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TOP 10 DEFENESTRATIONS

(TO THE LAYMAN, THAT'S 'PEOPLE THROWN FROM WINDOWS'

 

Assassins, gangsters, and enraged mobs of the past have employed a wide variety of methods to silence their victims. One such method involves chucking people out of windows, an act known as defenestration.

Technically, the word applies when you throw anything – not just people – out of a window. In spite of this, I decided to focus mainly on human defenestrations. Somewhere along the way, however, a piano made its way onto this list (but that’s the only non-human entry, I promise).

10. Bishop Dom Martinho Annes

In 1383, King Ferdinand I of Portugal died without leaving a male heir, and Queen Leonor Telles became regent. Previously, the queen had seen to it that their daughter, Beatrice, was married to King John I of Castile. The union was intended to help establish peace between Portugal and Castile, but it ended up causing further hostilities.

Many nobles were very much opposed to Leonor’s decision, since it essentially gave a Castilian a claim to the throne – which would mean a loss of Portuguese independence. So, in December of 1383 John of Aviz incited a conflict by organizing the murder of Queen Leonor’s lover. John of Castile intervened, and thus began a period of war between Portugal and Castile  known as the Interregnum.

Dom Martinho has an unhappy role to play in this story. In 1383, the holy man met his end because an angry crowd suspected that he was plotting with the Castilians. Since he was partial to Leonor’s policies, the bishop was unceremoniously flung out of the Lisbon Cathedral’s north tower and promptly fell to his death.

9. Deng Pufang

deng pufang1

The son of former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, Pufang was a victim of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. His father, who was a prominent member of the Communist Party, had developed economic ideas that Mao considered to be excessively capitalistic. As a result, Deng Xiaoping and his family became targets during the Revolution.

While studying in the physics department at Beijing University in 1968, Deng Pufang was imprisoned and tortured by Red Guards, and later either fell or was thrown out of a third story window. He survived the fall, but sustained paralyzing injuries.

As a paraplegic, Deng has worked to secure the rights of Chinese people who suffer from physical and mental disabilities.  He has chosen not to clarify whether his fall in 1968 was a suicide attempt or an assassination attempt.

8. Admiral Gaspard de Coligny

Joseph Martin Kronheim   Foxes Book of Martyrs Plate II   Death of Admiral de Coligny 284x400

Immediately preceding the horrific events of the St. Bartholemew’s Day Massacre in Paris, Huguenot leader Gaspard de Coligny was tossed out of his bedroom window while recovering from an earlier assassination attempt. However, it wasn’t so much the fall that killed him as it was having his head chopped off after he landed (besides, his assailants had already impaled him with a sword before he fell).

The date was August 24, 1572. The Peace of Saint-Germain in 1570 had ended France’s third War of Religion, but tensions persisted between Catholics and Huguenots. Much to the dismay of Catholics (the Guise family, for instance), Coligny had been readmitted to King Charles IX’s royal court. Furthermore, in an attempt to solidify the uncertain peace, the queen mother Catherine d’Medici had arranged a marriage between her daughter, Marguerite de Valois, and the Protestant Henry of Navarre. This marriage was received poorly by Catholics, who feared that it would help Protestants increase their influence and power.

A number of important Huguenot leaders were in Paris for the August 18 wedding. Starting with Coligny, many of them were murdered as angry Catholic Parisians stormed through the streets in a massive, bloody killing spree that spread to cities all over France and claimed thousands of lives.

7. First Prague Defenestration


On July 30, 1419 a crowd of Hussite demonstrators led by the preacher Jan Zelivsky became responsible for what is known today as the First Prague Defenestration, an event that helped instigate the Hussite Wars. Marching through the streets to the town hall at Charles Square, the protestors demanded the release of several Hussite prisoners who were being held in the tower.

The councilors refused, of course, choosing instead to throw stones at the crowd. In response, a mob of furious Hussites, led by the general Jan Zizka, charged into the town hall and pitched the councilors out of the window. The ones who survived the fall were beaten to death by the livid masses waiting outside.

6. Jan Masaryk

Jan Masaryk 305x400

Although the circumstances of Jan Masaryk’s death are uncertain, many people believe that the Czechoslovak Foreign Minister’s death was an assassination. On the morning of March 10, 1948 his pajama-clad body was discovered in the courtyard of the Foreign Ministry in Prague below the bathroom window of his second story apartment. Although the death was initially ruled a suicide,  the official verdict was changed to murder in 2004 based on an investigation by a police forensics expert.

Masaryk became ambassador to Britain in 1925. When German forces occupied Czechoslovakia in 1938, Masaryk resigned his position and was later appointed Foreign Minister under the Czechoslovak government-in-exile. He remained in this position through the liberation and the increasing power of the National Front government, although he was not a supporter of communism. Two weeks after Gottwald’s triumphant coup d’état, Masaryk – one of the few non-Communist politicians remaining – was dead.

Some family members and friends have downplayed the possibility of foul play, but it appears that Masaryk was, in fact, forced out of his apartment window by a second party. The position of his corpse, nail marks on the window sill, and the testimony of Soviet intelligence officers all seem to indicate that this was an execution.

5. Queen Jezebel

220px The Death of Jezebel

Queen Jezebel was a Phoenician princess whose marriage to King Ahab of Israel in the ninth century BCE allowed for political and economic benefits between the two kingdoms. Most of what we know about her comes from the Old Testament books of First and Second Kings, and due to the foreign influences she exercised on her husband, the biblical accounts portray her as a wicked woman.

For instance, it was because of Jezebel that Ahab allowed the worship of Phoenician gods in addition to Israel’s Yahweh, and she was also responsible for the demise of many of Yahweh’s prophets.

Another passage recounts her involvement in the fiasco with Naboth’s vineyard, which was planted on a plot of land that Ahab wanted. When the king couldn’t convince Naboth to sell him the land, Jezebel took things into her own hands and arranged for Naboth to be falsely accused and conveniently stoned to death.

After Ahab’s death, Jezebel continued exercising her influence through the reigns of her sons, but eventually fate caught up with her. After the prophet Elisha’s servant anointed Jehu as God’s choice for the next king, Jehu traveled to Jezebel’s palace at Jezreel and met up with the devious queen, who began taunting him from an open window…

…at which point Jehu invited her eunuchs to toss her down into the street. So they did.

The Bible notes that Jezebel’s blood splattered on the walls as the horses trampled her. The gory spectacle was increased when a pack of dogs consumed most of her body, leaving only her skull, feet, and hands behind.

4. Ramallah Lynching

ramallah lynch 299x400

Two Israelis were heading to an army base on October 12, 2000 when they made a wrong turn and accidentally drove into Ramallah, a West Bank city controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Vadim Norzich and Yossi Avrahami, both reservists, were detained at a Palestinian checkpoint and then escorted to the police station.

Rumors quickly spread that the men were actually undercover agents,  and a turbulent crowd gathered outside the police station. Before long, the mob had forced their way past the guards and a group of attackers began beating and stabbing the Israelis. Their lifeless, bloody bodies were then ejected from the building – one was dangled upside down from the second story window and dropped; the other was pushed out the front door.

The mob continued to mutilate the bodies with atrocious brutality. Photos and video footage of the event caused international outrage and increased the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

3. Abe “Kid Twist” Reles

abe

A native of Brooklyn, Abe “Kid Twist” Reles made a name for himself by becoming one of the most notorious hitmen employed by the National Crime Syndicate’s Murder, Inc. His preferred method of execution – an ice pick stabbed through the ear into the victim’s brain – serves to illustrate his cruel nature.

Reles launched his career by working for the Shapiro brothers in Brooklyn, but eventually he moved from petty crime to bigger and better things. He and his partners achieved a foothold in the slot machine business, and from there they gained control of several other rackets as well. This success won them a place on the Shapiros’ hit list, and after an ambush that left him wounded, Reles and fellow Murder, Inc. hitmen tracked down and offed all three Shapiro brothers.

After an informant released information that led to his 1940 indictment, Reles avoided the electric chair by becoming an informant himself. His testimony helped convict many of his former associates, including boss Louis Buchalter and childhood friend Martin “Buggsy” Goldstein.

However, murderous gangsters don’t appreciate rats. Early on November 12, 1941 – the day Reles was scheduled to testify against Murder, Inc. associate and high-ranking Mafia member Albert Anastasia – his dead body was found five stories below his Coney Island hotel window, where he had been under constant police guard.

His death was recorded as a suicide by the FBI, but many people believe he was actually shoved out of the window by cops whose wallets were fat with bribes. Either way, Reles became (as some have appropriately quipped) “the canary who could sing, but couldn’t fly.”

2. Chopin’s Piano

Rekopis chopin 252x400

Poem - Chopin's Piano

And now for a quick special number…

During the Polish-Lithuanian January Uprising of 1863, Russian soldiers dumped Frederic Chopin’s grand piano out of a second story apartment window in Warsaw. Chopin wasn’t around to mourn the loss, though – he had left Poland in 1830, and was dead from pulmonary tuberculosis by 1849.

