Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 8

Cambridge Encyclopedia

August (Friedrich Leopold) Weismann - Life, Contributions to evolutionary biology, Some written work

Biologist, born in Frankfurt, WC Germany. He studied at Göttingen, and became professor of zoology at Freiburg (1867). He is best known for his theory of germ plasm (1886), a hereditary substance of which only one half was passed on to the next generation cells. This is now recognized as a forerunner of the DNA theory. Weismann advocated the germ plasm theory, stating that a multicellular …

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August Belmont - Literary Character

Banker and art collector, born in Alzei, Germany. He began his career sweeping the Rothschild's offices in Frankfurt when he was 14. Showing a talent for finance, he was transferred to Naples and then to Havana to manage the Rothschild branches, but he saw better opportunities in the USA and in 1837 he established what soon became the highly successful August Belmont & Company on Wall Street, with…

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August Macke

Painter, born in Meschede, WC Germany. He studied at Düsseldorf, and designed stage scenery. Profoundly influenced by Matisse, whose work he saw in Munich in 1910, he founded the Blaue Reiter group together with Franz Marc. He was a sensitive colourist, working in watercolour as well as oil, and painted the kind of subject-matter favoured by the Impressionists - figures in a park, street scenes, …

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August Sander

Photographer, born in Herdorf, WC Germany. He studied painting in Dresden, and opened studios in Linz and Cologne. For many years he planned and worked towards a documentary study, Men in the 20th Century. He published the first part, Faces of Our Times, in 1929, but his social realism was discouraged by the Nazi Ministry of Culture in 1934, and he published little thereafter. What little survivin…

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August Schleicher

Philologist, born in Meiningen, C Germany. He studied at Tübingen University, taught classical philology and the comparative study of Greek and Latin at Prague (1850–7), and was professor at Jena (1857–68). Living among the peasants of Lithuania in 1852, he was the first to study an Indo-European language from speech. His major work is A Compendium of the Comparative Grammar of the Indo-Europea…

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August Stramm

Writer, born in Munster, Germany. He was director of the Post in Berlin and then wrote for the periodical Der Sturm, edited by Herwarth Walden. In his innovative early Expressionist poetry he explored new methods of expression and syntax and the idea of the single word as an art form, as in the collection Du (1915). Pantomime and a sparse use of language characterize his plays, in which plot and p…

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August Vollmer - Trivia

Criminologist, born in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. After service in the Spanish-American War, he became the chief of police in Berkeley, CA (1905–32). He reorganized the police department of San Diego (1917) and Los Angeles (1923–4) and established professional police administrations at the universities of Chicago and California. He wrote The Criminal (1949), Crime and the State Police, and oth…

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August Wilhelm von Hofmann - Biography

Chemist, born in Giessen, WC Germany. He became first director of the Royal College of Chemistry in London (1845), and was chemist to the Royal Mint (1856–65). He went to Berlin as professor of chemistry in 1865, founded the German Chemical Society (1868), and was ennobled in 1888. He obtained aniline from coal products, discovered many other organic compounds, including formaldehyde (1867), and …

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August Wilhelm von Schlegel - Life and work, Evaluation, Selected works

Poet and critic, born in Hanover, NC Germany, the brother of Friedrich von Schlegel. He studied theology at Göttingen, but soon turned to literature, settling in Jena, where he became professor of literature and fine art (1798). He then lectured at Berlin (1801–4), and from 1818 until his death was professor of literature at Bonn. He is famous for his translations of Shakespeare and other author…

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August Wilson - Biography, Literary works, Awards and tributes, Further reading

Playwright, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. A writer who never finished high school, he won two Pulitzer Prizes for his cycle of plays, which depict the African-American experience in America: Fences (1987) and The Piano Lesson (1988). Later works include Two Trains Running (1990), Seven Guitars (1996), and King Hedley II (1999). He founded Minnesota's Black Horizons Theater Company in 1968…

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Augusta (Georgia) - Augusta as a personal name, Other meanings of Augusta

33°28N 81°58W, pop (2000e) 54 000. Seat of Richmond Co, E Georgia, USA, on the Savannah R; founded as a river trading post; established in 1735; changed hands many times during the War of Independence; state capital, 1786–95; housed Confederate powder works in the Civil War; airfield; railway; popular resort with a notable golf club; trade and industrial centre. …

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Auguste (Antoine) Piccard - The Piccard Family, Trivia

Physicist, born in Basel, N Switzerland, the twin brother of Jean Piccard. He studied at Zürich, and became professor of applied physics at Brussels (1922), and held posts at Lausanne, Chicago, and Minnesota universities. In 1932 he ascended in a balloon 16 940 m/55 563 ft into the stratosphere, and in 1948 explored the ocean depths off West Africa in a bathyscaphe of his own design. His son …

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Auguste Comte - Life, Legacy, Three Stages, Bibliography

Philosopher and sociologist, the founder of Positivism, born in Montpellier, S France. He studied for a while at Paris, and was for some years a disciple of Saint-Simon. He published his lectures on positivist philosophy in six volumes (1830–42). He taught mathematics privately, and in his later years was supported by his friends. His Système de politique positive (4 vols, 1851–4, System of Pos…

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Auguste Perret

Architect, born in Brussels, Belgium. He entered the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1891) but left before graduating to become manager of his father's building firm. An important figure in the Modern Movement he pioneered the use of reinforced concrete in buildings, which were largely Neoclassical in style. His works include the Rue Franklin Apartments, Paris (1902–4), the Théâtre des Champs Ely…

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Auguste Vestris

Ballet dancer and teacher, born in Paris, France. He made his debut at the age of 12, going on to join the Paris Opéra. His brilliant virtuoso technique and energy led him to become the most celebrated dancer in Europe. The French Revolution (1789) drove him to London for four years, but he returned in 1793 to continue dancing in Paris until 1816. He then became renowned as a teacher, his pupils …

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Augustin Pajou

Sculptor, born in Paris, France. He was a pupil of Lemoyne and also studied in Rome (1752–6). He produced many portrait busts, but his greatest achievement is the decorative sculpture in the Opera House at Versailles (1768–70). He enjoyed the support of Mme du Barry, and was appointed keeper of the king's antiquities. His other famous work is Psyche Abandoned (1791, Louvre). Augustin Pajo…

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Augustine Birrell

British statesman and writer, born near Liverpool, Merseyside, NW England, UK. He studied at Cambridge, was called to the bar in 1875, and was Liberal MP for West Fife (1889–1900) and Bristol North (1906–18). He became president of the board of education (1905–7), and chief secretary for Ireland (1907–16), resigning after the Easter Rising of 1916. He was the author of Obiter Dicta (1884–87),…

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Augustine Tolton

Catholic priest, born in Ralls, Missouri, USA. The first Catholic priest whose parents were both African-Americans, he escaped from slavery with family members at age seven. He overcame poverty and frequent rejections to obtain backing and permission to study for the priesthood in Rome, where he was ordained (1886). He returned to work as a struggling pastor among poor black Catholics in Illinois.…

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Augustinians - The five main branches of the order internationally, Aggregated communities, The Augustinian Rule

A religious order united in 1255 following the monastic teaching and ‘rule’ of St Augustine; also known as the Augustinian or Austin Friars; in full, the Order of the Hermit Friars of St Augustine (OSA). It established missions and monasteries throughout the world, and was responsible for founding many famous hospitals. There are also Augustinian nuns of second or third orders (‘tertiaries’). …

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Augusto Boal - Career, Teachings and literature, Key terms and practices, Recognition

Theatre director, playwright, and theorist, born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His revolutionary models of political theatre-making have gained an international reputation, especially through his book Teatro do Oprimido (1975, Theatre of the Oppressed). Augusto Boal (born 1931 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) is an innovative and influential theatrical director, writer and politician. He is the foun…

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Augusto Pinochet (Ugarte) - Early career, Military coup of 1973, Administration, End of the Pinochet regime, Legacy, Additional information

Chilean dictator (1973–90), born in Valparaíso, C Chile. A career army officer, he led the military coup overthrowing the Allende government in 1973, establishing himself at the head of the ensuing military regime. In 1980 he enacted a constitution giving himself an eight-year presidential term (1981–9). A plebiscite held in 1988 rejected his candidacy as president beyond 1990, but he retained …

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Augusto Roa Bastos - Bibliography

Novelist, born in Asunción, Paraguay. He left his native Paraguay in 1947 after speaking out against military dictatorships. He lived in Argentina, France, and Spain during his exile, returning to Paraguay in 1989. The author of several works of fiction, he was also a journalist, screenwriter, and teacher, and until his retirement in 1985 was a professor at the University of Toulouse. I the Supre…

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Augustus (Edwin) John

Painter, born in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, SW Wales, UK. He studied in London and Paris, and made an early reputation with his etchings (1900–14). His favourite themes were gypsies, fishing folk, and naturally regal women, as in ‘Lyric Fantasy’ (1913). He also painted portraits of several political and artistic contemporary figures, such as Shaw, Hardy, and Dylan Thomas. Augustus Edwin John …

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Augustus (Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus) - Early life, Rise to power, Octavian becomes Augustus: the creation of the Principate, Succession

Founder of the Roman Empire, the son of Gaius Octavius, senator and praetor, and great nephew (through his mother, Atia) of Julius Caesar. On Caesar's assassination (44 BC), he abandoned student life in Illyricum and returned to Italy where, using Caesar's money and name (he had acquired both under his will), he raised an army, defeated Antony, and extorted a wholly unconstitutional consulship fro…

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Augustus (Welby Northmore) Pugin - Early years, Marriage and conversion, Pugin the man, Scarisbrick Hall

Architect, born in London, UK. Trained by his father, he worked with Charles Barry, designing a large part of the decoration and sculpture for the new Houses of Parliament (begun 1840). He became a Catholic (c.1833), and most of his plans were made for churches within that faith, such as the Catholic cathedrals at Birmingham and Newcastle. His designs and publications, especially Contrasts (1836),…

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Augustus Baldwin Longstreet - Sources

Lawyer, writer, educator, and editor, born in Augusta, Georgia, USA. He graduated from Yale (1813) and attended the Litchfield Law School (1813–14) in Connecticut before being admitted to the Georgia bar (1815) and settling in Greensboro, GA. He served in the state legislature (1821) and then as a Georgia Superior Court judge (1822–5) before returning to Augusta to practise law. He wrote a serie…

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Augustus De Morgan - Biography, Mathematical work, Legacy

Mathematician, born in Madura, N India. He studied at Cambridge, and became the first professor of mathematics at University College London (1828). He helped to develop the notion of different kinds of algebra, and collaborated with Boole in the development of symbolic logic. Augustus De Morgan (June 27, 1806 – March 18, 1871) was an Indian-born British mathematician and logician. He form…

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Augustus Saint-Gaudens - Early life and career, Civil War commemorative commissions, Teacher and advisor, Coinage

Sculptor, born in Dublin, Ireland. His parents emigrated to New York City in 1848. He was apprenticed to cameo cutters (1861–7), studied at Cooper Union and the National Academy of Design (1864–7), then in Paris (1867), and established a studio in Rome (1870–2). He travelled throughout his life, but set up a studio in New York City (1875–97) and maintained a summer home and studio, Aspet, in C…

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Augustus Thomas - Selected works

Playwright, born in St Louis, Missouri, USA. Praised for his use of distinctly American material, his first popular success was Alabama (1891), based on a family conflict in the wake of the Civil War. He wrote or adapted over 65 plays, mostly conventional in technique and narrow in appeal and all forgotten, but he led the way in establishing a true American drama. Thomas was hired to work a…

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auk - Evolution and distribution, Feeding and ecology, Social behaviour and breeding, Systematics

A small, black-and-white, short-winged seabird, the N hemisphere equivalent to the penguin (which it superficially resembles); inhabits cool seas; excellent swimmer; breeding colonies contain millions of birds. (Family: Alcidae, 21 species.) Auks are birds of the family Alcidae in the order Charadriiformes. In contrast to penguins, the modern auks are able to fly (with the excep…

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Auld Lang Syne - Usage, Melody, Lyrics

A Scottish song, sung communally with arms crossed and hands linked at moments of leave-taking or at the end of the year. The words were adapted by Robert Burns in 1791 from an earlier lyric, and later fitted to the pentatonic tune (of uncertain origin) to which they are sung today. The title (literally ‘old long since’) refers to past times. "Auld Lang Syne" is a poem by Robert Burns, an…

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Aulis Sallinen - Early adult life, Later life, Career highlights

Composer, born in Salmi, SW Finland. He studied at the Sibelius Academy (1955–60), and later taught there (1963–76). His works include four operas - The Horseman (1975), The Red Line (1978), The King Goes Forth to France (1984), and Kullervo (for the new Helsinki opera house). He has also written a wide range of orchestral works (including six symphonies), chamber music, concertos, songs, and ch…

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Aulus Cornelius Celsus - Quotes

Roman writer. He compiled an encyclopedia on medicine, rhetoric, history, philosophy, war, and agriculture. Apart from a few fragments of the other sections the only extant portion of the work is the De Medicina, one of the first medical works to be printed (1478). Aulus Cornelius Celsus (25 BC—50) was a Roman encyclopedist and possibly, although probably not, a physician. In …

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aura

The energy field which radiates from all living organisms, and which some people claim to see in the form of a luminous glow of various colours. The aura may also be revealed by such techniques as Kirlian photography. The shape, colour, and strength of the aura may be affected by a person's emotional, mental, and physical well-being, and therapists claim to be able to detect dysfunction in the int…

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Aurelian - Rise to power, Conqueror and reformer, Death

Roman emperor (270–5), born of humble origins in Dacia or Pannonia. Enlisting early as a common soldier he rose rapidly to the highest military offices. On the death of Claudius II (270), he was elected emperor by the army. By restoring good discipline in the army, order in domestic affairs, and political unity to the Roman dominions, he merited the title awarded him by the Senate, Restitutor Orb…

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Aurelio Saffi - Biography

Italian patriot and politician, born in Forlì, Emilia-Romagna, N Italy. A follower of Mazzini, he joined with him and Carlo Armellini as part of the Roman Republic triumvirate in 1849. After its fall, he went to Switzerland and then to Britain from where he helped Mazzini organize the February 1853 revolt. He was a deputy of the new Italian parliament (1861–4) and, after Mazzini's death, took ov…

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Aurora - Arts, Places, Sciences, Others

39º06N 84º90W, pop (2000e) 4000. Town in Dearborn Co, SE Indiana, USA; located on the Ohio R, just S of Lawrenceburg, near the Kentucky/Indiana border; first settled, 1796; incorporated, 1822; birthplace of Stephen Davison Bechtel and Elmer Davis; historic town with many restored buildings; Hillforest Mansion (1855) is a National Historic Landmark; Farmers' Fair (Oct). Aurora most common…

