Monday, December 31, 2007

C. l. liberiensis C. l. heslopi The Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaprotodon liberiensis) is a large mammal native to the forests and swamps of western Africa (the scientific species classification means "of Liberia", as this is where the vast majority lives). The pygmy hippo is reclusive and nocturnal. It is one of only two extant species in the hippopotamidae family, the other being its much larger cousin the common hippopotamus.
The pygmy hippopotamus displays many terrestrial adaptations, but like its larger cousin, it is semi-aquatic and relies on proximity to water to keep its skin moisturized and its body temperature cool. Behaviors such as mating and birth may occur in water or on land. The pygmy hippo is herbivorous, feeding on whatever ferns, broad-leaved plants, grasses and fruits it finds in the forests.
A rare nocturnal forest creature, the pygmy hippopotamus is a difficult animal to study in the wild; it also lives primarily in countries with a great degree of civil strife. Animals lead mostly solitary lives; they are sometimes seen in pairs or threesomes, but never large pods like the common hippopotamus. They are not known to be territorial.
Pygmy hippos were unknown outside of West Africa until the 19th century. Introduced to zoos in the early 20th century, they breed well in captivity and the vast majority of research is derived from zoo specimens. The survival of the species in captivity is more assured than in the wild: the World Conservation Union estimates that there are less than 3,000 pygmy hippos remaining in the wild. Pygmy hippos are primarily threatened by loss of habitat, as forests are logged and converted to farm land, and are also vulnerable to poaching, hunting, natural predators and war.

Pygmy Hippopotamus Taxonomy and origins
A distinct subspecies of pygmy hippopotamus lived in Nigeria until at least the 20th century. The existence of the subspecies, makes Choeropsis liberiensis liberiensis (or Hexaprotodon liberiensis liberiensis under the old classification) the full trinomial nomenclature for the Liberian Pygmy Hippopotamus. The Nigerian Pygmy Hippopotamus subspecies was never studied in the wild and never captured. All research and all zoo specimens are the Liberian subspecies. The Nigerian subspecies is classified as C. liberiensis heslopi.

Nigerian subspecies

Main article: Hippopotamus#Evolution Evolution
Several species of small hippopotamidae have also become extinct in the Mediterranean in the late Pleistocene or early Holocene. Though these species are sometimes known as "Pygmy Hippopotami" they are not believed to be closely related to C. liberiensis. These include the Cretan Dwarf Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus creutzburgi) of Crete, the Sicilian Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus pentlandi) of Sicily, or the Maltese Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus melitensis) of Malta. There were also several species of pygmy hippo on the island of Madascar (see Malagasy Hippopotamus).

The behavior of the pygmy hippo differs from the common hippo in many ways. Much of its behavior is more similar to that of a tapir, though this is an effect of convergent evolution.

Like the common hippopotamus, the pygmy hippo emerges from the water at dusk to feed. It relies on game trails to travel through dense forest vegetation. It marks the trails by spreading feces by vigorously waving its tale while defecating. The pygmy hippo spends about six hours a day foraging for food.

A study of breeding behavior in the wild has never been conducted; the artificial conditions of captivity may cause the observed behavior of pygmy hippos in zoos to differ from natural conditions. Sexual maturity for the pygmy hippopotamus occurs at between three to five years.

The vast majority of pygmy hippos live in Liberia with smaller populations, mostly clustered around the Liberian border, in Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Though the range of the pygmy hippo as such has not been significantly reduced, populations are now fragmented. C. liberiensis lives exclusively in rivers running through forested regions.

While the common hippopotamus was known to Europeans since classical antiquity, the pygmy hippopotamus was unknown outside of its range in West Africa until the 19th century. Due to their nocturnal, forested existence, they were poorly known within their range as well. In Liberia the animal was traditionally known as a water cow.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The term transatlantic refers to something occurring all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. Most often, this refers to the exchange of passengers, cargo, information, or communication between North America and Europe.

Transatlantic crossings

Main article: Transatlantic flight Transatlantic flights
Transatlantic cables are cables that have been laid along the ocean floor to connect North America and Europe. Before the advent of radio, the only means of communication across the Atlantic Ocean was to physically connect the continents with a transatlantic telegraph cable, which was installed from Valentia, Ireland to Heart's Content, Newfoundland in 1858. The exchange rate between the United States dollar and British pound is still colloquially known as "cable" by financial marketeers on account of the fact the rate of exchange was one of the early uses of the transatlantic cable.

Transatlantic cables
Transatlantic radio communication was first accomplished on December 12, 1901 by Guglielmo Marconi who, using a temporary receiving station at Signal Hill, Newfoundland, received a Morse code signal representing the letter "S" sent from Poldhu, in Cornwall, United Kingdom. Marconi began the first commercial transatlantic radio service in 1907.
High frequency (HF) transatlantic radio communication was initiated 1927 and the first transatlantic telephone cable TAT-1 was installed in 1955. Satellite technology vastly increased the speed and quality of transatlantic communication, but transatlantic fiber optic cables now carry the vast majority of transatlantic communications traffic.

Trans-Atlantic Transatlantic tunnel

Main article: Atlantic Rowing RaceTrans-Atlantic Transatlantic rowing race
Today, some Britons and Americans use the term "crossing the pond" humorously in reference to transatlantic travel.

Transatlantic relations

Transatlantic flight
Transatlantic relations
List of islands in the Atlantic Ocean

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Charles Hicks (1973 - December 18, 1993) a.k.a. Charizma was an MC from Milpitas, California, USA. He is most known for his work with Peanut Butter Wolf, the two of them formed a duo together. But their music was cut short when Charizma was murdered in late 1993.