The Polish poet and artist Cyprian Norwid was inspired to write a poem about the instrumental defenestration, which was appropriately titled “Chopin’s Piano.”

1. Second Prague Defenestration

Prague Castle defenestration site

In 1617, Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria was elected Crown Prince of Bohemia. As an especially intolerant Catholic, however, he did not recognize the religious liberties previously granted in Emperor Rudolf’s 1609 Letter of Majesty. Obviously, Bohemian Protestants were not impressed.

In May 1618, Ferdinand dispatched Vilem Slavata of Chlum and Jaroslav Borzita of Martinice to Prague. These men were supposed to serve as government administrators during Ferdinand’s absence. Instead, they found themselves subjected to a mock trial at the hands of Bohemian Hussites, who declared them guilty of violating religious freedoms. The Hussites proceeded to throw both men (along with their scribe, Philip Fabricius) from the window of Hradcany Castle – an event which helped provoke The Thirty Years’ War.

Surprisingly enough, all three men survived the fall (about 100 feet, according to one account) when they landed in a pile of horse manure at the bottom of a moat. Catholics immediately proclaimed that God’s angels had saved them from certain death.

Anyone care to guess what Protestants thought?


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TOP 10 GREATEST FIREARMS IN THE WORLD

 

10 - MG-42

Mjk Mg42 3

“Hitler’s Buzzsaw,” invented in 1942, is infamous around the world as the weapon used at Omaha Beach to mow Americans down, but it was used in Russia to much more brutal effect. It fired 1,200 rounds of 8mm rifle ammunition per minute, which is sufficient to cut a man in half. It was air-cooled, and could melt its barrel if fired non-stop for 5 minutes.

That’s why the Germans had several barrel at hand, and could change to a new one in only 60 seconds.

9 - Glock Handgun

Glock-17-03

The Glock is the ultimate in modern reliability. You can pour sand down the barrel and it will shoot. It will shoot underwater. It is commonly used in 9mm, but is chambered for .40 Sig and .45 ACP among others. It is the standard law enforcement sidearm today and will continue to be for a long time. It almost never jams, is waterproof, mostly plastic.

8 - .303 Lee-Enfield

303Load

The British equivalent of the German Mauser has one trump on it, a 10 round magazine, compared to 8. The British adopted it into the army in 1895 and used it exclusively until 1957. Soldiers were drilled until they could perform “the mad minute,” firing 30 rounds in 60 seconds and hitting 30 targets. This required reloading twice, and working the bolt back and forth in less than half a second.

The rifle is accurate to 1,000 yards with open sights, and served in India (notoriously used against unarmed civilians), the Boer War, both World Wars, and many others.

7 - .50 M2HB “Ma Deuce” BMG

158 5857 Img

The Browning Machine Gun is chambered for the most awe-inspiring shoulder-fired cartridge to date. It is designed with one thing in mind: power tends to corrupt; absolute power is kinda sweet. The 800 grain powder load has 14,895 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle, which is enough to put a full metal jacketed round through three approaching vehicles. It has shot down helicopters with one round.

Now imagine a belt-fed machine gun spewing a curtain of these rounds at you at 1,200 rounds per minute. Special Sabot rounds can go clean through tanks.

6 - Smith and Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum Revolver

S&W Model 29 Combat 44 Magnum 3

Made famous by Dirty Harry in 1971, it was invented in 1955, and is still thought of as one of the most powerful handguns in the world, though it has been eclipsed by the .500 magnum, the Desert Eagle .50 AE, the .454 Casull and a few others.

But what those other hand cannons lack is controlability and comparatively low cost. The .44 Magnum will still run you at least $800 new, which is a lot for a revolver, but very cheap compared to other magnums. You will not break your wrist shooting it, and yet it can drop Cape Buffaloes and Polar Bears. If I may be afforded one bad joke, it will make your day. Provided that you feel lucky. Punk.

5 - The Mauser Model 1893 Bolt Action Rifle

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The bolt action had been kicking around since at least 1824, when Paul Mauser and Co. patented the 1893 version in 7mm. It has become the benchmark, on which all bolt action rifles are based, and against which all are compared. There are three primary bolt action systems: the Lee-Enfield, the Mauser, and the Mosin-Nagant.

Of the three, the Mauser system is by far the most widespread, the most reliable, and the most battle-proven rifle mechanism the world has ever seen. The 1893 Mauser was the first, and original models still operate perfectly.

4 - Colt Single Action Army Revolver

Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army Cavalry Revolver 44

The icon of the Old West, the Colt .45 revolver was invented in 1873 and immediately caught on as extraordinarily accurate at close range, compared to the ball and cap conversions popular at the time. Its caliber was sufficient to flip a charging man backward off his feet. It can be used today to hunt deer and black bears. The larger powder loads can take down grizzly bears.

It’s as famous as the gun of Wyatt Earp, among other Old West celebrities.

3 - Henry Repeating Rifle

Henry-Rifle

The granddaddy of all lever-action firearms. Benjamin Tyler Henry invented it in 1860, but neither the Union nor Confederacy wanted much to do with it, as they were afraid their soldiers would fire too quickly and waste ammunition. If I may use a cliched joke, “military intelligence.” Thank you.

It fired a revolutionary, self-contained cartridge in .44 caliber, with 568 foot-pounds of stopping power, more than enough to put a man down. It held 16 rounds in a tube magazine, and a good man could fire 28 rounds per minute, so much better than 3 per minute with a muzzle-loading percussion cap musket, that if either side had adopted the rifle as standard for infantry, that side would certainly have won.

2 - AK-47

643231-Ak-47-2

Accurate enough to do the job out to about 400 yards, which is all anyone usually needs in a battle, the AK-47 is the ultimate pinnacle in rugged reliability. It will not break down under fire unless something catastrophic happens to it. You can drive a tank over it, throw it against a wall, submerge it in sand, water, mud, and every time it will go right on firing when you pull the trigger.

I know a Vietnam veteran who was walking through triple canopy jungle one day in 1966, came across an abandoned AK-47, and couldn’t get the bolt to slide back. It was too corroded from the rain and weather. The wood was rotting off. But he put it butt first on the ground, stomped the action open, and it chambered a round, which he fired accurately at a tree 50 yards away. He stomped the action open again, and it chambered another round, which he fired accurately.

1 - Colt 1911 .45 ACP

Dsc02763.Jpg

Every bit as rugged and reliable as the AK-47, this handgun was invented by John Browning for the Colt Company, in 1911, as a sidearm for American soldiers. It immediately proved itself a world beater in WWI, again in WWII, and has been a cornerstone of the American military ever since.

But its most impressive feat has been the ease with which even untrained civilians can fire it accurately, keep it in working order, and defend themselves ably with it. 7 + 1 rounds of fat, man-stopping power perfect for close-range self-defense. Soldiers have dragged it through swamps in the Pacific Theater of WWII, with their fingers on the trigger, then whipped it out of the muck and fired all 8 rounds accurately.

The only way to improve on it would be to make it cheaper. You’ll spend $1,000 on one.


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TOP 10 KNOCKOUTS ON VIDEO

 

The purpose of martial arts competition is to prove that a well-trained individual, in the heat of the ultimate human contest (fighting), has the capability to hold his or her own under pressure and successfully attack an opponent amidst a barrage of potentially devastating blows. Traditionally, fighters are as evenly matched as possible, meaning that a crushing victory is unlikely and that the fight will go to a judges’ decision with both combatants still standing and functioning after the final bell.

There are some instances, however, where a martial arts fight will take a turn for the brutal, the unexpected, and the sometimes painful-to-watch ending known as “the knockout” or “KO.” A knockout occurs when one fighter loses, or comes close to losing, consciousness in the ring due to the crushing impact of his or her opponent’s fist, foot, or other body part to the head or crucial/painful organ.

Weak stomach for brutality? Be forewarned: The fighter has no mercy in the ring. The finales you are about to witness take no prisoners, and in some cases leave none standing but the striped-shirt official.

10. Mike Tyson (he can’t bite your ear off if he’s unconscious)


Sometimes it’s just good to watch Mike Tyson go down. And there is no better man to do it than Lennox Lewis. While this isn’t the most “crazy” knockout video, it is certainly a very historically important and career-devastating one. In fact, it could be argued that more money was lost and made on this fight than on any of the “cooler” knockouts listed below.

9. Peter Arts Lays Down on the Job

One of the hardest punches the commentator has ever seen on video. This right cross lays Peter Arts out like a plank.

8. Flying Knee = K.O.

Filmed in Thailand, this lower-quality video depicts a classic Muay Thai Kickboxing knockout. It is the dream of many young Muay Thai fighters to achieve a victory like this one, as the flying knee is a less-implemented, difficult, but extremely effective form of KO in the sport.

7. Yahir Reyes and the Spinning Punch from Hell

It is rare that a man’s fist can lift another man off of his feet and drop him to the mat. Just a week after being nominated for the Submission of the Year, Yahir Reyes delivers a spinning backfist to Estevan Payan that will also be nominated for Knockout of the Year.