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aurora (astronomy) - Auroral Mechanism, Auroral forms and magnetism, The solar wind and magnetosphere, Frequency of occurrence

A diffuse coloured light in the upper atmosphere (100 km/60 mi) over polar regions, visible at night. It is caused by charged particles from the Sun colliding with oxygen and nitrogen atoms in the atmosphere. It is seen most frequently in the auroral zones, which have a radius of c.22° around the geomagnetic poles. In the N it is known as the aurora borealis or northern lights; in the S as the …

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auscultation

The process of listening to and analysing the audible sounds within the body, usually with the aid of a stethoscope. These include the sounds (vibrations) in blood vessels, heart, lungs, airways, and intestines, made by the flow of blood, air, or gas within the various organs. Auscultation is the technical term for listening to the internal sounds of the body, usually using a stethoscope. A…

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Austin - Place names, People, Other

30°17N 97°45W, pop (2000e) 656 600. Capital of state in Travis Co, SC Texas, USA, on the Colorado R; settled, 1835; capital of the Republic of Texas, 1838; Texas government moved to Houston (1842) for fear of marauding Mexicans and Indians; returned in 1845 when Texas joined the Union; airfield; railway; two universities (1876, 1881); commercial centre for an extensive agricultural region; ele…

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Austin Clarke - Bibliography

Poet and playwright, born in Dublin, Ireland. He studied at University College Dublin, and spent 15 years in England as a journalist before returning to Dublin in 1937. The Vengeance of Fionn, the first of 18 books of verse, was published in 1917. His Collected Poems were published in 1974. He was also a noted playwright and an adherent of verse drama, promoted through the Dublin Verse-Speaking So…

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Australasia - Physical geography, Human geography, Ecological geography

A term used loosely to include Australia and the islands of Tasmania, New Zealand, New Guinea (including New Britain), New Caledonia, and Vanuatu; often described as equivalent to all of Oceania below the Equator and N of 47°S; the name is not commonly used in these areas. Australasia is a term variably used to describe a region of Oceania – namely Australia, New Zealand, and neighboring…

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Australia - Origin and history of the name, History, Politics, States and territories, Foreign relations and the military

Official name Commonwealth of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the world's smallest continent and a number of islands in the Southern, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. The mainland of the continent of Australia has been inhabited for more than 42,000 years by Indigenous Australians.…

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Australia Day - Celebrations, Suggested changes to the date

A public holiday in Australia commemorating the founding of the colony of New South Wales on 26 January 1788; held annually on 26 January if a Monday, otherwise on the Monday following that date. Australia Day is Australia's official national day, January 26. In 1888 all colonial capitals (with the exception of Adelaide) celebrated 'Anniversary Day' and by 1935 all states of Aus…

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Australian Alps - Ecology, Alpine huts, Attractions, Resort skiing areas

Chain of mountains in SE Australia forming the S part of the Great Dividing Range; extends c.300 km/185 mi SW from Australian Capital Territory to the Goulburn R, Victoria; includes the Snowy Mts, Bowen Mts, and Barry Mts; rises to 2228 m/7310 ft at Mt Kosciuszko; much used for winter sports. The Australian Alps are the highest mountain ranges of mainland Australia. The Aust…

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Australian Antarctic Territory - Stations, History

area 6 043 852 km²/2 332 927 sq mi of land, 84 798 km²/32 732 sq mi of ice shelf. Situated S of 60°S and lying between 142° and 136°E (excluding Terre Adélie); claimed by Australia, 1936; scientific station at Mawson, 1954; Davis Base, 1957; Australia assumed custody of the US Wilkes Station on the Budd Coast in 1959, replacing it by the Casey Station in 1961. Active and c…

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Australian Ballet Company - The Merry Widow ballet

The national ballet company of Australia. Founded in Melbourne in 1962, it grew out of the Borovansky Ballet Company and School founded by Edouard Borovansky in 1942. The British dance teacher, Peggy van Praagh, jointly became its artistic director with Robert Helpmann, and together they created ballets such as Yugen (1965) and Sun Music (1968), based on Australian themes. The company's first inte…

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Australian Capital Territory - History, Geography, Governance, Demographics, Education

pop (2000e) 309 300; area 2400 km²/925 sq mi. Territory in SE Australia, created in 1911 to provide a location for the national capital, Canberra; bordered on all sides by New South Wales; Jervis Bay on the E coast ceded (1915) for its use as a port; mountainous in the S; urbanized floodplains of the Murrumbidgee and Molonglo Rivers in the N; c.50% of the workforce employed by the government…

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Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) - Current member organisations

Australia's national trade union organization, formed in 1927. Its prestige has come from representing the unions' case before the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, and in helping to settle industrial disputes. In 1992, there were 227 unions in the country, with a claimed total membership of 3·1 million. Trade union membership in Australia declined from 50% in 1982 to 40% in 199…

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Australian Imperial Force (AIF)

The volunteer military forces raised in Australia in both world wars. In World War 1, 330 770 men served overseas in the first AIF, of whom 54 000 were killed and 155 000 were wounded. In World War 2, 690 000 men and 35 000 women served in the second AIF. The Australian Imperial Force (AIF) was the name given to two all-volunteer Australian Army forces dispatched to fight overseas duri…

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Australian Labor Party (ALP) - Policy, Structure, History, ALP federal leaders, Current ALP State Premiers / Territory Chief Ministers

Australia's oldest political party, founded in 1891 in New South Wales following the defeat of the trade unions in the 1890 strike. The party spread to all States by the mid-1900s and formed the world's first labour government in Queensland in 1899 for one week. It has always been a social democratic party, committed to evolutionary not revolutionary change. Despite a commitment to ‘socialism’, …

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Australian literature - Poetry, 20th century, Immigrants and expatriates, Later developments, Awards

After a number of convict and gold-rush novels in the mid-19th-c (eg Marcus Clarke's For the Term of his Natural Life, 1870–2), Australian literature began to assume its own identity at the beginning of the 20th-c with distinctive bush ballads and short stories, many published in the Sydney Bulletin. The Australian past was explored in historical novels and family sagas between the wars, which al…

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Australian Workers' Union (AWU) - History

The largest Australian trade union from the early 1900s to 1970, and still one of the largest. It was formed in 1894 by the amalgamation of the shearers' union (formed 1886) and the rural labourers' union (formed 1890), and has traditionally recruited lesser-paid workers. It has always been a conservative force in trade union and labour politics. The Australian Workers' Union (AWU) is one o…

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Austria - History, Politics, Administrative divisions, Geography, Economy, Demographics, Religion, Culture

Official name Republic of Austria, Ger Republik Österreich Austria (German: Österreich, Czech: Rakousko, Slovenian: Avstrija; Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy consisting of nine federal states and is one of six European countries that have declared permanent neutrality and one of the few countries that included the concept of everlasting neutrality in …

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Austrian School (economics) - Analytical framework, Contributions, Major economists affiliated with the Austrian School, Other related economists, Critics, Seminal works

A school of economics which has its roots in the work of late 19th-c Austrian economists, Carl Menger (1840–1921), Eugen von Böhm Bawerk (1851–1914), Friedrich von Wieser (1851–1926), and later, Ludwig Von Mises and Friedrich A Hayek, who developed the major tenets of marginalism, diminishing marginal utility, opportunity cost, and time preferences of saving, consumption, and production. In re…

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Austro-Asiatic languages - Classification

A group of over 100 languages spoken in SE Asia. Few of them had written forms until recent times, and their connections with other languages in the region are uncertain. The major group is the Mon–Khmer, which has three main languages: Mon (Tailang), Khmer, and Vietnamese. The Austro-Asiatic languages are a large language family of Southeast Asia, and also scattered throughout India and B…

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Austronesian languages - Structure, Major languages, Classification, Further reading

The most numerous and (after Indo-European) the most widely dispersed of the world's great language families; also called Malayo-Polynesian languages. Extending from Taiwan to Madagascar and from Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia E through the Pacific Islands, it contains over 700 separate languages. The Austronesian languages are a language family widely dispersed throughout the isl…

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autarky

A self-sufficient economy, with no external trade. The term is often used in economics to describe policies of decreasing reliance on external trade by tariffs or quotas. An autarky is an economy that limits trade with the outside world, or an ecosystem not affected by influences from its outside, and relies entirely on its own resources. …

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authority - Authority topics, Example of evolving authority: France, Government agency, Institutional authority

The right to issue commands without that right being questioned. In effect, authority is a form of legitimate power, in that those subject to it voluntarily consent to its exercise. Sources of authority are rational-legal (eg elections, qualifications), tradition (eg the monarchy), and charisma (eg authoritarian rulers such as Hitler). Included in most cases of authority is the right to use coerci…

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autism - History, Characteristics, DSM definition, Types of autism, Epidemiology of autism, Other pervasive developmental disorders

A condition characterized by abnormal functioning in social interaction together with repetitive behaviour and poor communication, almost always commencing before three years of age. One in 2000 children suffer from the disorder, which is four times more common in males. It was first described by Leo Kanner (1894–1981), an Austrian-born US child psychiatrist, in 1943. Intelligence is very variabl…

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auto-destructive art

An artefact, typically a painting or piece of sculpture, deliberately constructed in a way guaranteed to self-destruct almost immediately. Examples include pictures executed with acid, and disintegrating kinetic machines. Auto-destructive art is a term invented by the artist Gustav Metzger in the early 1960s and put into circulation by his article Machine, Auto-creative and Auto-destructive…

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autobiography - Notable autobiographies, Secondary literature

A narrative of a life written by the subject. There are examples from antiquity in the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (2nd-c) and the Confessions of St Augustine (4th-c), and some remarkable early modern instances, such as the arresting autobiography by Benvenuto Cellini (c.1560) and the self-searching Essays of Montaigne (from 1580). The 17th-c puritan ‘spiritual autobiography’ influenced the e…

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autofocus - General, Types

The automatic focusing of a camera lens by electronic means on a chosen part of the subject to ensure a sharp image. Various methods are used; for example, a sound-ranging system measures distance from the return time of the echo of an emitted ultrasonic pulse. Single lens reflex cameras use a phase (separation) detection method. The apex of the cone of light from the camera lens is judged to be i…

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Autolycus

In Greek mythology, the maternal grandfather of Odysseus, who surpassed all men in thieving. He was said to be a son of Hermes. The name was also used by Shakespeare for a pedlar, ‘a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles’, in The Winter's Tale. In Greek mythology, Autolycus (Greek Αὐτόλυκος) was the son of Chione and Hermes. Autolycus was a renowned thief (skills passed…

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automated teller machine (ATM) - History, Usage, Types, Financial networks and ATMs, Global use, Hardware, Software, Security, Alternative uses, Future technologies

The formal name for the ‘service tills’ now common outside most banks and building societies, through which money can be withdrawn and other transactions carried out. The ATMs are linked to the banks' computers to enable on-line monitoring of customer's accounts to take place through the machines. An automated teller machine or automatic teller machine (ATM) is a computerized telecommunic…

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automatic pilot - Discography

A device that automatically controls a vehicle (aircraft, ship, land vehicle) so that it will follow a preset course. It makes suitable adjustments to the vehicle's control systems to compensate for the offsetting effects of the environment or terrain. Automatic Pilot was a San Francisco, California band. Born in 1980 as the first "unofficial" subgroup of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus,…

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automatic writing - Case stories, Use in spiritual movements, Use in therapy, Use in stimulating creativity, Criticism

The production of written text without the writer's conscious predetermination of the content, if any, of the message produced. It is sometimes associated with mediums, who claim the messages come from spirits of the deceased. It was also practised by the early Surrealists André Breton and Philippe Soupault in Les Champs magnétiques (1919). Automatic writing is the process, or product, of…

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automation - Social issues of automation, Current emphases in automation, Safety issues of automation, Automation Tools

The control of a technical process without using a human being to intervene to make decisions. The result of one operation is fed back to control the next. Central heating is a simple automatic system: the thermostat is a sensor, feeding information back to the heater, which then adjusts automatically, switching on and off as necessary. Computers are the most widespread example of automation, cont…

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automaton - Etymology, Ancient automata, Automata from the 13th to 18th centuries, Contemporary automata, Other historic examples

A mechanical device that imitates the actions of a living creature, human or animal. Such devices, constructed in the ancient world and in the Middle Ages, benefited from the development of clock mechanisms during the 17th-c. Some are made as toys, but others are useful as research or control mechanisms, and in the remote handling of hazardous materials. An automaton (plural: automa…

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autonomic nervous system (ANS) - Further reading

That part of the nervous system which supplies the glands (eg the salivary and sweat glands), heart muscle, and smooth muscle (eg the walls of blood vessels and the bladder). It consists of groups of nerve cells outside the central nervous system, interposed between it and the target organs. The sympathetic (S) system is distributed throughout the whole body, particularly to the blood vessels. The…

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autos sacramentales

In late 16th-c Spanish literature, one-act plays (autos) performed at the feast of Corpus Christi. Originally confined in theme to the Eucharist, they later dealt allegorically with a variety of subjects but still ending with the ‘discovery’ of a large host and chalice, and finally degenerating into farces. The adjective ‘sacramental’ was first used of autos in the second half of the 16th-c, p…

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Auxerre

47°48N 3°32E, pop (2000e) 42 400. Market town and capital of Yonne department, C France; on the R Yonne, surrounded by orchards and vineyards; one of the oldest towns in France; railway; bishopric; wine, paints, metal goods; Gothic cathedral (13th–16th-c); abbey church of St Germain with 9th-c frescoes. Auxerre (pronounced [o.'sɛʁ]) is a commune in the Bourgogne région of central Fr…

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Ava (Lavinnia) Gardner - Biography, Lesbian Rumours, Trivia

Film actress, born in Smithfield, North Carolina, USA. Signed by MGM as a teenager, she emerged from the ranks of decorative starlets with her portrayal of a ravishing femme fatale in The Killers (1946). A green-eyed brunette, once voted the world's most beautiful woman, she remained a leading lady for two decades, her films including Mogambo (1953), The Barefoot Contessa (1954), and Night of the …

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Avalon - Etymology, Adaptations

In Celtic mythology, the land of the dead, the place to which King Arthur was taken after his death. The name possibly means ‘land of apples’. Avalon (probably from the Celtic word abal: apple; Avalon is sometimes referred to as the legendary location where Jesus visited the British Isles with Joseph of Arimathea and that it was later the site of the first church in Britain. T…

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avatar - Dasavatara: The Ten Avatars of Vishnu, Types of avatars, The 25 Avatars of the Puranas

