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Sunday, 18 June 2017

Radar

Radar is a machine that uses radio waves for echolocation to detect objects such as aircraft, spacecraft, ships, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain.

Long-range radar antenna, used to track space objects and ballistic missiles.

The direction of an object is ascertained by transmitting a beam of short-wavelength short-pulse radio waves, and picking up the reflected beam. Distance is determined by timing the journey of the radio waves (traveling at the speed of light) to the object and back again.

In 1886, German physicist Heinrich Hertz was the first to show that radio waves could be reflected from solid objects.

The German inventor Christian Hülsmeyer was the first to use radio waves to detect the presence of distant objects. He obtained a British patent on September 23, 1904 for his apparatus which he called a Telemobiloscope. Hülsmeyer is often credited with the invention of radar, but his "Telemobiloscope," could not directly measure distance to a target and thus does not merit this full distinction.

The method of using radar to pinpoint small targets was developed independently in Britain, France, Germany, and the US in the 1930s.

In 1935 Robert Watson-Watt carried out a demonstration near Daventry which led directly to the development of RADAR in the United Kingdom. Having proved radar detection technology could work Watson-Watt received a patent for his system, on September 1, 1936.

The first workable unit built by Robert Watson-Watt and his team

The Type 79 radar was the first radar system deployed by the Royal Navy. The first version of this radar, Type 79X, was mounted on the RN Signal School's tender, the minesweeper HMS Saltburn, in October 1936.

The British Army's first radar system, the Gun Laying radar, used up the nation's entire stockpile of chicken wire.

Radar was first put to practical use for aircraft detection by the British, who had a complete coastal chain of radar sets installed in time for the outbreak of World War II in 1939. This system provided the vital advance information that helped the Royal Air Force win the Battle of Britain when the ability to spot incoming German aircraft did away with the need to fly standing patrols.

The term RADAR was coined in 1941 as an acronym for Radio Detection and Ranging. This acronym of American origin replaced the previously used British abbreviation RDF (Radio Direction Finding). The term has since entered the English language as a standard word, radar, losing the capitalization in the process.

The Northamptonshire-born mathematician Dame Mary Cartwright (1900-1998) was the first woman to serve on the Royal Society council and as president of the London Mathematical Society. Her work was critical in perfecting radar equipment, saving countless lives in World War II. She hated praise and once wrote to scold a scientist for crediting her with more than she deserved.

During World War II, as a RAF officer, the science fiction writer Arthur C Clarke was in charge of the first radar talk-down equipment, the Ground Controlled Approach, during its experimental trials.

On February 15 1954 Canada and the United States agreed to construct the Distant Early Warning Line, a system of radar stations in the far northern Arctic regions of Canada and Alaska.

POW-2, now Oliktok Long Range Radar Site

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Racket

Records confirm that tennis was played in France in the twelfth century, at first with the palm of the hand only. Rackets then were still unknown.

The etymology of the word racket (or racquet), as in tennis, can be traced via the French raquette to the Arab rahat, a colloquial form of raha - the palm of the hand. That is why the logical Frenchman came to call the sport not tennis but "the game of the hand."


These early tennis players soon came to realize that striking the ball with their bare hands could hurt very much. Therefore, to soften the blow, players began to wear gloves. Not only did the glove guard against injury, it gave the ball greater impetus.

All that was further needed was to take off the improved glove and add a handle and strings to it. The first wooden-framed rackets, strung with sheep gut, appeared in the 15th century.

Early advertisement for tennis rackets, from an English newspaper.

Table tennis began, though not under that name, as a parlor game in Victorian homes. The equipment used in those early days was mostly improvised and home-made. The racket or bat was cut out of a piece of thick cardboard. The rubber-covered racket didn't come into play until 1905.

A badminton racket has a longer, thinner neck than a tennis racket with softer strings as the shuttlecock is hit up over a net.

Throughout most of tennis' history, rackets were made of laminated wood. In the late 1960s, Wilson produced the T2000 steel racket with wire wound around the frame to make string loops. It was popularized by the American tennis star Jimmy Connors.