6. Double K.O.

No, these guys didn’t drink a fifth of liquor before the fight. If you like this video, check out #2 on this list.

5. Gamboa is a Cuban Boxing Prodigy

The famous clip from the much-anticipated Yuriorkis Gamboa vs Al Seeger fight. Gamboa “murders" Seeger in round one with a right hook after avoiding a potential tie-up situation. Gamboa, a young fighter, is one of my personal favorites due to his employment of the casual “hands-down” fighting style. Like Mayweather Jr., many professionals speculate that this young Cuban will become a recognized force in years to come.

4. Rampage Jackson Earns His Name

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, in the clutches of a near-submission hold, turns up the heat on Ricardo Arjona. This video is almost scary. Rampage totally defies conventional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tactics with sheer brute strength. A blow like this one is a dangerous thing for any mixed martial arts fighter to sustain.

3. Ramon Dekkers – The Diamond of Muay Thai Boxing

This knockout compilation is an inspirational and must-see collection of great finishing blows. Ramon Dekkers, a Muay Thai legend, is one of the most driven and iron-fisted fighters in the history of sport fighting. Dekkers proves himself time and again as a destructive force beyond reasonable human understanding. His list of accomplishments, including Thailand’s “Fighter of the Year” award, is colossal. His determination and capability in the ring, as demonstrated by this video, is rare and superb. Knock ‘em out, hoss.

2. Wait a Second… Really?


A unique fight between Tyler Ryan and Shaun Parker makes fans go nuts with laughter and confusion. Just watch this video.

1. Double Roundhouse Connects on Spin Two…


Marcus “Lelo” Aurelio of AXE Capoeira Vancouver knocks out Keegan “The Marshall” Marshall at the North American Challenge #24 in North Vancouver, British Columbia on April 4th, 2009. This video has sound, so be sure to turn it up. You do not want to miss the SLAP of Marshall’s chin getting devastated by what many folks would consider to be one of the most brutal and extraordinary knockout blows ever caught on tape


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TOP 10 GREATEST FIREARMS DESIGNERS

 

10 - Dr. Richard Jordan Gatling

Richard Jordan Gatling

The designer of the first successful machine gun, although not the first automatic machine gun. It was, in effect, a gigantic revolver of six barrels operated by a hand crank. A bin of several hundred loose rounds (not belt-fed) was set on top and gravity fed the ammunition into the breech, enabling someone who knew nothing of firearms to lay a sheet of lead into an advancing army, at about 200 rounds a minute. To the Civil War soldiers accustomed to muzzle-loading single rounds at a time, this might well have been like seeing something out of Star Wars.

It had its drawbacks, though, primarily that so much black powder churned up into a huge cloud around the weapon, and all the enemy artillery and snipers honed it on it.

9 - John Cantius Garand

Johngarand

The designer of the M1 Garand, which the U. S. military used to great effect in WWII, Korea and even Vietnam. General George Patton famously called it, “the greatest battle implement ever devised.” It was the first successful semi-automatic rifle to be issued to the military of any country. It fired the 30-06 Springfield round, an extremely powerful piece of hardware, which had been the standard since 1906, when it was patented for the bolt-action Springfield.

Soldiers entering combat were confident of themselves, because they had 8 rounds of serious firepower that they could fire as fast as they could pull the trigger. No movement was required to operate the action of the weapon, and the weapon weighed around 10 pounds: light enough to carry easily, yet heavy enough to manage recoil.

8 - David Marshall Williams

David Marshall Williams

“Carbine” Williams went to prison in 1921 for selling moonshine, when the raid on his still resulted in an officer’s death. Williams swore that he was not guilty, and his trial resulted in a hung jury. However, he then confessed to 2nd degree murder, having fired at a sound without knowing if it was a man or an animal.

He was sentenced to 20 to 30 years, but was pardoned after 8 years because, in the prison machine shop, he invented two brilliant principles for the military’s firearms. Most importantly, he invented the short-stroke piston for use in gas-operated small arms. His patented design has not been improved on since 1940, when he perfected it, and it was first used in the M1 Carbine. The U. S. military had been searching for a lighter alternative of the M1 Garand, but still with long-range capability and stopping power.

Williams’s short-stroke gas piston was the key. He also invented the floating chamber, which greatly reduces recoil, and enabled the military to train its machine gunners with less expensive .22LR ammunition.

7 - Paul and Wilhelm Mauser

Mauser

Today, the Mauser bolt action is the most widespread of all bolt-action firearms. It was adopted by the U. S. military for use in the Springfield 1903, which became standard issue until the M1 Garand. There are 3 major bolt actions, the Mauser, the Lee-Enfield, and the Mosin-Nagant. The Mauser has one significant advantage on the other two: a third locking lug at the rear of the bolt. The other two have only the two locking side lugs, and thus, cannot cope with the higher breech pressures of magnum rounds. They are, therefore, inadequate for hunting rounds intended to kill large, dangerous game.

The Mauser’s third lug gives it the strength to fire a round in any caliber currently produced, even the .700 Nitro Express, which is a rifle round almost as large as a 12 gauge slug, but extraordinarily powerful and designed to flip a charging bull elephant backward. Either of the other two actions would explode in the wielder’s face if such a powerful round were used.

The Mauser action is the most common bolt action in the world, present in nearly all hunting and military bolt-action rifles, and has not changed at all since the Mauser brothers perfected it in 1871.

6 - Sir Hiram Maxim

Screen Shot 2010-05-22 At 1.15.41 Pm

The designer of the first truly automatic machine gun, in 1884. The Maxim gun was the primary armament of all major armies in WWI, and probably caused more battlefield deaths than any other firearm in history. The German and Russian versions were almost exact replicas, with only cosmetic changes. It fired 600 rounds a minute, using the recoil of each round to open the breech and chamber the next. This rate of fire was beyond belief to anyone in the world at the time. It was, therefore, the first truly modern weapon of warfare, able to lay waste to entire land armies. This necessitated the abandonment of the line-abreast approach armies had employed since antiquity. Classical formation battles were now a thing of the past.

5 - John Taliaferro Thompson

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Thompson saw in the trench warfare of WWI that infantry needed a “trench broom,” a weapon that could sweep away all the enemy in front of the soldier, in the same way as the pump shotgun, but with even more firepower. He used John Blish’s delayed blowback breech lock, which enabled the different metals of the weapon’s moving parts to slide together under the intense pressure of the round’s discharge without sticking strongly together.

In 1919, Thompson came up with the Thompson submachine gun, chambered in the man-stopping .45 ACP round. Thompson’s idea for a “trench broom” was now real, even if trench warfare had been made obsolete. The Thompson could fire at 600 to 1200 rounds a minute, with sufficient power to stop a 1942 Ford Super Deluxe automobile.

4 - Christian Sharps

Colt Dragoon.140130844

Designer of the first successful breechloading rifle. The 1819 Hall rifle was the first breechloader, but was still a flintlock or percussion cap weapon. Sharps used the brand new self-contained cartridge in his design, which was single shot, employing the sturdy falling block action, and extremely accurate. With only iron sights, experienced marksmen could hit game animals or enemy soldiers at 1,000 yards.

The cavalries of both sides of the American Civil War used it to great effect, and Sharps continued to improve on it. The 1874 version is the most well known, chambered in the powerful 45-70 hunting cartridge.

3 - Benjamin Tyler Henry

Henry-Rifle-1

Designer of the first breechloading, lever-action, magazine-fed rifle. The Henry rifle fired about 28 rounds a minute, with a 16 round tubular magazine, in the solid .44 rimfire. He patented it in 1860, and 900 were issued to the Union army in 1862. The Confederates couldn’t believe what they were seeing, and lamented about “that damn Yankee rifle that they load on Sunday and shoot all week!”

Because it used a self-contained cartridge, it was no use for the Confederates to steal them, because they had no ammunition for it. It was the precursor to all lever-action rifles today, having been improved on very little.

2 - Samuel Colt

Samcolt

He did not invent the revolver. But as a boy he saw that almost all firearms were single-shot muzzleloaders, and thus, when a man had fired, he was a sitting duck for the next 20 seconds, provided that he could reload that quickly. So he set about inventing “the impossible gun,” something that could fire repeatedly 5 or 6 times like Elisha Collier’s revolving flintlock, but would still be more reliable and faster to reload.

The result was the 1836 percussion cap revolver, which saw widespread use in the American Civil War. It was the first successful repeating firearm.

1 -John Moses Browning

Screen Shot 2010-05-22 At 1.18.49 Pm

Browning patented 128 designs for firearms and associated apparatuses. He invented the gas-operated machine gun, an improvement over Maxim’s recoil operation. All machine guns since 1895 have used Browning’s gas operation.

He invented the 1911 model of the Colt .45 handgun, which is recoil-operated, and was standard issue for the U. S. military from 1911 until 1985. It is still used by many personnel today, and is one of the most popular handguns in the world. His design has not changed at all functionally.

He invented the lever action shotgun, based on Henry’s rifle design with a few moderations. Then, 6 years later in 1893, he invented the pump action shotgun. The function of this action has not changed since. Then, 7 years later, he still managed to top himself with the semiautomatic shotgun, the first ever. It is recoil-operated, and remained in production, changing only cosmetically, for 98 years.

