Thursday, January 31, 2013
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
A haboob is a type of intense sandstorm commonly observed in arid regions throughout the world. They have been observed in the Sahara desert (typically Sudan), as well as across the Arabian Peninsula, throughout Kuwait, and in the most arid regions of Iraq. African haboobs result from the northward summer shift of the inter-tropical front into North Africa, bringing moisture from the Gulf of Guinea. Haboob winds in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and Kuwait are frequently created by the collapse of a thunderstorm. The arid and semiarid regions of North America – in fact any dryland region – may experience haboobs. In the USA, they are frequently observed in the deserts of Arizona, including Yuma and Phoenix, as well as New Mexico and Texas.
During thunderstorm formation, winds move in a direction opposite to the storm's travel, and they will move from all directions into the thunderstorm. When the storm collapses and begins to release precipitation, wind directions reverse, gusting outward from the storm and generally gusting the strongest in the direction of the storm's travel.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
The Scunthorpe problem occurs when a spam filter or search engine blocks e-mails or search results because their text contains a string of letters that are shared with an obscene word. While computers can easily identify strings of text within a document, broad blocking rules may result in false positives, causing innocent phrases to be blocked.
- Residents of Penistone, South Yorkshire, experienced problems because the town's name includes the substring penis.
- Lightwater in Surrey suffered similarly because its name contains the substring twat.
- Residents of Clitheroe (Lancashire, England) have been repeatedly inconvenienced because their town's name includes the substring clit, which (among other meanings) is a slang for "clitoris".
Monday, January 28, 2013
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Friday, January 25, 2013
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Monday, January 21, 2013
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Friday, January 18, 2013
Sütterlinschrift (Sütterlin script), or Sütterlin for short, is the last widely used form of the old German blackletter handwriting (Deutsche Kurrentschrift). In Germany, the old German cursive script developed in the 16th century replacing the Gothic handwriting at the same time that bookletters developed into the Fraktur typeface. Some people refer to all old German handwriting scripts as Sütterlin, although variants of the Kurrent script were in use centuries before graphic artist Ludwig Sütterlin (1865–1917) was born. Sütterlin was commissioned to create a modern handwriting script by the Prussian ministry for culture in 1911 and his handwriting scheme gradually replaced the older cursive scripts. The word Sütterlin is nowadays often used to refer to all varieties of Old German handwriting although this specific script was only taught in all German schools from 1935 to 1941.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Shin-kicking, also known as purring, is a combat sport that involves two contestants attempting to kick each other on the shin to force their opponent to the ground. It has been described as an English martial art. It originated in England in the early 17th-century, and was one of the most popular events at the Cotswold Olimpick Games until the games ended in the 1850s. It also became a popular pastime among Cornish miners. In the 19th-century the sport was also practised by English immigrants to the United States. It was included in the 1951 revival of the Cotswold Olimpick Games, and remains one of its most popular events, run as the World Shin-kicking Championships. The event now draws crowds of thousands of spectators.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Monday, January 14, 2013
Sunday, January 13, 2013
A facula (plural: faculae), Latin for "little torch", is literally a "bright spot." It is used in planetary nomenclature for naming certain surface features of planets and moons, and is also a type of surface phenomenon on the Sun.
Solar faculae are bright spots that form in the canyons between solar granules, short-lived convection cells several thousand kilometers across that constantly form and dissipate over timescales of several minutes. Faculae are produced by concentrations of magnetic field lines.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Friday, January 11, 2013
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Atlantropa, also referred to as Panropa, was a gigantic engineering and colonization project devised by the German architect Herman Sörgel in the 1920s and promulgated by him until his death in 1952. Its central feature was a hydroelectric dam to be built across the Strait of Gibraltar, which would have provided enormous amounts of hydroelectricity and would have led to the lowering of the surface of the Mediterranean Sea by up to 200 metres, opening up large new lands for settlement, for example in a now almost totally drained Adriatic Sea.
Sörgel saw his scheme, projected to take over a century, as a peaceful European-wide alternative to the Lebensraum concepts which later became one of stated reasons for Nazi conquest of new territories. Atlantropa would provide land and food, employment, electric power, and most of all, a new vision for Europe and neighbouring Africa.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Monday, January 7, 2013
Sunday, January 6, 2013
A porteur bicycle is a kind of cargo bicycle designed for carrying cargo loads on a platform rack attached to the fork. Porteur bicycles are similar to butcher's bikes, baker's bikes, low gravity bicycles and delibikes, but they include design differences which make them a distinct category. This is the simplest form of dedicated cargo bicycle and is or has been common over most of the world. The first porteurs were used by newspaper couriers of Paris, who would typically carry up to 50 kilograms of newspapers on the front rack. Other cargo, such as wine, was also distributed by such bicycles.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
An ionocraft or ion-propelled aircraft, commonly known as a lifter or hexalifter, is an electrohydrodynamic (EHD) device (utilizing an electrical phenomenon known as the Biefeld–Brown effect) to produce thrust in the air, without requiring any combustion or moving parts. The term "Ionocraft" dates back to the 1960s, an era in which EHD experiments were at their peak. In its basic form, it simply consists of two parallel conductive electrodes, one in the form of a fine wire and another which may be formed of either a wire grid, tubes or foil skirts with a smooth round surface. When such an arrangement is powered up by high voltage in the range of a few kilovolts, it produces thrust. The ionocraft forms part of the EHD thruster family, but is a special case in which the ionisation and accelerating stages are combined into a single stage.
The device is a popular science fair project for students. It is also popular among anti-gravity or so-called "electrogravitics" proponents, especially on the Internet, where it is commonly referred to as a lifter.
The term "lifter" is an accurate description because it is not an anti-gravity device, but produces lift in the same sense as a rocket from the reaction force from driving the ionized air downward. Much like a rocket or a jet engine, the force that an ionocraft generates is oriented consistently along its own axis, regardless of the surrounding gravitational field. Claims of the device working in a vacuum also have been disproved.
Ionocraft require many safety precautions due to the high voltage required for their operation, and also the risk of premature death from heart or lung disease due to the inhalation of their ionised air product, ozone. A large subculture has grown up around this simple EHD thrusting device and its physics are now known to a much better extent.
Friday, January 4, 2013
A terrella (meaning "little earth") is a small magnetised model ball representing the Earth, that is thought to have been invented by the English physician William Gilbert while investigating magnetism, and further developed 300 years later by the Norwegian scientist and explorer Kristian Birkeland, while investigating the aurora.
Terrellas had been used up until the late 20th century to attempt to simulate the Earth's magnetosphere, but have now been replaced by computer simulation.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Kefir (alternately kefīrs, keefir, kephir, kewra, talai, mudu kekiya, milkkefir, búlgaros), purportedly from either the Arabic "keyf" (joy/pleasure) or the Turkic "köpür" ((milk) froth, foam), is a fermented milk drink that originated with shepherds of the North Caucasus region, who discovered that fresh milk carried in leather pouches would occasionally ferment into an effervescent beverage. It is prepared by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep's milk with kefir grains. Traditional kefir was made in skin bags that were hung near a doorway; the bag would be knocked by anyone passing through the doorway to help keep the milk and kefir grains well mixed. Dairy-free alternatives, such as coconut milk kefir and soy milk kefir, are available.
Marco Polo mentions kefir in recounting his travels.