Charizma Discography

Recorded: 1987-1989
Released: November 18, 2003
RIAA Certification: ?
Billboard 200 chart position: ?
R&B/Hip-Hop chart position: ?
Recorded: 1991-1993
Released: November 18, 2003
RIAA Certification: ?
Billboard 200 chart position: ?
R&B/Hip-Hop chart position: ?
Singles: "My World Premiere", "Devotion", "Here's A Smirk", "Jack The Mack"
Recorded: 1991-1993
Released: June, 2004
RIAA Certification: ?
Billboard 200 chart position: ?
R&B/Hip-Hop chart position: ?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sir Alec Guinness CH, CBE (2 April 19145 August 2000) was an Academy Award and Tony Award-winning English actor.

Early life
Guinness first worked writing copy for advertising before making his debut at the Albery Theatre in 1936 at the age of 22, playing the role of Osric in John Gielgud's wildly successful production of Hamlet. During this time he worked with many actors and actresses who would become his friends and frequent co-stars in the future, including John Gielgud, Peggy Ashcroft, Anthony Quayle, and Jack Hawkins. An early influence from afar was Stan Laurel, whom Guinness admired.
Guinness continued playing Shakespearean roles throughout his career. In 1937 he played the role of Aumerle in Richard II and Lorenzo in The Merchant of Venice under the direction of John Gielgud. He starred in a 1938 production of Hamlet which won him acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. He also appeared as Romeo in a production of Romeo and Juliet (1939), Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night and Chorus in Henry V in 1937, both opposite Laurence Olivier, and Ferdinand in The Tempest, opposite Gielgud as Prospero.
In 1939, he adapted Charles Dickens' novel Great Expectations for the stage, playing the part of Herbert Pocket. The play was a success; one of its viewers was a young British film editor named David Lean, who had Guinness reprise his role in the former's 1946 film adaptation of the play.
Guinness served in the Royal Navy throughout World War II, serving first as a seaman in 1941 and being commissioned the following year. He commanded a landing craft taking part in the invasion of Sicily and Elba and later ferried supplies to the Yugoslav partisans.
During the war, he appeared in Terence Rattigan's West End Play for Bomber Command, Flare Path. He returned to the Old Vic in 1946 and stayed through 1948, playing Abel Drugger in Ben Jonson's The Alchemist, the Fool in King Lear opposite Laurence Olivier in the title role, DeGuiche in Cyrano de Bergerac opposite Ralph Richardson in the title role, and finally starring in an Old Vic production himself as Shakespeare's Richard II. After leaving the Old Vic, he had a success as the Uninvited Guest in the Broadway production of T. S. Eliot's The Cocktail Party (1950, revived at the Edinburgh Festival in 1968), but his second attempt at the title role of Hamlet, this time under his own direction at the New Theatre (1951), proved a major theatrical disaster.
He was initially mainly associated with the Ealing comedies, and particularly for playing eight different characters in Kind Hearts and Coronets. Other films from this period included The Lavender Hill Mob, The Ladykillers, and The Man in the White Suit. In 1952, director Ronald Neame cast Guinness in his first romantic lead role, opposite Petula Clark in The Card.
Invited by his friend Tyrone Guthrie to join in the premier season of the Stratford Festival of Canada, Guinness lived for a brief time in Stratford, Ontario. On July 13, 1953, Guinness spoke the first lines of the first play produced by the festival (Shakespeare's Richard III): "Now is the winter of our discontent/Made glorious summer by this son of York."
Guinness won particular acclaim for his work with director David Lean. After appearing in Lean's Great Expectations and Oliver Twist, he was given a starring role opposite William Holden in Bridge on the River Kwai. For his performance as Colonel Nicholson, the unyielding British POW leader, Guinness won an Academy Award for Best Actor. Despite a difficult and often hostile relationship, Lean, referring to Guinness as "my good luck charm", continued to cast Guinness in character roles in his later films: Arab leader Prince Feisal in Lawrence of Arabia; the title character's half-brother, Bolshevik leader Yevgraf, in Doctor Zhivago; and Indian mystic Godbole in A Passage to India. He was also offered a role in Lean's adaptation of Ryan's Daughter (1970), but declined.
Other famous roles of this time period included The Swan (1956) with Grace Kelly in her last film role, The Horse's Mouth (1958) in which Guinness played the part of drunken painter Gulley Jimson as well as contributing the screenplay, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, Tunes of Glory (1960), Damn the Defiant! (1962), The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964), The Quiller Memorandum (1966), Scrooge (1970), and the title role in Hitler: The Last Ten Days (1973) (which he considered his best film performance).
Guinness turned down roles in many well-received films - most notably The Spy Who Came in From the Cold - for ones that paid him better, although he won a Tony Award for his Broadway triumph as poet Dylan Thomas in Dylan. He followed this success up by playing the title role in Macbeth opposite Simone Signoret at the Royal Court Theatre in 1966, one of the most conspicuous failures of his career.
From the 1970s, Guinness made regular television appearances, including the part of George Smiley in the serializations of two novels by John le Carré: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People. Le Carré was so impressed by Guinness's performance as Smiley that he based his characterization of Smiley in subsequent novels on Guinness. One of his last appearances was in the acclaimed BBC drama Eskimo Day.
Guinness received his fifth Oscar nomination for his performance in Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit in 1989. He received an honorary Oscar in 1980 "for advancing the art of screen acting through a host of memorable and distinguished performances."