A United States tennis racket from the 1970s

In the early 1980s, "graphite" (carbon fibre) composites were introduced, and other materials were added to the composite, including ceramics, glass-fibre, boron, and titanium. Composite rackets are the contemporary standard, the last wooden racket appeared at Wimbledon in 1987.

Source Europress Encyclopedia

Friday, 16 June 2017

Racism

Humans often categorize themselves by race or ethnicity. They do this based on ancestry, as well as visible traits like skin color and facial features. People of the same ethnic group are often connected by ancestry, speaking the same language, having the same culture, and living in the same places. This attempt to categorize human types has led to racism, a non-scientific theory or ideology, that a particular race was superior or inferior. These beliefs supported such dreadful discriminatory events of human history as the horrors of African slavery, the Jim Crow laws in the United States, The Nuremberg Laws and The Holocaust in Nazi Germany, The Apartheid laws in South Africa and The White Australia policy in Australia.

A sign on a racially segregated beach during the era of Apartheid in South Africa

An early use of the word "racism" was by Richard Henry Pratt in 1902: "Association of races and classes is necessary to destroy racism and classism."

The popular use of the word "racism" in the Western world didn't come into widespread usage until the 1930s, when the was used to describe the social and political ideology of Nazism, which saw "race" as a naturally given political unit. However, racism existed way before the coinage of the word – antisemitism, for instance, has a long history.

Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses, Germany, 1933

In 1920 the noted American eugenicist Lothrop Stoddard published The Rising Tide of Color: The Threat Against White World-Supremacy. The book predicted the collapse of white world empire and colonialism because of the population growth among people not of the white race, rising nationalism in colonized nations, and industrialization in China and Japan. Stoddard advocated restricting non-white migration into white nations, restricting Asian migration to Africa and Latin America. He supported a separation of the "primary races" of the world and warned against interbreeding of people considered to be of different racial types.

On May 14, 1918 during World War I, Sgt Henry "Black Death" Johnson on watch in the Argonne Forest fought off a German raid in hand-to-hand combat, killing multiple German troops and rescuing a fellow soldier while experiencing 21 wounds.

Johnson was the first American in World War to be awarded the Croix De Guerre by France.  His courageous action was brought to the USA population's attention by coverage by a couple of newspapers later that year. However, racism was still a barrier in his own country and Johnson was never recognized by the U.S. until June 2, 2015 when he was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama in a posthumous ceremony at the White House.

Henry Lincoln Johnson in uniform

In 1939 the celebrated African American contralto Marian Anderson was refused permission to sing in Washington's Constitution Hall because of her race. The incident placed Anderson into the spotlight of the international community on a level unusual for a classical musician. Instead, with the aid of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband Franklin D. Roosevelt, Anderson performed a critically acclaimed open-air concert on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C , for an audience of 75,000.

In 1955 Seamstress Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man. The arrest sparked a year-long bus boycott by blacks.

On October 10 1957 U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was forced to apologize to the finance minister of Ghana, Komla Agbeli Gbedemah, after he was refused service in a Dover, Delaware restaurant.

Racist attitudes were also widespread in the UK until recently. The Bristol Omnibus Company's refusal to employ Black or Asian bus crews led to a bus boycott in Bristol on April 30, 1963, drawing national attention to racial discrimination in Britain.

Bristol University students march in support of the boycott. Wikipedia

The Cartoon Network banned Speedy Gonzales as a racist stereotype – until the US-hispanic community protested.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Race horse

The Thoroughbred is a breed of horse developed in England for racing and jumping. In the male line, modern Thoroughbreds trace their ancestry to only three stallions: the Byerly Turk (1689), the Darley Arabian (1705) and the Godolphin Arabian (1728).

The Darley Arabian, one of the three traditional foundation sires of the Thoroughbred

Thoroughbreds originate from the Arabian breed, who had been developed by the Bedouin people of the Middle East specifically for stamina over long distances, so they could outrun their enemies.

The first Thoroughbred to arrive in America was a stallion named Bulle Rock, by the Darley Arabian. He was imported to Virginia in 1730 by Samuel Gist.

