as the architect of modern Bangalore, built a mud fort in the city and established it as a province of the imperial Vijayanagara Empire. The city's temperate climate, which is milder than that of other cities in the country, has been a major attraction to people from other parts of India. After India gained independence in 1947, Bangalore evolved into a manufacturing hub for public sector heavy industries — prominently aerospace, space and defence industries. Bangalore is referred to as the "Silicon Valley of India" and has the second-highest literacy rate in the nation. However, as a large and growing metropolis in the developing world Bangalore continues to struggle with problems such as air pollution, traffic congestion, and crime. (continued...)

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May 3
Birds on Chew Valley Lake at Herriots Bridge

Chew Valley Lake is a large reservoir in the Chew Valley, Somerset, England, and the largest artificial lake in south-west England with an area of 1,200 acres (4.9 km²). The lake, which was created in the early 1950s and opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1956, provides much of the drinking water for the city of Bristol and surrounding area, taking its supply from the Mendip Hills. Some of the water from the lake is used to maintain the flow in the River Chew. Before the lake was flooded, archaeological investigations were carried out which showed evidence of occupation since Neolithic times and included Roman artefacts. The lake is also an important site for wildlife and has been dedicated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Protection Area. It is a national centre for birdwatching with over 260 species recorded, including some unusual sightings. The lake has a range of indigenous and migrant water birds throughout the year, and two dedicated nature trails have been created. The flora and fauna provide a variety of habitats and include some of the less common plants and insects. Some restricted use for recreational activities is permitted by the owners, including Dinghy sailing and fishing, primarily for trout. (continued...)

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May 4

Albatrosses are large seabirds allied to the procellarids, storm-petrels and diving-petrels in the order Procellariiformes. They range widely in the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific. They are absent from the North Atlantic, although fossil remains show they once occurred there too. Albatrosses are amongst the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses have the largest wingspans of any extant birds. Albatrosses are highly efficient in the air, using dynamic soaring and slope soaring to cover great distances with little exertion. They feed on squid, fish and krill by either scavenging, surface seizing or diving. Albatrosses are colonial, nesting for the most part on remote oceanic islands, often with several species nesting together. Pair bonds between males and females form over several years, with the use of ritualised dances, and will last for the life of the pair. A breeding season can take over a year from laying to fledging, with a single egg laid in each breeding attempt. (continued...)

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May 5
Photo taken during the 1999 eclipse, as seen from France

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby obscuring Earth's view of the Sun totally or partially. This configuration can only occur at the New Moon phase, when the Sun and Moon are in conjunction, as seen from Earth. In ancient times, and in some countries today, solar eclipses are attributed mythical properties. Total solar eclipses are very rare events for a given place on Earth. This is because totality is only visible where the umbra of the Moon touches the Earth's surface. Some people travel to the most remote places imaginable to observe eclipses. A total solar eclipse is considered by them to be the most spectacular natural phenomenon that one can observe. The 1999 total eclipse in Europe, which was without doubt the most watched eclipse in human history, helped to increase public awareness of the phenomenon. This was illustrated by many people willing to make the journey to witness the 2005 annular eclipse and the 2006 total eclipse. The next total solar eclipse will be the Solar eclipse of August 1, 2008. (continued...)

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May 6
Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford was the 40th Vice President and the 38th President of the United States. He was elected House Minority Leader in 1963 and served in the House until 1973. When Spiro Agnew resigned, Ford was appointed Vice President of the United States during the height of the Watergate scandal. Following the resignation of Richard Nixon, Ford ascended to the presidency on August 9, 1974. The Ford administration saw the withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam, the execution of the Helsinki Accords and the continuing specter of inflation and recession. Faced with an overwhelmingly Democratic majority in Congress, the administration was hampered in its ability to pass major legislation and Ford's vetoes were frequently overridden. After Ford was criticized by many for granting a pardon to Nixon, Democrat Jimmy Carter narrowly defeated Ford in the 1976 presidential race. Ford is the only U.S. President never elected to either the Presidency or Vice Presidency. Along with his own Vice President, Nelson Rockefeller, he is one of two people appointed Vice President rather than elected. (continued...)

