Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2017-09-25/Featured content

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Flying high: Newly featured birds, planes, and high achievers

This Signpost "Featured content" report covers material promoted from 22 August through 21 September 2017. Text may be adapted from the respective articles and lists; see their page histories for attribution.

Featured articles

No 12 Squadron Vengeance dive bomber in flight during December 1943.JPG
A Vultee Vengeance of No. 12 Squadron in December 1943
Red-billed Quelea (Quelea quelea) (6040990915).jpg
Male breeding plumage of a red-billed quelea
Op hurricane.jpg
The UK's first nuclear test, Operation Hurricane, in Australia on 3 October 1952
The Waterloo Medal MET DP118486.jpg
Obverse of the Waterloo Medal
Diving stage.jpg
Surface-supplied divers riding a stage to the underwater workplace
Sixth Maryland Regiment firing on the rioters in Baltimore.png
The Sixth Maryland Regiment firing on rioters in Baltimore
  • The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) operated the Vultee Vengeance (nominated by Nick-D) dive bombers during World War II. The Australian Government ordered 400 of the type in late 1941 as part of efforts to expand the RAAF. Large-scale deliveries commenced in early 1943. The RAAF was slow to bring its Vengeances into service, their first combat missions being flown in June 1943. The main deployment of the type took place between mid-January and early March 1944, when squadrons operated in support of Australian and United States Army forces in New Guinea. This force was withdrawn after only six weeks as the Vengeance was considered inferior to other aircraft available to the Allied air forces. All of the RAAF's five Vengeance-equipped squadrons were re-equipped with Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bombers. Vengeances continued to be used in training and support roles with the RAAF until 1946, and some were transferred to the Royal Australian Navy between 1948 and 1950 for ground training. Historians' assessments of the Vengeance's career in Australian service differ. While there is consensus that the type was obsolete, some argue that it nevertheless proved successful. Others, including the RAAF's Air Power Development Centre, have judged that the Vengeance's performance was mixed and the type was not suited to Australia's requirements.
  • The red-billed quelea (nominated by Dwergenpaartje & Cas Liber) is a small—approximately 12 cm (4.7 in) long and weighing 15–26 g (0.53–0.92 oz)—migratory, sparrow-like bird of the weaver family, Ploceidae, native to Sub-Saharan Africa. It was named by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. The species avoids forests, deserts and colder areas such as those at high altitude and in southern South Africa. It constructs oval roofed nests woven from strips of grass hanging from thorny branches, sugar cane or reeds. It breeds in very large colonies. It feeds primarily on seeds of annual grasses, but also causes extensive damage to cereal crops. Therefore, it is sometimes called "Africa's feathered locust". The usual pest-control measures are spraying avicides or detonating fire-bombs in the enormous colonies during the night. Extensive control measures have been largely unsuccessful in limiting the quelea population. When food runs out, the species migrates to locations of recent rainfall and plentiful grass seed; hence it exploits its food source very efficiently. It is regarded as the most numerous undomesticated bird on earth, with the total post-breeding population sometimes peaking at an estimated ​1 12 billion individuals. It feeds in huge flocks of millions of individuals, with birds that run out of food at the rear flying over the entire group to a fresh feeding zone at the front, creating an image of a rolling cloud. The conservation status of red-billed quelea is least concern according to the IUCN Red List.
  • Ben Affleck (nominated by Popeye191) is an American actor, director, screenwriter, and producer. His accolades include two Academy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, two BAFTA Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. He began his career as a child and has subsequently acted in and directed many films. Affleck is the co-founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative, a grantmaking and advocacy-based nonprofit organization. He is also a stalwart member of the Democratic Party. Affleck and Matt Damon are co-owners of the production company Pearl Street Films. His younger brother is actor Casey Affleck, with whom he has worked on several films including Good Will Hunting and Gone Baby Gone. Affleck married actress Jennifer Garner in 2005; they have three children together. The couple announced their separation in 2015 and filed for divorce in early 2017.
