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Sunday, 21 July 2013

Buffalo (or Bison)

Bison or buffalo are large, even-toed mammals. "Bison" is a Greek word meaning ox-like animal, while "buffalo" originated with the French fur trappers who called these massive beasts bœufs, meaning ox or bullock—so both names, "bison" and "buffalo", have a similar meaning.

By 10,000BC the mammoth was beginning to die out in North America and the buffako took its place as a principal source of food and hides.

The buffalo formed the mainstay of the economy of the Native Indians, providing them with meat for food, hides and fur for clothing and shelter, and sinew and horn for tools.

After a successful buffalo hunt a Native American adult might consume as much as 4 lb of buffalo meat a day.

The Indians' hunting activities had little impact on the buffalo population, but with the westward movement of white civilization in the 18th and 19th centuries, the bison were wantonly slaughtered in ever-growing numbers.

In the days of pioneer travel great buffalo herds, wading streams, sometimes halted a boat in midstream or, moving over the prairies, blocked and occasionally even derailed a train.

The westward-moving pioneers and railroad workers wantonly killed the huge animals by the thousands for food. Only the choicest pieces of the slaughtered buffalo, the hump and tongues, were cut out of the carcasses.

The near-extinction bison hunting in the 1800s was not only to gain food. The pioneers also wanted to restrict the American Indians' dominant food supply; herds were shot from trains and left to rot where they died.

By 1870s, the buffalo had been decimated east of the Mississippi River thus removing a major source of meat. The extension of railroads across the Great Plains had led to the destruction of the huge herds that foraged on the vast grasslands there.

One hunter, William F. Cody who was nicknamed "Buffalo Bill", killed 4,280 animals in 17 months while supplying buffalo meat for railroad construction crews.

The first buffalo ever born in captivity was born at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo in 1884.

The Buffalo Protection Act of 1894 was one of the earliest official recognitions of an endangered species problem in the United States. By the late 1880s fewer than a thousand bison were left on the continent, two thirds of them in Canada.  The law to protect the few remaining in Yellowstone National Park was the first federal legislation that focused on conserving a once-vast wildlife resource.

President Barack Obama signed into law on May 9, 2016 the National Bison Legacy Act, which designated the bison as the official mammal of the United States.

Bison and wisent are the largest terrestrial animals in North America and Europe.

The Yellowstone Park bison herd (approx. 5,500) is descended from a remnant population of 23 individual bison that survived a mass slaughter in the 19th century by hiding out in the Pelican Valley of Yellowstone Park.

Today there are 350,000 bison in America.

Male bison live apart and only enter the female herds during mating season, when the males fight over access to females.

A buffalo can jump 6 feet.

Buffalo milk contains 25 per cent more protein than cow's milk.

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires was founded by a Spanish expedition led by Pedro de Mendoza as Puerto de Santa Mariá del Buen Aire on February 2, 1536. It was abandoned after attacks by American Indians (Querandi), and refounded in 1580.

Juan de Garay and the second founding of Buenos Aires, 1580. By José Moreno Carbonero (1858-1942) 

Buenos Aires became the capital of the viceroyalty of Rió de la Plata in 1776, and federal capital of Argentina in 1880.

Tango originated in brothels in the immigrant ghetto of Buenos Aires in the late 19th century, in what is the present-day harbor of La Boca neighbourhood.

The Buenos Aires Metro started operating on December 1, 1913. It was the first underground railway system in the southern hemisphere and in Latin America.

The climate of Buenos Aires is mild all year around. The mean annual temperature is 18º C (64.4º F), making extremely hot and cold days very infrequent. Thus, tourists can enjoy walking around the city in any season.

Argentine Spanish spoken in and around Buenos Aires is distinctly different from that spoken elsewhere not only in Latin America but also other provinces of Argentina.

Aside from a heavy accent, the language is peppered with Lunfardo, a local slang.

The Greater Buenos Aires conurbation, which also includes several Buenos Aires Province districts, constitutes the third-largest conurbation in Latin America, with a population of (2001 est) 13,756,000.

Argentina is home to the largest Jewish community in Latin America, with more than 250,000 members, with 200,000 in Buenos Aires alone.

Avenida 9 de Julio is the widest avenue in the world at an imposing sixteen lanes. It typically takes at least two traffic light rotations to cross.

Ciudad Evita (Evita City) of the greater Buenos Aires area was not only named after Eva Perón, but is shaped like her head in profile.

In Buenos Aires, soccer is like religion, and the best-known clubs are River Plate, Boca Juniors, Independiente, Racing Club and San Lorenzo.

As of 2012, Buenos Aires had more psychologists per capita than any other city in the world.



Adolphus Busch was the owner of a brewery supply store in St Louis, Missouri who became a partner in his father-in-law Eberhard Anheuser 's brewery. Busch discovered a means of pasteurising beer so that it could withstand temperature changes. This enabled his firm to distribute its beer on a nationwide basis.

In 1876 Adolphus Busch and Eberhard Anheuser’s brewery introduced a new drier-tasting, light-colored beer called Budweiser in the belief that consumers would prefer it to the more common dark brews.
It was bottled and distributed by Carl Conrad, a local restaurateur

It was called Budweiser from a Czech lager of the same name, which it was brewed in imitation of.

Until 1986, if you worked for the Anheuser-Busch company in the US, you could drink as much beer as you liked during the work day.

For nearly 150 years, whenever a new heir was born to the Annheiser-Busch brewing family, they would be fed five drops of Budwiser before even having their mothers milk.