Career and war service
Guinness' role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars trilogy, beginning in 1977, brought him worldwide recognition by a new generation. Guinness agreed to take the part on the condition that he would not have to do publicity to promote the film. He was also one of the few cast members who believed that the film would be a box office hit and negotiated a deal for two percent of the gross, which made him very wealthy in later life.
However, Guinness was never happy with being identified with the part, and expressed great dismay at the fan following the Star Wars trilogy attracted. Nevertheless, in the DVD commentary of Star Wars: A New Hope, director George Lucas mentions that Guinness was not happy about the script re-write in which Obi-Wan is killed. Guinness once said in an interview that he "shrivelled up" every time Star Wars was mentioned to him. However, despite his dislike of the films, fellow cast members Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher (as well as Lucas) have always spoken highly of his courtesy and professionalism on and off the set; he did not let his distaste for the material show to his co-stars. In fact, Lucas credited him with inspiring fellow cast and crew to work harder, saying he was instrumental in helping to complete filming of the movies.
In his autobiography, Blessings In Disguise, Guinness tells an imaginary interviewer "Blessed be Star Wars!", while in the final volume of the book A Positively Final Appearance (1997), he recounts grudgingly giving an autograph to a young fan who claimed to have watched Star Wars over 100 times, on the condition that the fan promised to stop watching the film, because as Guinness put it "this is going to be an ill effect on your life." The fan was stunned at first, but later thanked him. Guinness grew so tired of modern audiences seeming to remember him only for his role of Obi-Wan Kenobi that he would throw away the fan mail he received from Star Wars fans, without reading it.

Sir Alec Guinness Star Wars
Guinness married the artist, playwright, and actress, Merula Salaman, a British Jew, in 1938, and they had a son in 1940, Matthew Guinness, who later became an actor.
Guinness consulted Tarot cards for a time, but came to the conclusion that the symbols of the cards mocked Christianity and Christ. He then burned his cards and shortly afterwards converted to Roman Catholicism.

In September 1955, Guinness met with the actor James Dean, then filming Rebel Without A Cause, who was showing off his new car, a Porsche 550 Spyder. Guinness said he had a premonition that Dean would die behind its wheel; later that month, Dean was killed in a collision with another car.

Encounter with James Dean
Guinness won the Academy Award as Best Actor in 1957 for his role in Bridge on the River Kwai. He was nominated in 1958 for his screenplay adapted from Joyce Cary's novel The Horse's Mouth and for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977. He also received an Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievement in 1980.
He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1955, and was knighted in 1959. He became a Companion of Honour in 1994 at the age of 80.
He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1559 Vine Street.

Awards and honours
Guinness wrote three volumes of a bestselling autobiography, beginning with Blessings in Disguise in 1985, followed by My Name Escapes Me in 1996, and A Positively Final Appearance in 1999. His authorised biography was written by his close friend, British novelist Piers Paul Read. It was published in 2003.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Statute of frauds
The statute of frauds refers to the requirement that certain kinds of contracts be made in writing and signed.
Traditionally, the statute of frauds requires a writing signed by the party against whom enforcement is sought in the following circumstances:
Law students often remember these circumstances by the mnemonic "MYLEGS" (marriage, year, land, executor, goods, surety).
It is important to note that in the United States, each State; in Canada, each province; and in Australia each State has its own variation on the statute of frauds, which may differ significantly from the traditional list.
The term statute of frauds comes from an English statutory law (29 Car. II c. 3) passed in 1677 and more properly called the Statute of Frauds and Perjuries. Many common law jurisdictions have such a statute (i.e., statutory law) or provision in a statute, while a number of civil law jurisdictions have similar requirements in their civil codes.
The writing that the Statute requires is a precondition to maintaining a suit for breach of contract (or other obligation). However, the Statute is used as a defense, which defense is waived if the person against whom enforcement is sought fails to raise in a timely manner. Thus, the burden of showing evidence that such a writing exists only comes into play when a Statute of Frauds defense is raised by the defendant. A defendant who admits the existence of the contract in his pleadings, under oath in a deposition or affidavit, or at trial, may not use the defense.
A statute of frauds defense may also be affected by a showing of part performance, actually there are two different conditions. If the parties have taken action in reliance on the agreement, as in the case Riley v. Capital Airlines, Inc. the court held that part performance does not take an executory portion of contract out of the Statute of Frauds. Each performance constitutes a contract that fall outside the Statute of Frauds and was enforceable to the extent it is executed. But the unexecuted portion of the contract falls within the Statute of Frauds and is unenforceable. As a result, only the executed portion of the contract can be recovered, and the doctrine of part performance does not remove the contract from the statute. In the other hand, the court of case Schwedes v. Romain stated that partial performance and grounds for estoppel can make the contract effective. If the buyer takes possession by actually occupying the property, most courts will enforce the contract. Also, the Statute of Frauds will be suspended if the buyer has made permanent improvements to the property or rendered partial or full payment. This is the situation that a court may uphold the contract despite a violation of the statute of frauds because the parties' subsequent actions verify that a contract existed. Courts are wary of parties misusing the statute of frauds as a "get out of jail free card" in breach of contract actions.
Under common law, the Statute of Frauds also applies to contract modification - for example, suppose party A makes an oral agreement to lease a house from party B for 9 months. Immediately after taking possession party A decides that he really likes the place, and makes an oral offer to party B to extend the term of the lease by 6 months. Although neither agreement alone comes under the Statute of Frauds, the extension modifies the original contract to make it a 15-month lease, thereby bringing it under the Statute. In practice, this works in reverse as well - an agreement to reduce the lease from 15 months to 9 months would not require a writing. However, almost all jurisdictions have enacted statutes that require a writing in such situations. The Uniform Commercial Code abrogated this requirement for contract modification, discussed below.

