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Ralph Roberts

Ralph Roberts 

✔ Verified - Author (over 100 books), publisher, producer, profilic and entertaining poster on G+

Occupation: Author, publisher, producer (CopyRalph.com)

Location: Asheville, North Carolina

Followers: 39,557

Following: 4,717

Views: 110,586,656

Added to CircleCount.com: 08/22/2011That's the date, where Ralph Roberts has been indexed by CircleCount.com.
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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 6

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2016-05-15 15:08:17 (6 comments; 0 reshares; 25 +1s; )Open 

Murud-Janjira Fort, India ... "The Murud-Janjira Fort is situated on an oval-shaped rocky island in the Arabian Sea, near the coastal town of Murud, 165 km south of Mumbai, India. Once the stronghold of the Abyssinian Siddis, who played an important role in the history of Mumbai, later in the 17th century, Janjira is considered one of the strongest marine forts in India, and the only unconquered one along India’s western coast. The fort was famous for its three gigantic cannons, weighing over 22 tons each, that were feared for their incredible shooting range.

The word Janjira is a corruption of the Arabic word “Jazeera”, which means an island. Murud is a Marathi word for the Siddis, an ethnic group originating from Abyssinia, a historical nation in modern day Ethiopia. So Murud-Janjira essentially means “island of the Siddis”

The fort was originally built not bythe Siddi... more »

Most reshares: 11

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2016-06-09 01:39:55 (1 comments; 11 reshares; 116 +1s; )Open 

Can an Earth-sized telescope show us what a black hole looks like? ... "With a gravitational pull so great not even light can escape, it's impossible to directly observe a black hole. But scientists have created a new algorithm that may allow astronomers to generate the first full image of a black hole. Using data collected from a connected array of radio telescopes around the world, the algorithm effectively turns the Earth into a gigantic radio telescope with a resolution factor more than a thousand times greater than that of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Astronomers often use radio telescopes to image distant objects as, unlike normal optical telescopes, the wavelengths for radio telescopes are much longer and less susceptible to the scattering effects of the Earth's atmosphere and dust clouds between us and distant interstellar objects.

"Radio wavelengths... more »

Most plusones: 116

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2016-06-09 01:39:55 (1 comments; 11 reshares; 116 +1s; )Open 

Can an Earth-sized telescope show us what a black hole looks like? ... "With a gravitational pull so great not even light can escape, it's impossible to directly observe a black hole. But scientists have created a new algorithm that may allow astronomers to generate the first full image of a black hole. Using data collected from a connected array of radio telescopes around the world, the algorithm effectively turns the Earth into a gigantic radio telescope with a resolution factor more than a thousand times greater than that of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Astronomers often use radio telescopes to image distant objects as, unlike normal optical telescopes, the wavelengths for radio telescopes are much longer and less susceptible to the scattering effects of the Earth's atmosphere and dust clouds between us and distant interstellar objects.

"Radio wavelengths... more »

Latest 50 posts

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2016-08-21 14:31:32 (0 comments; 4 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

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2016-08-21 14:29:35 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 9 +1s; )Open 

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2016-08-21 14:29:21 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

This 400-mile Trail Between the U.S. and Canada Was Planned by a Moose

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/400-mile-trail-between-us-and-canada-was-planned-moose-180960187/#PHSfRh5xYIulCuGi.99

This 400-mile Trail Between the U.S. and Canada Was Planned by a Moose

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/400-mile-trail-between-us-and-canada-was-planned-moose-180960187/#PHSfRh5xYIulCuGi.99___

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2016-08-21 14:15:16 (1 comments; 1 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

http://gizmodo.com/the-technology-that-will-build-our-future-may-be-found-1693612047

http://gizmodo.com/the-technology-that-will-build-our-future-may-be-found-1693612047___

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2016-08-20 02:00:03 (1 comments; 3 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

Here's something really cool!!

Here's something really cool!!___

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2016-08-19 10:36:52 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 1 +1s; )Open 

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2016-08-18 12:56:28 (4 comments; 1 reshares; 15 +1s; )Open 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/17/worlds-largest-aircraft-the-airlander-takes-first-flight/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/17/worlds-largest-aircraft-the-airlander-takes-first-flight/___

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2016-08-16 14:40:50 (2 comments; 1 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

1858 – U.S. President James Buchanan inaugurates the new transatlantic telegraph cable by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom ... "A transatlantic telegraph cable is an undersea cable running under the Atlantic Ocean used for telegraph communications. The first was laid across the floor of the Atlantic from Telegraph Field, Foilhommerum Bay, Valentia Island in western Ireland to Heart's Content in eastern Newfoundland. The first communications occurred August 16, 1858, reducing the communication time between North America and Europe from ten days – the time it took to deliver a message by ship – to a much shorter time. Transatlantic telegraph cables have been replaced by transatlantic telecommunications cables.

In the 1840s and 1850s several individuals proposed or advocated construction of a telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean, includingEdwar... more »

1858 – U.S. President James Buchanan inaugurates the new transatlantic telegraph cable by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom ... "A transatlantic telegraph cable is an undersea cable running under the Atlantic Ocean used for telegraph communications. The first was laid across the floor of the Atlantic from Telegraph Field, Foilhommerum Bay, Valentia Island in western Ireland to Heart's Content in eastern Newfoundland. The first communications occurred August 16, 1858, reducing the communication time between North America and Europe from ten days – the time it took to deliver a message by ship – to a much shorter time. Transatlantic telegraph cables have been replaced by transatlantic telecommunications cables.

In the 1840s and 1850s several individuals proposed or advocated construction of a telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean, including Edward Thornton and Alonzo Jackman.[1] Cyrus West Field and the Atlantic Telegraph Company were behind the construction of the first transatlantic telegraph cable. The project began in 1854 and was completed in 1858. The cable functioned for only three weeks, but it was the first such project to yield practical results. The first official telegram to pass between two continents was a letter of congratulation from Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom to the President of the United States James Buchanan on August 16. Signal quality declined rapidly, slowing transmission to an almost unusable speed. The cable was destroyed the following month when Wildman Whitehouse applied excessive voltage to it while trying to achieve faster operation. It has been argued that the faulty manufacture, storage and handling of the 1858 cable would have led to premature failure in any case.[2] The cable's rapid failure undermined public and investor confidence and delayed efforts to restore a connection. A second attempt was undertaken in 1865 with much-improved material and, following some setbacks, a connection was completed and put into service on July 28, 1866. This cable proved more durable.

Before the first transatlantic cable, communications between Europe and the Americas took place only by ship. Sometimes, however, severe winter storms delayed ships for weeks. The transatlantic cable reduced communication time considerably, allowing a message and a response in the same day. Five attempts to lay a cable were made over a nine-year period – one in 1857, two in 1858, one in 1865, and one in 1866. Lasting connections were finally achieved with the 1866 cable and the 1865 cable, which was repaired by Isambard Kingdom Brunel's ship SS Great Eastern, captained by Sir James Anderson.[3] In the 1870s duplex and quadruplex transmission and receiving systems were set up that could relay multiple messages over the cable.

Additional cables were laid between Foilhommerum and Heart's Content in 1873, 1874, 1880, and 1894. By the end of the 19th century, British-, French-, German-, and American-owned cables linked Europe and North America in a sophisticated web of telegraphic communications. ..."

MORE:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transatlantic_telegraph_cable___

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2016-08-16 14:32:00 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 1 +1s; )Open 

1777 – American Revolutionary War: The Americans led by General John Stark rout British and Brunswick troops ... "The Battle of Bennington was a battle of the American Revolutionary War, part of the Saratoga campaign, that took place on August 16, 1777, in Walloomsac, New York, about 10 miles (16 km) from its namesake Bennington, Vermont. A rebel force of 2,000 men, primarily composed of New Hampshire and Massachusetts militiamen, led by General John Stark, and reinforced by Vermont militiamen led by Colonel Seth Warner and members of the Green Mountain Boys, decisively defeated a detachment of General John Burgoyne's army led by Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum, and supported by additional men under Lieutenant Colonel Heinrich von Breymann.

