Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 77

Cambridge Encyclopedia

United Service Organizations (USO) - Background, Notable modern entertainers

An association of agencies, such as the YMCA, the YWCA, and the Salvation Army, whose aims are to care for the recreational needs of the Armed Forces. It was founded in the USA in 1941. The United Service Organizations (USO) is a volunteer organization that provides morale and recreational services to members of the U.S. military worldwide. The USO was founded in 1941 in respons…

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United States military academies

Federal training institutions for people who want to become officers in the US armed forces.The United States Air Force (USAF) Academy was formed by Act of Congress in 1948, and is located near Colorado Springs, CO. The United States Military Academy was founded in 1802, and is now at West Point on the Hudson R, NY. The United States Naval Academy was founded in 1845, and is at Annapolis, MD. In e…

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Unity (Valkyrie) Mitford - Swastika legend

Socialite, the daughter of the 2nd Baron Redesdale, and sister of Diana, Jessica, and Nancy Mitford. She was notorious for her associations with Hitler and other leading Nazis in Germany, but returned to Britain during World War 2 in January 1940, suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Hon. She is said to have been conceived in the town of Swastika, Ontario, where he…

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Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Creation, Structure and legal implications, Major principles, Criticism

An international declaration, adopted in 1948 by the General Assembly of the UN. It declares that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights without discrimination of race, colour, sex, language, political opinion, or religion. The Declaration is not legally binding, but it has greatly influenced the activities of the UN, affecting both national and international law, and has w…

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universal time (UT) - Universal Time and standard time, Measurement, Versions

The precise system of time measurement used for all practical purposes. Formerly based on mean solar time, it has since 1972 been based on international atomic time, a uniform time derived from the frequencies of selected transitions within atoms. Prior to the introduction of standard time, every municipality around the civilized world set its official clock, if it had one, according to the…

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universalism - In philosophy, In politics, In religion

The religious belief that all people will be saved. It implies rejection of the traditional Christian belief in hell. A feature of much contemporary Protestant theology, it is motivated by moral doubts concerning eternal punishment, and by a recognition of the validity of other non-Christian world faiths. Universalism refers to any concept or doctrine that applies to all persons and/or all …

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universe

In modern astronomy, everything that is in the cosmos and that can affect us by means of physical forces. The definition excludes anything that is in principle undetectable physically, such as regions of space–time that were, are, or will be irreversibly cut off from our own space–time. …

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university - History, Organization, Universities around the world, Selective admissions, Criticism, Related terms, Further Reading

An institution of higher education which offers study at degree level. Courses may be taken leading to bachelor, master, or doctoral level. Both academic and vocational courses are followed, leading to qualifications in such professions as medicine, teaching, engineering, and the law, sometimes in conjunction with professional bodies. Research is given a high priority. The earliest European univer…

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Unix - Overview, History, Standards, Components, Impact, Free Unix-like operating systems, Branding, Common Unix commands

An operating system developed by AT&T Laboratories in the USA which has become widely adopted, particularly in educational centres, and is seen as a suitable operating system to form the basis of open systems interconnection. The Open Software Foundation is seeking to develop Unix as a standard operating system for this purpose. Unix (officially trademarked as UNIX) is a computer operating …

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Unter den Linden - Along Unter den Linden

A boulevard running between Marx–Engels Platz and the Brandenburg Gate, in the heart of present-day Berlin, Germany. Formerly a stately avenue lined with lime trees and historic buildings, much of its character was destroyed during World War 2. Unter den Linden (in English: Under the Lindens), is a street in the centre of Berlin, the capital of Germany. Unter den Linden is at t…

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upas tree

An evergreen tree (Antiaris toxicaria) native to Malaysia; leaves oblong; flowers tiny, green, in globose heads. The milky latex is used to make a powerful arrow-poison. In the 18th-c, misunderstanding led to the belief that poisonous emanations from the tree killed all life for miles around. (Family: Moraceae.) Antiaris toxicaria (Upas or Ipoh) is an evergreen tree in the family Moraceae, …

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Uppsala - History, Politics, Geography, Economy, Universities, Sites of interest, Notable natives

59°55N 17°38E, pop (2000e) 179 000. Capital city of Uppsala county, E Sweden, 64 km/40 mi NW of Stockholm; archbishopric; railway; educational centre, with university (1477) and many other academic institutions; engineering, pharmaceuticals, printing; cathedral (13th–15th-c), with tombs of Gustavus Vasa and other kings; castle (16th-c). Uppsala is the capital of Uppsala County (Uppsa…

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Upsilon Andromedae - Distance and visibility, System components, Planetary system

The first star other than the Sun known to have a multiple-planet system. The existence of three planets around the star was confirmed in 1999. All the planets are much larger and heavier than the Earth, with masses up to about five times that of Jupiter. Upsilon Andromedae is somewhat hotter, bigger, and brighter than the Sun, and also younger, with an estimated age of 2·6 billion years. It lies…

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Ural Mountains

Mountain range in Russia, forming the traditional boundary between Europe and Asia, and separating the E European Plain (W) from the W Siberian Lowlands (E); extends 1750 km/1100 mi S from Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic Ocean to the N Kazakhstan border; low, parallel N–S ridges, generally 200–1000 m/700–3300 ft high; N Urals contain the highest peak, Mt Narodnaya (1894 m/6214 ft); C Urals fo…

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Uralic languages - Bibliography

A family of languages descended from an ancestor spoken in the region of the N Ural Mts over 7000 years ago. Although some have been written since the 13th-c, Uralic languages are now in decline, largely because of the propagation of Russian in their place. The major languages are Finnish, Estonian, and Lapp, with an isolated member, Magyar, in Hungary. Numerous minor languages are scattered throu…

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Urania

In Greek mythology, the Muse of astronomy. In Greek mythology, Urania ("heavenly") was the muse of astronomy and astrology. "Urania, o'er her star-bespangled lyre, With touch of majesty diffused her soul; A thousand tones, that in the breast inspire, Exalted feelings, o er the wires'gan roll-- How at the call of Jove the mist unfurled, And o'er the swelling vault-- the glo…

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uranium - Applications, History, Production and distribution, Compounds

U, element 92, density 19 g/cm3, melting point 1132°C. The heaviest of the naturally occurring elements, it has no stable isotopes, but the commonest (238U) has a half-life of more than 109 years. Once used as a yellow glass pigment, uranium compounds are now used almost exclusively for conversion to plutonium in nuclear fuel applications. Before radiation was discovered, uranium was prim…

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Uranus (astronomy) - Discovery and naming, Planetary rings, Visibility

The seventh major planet from the Sun, discovered by William Herschel in 1781; a smaller ‘gas giant’ than Jupiter or Saturn, and a near-twin to Neptune. It has the following characteristics: mass 8·7 × 1025 kg; radius 25 559 km/15 882 mi; mean density 1·3 g/cm3; rotational period 17·2 h (retrograde); orbital period 84·01 years; eccentricity of orbit 0·047; inclination of equator 9…

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Uranus (mythology) - The Creation Myth, Cultural context of flint, The planet Uranus, Consorts/Children

In Greek mythology, the earliest sky-god, who was the father of the Titans. A very insubstantial figure, not the subject of worship or of art, he was displaced by Cronus. He is equivalent to Roman Caelus, ‘the heavens’. for the Marvel Comics character of this name, see Uranos (comics) Uranus is the Latinized form of Ouranos (Οὐρανός), the Greek word for sky. In Greek m…

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Urartu - Name, Discovery, History, Economy and politics, Language, The Urartian legacy

A state which flourished from the 9th-c to the 7th-c BC in the mountains of E Turkey around L Van. Abutting onto the territory of the Assyrians, then at the height of their power, Urartu was often engaged in hostilities with them. Urartu (Biainili in Urartian) was an ancient kingdom in eastern Anatolia, centered in the mountainous region around Lake Van (present-day Turkey), which existed f…

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Urban II - Overview, Mirror Universe, Trivia

Pope (1088–99), born in Châtillon-sur-Marne, NE France. A Benedictine monk at Cluny, he was sent to Germany by Pope Gregory VII, and was made Cardinal Bishop of Ostia in 1078. He was elected pope in 1088 but had to contend with antipope Clemente III and only managed to gain control in 1094. He strengthened papal authority and introduced ecclesiastical reforms. He maintained a good relationship w…

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urbanization - Measures of Urbanization, Urban sprawl, Economic effects, Changing form of urbanization, Planning for urbanization

The demographic process whereby an increasing proportion of the population of a region or country live in urban areas, particularly a country's largest urban settlement. It is characterisitic of economically advancing nations, where it is occurring at a much faster rate than it did historically in the developed (Western) world. Urbanization is linked to industrialization, though large urban areas …

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Urbano Rattazzi

Italian politician and prime minister (1862–3, 1867), born in Alessandria, Piedmont, N Italy. A deputy of the left in 1848, he opposed d'Azeglio. He made a deal (connubio) with Cavour in 1852 and supported his coalition government (1853). As minister of justice he proposed the confiscation of religious bodies' properties which provoked the ‘Calabiana crisis’ in 1855. He was interior minister in…

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Urbino - Archbishops of Urbino, Majolica, Main sights, People from Urbino, Sources

43º43N 12º38E. Historic town in Marche region, EC Italy; located on a hill between the Foglia and Metauro rivers; founded by the Umbrians, occupied by the Romans (3rd-c BC); made a duchy (12th-c) and became a centre of Renaissance artistic and literary activity under the rule of Federico da Montefeltro and his son Guidobaldo; was incorporated in the Papal States (1626) and in the Kingdom of Ital…

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urea - Physiology

H2N–CO–NH2, melting point 135°C. A colourless solid, manufactured by heating ammonia and carbon dioxide under pressure: 2NH3 + CO2 ? H2NCONH2 + H2O; also called carbamide. Although excreted in the urine of mammals, it is used as an animal feed additive as well as a fertilizer. It is the starting material for urea resins. Urea is an organic compound of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and h…

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urethritis - Causes, Treatment

Inflammation of the urethra, caused by one of several organisms such as Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia. The symptoms include a burning sensation on passing urine, and frequency of urination. Urethritis is an inflammation of the urethra. In the diagnostic approach to urethritis, physicians classify the disease as gonococcal urethritis or non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU), base…

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uric acid

An acid derived from purine, C5H4N4O3; like urea, used by animals as a means of excreting nitrogen. Deposits of crystals of uric acid and its salts in the body cause pain in gout and rheumatism. Uric acid (or uricite) is an organic compound of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen with the formula C5H4N4O3. …

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Urim and Thummim - Device or process, Non-Biblical references, University References, Scriptural Passages Mentioning the Urim and Thummim

Objects of uncertain description, kept in the breastplate and vestments of the Israelite high priest. They were apparently used to discern God's answer to ‘yes’-or-‘no’ questions put to him, and served either as gemstones catching the light (if urim means ‘lights’) or as flat markers used in casting lots (if urim means ‘curse’ and thummim means ‘perfect’). Because the words Urim a…

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urinary system - Physiology, Role in disease, Testing

The physiological system involved in the production, storage, and excretion of urine. In mammals it consists of a pair of kidneys each connected to a muscular sac (the bladder) by a narrow fibromuscular tube (the ureter); a single urethra leaves the bladder to the exterior. Urine produced by the kidneys is temporarily stored in the bladder, then expelled via the urethra. The urinary system …

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urine - Composition, Other uses

A liquid or semi-solid solution produced by the kidneys in vertebrates (eg humans), Malpighian tubules in some invertebrates (eg insects), and nephridia in most invertebrates (eg annelids, molluscs). It consists of water, the end-products of metabolism (eg urea, uric acid, hydrogen ions), dietary constituents taken in excess (eg salts, vitamins), and foreign substances (eg drugs), or their derivat…

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Urnes Stave Church - History, Iconography, The present building

A 12th-c church constructed of wooden staves in Urnes, Sogn og Fjordane county, Norway. The church, considered to be the finest of its kind, is a world heritage monument. Urnes stave church (Urnes stavkyrkje) is a stave church at the Ornes farm, near Lustrafjorden in Luster municipality, Sogn og Fjordane county, Norway. In 1979 the Urnes stave church was listed as a world herita…

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Ursa Major

A huge and conspicuous constellation, the third-largest, containing the Plough asterism. It is mentioned extensively in literature from the earliest times, and is one of the two constellations (the other being Orion) that most people in the N hemisphere can locate without difficulty. It contains the wide double star Mizar and Alcor, spiral galaxies, and a notable planetary nebula. Source: T…

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Ursula Andress - Filmography

Film actress, born in Bern, Switzerland. She made her international debut in Dr No (1963), her later films including What's New, Pussycat? (1965), Casino Royale (1967), and The Clash of the Titans (1981). Television work includes The Chinatown Murders (1989). She co-presented the World Music Awards in 1997. …

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Ursulines - Role in education

Worldwide congregations of sisters engaged in the education of girls. The principal and oldest congregation was founded in 1535 by St Angela Merici as the Company of St Ursula, after the 4th-c legendary saint and martyr. The Ursulines are a religious order founded at Brescia, Italy by St. Angela of Merici in November 1535, primarily for the education of girls and the care of the sick and ne…

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urticaria - Pathophysiology

An allergic reaction affecting the skin, resulting in the formation of red, itching weals and blisters; also known as nettle rash or hives. It can be provided by direct contact with an irritant, or occur as part of a generalized response to an allergen. Urticaria or hives is a relatively common form of allergic reaction that causes raised red skin welts. Urticaria is generally caused by dir…

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Uruguay - Administrative divisions, Geography

Official name Oriental Republic of Uruguay, Span República Oriental del Uruguay Uruguay, officially the Eastern Republic of Uruguay or the Republic East of the Uruguay (River) (Spanish: República Oriental del Uruguay; Uruguay consists of 19 departments (departamentos, singular - ''departamento): At 176.220 square kilometres, Uruguay is the second smallest sovereign…

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River Uruguay - People, Music, Business, Technology, Politics, Fiction

South American river; rises in S Brazil and flows W, SW, and S along the Brazil–Argentina and Uruguay–Argentina borders, joining the R Paraná above Buenos Aires to form the R Plate; length c.1600 km/1000 mi; navigable only in its lower course; main ports, Concepción del Uruguay (Argentina) and Paysandú (Uruguay). …

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Uruk

One of the greatest city-states of Sumer, lying to the NW of Ur. The home of the legendary Gilgamesh, it is also the site of the earliest writing ever found. Although it came under the domination of Ur c.2100 BC, it outlasted its powerful neighbour, surviving well into the Parthian period (3rd-c AD). Uruk (Sumerian: as was typical of towns and villages of previous eras. Uruk pla…