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May 7
Rabindranath Tagore (c1915)

Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali poet, Brahmo philosopher, visual artist, playwright, composer, and novelist whose avant-garde works reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A celebrated cultural icon of Bengal, he became Asia's first Nobel laureate when he won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature. His home schooling, life in Shelidah, and extensive travels made Tagore an iconoclastic pragmatist; however, growing disillusionment with the British Raj caused the internationalist Tagore to back the Indian Independence Movement and befriend Mahatma Gandhi. Despite the loss of virtually his entire family and his regrets regarding Bengal's decline, his life's work — Visva-Bharati University — endured. Tagore's major works included Gitanjali and Ghare-Baire, while his verse, short stories, and novels — many defined by rhythmic lyricism, colloquial language, meditative naturalism, and philosophical contemplation — received worldwide acclaim. (continued...)

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May 8
A parody of unwarranted fears of the HTTP "cookie".

An HTTP cookie is a parcel of textual information sent by a server to a World Wide Web browser and then sent back by the browser each time it accesses that server. HTTP cookies are used for user authentication, user tracking, and maintaining user-specific information such as site preferences and electronic shopping carts. Cookies have been of concern for Internet privacy, since they can be used for tracking the browsing of a user. As a result, they have been subject to legislation in various countries such as the United States, as well as the European Union. Cookies have also been criticised because the identification of users they provide is not always accurate and because they can be used for network attacks. Some alternatives to cookies exist, but have their own drawbacks. On the other hand, cookies have been subject to a number of misconceptions, mostly based on the erroneous notion that they are computer programs. Most modern browsers allow users to decide whether to accept cookies, but rejection makes some Web sites unusable. (continued...)

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May 9

Pink Floyd are an English rock band, noted for progressive compositions, philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, cover art and elaborate live shows. The group is one of rock music's most successful and influential acts, believed to have sold an estimated 73.5 million albums in the U.S. and over 200 million albums worldwide. Pink Floyd enjoyed moderate success in the late 1960s as a psychedelic band led by Syd Barrett. Barrett's erratic behaviour caused his colleagues to replace him with guitarist David Gilmour and the band went on to record several elaborate concept albums, achieving worldwide success with 1973's The Dark Side of the Moon, 1975's Wish You Were Here, 1977's Animals, and 1979's The Wall, among the best-selling, most critically acclaimed, and enduringly popular albums in rock music history. (continued...)

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May 10
The Flag of Australia

The flag of Australia was chosen in 1901 from entries in a nationwide design competition held following Federation. It was approved by Australian and British authorities over the next few years, although the exact specifications of the flag were changed several times both intentionally and as a result of confusion. The current specifications were published in 1934, and in 1954 the flag became legally recognised as the "Australian National Flag". The flag is a defaced Blue Ensign: a blue field with the Union Flag in the upper hoist quarter, and a large white seven-pointed star known as the Commonwealth Star that symbolises the six states and other territories of the Commonwealth of Australia; the remaining half is a representation of the Southern Cross constellation in white with one small five-pointed star and four, larger, seven-pointed stars. In addition to the Blue Ensign there are several additional Australian flags, including the Aboriginal flag, the Torres Strait Islander flag and the flags of the Defence Forces. The design of the Australian flag is the subject of debate within Australia, with some advocating its redesign in connection with the republican movement. (continued...)

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May 11
Napoleon Bonaparte

The military history of France represents a massive panorama of conflicts and struggles extending for more than 2,000 years over areas encompassing modern France, Europe, and European territorial possessions overseas. Gallo-Roman conflict predominated from 400 BCE to 50 BCE, with the Romans emerging victorious in the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar. After the decline of the Roman Empire, a Germanic tribe known as the Franks took control of Gaul by defeating competing tribes. In the eighteenth century, global competition with Great Britain led to defeat in the French and Indian War, where France lost its North American holdings and India, but consolation came in the form of the American Revolutionary War, where massive French aid led to America's independence. Internal political upheaval eventually led to 23 years of nearly continuous war in the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. France reached the zenith of its power during this period, but by 1815 it had been restored to its pre-Revolutionary borders. Following defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, Franco-German rivalry reasserted itself again in World War I, this time France emerging as the winner. Tensions over the Versailles Treaty led to the Second World War, where it was humiliated in the Battle of France. The Allies eventually emerged victorious over the Germans, however, and France was given an occupation zone in Germany. Today, French military intervention is most often seen in its former colonies and with its NATO allies in hot spots around the world. (continued...)