Baum's detachment was a mixed force of 700 composed primarily of Hessians but also including small amounts of dismounted Brunswickdr... more »

1777 – American Revolutionary War: The Americans led by General John Stark rout British and Brunswick troops ... "The Battle of Bennington was a battle of the American Revolutionary War, part of the Saratoga campaign, that took place on August 16, 1777, in Walloomsac, New York, about 10 miles (16 km) from its namesake Bennington, Vermont. A rebel force of 2,000 men, primarily composed of New Hampshire and Massachusetts militiamen, led by General John Stark, and reinforced by Vermont militiamen led by Colonel Seth Warner and members of the Green Mountain Boys, decisively defeated a detachment of General John Burgoyne's army led by Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum, and supported by additional men under Lieutenant Colonel Heinrich von Breymann.

Baum's detachment was a mixed force of 700 composed primarily of Hessians but also including small amounts of dismounted Brunswick dragoons, Canadians, Loyalists, and Indians.[12] He was sent by Burgoyne to raid Bennington in the disputed New Hampshire Grants area for horses, draft animals, and other supplies. Believing the town to be only lightly defended, Burgoyne and Baum were unaware that Stark and 1,500 militiamen were stationed there. After a rain-caused standoff, Stark's men enveloped Baum's position, taking many prisoners, and killing Baum. Reinforcements for both sides arrived as Stark and his men were mopping up, and the battle restarted, with Warner and Stark driving away Breymann's reinforcements with heavy casualties.

The battle was a decisive victory[2] for the rebel cause, as it reduced Burgoyne's army in size by almost 1,000 men, led his Indian support to largely abandon him, and deprived him of needed supplies such as cavalry and draft horses and food, all factors that contributed to Burgoyne's eventual surrender at Saratoga. The victory also galvanized colonial support for the independence movement, and played a key role in bringing France into the war on the rebel side. The battle anniversary is celebrated in the state of Vermont as Bennington Battle Day. ..."

MORE:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bennington___

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2016-08-16 14:26:29 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

1 BC – Wang Mang consolidates his power and is declared marshal of state ... "Wang Mang (Chinese: 王莽, c. 45 BC – 6 October 23 AD), courtesy name Jujun (巨君), was a Han Dynasty official who seized the throne from the Liu family and founded the Xin (or Hsin, meaning "renewed"[1]) Dynasty (新朝), ruling 9–23 AD. The Han dynasty was restored after his overthrow, and his rule marks the separation between the Western Han Dynasty (before Xin) and Eastern Han Dynasty (after Xin). Some historians have traditionally viewed Wang as a usurper, while others have portrayed him as a visionary and selfless social reformer. Though a learned Confucian scholar who sought to implement the harmonious society he saw in the classics, his efforts ended in chaos.

In October 23 AD, the capital Chang'an was attacked and the imperial palace ransacked. Wang Mang died in thebattle.

... more »

1 BC – Wang Mang consolidates his power and is declared marshal of state ... "Wang Mang (Chinese: 王莽, c. 45 BC – 6 October 23 AD), courtesy name Jujun (巨君), was a Han Dynasty official who seized the throne from the Liu family and founded the Xin (or Hsin, meaning "renewed"[1]) Dynasty (新朝), ruling 9–23 AD. The Han dynasty was restored after his overthrow, and his rule marks the separation between the Western Han Dynasty (before Xin) and Eastern Han Dynasty (after Xin). Some historians have traditionally viewed Wang as a usurper, while others have portrayed him as a visionary and selfless social reformer. Though a learned Confucian scholar who sought to implement the harmonious society he saw in the classics, his efforts ended in chaos.

In October 23 AD, the capital Chang'an was attacked and the imperial palace ransacked. Wang Mang died in the battle.

The Han dynasty was reestablished in 25 AD when Liu Xiu (Emperor Guangwu) took the throne. ..."

MORE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Mang___

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2016-08-13 12:00:44 (4 comments; 4 reshares; 10 +1s; )Open 

Final blow to old tale of how people arrived in Americas ... "or decades, archaeologists thought they knew how the story went: Humans migrated from Siberia to Alaska over the Bering land bridge during the last Ice Age, but were stuck there until a corridor opened up between the eastern and western ice sheets covering much of what is now Canada. Then, the Clovis people – thought to be the first to spread across the Americas – took that new path down to the rest of the continent.

But when fresh evidence poured in suggesting people were in the Americas long before the distinctive Clovis spearpoints showed up, the Clovis-first model was discredited.

And now, scientists say that the Clovis people didn't even arrive via that corridor.

It all comes down to timing, according to new research published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The ice-free corridor throughthe ... more »

Final blow to old tale of how people arrived in Americas ... "or decades, archaeologists thought they knew how the story went: Humans migrated from Siberia to Alaska over the Bering land bridge during the last Ice Age, but were stuck there until a corridor opened up between the eastern and western ice sheets covering much of what is now Canada. Then, the Clovis people – thought to be the first to spread across the Americas – took that new path down to the rest of the continent.

But when fresh evidence poured in suggesting people were in the Americas long before the distinctive Clovis spearpoints showed up, the Clovis-first model was discredited.

And now, scientists say that the Clovis people didn't even arrive via that corridor.

It all comes down to timing, according to new research published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The ice-free corridor through the Canadian cordillera couldn't have supported human migration until about 12,600 years ago. But the Clovis people were already living south of the ice sheets by 13,500 years ago.

So what did happen?

The broad strokes haven't changed. When the Ice Age lowered sea levels and turned the Bering Strait into a land bridge, ancients migrated from Siberia to present-day Alaska, where they encountered a massive icy roadblock preventing further migrations deeper into the Americas. So the people hunkered down in that small Alaska region, called Beringia, for thousands of years.

By about 16,000 years ago, people found their way around the ice sheets, according to archaeological sites across North and South America.

The dominant theory today is that these people came down the Pacific coast either by boat or when the ice sheets retreated enough to reveal a coastal walkway, long before the ice-free corridor had opened up. ..."

MORE: http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2016/0810/Final-blow-to-old-tale-of-how-people-arrived-in-Americas___

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2016-08-06 04:55:58 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

Ran across these two vintage autos in Asheville NC this week.

Ran across these two vintage autos in Asheville NC this week.___

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2016-08-02 03:27:40 (3 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

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2016-07-31 16:44:16 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 1 +1s; )Open 

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2016-07-23 04:00:28 (3 comments; 0 reshares; 1 +1s; )Open 

taken this evening.

taken this evening.___

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2016-07-22 04:18:17 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 1 +1s; )Open 

shot this morning.

shot this morning.___

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2016-07-10 03:21:59 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2016/07/08/juno-broke-guinness-world-record-fastest-craft-ever.html

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2016/07/08/juno-broke-guinness-world-record-fastest-craft-ever.html___

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2016-06-29 15:36:09 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

Coffee Pancakes! ... Feeling both hungry and inventive this morning, I made coffee pancakes (my own invention). Use one cup pancake mix (Hungry Jack in this case), 3/4 cut of FRESH coffee (instead of water), and a couple dashes of cooking oil. Cook in a counter top sandwich make a la George Foreman. Delicious and keeps you awake long enough to eat 'em.

Coffee Pancakes! ... Feeling both hungry and inventive this morning, I made coffee pancakes (my own invention). Use one cup pancake mix (Hungry Jack in this case), 3/4 cut of FRESH coffee (instead of water), and a couple dashes of cooking oil. Cook in a counter top sandwich make a la George Foreman. Delicious and keeps you awake long enough to eat 'em.___

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2016-06-29 15:35:21 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

oh my.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3665545/The-robot-looking-love-Sony-reveals-plans-create-emotional-droid-bonds-humans.html

oh my.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3665545/The-robot-looking-love-Sony-reveals-plans-create-emotional-droid-bonds-humans.html___

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2016-06-28 15:38:19 (3 comments; 2 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

Coffee Pancakes! ... Feeling both hungry and inventive this morning, I made coffee pancakes (my own invention). Use one cup pancake mix (Hungry Jack in this case), 3/4 cut of FRESH coffee (instead of water), and a couple dashes of cooking oil. Cook in a counter top sandwich make a la George Foreman. Delicious and keeps you awake long enough to eat 'em.

Coffee Pancakes! ... Feeling both hungry and inventive this morning, I made coffee pancakes (my own invention). Use one cup pancake mix (Hungry Jack in this case), 3/4 cut of FRESH coffee (instead of water), and a couple dashes of cooking oil. Cook in a counter top sandwich make a la George Foreman. Delicious and keeps you awake long enough to eat 'em.___

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2016-06-22 13:57:13 (3 comments; 0 reshares; 1 +1s; )Open 

Intelligent robot that 'remembers and learns' could be scrapped after escaping a lab for a second time ...