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USA Track and Field

In the USA, the body which oversees amateur athletics, formed in 1888; formerly known as the Amateur Athletics Association of the United States and (until 1992) the Athletics Congress. Its headquarters is in Indianapolis, IN. USA Track and Field (USATF) is the national governing body for the sport of track and field (or athletics) in the United States. History The Am…

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USENET - Introduction, ISPs, news servers, and newsfeeds

Originally, a term referring to a network of computers all running the Unix operating system and each communicating with the others. Since the advent of the Internet it has come to mean the worldwide set of all newsgroups. A newsgroup is a set of computer sites which are able to send electronic messages to and receive electronic messages from all the other members in the group, just by reference t…

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Utah - Geography, Economy, Transportation, Law and government, Education, Professional sports teams, Miscellanea

pop (2000e) 2 223 200; area 219 880 km²/84 899 sq mi. State in W USA, divided into 29 counties; the ‘Beehive State’; first white exploration by the Spanish, 1540; acquired by the USA through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 1848; arrival of the Mormons, 1847; Utah Territory organized, 1850; several petitions for statehood denied because of the Mormons' practice of polygamy; antagonism b…

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uterus - Development, Pathology, Terminology, Additional images

A pear-shaped, thick-walled muscular organ of females which projects upwards and forwards above the bladder from the upper part of the vagina; also known as the womb. It consists of a fundus (the region of the body above the level of entrance of the uterine tubes), a body, and the cervix (separated from the body by a slight narrowing). The lower end of the cervix is surrounded by and opens into th…

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Uther Pendragon - Epithet, Early Welsh poetry, History of the Kings of Britain, Other medieval literature

In the Arthurian legends, a king of Britain, who was the father of King Arthur by Ygraine, the wife of Duke Gorlois of Cornwall. A few minor references to Uther appear in Old Welsh poems, but his biography was first written down by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), and Geoffrey's account of the character was used in most later ver…

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utilitarianism - History of utilitarianism, Types of utilitarianism, Biological explanation for utilitarianism, Criticism and defense of utilitarianism

In ethics, the theory that all actions are to be judged by their consequences for the general welfare; ‘the greatest happiness of the greatest number’ is the sole criterion of moral choice. The classical exponents of the theory are Bentham, the Mills (James and J S), and Sidgwick, and it flourished particularly in the 19th-c. Utilitarianism (from the Latin utilis, useful) is a theory of e…

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utility - Cardinal and ordinal utility, Utility functions, Expected utility, Discussion and criticism

In computing, a term used for a computer program which carries out a specific function needed by a computer centre, but which is not sufficiently extensive to justify the development of a computer package. Normally a function such as sort and merge is provided as a utility. The doctrine of utilitarianism saw the maximization of utility as a moral criterion for the organization of society. …

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Utopia - More's Utopia, Types of utopia, Characteristics of Fictional Utopia, Examples of utopia

A name for a fictional republic, invented by Sir Thomas More in Utopia (1516); hence, any imaginary (and by implication, unattainable) ideal state. Later works include Samuel Butler's Erewhon (= Nowhere), 1872; William Morris's News from Nowhere (1891); and Aldous Huxley's Island (1962). The term dystopia refers to the reverse, a nightmare state such as in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). …

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utopianism - More's Utopia, Types of utopia, Characteristics of Fictional Utopia, Examples of utopia

A general term to describe a political philosophy distinguished by its belief in an ideal future state of global social harmony. Its supporters work to establish the basis for the utopia of the future. It has taken many forms, such as Owenism, anarchism, and other radical forms of social collectivism. Utopia, in its most common and general positive meaning, refers to an imaginary, ideal civ…

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Utrecht

52°06N 5°07E, pop (2000e) 244 000. Capital of Utrecht province, W Netherlands; on R Kromme Rijn and the Amsterdam–Rhine Canal, 32 km/20 mi SE of Amsterdam; NE end of the Randstad conurbation; political and cultural centre; Union of Utrecht (1579); Treaties of Utrecht (1713–14); archbishopric; railway; university (1634); steel rolling, machinery, building materials, pharmaceuticals, chemica…

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Utrera - Climate

37º11N 5º47W, pop (2001e) 46 200. City in Seville province, Andalusia, SW Spain; SE of the city of Seville, on a branch of the Guadalquivir R; known as Utricula by Romans; ruined during the Peninsular War (1808–14) and rebuilt; remaining landmarks are a Moorish castle (14th-c), the Gothic churches of Santa Maria and Santa Santiago, and the Sanctuary of Consolation; birthplace of brothers Alva…

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Uttar Pradesh - History, Geography, Constituent regions, Divisions and districts, Population, Languages, Politics, Education, Economy, Arts and crafts

pop (2001e) 166 052 900; area 294 413 km²/113 643 sq mi. State in NC India, bounded N by Nepal and China; known as the Bengal Presidency until 1833, then divided into provinces of Agra and Oudh; under one administration, 1877; called United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, 1902; renamed as United Provinces, 1935; adopted present name in 1950; capital, Lucknow; governed by a 108-member Legislat…

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uvula - Swollen Uvula - Uvulitis, Bifid Uvula, Removal of part of Uvula prevent throat infections

The conical, midline muscular extension of the soft palate, of variable length in humans (5–20 mm/0·2–0·8 in). It is elevated in swallowing, and is occasionally used in the production of speech sounds (eg the French ‘uvular r’). The uvula (IPA: [ˈjuːvjʊlə]) is a small, mucosa-covered set of muscles, musculus uvulae, hanging down from the soft palate, near the back of the throat.…

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Uwe Johnson - Honors, Works

Writer, born in Kammin, Pomerania (now part of Poland). He studied at Rostock and Leipzig, and left East for West Germany after completing his first novel, Mutmassungen über Jakob (Speculations about Jakob) in 1959. His second and third novels, Das dritte Buch über Achim (1961, The Third Book about Achim), and Zwei Ansichten (1965, Two Views), develop the theme of the relation between the two Ge…

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Uxmal - Ancient history, Description of the site, Modern history of the ruins

An ancient Mayan city, 80 km/50 mi S of Merida in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico. Covering 60 ha/160 acres it flourished AD c.600–1000, and was finally abandoned c.1450. Its ceremonial buildings are a notable feature - particularly the Temple of the Magician on its huge pyramid, and the so-called Governor's Palace, erected on a triple terrace. Uxmal is a large pre-Columbian ruined city o…

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Uzbekistan - History, Politics, Human rights, Geography, Administrative divisions, Economy, Demographics, Communications, Military, Foreign relations, Culture, Further reading

Official name Republic of Uzbekistan, Uzbek Ozbekistan Jumhuriyäti Uzbekistan, officially the Republic of Uzbekistan (Uzbek: O‘zbekiston Respublikasi or O‘zbekiston Jumhuriyati), is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia. The territory of Uzbekistan was populated in the second millennium BC. The first civilizations to appear in Uzbekistan were Sogdiana, Bac…

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V(ernon) L(ouis) Parrington - Main Currents in American Thought, As coach

Literary historian, born in Aurora, Illinois, USA. He revolutionized the study of American literature by regarding literary works in the context of intellectual history, most influentially in his Main Currents in American Thought (3 vols, 1927–30). Vernon Louis Parrington (1871–1929) was an American professor and author. Parrington is best remembered as the author of Main Cur…

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Vaal River - Importance to industry and agriculture, History

River in South Africa; length 1200 km/750 mi; a major tributary of the Orange R which it joins SW of Kimberley; rises close to the Swaziland frontier; flows W and then SW along the border between Eastern Transvaal and Free State; dammed at Bloemhof. The Vaal River is the largest tributary of the Orange River in South Africa. The river has its source in the Drakensberg mountains in Mpumala…

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Vaasa - History, Major employers, Notable people from Vaasa, Cooperation cities

63°06N 21°38E, pop (2000e) 55 000. Seaport and capital of Vaasa province, SW Finland; on the Gulf of Bothnia, 352 km/219 mi NW of Helsinki; established, 1606; destroyed by fire, 1852; rebuilt on present site c.1860; airfield; railway; shortest ferry route between Finland and Sweden; ship repairing, metal products, textiles; Vaasa Festival (Jun), Stundars Feast (Jul). Vaasa, or Vasa in…

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Vac

47°49N 19°10E, pop (2000e) 34 300. River port and summer resort town in Pest county, NC Hungary; on R Danube, 32 km/20 mi N of Budapest; bishopric; railway; textiles, footwear, cement, distilling, tools; cathedral, triumphal arch. VAC is a three-letter abbreviation with multiple meanings, as described below: …

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vaccination - Triggering immune sensitization, History of vaccinations, Compulsory vaccination and opposition to vaccination

The induction of immunity against infectious agents. The name is derived from vaccinia or cowpox - the virus that was administered by Edward Jenner in 1792 to protect against smallpox. This was the first time the technique had been used in the West, though the Chinese had discovered the importance of inoculation against smallpox in the 16th-c, and in 1773 the Qing emperor had all his troops inocul…

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vacuum - Uses, Outer space, Effects on humans and animals, Historical interpretation, Quantum-mechanical definition, Pumping, Outgassing

Any space in which no matter is present. In the laboratory, near vacuum is achieved by pumping out air from an enclosed chamber. Vacua of between 10?4 and 10?10 Pa are needed in many experiments if results are not to be affected by unwanted gas atoms. Many physics experiments and standard techniques are only possible due to modern high vacuum technology. A perfect vacuum can never be attained; th…

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vacuum deposition

A technique for producing thin films of materials. Atoms of a material are evolved from a heated source in the vacuum chamber, and allowed to strike the surface of the substrate to be coated. The technique is used to provide the aluminium coating on compact disks; and printed circuit boards are made by depositing a metal film through a mask. Vacuum deposition is a process used to create a t…

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vagina - Anatomy, Functions of the vagina, Menstruation, Sexual activity, Giving birth, Sexual health and hygiene

A variable-sized fibro-muscular tube, open at its lower end, which communicates at its upper end with the cavity of the uterus. At its lower end the vagina opens into the vestibule or pudendal cleft between the labia minora. In virgins this opening is partly closed by a thin crescent-fold (the hymen). In the human female the vagina is directed upwards and backwards making an angle of 90° with the…

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vaginismus - Primary vaginismus, Secondary vaginismus, Treatment

A spasm of the muscles surrounding the entry of the vagina, preventing entry of the penis (or an inanimate object). This can be treated by counselling, which includes educational explanation concerning sexual intercourse, combined with the use of behavioural techniques which are successful in most cases. Vaginismus is a condition which affects a woman's ability to have sexual intercourse, i…

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Val (Logsdon) Fitch

Nuclear physicist, born in Merriman, Nebraska, USA. He became interested in physics when, as a US army serviceman, he was sent to work on the atomic bomb project at Los Alamos, NM, in the early 1940s. He studied at McGill and Columbia universities, then joined Princeton University, where he did important work in particle physics. He shared the Nobel Prize for Physics with James Cronin in 1980 for …

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Valdemar Poulsen

Electrical engineer, born in Copenhagen, Denmark. Working for the Copenhagen Telephone Company, he invented the telegraphone, a wire recording device, forerunner of magnetic tape recorders (1898). In 1903 he also invented an arc generator for use in wireless telegraphy. The magnetic recording was demonstrated in principle as early as 1898 by Valdemar Poulsen in his telegraphone. Magnetic wi…

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Vale of Glamorgan

pop (2001e) 119 300; area 337 km²/130 sq mi. County (unitary authority from 1996) in S Wales, UK; administrative centre, Barry; agriculture, engineering, light industry; tourism at Barry I. The Vale of Glamorgan is twinned with: and has friendship agreements with: Once every year, there is twinning event in one of the Vale of Glamorgan's towns where representat…

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Valence

44º57N 4º54E, pop (2001e) 64 200. Market town and capital of Drôme department, Rhône-Alpes region, SE France; on the R Rhône, 186 km/116 mi NNW of Marseille; birthplace of Emile Augier, Paul Ricoeur, André Téchiné; railway; 11th-c Romanesque cathedral (largely rebuilt, 17th-c); temple of St Ruf; fortified town was only accessible from the harbours until construction of present boulevar…

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Valencia (Spain)

pop (2000e) 3 881 000; area 23 260 km²/8978 sq mi. Autonomous region of E Spain, occupying a narrow coastal area from the Ebro delta to R Segura; a former Moorish kingdom, under Spanish rule from 1238; C plateau cut by several rivers; includes tourist resorts on the Costa Blanca and Costa del Azahar; chief town, Valencia, pop (2000e) 763 000, on R Turia; third largest city in Spain; arch…

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Valencia (Venezuela)

10°11N 67°59W, pop (2000e) 1 093 000. Capital of Carabobo state, N Venezuela; on R Cabriales, near L Valencia; third largest city in Venezuela, founded, 1555; airport; university (1852); noted for its oranges; agricultural trade; Plaza de Toros (second largest in Americas, after Mexico); cathedral (1580, but remodelled-18th-c) containing Virgen del Socorro (1550); Valencia fair (Nov), parade …

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Valenciennes - History, Economy, Administration

50º22N 3º32E, pop (2001e) 41 100. City in Nord department, N France; on the R Escaut (Scheldt); became famous (15th-c) for its lace industry; birthplace of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Jean Froissart, Antoine Watteau; former coal-mining region; metallurgical and chemical industries, motor vehicles; museum with works by Rubens and Van Dyck. Valenciennes (Dutch: Valencijn, Latin: Valentianae) …

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Valentina Tereshkova

Cosmonaut and the first woman to fly in space, born in Maslennikovo, W Russia. She worked in a textile factory, qualified as a sports parachutist, and entered training as a cosmonaut in 1962, becoming a solo crew member of the three-day Vostok 6 flight launched on 16 June 1963. She was made a hero of the Soviet Union, and married fellow cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev later that year. Their daughter E…

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Valentine Mott

Surgeon, born in Glen Cove, New York, USA. After taking his medical degree from Columbia University and studying surgery in Britain, he opened a practice in New York City (1809) and was associated with various colleges. Rapid, skillful, and ambidextrous, he pioneered various circulatory surgeries and procedures, and he became known internationally as a bold, innovative surgeon. He did not write an…

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Valentinian I - Life

Roman emperor (364–75), born in Pannonia (C Europe), the son of an army officer. He rose rapidly in rank under Constantius and Julian, and on the death of the Emperor Jovian was chosen as his successor (364). He resigned the East to his brother Valens (ruled 364–78), and himself governed the West, based in Paris, Trier, and other centres, successfully defending it against Germanic invasions. …