In Hinduism, the descent to Earth of deity in a visible form. The idea derives from the tradition associated with the deity Vishnu, who from time to time appears on Earth in animal or human form in order to save it from destruction or extraordinary peril. In Hindu philosophy, an avatar, avatara or avatarim (Sanskrit: अवतार, IAST: avatāra), most commonly refers to the incarnation …

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Avebury - The monument, Destruction of the stones, Excavations, Theories about Avebury, The Avebury Triangle, Alternative Avebury

51°27N 1°51W. Village in North Wiltshire district, Wiltshire, S England, UK; on the R Kennet, c.110 km/70 mi W of London; the largest megalithic monument in England, a world heritage site; in use c.2600–1600 BC; consists of a 427 m/1400 ft diameter earthwork, with a 9 m/30 ft-deep ditch and a 5 m/16 ft-high outer bank; entrances at the cardinal points, and approached by a 2·4 km/1½ …

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Averro - Biography, System of philosophy, Significance, Jurisprudence and law, Cultural influences

The most famous of the mediaeval Islamic philosophers, born in Córdoba, S Spain. He was a judge successively at Córdoba, Seville, and in Morocco, and wrote on jurisprudence and medicine. In 1182 he became court physician to Caliph Abu Yusuf, but in 1185 was banished in disgrace (for reasons now unknown) by the caliph's son and successor. Many of his works were burnt, but after a brief period of …

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aversion therapy - Aversion therapy and homosexuality, Aversion therapy and "sexually deviant" youth

A process in which an unpleasant experience is induced (eg by pharmacological, physical, or electrical means) in association with an undesirable behaviour, in an attempt to inhibit or eliminate by this conditioning the undesirable behaviour. The technique has been used in a wide range of conditions, including smoking and alcohol dependence; some have tried to use it in changing sexual orientation.…

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Avery Brundage

Businessman, athletic administrator, and art collector, born in Detroit, Michigan, USA. He competed in the 1912 Olympics, and after making a fortune as a building contractor he gained the presidency of the US Olympic Committee (1929–53) and then the presidency of the International Olympic Committee (1952–72). His tenure was often marked by controversy over his strong opposition to commercialism …

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Avesta - History, Structure and content, The Khordeh Avesta, Other Zoroastrian religious texts, Further reading

The scriptures of Zoroastrianism, written in Avestan, a language of the E branch of the Indo-European family. Traditionally believed to have been revealed to Zoroaster, only the Gathas, a set of 17 hymns, may be attributed to him. Few portions of the original survive. See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town The Avesta is the primary collection of sacred texts of Zoroastrian…

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avian flu - H5N1, Illustrative examples of correct usage, Further reading

A highly infectious viral disease that affects poultry and other birds; often called avian influenza or popularly bird flu. It is spread by the movement of infected birds or contact with their secretions. There are about 100 strains of the disease. H5N1, the most deadly strain, which can be passed to humans, is a particular kind of H5 avian flu. Not all H5 viruses can infect human beings. H5N1 eme…

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aviation - History, Civil aviation, Military aviation, Air Traffic Control (ATC)

All forms of flying, and the uses to which aircraft are put. Aviation is divided into two principal areas. Military aviation deals with the use of aircraft by military forces, either as a weapon in its own right, or as a platform from which to launch other weapons, together with the aircraft's use as a reconnaissance vehicle and military transport. Civil aviation deals with the organization and us…

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Avicenna - Early life, Later life, Works, Medicine, Philosophy, Poetry, Legacy, Literature

Philosopher and physician, born near Bokhara, SW Uzbekistan. Renowned for his learning, he became physician to several sultans, and for some time vizier in Hamadan, Persia. He was one of the main interpreters of Aristotle to the Islamic world, and the author of some 200 works on science, religion, and philosophy. His medical textbook, Canon of Medicine, long remained a standard work. Abū

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Avignon - Geography, Administration, History, Ecclesiastical history of the (Arch)diocese, University of Avignon, Sights, Miscellaneous

43°57N 4°50E, pop (2000e) 93 600. Walled capital of Vaucluse department, SE France, on left bank of R Rhône; papal residence 1309–76; railway; archbishopric; chemicals, soap, paper, artificial fibres; popular tourist centre; Gothic Palais des Papes; ruins of 12th-c Pont St Benezet, subject of the folk-song ‘Sur le Pont d'Avignon’; many churches and museums; centre of school of painting; Jo…

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- Places, People, Other

40°39N 4°43W, pop (2000e) 46 500. Ancient walled city, capital of Ávila province, Castilla-León, C Spain; 115 km/71 mi W of Madrid; altitude, 1126 m/3694 ft; bishopric; railway; wine, livestock, tourism; birthplace of Queen Isabella and St Teresa; cathedral (11th-c), Monastery of St Thomas, Churches of St Peter and St Vincent, town walls; old town and churches are a world heritage site; …

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avocado - Uses, Toxicity, Names, Avocado related trade war

An evergreen tree growing to 18 m/60 ft (Persea americana), covered with aromatic oil glands, thought to be native to Central America; leaves oval, leathery; flowers 2 cm/0·8 in, greenish-white, 6-lobed; berry pear-shaped, leathery, growing to 15 cm/6 in long, green, yellow, or purplish, with thick yellowish-green edible flesh surrounding a single large stone. It is cultivated on a large sc…

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avocet

A long-legged wading bird, found in fresh and saline waters worldwide; catches small animals by sweeping a long, slender, up-curved bill from side to side on the surface of submerged mud. (Genus: Recurvirostra, 4 species. Family: Recurvirostridae.) The four species of Avocets are waders in the same bird family as the stilts. …

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Avon (UK) - Places, Businesses and brands, People (real and fictional)

pop (2000e) 989 800; area 1347 km²/520 sq mi. Former county in SW England, UK; created in 1974 from parts of Somerset and Gloucestershire; replaced in 1996 by the unitary authorities of Bath and NE Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire, and NW Somerset. Avon may refer to: There are also several Avon Townships. …

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Avram Hershko - Honors and awards, Publications

Biologist, born in Karcag, Hungary. He studied at Jerusalem (1969) and the University of California at San Francisco before working as a physician in the Israel Defence Forces (1965–67). He is a Distinguished Professor at the Unit of Biochemistry, the Rappaport Family Institute for Research in Medical Sciences at the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) in Haifa (1980– ). In 2004 he shared …

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Axel (Leonard) Wenner-Gren

Financier and industrialist, born in Uddevalla, SW Sweden. He founded Electrolux in 1919, undertook large-scale projects such as a holiday resort in the Bahamas, a telephone company in Mexico, and (in 1956) a huge development complex in British Columbia comprising electrical plants, mining, and forestry. His Swedish interests were united in Fulcrum AB, which went into liquidation in 1975. During h…

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Axel (Martin Fredrik) Munthe

Physician and writer, born in Oskarshamn, SE Sweden. He studied at Uppsala, Montpellier, and Paris, practised as a physician and psychiatrist in Paris and Rome, and became Swedish court physician. He then retired to Capri, where he wrote his best-selling autobiography, The Story of San Michele (1929). Axel Martin Fredrik Munthe (October 31, 1857, Oskarshamn ,Sweden - February 11, 1949, Stoc…

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axiom - Historical development, Mathematical logic

A proposition that is assumed to be true, on which later studies may be developed. The most famous axioms are those on which Euclidean geometry was developed. (1) A straight line may be drawn from any one point to any other point. (2) A finite straight line may be extended at each end. (3) A circle can always be drawn with any point as centre and with any radius. (4) All right angles are equal to …

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Axis Powers - Origins, Major Axis Powers, Minor Powers, Co-Belligerents, Japanese puppet states, Italian puppet state

The name given to the co-operation of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy (1936–45), first used by Mussolini to proclaim the creation of a Rome–Berlin ‘axis round which all European states can also assemble’. In May 1939 the two countries signed a full military and political treaty, the Pact of Steel. In September 1940, Germany, Italy, and Japan signed a tripartite agreement, after which all three …

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axolotl - Description, Habitat, Axolotl's neoteny, Uses in research, Feeding, Elevage conditions

A rare Mexican salamander (Ambystoma mexicanum) from high altitude in L Xochimilco; pale with three pairs of feathery gills; large fin around tail; usually breeds as juvenile form and never leaves water, but some individuals do become land-dwelling adults; family also known as mole salamanders. (Family: Ambystomatidae.) The Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is an aquatic salamander native to Me…

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Axum - The Axumite kingdom and the Ethiopian Church, Axum and Islam, Sites of interest

A Greek-influenced Semitic trading state on the Eritrean coast, founded about the beginning of the Christian era and trading with Meroe. From its port at Adulis it dominated the trade of the Red Sea, and in the 3rd-c extended its power to Yemen. At the height of its influence under King Ezana (c.320–50), who accepted Christianity, it later became the basis of the Christian kingdom of Ethiopia. …

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ayatollah - Use

(Persian ‘sign of God’) A Shiite Muslim religious title: a clergyman who has reached the third level of Shiite higher education, is recognized as a mujtahid, and is over 40. The word is particularly associated today with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The rank is granted by consensus, rather than ceremonially: an esteemed religious scholar who has earned the respect and admiration of his t…

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aye-aye - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior, History, Superstition and public controversy

A nocturnal primitive primate (prosimian) from Madagascar (Daubentonia madagascariensis); shaggy coat, long bushy tail, and large ears; fingers extremely long and slender, especially the third finger (used to probe for wood-boring insects); inhabits trees. (Family: Daubentoniidae.) The Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) is a primate native to Madagascar that combines rodent-like teeth w…

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Ayers Rock - Name, Description, History, Local legend, Restrictions for tourists

25°18S 131°18E. A huge red rock in SW Northern Territory, Australia, 450 km/280 mi SW of Alice Springs; within the Uluru National Park (1325 km²/511 sq mi); rises from the desert to a height of 348 m/1142 ft; 3·6 km/2¼ mi long, 2·4 km/1½ mi wide, 8·8 km/5½ mi in circumference; resort town of Yulara 20 km/12 mi NW; the largest monolith in the world; named after South Austral…

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Ayia Napa - Etymology, Geography, Tourism, Photos Of Agia Napa And Cyprus

34°59N 34°00E, pop (2000e) 1000. Old fishing village in Famagusta district, SE Cyprus; with nearby Paralimni, the second most important tourist area on the island; monastery (16th-c). The name Ayia Napa (Greek: Αγια Ναπα) was taken from a Venetian-era monastery of the same name, located in the center of the town, next to the square which today is the clubbing center. Upon d…

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Aylesbury - History, Modern Aylesbury, Education, Administration, Trade and industry, Cycling Demonstration town, Geography, Twin towns

51°50N 0°50W, pop (2000e) 61 400. County town of Buckinghamshire, SC England, UK; N of the Chiltern Hills, 60 km/37 mi NW of London; birthplace of Rutland Boughton; railway; furniture, chemicals, food processing, engineering; 13th-c St Mary's Church. Aylesbury is the county town of Buckinghamshire in south central England. The town name is Anglo-Saxon, though excavations i…

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Ayn Rand - Early life, Fiction, Philosophy and the Objectivist movement, Political and social views, Later years, Legacy, Criticism

Writer and philosopher, born in St Petersburg, Russia. As an adolescent she saw the negative side of the Bolshevik Revolution. After graduating from the University of Petrograd (1924), she went to the USA (1926), which she regarded as the ‘country of the individual’, becoming a citizen in 1931. Starting as a screenwriter and dramatist, she first won fame for her novel, The Fountainhead (1943), w…

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Ayodhya - Legacy and Importance, Demographics, Ayodhya Debate

Town in the N Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, and the location of the ancient Babri Masjid shrine. During the 1980s the shrine became the target of intense agitation by the Hindu followers of the Bharatiya Janata Paksh and related Hindu fundamentalist organizations. These asserted that the shrine lay over the birthplace of the god Rama, and that a temple to the god should be built on the site. In D…

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Ayr - History, Education, Health, Leisure, Transport, Areas of Ayr, Images, Constituency

55°28N 4°38W, pop (2000e) 49 800. Administrative centre of South Ayrshire, SW Scotland, UK; on the Firth of Clyde, at mouth of R Ayr, 48 km/30 mi SW of Glasgow; railway; metal products, machinery, carpets, agricultural trade, tourism; Loudoun Hall (15th–16th-c), Tam o' Shanter Museum; Alloway, 3 km/1¾ mi S, birthplace of Burns; Culzean castle (1777), 19 km/12 mi SW. The Royal Bu…

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Ayrton Senna - Lotus years, McLaren career, Complete F1 Results

Motor racing driver, born in São Paulo, SE Brazil. He began racing karts when he was four, moved to Formula Three racing in Britain in 1981, and joined a Formula One team in 1984. In a career marked by an aggressive competitiveness and rivalry (especially with Alain Prost), he became World Formula One champion 1988, 1990, and 1991, and had 41 Grand Prix victories (second only to Alain Prost). He …

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ayurveda - History, Development, Traditions of Ayurveda, Medications, Ayurvedic Massage, Current Status, Scientific Criticism of Ayurveda, Partial bibliography

A sacred system of medicine from ancient India, originating c.5000 BC. Good health is seen as a state of harmony between the air (vata) which governs movement, fire (pitta) which governs digestion and warmth, and water (kapha) which governs cohesion, growth, and lubrication. A practitioner will take a history which includes an astrological assessment, and emphasis is placed on the prevention of di…

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azalea

A deciduous species of rhododendron. The name is used in horticulture to distinguish it from the evergreen species. (Genus: Rhododendron. Family: Ericaceae). …

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Azande - Language, Traditional beliefs, Folklore, The name

A cluster of ethnically mixed Sudanic-speaking agricultural people of SW Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic. In the 18th-c, they were formed into a series of kingdoms by the Ambomu, led by the ruling Avongara clan, and are known for their elaborate system of beliefs in witchcraft, divination, and magic. Population c.800 000. The Azande (plural, "Zande" in…

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Azerbaijan - Etymology and usage, History, Politics, Administrative divisions, Geography, Economy, Demographics, Culture, Photographs of Azerbaijan

Official name Republic of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani Azärbayjan Respublikasi Azerbaijan (IPA: [ɑ:zəbai'ʤɑ:n]; The Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic (an exclave of Azerbaijan) borders Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, and Turkey to the northwest. The Nagorno-Karabakh region in the southwest of Azerbaijan Proper declared itself independent from Azerbaijan in 19…

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azimuth

The direction of an object measured in degrees clockwise around the horizon from N point to a point on the horizon vertically beneath the object. The notion is used in astronomy, navigation, gunnery, and other contexts where it is important to determine a bearing as well as an altitude. In the horizontal coordinate system, also used in celestial navigation and satellite dish installation, a…

