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Photos - October 2009


October 30th 2009 10:59
Icebreakers are needed to keep trade routes open where there are either seasonal or permanent ice conditions.
Russian Nuclear Powered Icebreaker

In 2007 the nuclear-powered Russian ice-breaker NS 50 Years Since Victory was launched. It is the largest such ship in the world.

NS 50 Years Since Victory. Ice breaker

To pass through ice-covered water, an icebreaker uses its great momentum and power to drive its bow up onto the ice, breaking the ice under the immense weight of the ship. Because a buildup of broken ice in front of a ship can slow it down much more than the breaking of the ice itself, the speed of the ship is increased by having a specially designed hull to direct the broken ice around or under the vessel. The external components of the ship's propulsion system (propellers, propeller shafts, etc.) are at even greater risk of damage than the vessel's hull, so the ability for an icebreaker to propel itself onto the ice, break it, and clear the debris from its path successfully is essential for its safety.
50 let pobedy

Icebreakers are constructed with a double hull and watertight compartments in case of a breach. The ship's hull is thicker than normal, especially at the bow, stern, and waterline, using special steel that has optimum performance at low temperatures. The thicker steel at the waterline typically extends about 1 m above and below the waterline and is reinforced with extra internal ribbing, sometimes twice the ribbing of a normal ship. The bow is rounded rather than pointed, allowing the vessel to ride up over the ice, breaking it with the weight of the vessel. The hull has no appendages likely to be damaged by the ice, and the rudder and propeller are protected by the shape of the hull. The propeller blades are strengthened, and the vessel has the ability to inspect and replace blades while at sea
Russian Ice Breaker

A modern icebreaker typically has shielded propellers both at the bow and at the stern, as well as side thrusters; pumps to move water ballast from side to side; and holes on the hull below the waterline to eject air bubbles, all designed to allow an icebreaker stuck amidst thick ice to break free.
Arctic Icebreaker

*Image Source

**This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article for Icebreaker.


Keith Tyson (b. August 23, 1969) is a British Turner Prize-winning artist. He works in a wide range of media, including painting, drawing and installation, and he is noted equally for his painting series.
One such series, which we shall look at today is the Nature Paintings (2005 - 2008). A mixture of paints, pigments and chemicals are allowed to interact in specific ways upon an acid primed aluminium panel. The combined processes of gravity, chemical reaction, temperature, hydrophobia and evaporation simultaneously conspire to create surfaces reminiscent of a wide range of natural forms and landscapes. In this respect, the paintings seem to be depict nature, but they are also created by nature as well.
These painting images, information about them and quotes from Keith Tyson were sourced from the New Scientist.

Keith Tyson - the nature paintings
This is one of Tyson's "Mathematical Nature" paintings.
This means that he has applied the paint to the aluminum in a mathematical order. In this case, he poured on the pigments in a numbered spiral but only where the prime numbers would fall.
Usually Tyson uses 10 to 15 substances on each work, including stained-glass window paint, ceramic glazes, resins and pigments he's invented himself.

The Nature Series - Keith Tyson
This and the following four works are the "Elements" series of the "Nature" paintings.
The idea for the work came about by accident while Tyson was busy collecting "all the paints known to man" in his studio for another project.
"One day they all collapsed and there was just this huge pile of junk on the floor. I was devastated as this was thousands of pounds' worth of paint, but there was one corner that had this incredibly DNA-like structure.
"I spent ages trying to work out which paints were responsible and in the process found more patches of the mess that I liked."

British Turner Prize
Tyson says it's purely coincidental that his paintings end up looking organic: like a geological formation, a collection of tissues on a medical slide or an artist's impression of a black hole.
The title of this work refers to the way he creates the art, he says, rather than what it ends up looking like.

Keith Turner artwork and paintings
"Nature does its stuff instantly, at all scales, everywhere. There's no part of the painting that can be lazy. It all has to obey the laws of physics," says Tyson.
"You zoom into them and they retain their level of detail, but with a painting done by hand you can always get down to the brush marks. The paintings look as good close up as they do far away.
"Nature's better at painting than I am."

Keith Tyson art

*This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia page for Keith Tyson.