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Valentinian III - Life

Western Roman emperor (425–55), born in Ravenna, Italy, the son of Flavius Constantius (r. as Constantius III in 421) and Galla Placidia. He was put on the throne by Theodosius II, Roman emperor of the East, under the regency of his mother, who ruled the West in his name until 437. Weak and ineffective, it was General Flavius Aëtius who wielded the power. Africa was seized (429) by Gaiseric, kin…

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Valentino - Biography

Fashion designer, born in Rome, Italy. He studied fashion in Milan and Paris, then worked for Dessès and Laroche in Paris. He opened his own house in Rome in 1959, but achieved worldwide recognition with his 1962 show in Florence. Valentino is a fashion house created by Valentino Garavani, among the most famous Italian fashion designers today. He moved to Rome in the beginning of the 1960s…

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Valeri Borzov

Athlete, born in Sambor, W Ukraine. At the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich he won both the 100 m and 200 m sprints, beating the Americans in what had become their monopoly events. Valeri Filippovich Borzov (Russian: Валерий Филиппович Борзов) (born October 20, 1949) is a Ukrainian former athlete, running for the Soviet Union in the past. In 1972 he won both the 1…

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Valerius Cordus - Sources

Physician and botanist, born in Hesse, Germany. He first studied pharmacy and botany (1527–33) under his physician father, Euricius Cordus, later attending the universities of Marburg (1527–31) and Wittenberg (1539–44). He also trained in his uncle's apothecary shop (1533–9) in Leipzig, and in 1540 wrote about the synthesis of ether. A popular lecturer, he died of malaria at the age of 29 afte…

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Valhalla - Modern Etymology, Popular Culture

In Norse mythology, a great hall built by Odin to house warriors who die bravely in battle. Every night they get drunk, and every day fight to the death and rise again. After this intensive training they will form an army to help the gods in the Last Battle. Valhalla (Old Norse Valhöll, "Hall of the slain") is Odin's hall in Norse mythology, located in Gladsheim and is the home for those s…

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Valladolid

41°38N 4°43W, pop (2000e) 333 000. Capital of Valladolid province, Castilla-León, NWC Spain; on R Pisuerga, 193 km/120 mi NE of Madrid; archbishopric; airport; railway; university (1346); vehicles, cement, ironwork, flour, leather goods; Columbus died here; cathedral (16th-c), Cervantes museum, Santa Cruz College; International Film Week (Apr), fair and fiesta (Sep), Festival of Spain (Oct

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Valles Marineris - Formation, Regions of Valles Marineris

A vast, complex system of interconnected canyons stretching for c.4000 km/2500 mi around Mars; located just S of the equator, and extending from near the summit of a region of extensive volcanism (‘Tharsis’) to the E until it merges with a region characterized as ‘chaotic’ terrain. Generally the canyons are over 3 km/1½ mi deep and over 100 km/60 mi wide; in the central section they are…

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valley - Genesis of valleys, Valley floors, Hollows, Famous valleys, Extraterrestrial valleys

An elongated trough in the Earth's surface, most commonly formed by the erosional action of rivers over a long period of time. It may also be carved out by a glacier, in which case it is U-shaped rather than (as in a river valley) V-shaped. Extensional movements of the Earth's crust may produce large rift valleys by faulting. Valleys are formed by numerous geographical processes. Glacial va…

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Valley Forge - History, Baron (Freiherr) Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, Valley Forge Park

National historical park in Chester Co, Pennsylvania, USA, 7 km/4 mi SE of Phoenixville, on the R Schuylkill; winter headquarters of George Washington, 1777–8; renowned for the endurance and loyalty shown by the troops during the severe winter. Valley Forge was the site of the camp of the American Continental Army over the winter of 1777–1778 in the American Revolutionary War. This was…

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Valley of the Kings - Important tombs, Exploration of the Valley of the Kings, Tourism, Recent Events/Discoveries

A remote limestone wadi on the W bank of the R Nile at Luxor, 650 km/400 mi S of Cairo: its Arabic name is Wadi Biban el Moluk (‘The Valley of the Gates of the Kings’). Cut into its walls are the tombs of the Egyptian kings of the New Kingdom (XVIII–XX Dynasties, 1550–1070 BC), their families, and retainers. Those of Rameses VI, Horemheb, Amenhotep II, Tuthmosis III, Seti I, and Tutankhamun …

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vampire - Vampire analogies in ancient cultures, Folk beliefs in vampires, Eighteenth century vampire controversy, New England

In Slavic and Greek folklore a dead person of either sex whose body does not decompose after burial as expected. This is an indication of incomplete funeral rites, lack of baptism, or dying in a state of sin. Vampires, like other ghosts or returning spirits, seek to take living people with them into the after-life. Typically, they rise at night to prey on and suck the blood of the living. Like oth…

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vampire bat

A bat of family Desmodontidae, native to the New World tropics; sharp pointed incisor teeth; no tail; flies low over ground; drinks blood; lands near resting animal and walks to it using wings and legs; may trim hair or feathers with teeth; makes shallow incision with incisors (prey usually not disturbed) and laps blood; tongue has grooves to carry blood to mouth; bat's saliva prevents blood clott…

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Van Cliburn - Early years, Tchaikovsky Competition and beyond, Cliburn today, Trivia

Pianist, born in Shreveport, Louisiana, USA. He soloed with orchestras as a teenager before being catapulted to fame as the first American to win Moscow's Tchaikovsky Prize (1958). He embarked on an international solo career, specializing in the 19th-c standard repertoire, but in 1978 largely ceased performing for personal reasons. The piano competition he began at Fort Worth, TX, in 1962 became a…

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Van de Graaff generator - Description, History, Van de Graaff generators on display, Reference, Comparison with other high voltage generators

A machine for producing high electrostatic potential differences, invented by Robert Van de Graaff in 1931. An electric charge deposited by electrical discharge onto a moving rubber loop is transported to the interior of a hollow metal dome, where it is transferred to the dome and stored. Potential differences of several million volts may be obtained. The device provided an early type of particle …

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Van Morrison - Biography, Influence, John Minihan, Awards and Recognition, Discography

Singer, musician, and songwriter, born in Belfast, NE Northern Ireland, UK. After leaving school at the age of 15, he played guitar and later saxophone in several teenage groups, making his first recordings as a member of Them during the 1960s. His first solo hit was ‘Brown-Eyed Girl’ (1967) and a year later he released the highly acclaimed, surreal album Astral Weeks. Other successes of that pe…

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Van Wyck Brooks

Literary critic and biographer, born in Plainfield, New Jersey, USA. He studied at Harvard, later emerging as America's most influential cultural and literary critic of the 1930s and 1940s after establishing his reputation with America's Coming of Age (1915) and biographies of Mark Twain, Henry James, and Emerson. He interpreted the American literary tradition for a wide audience in his prizewinni…

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vanadium

V, element 23, density 6·1 g/cm3, melting point 1890°C. A metal, not occurring free in nature, and often replacing phosphorus as an impurity in phosphate rocks. The main uses for the metal are in steel production, usually in combination with chromium. Its compounds show many colours and oxidation states, +2, +3, +4, and +5 all being easily prepared. The stability of the +5 state accounts for it…

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Vance (Oakley) Packard - The Hidden Persuaders, Impact and importance of his work, Publications

Journalist and writer, born in Granville Summit, Pennsylvania, USA. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University (1936) and worked as a reporter and columnist for newspapers and the Associated Press before he became an editor and writer at American magazine (1942–56). He wrote a number of books popularizing social issues, including The Hidden Persuaders (1957), The Naked Society (1964), and Th…

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Vancouver - History, Geography, Demographics, Economy, Law and order, Education, Architecture, Arts and culture, Sports and recreation, Media

49°13N 123°06W, pop (2000e) 528 600; (Greater Vancouver) 1 468 000. Seaport in SW British Columbia, Canada, opposite Vancouver I, between Burrard Inlet (N) and Fraser R (S); third largest city in Canada; settled c.1875, named Granville; reached by railway, 1886; city and modern name, 1886; airport; railway; two universities (1908, 1963); shipbuilding, fishing, oil refining, distilling, brewi…

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Vandals - Origins, History, Vandalic language

A Germanic people, originally perhaps from the Baltic area, who settled in the Danube valley in the 4th-c. Pushed W by the Huns, they invaded Gaul (406), crossed into Spain, conquered Roman Africa (429–39), and sacked Rome (455). The Byzantine general Belisarius reconquered N Africa in 533–4. The modern word vandalism derives from their name. The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that e…

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Vanessa Bell - Early life, Life inside the Bloomsbury Group

Painter and decorative designer, a leading member of the Bloomsbury Group, born in London, UK, the elder sister of Virginia Woolf. She studied at the Royal Academy Schools (1901–4), and in 1907 married the critic Clive Bell, but in 1916 left him to live at Firle, East Sussex, with Duncan Grant, a fellow-contributor to Roger Fry's Omega Workshops (1913–19). Elected to the London Group in 1919, sh…

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Vanessa Redgrave - Ancestry and Family, Stage career, Film career, Political activism, Awards, Filmography

Actress, born in London, UK, the daughter of actor Michael Redgrave. She trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama, London, joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1960s, and took the lead in several feature films, including Morgan, a Suitable Case for Treatment (1966), The Devils (1971), and Julia (1977, Oscar). Later films include The Bostonians (1983), The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (19…

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vanilla - History, Chemistry, Uses, Specific types of vanilla

An evergreen climbing orchid (Vanilla planifolia), native to Central America. The large green flowers are followed by slender pods up to 15 cm/6 in long, which turn black when dried and contain the essence vanillin, used as flavouring. (Family: Orchidaceae.) Vanilla is a flavouring derived from orchids in the genus Vanilla. Vanilla was a highly regarded flavoring in Pre-Columb…

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vanitas

A type of still-life picture, produced mainly in Leyden in the 17th-c, in which symbolic objects such as skulls, hour-glasses, and old books are arranged to remind us that life is short and uncertain. The name comes from the Bible (Eccles 1.2): vanitas vanitatum (‘vanity of vanities’). Vanitas is a term referring to the arts, learning and time. Everything is meaningless. (NIV) …

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Vannes

47°40N 2°47W, pop (2000e) 50 600. Port and capital of Morbihan department, NW France; on Gulf of Morbihan, 107 km/66 mi WNW of Nantes; railway; animal feedstuffs, chicken and turkey processing, textiles, shipbuilding, petfoods; picturesque Old Town, Château Gaillard (Brittany's first parliament building), Cathedral of St-Pierre (13th–19th-c). …

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Vannevar Bush - Career, The Memex, Conservative approach, Personal life

Engineer and government official, born in Everett, Massachusetts, USA. With a varied background in academic studies, private industry (General Electric), and government research (including anti-submarine work for the US Navy in World War 1), he became an engineering professor (later dean) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1919–38). During these years he also kept his hand in the priva…

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Vannoccio (Vincenzio Agustino Luca) Biringuccio

Metallurgical engineer, born in Siena, C Italy. His De la pirotechnia (1540) was the earliest printed work covering the whole of mining and metallurgy as well as other important industrial processes. Vannoccio Biringuccio, sometimes spelt Vannocio Biringuccio, (1480-1539) was an Italian metallurgist. Biringuccio is considered by some as the father of the foundry industry as De la piro…

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Vanua Levu - Geography, Demographics and economic activities, Politics, History

area 5556 km²/2145 sq mi. Mountainous volcanic island in SW Pacific Ocean; second largest of the Fiji Is, 32 km/20 mi NE of Viti Levu; length 176 km/109 mi; chief town, Labasa; coconut plantations; sugar, copra, gold, tourism; Great Sea Reef the third longest barrier reef in the world; severely damaged by Cyclone Ami (Jan 2003). Vanua Levu ((IPA: [ßa nu a le ßu]), formerly known a…

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Vanuatu - History, Politics, Administrative divisions, Foreign relations, Geography, Demographics, Religion, Culture, Miscellaneous topics, Miscellany

Official name Republic of Vanuatu, formerly New Hebrides Vanuatu, officially the Republic of Vanuatu, is a Melanesian island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. Vanuatu was first inhabited by Melanesian people. Many of the islands of Vanuatu have been inhabited for thousands of years, the oldest archaeological evidence found dating to 1300 BC. Vanuatu suffered…

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variable star - Discovery history, Variable star nomenclature, Classification, Intrinsic variable stars, Extrinsic variable stars

Any star with a luminosity that is not constant. The variation can be regular or irregular. Stars may vary in their apparent magnitude for several reasons. In an eclipsing binary, the pair of stars periodically eclipse, as seen from the Earth, and the apparent magnitude of the pair falls when one member is concealed from view. Also, many stars pulsate, and the change in size and surface temperatur…

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variance - Definition, Properties, Approximating the variance of a function, Population variance and sample variance, Generalizations

In mathematics, a measure of the spread or dispersion from the mean of a set of scores. If ? is the mean of the scores x1, x2, x3,...xn, the variance is given by . The standard deviation is the square root of the variance. The covariance sxy of a sample of n pairs of scores (xiyi) is . This measures the association between the two variables x and y. In probability theory and statistics, th…

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varicose veins - Symptoms

Distended veins which result from obstruction to the flow of blood within them or incompetence of their valves. They may occur anywhere in the body, but the veins in the legs are most often affected. Prolonged standing and familial factors contribute to their development. When severe, they lead to pain, swelling and ulcers of the affected leg, and may require surgical removal. Varicose vein…

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Varna - Sights, Education, Twin cities

43°13N 27°56E, pop (2000e) 298 400. Resort and capital of Varna province, E Bulgaria; in a bay of the Black Sea, 469 km/291 mi E of Sofia; site of the defeat, by the Turks, of the Polish King Vladislav Varnenchik (1444); third largest town and largest harbour in Bulgaria; airport; railway; shipbuilding, chemical industry, power production, food processing, tourism; Roman thermae and baths; g…

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varnish - Components of Classic Varnish, Types

A liquid which dries to a hard protective transparent or decorative film, consisting of a solution of gums in oil with a thinner such as turpentine. Spirit varnishes have resins (such as, notably, shellac) dissolved in alcohol (industrial or methylated spirit). Modern varieties have polymers such as polyurethane in solvents. The ancient Japanese and Chinese lacquers consisted simply of the exudati…

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Vasa (Sweden)

A royal dynasty that provided all Swedish monarchs from 1523 to 1818, with only two exceptions. It was founded by Gustavus I (r.1523–60), who led the country's conversion to the Lutheran Reformation and ousted foreign powers. Great military leaders Gustavus II Adolphus (r.1611–32) and Charles XII (r.1682–1718) made Sweden into a major European power before the latter's defeat by the Russians at…