He invented the Browning Automatic Rifle, a fully automatic 30-06 and a street sweeper if there was one.

He invented the 1919 .30 machine gun, and then even topped this with the 1921 .50 BMG. He also invented several cartridges still popular today, the ACP rounds in .25, .32, .38, .380, .45; and the .50 BMG.


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TOP 10 PEOPLE WHO SOLD THEIR SOULS TO THE DEVIL

 

10 - Pope Sylvester II
(born c. 945- died 5-12-1003)

Sylvestr

Pope Sylvester II was one of the most learned men of his time. Well versed in mathematics, astronomy, and mechanics; he is credited with inventing the hydraulic organ, pendulum clock, and introducing Arabic numerals to Western Europe. He also wrote books on mathematics, natural science, music, theology and philosophy. Pope Sylvester II was the first French Pope and certainly the most significant in the 10th century. Upon his death, rumors began to fly that his great intelligence – and, consequently his inventive genius – was the result of a pact with the devil. This was most likely due to his regular contact with great scientific minds in the Arab world and his brave attempts to root out simony in the Church.

9 - Nicolo Paganini
(born 10-27-1782 – died 5-27-1840)

Paganini Nicolo 03

Nicolo Paganini is one of the greatest violin virtuosos to have ever lived. He learned to play the mandolin at 5 and was composing by 7. He started playing publicly at 12 but by 16 he had a breakdown and disappeared into alcoholism. He sobered up and by 22 was the first music superstar. Paganini was capable of playing three octaves across four strings in a hand span, a feat that is nearly impossible even by today’s standards. He composed 24 Caprices at 23 and for years no other violinist was capable of playing much of his music. His playing of tender passages is said to have brought audiences to tears. One of his famous pieces was called Le Streghe which translates to Witches’ Dance. Audiences believed Paganini made a pact with the devil to perform supernatural displays of technique. Some patrons even claimed to see the devil helping him during his performances. It is because he was denied the Last Rites in the Church and his widely rumored association with the devil, that his body was denied a Catholic burial in Genoa. It took four years, and an appeal to the Pope, before the body was allowed to be transported to Genoa, but was still not buried. His remains were finally put to rest in 1876 in a cemetery in Parma.

8 - Gilles de Rais
(born 1404- died 1440)

Gillesderais2-1

Gilles de Rais was considered intelligent, courageous and very attractive with a bluish black beard. Born to one of the most distinguished families in Brittany, he came into his own when his father died in Gilles’ 20th year. He found himself with untold wealth and power which eventually led to his downfall. Gilles got an attack of “keeping up with the Joneses” which ultimately led to the loss of much of his wealth. In desperation he began to experiment with the occult under the direction of a man named Francesco Prelati, who promised that Gilles could help him regain his squandered fortune by sacrificing children to a demon called “Baron.” Over the course of his killing spree, Gilles raped, tortured, and murdered between 80 and 200 children. He was tried, found guilty, and executed by hanging and burning.

7 - General Jonathan Moulton
(born 7-21-1726- died 9-18-1787)

Moulton06

Jonathan Moulton started as an apprentice to a cabinet maker but in 1745 he left and started his career in the New England Army. He fought in the King George War and the French and Indian War. He married in 1749 and sired 11 children. He became one of the wealthiest men in New Hampshire and this led to later tales of his deal with the devil. In 1769 the mansion he built in a poor Puritan town burned to the ground. Popular belief at the time was that Moulton had a pact with the devil wherein he would fill Moulton’s boots to the brim with gold once a month in return for his soul. It was said that Moulton thought up a clever ploy and placed his boots – with the soles cut off – over a large hole in the ground. The devil, wondering why it was taking so much gold to fill the boots discovered the trick and exacted revenge. It is believed that when Moulton died his body disappeared out of the coffin and was replaced by a box of coins stamped with an image of the devil. Moulton’s coffin was buried with no grave marker and its location is unknown.

6 - Father Urbain Grandier
(born c. 1590- died 8-16-1634)

Urbainpact2

Father Urbain Granadier was a French Catholic priest who was burned at the stake after being convicted of witchcraft. He served as priest in the church of Sainte Croix in Loudun, in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Poitiers. Ignoring his vow of priestly celibacy, he is known to have had sexual relationships with a number of women and to have acquired a reputation as a philanderer. In 1632, a group of nuns from the local Ursuline convent accused him of having bewitched them, sending the demon Asmodai, among others, to commit evil and impudent acts with them. At his trial, the judges, after torturing the priest, introduced documents purportedly signed by Grandier and several demons as evidence that he had made a diabolical pact. They were written backwards in Latin and even included the signature of Satan himself. The text of the pact read as follows (the original can be seen above – click for a larger view):

We, the influential Lucifer, the young Satan, Beelzebub, Leviathan, Elimi,
and Astaroth, together with others, have today accepted the covenant pact
of Urbain Grandier, who is ours. And him do we promise
the love of women, the flower of virgins, the respect of monarchs, honors, lusts and powers.
He will go whoring three days long; the carousal will be dear to him. He offers us once
in the year a seal of blood, under the feet he will trample the holy things of the church and
he will ask us many questions; with this pact he will live twenty years happy
on the earth of men, and will later join us to sin against God.
Bound in hell, in the council of demons.
Lucifer Beelzebub Satan
Astaroth Leviathan Elimi
The seals placed the Devil, the master, and the demons, princes of the lord.
Baalberith, writer.

5 - Giuseppe Tartini
(born 4-8-1692- died 2-26-1770)

Tartini was an Italian composer and violinist. He was one of the most instrumental musical composers having written over 400 works. Unlike most of his contemporaries he wrote no church music or operas, he focused most of his work on violin concerti and sonatas. His most infamous piece is called the Devil’s Trill Sonata. The story behind “Devil’s Trill” starts with a dream. Tartini allegedly told the French astronomer Jérôme Lalande that he dreamed that The Devil appeared to him and asked to be his servant. At the end of their lessons Tartini handed the devil his violin to test his skill—the devil immediately began to play with such virtuosity that Tartini felt his breath taken away. When the composer awoke he immediately jotted down the sonata, desperately trying to recapture what he had heard in the dream. Despite the sonata being successful with his audiences, Tartini lamented that the piece was still far from what he had heard in his dream. What he had written was, in his own words: “so inferior to what I had heard, that if I could have subsisted on other means, I would have broken my violin and abandoned music forever.” You can listen to part IV of the piece above – the most difficult section, played by Itzhak Perlman.

4 - Cornelius Agrippa
(born 9-14-1486- died 2-18-1535)

Agrippa C8 Cr

Cornelius Agrippa was the most influential writer of renaissance esoterica. He studied law and medicine but never obtained a degree. He was considered a magician, occult writer, theologian, astrologer and alchemist. He was a leader in feminist rights and often defended women accused of witchcraft. He wrote 3 books on the occult that are still in use today. In 1535 he was labeled a heretic and sentenced to death. He escaped and on his way home fell ill and died. After Agrippa’s death, rumors circulated about his having summoned demons. In the most famous of these, Agrippa, upon his deathbed, released a black dog which had been his familiar. This black dog resurfaced in various legends about Faustus, and in Goethe’s version became the “schwarze Pudel” Mephistopheles.

3 - Robert Johnson
(born 5-8-1911- died 9-16-1938)

Robert Johnson1

Robert Johnson was a great American Blues musician. Ranked 5th out of 100 on Rolling Stones list as the greatest guitarists of all time. The legend goes that he wanted to be great at guitar and was instructed to head to a crossroads. There he met the devil who tuned his guitar, giving him mastery over the instrument. Johnson did little to dispel the rumors, even encouraging them by alluding to the fact that he had, indeed, made a deal with the prince of darkness. He produced 6 records before his death at age 27. Johnson’s death is controversial as the most common claim is he was caught flirting with a married women and she offered him some whiskey which was believed to be poisoned by her husband. He was buried in an unmarked grave, the location of which is still under debate.

2 - Johann Georg Faust
(born c. 1480- died c. 1540)

Idealporträt Joannes Faustus

Dr. Johann Georg Faust was an itinerant alchemist, astrologer and magician of the German Renaissance. His life became the nucleus of the popular tale of Doctor Faust from ca. the 1580s, notably culminating in Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus (1604) and Goethe’s Faust (1808). Legend has it that Faust wanted a life of pleasure and having been involved with the occult learned how to summon the devil. Having done so he made a deal with him for his soul in return for 24 years of service from Satan. Unfortunately, after 16 years he regretted his deal and wanted to withdraw it. The consequences of this attempt to withdraw the deal are well known to any who have read the various fictional tales of Faust’s life: the devil brutally murdered him.