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/intelligent-robot-remembers-learns-could-8248559

Intelligent robot that 'remembers and learns' could be scrapped after escaping a lab for a second time ...

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/intelligent-robot-remembers-learns-could-8248559___

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2016-06-21 17:31:44 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 1 +1s; )Open 

Europe's robots to become 'electronic persons' under draft plan ... What can possibly go wrong?

https://www.yahoo.com/news/europes-robots-become-electronic-persons-under-draft-plan-170708335--sector.html?ref=gs

Europe's robots to become 'electronic persons' under draft plan ... What can possibly go wrong?

https://www.yahoo.com/news/europes-robots-become-electronic-persons-under-draft-plan-170708335--sector.html?ref=gs___

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2016-06-19 01:08:46 (5 comments; 2 reshares; 40 +1s; )Open 

Blue Origin to live broadcast rocket launch for the first time ... "You can't accuse Blue Origin of being entirely secretive, considering the company has publicly celebrated after each of its three rocket landings thus far. But when Jeff Bezos' New Shepard vehicle is fired into the air on Sunday he'll be giving space fans a real-time look at the action, with the company set to live stream one of its launches for the first time.

The astronomically curious have been a bit spoilt by the slick public relations machine at rival SpaceX. Elon Musk's company has allowed fans to share the excitement of its forays into space through a series live streams covering both its successes and failures, all presented by informative SpaceX engineers and staffers.

Blue Origin has been comparatively opaque since the launch of its first rocket in April last year. Though it has... more »

Blue Origin to live broadcast rocket launch for the first time ... "You can't accuse Blue Origin of being entirely secretive, considering the company has publicly celebrated after each of its three rocket landings thus far. But when Jeff Bezos' New Shepard vehicle is fired into the air on Sunday he'll be giving space fans a real-time look at the action, with the company set to live stream one of its launches for the first time.

The astronomically curious have been a bit spoilt by the slick public relations machine at rival SpaceX. Elon Musk's company has allowed fans to share the excitement of its forays into space through a series live streams covering both its successes and failures, all presented by informative SpaceX engineers and staffers.

Blue Origin has been comparatively opaque since the launch of its first rocket in April last year. Though it has rightly basked in the glory of its historic rocket landings, this revelry has taken place after the fact through blog posts, rocket-cam videos and cheeky tweets (Bezos even dared to "Welcome SpaceX to the club" following its landing of the Falcon 9 booster in December).

But now its seems intent on stepping from the shadows and putting itself out there. Originally scheduled for today (Friday), New Shepard's fourth launch has now been pushed back to Sunday as a result of a leaking O-ring in the capsule's nitrogen gas pressurization. An exact launch time hasn't been announced yet, but when it does you'll be able to tune in over at http://blueorigin.com. ..."

http://www.gizmag.com/blue-origin-livestream/43903/___

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2016-06-19 01:08:25 (1 comments; 3 reshares; 14 +1s; )Open 

Blue Origin to live broadcast rocket launch for the first time ... "You can't accuse Blue Origin of being entirely secretive, considering the company has publicly celebrated after each of its three rocket landings thus far. But when Jeff Bezos' New Shepard vehicle is fired into the air on Sunday he'll be giving space fans a real-time look at the action, with the company set to live stream one of its launches for the first time.

The astronomically curious have been a bit spoilt by the slick public relations machine at rival SpaceX. Elon Musk's company has allowed fans to share the excitement of its forays into space through a series live streams covering both its successes and failures, all presented by informative SpaceX engineers and staffers.

Blue Origin has been comparatively opaque since the launch of its first rocket in April last year. Though it has... more »

Blue Origin to live broadcast rocket launch for the first time ... "You can't accuse Blue Origin of being entirely secretive, considering the company has publicly celebrated after each of its three rocket landings thus far. But when Jeff Bezos' New Shepard vehicle is fired into the air on Sunday he'll be giving space fans a real-time look at the action, with the company set to live stream one of its launches for the first time.

The astronomically curious have been a bit spoilt by the slick public relations machine at rival SpaceX. Elon Musk's company has allowed fans to share the excitement of its forays into space through a series live streams covering both its successes and failures, all presented by informative SpaceX engineers and staffers.

Blue Origin has been comparatively opaque since the launch of its first rocket in April last year. Though it has rightly basked in the glory of its historic rocket landings, this revelry has taken place after the fact through blog posts, rocket-cam videos and cheeky tweets (Bezos even dared to "Welcome SpaceX to the club" following its landing of the Falcon 9 booster in December).

But now its seems intent on stepping from the shadows and putting itself out there. Originally scheduled for today (Friday), New Shepard's fourth launch has now been pushed back to Sunday as a result of a leaking O-ring in the capsule's nitrogen gas pressurization. An exact launch time hasn't been announced yet, but when it does you'll be able to tune in over at http://blueorigin.com. ..."

http://www.gizmag.com/blue-origin-livestream/43903/___

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2016-06-19 01:04:00 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

http://www.gizmag.com/light-matter-strong-coupling/43883/

http://www.gizmag.com/light-matter-strong-coupling/43883/___

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2016-06-18 15:23:36 (1 comments; 2 reshares; 9 +1s; )Open 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/18/science/nasa-electric-plane-x57.html?_r=0

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/18/science/nasa-electric-plane-x57.html?_r=0___

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2016-06-09 02:21:20 (3 comments; 2 reshares; 20 +1s; )Open 

Carving Dead Trees Into Public Art ... "Trees have long life spans, but eventually they too die of old age or succumb to diseases or get damaged in thunderstorms and hurricanes. When trees in urban spaces die and show signs of toppling over or breaking off, the city might decide to remove them for the safety of those around. The remaining stumps then provide a wonderful opportunity for wood carvers to showcase their talent and liven up the neighborhood at the same time. ..."

MORE: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2016/06/carving-dead-trees-into-public-art.html

Carving Dead Trees Into Public Art ... "Trees have long life spans, but eventually they too die of old age or succumb to diseases or get damaged in thunderstorms and hurricanes. When trees in urban spaces die and show signs of toppling over or breaking off, the city might decide to remove them for the safety of those around. The remaining stumps then provide a wonderful opportunity for wood carvers to showcase their talent and liven up the neighborhood at the same time. ..."

MORE: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2016/06/carving-dead-trees-into-public-art.html___

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2016-06-09 02:17:24 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 15 +1s; )Open 

The Devil’s Nose Railroad ... "When Ecuador President General Eloy Alfaro took office in 1895, and announced that a new railway line would be built connecting the coastal city of Guayaquil with the capital, Quito, in the highlands, a fierce opposition arose starring both conservatives and liberals. Many people at that time thought the Andes could not be conquered by rail. Despite protests and discouragement, General Alfaro hired a couple of US contractors and tasked them to build the "most difficult railway in the world." A partnership between the government and a North American firm was forged leading to the foundation of the Guayaquil and Quito Railway Company, and construction of the historic line began in 1899.

Building a railroad in the highlands was not an easy task. Frequent seismic activity, heavy rainfall, jaguars, poisonous snakes, malaria, dysentery, and yellowf... more »

The Devil’s Nose Railroad ... "When Ecuador President General Eloy Alfaro took office in 1895, and announced that a new railway line would be built connecting the coastal city of Guayaquil with the capital, Quito, in the highlands, a fierce opposition arose starring both conservatives and liberals. Many people at that time thought the Andes could not be conquered by rail. Despite protests and discouragement, General Alfaro hired a couple of US contractors and tasked them to build the "most difficult railway in the world." A partnership between the government and a North American firm was forged leading to the foundation of the Guayaquil and Quito Railway Company, and construction of the historic line began in 1899.

Building a railroad in the highlands was not an easy task. Frequent seismic activity, heavy rainfall, jaguars, poisonous snakes, malaria, dysentery, and yellow fever delayed progress. The most technically challenging part of this rail route, however, was a sheer rock face known as the Devil’s Nose, or Nariz del Diablo, that stood between Alausi and Sibambe. To ascend this 800 meter cliff, the engineers carved a series of steep switchbacks that allowed the train to climb at a gradient of 1-in-18 by alternately advancing and reversing up the tracks.

The railroad will rise with a grade of 3.5% along a narrow cornice cut by blasting the wall of the perpendicular rock of the Nose and will extend beyond the bifrucation of the railway. When the train goes beyond the bifrucation, a switchman will jump from the locomotive and raise the lever to change the track; then , the train will continue on its way up to the next narrow cornice, in reverse, until the next switchback. Then, the switchman will change the tracks again, and the train will continue on its way through the cornice, until crossing the Devil's Nose.

