Friday, September 30, 2011


Scrapple is traditionally a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and flour, often buckwheat flour, and spices. The mush is formed into a semi-solid congealed loaf, and slices of the scrapple are then panfried before serving. Scraps of meat left over from butchering, not used or sold elsewhere, were made into scrapple to avoid waste. Scrapple is best known as a regional American food of the Mid-Atlantic states (Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland). Scrapple and pon haus are commonly considered an ethnic food of the Pennsylvania Dutch, including the Mennonites and Amish. Scrapple is found in supermarkets throughout the region in both fresh and frozen refrigerated cases.

Scrapple is typically cut into quarter-inch to three-quarter-inch slices, and pan-fried until browned to form a crust. It is sometimes first coated with flour. It may be fried in butter or oil and is sometimes deep-fried. Scrapple can also be broiled; this is a good cooking method for those who like their scrapple crispy.

Scrapple is usually eaten as a breakfast food, and can be served plain or with apple butter, ketchup, jelly, maple syrup, honey, or even mustard and accompanied by eggs, potatoes, or pancakes. In some regions, such as New England, scrapple is mixed with scrambled eggs and served with toast. In the Philadelphia area, scrapple is sometimes fried and then mashed with fried eggs, horseradish and ketchup.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Bingo is a 1998 computer-animated short film directed by Chris Landreth. The short is based on the stage play Disregard This Play by the theater troupe The Neo Futurists. It uses surrealistic imagery and dialogue to tell the story of an ordinary man who is surrounded by characters who insist that he is someone named "Bingo the Clown" even though he is not. Eventually, the man is worn down by their unwavering insistence and comes to believe that he is Bingo the Clown.

At the time of Bingo's creation, Landreth was employed as an animator at Alias|Wavefront, and the film was used to demonstrate the capabilities of the company's new Maya animation software.

Bingo was shown at both technology trade shows, like the 1998 SIGGRAPH conference where it was shown as the grand finale of the Electronic Theater, and at more traditional film festivals. Some notable film festivals that showed Bingo during its initial release include the Sundance Film Festival, the Ottawa International Animation Festival, the Toronto Worldwide Short Film Festival, the Aspen Short Film Festival, and the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival.

The film received critical acclaim upon its release. Landreth did not submit Bingo to the Sundance Film Festival, but the festival organizers asked to show it anyway—a rare honor. At the Aspen Short Film Festival it won the "Animated Eye" award, it won the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, and it won the Media Prize for Best Computer Animation at the Ottawa International Animation Festival.

In 1999, Bingo was given the Genie Award for Best Animated Short.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Münchausen Syndrome

Münchausen syndrome is a term for psychiatric disorders known as factitious disorders wherein those affected feign disease, illness, or psychological trauma in order to draw attention or sympathy to themselves. It is also sometimes known as hospital addiction syndrome or hospital hopper syndrome. Nurses sometimes refer to them as frequent flyers, because they return to the hospital just like frequent flyers return to the airport. However, there is discussion to reclassify them as somatoform disorder in the DSM-5 as it is unclear whether or not people are conscious of drawing attention to themselves.

In Münchausen syndrome, the affected person exaggerates or creates symptoms of illnesses in themselves to gain investigation, treatment, attention, sympathy, and comfort from medical personnel. In some extreme cases, people suffering from Münchausen's syndrome are highly knowledgeable about the practice of medicine and are able to produce symptoms that result in lengthy and costly medical analysis, prolonged hospital stay and unnecessary operations. The role of "patient" is a familiar and comforting one, and it fills a psychological need in people with Münchausen's. Risk factors for developing Münchausen syndrome include childhood traumas, and growing up with caretakers who, through illness or emotional problems, were unavailable.

The syndrome name derives from Baron Münchhausen (Karl Friedrich Hieronymus Freiherr von Münchhausen, 1720–1797) who purportedly told many fantastic and impossible adventures about himself, which Rudolf Raspe later published as The Surprising Adventures of Baron Münchhausen.

In 1951, Richard Asher was the first to describe a pattern of self-harm, where individuals fabricated histories, signs, and symptoms of illness. Remembering Baron Münchhausen, Asher named this condition Münchausen's Syndrome in his article in The Lancet in February 1951.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei

The Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei (Greek: Synomosia Pyrinon tis Fotias (SPF))is an anarchist group based in Greece. They first surfaced on January 21, 2008 with a wave of 11 firebombings against luxury car dealerships and banks in Athens and Thessaloniki. Monthly arson waves have been followed by proclamations expressing solidarity with arrested anarchists in Greece and elsewhere. In September 2009, following an escalation to the use of crude time bombs, four suspected members of the group were arrested. In November 2010, two more suspects were arrested while attempting to mail parcel bombs to embassies and EU leaders and organisations.