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Azores

Local name Ilhas dos Açôres, Port (Arquipélago dos) Açôres The Azores [ˈeɪ̯zɔɹz] (Portuguese: Açores, pron. font-size: 95%;"> The archipelago is spread out in the area of the parallel that passes through Lisbon (39º, 43'/39º, 55' North Latitude), giving it a moderate climate, with mild annual oscillation. font-size: 95%;"> …

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Azzedine Alaia

Tunisian fashion designer. He was educated in Tunis, where he studied sculpture, then worked for Dior and other designers before giving his first show in New York City (1982). His designs emphasize the figure, and he is noted for his black leather-studded gauntlets, little black dresses, and use of zippers. Azzedine Alaia (Arabic:عز الدين عليّة , original - Alaïa, prononcuation…

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B(enjamin) F(ranklin) Keith - Moving pictures, Death, Legacy, Timeline

Performer and theatre manager, born in Hillsboro, New Jersey, USA. Part of an effort to make vaudeville more respectable, he developed a chain of theatres and formed the United Booking Office. Benjamin Franklin Keith (January 26, 1846 – March 26, 1914) was an American impresario who founded a chain of vaudeville theatres. In 1885 he joined Edward Franklin Albee II, who was selling c…

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B(enjamin) Seebohm Rowntree - Bibliography

Manufacturer and philanthropist, born in York, North Yorkshire, N England, UK, the son of Joseph Rowntree. He was chairman of the family chocolate firm (1925–41), and introduced enlightened schemes of worker-participation. He devoted his life to the study of social problems and welfare, and wrote many books, including Poverty: a Study of Town Life (1901), Poverty and Progress (1941), and Poverty …

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Ba Jin - Biography, Works

Writer, born in Chengdu, Sichuan, SWC China. He studied in Shanghai and Nanjing, and also in France (1927–9), and became an enthusiastic anarchist. His major trilogy (Family, 1933, Spring, 1938, and Autumn, 1940) attacked the traditional family system, and was immensely popular with the younger generation. During the Cultural Revolution (1966–76) he was purged and punished, and compelled to do m…

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Baal - Deities called Ba’al and Ba’alath, Ba‘al as a divine title in Israel and Judah

(Heb ‘lord’) The Phoenician god of rain and fertility, his voice being the thunder; in the Bible, used for gods of various localities in Syria and Canaan, and eventually for the great god of the Canaanites, whose cult was often associated with the goddess Asherah or Ashtoreth. He also features in the Ugaritic Ras Shamra texts in conflicts with the gods Yam (the sea) and Mot (death). Baal …

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Baalbek - History

34°00N 36°12E, pop (2000e) 17 000. Town in E Lebanon where the Phoenicians built a temple to the Sun-god, Baal; a world heritage site; Temple of Jupiter, Temple of Bacchus; centre of Muslim Shiite activity; arts festival. Coordinates: 34°00′22″N, 36°12′31″E Baalbek (Arabic: بعلبك‎) is a town in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, altitude 3,850 ft (1,170 m), situat…

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Babe Ruth - Major League Career, Personal life, Statistics, Trivia

Baseball player, born in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. He was born in a poor waterfront neighbourhood and at age eight was sent by his saloon-keeper father to St Mary's Industrial School for Boys, where a priest encouraged his interest in baseball. As a teenager, his baseball exploits caught the attention of the minor league Baltimore Orioles, where he starred as a left-handed pitcher in 1914. Later t…

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Babi Yar - The massacre

A huge ravine near Kiev in Ukraine into which over 30 000 Jews were herded and massacred by Nazi German troops in 1941. It is also the title of a poem by Yevgeny Yevtushenko (1961) and a novel by Anatoly Kuznetsov (1966) dedicated to the victims. Babi Yar (Russian: Бабий яр, Babiy yar; On September 28, notices around town read: "All Jews living in the city of Kiev and it…

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baboon - Society, Cultural importance

A ground-dwelling African monkey; long dog-like muzzle with large teeth; males with swollen, naked buttocks; troops contain up to 100 individuals. (Genera: Papio, 5 species; Mandrillus, 2 species; Theropithecus, 1 species.) The baboons are some of the largest non-hominid members of the primate order; In modern scientific use, only members of the genus Papio are called baboons, but previousl…

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Babrak Karmal - Early years, Political career, President of the Republic, Fall from power, Death

Afghan prime minister (1979–81) and president (1979–86). He studied at Kabul University, and was imprisoned for anti-government activity during the early 1950s. He formed the Khalq (‘masses’) Party (1965) and the breakaway Parcham (‘banner’) Party (1967), the two groups merging to form the banned People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), with Karmal as deputy leader (1977). After brie…

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Babrius

Greek writer of fables. Little is known of him except that he collected Aesopic fables, which he turned into popular verse. These had almost all been lost, until 123 of them were discovered at Mt Athos, Greece, in 1841. Babrius was the author of a collection of fables written in Greek. He is supposed to have been a Roman, whose gentile name was possibly Valerius, living in the East, probabl…

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baby talk - Possible purposes, Vocabulary, Examples

The way in which adults talk to very young children, mimicking what are perceived to be the main features of child language. It includes simplified sentence structures (eg Mummy gone) and word pronunciations (eg doggie). Many parents lapse naturally into this style of speech, though some are critical of it, and try to avoid it. However, there is no evidence that the use of baby talk does any harm …

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Babylon - History, Archaeology of Babylon, Reconstruction, Effects of the U.S military

32°33N 44°25E. From the 18th-c BC, the capital of the Babylonian Empire, situated on the R Euphrates S of Baghdad, modern Iraq. Its massive city walls and ‘hanging gardens’, attributed by classical tradition to Semiramis, wife of Shamshi-Adad V (823–811 BC), regent (811–806 BC), were one of the wonders of the ancient world. Semi-subterranean vaulted rooms provided with hydraulic lifting gear…

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Babylonia - History, Astronomy, Mathematics, Literature

The region in Lower Mesopotamia around the ancient city of Babylon, which formed the core twice in antiquity of extensive but short-lived empires. The first, covering the whole of Mesopotamia, was created by the great Amorite king Hammurabi (c.1795–1750 BC) but destroyed by the Hittites c.1595 BC. The second came into being with the Babylonian overthrow of Assyria in 612 BC and lasted until the P…

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baccarat - Valuation of Hands, Punto Banco (North American Baccarat), Baccarat Chemin de Fer, Baccarat Banque

A casino card game, the most popular version being baccarat banque, in which the bank plays against the players. Another variant is chemin de fer, whereby all players take it in turn to hold the bank. Baccarat is derived from popular 15th-c games, and is thought to have been introduced into France from Italy during the reign of Charles VIII. The object is to assemble, either with two or three card…

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Bacchanalia - Modern usage

The orgiastic rites of Bacchus (Dionysus), the god of nature, fertility, and wine. They were banned from Rome in 186 BC on the grounds that they were a threat to morality and public order. The Bacchanalia were wild and mystic festivals of the Roman god Bacchus. Livy informs us that the rapid spread of the cult, which he claims indulged in all kinds of crimes and politica…

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Bacchylides

Greek lyric poet, the nephew of Simonides of Ceos, and a contemporary of Pindar in Hiero's court at Syracuse. Fragments of his Epinician Odes (written to celebrate victories in the great athletic festivals) were discovered in 1896. Bacchylides, Ancient Greek lyric poet, was born at Iulis, in the island of Ceos. Eusebius says that Bacchylides "flourished" in 467 BC. As the term used by him r…

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Bach flower remedies - Use, Additional flower remedies, List of Bach flower remedies

A system of flower remedies for illnesses, and especially for disharmonies of the personality and emotional state, devised by British medical microbiologist Edward Bach (1880–1936). Bach theorized that the dew condensing on a plant would, when exposed to sunlight, absorb the energy of the plant into the water molecules. From this premise he developed a system of herbal remedies prepared from 38 d…

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Baciccia - Biography, Works

Painter, born in Genoa, NW Italy. He is best known for his ambitious and spectacular Baroque illusionistic ceiling frescoes, such as the ceiling of the Jesuit Church of the Gusí in Rome. He also painted portraits of the papal court which are of a quieter mood. Giovanni Battista Gaulli (May 8, 1639- April 2, 1709), also known as Baciccio, Il Baciccio or Baciccia (all Genoese nicknames for G…

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bacillus

Any rod-shaped bacterium; also a large and diverse genus of rod-shaped bacteria, typically motile by means of flagella. They are widely distributed as saprophytes in soil and aquatic habitats. Some are disease-causing, including the causative agent of anthrax. (Kingdom: Monera. Family: Bacillaceae.) …

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backgammon - History, Rules, Strategy, Social and competitive play, Software

A board game for two players. Equipment similar to that used in backgammon was excavated from Tutankhamen's tomb. Introduced to Britain by the Crusaders, it became known as backgammon from c.1750. Each player has 15 round, flat pieces of a particular colour, which are moved around the board on the throw of two dice. The board is divided into two halves; the inner table and the outer table. The obj…

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background radiation - Natural background radiation, Human-caused background radiation, Artificial radiation sources

Naturally occurring radioactivity which can be detected at any place on Earth. It results from cosmic rays reaching the Earth from outer space, and from the radioactive decay of materials in the ground. Background radiation is the ionizing radiation emitted from a variety of natural and artificial radiation sources: sources in the Earth and from those sources that are incorporated in …

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bacteria - History, Cell Structure, Metabolism, Growth and reproduction, Genetic variation, Movement, Groups and identification, Benefits and dangers

A diverse division of microscopic organisms that all share a procaryotic cellular organization, ie each cell lacks a true nucleus bounded by a nuclear membrane. The genetic information is carried on a loop of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in the cytoplasm. Most bacteria are single-celled. Basic bacterial shapes are spherical (coccus), rod-like (bacillus), and spiral (spirillum). These may occur sing…

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bacteriophage - History, Phage Therapy, Other areas of use, Model bacteriophages

A virus that infects bacteria, reproducing only inside living bacteria. Bacteriophage virions (complete infective virus particles) are typically very small, and may contain either ribonucleic or deoxyribonucleic acid. A bacteriophage (from 'bacteria' and Greek phagein, 'to eat') is a virus that infects bacteria. Like viruses that infect eukaryotes (plants, animals and fungi), a …

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Bactria - Geography, History, Tokharistan, Archaeological sites

The name given in antiquity to the area roughly corresponding to N Afghanistan and the adjacent parts of S Russia. It was ruled for centuries by foreign conquerors, notably the Achaemenids and the Seleucids. In the second half of the 3rd-c BC Bactria at last became an independent state, and under a series of able Indo-Greek rulers went on to establish an empire that at its height covered not only …

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Badajoz

38°50N 6°59W, pop (2000e) 124 000. Capital of Badajoz province, Extremadura, W Spain, on R Guadiana, 401 km/249 mi SW of Madrid; key point of communications between Spain and Portugal; bishopric; former Moorish capital; scene of a battle in the Peninsular War, 1812; airport; railway; farming, tinned vegetables, flour, red pepper, oil, textiles; cathedral (13th-c); Alcazaba. Badajoz (I…

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Baden - Geography, Population, Industries, Education and religion, Constitution and government, History, Notable people, Further reading

48°01N 16°14E, pop (2000e) 25 800. Capital of Baden district, Niederösterreich, NE Austria; 30 km/19 mi S of Vienna, on the R Schwechat; connected to Vienna by tram; principal Austrian spa, with sulphurous waters, known since Roman times; tourism, casino. Baden is a historical state in the southwest of Germany, on the right bank of the Rhine. It came into existence in the…

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badger - Classification, Lifestyle and diet

A nocturnal mammal, usually grey-brown with a black and white head; pointed face; length 0·5–1 m/1½–3¼ ft; lives in burrows; species include the Old World badger (Meles), hog badger (Arctonyx), stink badger (Mydaus), ferret badger (Melogale), all native to European and Asian woodlands; also the American badger (Taxidea) from open country in North America. (Family: Mustelidae, 8 species.). I…

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Badlands

Arid region of SW South Dakota and NW Nebraska, USA; an area of barren, eroded landscapes and fossil deposits E of the Black Hills; Badlands National Monument; several other areas in these states are also described in this way. The term "badlands" has dual origins: the Lakota called the topography "mako sica", literally "bad lands", and French trappers called it "les mauvaises terres à tra…

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badminton - General Description, History and development, Scoring system development, Laws of the Game, Equipment, Basic strokes

An indoor court game played by two or four people using rackets and a shuttlecock. Its name derives from Badminton House, the seat of the Duke of Beaufort, where the Duke's family and guests played in the 19th-c; but a similar game was being played in China over 2000 years ago. It developed from the children's game of battledore and shuttlecock. The object is to volley the shuttle over the central…

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Baffin Bay - History, Location, Wildlife

Ice-blocked Arctic gulf between Greenland (E) and Baffin, Bylot, Devon, and Ellesmere Is (W); length c.1125 km/700 mi; width 110–650 km/70–400 mi; depth over 2400 m/8100 ft; navigation only in summer; first entered by John Davis, 1585; explored by William Baffin, 1615; important whaling area in the 1800s; seafowl and fur-bearing animals along coast. Baffin Bay (French: Baie de Baffi…

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Baffin Island - Geography, Politics, Wildlife, Climate

Largest island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, in the Arctic Ocean; separated from Labrador by the Hudson Strait, and from Greenland to the E by the Davis Strait and Baffin Bay; became part of new Nunavut territory in 1999; area 318 186 km²/122 820 sq mi; length c.1600 km/1000 mi; width 209–725 km/130–450 mi; irregular coastline, with several peninsulas and deep bays; mostly a plat…

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bagatelle

A restricted form of billiards, played on a table with nine numbered cups instead of pockets. Popular in the UK, especially in the N of England, the Midlands, and N Wales, it is played in many different forms on a rectangular table, with measurements varying according to local conditions. Bagatelle (from the Château de Bagatelle) is an indoor table game related to billiards, the object of …

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Baghdad - History, Government, Culture, Baghdad's major neighborhoods

33°20N 44°26E, pop (2000e) 6 247 000. Capital city of Iraq, on R Tigris; a commercial and transportation centre; founded, 762; enclosed on three sides by ancient walls; sacked by Mongols, 1258; later under Mongol, then Turkish rule; independent capital, 20th-c; badly damaged through bombing during the Gulf War, 1991; attacked by US-led coalition forces (Mar 2003) during the Iraq War; UN headq…

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Baghlan - The Industry of Baghlan, The Population of Baghlan

pop (2000e) 1 080 000, area 17 109 km²/6604 sq mi. Province in NEC Afghanistan; N of Kabul; capital, Baghlan Jadid, pop (2000e) 82 000; Salang Pass and Tunnel, on the main Russian supply route to Kabul, the focus of resistance by Mujahideen guerrillas during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan (1979–89). Coordinates: 36°8′″N, 68°42′″E The city of Baghlan w…