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Vasco da Gama - Background, Exploration before da Gama, Second voyage, Legacy

Navigator, born in Sines, Alentejo, SW Portugal. He led the expedition which discovered the route to India round the Cape of Good Hope (1497–9), and in 1502–3 led a squadron of ships to Calicut to avenge the murder of a group of Portuguese explorers left there by Cabral. In 1524 he was sent as viceroy to India, but he soon fell ill, and died at Cochin. His body was brought home to Portugal. …

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vascular plant

Any plant possessing xylem and phloem, distinct conducting tissues which together make up the vascular system; they include flowering plants, gymnosperms, ferns, clubmosses, and horsetails, and in some classifications form the Division Tracheophyta. Additional differences between vascular plants and the non-vascular bryophytes and algae are the presence of stomata, and the sporophyte as the domina…

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vascular tissue

The conducting tissues, both xylem and phloem, which transport water, minerals, and sap through a plant, and help provide internal support. It forms thin strands called vascular bundles, with xylem to the inside and phloem to the outside, separated by a cambium layer which provides for secondary growth of the conducting tissues. These bundles are scattered throughout the stem or arranged in a ring…

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Vaslav Nijinsky - Early Life and Work, Marriage, Decline, and Demise, Figure in Popular Culture, Headline text

Ballet dancer, born in Kiev, Ukraine, the brother of Bronislava Nijinska. Considered one of the greatest and most innovative male dancers of the 20th-c, he was, like his sister, trained at the Imperial Ballet School in St Petersburg, and first appeared in ballet at the Mariinski Theatre. As the leading dancer in Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, taken to Paris in 1909, he became phenomenally successful,…

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vassal - Western vassalage, Compare

A freeman who had acknowledged the lordship of a superior by giving homage and swearing fealty, normally in return for a fief. Obligations existed on both sides. The lord's default, especially in giving protection, rendered the relationship void, as did the disobedient vassal's withholding of military assistance and general support. In fully-developed vassalage, a commendation ceremony, com…

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Vatican City - The territory, The Head of State, Government, Geography, Demographics, Foreign relations, Culture, Crime, Transport and communications

pop c.1000; area 44 ha/109 acres. Papal sovereign state in Rome, on the W bank of the R Tiber; created in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty; timezone GMT +1; official language Italian and, for official acts, Latin; includes St Peter's, the Vatican Palace and Museum, several buildings in Rome, and the pope's summer villa at Castel Gandolfo; three entrances, in the care of the Pontifical Swiss Guard (‘T…

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vaudeville - History, Related forms, Notable vaudeville performers

In the USA, a variety show tradition stemming from the family entertainments created by Tony Pastor from 1881 onwards. In France, the term was originally used for the dumb shows with songs of the Paris fairs, and later for the light satirical songs popular in 18th-c theatres. The ‘vaudeville finale’, in which each character sang a verse in turn, was used in comic operas such as Mozart's Die Entf…

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vector (mathematics) - Mathematics and Physics, Philosophy, Computer Science, Biology, Miscellaneous

In mathematics, a quantity having magnitude and direction. Vector quantities include position (showing the position of one point relative to another), displacement (the distance in a certain direction), velocity, acceleration, force, and momentum. They contrast with the scalar quantities of distance, time, mass, energy, etc, which have magnitude only. Vectors can also be defined in a more abstract…

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vector graphics - Overview, Motivation, Typical primitive objects, Vector operations, Printing, 3D modeling

A form of producing drawings by computer, in which lines are generated on the screen of a computer terminal in order to build up a specialized drawing. Such a drawing is also suitable for output to an X–Y plotter. Vector graphics (also called geometric modeling or object-oriented graphics) is the use of geometrical primitives such as points, lines, curves, and polygons, which are all …

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Ved (Parkash) Mehta - Selected works

Writer, born in Lahore, NE Pakistan (formerly India). Blind from the age of four, he went to the USA for his education when he was 15, and attended the Arkansas School for the Blind at Little Rock, and Pomona College, before going to Oxford and Harvard universities. While at Pomona he published his first book, the autobiography Face to Face (1957). He has had a distinguished career as a journalist…

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Vedanta - Source texts, Sub-schools of Vedanta, List of teachers

Originally the teachings of the Upanishads; later, a trend in Indian philosophy advocating the identity of the individual self, atman, with a transindividual super-self, brahman, an undifferentiated being-and-consciousness considered the single source of cognition and action. Later elaborations include the non-dualistic (Advaita) version of Shankara (8th-c) and the strongly theistic version of Ram…

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veduta

In art, a painting of a place, usually a city. Canaletto's views of Venice are well-known, especially in England, as they were bought by 18th-c Grand Tourists rather as we might buy coloured postcards today, and can be seen in most galleries and country houses. This genre of landscape originated in Flanders, where artists such as Paul Brill painted vedute as early as the 16th century. In th…

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Vegemite - History, Typical preparation, Nutritional information, Brand, Australian Slang, Popular culture

The registered trade name for a popular Australian spread for sliced bread. First produced in 1923 under the name ‘Parwill’, vegemite is a concentrated yeast based on vegetable extract, now owned by the multi-national Kraft Corporation. The brand is now owned by Kraft Foods, an American multinational that is part of the Altria Group of companies and Australian produced Vegemite is availab…

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vegetable - Etymology, Importance of vegetables in the diet, Colour of vegetables and fruit, Storage of vegetables

In a broad sense, anything of or concerning plants; but commonly referring to a plant or its parts, other than fruits and sometimes seeds, used for food. The term is often qualified by reference to the particular parts eaten (eg leaf vegetable, root vegetable). A number of foods often called vegetables are actually fruits, such as the tomato. All parts of an herbaceous plant that humans eat…

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vegetarianism - Terminology and varieties of vegetarianism, Vegetarian cuisine, Motivations and benefits, Health effects, Demographics, Vegetarian clothing

The practice of eating a diet devoid of meat. People who follow a diet containing dairy products and eggs are known as ovo-lacto-vegetarians. Those who shun all animal foods are known as vegans. People become vegetarians for a variety of ethical, ecological, and religious reasons, as well as simply not liking the taste of meat. The vegetarian diet may be healthier than that of the omnivore, since …

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vegetative reproduction - Natural vegetative structures, Horticultural aspects

Any means by which a plant reproduces itself without forming seeds or spores. In single-celled algae and fungi, it is achieved by simple cell division. Many bryophytes produce detachable buds called gemmae. Higher plants, especially flowering plants, may increase by a variety of means, such as bulbils, tubers, stolons, and runners. Fragments of stems or roots may break off and grow into new plants…

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Veii

Ancient Etruscan city, located N of Rome, near modern Isola Farnese; flourished 8th–6th-cBC; rival of Rome, conquered 396BC; ruins of Apollo's temple, Sodo bridge, a large necropolis, frescoes from the Ducks' tomb; remnants of painted terracotta statues (6th-cBC), found near Apollo's temple, housed at the Villa Giulia Museum in Rome. Veii was the richest city of the Etruscan League, on the…

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vein - Function, Anatomy, Notable veins and vein systems, Medical interest, Color

A vessel usually conveying deoxygenated blood from tissues back to the heart. Deep veins accompany arteries; superficial veins lie in the subcutaneous tissue, and often appear as blue channels just below the skin (eg at the wrist and on the forearm). Blood flow in veins is slower and at a lower pressure than in arteries; consequently veins are usually larger than their corresponding arteries and t…

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Vejle - History, Sports and culture

55°43N 9°30E, pop (2000e) 52 900. Seaport and manufacturing town, capital of Vejle county, E Jutland, Denmark, at head of Vejle Fjord; railway; engineering, foodstuffs; 13th-c St Nicholas's Church; 28 km/17 mi W is Billund, with Legoland®, a miniature town built of Lego® plastic bricks; 14 km/9 mi NW is Jelling, with 10th-c burial mounds of King Gorm and Queen Thyra. Vejle – in …

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veld(t) - Highveld and Lowveld

The undulating plateau grassland of S Africa, primarily in Zimbabwe and the Republic of South Africa. It can be divided into the high veld (over 1500 m/c.5000 ft), middle veld (900–1500 m/c.3 000–5000 ft) and low veld (under 900 m/c.3000 ft). The nature of the veld also changes from bush veld to grass veld or sand veld. The term Veld, or Veldt, refers primarily (but not exclusively)…

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Velingrad - History

42°01N 23°59E, pop (2000e) 23 200. Spa town in Pazardzik province, S Bulgaria, in the Rhodope Mts; a well-known therapeutic centre, with 70 thermal springs; railway. Velingrad (Bulgarian: Велинград) is a town in Bulgaria and one of the most popular Bulgarian balneological resorts. According to legend, Orpheus lived in these lands at one time. There are 7…

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velocity - Explanation, Polar coordinates

For linear motion, the rate of change of distance with time in a given direction; velocity v, units m/s. For rotational motion, it is the rate of change of angle with time; angular velocity ?, units radian/s. Both are vector quantities. The velocity of an object is simply its speed in a particular direction. The velocity is a physical quantity of an object's motion. The average …

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velvet worm - Description, Behaviour, Evolution

A primitive terrestrial arthropod; body cylindrical, segmented, length up to 150 mm/6 in; head with a pair of antennae and a pair of jaws; legs lobe-like; c.70 species, mostly nocturnal and feeding on small invertebrates. (Phylum: Arthropoda. Subphylum: Onychophora.) Onychophora (also called velvet worms, walking worms, or spitting worms) are segmented, caterpillar-like, terrestrial anima…

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Venda

Former independent black homeland in NE South Africa; self-government, 1973; granted independence by South Africa (not recognized internationally), 1979; bloodless military coup, 1990; incorporated into Northern Province in the South African constitution of 1994. Venda was a bantustan in northern South Africa, now part of Limpopo province. It was founded as a "homeland" for the Venda ethnic…

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Venetian School - Composers, References and further reading

The art associated with Venice, beginning with the building of the Basilica of St Mark in the 11th-c, with its rich mosaics and proud Byzantine domes. Painting developed from the 14th-c onwards and became one of the greatest traditions in Renaissance Europe. Leading masters included Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto. In contrast to Florence, Venice fostered a painterly and atmos…

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Veneto - Notable people from Veneto, Language, Notes and references, Provinces, History, Politics, Economy, Climate, Main tourist attractions

pop (2001e) 4 516 000; area 18 379 km²/7094 sq mi. Region of NE Italy, comprising provinces of Verona, Vicenza, Belluno, Treviso, Venezia, Padova, and Rovigo; mountainous terrain; chief rivers are Po, Adige, Brenta, and Piave; population concentrated in the larger cities of the Po plain; grains, wine, fruit, vegetables, cattle-farming; textiles, building materials, metalworking, chemicals,…

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Venezuela - Origin of Venezuela, History of colonization, Administrative divisions, Geography, Economy, Demographics, Public health, National symbols

Official name Republic of Venezuela Venezuela (IPA: [ˌvɛnɪˈzweɪlə]; A former Spanish colony, Venezuela is a federal republic. Historically, Venezuela has had territorial disputes with Guyana, largely concerning the Essequibo area, and with Colombia concerning the Gulf of Venezuela. The name Venezuela is believed to have originated from the cartographer Am…

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Venice - History, Transport, Demographics, Main sights, Sinking of Venice

45°26N 12°20E, pop (2000e) 317 000. Seaport capital of Venice province, Veneto, NE Italy, on the Gulf of Venice, at the head of the Adriatic Sea; 4 km/2 mi from the Italian mainland in a salt-water lagoon, separated from the Adriatic by narrow spits of land; built on 118 small islands, and crossed by more than 150 canals, notably the Grand Canal, the main traffic artery; the houses and palac…

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Venlo - Population centres, The city of Venlo

51º22N 6º10E, pop (2001e) 64 200. City in E Limburg province, SE Netherlands; situated on the R Maas, near the W German border; birthplace of Bertus Aafjes and Willem Nolens. Venlo (pronunciation (help·info)) is a municipality and a city in the southeastern Netherlands. Its history goes back to Roman times. Due to the fact that Venlo had both a road and a rail b…

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Venn diagram - Origins, Similar diagrams, Extensions to higher numbers of sets, Classroom Use

In mathematics, a diagram illustrating the relations between sets, devised by the British logician, John Venn (1834–1923). For example, the diagram shows that Set A is a subset of B, and B does not contain any elements of C, ie B and C are disjoint. Venn diagrams are illustrations used in the branch of mathematics known as set theory. A Venn diagram shows all the possible logical relations…

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Venus (astronomy) - Structure, Orbit and rotation, Observation, Studies of Venus, Research with space probes, Venus in human culture

The second major planet from the Sun, attaining the greatest brilliancy in the night sky, outshining all the stars, hence its poetic names ‘morning/evening star’. There are no natural satellites. It has the following characteristics: mass 4·87 × 1024 kg; radius 6052 km/3760 mi; mean density 5·2 g/cm3; equatorial gravity 887 cm/s2; rotational period 243 days (retrograde); orbital period…

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Venus (mythology) - Epithets, In post-ancient art

Originally an obscure Italian deity of the vegetable garden, she was identified with Aphrodite, and, as the Roman goddess of love, took over the latter's mythology and attributes. Venus was commonly associated with the Greek goddess Aphrodite and the Etruscan deity Turan, borrowing aspects from each. Like other major Roman deities, Venus was ascribed a number of epithets to refe…

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Venus Express - History, Instrumentation, Important events and discoveries, See Also

The European Space Agency's first mission to Venus. The spacecraft lifted off on a Soyuz-Fregat rocket launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 9 November 2005, beginning its five-month long journey to the planet. A probe successfully entered an elliptical orbit around Venus (Apr 2006) to begin studying its atmosphere, which has experienced rapid greenhouse warming. Scientists hope t…

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Venus Williams - Grand Slam singles finals, Titles (45)

Tennis player, born in Lynwood, California, USA. Coached by her father, she became the dominant female player of 2000, that year winning the Wimbledon singles title, the US Open, and Olympic gold in Sydney. She also won the Wimbledon doubles title, partnered by her younger sister, Serena Williams. She retained the Wimbledon and the US Open singles titles in 2001, but in 2003 was defeated by her si…

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Vera (Mary) Brittain - Biographies

Writer, born in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, C England, UK. After studying at Oxford she served as a nurse in World War 1, recording her experiences with war-found idealism in Testament of Youth (1933). She later wrote Testament of Friendship (1940) and Testament of Experience (1957). She was a good friend of Winifred Holtby. In 1925 she married George Catlin (1896–1979), professor of pol…