In 1757, Janus, a grandson of Godolphin Arabian, was imported and became the founder of the Quarter Horse breed.

Nijinsky became in 1970 the first horse to win over £100 000 (in fact, £159 681) in a single British flat racing season. His wins included three Classics - the Derby, 2000 Guineas, and St Leger.

Secretariat (March 30, 1970 – October 4, 1989) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse who, in 1973, became the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years. He was such a dominant race horse partly because his heart weighed roughly two and a half times that of an average horse's. Secretariat's ample girth, long back and well made neck contributed to his heart-lung efficiency.

US Triple Crown winner Secretariat during his retirement in the 1970s. Wikipedia

Shergar (3 March 1978 – c. February 1983) was an Irish-bred, British-trained racehorse, and winner of the 202nd Epsom Derby (1981) by ten lengths – the longest winning margin in the race's history.
The great race horse was kidnapped from Ballymany Stud, near the Curragh in County Kildare, Ireland in February 1983. No trace of the horse has ever been found.

American Pharoah is an American Thoroughbred racehorse who in 2015 became the first horse to win the "Grand Slam" of American horse racing —the Triple Crown plus the Breeders' Cup Classic. He completed the quadruple by winning the 2015 Breeders' Cup Classic at Keeneland on October 31, 2015, setting a track record with a time of 2:00.07 and breaking the old track record by more than five seconds.
American Pharoah & jockey Victor Espinoza win the Belmont Stakes. Wikipedia

Always B Miki is a Champion American Standardbred pacer who at age five set a world record of 1:46 at The Red Mile on October 9, 2016. This broke the previous race world record of 1:46.4 held by four horses (Somebeachsomewhere, He's Watching, Warrawee Needy and Holborn Hanover). It also broke the time trial world record of 1:46.1 set in 1993 by Cambest.

Race (anthropology)

Race in anthropology is a term sometimes applied to a physically distinctive group of people, on the basis of difference from other groups in skin color, head shape, hair type, and physique.


Johann Friedrich Blumenbach's racial classification, first proposed in 1779, was widely used in the 19th century, with many variations.
The Caucasian race or white race
The Mongolian or yellow race
The Malayan or brown race
The Ethiopian, or black race
The American or red race.

Harvard political economist William Z. Ripley's 1899 book The Races of Europe: A Sociological Study, outlined his belief that race was critical to understanding human history
Ripley classified Europeans into three distinct races:
Teutonic – members of the northern race were long-skulled (or dolichocephalic), tall in stature, and possessed pale hair, eyes and skin.
Mediterranean – members of the southern race were long-skulled (or dolichocephalic), short/medium in stature, and possessed dark hair, eyes and skin.
Alpine – members of the central race were round-skulled (or brachycephalic), stocky in stature, and possessed intermediate hair, eye and skin color.

American right wing historian and political theorist Lothrop Stoddard's (June 29, 1883 – May 1, 1950) analysis divided world politics and situations into "white," "yellow," "black," "Amerindian," and "brown" peoples and their interactions. He argued that race and heredity were the guiding factors of history and civilization and that the elimination or absorption of the "white" race by "colored" races would result in the destruction of Western civilization.

Stoddard 'race' map from the 1920s which divides humanity in to 5 skin color groups 

The mid 20th century racial classification by Harvard anthropologist Carleton S. Coon (June 23, 1904 – June 3, 1981), divided humanity into five races:
Caucasoid (White) race
Negroid (Black) race
Capoid (Bushmen/Hottentots) race
Mongoloid (Oriental/ Amerindian) race
Australoid (Australian Aborigine and Papuan) race

In 1933, the Harvard anthropologist Carleton S. Coon was invited to write a new edition of William Z. Ripley's The Races of Europe. Published six years later, Coon defined the Caucasian Race as including Europe, Central Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Northeast Africa

The attempt to categorize human types led to racism, a non-scientific theory that a particular race was superior or inferior. It argued that are deep, biologically determined differences within the different human races. This ideology also stated races should live separately and not intermarry. These attitudes supported such horrific occurrences of human history as the horrors of African slavery, the Jim Crow laws, Nazism and the Holocaust, Japanese imperialism and South African Apartheid.