Two proclamations published in on May 19, 2010 explained that SPF represented a "third pole" of anarchist thought in Greece, anarcho-individualism, contrasting it with social anarchism and insurrectionary anarchism. SPF proclamations, sent to following each operation, quote from T.S. Eliot or Dylan Thomas to convey their authors' alienation as well as hostility to society as a web of repressive relations. SPF rejects class struggle and other collective categories -- the war against the state and its institutions is a battle for individual self-actualization. One "duty" SPF willingly embraces is solidarity with imprisoned anarchists in Greece and other countries. SPF, uniquely among Greek armed groups, uses the word "terrorist" favorably. Some of its writers refer to themselves as nihilists.

Because these proclamations are inconsistent with traditional ideological positions found within anarchism, namely communitarianism and solidarity with the working classes, some anarchists do not believe SPF should be considered an anarchist organization.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cecil Chubb

Sir Cecil Herbert Edward Chubb, 1st Baronet (14 April 1876 – 22 September 1934) was the last private owner of Stonehenge, which he donated to the British government in 1918.

He was born in Shrewton, a village 4 miles (6.4 km) west of Stonehenge, the eldest son of Alfred and Mary Chubb. Alfred "Fred" was the village saddler and harness maker, as was his father before him. He attended the local village school and then Bishop Wordsworth's School in Salisbury, where from the age of 14 he worked for a time as a student teacher. He met his future wife at a cricket game between his Bishop Wordsworth school and Old Manor Hospital. He then attended Christ's College, Cambridge where he was awarded a double first in Science and Law, leaving with Master of Arts and Bachelor of Law degrees.

In 1902 he married Mary Bella Alice Finch, whose uncle, Dr. W Corbin Finch, owned Fisherton House, which was used as a mental asylum (later the Old Manor Hospital, now Fountain Way). Five years after her uncle's death in 1905, the business and buildings were transferred to her. Following financial difficulties, a limited company was formed to run the hospital in 1924, and Sir Cecil became chairman. Whilst he was in charge, the hospital became the largest private mental hospital in Europe. There is a plaque in the hospital commemorating his life and work. Sir Cecil also served on Salisbury City Council, was a Justice of the Peace and became a successful racehorse owner and breeder of Shorthorn cattle.

Stonehenge was put up for auction in 1915 by the Antrobus family following the death in World War I of the only surviving male heir. Cecil Chubb's interest in the local area led to him attending the sale, with him bidding and purchasing Lot 15 on a whim for £6,600 (about £392 thousand / €498 thousand / $645 thousand today), as he wished to avoid the stones being acquired by someone overseas. It is also speculated that he bought the stones as a present for his wife, only for her to be less than pleased with his new purchase. It is thought that the auction papers remain with Cecil's remaining family in Wiltshire.

To mark his generosity he was made a baronet in 1919 by Lloyd George. Chubb's arms feature a trilithon representing Stonehenge.

Sir Cecil lived at Bemerton Lodge, where Bertie, the future King George VI, was a regular guest. He liked the estate because it was small, secluded and away from London.

Chubb died of heart disease in London on 22 September 1934 aged 58, leaving behind his wife and only daughter.

A plaque commemorating his birth was erected in the late 1980s on the house in Shrewton where he was born. It was unveiled by his two surviving nephews.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Swiss Army Knife

A Swiss Army knife is a type of multi-function pocket knife or multi-tool. It originated in Ibach Schwyz, Switzerland in 1897. The term "Swiss Army knife" is a registered trademark owned by Wenger S.A. and Victorinox A.G., longtime suppliers of knives to the Swiss Armed Forces. Generally speaking, a Swiss Army knife has a blade as well as various tools, such as screwdrivers and can openers. These attachments are stowed inside the handle of the knife through a pivot point mechanism. The handle is usually red, and features a Victorinox or Wenger "cross" logo or for military issue knives the coat of arms of Switzerland.

The term "Swiss Army knife" was coined by US soldiers after World War II, presumably because they had trouble pronouncing its original name, "Offiziersmesser". Sometimes, the term "Swiss Army knife" is also used metaphorically to describe usefulness, such as a software tool that is a collection of special-purpose tools.

The "Swiss Army knife" has been added to the collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Munich's State Museum of Applied Art for its design.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Latrobe is a city in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in the United States, approximately 40 miles (64 km) southeast of Pittsburgh.

The city population was 7,634 as of the 2000 census (9,265 in 1990). It is located near the Pennsylvania's scenic Chestnut Ridge. Latrobe was incorporated as a borough in 1854, and as a city in 1999. The current Mayor is Barbara Griffin.