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May 12

Perfect Dark is a first-person shooter video game for the Nintendo 64 game console. The game was developed by Rare, creators of the multimillion-selling GoldenEye 007, an earlier first-person shooter with which Perfect Dark shares many gameplay features. The game was first released in North America in May 2000, where it was greeted with critical acclaim; PAL and Japanese releases followed soon afterwards. The game features a single-player mode consisting of seventeen missions in which the player assumes the role of special agent Joanna Dark, an operative for the fictional Carrington Institute, as she attempts to foil a conspiracy by rival corporation dataDyne. It also includes a range of multiplayer options, including co-operative and "counter-operative" modes in addition to traditional deathmatch settings. Technically, it is one of the most advanced games developed for the N64, with optional high-resolution graphics and Dolby Surround Sound. (continued...)

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May 13
A prostitution "reeducation center" at a former brothel in Beijing, 1949

Since the loosening of government controls over society in the early 1980s, prostitution in the People's Republic of China has not only reappeared, but can now be found throughout urban and rural areas. In spite of government efforts, prostitution has now developed to the extent that it comprises an industry, one that involves a great number of people and produces a considerable economic output. Prostitution has also become associated with a number of problems, including organised crime, government corruption and sexually transmitted diseases. Prostitution-related activities in mainland China are characterised by diverse types, venues and prices. Sellers of sex come from a broad range of social backgrounds. While the PRC government has always taken a hard line on organisers of prostitution, it has vacillated in its legal treatment of the prostitute herself, treating prostitution sometimes as a crime and sometimes as misconduct. Despite lobbying by international NGOs and overseas commentators, there is not much support for legalisation of the sex sector by the public, social organisations or the government of the PRC. (continued...)

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May 14

Sanssouci, the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia at Potsdam just outside Berlin in Germany, is often counted among the German rivals of Versailles. While Sanssouci is in the more intimate Rococo style and is far smaller than its French Baroque counterpart, Frederick's palace is notable for the numerous temples and follies in Sanssouci Park. Designed by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff between 1745 and 1747 to fulfill Frederick the Great's need for a private residence where he could relax away from pomp and ceremony of the Berlin court, the palace is in fact little more than a large villa: its true French counterpart is Marly. Containing just ten principal rooms, the single-storey structure is sited on the brow of a terraced hill at the centre of its own park. So great was the influence of the King's personal taste in the design and decoration of the palace that it is characterized as "Frederician Rococo". So personal and unique to himself did Frederick the Great regard the palace, that he conceived it as a place that would die with him. (More...)

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May 15
The Waterpocket Fold

The exposed geology of the Capitol Reef area presents a record of mostly Mesozoic-aged sedimentation in an area of North America in and around Capitol Reef National Park. Nearly 10,000 feet (3000 m) of sedimentary strata are found in the Capitol Reef area, representing nearly 200 million years of geologic history of the south-central part of the U.S. state of Utah. Rock layers in the area reveal ancient climates as varied as rivers and swamps (Chinle Formation), Sahara-like deserts (Navajo Sandstone), and shallow ocean. The sea retreated, leaving streams, lakes and swampy plains to become the resting place for sediments. From 70 to 50 million years ago, the Laramide orogeny, a major mountain building event in western North America, created the Rocky Mountains to the east. The uplift possibly acted on a buried fault to form the area's Waterpocket Fold. More recent uplift of the entire Colorado Plateau and the resulting erosion has exposed this fold at the surface only within the last 15 to 20 million years. Ice ages in the Pleistocene increased the rate of precipitation and erosion. The cracked upper parts of the Waterpocket Fold were especially affected and the fold itself was exposed and dissected. (More...)