It was said that the Devil's Nose was damned by the Satan because he didn't want a railway to be built there. And acts that goes against the Devil's wishes are paid for in human lives. By the end of construction of the Nariz del Diablo portion of the track, more than 2,000 workers had died from disease, labor, or the climate. Among the casualties were workers brought from the English colonies in the Caribbean, mostly from Jamaica, hundreds of prisoners who were forced to work with promises of freedom, and Major John Harman, the chief engineer of the project himself.

Nevertheless, the completion and the first ascent of Nariz del Diablo in 1902 was one of the most incredible feat of railway engineering at that time.

The line continued operating, with interruptions, until 1997 when landslides during El Nino devastated the tracks, effectively shutting down the entire line. Currently, only a 12-km stretch from Alausí to Sibambe is open that take tourists through gorgeous mountain scenery and a thrilling descent over Devil’s Nose. ..."

MORE: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2016/06/the-devils-nose-railroad.html___

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2016-06-09 02:13:13 (2 comments; 1 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

The Carnac Stone Alignments ... Out of hundreds of megalithic sites across Europe, only a few has achieved popularity, such as the Stonehenge. But other sites are no less intriguing. One that you might have never heard of is located in the village of Carnac, in Brittany, on the north-west coast of France. Here, set in the open fields are more than 3,000 standing stones arranged in long rows of parallel lines, called “alignments”, some of which stretch for several hundred meters. Believed to have erected during the Neolithic period, probably around 3300 BC, it is the largest megalithic site in the world.

There are three major groups of stone alignments in Carnac. In ancient times, they may have belonged to the same group, but as stones were removed by later generations three distinct groups of stones emerged. The largest of these group, the so called “Kermario alignment”, consist of1,029 s... more »

The Carnac Stone Alignments ... Out of hundreds of megalithic sites across Europe, only a few has achieved popularity, such as the Stonehenge. But other sites are no less intriguing. One that you might have never heard of is located in the village of Carnac, in Brittany, on the north-west coast of France. Here, set in the open fields are more than 3,000 standing stones arranged in long rows of parallel lines, called “alignments”, some of which stretch for several hundred meters. Believed to have erected during the Neolithic period, probably around 3300 BC, it is the largest megalithic site in the world.

There are three major groups of stone alignments in Carnac. In ancient times, they may have belonged to the same group, but as stones were removed by later generations three distinct groups of stones emerged. The largest of these group, the so called “Kermario alignment”, consist of 1,029 stones arranged in ten rows and run for over a kilometer. The “Ménec alignment” also runs over a kilometer, has twelve rows and contains approximately 1,100 standing stones. The “Kerlescan alignment” is about 800 meters, has thirteen rows and contains about 555 stones.

The significance of these construction, especially the alignments, have been debated for centuries. Some suggest that the alignments were used for ceremonial or religious purposes. Others believe they served more practical purposes such as making celestial predictions, or determining the optimal time for planting and harvesting to assist ancient farmers. They might also have served as territorial markers. Nobody really knows.

Originally, the land around the alignments were used for pasture and grazing. Some of the dolmens were used as sheep shelters, chicken sheds or even ovens. Stones were also commonly removed to make way for roads or as building materials. A large number of the alignments are now protected, and surrounded by fencing. ..."

MORE: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2016/06/the-carnac-stone-alignments.html___

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2016-06-09 01:41:18 (4 comments; 1 reshares; 44 +1s; )Open 

Can an Earth-sized telescope show us what a black hole looks like? ... "With a gravitational pull so great not even light can escape, it's impossible to directly observe a black hole. But scientists have created a new algorithm that may allow astronomers to generate the first full image of a black hole. Using data collected from a connected array of radio telescopes around the world, the algorithm effectively turns the Earth into a gigantic radio telescope with a resolution factor more than a thousand times greater than that of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Astronomers often use radio telescopes to image distant objects as, unlike normal optical telescopes, the wavelengths for radio telescopes are much longer and less susceptible to the scattering effects of the Earth's atmosphere and dust clouds between us and distant interstellar objects.

"Radio wavelengths... more »

Can an Earth-sized telescope show us what a black hole looks like? ... "With a gravitational pull so great not even light can escape, it's impossible to directly observe a black hole. But scientists have created a new algorithm that may allow astronomers to generate the first full image of a black hole. Using data collected from a connected array of radio telescopes around the world, the algorithm effectively turns the Earth into a gigantic radio telescope with a resolution factor more than a thousand times greater than that of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Astronomers often use radio telescopes to image distant objects as, unlike normal optical telescopes, the wavelengths for radio telescopes are much longer and less susceptible to the scattering effects of the Earth's atmosphere and dust clouds between us and distant interstellar objects.

"Radio wavelengths come with a lot of advantages," said Katie Bouman, an MIT graduate student who led the development of the new algorithm. "Just like how radio frequencies will go through walls, they pierce through galactic dust. We would never be able to see into the center of our galaxy in visible wavelengths because there's too much stuff in between."

However, there is a trade-off, as long radio wavelengths also require large antenna dishes to collect the received signals. This means that resolution of images is also poorer at longer wavelengths, and radio telescopes are usually teamed-up in multi-beam or multi-antenna arrays to help improve the clarity of the captured radio "pictures."

"A black hole is very, very far away and very compact," Bouman says. "[Taking a picture of the black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy is] equivalent to taking an image of a grapefruit on the moon, but with a radio telescope. To image something this small means that we would need a telescope with a 10,000-kilometer diameter, which is not practical, because the diameter of the Earth is not even 13,000 kilometers."

This is where an international collaboration known as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) comes in. It forms a connected array of radio telescopes criss-crossing the globe using what is known as very long baseline interferometry (VLBI). In essence, VLBI is where a radio signal from an astronomical object is received at multiple radio telescopes and the distance between these telescopes is calculated from the time difference between the reception of the radio signal at the different telescopes.

This enables simultaneous observations of an object by many telescopes to be combined, thereby creating a virtual telescope with a diameter equal to the maximum distance between telescopes in the array. In this case, that array is almost the size of the Earth.

However, even with this vast network of radio telescopes there are still large gaps in the data that cannot be resolved. This loss of information occurs because, as a radio signal reaches two or more telescopes at slightly different times, the Earth's atmosphere also slows these radio waves down, exaggerating differences in arrival time and skewing the calculations on which the image created by the interferometry relies. The algorithm Bouman helped to develop, known as CHIRP (Continuous High-resolution Image Reconstruction using Patch priors), will help to rectify this problem.

By multiplying the measurements from just three telescopes, the extra delays created by the atmosphere cancel each other out. This increases the the number of telescopes required from two to three, but the increase in precision more than makes up for this. Though filtering out atmospheric noise is a big step, the next part of the mathematical process is to put together an image that is precise enough to match the data and accurate enough to meet expectations of what the image should look like. This is because numerous possible images could fit the data due to the sparsity of the telescopes scattered across the globe. ..."

MORE: http://www.gizmag.com/mit-black-hole-algorithm-interferometry/43714/___

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2016-06-09 01:39:55 (1 comments; 11 reshares; 116 +1s; )Open 

Can an Earth-sized telescope show us what a black hole looks like? ... "With a gravitational pull so great not even light can escape, it's impossible to directly observe a black hole. But scientists have created a new algorithm that may allow astronomers to generate the first full image of a black hole. Using data collected from a connected array of radio telescopes around the world, the algorithm effectively turns the Earth into a gigantic radio telescope with a resolution factor more than a thousand times greater than that of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Astronomers often use radio telescopes to image distant objects as, unlike normal optical telescopes, the wavelengths for radio telescopes are much longer and less susceptible to the scattering effects of the Earth's atmosphere and dust clouds between us and distant interstellar objects.

"Radio wavelengths... more »

Can an Earth-sized telescope show us what a black hole looks like? ... "With a gravitational pull so great not even light can escape, it's impossible to directly observe a black hole. But scientists have created a new algorithm that may allow astronomers to generate the first full image of a black hole. Using data collected from a connected array of radio telescopes around the world, the algorithm effectively turns the Earth into a gigantic radio telescope with a resolution factor more than a thousand times greater than that of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Astronomers often use radio telescopes to image distant objects as, unlike normal optical telescopes, the wavelengths for radio telescopes are much longer and less susceptible to the scattering effects of the Earth's atmosphere and dust clouds between us and distant interstellar objects.