Among its claims to fame, Latrobe is the home of the Latrobe Brewery (the original brewer of Rolling Rock beer), Saint Vincent College, and golfer Arnold Palmer. It was the childhood home of Fred Rogers, children's television personality. He was also buried there in Unity Cemetery after his death in 2003. In addition, it is the birthplace of trumpeter Dennis Ferry. While it was believed for years that the first professional football game was played in Latrobe, the city refused induction into the Hall of Fame records. Latrobe is also home of the first banana split, invented in Latrobe by David Strickler in 1904. Latrobe is home to the training camp of the Pittsburgh Steelers American football team. Also, comedian Jackie Mason spent three years as a rabbi in Latrobe after his ordination.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tyrolean hat

The Tyrolean hat (also Bavarian hat) is a hat named for the Tyrol in the Alps. Tyrolean hats are made of felt with a cord wrapped around the base of the crown and a feather or brush on the side as trim.

In the 1960s, it was popular for tourists visiting the region to collect pins from local cities and adorn their hats with them.

One of the more popular brands is Wells & Coverly, and to be worn a little smaller then your actual hat size, so the hat sits on top of the head rather than over it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


The Sazerac is a local New Orleans variation of an old-fashioned cognac or whiskey cocktail, named for the Sazerac de Forge et Fils brand of cognac that was its original prime ingredient. The drink is some combination of cognac, rye whiskey, absinthe or Herbsaint, and Peychaud's Bitters and distinguished by its preparation method. It is sometimes referred to as the oldest known American cocktail, with origins in pre-Civil War New Orleans, Louisiana, though there are much earlier mentions of the cocktail in print.

Around 1850, Sewell T. Taylor sold his bar, The Merchants Exchange Coffee House, and went into the imported liquor business. He began to import a brand of cognac named Sazerac-de-Forge et Fils. At the same time, Aaron Bird took over the Merchants Exchange and changed its name to the Sazerac House and began serving the "Sazerac Cocktail," made with Taylor's Sazerac cognac and, legend has it, the bitters being made down the street by a local druggist, Antoine Amedie Peychaud. The Sazerac House changed hands several times and around 1870 Thomas Handy took over as proprietor. Around this time the primary ingredient changed from cognac to rye whiskey due to the phylloxera epidemic in Europe that devastated France's wine grape crops. At some point before his death in 1889, Handy recorded the recipe for cocktail and the drink made its first printed appearance in William T. "Cocktail Bill" Boothby's 1908 edition of his "The World's Drinks and How to Mix Them," though this recipe calls for Selner Bitters, not Peychaud's. Eventually absinthe was banned, though it is now legal again, and was replaced by various anise-flavored spirits, including the locally-produced Herbsaint.

The drink is a simple variation on a plain whiskey or cognac "Cock-Tail" (alcohol, sugar, water and bitters) and could have been ordered in any latter 19th Century bar in the U.S. as a Whiskey Cocktail with a dash of absinthe. It was this type of variation to the cocktail that caused patrons not interested in the new complexities of cocktails to request their drinks done the Old Fashioned way. By the early 20th Century, vermouth was fairly prevalent, and simple cocktails like the Sazerac had become a somewhat rare curiosity, which aided its popularity.

The creation of the Sazerac has also been credited to Antoine Amadie Peychaud, the Creole apothecary who moved to New Orleans from the West Indies and set up shop in the French Quarter in the early part of the 19th Century. He dispensed a proprietary mix of aromatic bitters from an old family recipe. According to legend he served his drink in the large end of an egg cup that was called a coquetier in French, and that the Americanized pronunciation of this as "cocktail" gave this type of drink its name.[citation needed] However, the word cocktail predates this by decades, first appearing in print in 1803, and first defined in print in 1806 as "a mixture of spirits of any kind, water, sugar and bitters, vulgarly called a bittered sling."[7] .

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

La Gazza Ladra

La gazza ladra (The Thieving Magpie) is a melodramma or opera semiseria in two acts by Gioachino Rossini. The libretto was by Giovanni Gherardini after La pie voleuse by JMT Badouin d'Aubigny and Louis-Charles Caigniez.

The opera is best known for its overture, which is notable for its use of snare drums.

Rossini was famous for his writing speed, and La gazza ladra was no exception. It was reported that the producer had to lock Rossini in a room the day before the first performance in order to write the overture. Rossini then threw each sheet out of the window to his copyists, who wrote out the full orchestral parts.

It was first performed on 31 May 1817 at La Scala, Milan. The opera was revised by Rossini for subsequent productions in Pesaro in 1818, and for the Teatro del Fondo (Naples) in 1819 and the Teatro di San Carlo (Naples) in 1820. He again worked on the music in Paris in 1866.