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bagpipes - Overview, History, Modern usage, Publications about the bagpipe

A musical instrument of great antiquity consisting of a bag (usually of sheepskin) which the player fills with air through a blow-pipe or bellows, and squeezes with his arm so that the air then passes through the sounding pipes. One of these, the chanter, is fitted with a reed and finger-holes, and is used for playing melodies; two or three other pipes supply the continuous accompanimental drone w…

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Bahia - History, Demographics, Economy, Bahian Culture, Indigenous Populations, Other Important Cities, Famous Bahians/Baianos

pop (2000e) 13 536 000; area 561 026 km²/216 556 sq mi. State in Nordeste region, NE Brazil, bounded E by the Atlantic; capital Salvador; agriculture, chemical and petrochemical industries, oil; Brazil first claimed for Portugal by Cabral in 1500, when he stepped ashore N of Pôrto Seguro in SE Bahia. Bahia is one of the 26 states of Brazil, and is located in the northeastern part …

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Bahrain - Politics, Education

Official name State of Bahrain Bahrain, officially the Kingdom of Bahrain (Arabic: مملكة البحرين ), is a borderless island nation in the Persian Gulf (Southwest Asia/Middle East, Asia). The islands of Bahrain, positioned in the middle south of the Persian Gulf, have attracted the attention of many invaders throughout history, such as the Al-Khalifas. Bahr…

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bail - Forms of bail, Bail law in the United States

The freeing from custody of a person charged with a crime and awaiting trial. There are often conditions imposed to secure the person's attendance at a court on a future date, and, in certain circumstances, these conditions may relate to other matters (such as the non-interference with witnesses). Frequently the security involves a sum of money pledged by the person or a guarantor (a surety) with …

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Bailey bridge - History, Design

A prefabricated bridge used by combat engineers, which can be rapidly constructed on the battlefield. The system was devised by British engineer Sir Donald Bailey (1901–85) during World War 2, and consists of a basic diamond braced unit of welded steel, 3×1·5 m/10×5 ft square, which can be easily manipulated by a squad of six men and joined together to make complex bridging structures. …

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bailiff - Medieval baillis, Modern bailiffs, Other uses of the word

An officer of the sheriff or the county court who is responsible for executing warrants, processes, and writs. He may also seize goods under a ‘warrant of execution’ as a method of obtaining payment, such as for unpaid rent. The equivalent position in Scotland is that of the Sheriff officer whose duty is to serve, process, and execute writs and warrants of the Sheriff Court. Many Sheriff officer…

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Baja California - Early History, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Municipalities

A long peninsula in NW Mexico, bounded E by the Gulf of California, S and W by the Pacific Ocean, and N by the USA; length 1220 km/760 mi; area c.144 000 km²/55 000 sq mi; divided into the states of Baja California Norte (pop (2000e) 1 998 000) and Baja California Sur (pop (2000e) 383 000); San Pedro Mártir Mts rise to 3095 m/10 154 ft; Colorado R flows into the N of the Gulf; geo…

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baking powder - Usage, Substituting in recipes

A mixture of sodium bicarbonate, tartaric acid, and potassium tartrate, used in baking. It is added to dough (a mixture of flour and water), and when heated, carbon dioxide is released, causing the dough to rise. Baking powder is a dry chemical leavening agent used in baking. all contain an alkali, typically sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and an acid in the form of salt crystals, togethe…

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Baku - Origin of the Name, Demographics, Economy, Transportation and Communication, Entertainment, Sister cities, Famous people from Baku

40°22N 49°53E, pop (2000e) 1 174 000. Seaport capital of Azerbaijan; on the Apsheron Peninsula, on the W coast of the Caspian Sea; industrial, scientific, and cultural centre; airport; railway; university (1919); oil refining, metalworking, petrochemicals, tyres, solar research and development; oil pipeline to Batumi on the Black Sea; Kiz-Kalasyi (Virgin's Tower, 12th-c), Shirvan Shah's Palac…

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balalaika - Structure and technique, Rise of the balalaika orchestra, Discography

A Russian musical instrument: a lute with a triangular body, flat back, long neck, and three strings which are strummed by the player's fingers. It is used to accompany singing and dancing, or as a member of larger ensembles. The balalaika (Russian: балала́йка; The modern balalaika is found in six sizes: The most common solo instrument is the prima, tuned E…

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balance of payments - Balance of Payments Identity, United States Balance of Payments since 1960

The difference, for a country, between the income and expenditure arising out of its international trading activities. The current account includes the country's income from selling goods abroad (exporting), offset by its expenditure on goods imported. The difference between these two totals is the trade balance. Also included are ‘invisible’ services bought and sold abroad, such as air transpor…

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balance sheet - Balance Sheet Structure, Equity valuation, Constructing a Balance Sheet

A statement of the assets and liabilities of a firm or organization at a moment in time, normally the end of a financial year. Assets include physical objects including land and buildings, plant and equipment, stocks of materials, work in progress and inventories of output not yet sold, and financial assets including cash and bank balances, securities held, and trade credit extended. Liabilities i…

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Baldassare (Tommaso) Peruzzi - Design and decoration of Villa Farnesina, Other work

Architect, probably born in Siena, C Italy. In 1503 he went to Rome, where he designed the Villa Farnesina and the Ossoli Palace, and painted frescoes in the Church of S Maria della Pace (1516). After a short period as city architect in Siena, he returned to Rome in 1535 and designed the Palazzo Massimo. Baldassare Tommaso Peruzzi (7 March 1481—6 January 1537) was an Italian architect and…

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baldness - Etymology, Approaches to baldness, Concealing hair loss, Embracing baldness, Baldness folklore

Commonly described as permanent loss of hair from the front and/or top of the head, usually in men, because of the degeneration and reduction in the size of hair follicles. Genetic factors, ageing, and androgens (eunuchs are seldom bald) may be causative agents. There is no effective cure. An improper diet, certain endocrine and skin disorders, as well as some chemical or physical agents may damag…

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Baldur von Schirach - Biography

Nazi politician, born in Berlin, Germany. He studied at the University of Munich, became a party member in 1925, a member of the Reichstag (1932), and founded and organized the Hitler Youth (1933), of which he was leader until his appointment as Gauleiter of Vienna in 1940. Captured in Austria in 1945 and tried before the Nuremberg Tribunal, he was found guilty of participating in the mass deporta…

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Baldwin - Place, People, Companies

Clergyman, born in Exeter, Devon, SW England, UK, in poor circumstances. He became Bishop of Worcester in 1180, and Archbishop of Canterbury in 1184. He crowned Richard I, made a tour of Wales preaching in favour of the Crusades, and himself died on a Crusade. Baldwin may refer to: Baldwin is the name of some places in Canada: Baldwin is the name of some places in th…

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Balearic Islands - Etymology, History of the Archipelago, Trivia

Local name Islas Baleares The Balearic Islands /ˈbeɪ̯lɪˌæɹɪk ˈaɪ̯ləndz/ (Catalan: ''Illes Balears'' /ˈiʎəz bəɫəˈaː(r)s/, Spanish: Islas Baleares, /ˈiz·las·ba·leˈaː·res/, Greek: Gymnesiae – Γυμνησίαι, Βαλλιαρεῖς, Diod. There are various theories on the origins of the two ancient Greek and Latin names for the islands – Gymna…

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baleen - Evolution of baleen, Baleen in filter feeding, Uses of baleen

A fibrous material from the mouth of some species of whale; forms a sieve during feeding; formerly used in manufacturing, when strong, light, flexible material was needed (eg to strengthen women's corsets); also known as whalebone (though it is not in fact bone). Baleen makes up baleen plates, which are arranged in two parallel rows that look like combs of thick hair; they are attached to t…

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Bali - History, Geography, Administration, Demographics, Economy, Demographics

pop (2000e) 3 265 000; area 5561 km²/2146 sq mi. Island province of Indonesia, between Java (W) and Lombok (E); mountainous, with peaks rising to 3142 m/10 308 ft at Gunung Agung (E); chiefly Hindu population; Dutch control by 1908; capital, Denpasar; rice, cattle, coffee, copra, salt, onions, handicrafts; major tourist area, but tourism badly affected following terrorist bomb attack whi…

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Balilla - Story and legacy

The Genoese boy who, according to tradition, flung a stone at Austrian soldiers and thus started the revolt (1746) that freed the city. During the Fascist era it gave the name to a paramilitary youth organization for children aged between 8 and 14, the Opera Nazionale Balilla. Balilla was the moniker of Giovan Battista Perasso, a semi-legendary Genoese character who would have started the l…

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Balkan Wars - Background, Formation of the Balkan League, The First Balkan War, Second Balkan War

(1912–13) A series of complex military campaigns fought in the Balkans. In 1912, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro attacked Turkey, securing swift victories. A preliminary peace was drawn up by the Great Powers (Britain, France, Germany, Austro-Hungary, Russia) in May 1913, in which Turkey surrendered most of her European territories on condition that a new state of Albania was created. Di…

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balkanization

The fragmentation of a region into smaller, often hostile, political units; specifically in the Balkans, where division is enhanced by their often mountainous geography. As the Ottoman empire weakened its hold on the Balkans in the 19th-c, ancient power struggles emerged. During the Ottoman period, most Albanians had converted to Islam, while most Serbs had adhered to a form of Christian orthodoxy…

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Balkans - Definitions and boundaries, Regional organizations, Nature and natural resources, History and geopolitical significance

Mountainous peninsula in SE Europe (the Balkan Peninsula), and the countries it contains; lies between the Adriatic Sea (W), Ionian Sea (SW), Black Sea (E), Aegean Sea (SE), and Mediterranean Sea (S); partly bounded N by the Danube R and its tributaries; area c.500 000 km²/200 000 sq mi; chief ranges are the Carpathian, Balkan, Rhodope, and Pindus Mountains, and branches of the Dinaric Alps; c…

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ballad - Traditional Poetic Form, Broadsheet ballads, Border ballads, Literary ballads, Ballad opera, Popular song, Famous ballads

An elementary poetic form, found in many languages, which tells and/or dramatizes a story in a lyrical stanza apt for oral transmission (and singing). Ballads have been created in many verse forms, but the most typical form in English has been the four-line stanza of varying length, rhyme scheme abab. This pattern of a four-beat line followed by a three-beat line is called common measure. The trad…

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ballade

An Old French form, consisting normally of three eight-line stanzas and a concluding four-line section, strictly rhymed. Used by de Machaut and François Villon in the 14th–15th-c, and adopted in England by Chaucer and Gower, it was resurrected by a few sophisticated poets in the 19th–20th-c, notably Swinburne, Chesterton, and Belloc. The ballade is a verse form consisting of three (somet…

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Ballantyne - People with the surname Ballantyne

Printers and brothers: James Ballantyne (1772–1833) and John Ballantyne (1774–1821), born in Kelso, Scottish Borders, SE Scotland, UK. They studied at Kelso Grammar School (1783) with Sir Walter Scott. James studied for the law, but in 1797 started the Tory Kelso Mail. In 1802, having already printed some ballads for Scott, he produced the first two volumes of the Border Minstrelsy. After moving…

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ballet - History of ballet, Illusion of flight in ballet

A theatrical form of dance typically combined with music, stage design, and costume in an integrated whole, based around a scenario. Italian Renaissance court spectacles developed into the French ballet de cour under Louis XIV. Ballet became a professional theatre form in the 18th-c, gradually formalizing its technique in the early 19th-c. It can be divided roughly into historical periods; mid-19t…

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Ballets Russes - Principal productions, End of the Diaghilev era

A ballet company created by Diaghilev, composed of the best dancers of Moscow and St Petersburg, and active in Europe 1909–29. It was famous for nurturing new talents and for collaborations between great painters (Bakst, Benois, Picasso), composers (Rimsky-Korsakov, Satie, Stravinsky), and choreographers (Fokine, Nijinsky, Massine, Nijinska, Balanchine). It had a repertoire of 20th-c classics inc…

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ballistic missile - Missile types, Specific missiles, Ballistic missile submarines

A missile which acquires its energy during its launch phase, flying on a trajectory dictated by its initial velocity added to the factors of gravity and aerodynamic drag, until it reaches the target. A cruise missile, by contrast, flies with wings through the atmosphere under continuous power. A rifle bullet is in effect a ballistic missile, but more specifically the term applies to the big interc…

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ballistics - Overview, Forensic Ballistics

The study of what takes place when a projectile is fired from a firearm. Ballistics has three aspects: (1) internal, concerning the way the object is thrown into the air; (2) external, investigating the way it moves in flight; (3) terminal, analysing its impact on the target. Forensic ballistics helps in the investigation of gun crimes. Ballistics (gr. A ballistic body is a body…

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balloon - Uses, As flying machines, In medicine, Records

A flexible envelope filled with a lighter-than-air gas which provides the buoyancy force to rise upwards. A popular children's toy, large balloons are also used for meteorological and scientific research as well as for pleasure (ballooning). The envelope of a modern hot-air balloon is made from either nylon or Dacron, which is then coated with polyurethane applied under pressure to make the materi…

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ballroom dance - Definitions and history, Dances, Dancesport world champions

A social dance form developed in the early 20th-c, revealing the strong influence of American ragtime, syncopated rhythms producing the foxtrot, quickstep, and tango. Also popular were animal dances (such as the Turkey Trot, Bunny Hug) and Latin-American dances (such as the cha-cha-cha and samba). The 1950s and 1960s rock ’n roll era moved young people's dance out of the ballroom and into the clu…

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Ballymena - History, People, 2001 Census, Education, Sport

54º52N 6º17W, pop (2001e) 29 800. Market town in Co Antrim, NE Northern Ireland; on the R Braid; known as the city of the seven towers; built on land given to the Adair family by Charles I in 1626; birthplace of Liam Neeson; railway; Ballymena United football Club; stock car racing; annually hosts Ireland's largest agricultural show; arts festival (Sep–Oct); textiles (linen), dyeing. T…

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Ballyshannon - Location, History, Transport

54º30N 8º11W, pop (2001e) 3000. Town in Co Donegal, N Ireland; set above the R Erne; created a borough, 1613; birthplace of William Allingham who is buried in St Anne's churchyard; pottery, tourism; international festival of traditional folk music (Aug). Coordinates: 54.5015°?N 8.2018°?W Ballyshannon (Béal Atha Seanaidh in Irish) is a town in County Donegal, Ireland. …

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Balmoral Castle - Early history, Royal residence, Chateau Balmoral

A castle and estate of 9700 ha/24 000 acres located on Upper Deeside, Aberdeenshire, NE Scotland, UK, used by the British Royal family as a holiday home. Prince Albert purchased the original 15th-c castle and grounds for Queen Victoria in 1852, but it was felt to be too small, so a new castle was designed and built nearby, completed in 1856. The grounds, gardens, and ballroom are open to the pu…