Severiano de Heredia was a Cuban-born biracial politician, who was president of the municipal council of Paris from August 1, 1879 to February 12, 1880, making him the first mayor of African descent of a Western world capital.

Severiano de Heredia (1836-1901
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in New York on February 12, 1909.

The first interracial kiss on TV took place on November 22, 1968 between Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Lt.Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) on an episode of Star Trek.


Recent genetic studies show that skin color may change a lot over as few as 100 generations, or about 2,500 years.

Many anthropologists today completely reject the concept of race, and social scientists tend to prefer the term ethnic group to refer to people's sense of cultural identity, which may or may not include skin color or common descent.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Raccoon

ETYMOLOGY

The English word "raccoon" is an adaptation of a native Powhatan word meaning "one who rubs and scratches with its hands".


The collective noun for raccoons is a gaze.

DISTRIBUTION 

Raccoons are common throughout North America from Canada to Panama, where the subspecies Procyon lotor pumilus coexists with the crab-eating raccoon (Procyon cancrivorus).

There are wild populations in Germany, France and Spain.

The population of raccoons on Hispaniola was exterminated as early as 1513 by Spanish colonists who hunted them for their meat.

Raccoons were also exterminated in Cuba and Jamaica, where the last sightings were reported in 1687.

The common Raccoon did not inhabit Japan until 1977, the year when a popular anime caused many people to import them as pets, allowing many to escape into the wild.

ANATOMY

They can grow to 52in long with an 18in tail, weigh up to 60lb and live for 20 years in captivity.


Raccoons have bad eyesight and are color blind, but have great hearing and a great sense of smell.

The distinctive ‘bandit mask’ around the eyes is thought to help night vision by reducing glare.

BEHAVIOR

Raccoons are omnivores, eating birds, eggs, frogs, toads, fruit, insects and worms.


Raccoons have nimble paws and sometimes wash their food before eating it.

They run at up to 15mph and rotate their hind feet through 180 degrees, allowing them to climb down trees head first.

Raccoons are very agile tree climbers and do not mind climbing or falling from elevations as high as 40 feet (12 meters).

Studies found that raccoons were able to remember solutions to tasks for three years.

Raccoons do not hibernate, but they do sleep for days during cold winters.

In the mating season, males roam in search of females, who can conceive over only a three to four-day period.


FUN RACCOON FACTS

If you bring a raccoon's head to the Henniker, New Hampshire town hall, you are entitled to receive $0.10 from the town.

Two raccoons – Bandit and Turpin – broke out of Drusillas Park in East Sussex, England in 2012 but broke back in a week later.

Sources Daily Express, Daily Mail

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Rabies

Rabies is an infectious disease that can be passed on by animals to humans. The disease is transmitted through the saliva and the blood. The usual form of getting it is a bite of a rabid mammal.

The disease causes acute encephalitis (a sudden inflammation in the brain). Generally, people (and animals) die from rabies. However, those who are treated soon after becoming infected have a chance to survive.

A person with rabies, 1959

The ancient city of Eshnuna in Sumeria was aware of the causes of rabies, which they realized humans could catch from dogs. They had a law setting out the punishment for somebody who allowed a mad dog to escape and bite somebody.

The variegated oil beetle was used as a treatment for rabies in the 19th century.

On July 6, 1885, nine-year-old Joseph Meister became the first person to be inoculated against rabies. Dr Louis Pasteur had been experimenting with a vaccine made from a weakened strain of rabies virus grown in rabbits developed from dog saliva, After Joseph was beaten by a rabid dog, he was taken to Dr. Pasteur's surgery where he was treated with an untested version of the vaccine. The treatment was successful and the boy did not develop rabies. Within days, Dr Pasteur found his surgery besieged by crowds of dog bite victims.

Joseph Meister

Rabies caused about 17,400 deaths worldwide in 2015, More than 95% of human deaths caused by rabies occur in Africa and Asia.

Vultures have no problem eating an animal infected with rabies, a disease that would ultimately be lethal to most other scavengers. In fact by eating the carcasses of dead rabid animals, vultures prevent the spread of the disease.