Riccardo Zandonai made his own version of the opera for a revival in Pesaro in 1941. Alberto Zedda edited Rossini's original work for publication by the Fondazione Rossini in 1979.

This overture, beginning and ending in E major, though passing through G major, makes a few appearances in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, and has also provided the background score for many television and radio commercials. It also appears during the famous baby-switching scene in Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America. The theme also appears during a musical interlude in Dario Argento's Le Cinque Giornate, arranged by Giorgio Gaslini.

The score is also frequently mentioned in Haruki Murakami's 1997 novel, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. It was also mentioned in Hergé's 1963 comic album The Castafiore Emerald: Opera singer Bianca Castafiore is slated to perform La gazza ladra, a fact that provides Tintin with a clue.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Peter Puck

Peter Puck is a hockey puck-shaped cartoon character. The puck, whose animated adventures appeared on both NBC's Hockey Game of the Week and CBC's Hockey Night in Canada during the 1970s, explained ice hockey rules, equipment and the sport's history to the home viewing audience. The voice of Peter Puck was provided by Ronnie Schell; the animation was produced by Hanna-Barbera studios. Nine episodes, each approximately three minutes long, were broadcast between periods of NHL hockey games.

The brainchild of NBC executive and New York Rangers season ticket holder Donald Carswell, who conceived the idea and scripted first drafts of the initial episodes, Peter Puck was developed for the television network in partnership with Hanna-Barbera. Designed to help introduce and popularize ice hockey among non-fans (especially children), Peter Puck became an instant and enduring hit with existing hockey fans. When they stopped carrying NHL games in 1975, NBC sold Peter's rights back to Hanna-Barbera, which later sold them to Brian McFarlane, a member of the network's NHL broadcast team (and the son of Leslie McFarlane, also known as author Franklin W. Dixon of Hardy Boys fame.)

Peter Puck made a comeback during the 2007 NHL Playoffs, as retailers began selling a line of retro apparel with the Peter Puck logo. That same year, PeaceArch Entertainmentreleased the entire series to DVD.

Since December 2007, the original Peter Puck has been shown during the first intermission of Toronto Maple Leafs games broadcast on Leafs TV. The clips are seen in their original form, with outdated rules and references omitted.

For the 2009-10 NHL season, Peter Puck returned to the CBC. He can usually be seen during the pre-game show, often known as Scotiabank Hockey Tonight but sometimes between games that make up the traditional doubleheader.

Monday, September 19, 2011


The garnet group includes a group of minerals that have been used since the Bronze Age as gemstones and abrasives. The name "garnet" may come from either the Middle English word gernet meaning 'dark red', or the Latin granatus ("grain"), possibly a reference to the Punica granatum ("pomegranate"), a plant with red seeds similar in shape, size, and color to some garnet crystals.

Red garnets were the most commonly used gemstones in the Late Antique Roman world, and the Migration Period art of the "barbarian" peoples who took over the territory of the Western Empire. They were especially used inlaid in gold cells in the cloisonné technique, a style often just called garnet cloisonné, found from Anglo-Saxon England, as at Sutton Hoo, to the Black Sea.

Pure crystals of garnet are still used as gemstones. The gemstone varieties occur in shades of green, red, yellow and orange. In the USA it is known as the birthstone for January. It is the state mineral of Connecticut, New York's gemstone, and star garnet (garnet with rutile asterisms) is the state gemstone of Idaho.

Garnet sand is a good abrasive, and a common replacement for silica sand in sand blasting. Alluvial garnet grains which are rounder are more suitable for such blasting treatments. Mixed with very high pressure water, garnet is used to cut steel and other materials in water jets. For water jet cutting, garnet extracted from hard rock is suitable since it is more angular in form, therefore more efficient in cutting.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rodd Keith

Rodd Keith (born Rodney Keith Eskelin; January 30, 1937 – December 15, 1974) was an American multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. He is perhaps the best known figure in the obscure musical sub-genre known as song poem music.

He worked for several companies active in the song-poem business, a practice also known as song sharking, and generally dismissed as a scam.

Keith recorded hundreds of musical compositions based around lyrics sent in to song-poem companies by amateur songwriters, based upon small ads in the backs of mass market magazines promising success in the profitable field of songwriting. After a letter was sent by the company, the amateur songwriters would then be convinced to pay the company a fee to have a recording made and records pressed. Keith sang on many of these recordings as well as playing several different instruments, including saxophone, accordion, and all manner of keyboards.

During the late 1960s he had his most prolific period working for Clarence Freed's Preview Records label in Los Angeles. Keith masterminded recording sessions for hundreds of 45s and dozens of albums, working with female singers Teri Thornton, Charlotte O'Hara, and Nita Garfield (who used "nomes de disque" Teri Summers, Bonnie Graham, and Nita Craig respectively). Thornton, a promising jazz vocalist in the late 50s and early 60s, had fallen on hard times, while the latter two were ambitious singers and songwriters who'd had material recorded in the C&W and R&B markets.