  • Marjorie Cameron (nominated by Midnightblueowl) who professionally used the mononym Cameron, was an American artist, poet, actress, and occultist. A follower of Thelema, the new religious movement established by the English occultist Aleister Crowley, she was married to rocket pioneer and fellow Thelemite Jack Parsons. Born in Belle Plaine, Iowa, Cameron volunteered for services in the United States Navy during the Second World War, after which she settled in Pasadena, California. There she met Parsons, who believed her to be the "elemental" woman that he had invoked in the early stages of a series of sex magic rituals called the Babalon Working. They entered into a relationship and were married in 1946. Their relationship was often strained. After Parsons' death in an explosion at their home in 1952, Cameron came to suspect that her husband had been assassinated and began rituals to communicate with his spirit. Moving to Beaumont, California, she established a multi-racial occult group called The Children, which dedicated itself to sex magical rituals with the intent of producing mixed-race "moon children" who would be devoted to the god Horus. The group soon dissolved. Returning to Los Angeles, Cameron befriended the socialite Samson De Brier and established herself within the city's avant-garde artistic community. Among her friends were the filmmakers Curtis Harrington and Kenneth Anger. She appeared in two of Harrington's films, The Wormwood Star and Night Tide, as well as in Anger's film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome. In later years, she made appearances in art-house films created by John Chamberlain and Chick Strand. Rarely remaining in one place for long, during the 1950s and 1960s she lived in Joshua TreeSan Francisco, and Santa Fe. In 1955, she gave birth to a daughter, Crystal Eve Kimmel. Although intermittent health problems prevented her from working, her art and poetry resulted in several exhibitions. From the late 1970s until her death from cancer in 1995, Cameron lived in a bungalow in West Hollywood, where she raised her daughter and grandchildren, pursued her interests in esotericism, and produced artwork and poetry. Cameron's recognition as an artist increased after her death, when her paintings made appearances in exhibitions across the U.S. As a result of increased attention on Parsons, Cameron's life also gained greater coverage in the early 2000s. In 2006, the Cameron–Parsons Foundation was created to preserve and promote her work, and in 2011 a biography of Cameron written by Spencer Kansa was published.
  • The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (nominated by SounderBruce) is a public transit tunnel for buses and light rail trains in Seattle, Washington, in the United States. It runs north–south through Downtown Seattle, connecting five stations on 3rd Avenue and Pine Street. It is the busiest section of Sound Transit's Link light rail network, with an average of over 10,000 weekday train boardings at the four stations served by light rail. The $469 million tunnel was planned in the late 1970s and built between 1987 and 1990, using tunnel boring machines and cut-and-cover excavation. Between 1990 and 2004, the tunnel was exclusively used by dual-mode buses that ran on overhead wires; they were later replaced with hybrid electric buses using batteries within the tunnel. After a two-year renovation, the tunnel reopened on September 24, 2007, and light rail service began on July 18, 2009, sharing the platforms with existing buses. Planned expansion of the light rail system, along with the closure of one station, will necessitate the removal of buses from the tunnel by 2019.
  • Claudio Monteverdi (nominated by Smerus & Brianboulton) was born in Cremona, where he undertook his first musical studies and compositions, Monteverdi developed his career first at the court of Mantua (c. 1590–1613) and then until his death in the Republic of Venice where he was maestro di capella at the basilica of San Marco. His surviving letters give insight into the life of a professional musician in Italy of the period, including problems of income, patronage and politics. Much of Monteverdi's output, including many stage works, has been lost. His surviving music includes nine books of madrigals, large-scale sacred works such as his Vespro della Beata Vergine (Vespers) of 1610, and three complete operas. His opera L'Orfeo (1607) is the earliest of the genre still widely performed; towards the end of his life he wrote works for the commercial theatre in Venice, including Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria and L'incoronazione di Poppea. While he worked extensively in the tradition of earlier Renaissance polyphony, such as in his madrigals, he undertook great developments in form and melody, and began to employ the basso continuo technique, distinctive of the Baroque. No stranger to controversy, he defended his sometimes novel techniques as elements of a seconda pratica, contrasting with the more orthodox earlier style which he termed the prima pratica. Largely forgotten during the eighteenth and much of the nineteenth centuries, his works enjoyed a rediscovery around the beginning of the twentieth century. He is now established both as a significant influence in European musical history and as a composer whose works are regularly performed and recorded.
  • High Explosive Research (nominated by Hawkeye7) was a British project to independently develop atomic bombs after the Second World War. This decision was taken by a cabinet sub-committee on 8 January 1947, in response to apprehension of an American return to isolationism, fears that Britain might lose its great power status, and the actions by the United States to unilaterally withdraw from sharing of nuclear technology under the 1943 Quebec Agreement. The project concluded with the delivery of the first of its Blue Danube atomic bombs to Bomber Command in November 1953, but British hopes of a renewed nuclear Special Relationship with the United States were frustrated. The technology had been superseded by the American development of the hydrogen bomb, which was first tested in November 1952, only one month after Operation Hurricane. Britain would go on to develop its own hydrogen bombs, which it first tested in 1957. A year later, the United States and Britain resumed nuclear weapons cooperation.