1 - St. Theophilus of Adana
(died c. 538)

Michael Pacher 004

Saint Theophilus the Penitent, or Theophilus of Adana (died ca. 538), was a cleric in the sixth century Church who is said to have made a deal with the devil to gain an ecclesiastical position. His story is significant as it is the oldest story of a pact with the Devil. Theophilus was the archdeacon of Adana, Cilicia, which is part of modern Turkey. He was unanimously elected to be a bishop, but turned the position down out of humility. Another man was elected in his stead. When the new bishop unjustly deprived Theophilus of his position as archdeacon, Theophilus regretted his humility and sought out a wizard to help him contact Satan. In exchange for his aid, Satan demanded that Theophilus renounce Christ and the Virgin Mary in a contract signed with his own blood. Theophilus complied, and the devil gave him the position as bishop.

Years later, fearful for his soul, Theophilus repented and prayed to the Virgin for forgiveness. After forty days of fasting, the Virgin appeared to him and verbally chastised him. Theophilus begged forgiveness and Mary promised to intercede with God. He then fasted a further thirty days, at which time Mary appeared to him again, and granted him Absolution. However, Satan was unwilling to relinquish his hold over Theophilus, and it was a further three days before Theophilus awoke to find the damning contract on his chest. He then took the contract to the legitimate bishop and confessed all that he had done. The bishop burned the document, and Theophilus expired, out of sheer joy to be free from the burden of his contract.


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TOP 10 INVENTION AND DISCOVERY CONTROVERSIES

 

10. The Invention of the Intermittent Windshield Wiper

Robert Kearns Inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper

Early windshield wipers had only one speed, and this made them distracting and even dangerous in certain conditions. The intermittent windshield wiper solved this problem by letting drivers adjust the speed of their wiper blades, allowing for lag time and slower action when driving in light rain. American inventor Robert Kearns filed a patent for the intermittent wiper in 1964. He shopped his new invention around to the “Big Three” auto manufacturers, but he had no luck getting them to license it as a product. A few years later, though, a form of intermittent wiper nearly identical to Kearns’s prototype began appearing as a standard feature on most of their cars. Kearns sued Ford for patent infringement in 1978, and took Chrysler to court four years later. The companies argued that the intermittent wiper was obvious and had no new components, and therefore didn’t meet the standards of being a novel, patentable invention. Kearns disagreed, and would eventually spend nearly 15 years and over $10 million in legal fees in his fight to be compensated.

Who Deserves the Credit?

According to the American court system, Kearns deserves the credit for inventing the intermittent wiper. He settled out of court with Ford for $10 million in the early ’90s. Meanwhile, the Chrysler case became a high profile lawsuit, which Kearns won in 1995 to the tune of $30 million in overdue compensation. Kearns died in 2005, but his fight with the big auto manufacturers remains one of the most famous patent infringement cases in U.S. history, and his story was even made into a movie called Flash of Genius in 2008.

9. The First to the North Pole

Peary at the North Pole

Peary at the North Pole

The first person to make a claim on having reached the North Pole was the American adventurer Frederick Albert Cook, who in 1909 said he’d made the journey with two Inuit companions in April of 1908. According to Cook, harsh weather conditions had made a return too dangerous, and he had been forced to spend the winter in the Arctic. But Cook was able to produce little proof of his accomplishment, and he was immediately regarded by some as a fraud. Perhaps his harshest critic was the explorer and Naval engineer Robert Peary, who surfaced only five days later with the claim that he had just returned from a successful polar expedition in April of 1909. Peary was a master of working the media, and he and his supporters soon began questioning Cook’s claim. The argument turned personal after both men sold their expedition stories to rival newspapers, and what followed was muckraking on an epic scale. Peary and company began researching all of Cook’s previous accomplishments—including a summit of Mt. McKinley a few years prior—and they even questioned his sanity. Cook eventually left the country, an act that was seen by many as an admission of guilt, and the National Geographic Society subsequently awarded Peary the credit for being the first to reach the North Pole.

Who Deserves the Credit?

As it so happens, most of Peary’s charges against Cook were largely justified. There is no historical evidence that Cook made it to the Pole, and today most historians have cast his claim aside. What’s surprising, though, is that the same can be said of Peary. Modern researchers have found countless holes in his story—chief among them that his party contained no navigator skilled enough to lead them to the Pole—and all attempted recreations of his journey have found many of his claims about how fast he progressed to be completely baseless. There have been many other claims since then, but amazingly no one was able to indisputably reach the Pole via an overland route until 1968, when a group led by Ralph Plaisted made the journey on snow mobiles.

8. The Invention of Calculus

Issac Newton Inventor of Calculus

In the early 18th century, calculus was at the center of a years-long controversy that raged between two of the world’s most famous mathematicians: Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz. Both men had been experimenting with the new branch of mathematics for much of the late 1600s. Leibniz was the first to publish an official paper on the subject in 1684 (Newton would take until 1693), but friends and associates of Newton were quick to point out that Newton’s notebooks made reference to calculus as far back as 1666. Moreover, they argued that Leibniz was privy to Newton’s early work, and some even accused him of plagiarism. Leibniz and his supporters argued that his calculus discovery came independently of any of Newton’s work. Despite these protests, the majority opinion was always on the side of Newton.  At best, Leibniz was credited with having invented an alternate (albeit superior, in many ways) form of notation for Newton’s discovery.

Who Deserves the Credit?

A 1713 review by the Royal Society found Newton to be in the right, and he was widely regarded as the inventor of calculus for the next 100 years. Today, though, it is widely believed that both men contributed different pieces of the puzzle independently of one another. Newton is regarded as the founder of infinitesimal calculus, while Leibniz is considered the father of integral and differential calculus.

7.  The Discovery of Neptune

Neptune photograph from Voyager

The planet Neptune was first observed in the early seventeenth century by Galileo, who hypothesized that it might be a star. But it was not until the 1800s that a serious search for it began, after scientists noticed that Uranus’s orbit seemed to be affected by an outside gravitational force. The British mathematician John Couch Adams was the first to hypothesize that this object might be a new planet, and in 1843 he made the first calculations of its possible orbit and size. A couple years later, the French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier undertook the same investigation independently of Adams and came up with similar calculations. Both men had trouble getting their colleagues interested in the search, so Le Verrier wrote a letter to an observatory in Berlin asking them to use their telescope to search the skies for his hypothetical planet. Le Verrier’s letter arrived on September 23, 1846, and using his calculations, a student at the observatory discovered Neptune that very same night. Almost immediately, there was a controversy over who—Adams or Le Verrier—could claim the discovery as his own. The rivalry eventually took on nationalistic overtones, with both the French and the British claiming their scientist was responsible for finding Neptune.

Who Deserves the Credit?

After some squabbling between rival groups, it was decided that Adams and Le Verrier would share the credit for discovering Neptune. But despite this consensus, all evidence points to Le Verrier as the more deserving of the two. Not only did he encourage the search that found the planet, but it was also his calculations that made it possible, as they were within one degree of the planet’s actual location. Adams, meanwhile, was as many as 12 degrees off course.

6. The Invention of the Movie Camera


Who invented a particular technology often varies depending on where you are in the world, and the movie camera is a perfect example. In the U.S., as with many inventions, the credit has always gone to Thomas Edison, who first made moving pictures in the early 1890s. In the U.K., the honor goes to William Friese-Greene, who issued one of the earliest camera patents in 1889. In France, the fathers of the cinema are considered to be Louis and Auguste Lumiere, who invented the cinematographe and first began shooting and exhibiting films in 1895. Looming over them all is Louis Le Prince, a largely forgotten Frenchman who designed a motion picture camera and projection system in 1888 before disappearing without a trace. Just who deserves the most credit among these inventors has always been a subject of contention. Patent controversies abound, especially in the case of Le Prince, who was denied a patent on a single lens camera in the U.S., only for Edison to be given a remarkably similar patent a few years later. In addition, there is still a debate about what really constitutes a “moving picture camera.” Modern movies run at 24 frames per second, but most of these proto-films were lucky to achieve a rate half that fast. This has frequently been a source of criticism against Friese-Greene, whose camera only ran at ten frames per second, which is such a low rate that some have argued it doesn’t even qualify.

Who Deserves the Credit?

Louis Le Prince’s mysterious disappearance meant that he wasn’t able to exhibit his invention as much as the others, so he never built the same reputation as people like Edison or the Lumieres. Still, as more information is uncovered, it seems that film historians are continually moving towards Le Prince as the true inventor of the film camera. His patent from 1888 was the first of all these inventors. Meanwhile, the world’s oldest surviving film, the two-second Roundhay Garden Scene, was shot with his camera. There’s little doubt that the other inventors deserve some credit, especially the brothers Lumiere, who were pioneers in perfecting modern film projection systems. But when talking about who really invented the first film camera, the evidence points to Louis Le Prince.