Keith, who was born into a religious household and was even a musical evangelist for a time, fell in with a hard-living crowd in Los Angeles during the late 60s and early 70s, experimenting with different psychedelics. His music, at first jazzy, somewhat stilted, and ill-suited for the pop world, became more loose, funky, and with the times.

In December 1974, by which time he'd moved over to Maury S. Rosen's MSR Records, Rodd met his death on the Hollywood Freeway in Los Angeles. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times (which ran on December 16 of 1974) Rodd was seen "leaping or falling from an overcrossing onto the Hollywood Freeway," and he "plunged down the Santa Monica Blvd. overpass onto the northbound freeway about 5:15 a.m. and drivers could not avoid him." It has been suggested that this was a suicidal act, but Rodd's heavy drug use at this time has led others to claim it was an accident.

In the 1990s, record collectors who seek out old vinyl recordings rediscovered these obscure discs. Several compilations of these songs were released on compact disc, including several which featured the work of Keith exclusively. Keith's son, avant-garde saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, provided commentary on these releases. Although Ellery never actually met his father, he was told by many people that he was some kind of musical genius. Keith once remarked that he spelled "Rodd" with two d's because "God only used one."

"This American Life", an NPR show, had an interview with Ellery Eskelin, who spoke about his discovery of his father's works. This show originally aired August 15, 1997.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Schmaltz is rendered chicken or goose fat used for frying or as a spread on bread, especially in German and Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine.

Schmaltz rendered from a chicken or goose is popular in Jewish cuisine; it was used by Northwestern and Eastern European Jews who were forbidden by kashrut (Jewish dietary laws) to fry their meats in butter or lard, the common forms of cooking fat in Europe, and who could not obtain the kinds of cooking oils, such as olive oil and sesame oil, that they had used in the Middle East and around the Mediterranean (as in Spain and Italy). (The overfeeding of geese to produce more fat per bird produced postclassical Europe's first foie gras as a side effect.)

The manufacture of schmaltz involves cutting the fatty tissues of a bird (chicken or goose) or pig into small pieces, melting the fat, and collecting the drippings. Schmaltz may be prepared by a dry process where the pieces are cooked under low heat and stirred, gradually yielding their fat. A wet process also exists whereby the fat is melted by direct steam injection. The rendered schmaltz is then filtered and clarified.

Homemade Jewish-style schmaltz is made by cutting chicken or goose fat into small pieces and melting in a pan over low-to-moderate heat, generally with onions. After the majority of the fat has been extracted, the melted fat is strained through a cheesecloth into a storage container. The remaining dark brown, crispy bits of skin and onion are known in Yiddish as gribenes.

Since the rendering process removes water and proteins from the fat, schmaltz does not spoil easily. It can even be used to preserve cooked meats if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry location. This is similar to the French confit.

Schmaltz often has a strong aroma, and therefore is often used for hearty recipes such as stews or roasts. It is also used as a bread spread, where it is sometimes also salted, and generally this is done on whole-grain breads which have a strong flavor of their own.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chester White

The Chester White is a breed of domestic pig which originated in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The Chester White was first developed around 1815-1818, using strains of large, white pigs common to the Northeast U.S. and a white boar imported from Bedfordshire. Some historians conjecture that Chinese pigs were also added to the mix as well.

By 1884 a breed association was officially formed but competing organizations, sometimes for individual strains, continued to appear into the early 20th century. Finally in 1930 all breed organizations were consolidated under the Chester White Swine Record Association, an act which aided the spread of the breed into the rest of the country.

Today the Chester White is a versatile breed suited to both intensive and extensive husbandry. Though not as popular as the Duroc, Yorkshire, or Hampshire, the Chester White is actively used in commercial crossbreeding operations for pork.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Elephant Celebes

The Elephant Celebes is a 1921 painting by the German Dadaist and surrealist Max Ernst. It is among the most famous of Ernst's early surrealist works and "undoubtedly the first masterpiece of Surrealist painting in the De Chirico tradition." It combines the vivid, dreamlike atmosphere of Surrealism with the collage aspects of Dada.

The central focus of the painting is a giant mechanical elephant. It is round and has a trunk-like hose protruding from it. The figure's round body was modeled after a photograph in an anthropological journal of a clay corn bin from a southern Sudanese tribe, the Konkombwa. Celebes suggests "ritual and totemic sculpture of African origin", evidenced by the totem-like pole at right and the figure's bull horns. The painting uniquely combines found imagery and tribal elements.