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balsa

A fast-growing tree (Ochroma pyramidale), reaching 25 m/80 ft or more, with very light, soft timber, native to lowland areas of tropical America; leaves broadly oval to circular, 30 cm/12 in or more in diameter; flowers 15 cm/6 in long, white. (Family: Bombacaceae.) …

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Balthus - Life and work, Influence and legacy, References and bibliography

Painter, born in Paris, France. He had no formal training, but received early encouragement from Bonnard and Derain. He held his first one-man exhibition at the Galerie Pierre, Paris, in 1934, and later became director of the French School in Rome. His work includes landscapes and portraits, but he is chiefly known for his interiors with adolescent girls, painted in a highly distinctive naturalist…

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Baltic Exchange - The bombing, Current Management

An abbreviation for the Baltic Mercantile and Shipping Exchange, a major world market for cargo space on sea and air freight, which originated in the London coffee houses, and is still found in the City of London. It was known as the Virginia and Baltic from 1744, reflecting the growth of trade with America. The Exchange also handles the market in some commodities, such as grain. Its headquarters …

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Baltic languages - Geographic distribution, History, Relationship with other Indo-European languages, Note

A branch of the Indo-European family of languages, principally comprising Latvian and Lithuanian. Both have written records from the 14th-c, and each has a standard form and official status in its country. There are striking similarities between the Baltic and Slavic languages, but it is not certain whether these derive from their common origin, or from prolonged contact. The Baltic languag…

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Baltic Sea - Geophysical data, Geographic data, Geologic history, History, Biology, Economy, Countries, Islands and Archipelagoes, Cities

area 414 000 km²/160 000 sq mi. An arm of the Atlantic Ocean enclosed by Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, and Finland; connected to the North Sea by the Kattegat, Skagerrak, Danish Straits, and the Kiel Canal; chief arms, the Gulfs of Bothnia, Finland, Riga; main islands, Hiiumma, Saaremaa, Åland, Gotland, Öland, Bornholm, Rüdgen, Fehmarn; mean depth 5…

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Baltic Shield

The geological name for the continental mass made up of Precambrian crystalline rocks exposed in parts of Norway, Sweden, and Finland, and forming the underlying basement of the continent. They are the oldest rocks in Europe, and are made up predominantly of granites and gneisses. The Baltic Shield (sometimes referred to as the Fennoscandian Shield) is located in Fennoscandia (Norway Sweden…

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Bamako - Overview, Quartiers, Sister cities

12°40N 7°59E, pop (2000e) 910 000. River-port capital of Mali, on the R Niger; mediaeval centre of Islamic learning; capital of French Sudan, 1905; airport; railway; power plant, ceramics, food processing, pharmaceuticals, metals, textiles, cycles, chemicals, tobacco; zoo, botanical gardens. Bamako, population 1,690,471 (2006), is the capital of Mali, and is the biggest city in the coun…

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Bambara - History, Culture, Bambara art

A Mande-speaking agricultural people of Mali, W Africa, divided into several small chiefdoms. Many are now urbanized and intermingled with other groups. They are known for their elaborate cosmology and metaphysics, their indigenous writing, and religious sculptures. They founded two important states, at Segu (c.1650) and at Kaarta (now in Mali, c.1753–4). Population c.2·5 million. The Bam…

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Bamberg - Geography, Population, History, Settlers from Bamberg, Main sights, Beer, Education, Traffic, Politics, Twin towns

49º54N 10º54E, pop (2002e) 68 700. River port and manufacturing city in N Bayern province, W Germany; located on the R Regnitz near its confluence with the Main, 48 km/30 mi W of Bayreuth; on the Main-Danube Canal; birthplace of Theodor Heinrich Boveri, Joachim Camerarius, Johann Döllinger, August Paul von Wasserman; railway; university; engineering, textiles, carpets, electrical goods; ear…

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bamboo

A giant woody grass, mostly tropical or subtropical, with a few temperate species; usually forming large clumps growing rapidly - up to 40 cm/15 in a day - and reaching heights of 36 m/120 ft. Some species flower annually; others only once after several to many years, and then all together, after which the entire population dies. They provide edible shoots and light timber, including garden ca…

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Ban Chao - Control of the Tarim Basin, Expansion to the doorstep of Europe, A family of historians

Chinese military leader and administrator, who first established Chinese control over Turkestan. Deputy commander of an army which crushed an opposing force of 70 000, he later (AD 91) became protector of the Western Regions and conquered the whole of W Turkestan up to the Caspian for the Han dynasty. After his death his younger brother Ban Yong tightened Chinese control of Turkestan. Ban …

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Ban Gu

Chinese historian, the brother of Ban Chao. His History of the Former Han (Han Shu) was, like Sima Qian's earlier work, based on official documentation, other histories and oral traditions, but with wider social, scientific, and artistic coverage. Started by AD 54, and completed by Ban Gu's sister Ban Zhao, it is a major source on the earlier Han dynasty. Equivalent to 800 000 English words, it e…

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Ban Ki-moon - Education, Personal, Career, UN Secretary-General candidacy, Awards

UN secretary-general (2007– ), born in Chungju, Chungcheong province, South Korea. He studied international relations at Seoul University (1970), and gained his MA from Harvard (1985). He joined the South Korean Home Office in 1975 and held posts as national security adviser to the president (1996), ambassador to Austria (1998–2000), vice-foreign minister (2000–1), and advisor on foreign affair…

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banana - Trade, Cultivation, Pests and diseases, Effects of banana diseases in East Africa, Fibre, Popular culture

A giant perennial herb, superficially resembling a tree. The true stem lies underground, at intervals bearing buds which produce large, oar-shaped leaves. It is the closely sheathing bases of the leaves which form the soft, hollow, trunk-like ‘stem’ rising to a height of several metres above ground. The underground bud also produces the inflorescence, which grows up the hollow centre of the stem…

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Banbury - History, Transport and infrastructure, Expansion timeline of Banbury, Polish immigration, Banbury Cross, Cattle Market, Banbury Museum

52º04N 1º20W, pop (2000e) 42 200. Town in Cherwell district, N Oxfordshire, SC England, UK; located on the R Cherwell and the Oxford Canal, 35 km/22 mi N of Oxford; important wool-trading centre in 13th-c; the Banbury Cross of the well-known nursery rhyme was destroyed by the Puritans in the 17th-c; the present cross was erected (1859) to celebrate the wedding of the then Princess Royal to P…

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Banco Ambrosiano - Before 1981, After 1981, Clearstream scandal, Roberto Calvi's 1982 murder

A bank established in Milan in 1896 which had close links with the Vatican's economic bodies. In 1982 it was involved in one of the biggest financial collapses of the period, and linked to the masonic lodge P2 and the apparent suicide of banker Roberto Calvi in London. It was liquidated by the Italian Treasury. Banco Ambrosiano was an Italian bank which collapsed spectacularly in 1982. At t…

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Bandar Seri Begawan - Trivia

4°56N 114°58E, pop (2000e) 90 600. Capital of Brunei, SE Asia, 20 km/12 mi from mouth of Brunei R; airport; town wharf used mainly for local vessels since opening of deep-water port at Muara in 1972; Mesjid Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin mosque (1958), Churchill Museum, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Aquarium. Bandar Seri Begawan, estimated population 46,229 (1991), is the capital and the royal t…

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bandicoot

An Australasian marsupial (family: Peramelidae, 17 species); superficially rat-like, but larger with longer snout and ears; digs in soil with front claws; eats invertebrates; also includes the Australian rabbit-eared bandicoots (or bilbies) of family Thylacomyidae (2 species) from dry areas. A bandicoot is any of about 20 species of small to medium-sized, terrestrial marsupial omnivores in …

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Bandung - Geography, Climate, History, City administration, Landmarks, Education, Economy, Tourism industry, Sports, Environmental issues, Sister relationships, Awards

0°32N 103°16E, pop (2000e) 2 065 000. Capital of Java Barat province, W Java, Indonesia; 180 km/112 mi SE of Jakarta; founded, 1810; former administrative centre of Dutch East Indies; Bandung Conference (1955), at which 29 non-aligned countries met to facilitate joint diplomatic action; airport; railway; two universities (1955, 1957); nuclear research centre (1964); chemicals, plastics, tex…

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Bangalore

12°59N 77°40E, pop (2004e) 5 700 000. Capital of Karnataka, SC India, 290 km/180 mi W of Chennai (Madras); founded, 1537; former military headquarters of the British-administered district of Mysore (1831–1947); birthplace of Lindsay Anderson; airfield; railway; university (1964); aircraft, machine tools, light engineering, electronics, trade in coffee, call centres. …

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Bangkok - History, Full Name, Economy, Climate, Administration, Higher education, Tourism, Current issues, Media, Nightlife, Sister cities

13°44N 100°30E, pop (2000e) 6 746 000. Capital city of Thailand; on Chao Praya R, 25 km/15 mi from its mouth on the Bight of Thailand; capital, 1782; old city noted for its many canals; accessible to small ocean-going vessels; since 1955, headquarters of the SE Asia Treaty Organization; airport; railway; subway (2004); eight universities; commerce, paper, ceramics, textiles, timber, aircraf…

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Bangladesh - History, Government and politics, Subdivisions, Geography and climate, Economy, Demographics, Culture

Official name People's Republic of Bangladesh, Gana Prajatantri Bangladesh Bangladesh, officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia. Together with the Indian state of West Bengal, it makes up the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal. The borders of Bangladesh were set by the Partition of India in 1947, when it became the eastern wing of Pakistan …

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Bangor - Australia, Canada, France, United Kingdom, United States

53°13N 4°08W, pop (2000e) 48 700. City in Gwynedd, NW Wales, UK; opposite the island of Anglesey; railway; university (1884); cathedral (founded 6th-c); chemicals, engineering, electrical goods; tourism; Theatre Gwynedd. All three of these places called Bangor figure in the monastic and/or ecclesiastical history of the first millennium AD. …

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Bangui - Geography and Climate, Law and Government, Economy, Culture, Education, Notes and references

4°23N 18°37E, pop (2000e) 767 800. Capital of Central African Republic; on the R Ubangi, 1030 km/640 mi NE of Brazzaville; founded, 1889; airport; university (1969); handles Chad trade; cotton, coffee, timber products, cigarettes, metal products, office machinery, beer; Boganda Museum. Bangui is the capital of, and the largest city in the Central African Republic. The majority of the …

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banjo - Five-string banjo, Four-string banjo, Other banjo variants, Further reading

A plucked string instrument developed in the 19th-c from earlier similar instruments used by W African slaves in the USA. It has a long neck and fingerboard, fretted like a guitar's, and five metal strings (gut, in older instruments). These pass over a bridge which presses against a parchment (or plastic) membrane stretched over a circular frame. It is played either with a plectrum or with the fin…

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Banjul - History, Economy, Districts, Twin town

13°28N 16°35W, pop (2000e) 68 700. Seaport capital of The Gambia, W Africa; on Island of St Mary in R Gambia estuary, 195 km/121 mi SE of Dakar; established in 1816 as a settlement for freed slaves; airport; peanuts, crafts, tourism; Fort Bullen (1826). Banjul is the capital of The Gambia. In 1816, the British founded Banjul as a trading post and base for suppressing the s…

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bank - Services typically offered by banks, Types of banks, Banks in the economy, Regulation

An organization which offers a wide range of services to do with the handling of money. Most banks are commercial banks, which keep money on behalf of their customers, lend it to them, and offer them such facilities as currency exchange, money transfer, credit facilities, mortgages, and investment advice. A central bank in a country (such as the Bank of England or the Banque de France) is the bank…

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Bank of England - Functions of the Bank, History, Banknote issues, Chief Cashiers of the Bank of England

The central bank of Britain. The concept of a national bank was put forward by William Paterson (1658–1719), a Scottish merchant, after the Stuart kings' abuse of the royal prerogative to borrow from the Royal Mint (founded in AD 825) had severely damaged government credit. It was based on the concept of a national debt, whereby the government could raise money ‘upon a Fund of perpetual interest…

1 minute read

bank rate - Various Uses for the Term "Bank Rate", Consumer Use of the Current Bank Rate

A former interest rate at which the Bank of England would lend to discount houses, and an important instrument of government economic policy. It was abandoned in 1973, and replaced by the minimum lending rate (MLR). A change in bank rate was the signal to other lending institutions to follow suit. Bank rate, also referred to as the discount rate, is the rate of interest which a central bank…

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bankruptcy - Purpose, Bankruptcy fraud, Bankruptcy in Canada, Bankruptcy in the United Kingdom, Bankruptcy in the United States

The state of being reduced to financial ruin through being unable to meet one's debts. A debtor may be insolvent without becoming bankrupt, and may become a bankrupt without being insolvent. Legally, individuals and partnerships are in this state when a court in bankruptcy proceedings declares them to be bankrupt, the debtor's property being thereafter administered for the benefit of the creditors…

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banksia - Taxonomy, Distribution and Habitat, Ecology, Uses

A low shrub or small tree, native to Australia; leaves sometimes very small, usually narrow, sharply toothed, leathery; flowers commonly cream, also orange, red, or purplish with four perianth segments and protruding style; up to 1000 in spectacular globular or cylindrical heads up to 40×18 cm/15×7 in, which become cone-like in fruit with woody capsules, shaggy with persistent remains of flowe…

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banyan - List of species, Gallery

A large evergreen species of fig (Ficus benghalensis), native to the Old World tropics. It is notable for its aerial roots, which grow from the horizontal branches to the ground, becoming trunk-like, so that an apparent group of trees may in fact be only one. (Family: Moraceae.) the Banyan tree can grow up to 30 or 40 metres in height Banyan (genus Ficus, subgenus Urostigma) is …

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Bao Dai - Biography, Life in Exile, Quotes

Indo-Chinese ruler, born in Hué, EC Vietnam, the son of Emperor Khai Dai. He ruled as Emperor of Annam (1932–45), then in 1949, having renounced his hereditary title, returned to Saigon as chief of the State of Vietnam within the French Union. In 1955 he was deposed and South Vietnam became a republic. Bảo Đại (保大帝、22 October 1913 – 30 July 1997) was the last Emperor of Vie…

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baobab - References and external links

A deciduous tree (Adansonia digitata) native to arid parts of C Africa; its short but massive barrel- or bottle-shaped trunk 9–12 m/30–40 ft high and up to 9 m/30 ft in girth contains large stores of water. The edible pulp of its woody fruits is called monkey bread. (Family: Bombacaceae.) The baobab (Adansonia), or monkey bread tree are a genus of eight species of trees, native to Mad…

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baptism - Practice of Baptism, Background in Jewish ritual, Explanation, Ecumenical statement, Baptism in most Christian traditions

A sacramental practice involving water, symbolizing initiation into a church. The Christian ritual is usually traced to the New Testament, where new converts were immersed in water (Acts 8.38–9) and where the rite was linked with the imparting of the Spirit and with a confession of repentance and faith (Acts 2.38, 10.47). Jesus Christ's baptism by John marked the start of his ministry. Today, Chu…

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bar

Unit of pressure; symbol bar; equal to 105 Pa (pascal, SI unit); 1 bar is approximately atmospheric pressure. The millibar (mb; 1 bar = 1000 mb) proves to be of greater use for practical measurements. At sea level, atmospheric pressure is c.1013·25 mb; classed as a unit in temporary use with SI units. Bar may mean: Places: BAR may also represent: …

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Barabbas - "Jesus Barabbas", Barabbas' crime, Historicity, Were Barabbas and Jesus the same person?