  • RAAF area commands (nominated by Ian Rose) were the major operational and administrative formations of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) between 1940 and 1954. Established in response to the outbreak of World War II, they underpinned the Air Force's geographically based command-and-control system for the duration of the conflict and into the early years of the Cold War, until being superseded by a functional control system made up of HomeTraining, and Maintenance commands.
  • Fragment of a Crucifixion (nominated by Ceoil) is a 1950 canvas by the Irish-born, English figurative painter Francis Bacon, housed in the Stedelijk Van AbbemuseumEindhoven. The painting shows two animals engaged in brutal struggle. The upper figure, which may be a dog or a cat, crouches over a chimera and is at the point of kill. It stoops on the horizontal beam of a T-shaped structure, which may signify Christ's cross. The painting contains thinly sketched passer-by figures, who seem oblivious to the central drama. Typical of Bacon's work, Fragment of a Crucifixion is drawn from a wide variety of sources, including the screaming mouth of a nurse in Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 film Battleship Potemkin, and iconography from both the Crucifixion of Jesus and the descent from the cross. The chimera's despair forms the centrepiece of the work, and in its agony can be compared to Bacon's later works focusing on the motif of an open mouth. Although the title has religious connotations, Bacon's personal outlook was bleak; as an atheist he did not believe in either divine intervention nor an afterlife. As such, this work—through the inevitable fate of the prey—seems to represent a nihilistic and hopeless view of the human condition. Bacon later dismissed the painting, considering it too literal and explicit. He abandoned the theme of the crucifixion for the following 12 years, not returning to it until the more loosely based, but equally bleak, triptych Three Studies for a Crucifixion.
  • Smiley Smile (nominated by Ilovetopaint) is the 12th studio album by American rock band the Beach Boys, released on September 18, 1967. The album reached number 9 on UK record charts, but sold poorly in the US, peaking at number 41—the band's lowest chart placement to that point. Critics and fans generally received the album with confusion and disappointment. Only one single was issued from Smiley Smile, "Heroes and Villains". Smiley Smile began a seven-year string of under-performing Beach Boys albums, but has since grown in stature to become a cult and critical favorite in the Beach Boys' oeuvre. Regarded as a forerunner to certain bedroom pop acts, in 1974, it was voted the 64th greatest album of all time by NME writers and, in 2000, it was one of 100 albums featured in the book The Ambient Century as a landmark in the development of ambient music. Some session highlights from the album are featured on the compilations The Smile Sessions (2011) and 1967 – Sunshine Tomorrow (2017).
  • The scarlet myzomela (nominated by Cas Liber) is a small passerine bird of the honeyeater family, Meliphagidae, native to Australia. It was described by English ornithologist John Latham in 1801. At 9 to 11 centimetres (3.5 to 4.3 in) long, it is the smallest honeyeater in Australia. It has a short tail and relatively long down-curved bill. It is sexually dimorphic; the male is a striking bright red with black wings, while the female is entirely brown. It is more vocal than most honeyeaters, and a variety of calls have been recorded, including a bell-like tinkling. The scarlet myzomela is found along most of the eastern coastline, from Cape York in the far north to Gippsland in Victoria. It is migratory in the southern parts of its range, with populations moving north in the winter. Its natural habitat is forest, where it forages mainly in the upper tree canopy. It is omnivorous, feeding on insects as well as nectar. Up to three broods may be raised over the course of a breeding season. The female lays two or rarely three flecked white eggs in a 5 centimetre (2 in) diameter cup-shaped nest high in a tree. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed it as being of least concern on account of its large range and apparently stable population.
  • Barry Voight (nominated by ceranthor) is an American geologistvolcanologist, author, and engineer. He is also the brother of actor Jon Voight and songwriter Chip Taylor, and the uncle of actress Angelina Jolie. He studied at Cornell University for a year before transferring to Columbia University, where he earned his PhD in geology in 1965. Voight worked as a professor of geology at several universities, including Pennsylvania State University, where he taught from 1964 until his retirement in 2005; he remains an emeritus professor there. He still conducts research, focusing on rock mechanics, plate tectonics, disaster prevention, and geotechnical engineering. In April 1980, Voight's publications on landslides and avalanches and other mass movements attracted the attention of Rocky Crandell of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), who asked him to look at a growing bulge on the Mount St. Helens volcano in the state of Washington. Voight foresaw the collapse of the mountain's north flank as well as a powerful eruption. His predictions came true when St. Helens erupted in May 1980; Voight was then hired by the USGS to investigate the debris avalanche that initiated the eruption. After his work at St. Helens brought him international recognition, Voight continued researching and guiding monitoring efforts at several active volcanoes throughout his career, including Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia, Mount Merapi in Indonesia, and Soufrière Hills, a volcano on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. For his research, publications and disaster prevention work as a volcanologist and engineer, Voight has been honored with numerous awards, appointments, and medals.