Ernst's creature has a frilly metallic cuff or collar, and a horned head and tail. The low horizon emphasizes the creature's bulk, and the gesture of the headless mannequin introduces the viewer to the figure. The mannequin wears a surgical glove, a common Surrealist symbol. This nude figure may have a mythological connotation, suggesting the abduction of Europa by Zeus while disguised as a bull.

Ernst painted The Elephant Celebes in Cologne in 1921. The French poet and Surrealist Paul Éluard visited Ernst that year and purchased the painting and took it back to Paris. Eluard would buy other of Ernst's paintings, and Ernst painted murals for Eluard's house in Eaubonne. It remained in Eluard's collection until 1938 and was then purchased by the English artist Roland Penrose. It has been in the collection of the Tate Gallery, London since 1975 and is displayed in the Tate Modern. The back of the canvas is decorated with some doodles that are seemingly unconnected to the subject matter on the front of the canvas, including two figures holding golf clubs adjacent to the word "GOLF".

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sagrada Família

The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, commonly known as the Sagrada Família, is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). Although incomplete, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in November 2010 was consecrated and proclaimed a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI.

Though construction of Sagrada Familia had commenced in 1882, Gaudi took over in 1883, transforming the project with his architectural and engineering style — combining Gothic and curvilinear, Art Nouveau forms with ambitious structural columns and arches.

Gaudi devoted his last years to the project and at the time of his death in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete. Sagrada Familia's construction progressed slowly as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War — only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s. Construction passed the mid-point in 2010 with some of the project's greatest challenges remaining and an anticipated completion date of 2026 — the centennial of Gaudí's death.

The basílica has a long history of dividing the citizens of Barcelona — over the initial possibility it might compete with Barcelona's cathedral, over Gaudi's design itself, over the possibility that work after Gaudi's death disregarded his design, and the recent possibility that an underground tunnel of Spain's high-speed train could disturb its stability.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Crown Cork

The crown cork (also known as a crown cap or just a crown), the first form of bottle cap, was invented by William Painter in 1891 in Baltimore. The company making it was originally called the Bottle Seal Company, it changed its name with the almost immediate success of the crown cork to the Crown Cork and Seal Company. It still informally goes by that name, but is officially Crown Holdings. The Patent was granted in 1892, as US patent 468,258.

The crown cork was the first highly successful disposable product (it can be resealed but not easily). This inspired King C. Gillette to invent the disposable razor when he was a salesman for the Crown Cork Company. The company still survives, producing many forms of packaging.

Crown corks are collected by people around the world who admire the variety of designs and relative ease of storage. Collectors tend to prefer the term crown cap over corks. In Spain as well as in South America these are called chapas, while in the Philippines the term tansan is used.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fruit Preserves

Fruit preserves are fruits, or vegetables, that have been prepared and canned or sealed air-tight for long term storage. The preparation of fruit preserves traditionally involves the use of pectin as a gelling agent, although sugar or honey may be used as well. The ingredients used and how they are prepared will determine the type of preserves; jams, jellies and marmalades are all examples of different styles of fruit preserves that vary based upon the ingredients used.

There are various varieties of fruit preserves made globally, and they can be made from sweet or savory ingredients. In North America, the plural form preserves is used, while the singular preserve is used in British and Commonwealth English. Additionally, the name of the type of fruit preserves will also vary depending on the regional variant of English being used.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mohammad Mosaddegh