Contracts in consideration of marriage.
Contracts which cannot be performed within one year.
Contracts for the transfer of an interest in land.
Contracts by the executor of a will to pay a debt of the estate with their own money.
Contracts for the sale of goods above a certain value.
Contracts in which one party becomes a surety (acts as guarantor) for another party's debt or other obligation. Statute of frauds Uniform Commercial Code
An agreement may be enforced even if it does not comply with the statute of frauds in the following situations:

Merchant's Firm Offer, under the UCC. If one merchant sends a writing sufficient to satisfy the statute of frauds to another merchant, the merchant has reason to know of the contents of the sent confirmation and the receiver does not object to the confirmation within 10 days, the confirmation is good to satisfy the statute as to both parties.
Admission of the existence of a contract by the defendant under oath,
Part Performance of the contract. The agreement is enforceable up to the amount already paid, delivered, etc.
The goods were specially manufactured for the buyer and the seller either 1) began manufacturing them, or 2) entered into a third party contract for their manufacture, and the manufacturer cannot without undue burden sell the goods to another person in the seller's ordinary course of business-- for example, t-shirts with a baseball team logo or wall-to-wall carpeting for an odd-sized room.

Monday, December 24, 2007

John Hunyadi (Medieval Latin: Ioannes Corvinus, German: Johann Hunyadi; Hungarian: Hunyadi János, Romanian: Iancu or Ioan de Hunedoara; Serbian: Сибињанин Јанко) (c. 1387August 11, 1456), nicknamed the White Knight, was a Voivode of Transylvania (from 1441), captain-general (1444–1446) and regent (1446–1453) of the Kingdom of Hungary, with a distinguished military career. He was the father of Matthias, one of the most renowned kings of Hungary.

Names in other languages
John was born into a noble family in 1387 (or 1400 according to some sources) as the son of Vojk (alternatively spelled as Voyk or Vajk in English, Voicu in Romanian, Vajk in Hungarian), a boyar from Wallachia whose faithful soldier his father was for two decades. This tale helped him secure more legitimacy for his descendants to the throne of the Kingdom, to which John, despite all his services, could not accede – having neither royal, nor Hungarian origin. Widely respected in Europe, he still gathered rivals throughout his lifetime, and was the object of the Ottoman Empire's hatred.
Hunyadi has sometimes been confused with an elder brother or cousin John, himself a Severin Ban (the elder John died about 1440).


While still a youth, the younger John Hunyadi entered the retinue of Sigismund, who appreciated his qualities. (He also was the King's creditor on several occasions.) He accompanied the monarch to Frankfurt, in Sigismund's quest for the Imperial crown in 1410, took part in the Hussite Wars in 1420, and in 1437 drove the Ottomans from Semendria. For these services he received numerous estates and a seat in the royal council. In 1438 King Albert II made Hunyadi Ban of Severin. Lying south of the defensible southern frontiers of Hungary, the Carpathians and the Drava/Sava/Danube complex, the province was subject to constant harassment by Ottoman forces. Upon the sudden death of Albert in 1439, Hunyadi, arguably feeling Hungary needed a warrior king, lent his support to the candidature of young King of Poland Władysław III of (1440), and thus came into collision with the powerful Ulrich II of Celje, the chief supporter of Albert's widow Elizabeth and her infant son, Ladislaus V. He took a prominent part in the ensuing civil war and was rewarded by Władysław with the captaincy of the fortress of Belgrade and the governorship of Transylvania. He shared the latter dignity with Mihály Újlaki.

With Sigismund and in the disputed elections
The burden of the Ottoman War now rested with him. In 1441 he delivered Serbia by the victory of Semendria. In 1442, not far from Sibiu, on which he had been forced to retire, he annihilated an immense Ottoman presence, and recovered for Hungary the suzerainty of Wallachia. In February 1450, he signed an alliance treaty with Bogdan II of Moldavia.
In July, he vanquished a third Turkish army near the Iron Gates. These victories made Hunyadi a prominent enemy of the Ottomans and renowned throughout Christendom, and stimulated him in 1443 to undertake, along with King Władysław, the famous expedition known as the "long campaign". Hunyadi, at the head of the vanguard, crossed the Balkans through the Gate of Trajan, captured Niš, defeated three Turkish pashas, and, after taking Sofia, united with the royal army and defeated Sultan Murad II at Snaim. The impatience of the king and the severity of the winter then compelled him (February 1444) to return home, but not before he had utterly broken the Sultan's power in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Albania.
No sooner had he regained Hungary than he received tempting offers from Pope Eugene IV, represented by the Legate Julian Cesarini, from Đurađ Branković, despot of Serbia, and Gjergj Kastrioti, prince of Albania, to resume the war and realize his ideal of driving the Ottomans from Europe. All the preparations had been made when Murad's envoys arrived in the royal camp at Szeged and offered a ten years' truce on advantageous terms. Branković bribed Hunyadi -he gave him his vast estates in Hungary- to support the acceptance of the peace. Cardinal Julian Cesarini found a traitorous solution. The king swore that he would never give up the crusade, so all future peace and oath was automatically invalid. After this Hungary accepted the Sultan's offer and Hunyadi in Władysław's name swore on the Gospels to observe them.