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May 16
Mosaic of Manuel I

Manuel I Comnenus was a Byzantine Emperor of the 12th century who presided over a crucial turning point in the history of Byzantium and the Mediterranean. Eager to restore his empire to its past glories as the superpower of the Mediterranean world, Manuel pursued an energetic and ambitious foreign policy. In the process he made alliances with the Pope and the resurgent west, invaded Italy, successfully handled the passage of the dangerous Second Crusade through his empire, and established a Byzantine protectorate over the Crusader kingdoms of Outremer. Facing the Islamic jihad in the Holy Land, he made common cause with the Kingdom of Jerusalem and participated in a combined invasion of Fatimid Egypt. Manuel reshaped the political map of the Balkans and the east Mediterranean, placing the kingdoms of Hungary and Outremer under Byzantine hegemony and campaigning aggressively against his neighbours both in the west and in the east. However, towards the end of his reign Manuel's achievements in the east were compromised by an embarrassing defeat at Myriokephalon, which in large part resulted from his arrogance in attacking a well-defended Turkish position. (More...)

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May 17
Phrenologists attempted to corrolate mental functions with specific parts of the brain

Philosophy of mind is the philosophical study of the exact nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, and consciousness, and of the nature of their relationship with the physical body. Two major schools of thought attempt to resolve the mind–body problem: dualism and monism. Dualism can be traced back to Plato and Aristotle in the West and the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy in the East and was most precisely formulated in modern terms by René Descartes in the 17th century. Dualism asserts the separate existence of mind and body. Monism, first proposed by Baruch Spinoza, maintains there is only one substance. Substance dualists argue that the mind is an independently existing substance, while property dualists maintain that the mind is a jumble of independent properties that emerge from the brain and cannot be reduced to it, but that it is not a distinct substance. (More...)

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May 18
Purakaunui Falls, 17 km southwest of Owaka

The Catlins is an area in the southeastern corner of the South Island of New Zealand, lying between Balclutha and Invercargill and straddling the border between the Otago and Southland regions. The area lies along the southern coast of the South Island; the South Island's southernmost point, Slope Point, lies in the southwestern Catlins. The Catlins is a rugged, sparsely populated area, noted for its scenic coastal landscape and its dense temperate rainforest, both of which are home to many endangered species of birds. Its exposed location leads to its frequently wild weather and heavy ocean swells, which are an attraction to big-wave surfers. Ecotourism is now a growing factor in the economy, which otherwise relies heavily on dairy farming and fishing. The region's early whaling and forestry industries have long since died away, along with the coastal shipping that led to several tragic shipwrecks. Only some 1200 people now live in the area, many of them in the settlement of Owaka. (More...)

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May 19
Henry James (1905)

Henry James was an American-born author and literary critic of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He spent much of his life in Europe and became a British subject shortly before his death. He is primarily known for novels, novellas and short stories based on themes of consciousness. James contributed significantly to the criticism of fiction, particularly in his insistence that writers be allowed the greatest freedom possible in presenting their view of the world. His imaginative use of point of view, interior monologue and possibly unreliable narrators in his own novels and tales brought a new depth and interest to narrative fiction. An extraordinarily productive writer, he published substantive books of travel writing, biography, autobiography and visual arts criticism. (More...)

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May 20
BEST bus

The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport is Mumbai's public transport service and electricity provider. The government-owned organisation, which was set up in 1873, operates one of India's largest fleet of buses. Originally setup as a tramway company, it branched out into supplying electricity to the city in 1905, and later into operating buses in 1926. The BEST is run by the city's municipality as an autonomous body. The bus transport service covers the entire city and also extends its operations outside city limits into neighbouring Navi Mumbai, Thane and Mira-Bhayandar. In addition to buses, it also operates a ferry service in the northern reaches of the city. The electricity division of the organisation is also one of the few electricity departments in India to garner an annual net profit. (More...)

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May 21
Beaumont Tower marks the site of old College Hall

Michigan State University is a public university in East Lansing, Michigan. As the first agricultural college in the United States, it served as a model for future Land Grant colleges under the 1862 Morrill Act. Well known for its academic programs in education and agriculture, MSU pioneered the studies of packaging and music therapy. MSU has the premier hospitality school in the United States, and the study abroad program is the largest of any single-campus university in the nation, offering more than 200 programs in more than 60 countries on all continents including Antarctica. Following the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became co-educational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. After World War II, the number of students tripled as the institution became a major university. Today, MSU is the nation's sixth-largest university by enrollment. As a research university, MSU is one of 60 members of the Association of American Universities. MSU's Division I sports teams are nicknamed the Spartans. They compete in the Big Ten Conference in all sports except ice hockey, which is part of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. (More...)