Mohammad Mosaddegh was the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953 when he was overthrown in a coup d'état backed by the United States Central Intelligence Agency.
From a royal and aristocratic background, Mosaddegh was an author, administrator, lawyer, prominent parliamentarian, and politician. During his time as prime minister, a wide range of progressive social reforms were carried out. Unemployment compensation was introduced, factory owners were ordered to pay benefits to sick and injured workers, and peasants were freed from forced labor in their landlords' estates. Twenty percent of the money landlords received in rent was placed in a fund to pay for development projects such as public baths, rural housing, and pest control.
He is most famous as the architect of the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry, which had been under British control since 1913 through the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) (later British Petroleum or BP). The Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. was controlled by the British government. Mosaddegh was removed from power in a coup on 19 August 1953, organised and carried out by the United States CIA at the request of the British MI6 which chose Iranian General Fazlollah Zahedi to succeed Mosaddegh. The CIA called the coup Operation Ajax after its CIA cryptonym, and as the 28 Mordad 1332 coup in Iran, after its date on the Iranian calendar.Mosaddegh was imprisoned for three years, then put under house arrest until his death.
The US role in Mosaddegh's overthrow was not formally acknowledged for many years, although the Eisenhower administration vehemently opposed Mossadegh's policies. President Eisenhower wrote angrily about Mosaddegh in his memoirs, describing him as impractical and naive. However, Eisenhower did not admit any involvement with the coup.
Eventually the CIA's involvement with the coup was exposed. This caused controversy within the organization and the CIA congressional hearings of the 1970s. CIA supporters maintained that the coup was strategically necessary, and praised the efficiency of the agents responsible. Critics say the scheme was paranoid, colonial, illegal, and immoral.
In March 2000, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stated her regret that Mosaddegh was ousted: "The Eisenhower administration believed its actions were justified for strategic reasons. But the coup was clearly a setback for Iran's political development and it is easy to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by America." In the same year, The New York Times published a detailed report about the coup based on declassified CIA documents.
Due to his worldwide popularity, defiance of Britain, and fight for democracy, Mosaddegh was named as Time Magazine's 1951 Man of the Year. Others considered for that year's title included Dean Acheson, then-General (and future President) Dwight D. Eisenhower and General Douglas MacArthur.
The secret U.S. overthrow of Mosaddegh served as a rallying point in anti-US protests during the 1979 Iranian Revolution and to this day he is said to be one of the most popular figures in Iranian history. Despite this he is generally ignored by the government of the Islamic Republic because of his secularism and western manners.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back is the second studio album by American hip hop group Public Enemy, released April 14, 1988 on Def Jam Recordings. Recording sessions for the album took place at Chung King Studios, Greene Street Recording, and Sabella Studios in New York City. Noting the enthusiastic response over their live shows, the group intended with Nation of Millions to make the music of a faster tempo than the previous album for performance purposes.

The album peaked at number 42 on the Billboard 200 chart. By August 1989, it was certified platinum in sales by the RIAA, after shipments of one million copies in the United States. The album was very well-received by writers and music critics, and appeared on many publications' "best album" lists.

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back has been regarded by music writers and publications as one of the most significant albums of the 1980s, as well as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all-time. The work has been hailed for its production techniques as well as the socially and politically-charged lyricism of lead MC Chuck D. In 2003, the album was ranked number 48 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, the highest ranking of all the hip hop albums on the list.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Daughters of Utah Pioneers

The International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers (ISDUP, DUP) is a women's organization dedicated to preserving the history of the original settlers of the geographic area covered by the State of Deseret and Utah Territory, including Mormon pioneers. The organization is open to any woman who is "over the age of eighteen, of good character, and a lineal or legally adopted descendant of an ancestor who came to the Utah Territory before the completion of the railroad, May 10, 1869."

In later decades, the ISDUP (DUP) has worked to conserve historical sites and landmarks, to collect artifacts, relics, manuscripts and photographs, and to educate its members and the general public. The society maintains small meeting and display halls in the intermountain west, eighty-six of them in Utah, and manages an extensive and valuable collection in its Salt Lake City museum (Pioneer Memorial Museum). Numerous books have been published by the society, including community and family histories, cookbooks, history texts, children's stories, and a four-volume collection of biographical sketches "Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude" (1998).

ISDUP headquarters are located in the Pioneer Memorial Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah. The international organization is administered by a corporate board. Membership is organized into "companies," whose presiding officers oversee the activities of "camps" of ten or more members in a geographic area. In 2006, the ISDUP consists of 185 companies overseeing 1,050 camps in the United States and Canada with a total living membership of 21,451.

The current officers of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers (ISDUP, DUP), 1 January 2010, consist of President Bette Barton, 1st Vice President and Museum Director Maurine Smith, and Recording Secretary Cheryl Searle.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


The Pruta (Hebrew: פרוטה‎, plural: prutot) was a denomination of currency in Israel prior to 1960.

The pruta was introduced shortly after the establishment of the state of Israel, as the 1000th part of the Israeli pound. It replaced the mil, which was the 1000th part of the Palestinian pound, a currency issued by the British Mandate of Palestine prior to May 1948.

The word Pruta was borrowed from Mishnaic Hebrew, in which it meant "a coin of smaller value." This word was probably derived originally from an Aramaic word with the same meaning. The Pruta was abolished in 1960 when the Israeli government decided to change the subdivision of the Israeli pound into 100 agorot. This move was necessary due to the constant devaluation of the Israeli pound, which rendered coins smaller than 10 prutot redundant.

This pruta should not be confused with the halachic pruta, which is the minimal value of money for a variety of halachic applications. Among them, the minimal value one is obligated to return if stolen, the minimal value needed to effect a marriage, and the minimal investment needed to be considered an investor (it is equivalent to 0.025 grams of pure silver).

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Shmenge Brothers

The Shmenge Brothers were a fictional polka duo who, along with their band The Happy Wanderers, featured on the SCTV television comedy program in 1982-1983. They were played by John Candy as clarinetist Yosh Shmenge and Eugene Levy as accordionist Stan Shmenge. Candy based the characters on Czechoslovakian-born Edmonton-based polka cable show host Gaby Haas.