"Radio wavelengths come with a lot of advantages," said Katie Bouman, an MIT graduate student who led the development of the new algorithm. "Just like how radio frequencies will go through walls, they pierce through galactic dust. We would never be able to see into the center of our galaxy in visible wavelengths because there's too much stuff in between."

However, there is a trade-off, as long radio wavelengths also require large antenna dishes to collect the received signals. This means that resolution of images is also poorer at longer wavelengths, and radio telescopes are usually teamed-up in multi-beam or multi-antenna arrays to help improve the clarity of the captured radio "pictures."

"A black hole is very, very far away and very compact," Bouman says. "[Taking a picture of the black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy is] equivalent to taking an image of a grapefruit on the moon, but with a radio telescope. To image something this small means that we would need a telescope with a 10,000-kilometer diameter, which is not practical, because the diameter of the Earth is not even 13,000 kilometers."

This is where an international collaboration known as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) comes in. It forms a connected array of radio telescopes criss-crossing the globe using what is known as very long baseline interferometry (VLBI). In essence, VLBI is where a radio signal from an astronomical object is received at multiple radio telescopes and the distance between these telescopes is calculated from the time difference between the reception of the radio signal at the different telescopes.

This enables simultaneous observations of an object by many telescopes to be combined, thereby creating a virtual telescope with a diameter equal to the maximum distance between telescopes in the array. In this case, that array is almost the size of the Earth.

However, even with this vast network of radio telescopes there are still large gaps in the data that cannot be resolved. This loss of information occurs because, as a radio signal reaches two or more telescopes at slightly different times, the Earth's atmosphere also slows these radio waves down, exaggerating differences in arrival time and skewing the calculations on which the image created by the interferometry relies. The algorithm Bouman helped to develop, known as CHIRP (Continuous High-resolution Image Reconstruction using Patch priors), will help to rectify this problem.

By multiplying the measurements from just three telescopes, the extra delays created by the atmosphere cancel each other out. This increases the the number of telescopes required from two to three, but the increase in precision more than makes up for this. Though filtering out atmospheric noise is a big step, the next part of the mathematical process is to put together an image that is precise enough to match the data and accurate enough to meet expectations of what the image should look like. This is because numerous possible images could fit the data due to the sparsity of the telescopes scattered across the globe. ..."

MORE: http://www.gizmag.com/mit-black-hole-algorithm-interferometry/43714/___

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2016-06-09 01:30:01 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

Off-grid tiny house looks like it belongs in a fairytale ... "Olympia, Washington-based small living specialist Zyl Vardos has just put the finishing touches to its latest tiny house, the Moon Dragon. Featuring impressive workmanship and a whimsical design that looks like it belongs in an old-fashioned fairytale, the off-grid dwelling boasts a roomy layout and plenty of storage space inside.

Moon Dragon measures 13.1 x 9 x 24 ft (4 x 2.7 x 7.3 m) and is clad in Onduvilla shingles. Entering via the hand-built Dutch-style doors, visitors are greeted with a large 9 x 24 ft (2.7 x 7.31 m) main floor and a 9 x 13 ft (2.7 x 4 m) loft. The finish looks high-quality throughout. The cabinetry and walls are made from a mahogany ply, the floor is cork, and the arched ceiling comprises composite cedar tongue and groove.

The main living area will feature a small wood-burning stove (soon... more »

Off-grid tiny house looks like it belongs in a fairytale ... "Olympia, Washington-based small living specialist Zyl Vardos has just put the finishing touches to its latest tiny house, the Moon Dragon. Featuring impressive workmanship and a whimsical design that looks like it belongs in an old-fashioned fairytale, the off-grid dwelling boasts a roomy layout and plenty of storage space inside.

Moon Dragon measures 13.1 x 9 x 24 ft (4 x 2.7 x 7.3 m) and is clad in Onduvilla shingles. Entering via the hand-built Dutch-style doors, visitors are greeted with a large 9 x 24 ft (2.7 x 7.31 m) main floor and a 9 x 13 ft (2.7 x 4 m) loft. The finish looks high-quality throughout. The cabinetry and walls are made from a mahogany ply, the floor is cork, and the arched ceiling comprises composite cedar tongue and groove.

The main living area will feature a small wood-burning stove (soon to be installed at time of writing) for heat, while the kitchen features laminated oak counters and a Range cooker with five burners and two ovens. An energy-efficient fridge and washing machine are installed, plus lots of storage space is available – including a small pantry.

Further toward the rear of the home lies a bathroom with concrete panel-lined shower and a hand-made sink, in addition to a composting toilet. ..."

MORE PHOTOS: http://www.gizmag.com/moon-dragon-zyl-vardos/43744/?li_source=LI&li_medium=default-widget___

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2016-06-09 01:24:20 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

The stopwatch: 200 years old and still ticking ... "Time stopped 200 years ago … then it was restarted, stopped again, and reset. No, this isn't some obscure retrospective application of relativity, we're talking about the invention of the stopwatch. In 1816 Louis Monet created a device known as the compteur de tierces – a fascinating tale in itself that only came to light a few years ago – and the era in which intervals of time could be accurately measured began. The advent of these little second counters has not only had a profound impact on our daily lives, but changed our very definition of time. Let's take a look back at how it all started. ..."

more: http://www.gizmag.com/birthday-200th-stopwatch/43431/

The stopwatch: 200 years old and still ticking ... "Time stopped 200 years ago … then it was restarted, stopped again, and reset. No, this isn't some obscure retrospective application of relativity, we're talking about the invention of the stopwatch. In 1816 Louis Monet created a device known as the compteur de tierces – a fascinating tale in itself that only came to light a few years ago – and the era in which intervals of time could be accurately measured began. The advent of these little second counters has not only had a profound impact on our daily lives, but changed our very definition of time. Let's take a look back at how it all started. ..."

more: http://www.gizmag.com/birthday-200th-stopwatch/43431/___

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2016-05-25 01:04:00 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

test of raw audio, no editing of any kind.

test of raw audio, no editing of any kind.___

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2016-05-23 02:28:24 (1 comments; 1 reshares; 11 +1s; )Open 

Hybrid ESTOLAS aircraft combines aspects of a plane, helicopter, hovercraft and airship ... "The hybrid ESTOLAS aircraft features a short, squat design with propeller engines mounted at the rear of a disc-shaped main body that houses a rotor like a helicopter's. The aircraft is composed almost entirely of lightweight composite materials and the body and can also be filled with helium to further reduce the aircraft's weight and provide additional lifting power. This would allow it to take off and land at lower speeds on short runways and, if no conventional runways are available, it can use its air-cushioned skirt and wheel-skis to take off and land on any natural surface, such as fields, marshes, water or snow.

The project team is examining four different ESTOLAS sizes, including small, medium, heavy and superheavy with maximum payloads ranging from under 3 tonnes (3.3 tons)... more »

Hybrid ESTOLAS aircraft combines aspects of a plane, helicopter, hovercraft and airship ... "The hybrid ESTOLAS aircraft features a short, squat design with propeller engines mounted at the rear of a disc-shaped main body that houses a rotor like a helicopter's. The aircraft is composed almost entirely of lightweight composite materials and the body and can also be filled with helium to further reduce the aircraft's weight and provide additional lifting power. This would allow it to take off and land at lower speeds on short runways and, if no conventional runways are available, it can use its air-cushioned skirt and wheel-skis to take off and land on any natural surface, such as fields, marshes, water or snow.

The project team is examining four different ESTOLAS sizes, including small, medium, heavy and superheavy with maximum payloads ranging from under 3 tonnes (3.3 tons) to over 400 tonnes (440 tons). Project Coordinator Alexander Gamaleyev of Riga Technical University in Latvia says the superheavy ESTOLAS model would be able to take off and land at distances of 175 m (574 ft), while the small version could do so within just 75 m (246 ft).

Load ratios would also be 1.5 to 2 times higher than conventional jet or propeller planes, with reduced fuel consumption giving the aircraft the ability to deliver cargo anywhere on Earth without refueling. Gamaleyev claims the hybrid aircraft's lower fuel consumption would put it on a par with rail transport in terms of cost, while the reduced CO2 emissions should make it the world's most ecologically efficient form of air transport.

In addition to disaster relief operations, the team envisages the ESTOLAS having a wide variety of applications, including defense, business, tourism and support for the building and operation of remote oil and gas fields. It also has the potential to offer cheaper and more efficient air transport between cities with existing runways and airfields and smaller towns lacking such facilities.