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Veracruz

19°11N 96°10W, pop (2000e) 394 000. Seaport in Veracruz state, E Mexico, on the Gulf of Mexico; site of Cortés landing, 1519; airport; railway; principal port of entry for Mexico; textiles, chemicals, iron and steel, soap, sisal, trade in coffee, vanilla, tobacco; Palacio Municipal (17th-c), Castle of San Juan de Ulúa (1565), Baluarte de Santiago fort, city museum. The state of Veracr…

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Vercors

Writer, born in Paris, France. He began in 1928 with the sketches Vingt-et-une Recettes pratiques de Mort violente, but gained fame with his short story Le Silence de la mer, the first finished work to be printed secretly (20 Feb 1942) by the Editions de Minuit. Later books include La Marche à l'Etoile (1943), Les Armes de la nuit (1947), Le Radeau de la Méduse (1967), and a biography, Moi, Aris…

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verdigris

Basic copper carbonate, approximately Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2, formed in the atmospheric corrosion of copper surfaces. It is green in colour. Verdigris is the common name for the chemical Cu(CH 3 COO) 2 , or copper(II) acetate. Its name comes from the Middle English vertegrez, from the Old French verte grez, an alteration of vert-de-Grice — verd (green), de (of), and Grice (Greece)— "green…

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Vergina - History

Ancient Aigai, Greece, the first capital of Macedonia. It is notable archaeologically for the excavation in 1977 of the reputed grave of Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. Below a burial mound 110 m/360 ft diameter and 14 m/46 ft high lay a spectacular vaulted tomb with a painted stucco facade; finds included weapons, armour, drinking vessels, furniture, and a gold casket ho…

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verismo - Other usages

Literary movement which originated in Italy during the second half of the 19th-c, influenced by French naturalism, but with a distinct regionalist character. Its leading exponent was the novelist Giovanni Verga, who outlined the main themes in the foreword to his novel I malavoglia (1881). Among its characteristics are a populist setting, with the disadvantaged as ‘heroes’, and the impartiality …

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vermiculite - Commercial manufacture of exfoliated vermiculite, Fireproofing

A group of clay minerals formed by the alteration of micas. They consist of porous and flaky particles which expand to about 20 times their volume when heated, producing low-density, thermally insulating, and inert material used in plaster, insulation, and packing material, and as a medium for raising plants from seed. Vermiculite is a natural, non toxic mineral which expands with the appli…

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Vermont - Geography, History, Demographics, Transportation, Law and government, Education, Professional sports teams, Miscellaneous topics, Notable Vermonters

pop (2000e) 608 800; area 24 899 km²/9614 sq mi. New England state in NE USA, divided into 14 counties; the ‘Green Mountain State’; explored by Champlain, 1609; first settlement established at Fort Dummer, 1724; 14th state admitted to the Union, 1791; capital, Montpelier; largest town, Burlington; the Green Mts run N–S through the C; rivers drain W from the mountains into L Champlain whi…

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vermouth

A fortified red or white wine. Pure alcohol is used for the fortification, up to the same alcohol level as sherry, and various herbs and spices are added for flavour. Martini is a popular cocktail of gin (or vodka) and vermouth. Vermouth is a fortified wine flavored with aromatic herbs and spices ("aromatized" in the trade) in recipes that are closely-guarded trade secrets. The inventor of …

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Verner (Edward) Suomi

Meteorologist, born in Eveleth, Minnesota, USA. Inventor of the Spinscan weather satellite camera (1963), he began as a Minnesota public school teacher (1938–42). At the University of Wisconsin, Madison (1948) he helped found the Space Science and Engineering Center (1967) and helped develop the man-computer interactive data access system (McIDAS). Verner Suomi (1915-1995) was the father o…

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Verney Lovett Cameron

Explorer, born in Radipole, Dorset, S England, UK. He entered the navy in 1857, and in 1872 was appointed to command an African E coast expedition to relieve David Livingstone. Starting from Bagamoyo in 1873, he met Livingstone's followers bearing his remains to the coast. He made a survey of L Tanganyika, then continued to Benguela, the first European to cross Africa from coast to coast. In 1878 …

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Vernon (Benjamin) Mountcastle - Bibliography

Neurophysiologist, born in Shelbyville, Kentucky, USA. He trained at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he joined the faculty in 1946. His research has been concerned with neural mechanisms in sensation and perception, and his book (with G M Edelman), The Mindful Brain (1978), has been influential. …

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Vernon (Phillips) Watkins

Poet, born in Maesteg, Bridgend, S Wales, UK. He studied at Cambridge, and worked at Lloyds Bank, Swansea, for most of his life. He published eight collections of verse during his lifetime, including Ballad of Mari Lwyd (1941), Death Bell (1954), and Affinities (1962). Regarded as one of the greatest Welsh poets in English, as well as one of the most unusual, he was long overshadowed by his friend…

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Vernon Duke - Musical theater credits

Composer, born in Russia. Trained at the Kiev Conservatory, he went to New York City and wrote a piano concerto for Arthur Rubenstein (1922). In Paris two years later he wrote a ballet for Sergei Diaghilev and also wrote stage music in London (1926–9). From this point on he tended to use his original Russian name for his serious music and his adopted name for his more popular works. Back in New Y…

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Vernon Lee - Works

Writer, born in Boulogne, NW France. She travelled widely in her youth and settled in Florence. Studies of Italian and Renaissance art were followed by her philosophical study, The Beautiful (1913). She also wrote a collection of essays, and more than 30 books, including Miss Brown (3 vols, 1884), Vital Lies (1912), and a dramatic trilogy, Satan the Waster (1920), giving full rein to her pacifism.…

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Verona - History, Demographics, Monuments, Notable people, Sister cities

45°26N 11°00E, pop (2000e) 264 000. Capital town of Verona province, Veneto, N Italy, on the R Adige c.80 km/50 mi from Venice; important communications centre; railway; agricultural market centre; chemicals, engineering, freight distribution, antiques, shoes, textiles, paper, furniture, tourism; many Roman and mediaeval remains; birthplace of Catullus; cathedral (12th–15th-c), Church of Sa…

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Veronica Franco - Life as a courtesan, Written records, Film portrayal

Courtesan and scholar, born in Venice, Veneto, NE Italy. Famed for her beauty, as well as her learning, she wrote poems, Terze rime (1575), which added a touch of sensuality to the usual Petrarca-inspired themes. She was put on trial by the Inquisition and, although acquitted, dedicated the rest of her life to charity work. Renaissance Venetian society recognized two different classes of co…

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Verrazano-Narrows Bridge - History, Bridge usage, The Verrazano in popular culture

A major steel suspension bridge across the entrance to New York harbour, connecting Staten I with Brooklyn; constructed in 1959–64; length of main span 1298 m/4260 ft; Narrows named after the Italian explorer, Giovanni da Verrazano (1485–1528). The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is a double-decked suspension bridge that connects the boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn in New York City at t…

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Versailles - A seat of power, Transport

A chateau built for Louis XIII at the village of Versailles, 23 km/14 mi SW of Paris in the 17th-c, and transformed under Louis XIV to create a palace, unequalled in its display of wealth, in which to house the entire court. Later extensions were the Grand Trianon (a smaller residence in the palace grounds) and the Petit Trianon (added by Louis XV). The palace was ransacked during the French Rev…

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verse - Popular music

A single line of poetry, a stanza, or poetry in general (as in the phrase ‘English verse’). Versification refers to the technical characteristics of a given poetic form, and also to the exploitation of these by a given poet. Verse also has a special use in biblical contexts, where it refers to a traditional division of the text of a chapter. Verse is writing which uses meter as its primar…

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vertebral column - Curves, Surfaces

The backbone of all vertebrates: a series of bony elements (vertebrae) separated by intervertebral discs, and held together by ligaments and muscles. The amount of movement between adjacent vertebrae is small, but when added together the vertebral column is extremely mobile. In the majority of vertebrates, the column lies horizontally, being supported by hindlimbs and forelimbs. In humans, however…

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vertical integration - Three types, Examples

A business situation where a company expands by buying up its suppliers or its customers, thus controlling all the processes of production, from raw materials through to the sale of the final product. The advantages for a company are that, since it owns its suppliers or customers, the profits made by them are kept in the firm. In addition, owning suppliers should ensure delivery of the materials a…

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vertigo

An abnormal sensation of movement, either of the body in space, or of other objects around it; affected individuals complain of feeling dizzy or giddy. It is usually a symptom of disorders such as infections that affect the balance apparatus located in the inner ear. It may also be: In music, In film, In comics, In other media, Ver…

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Verulamium

A Belgic town in Roman Britain which stood on the site of present-day St Albans. Completely destroyed in the Revolt of Boadicea (Boudicca) in AD 60, it was later rebuilt and became a focal point for the Romanization of the province. Verulamium was the third largest city in Roman Britain. It was sited to the south west of the modern city of St Albans in Hertfordshire, on what is now park and…

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Very Large Array - Characteristics, Past and future, Popular culture, Visiting, Named after the Very Large Array

The world's most elaborate full synthesis radio telescope at Socorro, NM, consisting of 27 antennae each 25 m/81 ft in diameter, arranged on rail tracks forming a Y pattern up to 36 km/22 mi across. It is used to investigate the structure of gaseous nebulae in our Galaxy, and of remote radio galaxies and quasars. The Very Large Array (VLA) is a radio astronomy observatory located on the…

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Vespasian - Year of Four Emperors, Vespasian as emperor, Views on Vespasian

Roman emperor (69–79), born near Reate, Latium, the founder of the Flavian dynasty (69–96). Declared emperor by the troops in the East, where he was engaged in putting down the Jewish Revolt, he ended the civil wars that had been raging since Nero's overthrow, put the state on a sound financial footing, and restored discipline to the army. Among his many lavish building projects was the Colosseu…

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Vespers - Current use, Historical development of Vespers before the Second Vatican Council, Musical settings of Vespers

The evening hour of the divine office of the Western Church. In monastic, cathedral, and collegiate churches in the Roman Catholic Church it is sung daily between 3 and 6 pm. Vespers is the evening prayer service in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox liturgies of the canonical hours. The term is also used in some Protestant (especially Lutheran) denominations to describe evening…

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Vesta (mythology) - Vestales, Vestalia, Household Worship of Vesta

Roman goddess of the hearth. Her sacred fire, and a shrine containing sacred objects, were kept in a round building, and tended by the Vestal Virgins. Vesta was the virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and family in Roman mythology, analogous to Hestia in Greek mythology. As Goddess of the Hearth she was the symbol of the home, around which a newborn child must be carried…

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Vesta Tilley - Early years, Stardom, Wartime effort, Retirement

Music-hall entertainer, born in Worcester, Worcestershire, WC England, UK. She first appeared as ‘The Great Little Tilley’, aged four, in Nottingham, adopted her professional name, and became a celebrated male impersonator. Her many popular songs included ‘Burlington Bertie’ and ‘Following in Father's Footsteps’. She retired in 1920. Vesta Tilley (May 13, 1864 – September 16, 1952),…

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Vevey

46º28N 6º51E, pop (2001e) 15 200. Resort town in Vaud canton, SW Switzerland; situated on N shore of L Geneva; birthplace of Ernest Ansermet; farming and wine producing area; museum of local history in former chateau (1798); about every 25 years hosts La Fête des Vignerons, the biggest popular folk event in the Vaud canton; chocolate, watches; tourism. Coordinates: 46°28′N 6°51′E…

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VHS - Technical details, Variations, Signal standards, Tape lengths, VHS vs. Betamax, Decline of VHS

The trade name for a videotape cassette recorder introduced in 1975 by JVC/Matsushita for the domestic market, and widely adopted by other manufacturers. It uses ½ in (12·7 mm) tape at a speed of 2·34 cm/? in per second in a cassette 189 × 104 × 25 mm/7½ × 4 × 1 in. It has a playing time of up to 4 hours, and has proved to be the most internationally popular home VTR system. …

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vibraphone - Technique, Vibraphone performers, Media

A musical instrument resembling a xylophone, but with metal bars and resonators that are fitted with electrically operated vanes. These rapidly open and close to produce a vibrating, tremolo effect, but the mechanism may be switched off if required. The instrument is usually played with soft beaters, and since the 1920s has frequently been used in jazz, dance, and orchestral music. The vibr…

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Vic Feather

Trade union leader, born in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, EC England, UK. Educated at Hanson Grammar School, Bradford, he began work at 14, and joined the Shopworkers' Union. Shop steward at 15, and chairman of his branch committee at 21, he was a stirring speaker, and in 1937 joined the staff of the Trade Union Council, becoming assistant secretary (1947–60), assistant general secretary (1960–9),…

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vicar - Roman Catholic, Anglican, Notable vicars, Lutheran usage

Literally, one who takes the place of another; for example, the pope is said to be the Vicar of Christ. In Anglican Churches, the term applies technically to the priest acting for the rector, but is widely used for any parish priest or minister. In Roman Catholic Canon law, a vicar is the representative of any ecclesiastic. In the early Christian churches, bishops likewise had their vicars,…

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Vicchio

45º56N 11º28E, pop (2001e) 7200. Town in the Mugello valley between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, NW Italy; developed during the 14th-c; famous as the birthplace of Fra Angelico; town museum dedicated to him houses frescoes and sculptures; fertile region with scenic landscapes; L Montelleri nearby; agriculture; tourism. …

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Vicente Aleixandre

Poet, born in Seville, SW Spain. It was the appearance of his collected poems, Mis poemas mejores (1937), that established his reputation as a major poet. His later publications include En un vasto dominio (1962, In a Vast Domain) and Antologia total (1976). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1977. Vicente Pío Marcelino Cirilo Aleixandre y Merlo (April 26, 1898 – December 1…

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Vicente Espinel - Sources

Spanish writer and musician. He studied humanities at the University of Salamanca, then entered the service of the Conde de Lemos (1574–7). After establishing himself in Sevilla, he set out for Italy. He returned to be ordained priest and to reside in Madrid from 1598, where he was chaplain and master of music to the Archbishop of the diocese. His poetic talent is evident in Rimas (1591) and with…

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Vicenza - Main sights, Famous people from Vicenza, Sources and external links

45°33N 11°33E, pop (2000e) 113 000. Capital town of Vicenza province, Veneto, NE Italy; 35 km/22 mi NW of Padua; railway junction; textiles, carpets, iron and steel, papermaking, gold jewellery; home of Palladio; Basilica Palladiana (1549–1614), Teatro Olimpico (1580), La Rotonda (1550–1606), cathedral (15th-c). Vicenza is a city in northern Italy, is the capital of the eponymous pr…