First battles of the Balkans
Two days later Cesarini received tidings that a fleet of Venetian galleys had set off for the Bosporus to prevent Murad (who, crushed by his recent disasters, had retired to Anatolia) from recrossing into Europe, and the cardinal reminded the King that he had sworn to cooperate by land if the western powers attacked the Ottomans by sea. In July the Hungarian army recrossed the frontier and advanced towards the Black Sea coast in order to march to Constantinople escorted by the galleys.
Branković, however, fearful of the sultan's vengeance in case of disaster, privately informed Murad of the advance of the Christian host, and prevented Kastrioti from joining it. On reaching Varna, the Hungarians found that the Venetian galleys had failed to prevent the transit of the Sultan, who now confronted them with four times their forces, and on November 10, 1444 they were utterly routed in the Battle of Varna, Władysław falling on the field and Hunyadi narrowly escaping.

John HunyadiJohn Hunyadi Battle of Varna

Brief personal rule
Meanwhile, the Ottoman issue had again become acute, and, after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, it seemed natural that Sultan Mehmed II was rallying his resources in order to subjugate Hungary. His immediate objective was Belgrade. Hunyadi arrived at the siege of Belgrade at the end of 1455, after settling differences with his domestic enemies. At his own expense, he restocked the supplies and arms of the fortress, leaving in it a strong garrison under the command of his brother-in-law Mihály Szilágyi and his own eldest son László. He proceeded to form a relief army, and assembled a fleet of two hundred ships. His main ally was the Franciscan friar, Giovanni da Capistrano, whose fiery oratory drew a large crusade made up mostly of peasants. Although relatively ill-armed (most were armed with farm equipment, such as scythes and pitchforks) they flocked to Hunyadi and his small corps of seasoned mercenaries and cavalry.
On July 14, 1456 the flotilla of corvettes assembled by Hunyadi destroyed the Ottoman fleet. On July 21, Szilágyi's forces in the fortress repulsed a fierce assault by the Rumelian army, and Hunyadi pursued the retreating forces into their camp, taking advantage of the Turkish army's confused flight from the city. After fierce but brief fighting, the camp was captured, and Mehmet raised the siege and returned to Istanbul. With his flight began a 70 year period of relative peace on Hungary's southeastern border. However, plague broke out in Hunyadi's camp three weeks after the lifting of the siege, and he died August 11. He was buried inside the (Roman Catholic) Cathedral of Alba Iulia (Gyulafehérvár), next to his elder brother John.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Australia New Zealand
The Allies of World War II conducted a bombing of Rabaul in November 1943 at the major Japanese base. Allied carrier and land-based planes attacked Japanese airfields, ships and port facilities, on the island of New Britain, to protect the Allied amphibious invasion of Bougainville. As a result of the Rabaul raids, several Japanese heavy cruisers and numerous smaller warships and transports were damaged, effectively ending the Japanese naval threat to the initial landings on Bougainville.

Attack on Rabaul (1943) Carrier attacks

Saturday, December 22, 2007

See also: Ranee
Rani, alternatively spelled Ranee, is the female equivalent of Raja. In many Indo-Aryan languages it can mean "queen" or "lady".
People with the title Rani include:
Rani may also refer to:
Rani Lakshmibai (1828/1835-1858), Queen of Jhansi
Rani Mangammal (1689-1704), Queen of the Madurai Nayak Dynasty
Rani Gowri Lakshmi Bayi (1791-1814), Queen of Travancore
Rani Gowri Parvati Bayi (1802-?), Queen of Travancore
Rani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi (1895-1985), Queen of Travancore
Rani (Slavic tribe), a medieval West Slavic tribe
Rani, Rajasthan, a city in India
Rani Mukerji (born 1978), Indian actress
Rani (Doctor Who), character from the science fiction series Doctor Who
Rani, a fictional fairy in Disney Fairies
The Latin word for frog

Friday, December 21, 2007

Stoke-on-Trent Garden Festival
The Stoke-on-Trent National Garden Festival was the second of Britain's National Garden Festivals. It was held in the city from 1 May to 26 October 1986, and involved the reclamation of one half of the site of the Shelton Bar steelworks (1830-1978), about two miles north-west of the city centre, between Hanley and Burslem. The other half of the area remained a working site for British Steel's Shelton Bar steel rolling mill.

Commemorative memorabilia
The main site was completed in 1995, and is now known as Festival Park. It was, for the most part, sympathetically treated by St. Modwen Properties who had taken on its management and development. Much of the parkland, pools and trails have been retained as public open space, and are maturing very well. Some of the gardens, such as the Moorlands Heather Rock Garden and The Rocky Valley, survive with their planting scheme relatively intact. Although most wooden structures have been left to return to nature, Festival Park is actively maintained by groundsmen. Some sculpture and a large Welsh slate water feature still remains, as does the full-size stone circle. The huge wooden suspension bridge across a wooded ravine remains and can still be used. The complex network of paths is maze-like, there is no signage, and it is very easy to get lost.
There is now a large 'out-of-town' retail park on one side of the site - on what was the Festival's car-park and public market area - that now merges into the lower reaches of the city-centre. Elsewhere, numerous low-rise offices nestle in the parkland and around the pools of Festival Park. There is a large marina for narrowboats. Along the main road on the western edge of the site there is now a large pleasure baths, a ski-slope, a ten-screen cinema, a ten-pin bowling alley, and a toboggan run. Festival Park's large four-star hotel incorporates Etruria Hall, former home of Josiah Wedgwood.
Groundwork UK created a £1-million cycle-path along the bordering Trent and Mersey Canal in 1998, which is now part of the National Cycle Network.
At the northern tip of the site, the large complex of Festival greenhouses has been retained and these now operate as the City Council's plant nursery for the entire city..