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May 22
James II of England

James II became King of England, King of Scots, and King of Ireland on 6 February 1685. He was the last Roman Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdom of England, Kingdom of Scotland, and Kingdom of Ireland. Some of his subjects distrusted his religious policies and alleged despotism, leading a group of them to depose him in the Revolution of 1688 (the "Glorious Revolution"). He was replaced not by his Roman Catholic son, James Francis Edward, but by his Protestant daughter and son-in-law, Mary II and William III, who became joint rulers in 1689. The belief that James—not William III or Mary II—was the legitimate ruler became known as Jacobitism. James did not himself attempt to return to the Throne, instead living the rest of his life under the protection of King Louis XIV of France. His son James Francis Edward Stuart and his grandson Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) attempted to restore the Jacobite line after James's death, but failed. (More...)

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May 23
Miami Avenue in 1896

The colonial history of Miami, Florida began when Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and his men first established contact with the Tequesta Indians (resident there some 500 years) and claimed the area for Spain in 1566. Fort Dallas was built in the mid-1800s and the area became a site of fighting during the Second Seminole War. After the Great Freeze of 1894, Julia Tuttle, a local citrus grower, convinced Henry Flagler, a railroad tycoon, to expand his Florida East Coast Railroad to Miami and on July 28, 1896 Miami was officially incorporated as a city. Miami prospered during the 1920s but weakened after the 1926 Miami Hurricane and the Great Depression in the 1930s. After Fidel Castro rose to power in 1959, many Cubans immigrated to Miami, further increasing the population. In the 1980s and 1990s, various crises struck South Florida, among them the Arthur McDuffie beating and the ensuing riot, Hurricane Andrew, and the Elián González uproar. (more...)

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May 24
A Short-beaked Echidna at the Melbourne zoo

The Short-beaked Echidna is one of four living species of echidna and the only member of the genus Tachyglossus. The Short-beaked Echidna is covered in fur and spines and has a distinctive snout and a specialised tongue, which it uses to catch its prey at a great speed. Like the other extant monotremes, the Short-beaked Echidna lays eggs; the monotremes are the only group of mammals to do so. The species is found throughout Australia, where it is the most widespread native mammal, and in coastal and highland regions of southwestern New Guinea, where it is known as the Mungwe. It is not threatened with extinction, but human activities, such as hunting, habitat destruction, and the introduction of foreign predatory species and parasites, have reduced the distribution of the species in Australia. (more...)

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May 25
Polish defenses near Milosna

The Polish-Soviet War was the war that determined the borders between two nascent states in post–World War I Europe. This armed struggle was a result of conflicting attempts—by Poland, whose statehood had just been re-established after her being partitioned in the late 18th century, to secure territories which she had lost in partitions or earlier—and by Soviets who aimed to take control of the same territories that had since then been part of Imperial Russia until their occupation by Germany during World War I. Both states claimed victory in the war: the Poles claimed a successful defense of their state, while the Soviets claimed a repulse of the Polish Kiev Offensive, which was sometimes viewed as part of foreign interventions in the Russian Civil War. (more...)

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May 26

A Demand Note is a type of United States paper money that was issued between August 1861 and April 1862 during the American Civil War in denominations of 5, 10, and 20 dollars. Original legislation referred to the currency as "treasury notes". The term Demand Note was applied retrospectively due to the fact that the notes were redeemable on demand for gold coin. The notes were created to serve as a means of monetary exchange in place of gold and silver coins that were vanishing from circulation at the time due to hoarding of commodities. The U.S. government used Demand Notes to pay expenses that it incurred and also to pay the salaries of its workers and military personnel. Once the public learned the notes were redeemable in gold coin, the notes began to circulate as widely as gold and silver coins previously did. Because of the distinctive green ink used on the reverse of all Demand Notes, the notes were nicknamed "greenbacks". The obverse of the notes contained familiar elements such as a Bald Eagle, Abraham Lincoln, and Alexander Hamilton. (more...)