Now that the concept is complete, the team will move onto testing a demonstration model in a wind tube. This will be followed by radio-control flight tests before the 24-month project winds up in April of next year. The team will also examine a number of options to bring the concept to a commercial reality, including licensing the design, seeking venture capital, or establishing joint ventures with industry partners. ..."

MORE WITH VIDEO: http://www.gizmag.com/estolas-extremely-short-take-off-and-landing-all-surface-hybrid-aircraft/29790/?li_source=LI&li_medium=default-widget___

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2016-05-22 02:03:10 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 10 +1s; )Open 

Beautiful place in the Georgia mountains today.

Beautiful place in the Georgia mountains today.___

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2016-05-19 21:25:46 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

___

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2016-05-16 21:57:07 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 29 +1s; )Open 

Happy Orbiting, ISS! ... "Today at 2:10 am ET, the International Space Station began its 100,000 tour around this blue-and-green globe we call home. Travels at a blazing 17,500 mph, ISS finished that historic achievement only 92 minutes later. In its 18-year lifespan, the station has traversed about 2,643,342,240 miles, more than 28 times the distance of the earth to the sun. ...

But the ISS still has some more miles to add to its space odometer. While the station won’t hit 200,000 orbits before its scheduled for decommission in 2024, it’ll still be trailblazing humanity’s exploration of space for at least another eight years. ..."

MORE: http://gizmodo.com/the-iss-just-completed-its-100-000th-orbit-1776877402

Happy Orbiting, ISS! ... "Today at 2:10 am ET, the International Space Station began its 100,000 tour around this blue-and-green globe we call home. Travels at a blazing 17,500 mph, ISS finished that historic achievement only 92 minutes later. In its 18-year lifespan, the station has traversed about 2,643,342,240 miles, more than 28 times the distance of the earth to the sun. ...

But the ISS still has some more miles to add to its space odometer. While the station won’t hit 200,000 orbits before its scheduled for decommission in 2024, it’ll still be trailblazing humanity’s exploration of space for at least another eight years. ..."

MORE: http://gizmodo.com/the-iss-just-completed-its-100-000th-orbit-1776877402___

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2016-05-16 21:56:38 (1 comments; 6 reshares; 9 +1s; )Open 

Happy Orbiting, ISS! ... "Today at 2:10 am ET, the International Space Station began its 100,000 tour around this blue-and-green globe we call home. Travels at a blazing 17,500 mph, ISS finished that historic achievement only 92 minutes later. In its 18-year lifespan, the station has traversed about 2,643,342,240 miles, more than 28 times the distance of the earth to the sun. ...

But the ISS still has some more miles to add to its space odometer. While the station won’t hit 200,000 orbits before its scheduled for decommission in 2024, it’ll still be trailblazing humanity’s exploration of space for at least another eight years. ..."

MORE: http://gizmodo.com/the-iss-just-completed-its-100-000th-orbit-1776877402

Happy Orbiting, ISS! ... "Today at 2:10 am ET, the International Space Station began its 100,000 tour around this blue-and-green globe we call home. Travels at a blazing 17,500 mph, ISS finished that historic achievement only 92 minutes later. In its 18-year lifespan, the station has traversed about 2,643,342,240 miles, more than 28 times the distance of the earth to the sun. ...

But the ISS still has some more miles to add to its space odometer. While the station won’t hit 200,000 orbits before its scheduled for decommission in 2024, it’ll still be trailblazing humanity’s exploration of space for at least another eight years. ..."

MORE: http://gizmodo.com/the-iss-just-completed-its-100-000th-orbit-1776877402___

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2016-05-16 21:33:43 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 11 +1s; )Open 

Trajan’s Column: An Emperor’s War Diary Carved in Stone ... "In the beginning of the 2nd century, the Roman Emperor Trajan led two very successful war campaigns against the powerful Dacia kingdom by the river Danube in what is now Romania. The Dacians were a constant threat to the Roman Empire since the days of Caesar. Two decades earlier, after a savage pillaging of a Roman settlement and the humiliating defeat of Trajan’s predecessor, the Romans tried peace negotiation with the Dacians. When that failed the new Emperor Trajan led tens of thousands of Roman troops across the Danube River over a massive bridge that was constructed for the invasion, and defeated the barbaric empire on its home turf twice.

The victory over Dacia was the defining event of Trajan’s 19-year rule. The conquest brought back a staggering amount of loot in the form of gold that helped finance Rome’sfurther e... more »

Trajan’s Column: An Emperor’s War Diary Carved in Stone ... "In the beginning of the 2nd century, the Roman Emperor Trajan led two very successful war campaigns against the powerful Dacia kingdom by the river Danube in what is now Romania. The Dacians were a constant threat to the Roman Empire since the days of Caesar. Two decades earlier, after a savage pillaging of a Roman settlement and the humiliating defeat of Trajan’s predecessor, the Romans tried peace negotiation with the Dacians. When that failed the new Emperor Trajan led tens of thousands of Roman troops across the Danube River over a massive bridge that was constructed for the invasion, and defeated the barbaric empire on its home turf twice.

The victory over Dacia was the defining event of Trajan’s 19-year rule. The conquest brought back a staggering amount of loot in the form of gold that helped finance Rome’s further expansion campaign. By the time Trajan died, the Roman empire attained its maximum territorial extent in history.

To commemorate the victory, the Roman Senate erected a towering Trajan’s Column in Rome, depicting in stone carved bas-reliefs the Dacian Wars' most important moments. The bas-reliefs are strung together in a 200-meter-long band that spirals from the bottom of the Column to the top forming a continuous narrative of the emperor’s two campaigns in Dacia. The Column was originally crowned by a bronze statue of Trajan himself, but was replaced by a statue of St. Peter in 1588. The Column stood at the center of a spacious plaza known as Trajan’s Forum surrounded by galleries from which one could view at various levels the spiral band. The Forum and the Column were completed in 113 AD.
The continuous spiraling frieze winds twenty-three times from the base to the capital, and contains over 2,500 figures in 155 scenes, with Trajan himself appearing nearly sixty times in various roles such as leading the army, judging prisoners, and holding councils of war.

Surprisingly, there are very few scenes of actual battle. Instead, there are large number of scenes showing construction and ceremonies conducted by the soldiers, and figures of forts, ships, weapons, soldiers, etc. Depiction of violence against the enemy is also rare, but there is a bizarre scene showing Dacian women torturing Roman men.

“Some scholars suggest the lack of battle scenes and large number of building scenes is a propaganda constructed specifically for the urban population of Rome (the primary audience), addressing their fear and distrust of the army by depicting its warfare as one with little collateral damage,” reads the Wikipedia article on the Column.

Some of the key scenes portrayed in the narrative include the first crossing of the Danube by the Roman legion, Trajan's voyage up the Danube, the surrender of the Dacians at the close of the first war, the great sacrifice by the Danube bridge during the second war, the assault on the Dacian capital and the death of the Dacian king Decebalus. ..."

MORE: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2016/05/trajans-column-emperors-war-diary.html___

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2016-05-16 21:29:56 (0 comments; 5 reshares; 10 +1s; )Open 

The Forgotten Era of Moonlight Towers ... "Back in the early 19th century, the invention of the dynamo brought promises of an exciting new world ahead, but the most urgent need of the day, or rather the night, was lighting. Edison's revolutionary incandescent light bulbs had not been invented yet, but Sir Humphry Davy, who can be considered the true founder of electric lighting, had demonstrated at the very beginning of the century a method to produce light by bringing two metal electrodes very close together to produce a sustained spark. Known as arc lamps, these became the first practical electric lights.

A carbon arc lamp consist of two carbon rod electrodes in free air, and connected to a source of electric current. The electric arc is struck by touching the rods together and then slowly drawing them apart to create an arc across the gap. The heat vaporizes the tips of the... more »

The Forgotten Era of Moonlight Towers ... "Back in the early 19th century, the invention of the dynamo brought promises of an exciting new world ahead, but the most urgent need of the day, or rather the night, was lighting. Edison's revolutionary incandescent light bulbs had not been invented yet, but Sir Humphry Davy, who can be considered the true founder of electric lighting, had demonstrated at the very beginning of the century a method to produce light by bringing two metal electrodes very close together to produce a sustained spark. Known as arc lamps, these became the first practical electric lights.

A carbon arc lamp consist of two carbon rod electrodes in free air, and connected to a source of electric current. The electric arc is struck by touching the rods together and then slowly drawing them apart to create an arc across the gap. The heat vaporizes the tips of the carbon rods and the highly luminous carbon vapor produces an intense bright light.