5. The Invention of Radio

Nikola Tesla

There were a number of scientists who played crucial roles in the race to first transmit and receive radio signals, but the main invention controversy has always centered on the famed Serbian-Croatian inventor Nikola Tesla and the Italian Guglielmo Marconi. As early as 1891, Tesla was giving speeches on the possible practical uses of radio waves in mass communication, and he was even said to have demonstrated a wireless system in 1893. But Tesla, always hampered by a poor business sense, failed to capitalize on radio as a marketable tool, and though he claimed to have made 50-mile radio transmissions as early as 1895, none were ever verified. Marconi, meanwhile, applied for a patent on a radio system as early as 1896. In 1897, he formed his own wireless company and became the first man to commercialize radio. He was also the first to make a transatlantic radio transmission in 1901, though this claim has been disputed. What’s more, Marconi is believed to have based most of his radio designs on ideas that had already been widely described by Tesla and another inventor named Oliver Lodge. Tesla was the first of the two to receive a patent for his radio transmitter, but this was later overturned in a controversial decision and given to Marconi. Over 40 years later, this decision was itself overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court after countless legal challenges. Tesla had died only months earlier.

Who Deserves the Credit?

To give sole credit to either of these men is a grand generalization, but of the two, Tesla certainly seems the more important figure. There’s no argument that Marconi was the more business savvy of the two inventors, and his practical implementation of radio definitely makes him a major player in its creation. But it was Tesla who was most responsible for the ideas and the technical expertise that truly made radio transmission possible, and if anyone deserves the title of “the father of radio,” it’s him.

4. The First Flying Machine

George Cayley Glider

Sometimes the controversy isn’t just over who invented a certain technology, but over what it was they invented. Such is the case with the so-called “first flying machine,” the exact definition of which has never been agreed upon. Some would charge that any craft that got airborne should be considered a flying machine, including hot air balloons and airships. On this basis, the true father of flight would be Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier, who became the first person to make a manned balloon flight in 1783. Others argue that a true flying machine must be heavier than air, which would disqualify balloons. By these terms, the honor would probably go to England’s George Cayley, who first flew a glider in 1853. Still, the most common definition of an actual flying machine is any manned aircraft that is powered and controlled by onboard mechanics, in which case Orville and Wilbur Wright are usually given the credit for their 1903 flight in North Carolina. But even then there is room for debate. Germany’s Karl Jatho and Gustave Whitehead and New Zealand’s Richard Pearse each made their own manned flights in the early 1900s, all before the Wright brothers.

Who Deserves the Credit?

According to the modern definition of a “flying machine,” it would seem that the Wright brothers are correctly considered to be flight’s true pioneers. They might not have been “first in flight,” as North Carolina license plates like to proclaim, but they did perfect a lot of the technology that is still used in aviation today. What ultimately sets them apart from the others is how controlled and prolonged their flights were. Richard Pearse got airborne before the Wright Brothers, but his plane crashed into a hedge. Meanwhile, Jatho’s plane only got ten feet off the ground, and Whitehead’s claims, while interesting, are largely unsubstantiated. If anyone deserves to share some of the honor with the Wrights it is the British glider pilot Cayley, who discovered many key aviation forces like drag and thrust, and who has often been called the unsung “father of aviation.”

3. The Discovery of HIV

French scientist Luc Montagnier and Robert Gallo

French scientist Luc Montagnier and Robert Gallo

In the early ‘80s, AIDS was already recognized as a serious epidemic, and research teams were soon formed to try and isolate the particular virus that caused it. Of these, two groups—one led by the French scientist Luc Montagnier and the other by the American Robert Gallo—nearly simultaneously published papers in 1983-4 describing the virus we now know as HIV. A controversy soon erupted in the scientific community over which group had more of a claim to the discovery. Montagnier’s group had published first, but Gallo’s description was more detailed and specifically linked the virus to AIDS. The fervor over ownership of the discovery centered on more than just prestige, since the country responsible would be able to claim the patent for an AIDS test. Soon, both the French and American governments were involved in what was often a bitter dispute. There were even cries of foul play, as Gallo and company were charged and later cleared of having “misappropriated” a sample of the virus they received from Montagnier’s institute.

Who Deserves the Credit?

Today, it’s widely agreed that both parties made major contributions to the discovery of HIV. Montagnier’s group published first, and as such they are commonly regarded as having first isolated the virus, but Gallo is credited with developing a great deal of the research and technology that linked it to AIDS. The two scientists themselves are now on amicable terms, and they’ve frequently worked together over the years. Still, this hasn’t stopped awards committees from picking favorites: in 2008, only Montagnier was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work in the discovery of HIV, an honor which even he noted should have been shared with Gallo.

2. The Invention of the Light Bulb

Warren De La Rue - Inventor of the Telelphone

America’s Thomas Edison is popularly regarded as the pioneer of the incandescent light bulb, but the list of other possible contenders is long and goes back more than 70 years before his 1879 patent. The British inventor Humphry Davy is said to have created a crude electric light in 1802, and by 1840 inventors like Warren De la Rue were already using vacuum tubes and experimenting with different types of filaments. Just who of these early pioneers deserves to be called the father of the light bulb has always been hard to say. From 1840-1880, patents were filed for a number of different prototypes. Of these the most famous undoubtedly belong to Edison and England’s Joseph Wilson Swann, who first began researching the light bulb in the 1870s. Swann caused in stir in 1878, after his light bulb prototype was demonstrated in Newcastle, and he holds the honor of owning the first house to ever be illuminated with electric lights. Edison, meanwhile, didn’t even begin to address the issue of inventing a light bulb until 1878, but when he did, he had soon made major breakthroughs. Chief among them was his discovery of a longer lasting filament, first made from carbon and later from carbonized bamboo. It was only then that light bulbs went from lasting mere hours to days and even months.

Who Deserves the Credit?

Edison’s discoveries undoubtedly led to more modern and efficient light bulbs, but to list him as their sole inventor is a vast overstatement. Even his own patents describe his invention as merely an “improvement in electric lights.” His was the first reliable light bulb, but when talking about who invented the first light bulb, the credit must go to England’s Warren de la Rue, who was the first to run electricity through filament in a vacuum sealed tube, a feat he accomplished some 38 years before Edison in 1840.

1. The Invention of the Telephone

Alexander Graham Bell with telephone

Your elementary school teacher might have told you that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876, but the true story is much more complicated, and stands as the most famous of all these controversies. There are a number of inventors involved in the mix, among them the Italian Innocenzo Manzetti, who some say might have built a prototype phone in the 1860s, and Johann Philipp Reis, who made an early microphone that could transmit sound called the “Reis Telephone” in 1861. But the main competition has always been between Scotland’s Bell, an Italian inventor named Antonio Meucci, and the American Elisha Gray. Meucci invented a communication device in the 1850s, and his 1871 patent is one of the earliest for any kind of voice transmitter. The real controversy, though, has always been between Bell and Gray, both of whom filed patents for a telephone on the exact same day in 1876. Critics of Bell often cast him as a shrewd businessman (which he undoubtedly was) who stole several of Gray’s ideas, and it has even been argued that Bell bribed a patent office employee and added in several key parts to his inventions days after he first filed it. These claims were partly vindicated in the 1880s, when a patent officer testified in court that Bell had paid him in order to look at Gray’s plans.

Who Deserves the Credit?

Today, popular opinion on who really invented the telephone depends on where and who you ask. In the U.S., it’s either Gray or Bell; in Italy, it’s Meucci. The controversy eventually led to lawsuits, and it was still being argued as recently as 2002, when the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution recognizing the contributions of Meucci in the invention of the telephone—a resolution which was countered only days later when the Canadian government officially recognized Bell. In the end, this is yet another case where several inventors deserve partial credit. Bell was the savvy businessman who was able to perfect and market what would become a world-changing invention, but there’s little doubt that Gray and Meucci both deserve to be recognized with him as the real inventors of the telephone.


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Type of top ten
The ultimate, definitive, Top Ten Bushisms videos...
Introduction
We have searched the internet for the very best Bushisms all caught on video, and the best ten are here... All in Windows Media format.
 
 
1
You will have seen this, it was featured on Fahrenheit 911, but here it is in all of it's glory... Mr President, tell us about that saying you have in Texas... [watch]
2
Now, Mr Bush, tell us about that speech you gave the other day, was it the State of the Union thingie, or was it something else? [watch]
3
Education education education. Your views George? [watch]
4
So, George, what is your policy on Iraq? [watch]
5
You say fish and men can live in harmony? That's nice. [watch]
6
Does a good American attempt to put food on the family table, or on the family itself? Surely, George, you know which? [watch]
7
Not being American we don't know what an OBGYN is exactly, but this sounds outrageous! [watch]
8
Mr President, I wonder if you would't mind just going over what sovereignty means... [watch]
9
George the dictator... [watch]
10
Was this not also in Fahrenheit 911? Oh well, it's not really a Bushism, more of a playful bit of innocent fun... Give us the finger Mr President, pleeeeeease... [watch]
 
(Source: Various) 1st March 2006


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55 Survivors from 10 Notable Ship Sinkings

 

10 - USS Juneau

Uss Juneau (Cl-52) 0405201

Sunk in 1942
On Board: 820
Survivors: 10

The USS Juneau was the second member of the Atlanta Class of Light Cruisers in service with the US Navy during the Second World War. On November 13 1942, during a battle with Japanese forces at Guadalcanal, the USS Juneau suffered severe damage to her port side. After she limped away from the battle she was intercepted by a Japanese submarine which fired torpedoes at the cruiser, striking the ship on the port side, near the previous hit. The ensuing magazine explosion blew the ship in half, killing most of the crew. The Juneau sank in less than a minute. More than 100 sailors had survived the sinking and were left to fend for themselves in the open ocean for eight days before rescue aircraft arrived. While awaiting rescue all but 10 died from the elements and shark attacks.