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May 27

Tenebrae is a 1982 Italian horror thriller film written and directed by Dario Argento. The film stars Anthony Franciosa, John Saxon, and Daria Nicolodi. After having experimented with two exercises in pure supernatural horror, Suspiria (1977) and Inferno (1980), Tenebrae represented Argento's return to the giallo form, a sub-genre he had helped popularize in the 1970s. The story concerns an American writer promoting his latest murder-mystery novel in Rome, only to get embroiled in the search for a serial-killer who has apparently been inspired to kill by the novel. The film was released in Italy and throughout most of Europe without experiencing any reported censorship problems, but was classified, prosecuted, and banned as a Video Nasty in the United Kingdom. Its theatrical distribution in the United States was delayed until 1984, when it was released in a heavily censored version under the title Unsane. In its cut form, Tenebrae received a mostly negative critical reception, but in recent years the original, fully restored version has become widely available for reappraisal. The film has been described as "Argento’s last real masterpiece". (more...)

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May 28
Cross section of the Jarmann M1884

The Norwegian Jarmann M1884 was a bolt-action repeating rifle firing a 10.15 mm black powder cartridge in an 8-round, tubular magazine. It was among the earliest repeating rifles to be adopted in the world. Its adoption, and subsequent modifications, turned the Norwegian Army from a fighting force armed with single-shot black powder weapons into a force armed with modern repeating weapons firing smokeless ammunition. Several thousand were manufactured to equip both Norwegian and Swedish forces in the 1880s. The design is unique, and is the brainchild of Norwegian engineer Jacob Smith Jarmann. After the design had been phased out of the Norwegian Army, a number of the weapons were rebuilt as harpoon guns. (more...)

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May 29
The Flag of Pakistan

Pakistan is a country located in South Asia that overlaps with the Greater Middle East. It has a thousand-kilometre coastline along the Arabian Sea in the south and borders Afghanistan and Iran to the west, India to the east and the People's Republic of China in the far northeast. The name Pakistan means "Land of the Pure" in Urdu and Persian and was coined in 1933 by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, who published it in the pamphlet Now or Never. Pakistan is the sixth-most populous country in the world and the second-most populous Muslim country. Pakistan was established as a modern state in 1947, but the region has a long history of settlement, including by the Indus Valley Civilization. The region was invaded by Afghans, Greeks, Persians, Arabs, and was incorporated into British Raj in the 19th century. Since independence, Pakistan has seen both instability, with the loss of East Pakistan, and significant military and economic growth. Pakistan has the seventh-largest armed forces in the world and is a declared nuclear weapons state. (more...)

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May 30
The 1911 Hopkins School body

The Hopkins School is a coeducational private day school located in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1660, it is the fifth-oldest educational institution in the United States and the second-oldest secondary school in continuous existence in North America, younger only than the Roxbury Latin School. Hopkins was founded "for the breeding up of hopeful youths" with a part of Edward Hopkins' estate to fulfill John Davenport's wishes to bring a grammar school to New Haven. After more than 250 years within the city, the school moved to its current campus on a hill overlooking New Haven in 1926. Hopkins has been coeducational since merging with Day Prospect Hill in 1972. Hopkins is divided into three separate schools. The Junior school consists of the 7th and 8th grades, known as the Lower class. The high school is divided into the Middle (9th and 10th grade) and Upper (11th and 12th grade) classes. Most new students enter Hopkins in either the 7th or 9th grade. (more...)

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May 31

Nostradamus was one of the world's most famous authors of prophecies. He is best known for his book Les Propheties, which consists of one unrhymed and 941 rhymed quatrains, grouped into nine sets of 100 and one of 42, called "Centuries". Since the time of publication of the book, a virtual cult has grown around Nostradamus and his Propheties. With each succeeding major disaster, such as that of 9/11, people have sought (always after the event) to find a quatrain (or two) that "predicts" it — usually taking considerable liberties either with the original text or with the event itself. Yet, to date, no one is known to have succeeded in using any specific quatrain to predict any event whatsoever in advance. Nevertheless, interest in the work of this prominent figure of the French Renaissance is still considerable, especially in the media and in popular culture, and the prophecies have in some cases been assimilated to the results of applying the alleged Bible code, as well as to other purported prophetic works. (more...)

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