  • The Waterloo Medal (nominated by Wehwalt) was designed by Italian-born sculptor Benedetto Pistrucci. He worked on it from 1819 to 1849, when the completed matrices were presented to Britain's Royal Mint. The medal was commissioned by the British government in 1819 on the instructions of George IV while Prince Regent; copies were to be presented to the victorious generals at the 1815 Battle of Waterloo, and to the leaders of Britain's allies. As most of the intended recipients had died by 1849, and relations with France had improved, the medals were never struck, though modern-day editions have been made for sale to collectors. The Prince Regent and William Wellesley-PoleMaster of the Mint were impressed by Pistrucci's models, and he gained the commission. Pistrucci fell from grace at the Royal Mint in 1823 by refusing to copy another's work for the coinage, and he was instructed to concentrate on the medal. He likely concluded that he would be sacked if he completed it, and progress was extremely slow. He stayed on at the Mint, the medal uncompleted. In 1844, the Master, William E. Gladstone, reached an accord with Pistrucci and the medal matrices were eventually submitted in 1849. Due to their great size, 5.3 inches (130 mm) in diameter, the Mint was unwilling to risk damaging the matrices by hardening them, and only electrotypes and soft impressions were taken. Pistrucci's designs have been greatly praised by numismatic writers.
  • Underwater diving (nominated by Peter (Southwood)) is the practice of descending below the water's surface to interact with the environment. Humans are not biologically adapted for deep diving, and equipment has been developed to extend the depth and duration of human dives. In ambient pressure diving, with direct exposure to the pressure of the surrounding water, the diver can use breathing apparatus for scuba diving or surface-supplied diving. For repeated deep dives, divers can reduce the risk of decompression sickness by living in a pressurized environment on the surface to prevent repeated pressurization and depressurization as they dive. Atmospheric diving suits may be used to isolate the diver from high ambient pressure. Diving activities are restricted to maximum depths of about 40 metres (130 ft) for recreational scuba diving, 530 metres (1,740 ft) for commercial saturation diving, and 610 metres (2,000 ft) if atmospheric suits are worn. The history of breath-hold diving goes back at least to classical times, and there is evidence of prehistoric hunting and gathering of seafoods that may have involved underwater swimming.
  • The Baltimore railroad strike of 1877 (nominated by TimothyJosephWood) involved several days of work stoppage and violence in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1877. It formed a part of the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, during which widespread civil unrest spread nationwide following the global depression and economic downturns of the mid-1870s. Strikes broke out along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) on July 16, the same day that 10-percent wage reductions were scheduled. Violence erupted in Baltimore on July 20, with police and soldiers of the Maryland National Guard clashing with crowds of thousands gathered throughout the city. In response, President Rutherford B. Hayes ordered federal troops to Baltimore, local officials recruited as many as 500 additional police, and two entirely new national guard regiments were formed. Peace was restored on July 22. Negotiations between strikers and the B&O were unsuccessful, and most strikers chose to quit rather than return to work at the newly reduced wages. The company easily found enough workers to replace the strikers, and under the protection of the military and police, traffic resumed on July 29. The company promised minor concessions at the time, and eventually enacted select reforms later that year. In total, between 10 and 22 were killed, more than 150 were injured, and many more were arrested.
  • On the Job (2013 film) (nominated by Slightlymad) is a 2013 Philippine neo-noir crime thriller film written and directed by Erik Matti. It stars Joel Torre and Gerald Anderson as two contract killing prisoners temporarily released from jail to carry out political executions in a corrupt justice system. Piolo Pascual and Joey Marquez portray law enforcement officers tasked with investigating the drug-related murder case, connected to the prison gun-for-hire business. The inspiration for On the Job came from a Viva Films crew member who claimed to have been temporarily released from prison to perform contract killings before being reincarcerated. Principal photography took place in Manila and lasted thirty-three days, on a production budget of 47 million (about US$1.1 million). On the Job was shown in the Directors' Fortnight at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival on May 24, where it received praise and a standing ovation. The film was released in the Philippines on August 28 by Star Cinema, and in the United States on September 27 by Well Go USA Entertainment. The film drew very positive reviews from both local and international critics.