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viceroy - Under the monarchs of Spain, British Empire and Commonwealth, Other colonial viceroyalties

The governor of a colony or province, acting in the name and by the authority of the supreme ruler, the monarch. Following the Indian Mutiny in 1857, India was brought directly under the British government (1858), who sent a viceroy to act as governor under a London-based secretary of state within the Cabinet. Lord Louis Mountbatten became the last Viceroy of India in March 1947. The absolu…

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Vichy - Administration, Economy, Miscellaneous, Sources

The informal name of the French political regime between 1940 and 1945; officially l'Etat Français (‘the French State’). Established at the spa town of Vichy following Germany's defeat of France (1940), its head of state was Marshal Philippe Pétain, and its other dominant political figure Pierre Laval, prime minister from 1942. Although a client regime of Germany, Vichy succeeded in maintainin…

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Vicki Baum

Novelist, born in Vienna, Austria. After writing several novels and short stories in German, she made her name with Grand Hotel (1930), which became a best-seller and a popular film. She emigrated to the USA in 1931, where her later novels included Falling Star (1934), Headless Angel (1948), and The Mustard Seed (1953). Hedwig (Vicki) Baum (January 24, 1888 – August 29, 1960) was an Austr…

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Vicky

Political cartoonist, born in Berlin, Germany. He emigrated to Britain in 1935, worked with several newspapers, and established himself as the leading left-wing political cartoonist of the period. His collections include Vicky's World (1959). Victor Weisz (25 April 1913–22 February 1966) was a German political cartoonist, drawing under the name of Vicky. He was born in Berlin,…

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Victor (Marie) Hugo - Early life and influences, Early poetry and fiction, Theatrical work, Mature fiction, Political life and exile

Writer, born in Besançon, NE France. Educated in Paris and Madrid, he wrote his first play at the age of 14, and went on to become the most prolific French writer of the 19th-c. His early works include Odes et Ballades (1822, 1826), and Hernani (1830), the first of the ‘five-act lyrics’ which compose his drama. The 1830s saw several plays, such as Marion Delorme (1831), books of poetry, notably…

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Victor Balaguer

Catalan poet, playwright, and historian, born in Barcelona, NE Spain. He was a major contributor to the restoration of the Jocs Florals and Catalan Renaissance. His plays were scarcely more than sequences of dramatic monologues with scanty plots, but his Tragedias (1876) in Catalan made the important plays of Àngel Guimerà possible. Of his poems, the most characteristic are the religious ‘La Ve…

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Victor Borge - Biography, Discography

Entertainer and pianist, born in Copenhagen, Denmark. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen, and in Vienna and Berlin. He made his debut as a pianist in 1926, and as a revue actor in 1933. From 1940 he worked in the USA for radio, television, and theatre, and performed with leading symphony orchestras on worldwide tours from 1956. He was best known for his comedy sketches com…

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Victor Cousin - Biography, Philosophy, Bibliography

Philosopher, born in Paris, France. After the 1830 revolution, he became a member of the Council of Public Instruction, and in 1832 a peer of France and director of the Ecole Normale. In 1848 he aided the government of Cavaignac, but after 1849 left public life. His eclectic philosophy can be seen in his Fragments philosophiques (1826) and Du vrai, du beau, et du bien (1854, On the True, the Beaut…

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Victor F(rederick) Weisskopf

Physicist, born in Vienna, Austria. While a graduate student in Germany, he and E P Wigner made advancements in quantum electrodynamics in their studies of light emission by electrons. With Wolfgang Pauli, he postulated the existence of charged particles without spin (1934), and experimental evidence for this theory occurred in 1946 with the discovery of the meson. Weisskopf fled the Nazis in 1937…

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Victor Fleming - MGM, Filmography as Director (Partial)

Film director, born in Pasadena, California, USA. Beginning in Hollywood (1910) as an assistant cameraman, he worked at times under D W Griffith and filmed several of Douglas Fairbanks' films. He was hired as official cameraman of President Woodrow Wilson's trip to Europe (1918–19) and on his return made his directorial debut, launching a three-decades-long career as one of the more reliable dire…

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Victor Herbert - Life and career, Recent recordings

Operetta composer and conductor, born in Dublin, Ireland. When he first went to the USA (1886), he had the reputation of a serious cellist who had played under Johannes Brahms and Anton Rubenstein. As conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony (1889–1904), he premiered several of his own orchestral works (and his cello concerto continues to be played). In 1894 he launched a second career as a composer …

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Victor Papanek

Designer and educator, born in Vienna, Austria. He went to the USA in 1939, studied with Frank Lloyd Wright (1949), graduated from Cooper Union (1950), and earned an MS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1955). He taught at the University of Toronto, the Rhode Island School of Design, Purdue University, and the California Institute of the Arts, among other places in North America. He …

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Victor Pelevin - Selected bibliography

Writer, born in Moscow, Russia. He is considered the leading Russian novelist of his generation and a satirist of both the human and the Russian condition. His first novel, Omon Ra (1992), was acclaimed for its high satire and youthful enthusiasm. This was followed by a collection of stories, The Blue Lantern and Other Stories (1993), and a novel, The Yellow Arrow (1994), both of which were awarde…

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Victor Wolfgang Von Hagen

Naturalist, explorer, and ethnographer, born in St Louis, Missouri, USA. During a lifetime of adventure and exploration he discovered live quetzals in Honduras (1937–8), studied the fauna of the Galapagos Is (1936–63), and led expeditions along the Inca Highway (1953–5) and the Royal Persian Road (1973–5). His popular books include Jungle in the Clouds (1940). …

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Victor Young - Work on Broadway, Sources

Composer, conductor, and violinist, born in Chicago, Illinois, USA. A classically trained violinist, in the 1920s he worked as an orchestra arranger for Ted Fiorito and as a musical director for film theatres and vaudeville. He became musical director for Brunswick Records (1931), and in 1935 he moved to Hollywood, where for 20 years, as composer, arranger, and conductor, he worked on over 225 fil…

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Victoria - Name, People, Mythology, Place names, Earth, Mars, Geography, Species, Structures and landmarks, Transport

Queen of Great Britain (1837–1901) and (from 1876) Empress of India, born in London, UK, the only child of George III's fourth son, Edward, and Victoria Maria Louisa of Saxe-Coburg, sister of Leopold, King of the Belgians. Taught by Lord Melbourne, her first prime minister, she had a clear grasp of constitutional principles and the scope of her own prerogative, which she resolutely exercised in 1…

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Victoria (Canada) - Name, People, Mythology, Place names, Earth, Mars, Geography, Species, Structures and landmarks, Transport

48°25N 123°22W, pop (2000e) 79 800. Capital of British Columbia, Canada, at SE end of Vancouver I, on the Juan de Fuca Strait; founded as fur-trading post, 1843; colonial capital, 1866; provincial capital, 1871; airfield; railway; university (1963); shipbuilding, timber, fish canning, computer software, tourism; Parliament Buildings (1893–7), Empress Hotel (1906–8), Thunderbird Park (unique …

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Victoria Abril - Filmography, Trivia

Actress, born in Madrid, Spain. She began as a dancer at a very early age and was eventually given a part in the film Obsession (1974). She went on to combine acting with a job as a TV presenter. During the 1950s she became a ‘Chica Almodóvar’ (‘Almodóvar girl’, an actress directed by Almodóvar). Among her most popular films are El Lute camina o revienta (1987) directed by Vicente Aranda, A…

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Victoria and Albert Museum - History, Collections

A museum of fine and applied arts, opened in London, UK in 1852 as the Museum of Manufactures, and later renamed the Museum of Ornamental Art. Articles bought from the Great Exhibition (1851) formed the core of the original display. In 1899, when Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone of the present building, she requested that it be renamed the Victoria and Albert. In 2002 the museum celebrated…

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Victoria Cross (VC) - Historical background, Awards, Victoria Cross after 2000, Annuity, Forfeited VCs, Theft of the VC, Official collections

In the UK, the highest military decoration, instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856 and awarded ‘for conspicuous bravery in the face of the enemy’. Since 1902 it can be conferred posthumously; in 1920 women became eligible, but no woman has yet received it. The medal is inscribed ‘For valour’; the ribbon is crimson. The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest recognition for valour "in the face…

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Victoria Falls - History, The falls, Below the falls, The railway bridge, Tourism, National parks

Waterfalls on the Zambezi R, on the Zambia–Zimbabwe frontier, SC Africa; height, 61–108 m/200–354 ft; width, 1688 m/5538 ft; comprises five main falls (Eastern Cataract, Rainbow Falls, Devil's Cataract, Horseshoe Falls, Main Falls); European discovery by Livingstone, 1855; named after Queen Victoria; facing towns of Livingstone (Zambia) and Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe); major tourist attractio…

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Victoria Island

Island in Northwest Territories, Canada, in the Arctic Ocean; area 217 290 km²/83 874 sq mi; 515 km/320 mi long; 274–595 km/170–370 mi wide; deeply indented; discovered 1838; named for Queen Victoria; sparse population. Victoria Island is an island of peninsulae, having a heavily indented coastline with many inlets. In the east, pointing northwards, is the Storkerson Peninsula, …

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Victoria Peak - Alternative Chinese names, Peak Tower, Restaurants, Lung Fu Shan Trail, Transportation

22°18N 114°08E. Principal peak on Hong Kong Island, SE Asia; height, 554 m/1818 ft; named after Queen Victoria; Peak Tramway (opened 1888) takes tourists to the summit for notable views of the city and harbour. Victoria Peak (Chinese: 太平山頂 [See also the alternative Chinese names]) is a mountain in Hong Kong, China. The Peak area, covering the Peak, Victoria Gap, Moun…

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Victoria Wood

Comedy performer and writer, born in Prestwich, Lancashire, NW England, UK. She studied drama at Birmingham University, and began singing her own comic songs on local radio and television while still a student. The creator of all her own sketches, songs, and stand-up routines, her bubbly personality has offered witty observations on most aspects of everyday life. Her television career began with a…

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Victoria Woodhull - Early life, Female broker, Newspaper editor, Presidential candidate, Views on abortion and eugenics, Death, Publications

Spiritualist, entrepreneur, and activist, born in Homer, Ohio, USA. With her sister, Tennessee Celeste Claflin (1845–1923), they became one of the more outrageous ‘sister acts’ in American history. As young girls they travelled with their dubious father as part of a family medicine show, claiming cures for numerous ailments. In 1853 Victoria married Dr Canning Woodhull and had two children by h…

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Victorien Sardou - Select bibliography

Playwright, born in Paris, France. His first efforts were failures, but after his marriage he met the actress Virginie Déjazet (1798–1875), for whom he wrote several plays, and his work became widely known in Europe and the USA. His plays include Les Pattes de monde (1860, trans A Scrap of Paper), La Tosca (1887), on which Puccini's opera is based, and over 60 others, many written for Sarah Bern…

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video - Description, Characteristics of video streams, Video formats, External Links

Strictly, that part of the television signal which carries the picture information, as distinct from the audio signal carrying the sound; but by extension the term has become generally accepted to cover the electronic recording and reproduction of combined picture and sound, especially in its non-broadcast application. As a noun, a ‘video’ is an abbreviation for a videotape recorder, a videotape…

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videoconferencing - History, Technology, Issues, Standards, Impact on the general public, Impact on education

The use of computer networks and virtual reality to enable groups in separate locations to conduct a conference with the impression that they are all in the same room. The use of computer networks to establish the videoconference allows the participants to have shared access to computer files and computer programs throughout the conference. A videoconference (also known as a videoteleconfer…

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videotape - History

A high-quality magnetic coating on a flexible polyester base for recording and reproducing video signals. The original formulae using dispersions of ferric oxide were improved by the addition of cobalt; further developments with chrome dioxide, metal-particle dispersions, and metal-evaporated coatings allowed increased information packing on narrower and thinner strips. Videotape has been made in …

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videotex - History, Minitel, CEPT, Comparison to the Internet today

An interactive information service using a telephone link between the user and a central computer; formerly called viewdata. An example is Prestel, run by British Telecom in the UK in the 1990s. It can be used for home banking, armchair shopping, ticket ordering, and other such functions. The service is different from teletext, which is a non-interactive system transmitted along with television si…

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Vidkun (Abraham Lauritz Jonsson) Quisling - Early life, The Nasjonal Samling party, German invasion and coup d'etat, Arrest and trial

Diplomat and fascist leader, born in Fyresdal, S Norway. He was an army major, a League of Nations official, had the care of British interests in Russia (1927–9), and was defence minister in Norway (1931–3). In 1933 he founded the Nasjonal Samling (National Party) in imitation of the German National Socialist Party, and became puppet prime minister in occupied Norway. He gave himself up in May 1…

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Vienna - History, Subdivision, Politics, Religions, Culture, Education, Transportation, Leisure activities, International organisations in Vienna

48°13N 16°22E, pop (2000e) 1 597 000. Capital city and a state of Austria; at the foot of the Wienerwald on the R Danube; C area surrounded by the monumental buildings and gardens of the Ringstrasse, developed 1859–88; badly damaged in World War 2, and occupied by the Allies (1945–55); to the NE extends a circuit of inner suburban districts; UNO-City, conference and office complex (opened 1…

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Vienna Circle - History of the Vienna Circle, The Vienna Circle manifesto, Unified Science, The elimination of metaphysics

A group of philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians centred on Vienna University in the 1920s and 1930s. It was founded by Schlick, and had among its associates Gödel, Neurath, and Carnap. It became an international focus for logical positivism, and when the Circle itself dissolved with the rise of Nazism most of its members emigrated to the USA. The Vienna Circle (in German: der Wiene…

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Vientiane - Administration, Geography, History, Sights, Colleges and universities, Transportation, See Also

17°59N 102°38E, pop (2000e) 560 000. Capital city of Laos, SE Asia; port on R Mekong, close to the Thailand frontier (W); airport; university (1958); brewing, textiles, cigarettes, detergents, matches, timber products; maize, rice, livestock; national museum, national library; Nam Ngum Dam (N), That Luang Temple (16th-c). Vientiane (vyen tyn, Lao ວຽງຈັນ Viangchan) is the …

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Vietnam - History, Geography and climate, Government and politics, Subdivisions, Economy, Transport, Demographics, Culture, Education, Media

Official name Socialist Republic of Vietnam Vietnam (Vietnamese: Việt Nam), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a nation in Southeast Asia. With a population of approximately 84 million, Vietnam is one of the most densely populated nations in Southeast Asia. The name of the country comes from the Vietnamese Việt Nam, which means the land of the Viet people in the South…

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Vietnam War - Background, The Diem Era, 1955-1963, Escalation and Americanization, 1963-1968