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dirt may refer to:
Dirt may also refer to:

Soil,that is found on the ground. This sense is principally North American.
Waste material, an unwanted or undesired mixture of dust, soil, and other solids, such as on floors or carpets
Dirt (TV series), a television series starring Courteney Cox
Dirt (album), 1992 album by American grunge band Alice in Chains
Colin McRae: DiRT (video game), 2007 racing video game
Dirt (Religion), a Mojave, CA based religion
Dirt!, a 1999 album by Canadian group The Arrogant Worms
DIRT (band), an early-1980's UK anarcho-punk band
Dirt (magazine), British mountain bike magazine
Dirt Rag, American mountain bike magazine
Dirt (teen magazine), defunct American magazine for teen boys, created as an offshoot of Sassy Magazine
"Dirt", a song by Phish from their 2000 album Farmhouse
Dirt (movie), a 1965 film directed by Piero Heliczer and produced by Andy Warhol
Joe Dirt, 2001 American cult film starring David Spade
The Dirt, 2001 autobiography of American hard rock band Mötley Crüe
Dirty Dan was a character in an episode of Spongebob Squarepants which was titled "Survival of the Idiots"
Dirt, a dessert food comprised of chocolate pudding and Oreos.
A supposed slang name for the fictional drug Derbisol
Nickname for an [STD]

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Colombia (IPA: /kəˈlʌm.bɪ.ə/) officially the Republic of Colombia (Spanish: , IPA: [reˈpuβ̞lika ð̞e koˈlombja]), is a country located in the northwestern region of South America. Colombia is bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the North by the Atlantic Ocean, through the Caribbean Sea; and to the west by Panama and the Pacific Ocean. Besides the countries in South America, the Republic of Colombia is recognized to share maritime borders with the Caribbean countries of Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the Central American countries of Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica..
Colombia is the 26th largest nation in the world and the fourth-largest country in South America (after Brazil, Argentina, and Peru), with an area seven times greater than that of New England and more than twice that of France.


Main article: History of Colombia History
Circa 10000 BC, hunter-gatherer societies existed near present-day Bogotá (at "El Abra" and "Tequendama") which traded with one another and with cultures living in the Magdalena River Valley..

Spanish explorers made the first exploration of the Caribbean littoral in 1500 led by Rodrigo de Bastidas. Christopher Columbus navigated near the Caribbean in 1502. In 1508, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa started the conquest of the territory through the region of Urabá. In 1513, he was also the first European to discover the Pacific Ocean which he called Mar del Sur (or "Sea of the South") and which in fact would bring the Spaniards to Peru and Chile. In 1510, the first European city in the American Continent was founded, Santa María la Antigua del Darién in what is today the Chocó Department. The territory's main population was made up of hundreds of tribes of the Chibchan and "Karib", currently known as the Caribbean people, whom the Spaniards conquered through warfare, while resulting disease, exploitation, and the conquest itself caused a tremendous demographic reduction among the indigenous. In the sixteenth century, Europeans began to bring slaves from Africa.

Since the beginning of the periods of Conquest and Colonization, there were several rebel movements under Spanish rule, most of them either being crushed or remaining too weak to change the overall situation. The last one, which sought outright independence from Spain, sprang up around 1810, following the independence of St. Domingue in 1804 (present day Haiti), who provided a non-negligible degree of support to the eventual leaders of this rebellion: Simón Bolívar and Francisco de Paula Santander. Simón Bolívar had become the first president of Colombia and Francisco de Paula Santander was Vice President; when Simón Bolívar stepped down, Santander became the second president of Colombia. The rebellion finally succeeded in 1819 when the territory of the Viceroyalty of New Granada became the Republic of Greater Colombia organized as a Confederation along Ecuador and Venezuela (Panama was part of Colombia).

Internal political and territorial divisions led to the secession of Venezuela and Quito (today's Ecuador) in 1830. At this time, the so-called "Department of Cundinamarca" adopted then the name "Nueva Granada", which it kept until 1856 when it became the "Confederación Granadina" (Grenadine Confederation). After a two year civil war in 1863, the "United States of Colombia" was created, lasting until 1886, when the country finally became known as the Republic of Colombia. Internal divisions remained between the bipartisan political forces, occasionally igniting very bloody civil wars, the most significant being the Thousand Days civil war (1899 - 1902) which together with the United States intentions to influence in the area (specially the Panama Canal construction and control) led to the separation of the Department of Panama in 1903 and the establishment of it as a nation. Colombia engulfed in a year long war with Peru over a territorial dispute involving the Amazonas Department and its capital Leticia.

Political struggle

Main articles: La Violencia and El Bogotazo La Violencia

Main article: National Front (Colombia)Colombia The National Front

Main articles: Colombian armed conflict (1960s–present) and War on drugs Colombian armed conflict

Main articles: Geography of Colombia and Environmental issues in Colombia Geography

Main article: Politics of Colombia Politics

Main articles: Departments of Colombia and Municipalities of Colombia Departments, municipalities and districts

Main article: Economy of Colombia Economy

Main article: Tourism in Colombia Tourism

Amacayacu Park (Amazonas Department)
Colombian National Coffee Park (Montenegro, Quindío)
Nevado del Ruiz in Los Nevados National Park (near Manizales)
Cocora valley (Salento, Quindío)
Tayrona Park (Santa Marta)
Desierto de Tatacoa
Chicamocha Canyon National Park
Gorgona and Malpelo islands
Bogotá Botanical Garden (Bogotá)
Gold Museum (Bogotá) Ecotourism