Political rebel and murderer (as described in Mark 15, Luke 23), who was arrested but apparently released by popular acclaim in preference to Pilate's offer to release Jesus of Nazareth. He was possibly also called ‘Jesus Barabbas’ (in some manuscripts of Matt 27.16-17). In the Christian narrative of the Passion of Jesus, Barabbas, according to some texts Jesus bar-Abbas, (Aramaic Bar-abb…

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Barbados - History, Politics, Geography, Parishes, Economy, Characteristics and tourist information, Transport, Demographics, Culture, Sport, Trivia, National symbols

Local name Barbados Barbados is an independent island nation located in the western Atlantic Ocean, just to the east of the Caribbean Sea, found at roughly 13° north of the Equator and 59° west of the Prime Meridian. The closest island neighbours to Barbados are Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines both located to the west Trinidad and Tobago to the south and…

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Barbara (Charline) Jordan - Quotes

US representative, born in Houston, Texas, USA. She studied at Boston University, then practised law in Houston (1960–7), entering Democratic politics in the Texas Senate (1967–72), and continuing in the US House of Representatives (1973–9) as the first black congressman to be elected from the Deep South. A compelling orator, she electrified the 1976 Democratic convention before illness cut sho…

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Barbara (Clementine) Harris - External Links

Social activist, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. She worked as a public relations executive, becoming director of the Episcopal Publishing Co. In the late 1960s she joined the Church of the Advocate, campaigning for social and civil rights. She was ordained a priest in 1980, and made history when she became the first woman to be consecrated an assistant bishop in the Episcopal Church (198…

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Barbara (Mary Crampton) Pym

Novelist, born in Oswestry, Shropshire, WC England, UK. She studied at Liverpool and Oxford universities, and for most of her adult life worked at the International African Institute in London. She is best known for her series of satirical novels on English middle-class society, including Excellent Woman (1952) and Quartet in Autumn (1977). Barbara Mary Crampton Pym (June 2, 1913 – Januar…

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Barbara Bodichon - Further reading

Advocate of women's rights, born in London, UK. She studied at Bedford College, London, and in 1852 opened a primary school in London. She wrote Women at Work (1857) and was a founder of the feminist magazine The Englishwoman's Journal (1858). She was one of the founders of the college for women that became Girton College, Cambridge. Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (8 April 1827 - 11 June 1891…

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Barbara Bush - Early life, First Lady of the United States, Later life, Controversies

US first lady (1989–93), born in Rye, New York, USA. She studied at Smith College and left to marry George Bush in 1945. She was actively involved in programmes to increase literacy, and was also honorary chairman of the Leukaemia Society. Barbara Pierce Bush (born June 8, 1925) is the wife of the 41st President of the United States, George H. Bush, and was First Lady of the United States …

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Barbara Ehrenreich - Books, Essays

Sociologist and writer, born in Butte, Montana, USA. An independent writer, she became known for her outspoken feminist–socialist analyses of contemporary issues, particularly health and the politics of sex and class. Her books include For Her Own Good (co-authored, 1978) and The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990). In 1983 she became co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. Barbara E…

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Barbara Guest

Poet, born in Wilmington, North Carolina, USA. She studied English at the University of California, at Los Angeles and Berkeley, graduating in 1943. On the advice of Henry Miller, in 1953 she moved to New York, where she began writing for ARTnews magazine. She became a leading figure in the New York School of poetry, and was strongly influenced by Surrealism and the work of abstract painters suc…

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Barbara Hershey - Awards, Notes and references

Film actress, born in Hollywood, California, USA. She made her film debut in With Six You Get Egg Roll (1968), and in 1987 received a Best Actress award at the Cannes film festival for her role in Shy People, winning the award again in 1988 for A World Apart. Other films include Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Falling Down (1993), The Pallbearer (1996), Frogs f…

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Barbara Loden

Actress and film director, born in Marion, North Carolina, USA. Commencing her Broadway career in 1957, she enjoyed her greatest success playing the Marilyn Monroe-inspired role in Arthur Miller's After the Fall (1964); its director, Elia Kazan, became her (second) husband in 1967. She appeared in a few films and TV dramas, then turned to writing and directing her own films, including The Frontier…

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Barbara McClintock - Early life, Education and research at Cornell, University of Missouri - Columbia, Cold Spring Harbor, Legacy

Geneticist and biologist, born in Hartford, Connecticut, USA. She studied at Cornell, where she later taught (1927–31). Working at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory from the 1940s, she discovered and studied a new class of mutant genes in corn, concluding that the function of some genes is to control other genes, and that they can move on the chromosome to do this. She was awarded the National Me…

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Barbara Stanwyck - Personal life, Career, Filmography

Actress, born in New York City, USA. A working girl from the age of 13, she became a dancer, appearing in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1923, and made her stage debut in 1926 and her film debut in 1927. Established as a major star in the 1930s, she is best remembered for her portrayal of pioneering women in such Westerns as Annie Oakley (1935) and Union Pacific (1939). Active in radio and television, sh…

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Barbara Taylor Bradford - Novels by Barbara Taylor Bradford

Journalist and novelist, born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, N England, UK. She joined the Yorkshire Evening Post as reporter (1949–51) and women's editor (1951–3), became fashion editor of Woman's Own (1953–4), a columnist on The London Evening News (1955–7), and executive editor of The London American (1959–62). Moving to the USA, she worked as a columnist for leading newspapers, including the C…

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Barbara Trapido - Bibliography, Reviews

Novelist, born in Cape Town, South Africa. Disenchanted with the South African political situation, she emigrated to the UK in 1963. Her novels are influenced by the satirical wit of Shakespeare's comedies and by the dialogue of Jane Austen, and include Brother of the More Famous Jack (1982, Whitbread), Noah's Ark (1984), Temples of Delight (1990), Juggling (1994), and The Travelling Hornplayer (1…

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Barbara Tuchman - Partial List of Works

Historian, born in New York City, New York, USA. After graduating from Radcliffe College (1933) and reporting on the Spanish Civil War for the Nation (1937–8), she turned to the study of history. Her career as a non-academic, best-selling historian began in earnest with her fourth book, the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Guns of August (1962). She received a second Pulitzer for Stillwell and the Amer…

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Barbara Walters - Early life, Career, Personal life

Television journalist and interviewer, born in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. She studied at Sarah Lawrence College, and began work for the National Broadcasting Company's publicity department, then moved to the Today Show. Successful despite a slight lisp (later parodied on Saturday Night Live), she developed the reputation for intelligent and probing - if not confrontational - interviews. In 1976, …

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Barbarossa

Barbary pirate, born in Mitilini, Greece. With his brothers he became a Turkish corsair, attacking shipping in the Mediterranean. After the execution of his brother Horuk (1518), he captured Algiers (1529) and was made admiral of the Ottoman fleet (1533), conquering Tunisia, and defeating the Holy Roman Emperor (Charles V) at Preveza (1538). He became one of the great figures at the Court of Const…

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Barbary Coast

The coast of N Africa from Morocco to Tripolitania (Libya), famous for piracy between the 16th-c and 18th-c. This coast and the Barbary States of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Tripolitania take their name from the Berbers who inhabited this region. The Barbary Coast, or Barbary, was the term used by Europeans until the 19th century to refer to the coastal regions of what is now Morocco, Al…

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barbet - Species

A plump, brightly-coloured bird, inhabiting the tropics worldwide (especially Africa); usually a forest-dweller; named after its ‘beard’ of feathers, at the base of a large bill; eats fruit, flowers, and insects. (Family: Capitonidae, over 70 species.) Barbets are near passerine birds of the order Piciformes. …

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Barbizon School

A group of French landscape painters working c.1830–80 at Barbizon, a village in the Forest of Fontainbleau. Pioneers of plein air painting, they sketched out-of-doors, directly from nature, in a way that foreshadowed the Pre-Raphaelites in England and the Impressionists in France. Leading members were Théodore Rousseau, Charles François Daubigny, Constant Troyon, and Narciso-Virgilio Díaz (18…

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Barbra Streisand - Biography, Awards, Performances on Broadway, Television Specials, Filmography, Discography

Singer, actress, and director, born in New York City, USA. Starting as a nightclub singer, stage and television appearances brought her the lead in the Broadway show Funny Girl (1964), which she repeated in the 1968 film version to win an Oscar. Later films include Hello Dolly (1969), The Way We Were (1973), A Star Is Born (1976), which she produced, Yentl (1983), which she co-scripted, composed, …

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barcarolle

An instrumental or vocal piece in a lilting 6/8 metre, evoking the songs of the Venetian gondoliers. A well-known example is the Barcarolle in Offenbach's opera Les Contes d'Hoffman (The Tales of Hoffman). Other barcarolles include the three Venetian gondolier's songs from Songs without Words, opus 19, opus 30 and opus 62 by Felix Mendelssohn; ISBN 0-674-61525-5 Article "Barcarolle", in …

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Barcelona - History, Modern Barcelona, Geography Of Barcelona, Demographics, Economy, Tourism, Government and administrative divisions, Education, Culture, Sports

41°21N 2°10E, pop (2000e) 1 645 000. Major seaport and capital of Barcelona province, NE Spain, 621 km/386 mi NE of Madrid; second largest city in Spain; airport; railway; car ferries to Mahón, Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Canary Is; two universities (1440, 1968); centre of Catalan art and literature, and of the separatist political movement; textiles, petrochemicals, oil refining, engineerin…

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barcode - Benefits of using barcodes, Types of barcodes

A pattern of black vertical lines, with information coded in the relative widths of the lines. This type of coding is very widely used in the retail market, such as on food packages. The barcoded labels can be read by special barcode scanners, and the output entered into a computer to link the product with such factors as price and stock level. There are standards for barcodes, such as the Europea…

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bard - Etymology, Irish bards, Revival

Among ancient Celtic peoples, a poet-minstrel who held a privileged place in society, singing the praises of chiefs and celebrating heroic deeds, historical events, genealogies, and the passing of laws. The bards of Gaul disappeared under the Roman Empire, but in Ireland, Wales, and the Gaelic-speaking area of Scotland they survived until the 18th-c. In Wales, the bardic tradition was revived in t…

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Barents Sea

area 1 405 000 km²/542 000 sq mi. Shallow arm of the Arctic Ocean, lying N of Norway and European Russia; warm North Cape Current disperses pack-ice in the S; Murmansk and Vardö ports are ice-free; fishing area. The southern half of the Barents Sea, including the ports of Murmansk (Russia) and Vardø (Norway) remain ice-free year round due to the warm North Atlantic drift. Until the…

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Barga

44º04N 10º29E, pop (2000e) 6000. Ancient hilltop town in Tuscany, NW Italy; located in the Serchio R valley; the walled town grew up around an ancient Lombard castle; beseiged at times by both Pisa and Lucca, it became part of the Florentine state until 1859; birthplace of Pietro degli Angeli; the 10th-c cathedral dominates the town and has been carefully restored; town hall (16th-c), 17th-c th…

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Bari - History, Early modern Bari, Main sights, Demographics

41°07N 16°52E, pop (2000e) 357 000. Seaport and capital town of Bari province, Puglia, SE Italy; on a peninsula in the Adriatic Sea, NW of Brindisi; archbishopric; airport; car ferries; university (1924); naval college; industrial and commercial centre; petrochemicals, textiles, shipbuilding, food processing, printing, paper making, glass; site of Italy's first atomic power station; Cathedral …

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barite

The mineral form of barium sulphate (BaSO4), the chief ore of barium. Found in hydrothermal vein deposits, it is used in paints, paper making, and drilling muds; earlier known as barytes. Barite commonly occurs in lead-zinc veins in limestones, in hot spring deposits, and with hematite ore. The name barite is derived from the Greek word βαρύς (heavy). The term "primary bari…

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barium

Ba, element 56, in Group II of the periodic table, melting point 725°C. It is a very reactive metal. In most of its compounds, it occurs as Ba2+, eg BaO2 is barium (II) peroxide. Its soluble compounds are highly poisonous, but the very insoluble sulphate, BaSO4, is used in the so-called barium meal to provide material opaque to X-rays. Barium (IPA: /ˈbɛːriəm/) is a chemical element in …

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bark

In its everyday sense, the rough, protective outer layer of the woody parts of trees and shrubs; in botany, the term also embraces several inner tissues, including cork and phloem. Continued growth causes the bark to stretch, often cracking, flaking, or peeling in distinctive patterns as it is replaced by new growth from the cambium layers. The vascular cambium is the only part of a woody s…

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bark beetle

A small, dark beetle whose egg chamber is excavated by adults under tree bark. The fleshy, legless larvae tunnel away from the chamber after hatching. Some species carry fungal diseases of trees. (Order: Coleoptera. Family: Scolytidae.) A bark beetle is one of approximately 220 genera with 6,000 species of beetles in the subfamily Scolytinae in the weevil family Curculionidae (traditionally…

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bark painting - Notable Aboriginal bark painters

A traditional product of Australian Aboriginal art: human and animal figures, sometimes geometrically stylized but occasionally naturalistic, painted on irregularly-shaped pieces of bark. They were created mainly for use in magical and initiation ceremonies, but sometimes, apparently, for aesthetic delight. Bark painting is an Australian Aboriginal art-form which is done on the interior str…

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barley - Production

A cereal of Middle Eastern origin (Hordeum vulgare), cultivated in temperate regions; inflorescence a dense head with long, slender bristles; grains in 2, 4, or 6 rows. It is more tolerant of drought, cold, and poor soil than wheat, and an important crop in such regions as N Europe. Germinated grains produce malt used in brewing beer and making whisky; its flour is used in cakes and porridge. It i…

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barn owl

An owl of worldwide distribution; legs feathered; inhabits forests, open country, and habitation; eats small vertebrates, especially mammals and insects; nests in crevices high above ground (or in buildings); sometimes called screech owl. (Genus: Tyto, 6 species. Family: Tytonidae.) The Barn Owl (Tyto alba) or, to distinguish it from relatives, Common Barn Owl, is an owl in the barn owl fam…