Great Chicago Fire

October 26th 2009 01:43
great chicago fire
Corner of Wabash and Washington Streets. The ruins of the Second Presbyterian Church are in the background

The Great Chicago Fire burned from Sunday, October 8, to early Tuesday, October 10, 1871, killing hundreds and destroying about four square miles in Chicago, Illinois. Though the fire was one of the largest U.S. disasters of the 19th century, the rebuilding that began almost immediately spurred Chicago's development into one of the most populous and economically important American cities.
Great Chicago Fire of 1871
Looking towards Chicago River

The fire started at about 9 p.m. on Sunday, October 8, in or around a small shed that bordered the alley behind 137 DeKoven Street. The traditional account of the origin of the fire is that it was started by a cow kicking over a lantern in the barn owned by Patrick and Catherine O'Leary. Michael Ahern, the Chicago Republican reporter who created the cow story, admitted in 1893 that he had made it up because he thought it would make colourful copy.
Chicago Fire
Ruins of a courthouse and City Hall, looking north on Clark Street from Adams Street

The fire's spread was aided by the city's overuse of wood for building, a drought prior to the fire, and strong winds from the southwest that carried flying embers toward the heart of the city. The city also made fatal errors by not reacting soon enough and citizens were apparently unconcerned when it began. The firefighters were also exhausted from fighting a fire that happened the day before.
Great Chicago Fire
Courthouse and City Hall

*This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia page for Great Chicago Fire.

Rare Photographs of Now Extinct Beasts

October 23rd 2009 07:29
Animals are becoming extinct at an alarming rate, even in the last hundred years or so since photography became common place. Many species disappear off the planet without a second thought from us, however some of the larger animal species which we lose are sorely missed by all. Thanks to Environmental Graffiti here are some such examples. Images and information sourced from here.

The Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger)
extinct marsupial - Tasmanian Tiger
Last Thylacine yawning: Note the unusual extent to which it was able to open its jaws

It was 1936 when the last Thylacine took its final breath in Hobart Zoo, Tasmania. Or so we think. Extremely rare if not extinct on the Australian mainland by the time of European colonisation, the Thylacine survived on the island of Tasmania alongside close cousins like the Tasmanian Devil. There, this distinctive, large-jawed beast found itself with a price on its head, as settlers blamed it for attacks on their sheep. The Thylacine was hunted to extinction by bounty hunters and farmers, though other factors such as disease, the introduction of wild dogs, and human encroachment into its habitat may have also played a part in the tragedy.

The Quagga
Extinct Mammals
Quagga at London’s Regent’s Park Zoo, 1870

The last wild Quagga was probably shot in the late 1870s, while the last specimen in captivity died in 1883 at Artis Magistra Zoo in Amsterdam. Once abundant in southern Africa, the Quagga fell victim to ruthless hunting for its meat and hide, and because it was seen by settlers as a competitor to livestock like sheep. It was the coat of the Quagga that distinguished it best, with only the front part of its body showing the zebra’s vivid striped markings. Projects to breed back the Quagga have produced favourable results, visually at least.

Bubal Hartebeest
extinct endangered. Hartlebeast
Female Bubal Hartebeest that lived in London Zoo from 1883 until 1897

The Bubal Hartebeest was a species of antelope that became extinct in 1923, when a captive female died in Jardin des Plantes in Paris. It was once found over much of North Africa, at least as far east as Egypt, where it was a mythological and sacrificial beast. However, by the 1900s its range was limited to Algeria and the Moroccan High Atlas mountains. Hunting throughout the 19th century drastically reduced the Bubal Hartebeest’s numbers, sealing its fate. A fawn-coloured animal that stood almost 4 feet at the shoulder, the Bubal Hartebeest was characterised by lyre-shaped horns that almost touched at the base. A beautiful beast, sadly missed.

The Javan Tiger
Javan Tiger endangered and extinct
Live Javan Tiger, taken in 1938 at Ujung Kulon

The Javan Tiger was a subspecies of tiger found only on the Indonesian island of Java, until it died out as recently as the 1980s. In the early 19th century, the Javan Tiger was common all over the island, but rapid human population increase led to the destruction of its forest habitat. The Javan Tiger was also mercilessly hunted, so that by the 1950s it is thought fewer than 25 remained in the wild. Following in the tracks of the Bali Tiger, which was wiped out in the 1930s, the fate of the Javan Tiger speaks for the precarious position of the tiger species as a whole. Sightings of the subspecies persist but hopes for its survival are fading

Syrian Wild Ass
extinct creatures
Syrian Wild Ass in London Zoo, 1872
he last member of this species died at Schönbrunn Zoo, Vienna in 1928. Formerly occupying the mountains, deserts and steppes between Palestine and Iraq, the Syrian Wild Ass disappeared from the Syrian desert during the 18th century, not helped by war between Palestine and Syria. It was eradicated in Northern Arabia during the 19th century, and then became most seriously threatened with World War I, when its remaining habitat was overrun with fighting forces. The rest is history. This smallest of all recent members of the horse family stood just over 3 feet high at the shoulder and was generally light in colour.