Main article: Culture of Colombia Culture

Main article: Education in Colombia Education

Main article: Transportation in Colombia Demographics

Main article: Indigenous peoples in Colombia Indigenous peoples
Due to its strategic location Colombia has received several immigration waves during its history. Most of these immigrants have settled in the Caribbean Coast; Barranquilla (the largest city in the Colombian Caribbean Coast) has the largest population of Lebanese, Jewish, Italian and Gypsy descendants. There are also important communities of German and Chinese descendants in the Caribbean Coast.
The city of Cali has also the largest Asian community due to the its proximity to the Pacific Coast.
Arabs: Many Arab immigrants have arrived to Colombia from Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. The Arabs settled mostly in the northern coast, in cities such as Barranquilla, Cartagena, Santa Marta, and Maicao. Gradually they began to settle inland (Except Antioquia)
Jewish: Early Jewish settlers were coverted Jews (known as "Marranos") from Spain. In the years prior to WWII there was a second wave of Jewish immigrants fleeing persecution from the Nazis. Most Colombian Jews live in Barranquilla, Medellin, Bogotá, and Cali. There are only 25 synagogues throughout the entire country.
Gypsies: Gypsies came during colonial times, often forced by the Spanish to move to South America. Gypsies also came during World War I and World War II. Most of them settled in the metropolitan area of Barranquilla.
Spanish: Besides the descendants of the conquistadores, who mixed with the indigenous peoples, there was a modest wave of Spanish immigrants fleeing persecution from the Fascists during and after the Spanish Civil War.
Italians: Today they represent the immigrant population in Colombia, mostly in cities such as Cartagena (where the largest community lives), and Barranquilla.
Germans: Also in the 19th century Germans arrived to Santander. Many German groups arrived in Colombia after World War I and many more after World War II. Due to anti-immigration measures by the government, immigration ceased somewhat after 1939. Many of the descendants live in Eje Cafetero, Antioquia, and in the northern coast of the country.
Afro-Colombians Being the first country in the Americas to offer full rights to citizens of African descent, many Africans settled here during the late 19th/early 20th century.

Immigrant groups
The census data in Colombia does not take into account ethnicity, so percentages are basically estimates from other sources and can vary from one another. Statistics reveal that Colombians are predominantly Roman Catholic and overwhelmingly speakers of Spanish, and that a majority of them are the result of the a mixture of Europeans, Africans, Amerindians.
58% of the population is mestizo, or of mixed European and Amerindian ancestry, while 20% is of white European ancestry. Another 14% is mulatto, or of mixed black African and white European ancestry, while 4% is of black African ancestry and 3% are zambos, of mixed black African and Amerindian ancestry. Pure indigenous Amerindians comprise 1 percent of the population.
More than two-thirds of all Colombians live in urban areas—a figure significantly higher than the world average. The literacy rate (94 percent) in Colombia is also well above the world average, and the rate of population growth is slightly higher than the world average. Also, a large proportion of Colombians are young, largely because of recent decreases in the infant mortality rate. While 33 percent of the people are 14 years of age or younger, just 4 percent are aged 65 or older.

Ethnic groups
See also: Status of religious freedom in Colombia
The National Administrative Department of Statistics does not collect religious statistics, and accurate reports are hard to obtain. Based on various studies, more than 95% of the population adheres to Christianity [2], in which a huge segment of the population, between 81% and 90%, practices Roman Catholicism. About 1% of Colombians practice indigenous religions. Under 1% practice Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Despite strong numbers of adherents, around 60% of respondents to a poll by El Tiempo report that they do not practice their faith actively.

See also: Security issues in Colombia and Human rights in Colombia
Colombia has become notorious for its illicit drug production, kidnappings, and murder rate. In the 1990s, it became the world's largest producer of cocaine and coca derivatives. This disputes the Colombian claim that coca will be eradicated in 2008.

Amnesty International summarizes in its Annual Report 2006: "Although the number of killings and kidnappings in some parts of the country fell, serious human rights abuses committed by all parties to the conflict remained at critical levels. Of particular concern were reports of extrajudicial executions carried out by the security forces, killings of civilians by armed opposition groups and paramilitaries, and the forced displacement of civilian communities. More than 3.5 million civilians out of the country's 40 million people have been displaced during the last two decades, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. .

Human rights situation

Colombian Armed Conflict
Communications in Colombia
Departments of Colombia
Education in Colombia
Foreign relations of Colombia
Military of Colombia
Water supply and sanitation in Colombia
List of Colombians
Happy Planet Index - in which Colombia ranks number two (by 2007) See also