Interesting Fact: This sinking is not known for its 10 survivors but because it was the ship that carried the five Sullivan brothers. Because of this tragedy the U.S. War Department adopted the Sole Survivor Policy which protects members of a family from the draft or from combat duty if they have already lost family members in military service. This, in part, also inspired the 1998 film, Saving Private Ryan.The survivors reported that three of the brothers died instantly, one drowned the next day, and one survived for four or five days before drowning. You can watch a tribute to the USS Juneau here.

9 - The Girona

Girona-Banknote

Sank in 1588
On Board 1300
Survivors 9

The warship Girona was a Mediterranean style galleass, or an oared fighting ship. The ship set sail in 1588 with 121 sailors and 186 soldiers on board. While anchored for repairs at Killybegs harbor, they came across about 1000 other Spaniards from two Armada ships that had run aground. Rather than stay in Ireland where they were in danger of being found by English soldiers, the Girona took the men on board despite the fact that the ship was designed for a maximum of 500. They sailed for, what was then, Catholic Scotland, where they could repair the ship and then set sail for Spain. The Girona had also collected considerable valuables and jewelry from the other wrecked ships. Shortly after it set sail on the night of October 26, 1588 it was blown into rocks and sunk at Lacada point, a few hundred feet west of the Giant’s Causeway. Of the estimated 1300 persons on board only 9 survived.

Interesting Fact: The sunken Girona’s wreck was discovered almost four centuries later in 1967 by a team of mostly Belgian marine archaeologists. They recovered what is thought to be the most valuable treasures ever recovered from a Spanish warship. The very rich haul included gold trinkets, an extremely valuable gold and ruby salamander pendant and more than 1200 gold and silver coins. The Girona is commemorated on the reverse side of banknotes (Sown above) printed by the First Trust Bank in Northern Ireland. The famous gold and ruby salamander recovered from the wreck is in the lower right side

8 - The Armenia

Armen

Sunk in 1941
Appox.7000 onboard
Survivors 8

The Armenia was a double-decker passenger ship built in 1928 that was converted into a hospital ship in 1940 and operated by the Soviet Union. On November 6, 1941, Armenia’s Captain sailed the ship from Sevastopol to Yalta. In Yalta The Russian Naval Command ordered the ship to remain at port until escort vessels were available. The next day, the ship’s Captain ignored his orders and left Yalta with 5000 refugees and wounded soldiers, plus another 2,000 unregistered civilians and medical personnel on board.The German air force caught up with the Armenia and dropped two torpedoes on the vulnerable ship 25 miles off the Crimean Peninsula. The bombs split the ship in half and it sank in only four minutes. The ship was clearly marked with red crosses painted on both sides but these were ignored by the pilots during the attack. The eight survivors were picked up by a rescue boat. The photograph above is the only known photo of the Armenia taken before launching in Leningrad at the Baltic Shipyard in 1928.

Interesting Fact: Anastacia Popova was one of the eight passengers that was lucky to survive and said this: “It was really hard for me to evacuate from the city of Yalta. The Armenia was packed with wounded patients and refugees. When the German aviation attacked the boat and it started sinking, it was more than just a hellish experience. People were rushing about the deck, trying to save their lives. I jumped overboard and swam towards the shore. I was very weak and hardly had any energy. I do not even remember how I found myself on the seashore,” Local war veterans lay wreaths around the area where the Armenia went down every year on May 9th, (The Soviet Victory Day) to honour the 7,000 people who died in the tragedy.

7 - The Auguste

Atocha1-Dm.Jpg

Sank in 1761
121 onboard
7 Survivors

The Auguste was a full-rigged sailing ship used to deport soldiers and officials from Quebec back to France after the British victory in the Battle of Quebec. In November 1761 the ship set sail to France with several wealthy people among the Auguste’s passengers. They carried their life’s savings, including considerable amounts of gold and silver. Weeks of strong winds blew the ship on to the coast of Cape Breton and the ship broke into pieces. Only 7 made it to the shore alive. One of the survivors was Sainte-Luc de la Corne who was a decorated captain in the French colonial army and who lost his entire family. He wrote this moving account of the sinking: “It would be difficult to do justice to the horror of the situation: the cries of those who remained in the vessel; the futile efforts of those who, hoping to save their lives, threw themselves into the sea; the cold drenching rain, the certainty that I had lost my children. We were prostrate from exhaustion on an unknown shore.”

Interesting Fact: For the next 200 years, the Auguste wreck eluded treasure hunters but in 1977, it was found in shallow water and was partially salvaged under government supervision. In 2000 a new group known as Auguste Expedition LLC, obtained a government permit to conduct further salvage of the wreck. They were able to excavate the wreck site and have recovered thousands of coins and historic artifacts. You can see a diver with a stack full of coins from the Auguste here.

6 - HMS Invincible

Hms Invincible (1907) British Battleship

Sunk in 1916
Onboard 1021
6 Survivors

In 1908, the HMS Invincible was the first battlecruiser of the British Royal Navy to be built. At the Battle of Jutland on May 31, 1916, the German commanders ordered the High Seas Fleet to Skager-Rack (a strait running between Norway and the southwest coast of Sweden) with the objective of attacking British cruisers and merchant ships. During the battle the Invincible took a hit to a gun turret which caused a simultaneous discharge of artillery, detonating the ships magazine and causing a massive explosion. The ship broke in two and sank in 90 seconds. A destroyer of the Royal Navy, HMS Badger was able to rescue just six of the 1021 crew members, after surviving 20 minutes in the freezing waters of the North Sea. One of the survivors, Gunnery Officer Hubert Edward Dannreuther, was the godson of German composer Richard Wagner. Although the British losses were greater than the Germans, the German fleet retreated back to its harbors.

Interesting Fact: The wreck of the Invincible was first located by the Royal Navy in 1919. The ship is protected under the Protection of Military Remains Act of 1986. Mount Invincible in the Canadian Rockies was named after the battlecruiser in 1917. This image shows Invincible shortly after the magazine explosion that split her in two. Only the bow and stern remain above water.

5 - Atocha ship

Logo L

Sunk in 1622
265 people onboard
5 survivors

The Atocha was one of a number of ships engaged in transporting New World gold and other treasure back to Spain. On September 6, 1622, the Atocha was at the tail end of a convoy which included the ships Santa Margarita, Nuestra Señora del Rosario and two smaller vessels. About 35 miles (56 kilometers) west of Key West all five ships were hit with the full force of a hurricane. With their sails and rigging reduced to shreds the ships drifted helplessly toward the coral reefs. The Atocha was lifted high on a wave, smashed violently on a reef and pulled to the bottom of the ocean by her heavy cargo of treasure. The next day a small merchant ship, making its way through the debris, rescued five Atocha survivors (three sailors and two slaves) still clinging to the ships mizzenmast. They were all that were left of 265 passengers and crew.

Interesting Fact: In 1969, treasure hunter Mel Fisher and his crew began a relentless quest for the treasure of the Atocha. They spent years following the wreck’s elusive trail and finding nothing. In 1973 three silver bars were found which matched the weights and tally numbers found on the Atocha’s manifest. Then, on July 20, 1985, the team found the mother lode, with an estimated value of $400 million.

4 - Steamship Lexington

Awful+Conflagration+Of+The+Steam+Boat+Lexington

143 people on board
Sank in 1840
4 Survivors

The Lexington was the fastest means of transport between New York and Boston From 1835 to 1840. On January 13, 1840, it carried 143 passengers, the crew and 150 bundles of cotton from its pier on Manhattan’s East River bound for Stonington, CT. The ship was four miles away from Long Island when the first officer noticed that wooden parts and linings of the chimney were on fire. As the crew tried in vain to put out the flames the cotton on the ship caught fire spreading the flames at a rapid rate. In the effort to save themselves, the crew prepared the ship’s three lifeboats. Since the crew was not able to get to the engine room to shut off the boilers the first life boat was sucked into the paddle wheel, killing its occupants. The ropes used to lower the other two boats were cut incorrectly causing the boats to capsize when they hit the water. The ship sailed out of control and drifted northeast as the fire spread throughout the entire ship. At midnight the passengers were forced to jump into the sub-zero water. Those who had nothing to climb onto in the water succumbed to hypothermia. The ship finally sank, with the flames still licking the surface of the water. The four survivors were Chester Hilliard, the only passenger to survive, Stephen Manchester, the ship’s pilot, Charles Smith, one of the ship’s firemen and David Crowley, the second mate who drifted for 43 hours on a bale of cotton, coming ashore 50 miles east, at Baiting Hollow in Long Island.