Although the invention of the arc lamp was a spectacular feat, it became obvious that their use would be limited. The light produced by the arc lamp was too intense to be endured at close range, making them unsuitable for indoor use. Even when installed outdoors at the height of typical street lights, these lamps required shielding to reduce the glare which meant that much of their light was wasted. The city of San Jose, California, tried to solve the problem in 1881 by putting arc lights atop a 237-foot tall tower. A total of 6 arc lights were installed boasting a total light output of 24,000 candlepower.

Inspired by San Jose, many American and European cities began putting up lighting towers. These came to be known as Moonlight Towers because the way it mimicked the shining moon. A single tower illuminated several blocks at once, and there was enough light to read one’s pocket watch a quarter of a mile away.

One of the main disadvantages of Moonlight Towers was they needed to be serviced throughout the night. Early arc lamps lasted just an hour or two because the carbon rods would be exhaust by then requiring them to be frequently replaced (later models could last through the night). The heights of the towers posed additional climbing challenge. Because of the cost and labor intensive operation, arc lamps didn’t completely phase out existing oil lamp and gas flame street lights. In most American cities, the lighting towers only complemented gas and oil lamps. Detroit was the only large city in the US lighted wholly and exclusively by the tower system.

Detroit erected a total of 122 towers, with a height of 100 to 180 feet, lighting 21 square miles of the city. It was the best-lighted city in the world. The lighting infrastructure in Detroit was regarded as the future of street lighting, and stood as an example for the rest of the US. By 1884 there were already more than 90,000 arc lamps lighting American cities, and that number rose to 235,000 in 1890. The numbers doubled in another ten years and tripled in five more years.
Arc lamps were in use until around 1920s. By then Edison had substantially improved incandescent lamps that used filaments.

These lamps had longer lives and could be produced in smaller powers allowing them to be used inside buildings and small rooms. Eventually, incandescent lamps and later halogen lamps replaced arc lamps.

Most lighting towers were demolished during the first two decades of the 20th century. Some collapsed during storms and tornados. The only ones that remain today are in Austin, Texas, and they are still working, albeit not by means of arc lights. The city originally purchased 31 moonlight towers from Detroit. 17 still survive.

While lighting towers became extinct, arc lights found use in new applications such as cinema projection, spotlights and searchlights. Even in these applications conventional carbon arc lamps are being pushed into obsolescence by xenon arc lamps, but were still being manufactured as spotlights at least as late as 1982. ..."

MORE: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2016/04/the-forgotten-era-of-moonlight-towers.html___

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2016-05-15 15:08:17 (6 comments; 0 reshares; 25 +1s; )Open 

Murud-Janjira Fort, India ... "The Murud-Janjira Fort is situated on an oval-shaped rocky island in the Arabian Sea, near the coastal town of Murud, 165 km south of Mumbai, India. Once the stronghold of the Abyssinian Siddis, who played an important role in the history of Mumbai, later in the 17th century, Janjira is considered one of the strongest marine forts in India, and the only unconquered one along India’s western coast. The fort was famous for its three gigantic cannons, weighing over 22 tons each, that were feared for their incredible shooting range.

The word Janjira is a corruption of the Arabic word “Jazeera”, which means an island. Murud is a Marathi word for the Siddis, an ethnic group originating from Abyssinia, a historical nation in modern day Ethiopia. So Murud-Janjira essentially means “island of the Siddis”

The fort was originally built not bythe Siddi... more »

Murud-Janjira Fort, India ... "The Murud-Janjira Fort is situated on an oval-shaped rocky island in the Arabian Sea, near the coastal town of Murud, 165 km south of Mumbai, India. Once the stronghold of the Abyssinian Siddis, who played an important role in the history of Mumbai, later in the 17th century, Janjira is considered one of the strongest marine forts in India, and the only unconquered one along India’s western coast. The fort was famous for its three gigantic cannons, weighing over 22 tons each, that were feared for their incredible shooting range.

The word Janjira is a corruption of the Arabic word “Jazeera”, which means an island. Murud is a Marathi word for the Siddis, an ethnic group originating from Abyssinia, a historical nation in modern day Ethiopia. So Murud-Janjira essentially means “island of the Siddis”

The fort was originally built not by the Siddis, but by a local Maratha-Fisherman Chieftain, Rajaram Patil, in the 15th century, albeit on a smaller scale. At that time the fort was known as "Medhekot” and was built to protect his people from pirates and thieves. It was captured by a general of Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar, and later strengthened by Malik Ambar, the Abyssinian-origin Siddi regent of Ahmednagar kings. From then onward, the Siddis became independent and exceptionally powerful as autonomous state, and the fort continued to be occupied by them.

Throughout history, numerous attempts were made by the Portuguese, the British and the Marathas to subdue the power of the Siddis, but failed. Even the great Maratha leader Chhatrapati Shivaji tried unsuccessfully to scale the fort’s 40-feet high granite walls. 
Although in ruins now, Murud-Janjira was a full-fledged living fort in its heydays with all necessary facilities such as palaces, quarters for officers, mosque, fresh water tanks, etc. The outer walls and all the rounded bastions of the fort are still intact. ..."

more photos: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2016/04/murud-janjira-fort-india.html___

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2016-05-15 15:07:27 (1 comments; 2 reshares; 14 +1s; )Open 

Murud-Janjira Fort, India ... "The Murud-Janjira Fort is situated on an oval-shaped rocky island in the Arabian Sea, near the coastal town of Murud, 165 km south of Mumbai, India. Once the stronghold of the Abyssinian Siddis, who played an important role in the history of Mumbai, later in the 17th century, Janjira is considered one of the strongest marine forts in India, and the only unconquered one along India’s western coast. The fort was famous for its three gigantic cannons, weighing over 22 tons each, that were feared for their incredible shooting range.

The word Janjira is a corruption of the Arabic word “Jazeera”, which means an island. Murud is a Marathi word for the Siddis, an ethnic group originating from Abyssinia, a historical nation in modern day Ethiopia. So Murud-Janjira essentially means “island of the Siddis”

The fort was originally built not bythe Siddi... more »

Murud-Janjira Fort, India ... "The Murud-Janjira Fort is situated on an oval-shaped rocky island in the Arabian Sea, near the coastal town of Murud, 165 km south of Mumbai, India. Once the stronghold of the Abyssinian Siddis, who played an important role in the history of Mumbai, later in the 17th century, Janjira is considered one of the strongest marine forts in India, and the only unconquered one along India’s western coast. The fort was famous for its three gigantic cannons, weighing over 22 tons each, that were feared for their incredible shooting range.

The word Janjira is a corruption of the Arabic word “Jazeera”, which means an island. Murud is a Marathi word for the Siddis, an ethnic group originating from Abyssinia, a historical nation in modern day Ethiopia. So Murud-Janjira essentially means “island of the Siddis”

The fort was originally built not by the Siddis, but by a local Maratha-Fisherman Chieftain, Rajaram Patil, in the 15th century, albeit on a smaller scale. At that time the fort was known as "Medhekot” and was built to protect his people from pirates and thieves. It was captured by a general of Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar, and later strengthened by Malik Ambar, the Abyssinian-origin Siddi regent of Ahmednagar kings. From then onward, the Siddis became independent and exceptionally powerful as autonomous state, and the fort continued to be occupied by them.

Throughout history, numerous attempts were made by the Portuguese, the British and the Marathas to subdue the power of the Siddis, but failed. Even the great Maratha leader Chhatrapati Shivaji tried unsuccessfully to scale the fort’s 40-feet high granite walls. 
Although in ruins now, Murud-Janjira was a full-fledged living fort in its heydays with all necessary facilities such as palaces, quarters for officers, mosque, fresh water tanks, etc. The outer walls and all the rounded bastions of the fort are still intact. ..."

more photos: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2016/04/murud-janjira-fort-india.html___

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2016-05-15 14:59:58 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 13 +1s; )Open 

Corlea Trackway: A 2,000-Year-Old Wooden Road in Ireland ... "Long ago, a large part of north-western Europe, particularly Ireland and Great Britain, were covered in bogs. These soggy wetlands, composed of partially decomposed remains of dead plants, formed at the end of the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago. At this time, much of north-western Europe was covered by shallow lakes left behind by the melting glaciers. Poor drainage and build up of dead plants created layer upon layer of peat. Researchers estimate that nearly one-fifth of Ireland was covered by bogs.