(1946–75) Hostilities between communist North Vietnam and non-communist South Vietnam, and others, also known as the First and Second Indo-Chinese Wars. The first began in 1946 after the breakdown of negotiations between France and the communist-dominated Viet Minh under Ho Chi-minh. France deployed 420 000 troops to support the 200 000 Vietnamese army, but suffered defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1…

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Viggo Mortensen - Acting career, Bibliography, Visual arts, Discography, Background

Actor, born in Manhattan, New York, USA. Born to a Danish father and American mother, he spent much of his early childhood travelling with his family and spent several years in Venezuela, Argentina, and Denmark before returning to New York, where he studied at St Lawrence University. He took up acting and later moved to Los Angeles, where he earned critical praise for his stage performance in Bent…

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Vigo - Economics, Demography, Higher education, Cultural movements and the arts, Museums

42°12N 8°41W, pop (2000e) 278 000. Naval and commercial port in Pontevedra province, Galicia, NW Spain; Spain's chief port for transatlantic traffic; airport; boat services to the Canary Is; shipbuilding, metallurgy; watersports; Castle of St Sebastian, Castro Castle; Fiesta of La Virgen del Monte Carmel (Jul), Pilgrimage to Monte de Santa Tecia (Aug). Vigo 42°14′14.12″N, 8°43′1…

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Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit - Further reading

Indian diplomat, born in Allahabad, NE India, the sister of Nehru. She was active in the nationalist movement, and was three times imprisoned. In the Legislative Assembly of the United Provinces (later, Uttar Pradesh) she was minister for local self-government and public health (1937–9), the first Indian woman to hold a cabinet post. Leader of the Indian UN delegation (1946–8, 1952–3), she also…

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Vikram Seth - Background, Personal life, Writing, Published works, Prizes and awards

Novelist, poet, and travel-writer, born in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), E India. He studied at Oxford, Stanford, and Nanjing universities. In 1983 he won the Thomas Cook Travel Book award for From Heaven Lake, an account of his journey through Sinkiang and Tibet to Nepal. His novel A Suitable Boy (1993), one of the longest works of fiction in English, examines the lives of four families against th…

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Viktor (Emil) Frankl - Life before 1945, Life after 1945, Miscellaneous, Bibliography

Psychiatrist and writer, born in Vienna, Austria. He studied at the University of Vienna (1930 MD), was imprisoned by the Nazis during World War 2, and after his release he taught at Vienna (from 1947). He went to the USA during the 1960s, when his concept of logotherapy, an existentialist approach to psychotherapy, became well known. His many books include Man's Search for Meaning: An Introductio…

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Viktor Kaplan - Life

Engineer and inventor, born in Murz, EC Austria. Educated as a mechanical engineer at the Technische Hochschule in Vienna, he taught at the equivalent school in Brünn from 1903. He researched turbines powered by a low head of water, and patented the turbine with variable pitch blades which now bears his name (1920) and is widely used in hydro and tidal power schemes throughout the world. V…

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Viktor Meyer - Career, Further reading

Chemist, born in Berlin, Germany. He studied under Bunsen at Heidelberg University, became professor at Zürich, Göttingen, and finally at Heidelberg (1889). He discovered and investigated thiophene and the oximes. Meyer's professional career: Scientific contributions: Books: Meyer has written several notable books: …

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Viktor Onopko

Footballer, born in Lugansk, Ukraine. At age 9 he joined a football school and was soon playing for his first club, Shakhtar Donetsk. During his term of military service in the Russian army, he played for Dynamo Kiev, later joining top club Spartak Moscow in 1991. Since 1996 he has had success with Spanish first division club Real Oviedo. He was a member of the CIS squad in the 1992 European Champ…

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Viktor Schreckengost

Ceramicist, born in Sebring, Ohio, USA. After studying at the Cleveland Institute of Art, he studied ceramics and sculpture in Vienna, Austria (1929–30), then returned to Cleveland. He had been persuaded to return by R Guy Cowan of the Cowan Pottery Studio, outside Cleveland. Cowan allowed Schreckengost to teach at the Cleveland Institute of Art while making his own pottery - both his individual …

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Viktor Yushchenko - Central banker, Prime Minister, "Our Ukraine" leader and political portrait, Presidential election of 2004, President

Ukrainian prime minister (1999–2001) and president (2004– ), born in the Sumy region of NE Ukraine. He studied accountancy and joined the Soviet State Bank, rising to become deputy director in 1984. He moved to the Ukrainian Agro-Industrial Bank (1987) and in 1995 became governor of the National Bank of Ukraine. President Kuchma appointed him prime minister in 1999 and he was credited with steer…

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Vila Real - Parishes, City of Vila Real

41°17N 7°45W, pop (2000e) 15 300. Capital of Vila Real district, N Portugal; on R Corgo, 77 km/48 mi NE of Oporto; airfield; olive oil, pottery, tanning, textiles; Mateus wine produced nearby; cathedral, Church of São Pedro (16th-c), Mateus Villa, Roman sanctuary of Panoias 5 km/3 mi SE. Vila Real (pron. In 2001 urban Vila Real had an approximate population of 25,000 in…

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Vilfredo Pareto - Brief Biography, More biography, Pareto's works, and legacy

Economist and sociologist, born in Paris, France. Brought up in Italy, he studied at Turin University, became an engineer, and directed a railway company in Italy. He then studied philosophy and politics, and became professor of political economy at Lausanne from 1893. He wrote several influential textbooks on the subject, in which he demonstrated a mathematical approach. In sociology, his Trattat…

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Vilhjalmur Stef - Explorations, Literature

Arctic explorer, born of immigrant Icelandic parents in Arnes, Manitoba, C Canada. He studied anthropology and archaeology before going to live among the Eskimo (1906–12). He led the Canadian Arctic Expedition which mapped the Beaufort Sea (1913–18), and later became a consultant on the use of Arctic resources. He wrote several popular books, including My Life with the Eskimo (1913) and The Frie…

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Villahermosa - The city, Places of interest, Geography and natural resources, Education

18°00N 92°53W, pop (2000e) 470 000. River-port capital of Tabasco state, SE Mexico, on the R Grijalva; university (1958); agricultural trade, distilling, sugar refining; Centro de Investigaciones de las Culturas Olmecas; Mayan brick-built ruins of Comacalco to the NW. Villahermosa ("Beautiful Village" in Spanish language) is the capital city of Tabasco, Mexico, and the municipal seat of…

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villanelle - Derivation, The villanelle in English, Form, Examples

A short rustic poem popular with late 16th-c French poets, such as Joachim du Bellay and Philippe Desportes. Its form was strict, that of seven-syllable lines, with two rhymes in five tercets (3-line stanzas) and a final quatrain with line repetition. It was later used by Charles Leconte de L'Isle in its revived form. A villanelle is a poetic form which entered English-language poetry in th…

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Vilnius - History, Coat of arms of Vilnius city, Geography and population, Tourism, Economy, Religion, Climate, Transport

54°40N 25°19E, pop (2000e) 585 000. Capital city of Lithuania, on R Vilnya; one of the largest industrial centres of the Baltic region; formerly part of Poland; ceded to Russia, 1795; occupied by Germany in World War 2; airport; railway junction; university (1579); machinery, metalworking, chemicals, foodstuffs, textiles; cathedral (1777–1801), Gediminas Castle. Vilnius (pronunciation …

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Vincent (Leonard) Price - Biography, Filmography, Notes

Actor and writer, born in St Louis, Missouri, USA. He travelled in Europe, studied at Yale, and became an actor. He made his screen debut in 1938, and after many minor roles he began to perform in low-budget horror movies such as House of Wax (1953), achieving his first major success with The Fall of the House of Usher (1960). Known for his distinctive, low-pitched, creaky, atmospheric voice, and …

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Vincent (Willem) van Gogh - Biography, Medical records, Work, Legacy

Painter, born in Groot-Zundert, The Netherlands. At 16 he worked in an art dealer's, then as a teacher, and became an evangelist at Le Borinage (1878–80). In 1881 he went to Brussels to study art, and settled at The Hague, where he produced his early drawings and watercolours. At Nuenen he painted his first masterpiece, a domestic scene of peasant poverty, ‘The Potato Eaters’ (1885, Amsterdam).…

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Vincent Auriol - Early life and politics, Postwar life and presidency

French statesman, the first president of the Fourth Republic (1947–54), born in Revel, S France. He studied law at Tolouse, and was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1914, later becoming leader of the Socialist Party. He served as a minister in 1936 and 1945, and resigned from politics in 1960. Jules-Vincent Auriol (August 27, 1884 - January 1, 1966) was a French politician who served …

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Vincent Novello

Organist, composer, and music publisher, born in London, UK. He arranged the publication of two volumes of sacred music (1811), which was the start of the publishing house of Novello & Co. He was a founder-member of the Philharmonic Society (1813), and subsequently its pianist and conductor. His compositions improved church music, and he was a painstaking editor of unpublished works. Vincen…

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Vincent Sherman

Film and television director, born in Vienna, Georgia, USA. He studied at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, then went to New York to pursue a career in showbusiness, changed his name, and began as a character actor with the Federal Theater. In 1937 he joined Warner Brothers as a screenwriter, and two years later debuted as a director with The Return of Doctor X, starring a young Humphrey Bogart. H…

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Vincent Voiture

Writer, born in Amiens, N France. He studied law at Orléans, then frequented the salons of the marquise de Rambouillet in 1625. Having attached himself to Gaston de France, duc d'Orléans, he followed him into exile to Spain in 1632, returning in 1634 when he was elected to the Académie Française. He became reconciled to Richelieu with the flattering Lettre sur la Prise de Corbie (1636). His ve…

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Vincente Minnelli - Filmography

Film director, born in Chicago, Illinois, USA, the husband of Judy Garland. He left school at 16, and by 1933 was art director of Radio City Music Hall. He became a Broadway director in 1935, and went to Hollywood in 1940, becoming an outstanding director of film musicals of sweeping scope and lavish visual style. His best-known works include The Clock (1945), Kismet (1955), and Gigi (1958, Oscar)…

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Vincenzo Bellini - Life, Works, Other important Bel Canto opera composers

Operatic composer, born in Catania, S Italy. An organist's son, he was sent by a Sicilian nobleman to the Conservatorio of Naples. Il Pirata (1827) carried the composer's name beyond Italy, but he is now best known for La Sonnambula (1831) and Norma (1832). He influenced several later operatic composers, including Wagner. Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini (November 3, 1801 – Se…

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Vincenzo Gioberti - Biography

Philosopher and statesman, born in Turin, Piedmont, NW Italy. He was ordained in 1825 and became chaplain to the court of Sardinia, but fell from favour through his radical republican views. He was in exile from 1833, and from Brussels published works advocating a united Italy under the pope (‘neo-guelphism’). In later works he advocated that Catholicism should be more open to liberalism. He ret…

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Vincenzo Monti - Works

Poet and scholar, born in Alfonsine, Emilia-Romagna, N Italy. He was a member of the Arcadia literary movement from 1775. Under the patronage of Pope Pius VI he wrote the ode ‘Prosopopea di Pericle’ (1779), the poems ‘Il pellegrino apostolico’ (1782) and ‘Feroniade’ (1784), the tragedies Aristodemo (1784–6) and Galeotto Manfredi (1796–8), and the anti-revolutionary narrative poem ‘Bassvil…

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vinegar - Production, Types of vinegar, Culinary uses, Medicinal uses, Cleaning, Agricultural and horticultural uses, Miscellaneous

A sour liquid used as a food preservative or domestic flavour enhancer. It derives from the oxidization of alcohol by bacteria, the ethanol being converted to acetic acid. There is a wide range of vinegars, with different colours and aromas, determined by the source of the alcohol used, eg red wine, white wine, cider, malt. The pH of vinegar is typically in the range 2- 3.5 while commercial…

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V - Historical accounts, Localization debate, Other usages

A generalized Norse name meaning ‘Berry Land’ or ‘Vine Land’, applied to the E coast of North America from the time of its first sighting by the Viking Leif Eriksson AD c.985. Though the ‘Vinland Map’, purportedly of the 1440s, is a 20th-c forgery, accounts of the Norse discovery of America in Icelandic sagas are confirmed by archaeological evidence. Vinland was the name given to a pa…

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Vinoba Bhave - Early life, Freedom struggle, Religious and social work, Later life and death, Awards, Quotes

Land reformer, born in Gagode, Gujarat, W India. Mahatma Gandhi took him under his care as a young scholar, an event which changed his life. Distressed in 1951 by the land hunger riots in Telengana, Hyderabad, he began a walking mission throughout India to persuade landlords to give land to the peasants. He was claimed to be the most notable spiritual figure in India after the death of Gandhi. …

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Vinson Massif - First ascent from East Face

Highest peak in Antarctica, rising to 4897 m/16 066 ft in the Ellsworth Mts. Vinson Massif is the highest mountain of Antarctica, located about 1,200 km (750 mi) from the South Pole. Silverstein, M.D., then in New York, and the other led by Peter Schoening of Seattle Washington, began lobbying the National Science Foundation to support an expedition to climb Vinson. Named officiall…

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vinyl - Polymers, Etymology and other uses

An important organic chemical grouping (CH2=CH–). The double bond lends itself to polymerization, so that many types of polymer are based on it, their nature depending on the substituents. The vinyl group forms part of the allyl group and is also contained in all acrylates. Because of the double bond, vinyls can be made to polymerize, forming vinyl polymers. In these polymers, …

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viola - The form of the viola, Playing the viola, Tuning, Viola music, Violists

A bowed string instrument, in all essential respects like a violin but slightly larger and tuned a fifth lower. The viola (in French, alto; in German Bratsche) is a string instrument played with a bow which serves as the middle voice of the violin family, between the upper lines played by the violin and the lower lines played by the cello and double bass. The casual observ…

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violet - People, In BDSM sex, In biology, In geography, In music, In fiction

An annual or perennial native to most temperate regions, many being alpine species; leaves often heart-shaped; zygomorphic flowers 5-petalled with a backward projecting spur, blue, yellow, white, or these colours combined, sometimes fragrant. It includes the species and varieties commonly known as pansies. (Viola, 500 species. Family: Violaceae.) …

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Violet Florence Martin - Early life, Writings and Companionship with Edith Somerville, Collaborative Novels

Writer, born in Co Galway, W Ireland. She is known chiefly for a series of novels written in collaboration with her cousin Edith Somerville, such as An Irish Cousin (1889) and The Irish R.M. series (begun 1899). She also wrote travel books about the Irish countryside and two autobiographical works, Some Irish Yesterdays (1906) and Strayaways (1920). Violet Florence Martin (11 June 1862 – …