The three most valuable brand names on earth are Marlboro, Coca Cola, and Budweiser, in that order.

Budweiser beer can also be used as a hair conditioner.

The actor George Clooney does voice overs for Budweiser TV commercials and allegedly had a beer keg installed in his dressing room during the filming of Ocean's 11.

Hall of fame Chicago Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray was estimated to have drank 73,000 Budweisers during his lifetime.

Bud Light dropped from an average rating of 5 to -3 among women because of the tagline: 'Remove 'No' From Your Vocabulary for the Night.'


Budgies are members of the parrot family, along with the cockatoos and macaws.

An adult budgerigar weighs between 25 and 35g, equal to a small bag of crisps. They have a very high metabolism eating their body weight in the morning and again at night.

A budgie's heart beats 300-500 times a minute. The human heart beats 75 times a minute.

Some budgies can mimic up to 70 human phrases. and are said to assign names to their offspring.

Males are better at talking than females.

In the 1950s Sparkie the budgie had a repertoire of 383 sentences.

The largest vocabulary for a talking bird was 1,728 words recorded for a budgerigar in 1994.

The budgerigar species was first recorded in 1805. Naturalist John Gould brought the first budgie from Australia in 1840. Today it's the third most popular pet in the world, after dogs and cats.

Budgerigars are well adapted to their desert habitat and can survive for a month without drinking.

Budgies glow in the dark; females are attracted to males with feathers that absorb ultraviolet, thus making them glow.

“Budgerigar” is a version of the Aboriginal for ‘good bird’.

Sources Daily Mail, Radio Times


The word budget means a leather wallet of a kind to contain papers. In the 18th century the chancellor was said to be opening his budget when he presented his proposals.

Income tax was first brought into the UK by William Pitt in his budget of December 1798 as a temporary measure to finance the Napoleonic wars. It was abolished in 1802 during the Peace of Amiens but reintroduced in 1803 when hostilities recommenced.

The Chancellor of Exchequer William Gladstone because of public pressure abolished the tax on soap in 1853. Probably to make up for the substantial loss, he introduced in the same budget death duties.

Gladstone's 1853 Budget speech in the House of Commons lasted for 285 minutes (four hours 45 minutes), the longest continuous Budget speech ever.

In the UK, when setting off to make his speech, each Chancellor has traditionally been photographed holding up a battered budget box covered in scarlet leather; it is believed to have been made for Gladstone during his 1859–66 spell as chancellor of the exchequer.

David Lloyd George's People's Budget of April 29, 1909 was the first budget in British history with the expressed intent of redistributing wealth among the public. It took a year to be passed.

The first televised Budget broadcast in the UK was made in 1953.

Harold Macmillan’s 1956 budget speech introduced premium bonds to Britain with prizes of up to £1,000.

While alcohol is usually banned in the UK Parliament, the Chancellor of the Exchequer can drink when delivering the annual budget statement.


Buddhism originated in India in the 5th century. It derives from the teaching of the Buddha, who is regarded as one of a series of such enlightened beings.

Nichiren, a Japanese monk, expounded Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō for the first time on April 28, 1253. He declared it to be the essence of Buddhism, in effect founding Nichiren Buddhism.


In 1954, archaeologists excavating an 8th century Viking settlement in Sweden found a Buddha statuette from North India.

In November 2013, an international team of archaeologists digging under the Maya Devi Temple at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lumbini, Nepal discovered remains of an ancient tree shrine dated before 550 BCE. It is possibly the earliest evidence of Buddhist structures ever found .The discovery was made at a site traditionally thought to be the birthplace of the Buddha, under a series of brick temples below the current temple.

Buddha's sermon at Benares to five fellow ascetics in a park, "turning of the Wheel of the Law," is held in similar reverence by Buddhists as the Sermon on the Mount is by Christians.

From its earliest history the choral chanting of sacred texts has been an essential part of Buddhist liturgy. Chants are learnt by repetition, though obscure notations exist in Japan, Tibet, and Korea. The two basic forms are sutra, a simple syllabic recitative, and gatha, using more elaborate melodies.

The main Buddhist instruments--the ghanta (handbells), sankha (conch trumpet), vina (arched harp or lute), tala (cymbals), and various types of drums, bells, and gongs.

The founder of Zen Buddhism, Bodhidharma, is said to have gained enlightenment by facing a wall for nine years and not speaking.

Buddhists use tea during periods of meditation as they claim it contributes to a worshiper's sense of serenity.

In Japan initially tea was drunk primarily by Zen Buddhist monks, but by the 13th century it had become a popular beverage amongst the general population.

In medieval Japan, archery became closely linked with the metaphysical system of Zen Buddhism. It became part of the education of the noble Samurai and was practised not for such purposes as the hunt or war, or purely aesthetic enjoyment, but to discipline the mind. Archery was considered a lesson in effortless self-control, perfect equanimity, and the attainment of utter detachment.

Before the Chinese takeover of Tibet in 1952, 25 percent of the males in the country were Buddhist monks.

Actress Uma Thurman's father was the first Westerner to become a Tibetan Buddhist monk.

The actor Richard Gere is the best-known celebrity Buddhist, having developed an interest in his 20s. In 2001, Gere made an appearance (in animated form) in an episode of The Simpsons, in which he helps to convert Lisa Simpson. The character remains a follower of Buddhist teachings. 

Using water for foot and head washing in Burma is known as rude and against Buddhism.

Source The Oxford Interactive Encyclopedia