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Barnabas

Christian missionary, originally a Levite from Cyprus called Joseph (Acts 4.36). He was a companion and supporter of Paul during Paul's early ministry to the Gentiles, but later separated from him after a dispute over John Mark (Acts 15.36) and went to Cyprus. The so-called Letter of Barnabas is a spurious 2nd-c work. See separate entry for Barnabas (band) or the Sydney Anglican church, St.…

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barnacle - Classification, Synonyms

A marine crustacean that lives attached by its base to hard substrates or to other organisms; body enclosed within a shell formed of calcareous plates; typically feeds by filtering food particles from the water with modified thoracic limbs (cirri); c.1000 species, found from the intertidal zone to deep sea; some parasitic on crabs. (Subclass: Cirripedia.) A barnacle is a type of arthropod b…

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Barnard's star - System summary, Supposed planets, Project Daedalus, Research

One of the very few stars which is named after the astronomer who studied it. In June 1916, Edward Emerson Barnard of Yerkes Observatory, USA, measured a proper motion of 10·31 seconds of arc per year, still the largest known. In about 180 years this star moves through our sky by a distance equal to the diameter of the full Moon. The second-nearest star to the Sun, distance 1·82 parsec, it is a …

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Barnett Newman

Painter and sculptor, born in New York City, New York, USA. He studied at the Art Students League (1922–6), and joined his father's clothing manufacturing business (1927–37). He lived in New York City, and by 1944 began his series of cosmic landscapes using stripes, circles, and colour divisions, as seen in ‘Genetic Moment’ (1947). He was one of the founders, along with William Baziotes, Mark …

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Barney Barnato

Financier and speculator, born in London, UK. He went out to Kimberley, South Africa, with a small circus in 1873, made a fortune in diamonds there, and engineered the Kaffir boom in mining stocks (1895). Barney Barnato (born Barnett Isaacs) (5 July 1852 – 14 June 1897) was an English Randlord, one of the entrepreneurs who gained control of diamond mining, and later gold mining, in …

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Barney Dreyfuss

Baseball executive, born in Freiburg, Germany. The son of an American citizen residing in Germany, he went to the USA in 1881. Working as a book-keeper in a distillery in Paducah, KY, he bought an interest in the Louisville baseball team, eventually prospering and moving on to acquire the Pittsburgh Pirates (1900). He helped to establish the modern World Series by organizing the Pirates to play th…

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Barnsley - History, Town centre, Industry, Transport, Education, Buildings, Landmarks and Institutions, Famous people from Barnsley, Culture

53º34N 1º28W, pop (2002e) 75 200. Town in Barnsley borough, South Yorkshire, N England, UK; located on the R Dearne, 18 km/11 mi N of Sheffield; noted for its glass-blowing in the 17th-c; birthplace of John Arden, Dickie Bird, Sir Michael Sadler; railway; coal, glass, carpets, clothing, foodstuffs, engineering; Barnsey Football Club (Tykes); Church of St Mary (15th-c), Cannon Hall Museum and…

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barometer - Liquid barometers, Aneroid barometers, Applications, Compensations, External links and articles

A meteorological instrument used to measure atmospheric pressure, invented in 1643 by Torricelli. It was based on the principle that the height of a column of mercury in a tube sealed at one end and inverted in a dish of mercury will change according to the atmospheric pressure exerted on the dish of mercury. This is still in common use, and several types exist. Another method of measuring pressur…

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R(ichard) A(usten) Baron Butler Butler - Early life, In Parliament, 1944 Education Act, Resistance plans, Post-War, Butler and Macmillan

British statesman, born in Attock Serai, India. He studied at Cambridge, and became Conservative MP for Saffron Walden in 1929. After a series of junior ministerial appointments, he became minister of education (1941–5), introducing the forward-looking Education Act of 1944, and then minister of labour (1945). He became Chancellor of the Exchequer (1951), Lord Privy Seal (1955), Leader of the Hou…

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Paul (Bertrand) Baron Hamlyn

British entrepreneur and publisher. Educated in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, SE England, UK, he went into publishing, founding Books for Pleasure (1949), Prints for Pleasure (1960), and Records for Pleasure (1961) under the name of Hamlyn Publishing, which he sold to the International Publishing Corporation (IPC) in 1964. He joined the board of IPC, becoming chairman of IPC Books (1965–70). He co-f…

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Hastings Lionel Ismay Baron Ismay (of Wormington) - Appearance, Temperament, Health, Gallery

English soldier, born in Naini Tal, NE India. He trained at Sandhurst Military Academy, was commissioned in 1905, and served on India's NW Frontier (1908) and in Somaliland in World War 1. He was appointed assistant secretary to the Committee of Imperial Defence (1926–30), and chief-of-staff to Winston Churchill (1940–6), where he participated in most major Allies' conferences. He later became s…

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Emmanuel Shinwell Baron Shinwell - Early career and trade union activities, Political career, Bibliography

British statesman, born in London, UK. A ‘street-corner socialist’ in Glasgow, he became a Labour MP in 1922, held junior office in the interwar Labour governments, and in the post-war Labour government was minister of fuel and power responsible for nationalizing the mines (1946), secretary of state for war (1947), and minister of defence (1950–1). Well known for his party political belligerenc…

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Barbara (Anne) Castle Baroness Castle (of Blackburn)

British stateswoman, born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, N England, UK. She studied at Oxford, in 1944 married a journalist, Edward Cyril Castle, later Baron Castle (1907–79), and became Labour MP for Blackburn in 1945. She was chairman of the Labour Party (1958–9), minister of overseas development (1964–5), and a controversial minister of transport (1965–8), introducing a 70 mph speed limit, a…

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Margaret (Hilda) Thatcher Baroness Thatcher (of Kesteven)

British stateswoman and prime minister (1979–90), born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, EC England, UK. She studied at Oxford, and worked as a research chemist (1947–51). She married Denis Thatcher (1915–2003) in 1951, studied law, and was called to the bar in 1954. Elected as Conservative MP for Finchley in 1959, she joined the shadow cabinet in 1967. She became secretary of state for education and …

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(Helen) Mary Warnock Baroness Warnock (of Weeke) - In geography, Other

Philosopher and educationist. She studied at Oxford, and became a fellow and tutor in philosophy at St Hugh's College, Oxford (1949–66, 1976–84). She has taken part in and chaired several important committees of inquiry: special education (1974–8), animal experiments (1979–85), human fertilization (1982–4, regarding in-vitro fertilization and human embryo experiments), higher education (1984)…

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baronet - History of the term, Conventions, Addressing a Baronet, The number of baronetcies, Notable baronets

In the UK, a hereditary title, not part of the peerage and not a knighthood, although baronets and knights are both styled ‘Sir’. The form, which was originally purchased by the holder, was created by James I in 1611 to raise money to pay the troops in Ireland. A baronet (traditional abbreviation Bart, modern abbreviation Bt) or his female equivalent, a baronetess (abbreviation Btss.), is…

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Baroque (art and architecture) - Evolution of the Baroque, Baroque visual art, Baroque sculpture, Baroque architecture, Baroque theater and dance

A style prevalent in the 17th-c and part of the 18th-c, characterized by curvilinear forms and ornate decoration arranged in dramatic compositions, often on a large scale and in a complicated fashion. Its principal exponents included architects Borromini and Le Vau, and the sculptor Bernini. In painting, the style is epitomized by the dramatic chiaroscuro of Caravaggio and Rubens. Baroque art was …

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Baroque (literature) - Evolution of the Baroque, Baroque visual art, Baroque sculpture, Baroque architecture, Baroque theater and dance

A period of literature (in Germany, c.1600–1720) marked by an acute sense of polarity and inner tension - illustrated by the joys and pains of earthly existence vs. transcendental yearning, the twin lures of Eros vs. Death, nationalism vs. universalism, and bourgeois vs. courtly culture. A similar conflict existed between emotional content and formal rigour as well as between the demands of socie…

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Baroque (music) - Evolution of the Baroque, Baroque visual art, Baroque sculpture, Baroque architecture, Baroque theater and dance

A period in musical history extending from c.1580 to c.1730. Its features include a gradual replacement of modality by tonality, a love of melodic ornamentation, the enrichment of harmony by more essential chromaticism, the prominence accorded to instrumental music, and the formation of the orchestra. Genres originating in the Baroque period include the opera, oratorio, cantata, sonata, and concer…

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barque - History of the term, Use, Reference and further reading

A sailing vessel with three or more masts. The aftermost mast is fore- and aft-rigged and the remainder square-rigged - a style which was especially prevalent in the last decade of the 19th-c, when sail made its last stand against competition from steamships. A barque, barc, or bark is a type of sailing vessel. The word barc appears to have come from Celtic languages. Well befor…

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barracuda

Any of the voracious, predatory fishes widespread in tropical and warm-temperate seas; body slender, length up to 1·8 m/6 ft, jaws armed with many short teeth; feeds on other fish; some species important commercially and as sport fish. (Genus: Sphyraena. Family: Sphyraenidae.) …

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Barranquilla - Culture, Education, Media, Sister Cities

11°00N 74°50W, pop (2000e) 1 053 000. Modern industrial capital of Atlántico department, N Colombia; on R Magdalena, 18 km/11 mi from its mouth; Colombia's principal Caribbean port; founded, 1721; airport; three universities (1941, 1966, 1967); bull ring; commerce, foodstuffs, footwear, drinks, tobacco, furniture, textiles, petrochemicals; modern cathedral; 5 sports stadia; 4-day carnival.…

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barrel - Sizes

A measure of volume, its value depending on the substance contained. A barrel of alcohol is 189 litres; a barrel of petroleum is 159 litres. Like other units, the pre-1824 definitions continued to be used in the US, the wine gallon of 231 cubic inches staying (since 1707) the standard gallon for liquids (accompanied by the corn gallon of 268.8 cubic inches for solids), whereas in Brit…

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barrel organ - The Barrel, Operation, Usage, Combined barrel and manually played instruments, Terminology

A mechanical musical instrument. By turning a handle at the side, the player both feeds a bellows and operates a rotating cylinder fitted with metal pins which allow air access to a set of pipes; the placing of the pins determines which pipes sound and when. The instrument is of great antiquity. It was widely used to play hymns in churches in the 18th–19th-c, and also as a street instrument, ofte…

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Barri

A defensive line or barrier of garrisons in the Southern Netherlands (1698), agreed at the Treaty of Rijswijk in 1697. It was provided by Holland, intended to be used against France. Withdrawn in 1701, it was reinstated in 1709 after the War of the Spanish Succession when the North controlled almost the whole of the Southern Netherlands, and again in 1715 by agreement between England and Charles V…

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Barrington Pheloung

Composer and conductor, born in Sydney, New South Wales, SE Australia. A guitarist in a blues band, he came to England and studied at the Royal College of Music in London and Surrey University (1977). He became principal conductor to the London Contemporary Dance Theatre (1979–90) and has also composed for ballet, dance, and theatre. His work for television includes Boon (1985), Inspector Morse (…

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barrister - Common law division, Regulation, Barristers in England and Wales, Barristers in Northern Ireland

A member of the legal profession in England and Wales whose work is mainly concerned with advocacy in the courts. Barristers have right of audience in the High Court and superior courts as well as in all other courts. In addition to trials and preparation for trials, they write advisory opinions. They are either Queen's (or King's) Counsel (leaders or leading counsel) or junior barristers. To be a…

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Barry (Emmanuel) Tuckwell - Trivia, Honours

Conductor and instrumentalist, born in Melbourne, Victoria, NE Australia. He studied at the Conservatory of Music, Sydney, and played with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and the Hallé and other British orchestras. From 1955–68 he was principal horn with the London Symphony Orchestra, and featured as a soloist on most of the LSO's recordings in this period. He has conducted many international orc…

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Barry (Forster) Unsworth - Novels

Novelist, born in Wingate, Co Durham, NE England, UK. He studied at Manchester University and later became writer in residence at the University of Liverpool (1984–5) and Lund University, Sweden (1988– ). His works include The Greeks Have a Word for It (1967), Mooncranker's Gift (1973), Pascali's Island (1980, filmed 1988), Sacred Hunger (1992, co-winner Booker Prize), and Losing Nelson (1999). …

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Barry (Lamar) Bonds - Resurgence, 2005 injury problems, 2006 season, Achievements, Chasing the all-time home run record, Salary

Baseball player, born in Riverside, California, USA. The son of baseball player Bobby Bonds (1946–2003), he excelled in ball games at high school, and chose to pursue baseball on entering the University of Arizona. He began his major league career in 1986 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, leaving to sign for the San Francisco Giants in 1993 where he has established himself as an outstanding player. Hi…

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Barry (Leslie) Norman

Writer and television film critic, born in London, England, UK. In 1973 he joined BBC television as host of Film ’73, then wrote and presented the show (1973–81, 1983–97) until joining Sky television in 1998. He also wrote and presented the series The Hollywood Greats (1977–9, 1984–5) and Talking Pictures (1988). His books include 100 Best Films of the Century (1992) and The Mickey Mouse Affa…

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Barry (Stephen Frank) Sheene - Motorcycle Grand Prix results

Motorcycle racer, born in East London, UK. He made his professional debut at age 18 and went on to win the British (1970) and European (1973) 750 cc titles. With Suzuki he won two successive 500 cc World Championships (1976, 1977). In 1982 he was seriously injured in a practice race at Silverstone and surgeons rebuilt his legs using metal plates held together by 27 screws. He later retired to Au…

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Barry Commoner - Writings

Biologist, teacher, and environmental activist, born in New York City, New York, USA. He studied at Columbia University and Harvard (1941 PhD), and taught at Washington University (St Louis) (1947–76) before becoming head of the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems, a New York City energy and environmental research centre. Through lecturing and writing he had a wide influence as an environme…

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Barry Cunliffe - Books

Archaeologist, born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, S England, UK. He studied at Cambridge, taught at Bristol and Southampton, and in 1972 became professor of European archaeology at Oxford. He established a reputation in his 20s with excavations at the Roman palace of Fishbourne near Chichester (1961–7). He has since worked to notable effect in Roman Bath and at various sites in Wessex. Among his gene…

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Barry Fitzgerald

Actor, born in Dublin, Ireland. Educated at Merchant Taylor's (Protestant) school, he worked in the Irish civil service and took part in amateur dramatics until 1929, when he took up full-time acting, and went to the USA, arriving in Hollywood in 1937. He starred in over 40 films, including Naked City (1948) and The Quiet Man (1952), and returned to Ireland in 1959. Fitzgerald has two stars…

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