Wildlife Photography Awards

October 21st 2009 01:47
The inaugural British Wildlife Photography Awards saw a number of stunning entries from photographers of all ages. Pictures included an underwater grey seal close up and a white swan bathed in morning fog and light. However the winner was Ross Hoddinott whose image of a damselfly clinging to a dew soaked reed netted him the £5,000 prize. Below are some of the minor category winners. All images and information sourced from this article on the Daily Mail.

Gorgeous wildlife images - Damselfly award winner
Judge Sue Herdman, editor of the National Trust Magazine, said of the winner's work: 'We were looking for a winning image that stood out as the most memorable and striking.
'Almost monochrome in tone, this beautiful silhouette is both intriguing and haunting, with a delicate composition and admirable clarity.

wildlife photography awards
A photo of blackbirds fighting was taken by David Slater who won the wildlife behaviour category.

British Photography Awards
The awards recognised the efforts of amateur and professional photographers.
A shot of a red squirrel peeping from behind a tree in Kielder Forest, Northumberland, landed 14-year-old Will Nicholls the under-18s award and a £500 prize.

animal, bird and insect photography. Grey Seal.
A grey seal was captured through the skills of Alexander Mustard who won the Coast and Marine category.

nature photography. white swan
The winner of the category 'Wildlife in my locality' was this image of a canal by Noel Bennett


Life In North Korea

October 19th 2009 01:20
Life in poverty-stricken North Korea

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World's Most Important Drugs

October 16th 2009 00:56
What are the most important drugs ever discovered or made throughout the history of mankind, and what are the highest selling drugs of today?
Next Generation Pharmaceutical put together this list with the help of doctors and historians.

[ Click here to read more ]


October 14th 2009 00:33
There is much fear and ignorance of those members of society who suffer from mental illness. Schizophrenia is not multiple personality disorder, it is a brain disorder which creates distortions in perceptions and thinking. Sufferers are no more dangerous than other members of the community. With treatment and a little understanding, they are able to lead normal lives.

To aid community understanding of this and other psychiatric conditions, click here to see an extract from an upcoming book titled Psychiatric Tales

[ Click here to read more ]


October 12th 2009 23:53
Oktoberfest is a sixteen-day festival held each year in Munich, Germany during late September (and running to early October). It is one of the most famous events in Germany and the world's largest fair, with some six million people attending every year, and is an important part of Bavarian culture. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modelled after the Munich event.

The Munich Oktoberfest, traditionally, takes place during the sixteen days up to and including the first Sunday in October. In 1994, the schedule was modified in response to German reunification so that if the first Sunday in October falls on the 1st or 2nd, then the festival will go on until October 3 (German Unity Day). Thus, the festival is now 17 days when the 1st Sunday is October 2 and 18 days when it is October 1. The festival is held on an area named the Theresienwiese (field, or meadow, of Therese), often called d’ Wiesn for short

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Surface Area Required to Power the World
With zero carbon emissions and with solar alone.

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Most Famous Doctored Photographs

October 7th 2009 07:22
Image and photo manipulation have been around for as long as photography itself. As shown on Time Magazine's website, these are some of the most well known examples. See more here.

doctored photos
Lenin Addresses the Troops, 1920
One of the most widely reproduced scenes of the Russian Revolution, this photograph was taken by G.P. Goldshtein and was published in myriad forms during the Soviet era. The moment captures Lenin exhorting soldiers from the Red Army as they prepare to depart for the Polish front, where they would fight the troops of Josef Pilsudski

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Most Polluted Places on Earth

October 5th 2009 06:51
Our planet's population is racing towards the seven billion mark. It's becoming more and more difficult to find areas untouched by human hands. Even more disturbing however, is the growing number of areas so polluted by human activity they are no longer suitable for habitation at all, and despite this some poor souls still live there. Thanks to the Mother Nature Network, here are the most toxic places to live on Earth. View the full list here.

World's Most Toxic Places
Linfen, China
Linfen has more air pollution than any other city in the world. Sitting at the heart of China's coal belt, smog and soot from industrial pollutants and automobiles blacken the air at all hours. It is said that if you hang your laundry here, it will turn black before it dries

[ Click here to read more ]

Wildflowers of Western Australia

October 2nd 2009 13:37
From June to November Western Australia attracts visitors from all over the world to admire its wildflowers which are as diverse and unique as you can imagine. There are over 12,000 different species scattered across 2.5 million square kilometres of terrain, some small areas even contain more varieties of flowers than the entire UK!

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