  • The Astronomica (Manilius) (nominated by Gen. Quon) is a Latin didactic poem written in hexameters and divided into five books about celestial phenomena. The Astronomica was penned c. AD 10–20 by a Roman poet whose name was likely Marcus Manilius; little is known of Manilius, and although there is evidence that the Astronomica was read by many other Roman writers, no surviving works quote him. The poem was rediscovered c. 1416–1417 by the Italian humanist and scholar Poggio Bracciolini, who had a copy made from which the modern text derives. The earliest extant work on astrology that is extensive, coherent, and mostly intact, the Astronomica describes celestial phenomena, and, in particular, the zodiac and astrology. The poem—which seems to have been inspired by Lucretius's Epicurean poem De rerum natura—espouses a Stoic, deterministic understanding of a universe overseen by a god and governed by reason. The fifth book of the Astronomica features a lacuna, which has led to debate about the original size of the poem; some scholars have argued that whole books have been lost over the years, whereas others believe only a small section of the work is missing. Upon its discovery, the Astronomica was read, commented upon, and edited by a number of scholars. Nevertheless, it failed to become as popular as other classical Latin poems and was neglected for centuries. This started to change during the early 20th century when, between 1903 and 1930, the classicist A. E. Housman published a critically acclaimed edition of the poem in five books. Housman's work was followed by the Latinist G. P. Goold's lauded English translation in 1977. Today, scholars consider the Astronomica to be highly technical, complicated, and occasionally contradictory; at the same time, many have praised Manilius's ability to translate complex mathematical computations into poetic verse.
  • Chartwell (nominated by KJP1) is a country house near the town of WesterhamKent in South East England. For over forty years it was the home of Winston Churchill. He bought the property in September 1922 and lived there until shortly before his death in January 1965. In the 1930s, when Churchill was excluded from political office, Chartwell became the centre of his world. At his dining table, he gathered those who could assist his campaign against German re-armament and the British government's response of appeasement; in his study, he composed speeches and wrote books; in his garden, he built walls, constructed lakes and painted. During the Second World War Chartwell was largely unused, the Churchills returning after he lost the 1945 election. In 1953, when again Prime Minister, the house became Churchill's refuge when he suffered a devastating stroke. In October 1964, he left for the last time, dying at his London home, 28 Hyde Park Gate, on 24 January 1965. The origins of the estate reach back to the 14th century; in 1382 the property, then called Well-street, was sold by William-at-Well. It passed through various owners and in 1836 was auctioned, as a substantial, brick-built manor. In 1848, it was purchased by John Campbell Colquhoun, whose grandson sold it to Churchill. The Campbell Colquhouns greatly enlarged the house and the advertisement for its sale at the time of Churchill's purchase described it as an "imposing" mansion. Between 1922 and 1924, it was largely rebuilt and extended by the society architect Philip Tilden. From the garden front, the house has extensive views over the Weald of Kent, "the most beautiful and charming" Churchill had ever seen, and the determining factor in his decision to buy the house. In 1946, when financial constraints forced Churchill to again consider selling Chartwell, it was acquired by the National Trust with funds raised by a consortium of Churchill's friends led by Lord Camrose, on condition that the Churchills retain a life tenancy. After Churchill's death, Lady Churchill surrendered her lease on the house and it was opened to the public by the Trust in 1966. A Grade I listed building, for its historical significance rather than its architectural merit, Chartwell has become among the Trust's most popular properties; some 232,000 people visited the house in 2016, the fiftieth anniversary of its opening.
  • "Barge of the Dead" (nominated by Aoba47) is an episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager. It is the third episode of the sixth season and was first broadcast by UPN on October 6, 1999. "Barge of the Dead" was developed from a story by Ronald D. Moore and Bryan Fuller, who wrote the teleplay, and was directed by Mike Vejar. Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet and Maquis crew of the starship USS Voyager after they are stranded in the Delta Quadrant, far from the rest of the Federation.

Featured lists

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Darren Sammy took a five-wicket haul on Test debut in 2007.
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Benni McCarthy is South Africa's record goal scorer.
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Margaret on Sommarkrysset at Gröna Lund in Stockholm in July 2016

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The Romanian artist of the moment, INNA, receiving the award as the best Romanian artist in the MTV Europe Music Awards 2009.

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