In order to cross these marshy lands, the ancient people built raised wooden roads or trackways. These wooden trackways, unique to Europe, were built from the Neolithic times until the middle ages. Originally they were used for foot traffic, but once wheeled carts were invented and introduced into the north of Europe they... more »

Corlea Trackway: A 2,000-Year-Old Wooden Road in Ireland ... "Long ago, a large part of north-western Europe, particularly Ireland and Great Britain, were covered in bogs. These soggy wetlands, composed of partially decomposed remains of dead plants, formed at the end of the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago. At this time, much of north-western Europe was covered by shallow lakes left behind by the melting glaciers. Poor drainage and build up of dead plants created layer upon layer of peat. Researchers estimate that nearly one-fifth of Ireland was covered by bogs.

In order to cross these marshy lands, the ancient people built raised wooden roads or trackways. These wooden trackways, unique to Europe, were built from the Neolithic times until the middle ages. Originally they were used for foot traffic, but once wheeled carts were invented and introduced into the north of Europe they became a necessity. Eventually, the trackways deteriorated and fell into the bogs, where the unique chemical structure of the bog soil and the lack of oxygen preserved these ancient structures to this date.

One of the best preserved examples of wooden trackways is the Corlea Trackway that lie across an ancient bog near the village of Keenagh, south of Longford town, in Ireland. The trackway is a kilometer long and wide enough to fit a cart.

The Corlea Trackway is located in an area where large-scale mechanised peat harvesting is carried out to supply raw materials for the peat-fired power stations. While the area today is a flat brownish wasteland, in the Iron Age it was covered by bog, quicksand, and ponds. This was surround by dense woodlands of birch, willow, hazel and alder while higher ground was covered by oak and ash. The terrain was dangerous and impassible for much of the year.

In 1984, while digging for peat, the trackway was discovered about two meters under the surface of the bog. Tree ring analysis of the oak planks used to construct the trackway revealed the trees were felled in late 148 B.C. or early 147 B.C. Further excavation revealed more than a hundred trackways in the area and an additional seventy-six trackways were discovered in the nearby Derryoghil bog.

The majority of these trackways, also called toghers in Ireland, are constructed from woven hurdles laid on heaped brushwood on top of the surface. The Corlea Trackway is made from oak planks 3 to 3.5 meters long and around 15 centimeters thick, laid on rails. To construct this kilometer-long walkway, the wood of at least 300 large oak trees must have been felled. This would amount to a thousand wagons loaded with oak. Around the same amount of birch wood was used for the rails beneath.

The Corlea Trackway ended on a small elevated land, from which a second trackway, again around 1 kilometer long, connected to dry land on the far side of the bog. Wood used to build the second trackway came from oaks that were cut down in the same period as that for the Corlea Trackway, so there is good reason to believe that the entire road system was completed in one year. The construction of the roadway must have required a great deal of labour, which is odd because the Corlea Trackway seems to have no useful purpose that justifies the immense undertaking.

Not all trackways were built to cross bogs. Some were also designed to get into the bogs, and the Corlea Trackway might have been one of them. Over the centuries, archeologists and peat harvesters have pulled out hundreds of bodies from peats across Europe. These bodies bear signs of violent death that suggest they were either victims of ritual sacrifice or prisoners executed for their crimes. Read more about these bog bodies.

About 18 meters of the original Corlea Trackway is now preserved in a specially designed hall with humidifiers to prevent the ancient wood from decomposing or cracking in the heat. A surrounding area of 4 hectares of intact raised bog with the trackway was left undisturbed in waterlogged conditions. About 80 meters of buried trackway, leading to the visitor center was boarded over with modern boardwalk. ..."

more: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2016/05/corlea-trackway-2000-year-old-wooden.html___

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2016-05-15 14:52:30 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 9 +1s; )Open 

The Merci Train: 49 Boxcars Filled With Gratitude ... "On February 3, 1949, a crowd of over 25,000 gathered at New York Harbor to see the arrival of a merchant ship named Magellan. On the side of the French freighter was painted the words "MERCI AMERICA". Aboard was forty-nine French railroad box cars filled with tens of thousands of gifts donated by French citizens. This was the Merci Train, a token of appreciation to the people of the US from the people of France, for the 700 boxcars of food and relief materials that Americans had sent to war-torn Europe in 1947.

The 700-car Friendship Train sent by the Americans was the brainchild of Drew Pearson, an American newspaper columnist and nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. Pearson was in Europe when he noticed that the Russians were being lauded and 'thanked' for their contributions of a few carloads of grain delivered... more »

The Merci Train: 49 Boxcars Filled With Gratitude ... "On February 3, 1949, a crowd of over 25,000 gathered at New York Harbor to see the arrival of a merchant ship named Magellan. On the side of the French freighter was painted the words "MERCI AMERICA". Aboard was forty-nine French railroad box cars filled with tens of thousands of gifts donated by French citizens. This was the Merci Train, a token of appreciation to the people of the US from the people of France, for the 700 boxcars of food and relief materials that Americans had sent to war-torn Europe in 1947.

The 700-car Friendship Train sent by the Americans was the brainchild of Drew Pearson, an American newspaper columnist and nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. Pearson was in Europe when he noticed that the Russians were being lauded and 'thanked' for their contributions of a few carloads of grain delivered to Europeans. Being a staunch anti-communist, the great fanfare celebrating these meager gifts rankled Pearson. He believed that the United States could surpass the communists in sending food to the desperate, hungry Europeans.

At his initiative, a country-wide effort was launched starting from Los Angles. A train with a dozen boxcars filled with macaroni, sugar, flour and other food supplies left Los Angles on an eleven-day journey across eleven states stopping at more than thirty cities and towns along the way. Newspapers, radios, and local organizations including schools and churches helped spread the concept of Pearson's Friendship Train and urged Americans to donate food and supplies. The response was overwhelming. Food, clothing, fuel and other supplies began to pour in from all states.

When all trains originating from different parts of the country converged in New York, more than 700 boxcars loaded with $40 million worth in relief supplies had been collected. Once in New York, the supplies were unloaded and shipped off to France to be distributed directly to individuals throughout the country.

The following year, Andre Picard, a French railroad worker and war veteran suggested that France reciprocate by sending a gratitude train filled with gifts and mementos from his countrymen. Much of 1948 was spent collecting gifts from individual citizens. They ranged from art, wine, needlework, local specialties, furniture, books, homemade toys and children’s drawings, including a jeweled Legion of Honor medal that reportedly belonged to Napoleon. All in all, over 52,000 gifts were collected. These were crammed into 49 railroad cars, meant to be divided amongst the 48 American states with the remaining car to be shared by Washington D.C and Hawaii. Each boxcar was decorated with a painted 'Gratitude Train' ribbon and with 40 coat-of-arms representing the provinces of France.

The boxcars were the same infamous ones used to transport American troops fighting in Europe during World War I and World War II. Each was about 20.5 feet long and 8.5 feet wide, and could hold forty men or eight horses. Hence the boxcars were also called “forty and eight”. There were no seats, no windows, no toilets, and no sleeping or dining accommodations. Each man had barely enough space to sit down and they had to fit their bodies in rows to have enough room to lie down for sleep. The journeys were up to a week long.

Once the French boxcars arrived in New York, they were loaded onto flatcars and sent off to far corners of the country. The nation's railroads charged no fees for their distribution and the Congress waived off duties. Each state had a reception waiting for their boxcar. The largest and most attended was in New York City where more than 200,000 people turned out to welcome that state's assigned box car. Several states sent their boxcars on tours of the state so everyone could see the car and its contents. The gifts were distributed to museums, hospitals, schools, churches, and other institutions. Some of these could still be seen at museums. Some were sold at auction, with the proceeds going to charity.

Out of the 49 boxcars, 43 survive to this day. They are exhibited in various municipal parks, railroad museums, fairgrounds and Veterans Posts across the country. ..."

more photos and info: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2016/05/the-merci-train-49-boxcars-filled-with.html___

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2016-05-15 14:06:20 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

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2016-05-11 15:10:58 (1 comments; 1 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

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2016-05-06 11:53:49 (1 comments; 1 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

The Top Ten Largest Dump Trucks In The World ... wanna put a camper on one of these bad boys?

The Top Ten Largest Dump Trucks In The World ... wanna put a camper on one of these bad boys?___

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2016-04-24 18:51:51 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

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2016-04-18 19:20:38 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

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