Academia Colombiana de Historia (1986), Historia extensa de Colombia (41 volúmenes). Bogotá: Ediciones Lerner, 1965-1986. ISBN 9589501338 (Obra completa)
Barrios, Luis (1984), Historia de Colombia. Quinta edición, Bogotá: Editorial Cultural
Bedoya F., Víctor A. (1944), Historia de Colombia: independencia y república con bases fundamentales en la colonia. Colección La Salle, Bogotá: Librería Stella
Bushnell, David (1996), Colombia una nación a pesar de sí misma: de los tiempos precolombinos a nuestros días. Bogotá: Planeta Editores. ISBN 9586144879
Caballero Argaez, Carlos (1987), 50 años de economía: de la crisis del treinta a la del ochenta. Segunda edición, Colección Jorge Ortega Torres, Bogotá: Editorial Presencia, Asociación Bancaria de Colombia. ISBN 9589040039
Cadavid Misas, Roberto (2004), Cursillo de historia de Colombia: de la conquista a la independencia. Bogotá: Intermedio Editores. ISBN 9587091345
Calderón Schrader, Camilo; Gil, Antonio; Torras, Daniel (2001), Enciclopedia de Colombia (4 volúmenes). Barcelona: céano Grupo Editorial, 2001. ISBN 8449419476 (Obra completa)
Calderón Schrader, Camilo (1993), Gran enciclopedia de Colombia (11 volúmenes). Bogotá: Círculo de Lectores. ISBN 9582802944 (obra completa)
Cavelier Gaviria, Germán (2003), Centenario de Panamá: una historia de la separación de Colombia en 1903. Bogotá: Universidad Externado de Colombia. ISBN 9586167186
Forero, Manuel José (1946), Historia analítica de Colombia desde los orígenes de la independencia nacional. Segunda edición, Bogotá: Librería Voluntad.
Gómez Hoyos, Rafael (1992), La independencia de Colombia. Madrid: Editorial Mapfre, Colecciones Mapfre 1492. ISBN 8471005964
Granados, Rafael María (1978), Historia general de Colombia: prehistoria, conquista, colonia, independencia y Repúbica. Octava edición, Bogotá: Imprenta Departamental Antonio Nariño.
Hernández de Alba, Guillermo (2004), Como nació la República de Colombia. Colección Bolsilibros. Bogotá: Academia Colombiana de Historia. ISBN 9588040353
Hernández Becerra, Augusto (2001), Ordenamiento y desarreglo territorial en Colombia. Bogotá: Universidad Externado de Colombia, ISBN 9586165558
Hernández Rodríguez, Guillermo (1949), De los chibchas a la colonia y a la república. Bogotá: Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Sección de Extensión Cultural.
Jaramillo Uribe, Jaime; Tirado Mejía, Álvaro; Calderón Schrader, Camilo (2000), Nueva historia de Colombia (12 volúmenes). Bogotá: Planeta Colombiana Editorial. ISBN 9586142515 (Obra completa)
Ocampo López, Javier (1999), El proceso ideológico de la emancipación en Colombia. Colección La Línea de Horizonte, Bogotá: Editorial Planeta. ISBN 9586147924
Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo (1998), Colombia indígena. Medellín: Hola Colina. ISBN 9586382761
Restrepo, José Manuel (1974), Historia de la revolución de la República de Colombia. Medellín: Editorial Bedout.
Rivadeneira Vargas, Antonio José (2002), Historia constitucional de Colombia 1510-2000. Tunja: Editorial Bolivariana Internacional. Tercera edición.
Tovar Pinzón, Hermes (1975), El movimiento campesino en Colombia durante los siglos XIX y XX. Bogotá : Ediciones Libres, segunda edición.
Trujillo Muñoz Augusto (2001), Descentralización, regionalización y autonomía local. Bogotá: Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
Vidal Perdomo Jaime (2001), La Región en la Organización Territorial del Estado. Bogotá: Universidad del Rosario.
Central Intelligence Agency: The World Factbook. 2005.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hollywood is a city in Broward County, Florida, United States. The population was 139,357 at the 2000 census. As of 2005, the population estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau is 145,629. Hollywood gained recent notoriety due to the death of actress Anna Nicole Smith on February 8th 2007 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in the Seminole Indian reservation of western Hollywood.

Hollywood, Florida Geography
As of the census of 2000, there were 139,357 people, 59,673 households, and 34,490 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,968.0/km² (5,097.2/mi²). There were 68,426 housing units at an average density of 966.3/km² (2,502.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 78.35% White, 12.09% African American or Black, 0.27% Native American, 1.98% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 3.95% from other races, and 3.27% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 22.53% of the population.
There were 59,673 households out of which 24.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.5% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.2% were non-families. 34.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.3% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 94.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $36,714, and the median income for a family was $44,849. Males had a median income of $33,102 versus $27,237 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,097. About 9.9% of families and 13.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.1% of those under age 18 and 11.8% of those age 65 or over.

As of 2000, speakers of English as a first language accounted for 66.94% of residents, while Spanish was at 21.62%, French 2.06%, French Creole 1.32%, Italian 1.12%, Romanian 0.91%, Hebrew 0.88%, Portuguese 0.84%, and German was at 0.72%.

Hollywood's public schools are operated by the Broward County Public Schools.


Hollywood Hills High School
McArthur High School
South Broward High School Public High Schools

Apollo Middle School
Attucks Middle School
Driftwood Middle School
McNicol Middle School Public Middle Schools

Mary M. Bethune Elementary School
Boulevard Heights Elementary School
Colbert Elementary School
Driftwood Elementary School
Hollywood Central Elementary School
Hollywood Hills Elementary School
Hollywood Park Elementary School
Oakridge Elementary School
Orange Brook Elementary School
Sheridan Hills Elementary School
Sheridan Park Elementary School
Stirling Elementary School
West Hollywood Elementary School Public Elementary Schools
Recently several Hollywood Police Officers have been implicated in a wide reaching corruption investigation by the FBI.

Alex Bassett, Artist

Bethany Joy Lenz-Galeotti, actress, One Tree Hill
Bella Thorne, actress, model
Victoria Justice, actress, model
Tracy Lindsey Melchior, actress
Jamie Westenhiser, Playboy Playmate
Erasmus James, defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL
Joseph Trohman, Fall Out Boy lead guitarist
Michael Mizrachi, World Poker Tour winner
Janice Dickinson, model, author
Oddibe McDowell, American Baseball Player
Bryant McFadden, cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL
Veronica Lake, actress, World War II pin-up girl
Scotty Emerick, singer-songwriter
Mike Napoli, Catcher, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Sister Cities