Much of the oblique humor comes from the subtle but consistent disparity in the brothers' pronunciation of "Shmenge". Together they played polka for an aging eastern-European immigrant audience, who typically dined on cabbage rolls and coffee (provided by the fictional Mrs. Vilve Yachke). Many of their songs were cover versions of popular songs. The duo also performed original songs, such as "There's Rhythm In My Lederhosen," and "Mama Cook Me Cabbage Rolls," and "The Cabbage Rolls and Coffee Polka."

The brothers were immigrants from the fictional country of Leutonia. The country is modelled after Lithuania (Lit. "Lietuva") and celebrates its Christmas with a symbolic egg, a feast of "falutniks", and the "exchanging of the socks". The Happy Wanderers got their start in Leutonian vaudeville playing the gelkis (an instrument, like the glass harmonica, made of glass jars, but played by smashing rather than sliding a finger along the wet rim), and took up polka during wartime.

The Shmenge Brothers were the subjects of the 1984 mockumentary The Last Polka. To promote The Last Polka, on February 26, 1985 the Shmenges guested on Late Night with David Letterman where they performed "Cabbage Rolls and Coffee Polka", which included a sing-along with the audience. Their appearance in the 1986 Comic Relief release was their last performance.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


A pager is a simple personal telecommunications device for short messages. A one-way numeric pager can only receive a message consisting of a few digits, typically a phone number that the user is then expected to call. Alphanumeric pagers are available, as well as two-way pagers that have the ability to send and receive email, numeric pages, and SMS messages.

The first practical pager was introduced in 1950 by physicians in the New York city area. The first pager system had a range of approximately 40 km (25mi) and the physicians paid 12 USD per month for the service. The actual pager device was developed and manufactured by Reevesound Company of New York and weighed approximately 200 grams (6oz).

Until the popular adoption of mobile phones in the 1990s, pagers filled the role of common personal and mobile communications. Today, pagers mainly support the "critical messaging" markets.

Monday, September 5, 2011


A meteorite is a natural object originating in outer space that survives impact with the Earth's surface. Meteorites can be big or small. Most meteorites derive from small astronomical objects called meteoroids, but they are also sometimes produced by impacts of asteroids. When it enters the atmosphere, impact pressure causes the body to heat up and emit light, thus forming a fireball, also known as a meteor or shooting/falling star. The term bolide refers to either an extraterrestrial body that collides with the Earth, or to an exceptionally bright, fireball-like meteor regardless of whether it ultimately impacts the surface.
More generally, a meteorite on the surface of any celestial body is a natural object that has come from elsewhere in space. Meteorites have been found on the Moon and Mars.
Meteorites that are recovered after being observed as they transited the atmosphere or impacted the Earth are called falls. All other meteorites are known as finds. As of February 2010, there are approximately 1,086 witnessed falls having specimens in the world's collections. In contrast, there are over 38,660 well-documented meteorite finds.
Meteorites have traditionally been divided into three broad categories: stony meteorites are rocks, mainly composed of silicate minerals; iron meteorites are largely composed of metallic iron-nickel; and, stony-iron meteorites contain large amounts of both metallic and rocky material.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sympathetic Detonation

A sympathetic detonation, also called flash over, is a detonation, usually unintended, of an explosive charge by a nearby explosion. Sympathetic detonation is caused by a shock wave, or impact of primary or secondary blast fragments.

The initiating explosive is called donor explosive, the initiated one is known as receptor explosive. In case of a chain detonation, a receptor explosive can become a donor one.

The shock sensitivity, also called gap sensitivity, which influences the susceptibility to sympathetic detonations, can be measured by gap tests.

If detonators with primary explosives are used, the shock wave of the initiating blast may set off the detonator and the attached charge. However even relatively insensitive explosives can be set off if their shock sensitivity is sufficient. Depending on the location, the shock wave can be transported by air, ground, or water. The process is probabilistic, a radius with 50% probability of sympathetic detonation often being used for quantifying the distances involved.

Sympathetic detonation presents problems in storage and transport of explosives and ordnance. Sufficient spacing between adjacent stacks of explosive materials has to be maintained. In case of an accidental detonation of one charge, other ones in the same container or dump can be detonated as well, but the explosion should not spread to other storage units. Special containers attenuating the shock wave can be used to prevent the sympathetic detonations; epoxy-bonded pumice liners were successfully tested. Blow-off panels may be used in structures, e.g. tank ammunition compartments, to channel the explosion overpressure in a desired direction to prevent a catastrophic failure.

Other factors causing unintended detonations are e.g. flame spread, heat radiation, and impact of shrapnels.