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Violeta Parra

Internationally celebrated Chilean folklorist, songwriter, and singer, born in San Carlos, C Chile. She had a varied career, including a period in Paris (1961–5), and her work inspired the New Chilean Song movement of the later 1960s. Violeta del Carmen Parra Sandoval (October 14, 1917 – February 5, 1967) was a notable Chilean folklorist and visual artist. She set the basis for "New Song…

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Violette Verdy

Dancer and ballet director, born in Pont-L'Abbé-Lambour, W France. She made her debut with Ballets des Champs-Elysées (1945), and subsequently appeared in films and theatre as an actress and dancer. She joined Roland Petit's Ballets de Paris in 1950, later freelancing with a string of companies including London Festival Ballet (1954), American Ballet Theatre (1957), and New York City Ballet (195…

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violin - History of the violin, Violin construction and mechanics, Tuning, Bows, Playing the violin, Musical styles, Fiddle

The most widespread of all bowed string instruments, and one of the most important instruments in Western music since the 17th-c. The four-string violin was developed in the 16th-c from earlier three-string types, and reached its highest point of perfection between 1650 and 1730 in the hands of Stradivari and the Amati and Guarneri families. Later modifications have included the lengthening of the…

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viper

A venomous snake of family Viperidae (187 species), worldwide except Australia; most give birth to live young; thick body; head usually triangular, broad (due to poison glands and associated muscles at sides); fangs attached to front of upper jaw, folding flat against roof of mouth; venom destroys blood cells and vessels, and causes internal bleeding. A viper is a venomous snake belonging t…

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viper's bugloss

A stout, erect, bristly biennial (Echium vulgare), growing to c.1 m/3¼ ft, native to Europe and W Asia; leaves 15 cm/6 in, lance-shaped to oblong, rough; a large panicle formed by the basal stalked inflorescence of numerous coiled cymes, with flowers all on one side; flowers funnel-shaped, pink in bud, opening blue. (Family: Boraginaceae.) …

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Virgil (Garnett) Thomson

Composer and music critic, born in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. He studied piano and organ as a youth, and grew up knowing the traditional Protestant hymns before going off to continue his music studies at Harvard, in Paris (1922), and at the Mannes Music School in New York City (1923–4). Returning to Paris in 1925, he lived there for the next 10 years and developed a style characterized by a soph…

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Virgin Birth - Philosophical controversy, Alleged late appearance in the New Testament, Mary's immaculate conception

The Christian belief that Jesus Christ had no human father, but was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit without his mother, Mary, losing her virginity. The Virgin Birth is a key doctrine of the Christian faith, and is also held by Muslims (Qur'an 3.47). The doctrine asserts that Jesus was conceived in the womb of his mother, the Virgin Mary, without the participation of a h…

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Virginia (Mildred) Satir - Biographical information, Professional work history, Major Accomplishments and contributions

Educator and psychotherapist, born in Neillsville, Wisconsin, USA. She studied at the University of Chicago (1948 MA) and pioneered in the development of family therapy by conducting workshops nationwide. She helped found the Mental Research Institute (1959) and established the International Human Learning Resource Network (1979). Her publications include Peoplemaking and Self-Esteem. Virgi…

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Virginia (Minnesota) - Geography, History, Demographics, Law and government, Important cities and towns, Education, Professional sports teams, Trivia

47º31N 92º32W, pop (2000e) 9200. Town in Minnesota, USA; located in the region known as the Mesabi Iron Range, N of Duluth; first settled (1890) by gold prospectors who subsequently discovered iron ore deposits; incorporated in 1892 but destroyed the next year by fire; rebuilt, 1900; birthplace of Daniel Berrigan; white pine lumber mill operated 1909–29; railway; open pit mining; Kaleva Hall (…

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Virginia (state) - Geography, History, Demographics, Law and government, Important cities and towns, Education, Professional sports teams, Trivia

pop (2000e) 7 078 500; area 105 582 km²/40 767 sq mi. State in E USA, divided into 95 counties and 41 independent cities; ‘Old Dominion’; bounded E by Maryland, Chesapeake Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean; first permanent British settlement in America (at Jamestown, 1607); named after Elizabeth I (the ‘Virgin Queen’); one of the first colonies to move for independence; scene of the British…

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Virginia Apgar

Physician and anaesthesiologist, born in Westfield, New Jersey, USA. Best known for pioneering work in anaesthesia relating to childbirth, she developed the Apgar Score to evaluate newborns (1952). She also created the first department of anaesthesiology at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center (1938–49), where she was the first woman to head both a department and to hold a full professorship in a…

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Virginia Dare - Competing claims, Fiction, Things named after Virginia Dare

The first English child born in North America, born in Roanoke, NC. Her parents were Ananias Dare and Elinor White. She disappeared along with the 117 Roanoke colonists in 1588. Virginia Dare born August 18, 1587) was the first child born in the Americas to English parents, Eleanor (or Ellinor/Elyonor) and Ananias Dare. While Dare is given credit for being the first child born o…

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Virginia Johnson - Children's cars, Adult cars

Journalist, researcher, and sexologist, born in Springfield, Missouri, USA. Educated at Washington University (St Louis), she was a journalist and market researcher who dabbled in country music. In 1957 she joined Dr William Masters' research group at Washington University School of Medicine and by 1959 she and Masters were founding the Masters and Johnson Institute to investigate the physiology o…

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viroid - Taxonomy

A fragment of infectious nucleic acid that resembles a virus; typically consisting of a small loop of ribonucleic acid not enclosed within a protein shell (capsid). It includes the causative agents of some plant diseases, such as hop stunt. Viroids are plant pathogens that consist of a short stretch (a few hundred nucleobases) of highly complementary, circular, single-stranded RNA without t…

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virtual particle - Virtual particles in Feynman diagrams, Virtual particles in the vacuum, History

A term used to describe any particle appearing as an intermediary in a subatomic particle reaction. Virtual particles borrow energy according to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, and in so doing temporarily violate the mass-energy conservation law. For example, an electron and a positron may interact via a virtual photon - an unphysical photon which has borrowed energy to become temporarily he…

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virtual reality - Background, Future, Impact, Challenges

A computing technique in which the computer user sees only a computer output screen, and all the movements and sounds from the user are recorded by the computer. This allows the computer to simulate another environment in which users might well believe they are wholly involved. Virtual reality is used in a wide range of contexts, such as flight simulators for training pilots, videoconferencing sui…

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virus - Discovery, Origins, Classification, Structure, Replication, Lifeform debate, Viruses and disease, Applications, Etymology

The smallest infectious particle, 10–300 nm in diameter. Viruses infect other micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi, and algae, as well as higher plants and animals. The genetic material of each virus is present as a molecule of either ribonucleic acid or deoxyribonucleic acid, encased inside a protein shell (capsid). Complex viruses have an outer envelope surrounding the capsid. Viruses repli…

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viscacha

A cavy-like rodent from South America; resembles a large chinchilla; lives among rocks or in burrows; four species in genera Lagostomus (plains viscacha) and Lagidium (mountain viscacha, mountain chinchilla, or rock squirrel). (Family: Chinchillidae.) The viscacha or vizcacha is a rodent of the chinchilla family Chinchillidae. …

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viscose - Industrial Applications

The solution of cellulose from which regenerated cellulose fibre (rayon) is produced. Discovered in 1892, the viscose process is still the basis of most rayon manufacturing. Viscose is a viscous organic liquid used to make rayon and cellophane. The resulting viscose is extruded into an acid bath either through a slit to make cellophane, or through a spinneret to make viscose rayon (so…

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viscosity - Newton's theory, Viscosity of Materials, Can solids have a viscosity?, Bulk viscosity, Eddy viscosity

A measure of a fluid's reluctance to flow, corresponding to internal friction in the fluid as one portion of the fluid seeks to slide over another; symbol ?, units Pa.s (pascal.second); formerly referred to as poise. It is defined as the ratio of shear stress to the rate of change of shear strain. For water, ? = 0·001 Pa.s; for castor oil, ? = 0·986 Pa.s. ? is also called the absolute or d…

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viscount - Etymology, Viscount in Britain and the Commonwealth, Continental forms of the title, Equivalent western titles

In the UK, the second lowest rank of the peerage, often the second title of an earl or marquess bestowed as a courtesy title on his eldest son. A viscount (pronounced [ˈvaɪˌkaʊnt]) is a member of the European nobility whose comital title ranks usually, as in the British peerage, above a baron, below an earl (in Britain) or a count (his continental equivalent). The word…

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Viseu - History and Tourism, Geography, Demograpics, Education, Parishes

40º40N 7º55W, pop (2001e) 25 700. Town in NC Portugal; located among wooded hills on the R Pavia, 138 km/86 mi SE of Porto; birthplace of João de Barros; bishopric; airfield; railway; cathedral (originally 13th-c); Museu de Grão Vasco (in former bishop's palace) houses a collection of paintings by Vasco Fernandes who established a school of art here (1475–1540); wine producing region. …

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Vishnu - Vishnu in Smriti and Shruti, Names

A major Hindu deity, second in the triad (Trimurti) of gods manifesting the cosmic functions of the Supreme Being. The preserver of the universe and the embodiment of goodness and mercy, he is believed to have assumed visible form in nine descents (avataras), three in non-human form, one in hybrid form, and five in human form, of which his appearances as Rama and Krishna are the most important. …

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vision - Arts, Various

The process by which organisms form an internal representation of the external environment on the basis of the pattern of light available to them. The crucial requirement is for a light-sensitive receptor. Higher animals have many such photoreceptors (about 230 million in each eye in humans) making up a photoreceptive surface, the retina. For anything more than crude light detection, an image is e…

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vision mixer - Explanation, Capabilities and usage in TV Productions, Operation, Setup, Manufacturers of vision mixers

Equipment used in video production for the selection of programme material from several sources - multiple cameras, telecine, slide scanner, videotape recorder - with facilities for transition effects between scenes and for image combination at the time of shooting and in post-production editing. The term also refers to the technician who operates the equipment under the director or editor. …

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Visual Basic - Derivative languages, Language features, Controversy, Evolution of Visual Basic

A high-level computer programming language, and the development software to suppport it, enabling programmers to create user-interactive programs very quickly. Developed by Microsoft, it provides visual programming facilities (the ability to create code by manipulating icons) as well as more traditional text-based programming methods. Visual Basic (VB) is an event driven programming languag…

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Vita Sackville-West - Early life, Personal life, marriage and bisexuality, Well known writings, Selected bibliography, Further reading

Poet and novelist, born at Knole, Kent, SE England, UK. Educated privately, she started writing as a child. Her work expresses her closeness to the countryside where she lived, notably in the long poem, ‘The Land’ (1926). Her best-known novels are The Edwardians (1930) and All Passion Spent (1931). In 1913 she married diplomat and critic Harold Nicolson, a marriage which endured despite their ho…

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vitalism - Development of vitalism, Mesmerism, Vitalism in the foundations of chemistry, Vitalism in psychology

The doctrine that the difference between living organisms and inanimate bodies cannot be fully explained solely in material or physico-chemical terms. Organisms have additional, non-material, vital elements, which may or may not be capable of existing apart from their hosts. Bergson and Driesch were two of the best-known exponents. Vitalism, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is …

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Vitebsk - History, Sights, Natives of Vitebsk

55°10N 30°14E, pop (2000e) 364 200. River-port capital of Vitebskaya oblast, NE Belarus, on R Zapadnaya Dvina; founded, 11th-c; airfield; railway; agricultural trade, wool textiles, footwear, machine tools. Coordinates: 55°11′″N, 30°10′″E Vitsyebsk (Belarusian: Ві́цебск; Russian BGN/PCGN: Vitebsk) is a city in Belarus, near the border with Russia and Latvia…

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Viti Levu - Geography and economy, Localities, Politics, History

area 10 429 km²/4026 sq mi. Largest and most important island of Fiji, SW Pacific Ocean, separated from Vanua Levu, 32 km/20 mi NE, by the Koro Sea; length 144 km/89 mi; width 104 km/65 mi; mountainous interior, rising to 1324 m/4344 ft at Tomaniivi (Mt Victoria); lower reaches of main rivers provide fertile alluvial flats; capital, Suva; airport; gold mining, sugar milling, tourism; …

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Vito (Anthony) Marcantonio - Early life, Congressional career, Political Ideology and Relationship with Other Political Parties and Movements, Later life

US representative, born in New York City, New York, USA. A political activist in high school, he became Fiorello LaGuardia's protégé, and became a law clerk in his congressional office, assistant United States attorney general (1930–4), and member of the US House of Representatives (Republican, New York, 1935–7, 1939–51). An overt leftist, he was a critical supporter of the New Deal, and in 1…

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Vito Volterra

Mathematician, born in Ancona, EC Italy. He was professor at Pisa, Turin, and Rome. In 1931 he was dismissed from his chair at Rome for refusing to sign an oath of allegiance to the Fascist government, and he spent most of the rest of his life abroad. He developed a general theory of functionals which strongly influenced modern calculus and analytical methods, and worked on integral equations, mat…

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Vitruvius - Reference works

Roman architect and military engineer. He was in the service of Augustus, and wrote the 10-volume De architectura (On Architecture), the only Roman treatise on architecture still extant. Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (born ca. 25 BC) was a Roman writer, architect and engineer, active in the 1st century BC. He was born a free Roman citizen, most likely at Formiae in Campania. …

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Vittore Carpaccio

Painter, born in Venice, NE Italy. His most characteristic work is seen in the nine subjects from the life of St Ursula (1490–5). In 1510 he executed for San Giobbe his masterpiece, ‘The Presentation in the Temple’, now in the Accademia. Vittore Carpaccio (c.1460–1525/6) was a Venetian painter who studied under Gentile Bellini. The facts of his life are obscure, but his pri…

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Vittorino da Feltre

Educationist, born at Feltre, NE Italy. He studied and taught at Padua, and in 1423 was summoned to Mantua as tutor to the children of the Marchese Gonzaga. There he founded a school for both rich and poor children (1425), in which he devised new methods of instruction, introducing a wide curriculum, and integrating the development of mind and body through the study of the Classics and Christianit…

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Vittorio de Sica - Life, Selected filmography

Actor and film director, born in Sora, C Italy. He studied in Naples and Rome, established himself as a romantic star of Italian stage and screen in the 1930s, and became a director in 1940. He achieved international success in the neo-Realist style with Sciuscià (1946, Shoeshine), Ladri di biciclette (1948, Bicycle Thieves), and Miracolo a Milano (1951, Miracle in Milan). His subsequent work was…

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