Interesting Fact: An attempt was made in 1842 to raise the Lexington. As the ship was brought to the surface briefly, a 30 pound (14 kg) of melted silver was recovered. The chains supporting the hull snapped, and the ship broke apart and sank back to the bottom of the Sound. Today the Lexington sits in 140 feet of water, broken into three sections. There is, allegedly, still gold and silver that has yet to be recovered.

3 - HMS Hood

Hms Hood [Top]

Sunk in 1941
On Board 1415
Survivors 3

HMS Hood was a 42,100 ton battlecruiser built in 1920 for the Royal Navy. It held the position of world’s largest warship for more than two decades. In May 1941 Hood and the new battleship Prince of Wales were sent out to search for the German battleship Bismarck, which had left Norway for the Atlantic. On the morning of May 24th, the two British ships found the Bismark just west of Iceland. During this Battle of the Denmark Strait, one or more of Bismarck’s fifteen-inch shells found HMS Hood’s magazines and detonated in a massive explosion, killing all but three of her crew of 1,415. The event shocked the British nation and the entire world. The three survivors were Ted Briggs (1923–2008), Robert Ernest Tilburn (1921–1995) and William John Dundas (1921–1965). They were rescued about two and a half hours after the sinking by the destroyer HMS Electra.

Interesting Fact: Admiral Chatfield, in The Times article, summed up the sinking by saying “She was destroyed because she had to fight a ship 22 years more modern than herself. This was not the fault of the British seamen. It was the direct responsibility of those who opposed the rebuilding of the British Battle Fleet until 1937, two years before the Second Great War started”

2 - HMS Vanguard

Vanguardsurvivors

Sank in 1917
On Board: 845
Survivors: 2

The HMS Vanguard, was a 19,250-ton St. Vincent class battleship built for the Royal Navy. She became part of the Grand Fleet and operated in the North Sea and participated in the Battle of Jutland, (see number 6) in 1916. While anchored at Scapa Flow on July 9th 1917, the HMS Vanguard was destroyed by an accidental ammunition explosion and sank instantly. No formal cause for the explosion was ever found by the Court of Inquiry. Some experts believe it was most likely due to a fire in a coal bunker that smoldered away, undetected, long enough to heat the cordite stored in the adjoining bulkhead and eventually triggering an explosive reaction. The destruction of the Vanguard remains the most catastrophic accidental explosion in the history of the United Kingdom, as well as one of the worst accidental losses of the Royal Navy. Private Williams and Stoker Cox pictured above were the only two survivors.

Interesting Fact: The Vanguard was the fourth British ship to be lost during World War I from similar internal explosions, but the precise cause remains unexplained. You can see a tribute to the HMS Vanguard here.

1 - The Dunbar

James Johnson

Sank in 1857
On Board 122
1 Survivor

The Dunbar was a well known ship that catered to wealthy travelers between Britain and Sydney. On August 20th 1857, after 81 days at sea, the Dunbar arrived off Sydney in heavy rain. Impaired vision from the weather obscured the cliffs at the entrance to Port Jackson. The captain of the ship, James Green, had made a number of visits to Port Jackson but on this trip the captain may have believed they were overshooting the entrance at North Head and tried to make a quick turn in. The ship broached and was driven by a swell into huge cliffs. The impact brought down the topmasts and the ship began to break up almost immediately. One crewman, and sole survivor, James Johnson (shown above), found himself hurled onto the rocks where he managed to gain a stronghold. Johnson clung to his precarious hold on the rock ledge for two days before he was noticed from the cliff top. The lifeless bodies of the other passengers were flung up against the South Head cliffs with sharks fighting off those trying to recover the dead. The wreck of the Dunbar is still one of the worst disasters to have occurred in New South Wales, and it is remembered each year by memorial services held at St Stephen’s Church in Newtown, where many of the Dunbar victims were buried in a mass grave.

Interesting Fact: In 1866 The Cawarra, a paddle-steamer, sank in Newcastle harbor, New South Wales, Australia. Of the 61 passengers and crew on board there was only one survivor. The sole survivor was rescued by a lighthouse-keeper named James Johnson, the same man who survived the Dunbar nine years earlier.


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TOP 10 SCOTTISH ATTRACTIONS

 

Melrose Abbey

The tall lancet windows of this impressive ruin must have appeared miraculous to medieval worshippers. And today, it’s hard to believe that such monuments could have been built as early as 1136. Over the centuries, the abbey succumbed to pillage and war damage, and now stands as a beleaguered but romantic spot for the ghost of Robert the Bruce (see North and West of Glasgow) , whose heart is believed to reside within these grounds.

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Abbotsford House

Wonderfully eccentric collection of weaponry and historical bric-a-brac, collected by the great novelist Sir Walter Scott and displayed in his dream home.

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Edinburgh Castle

Presiding over the nation’s capital, the castle is Scotland’s pre-eminent sight, a truly inspirational historical and cultural landmark (see Edinburgh Castle) .

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Edinburgh Castle

The greatest castle in a land that’s full of them, not only prized for its crowning position in the capital’s heart, but also for its important history and the national treasures it holds (see Edinburgh Castle) .

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Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile

This world famous castle wears the nation’s history. Here you’ll find the Scottish Crown, Sword and Sceptre, and the legendary Stone of Destiny. The Royal Mile treads a straightish but diverting path from the Castle to Holyrood-house (see Edinburgh Castle) .

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Bannockburn Heritage Centre

The site of the decisive battle in 1314 (see Battle of Bannockburn) is marked by a visitor centre and an arresting equestrian statue of Robert the Bruce. At the centre, kids can try on helmets and chainmail, and view Bruce’s cave to watch the fabled spider who inspired him to renew his fight.

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Wallace Monument

Erected in 1869, this 75-m (250-ft) tower commemorates William Wallace and his valiant fight for Scotland’s independence. The climb to the top takes in Wallace’s two-handed broad-sword, but most electrifying of all is the “talking head”, which presents Wallace’s defence before his brutal execution in 1305. Splendid 360-degree views from the top.

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Stirling Castle

Dramatically perched on crags overlooking the plains where some of Scotland’s most decisive battles took place, this castle was one of the nation’s greatest strongholds and a key player in her history. The gatehouse, Great Hall and the Renaissance Royal Palace are outstanding. Check out the programme for special events, from tapestry weaving to sword fights (see Stirling Castle) .

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Stirling Castle

A commanding rock-top castle, concealing architecture of an exceptional quality, most notably the restored Great Hall and the Royal Palace (see Stirling Castle) .

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Culloden Battlefield

16 April, 1746 – the last battle to take place on British soil and defeat for Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites (see Moments in History) . The slaughter by the “Bloody Butcher’s” (the Duke of Cumberland’s) Hanoverian army was quick and brutal. The battlefield is gradually being restored to its appearance at the time of the bloodshed. To walk here among the graves of the clans is still a peculiarly emotional experience. The story is well told and illustrated in the visitor centre.

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Loch Ness and the Great Glen

Ancient geology scarred Scotland, and the Great Glen is its deepest cut, a swath that splits the land in two. A course of water runs through this great valley, forming charismatic lochs, such as notorious Loch Ness (see Loch Ness and the Great Glen) .

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Glencoe

To Dickens this was “a burial ground of a race of giants”, and, indeed, there is something ominous in the raw terrain of this region. It is a magnificent, sublime landscape, chilled by the history of the bloody 1692 massacre (see Glencoe) .

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A rugged mountain range gathered into gorgeous scenery through which the twisting main road seems to creep submissively. A favourite skiing, mountaineering and walking area, and infamous for the terrible 1692 massacre of clan MacDonald (see Glencoe) .

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A Day in the Trossachs
Morning

Reserve your morning cruise on the SS Sir Walter Scott (Tel (01877) 376316) in advance, and note that it does not run on Wednesday mornings.

Leave Glasgow by 8:45am, driving north on the A81 to Strathblane and Aberfoyle. You are now in the scenic and famous Trossachs. Park at the Trossachs Pier for your 11am cruise on Loch Katrine, a gorgeous secluded loch.

You arrive back at 12:45pm and a short drive takes you to Kilmahog (great name, but the Woollen Mill is pretty touristy), so pass it by unless you’re overly curious about knitwear. Head on to Callander for lunch, where there’s plenty of choice, or buy delicious pies at the Scotch Oven, a superb baker, and picnic by the river.

Afternoon

Carry on to Doune, Dunblane and Bridge of Allan. There are many temptations en route – castle (see Doune Castle) , safari park, motor museum – and you may fall by the way.

If not, however, aim to be at the Wallace Monument before 4pm. The slice of history here is extremely palatable, accompanied by panoramic views of the area, including the craggy heights of Stirling Castle.

Finally, wend your way up into moorland for dinner at the Sheriffmuir Inn . Either head back to Glasgow or go further east to stay at Edinburgh or St Andrews (about an hour’s journey to each by car).

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Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

The broad, friendly mountains and poetic scenery of Scotland’s first national park are ideal for the casual walker and watersport lover. Luss is the prettiest village. It hosts a popular Highland Games (see Highland Traditions) in June and has a welcoming tea shop or two. Cruises run from here, and from Balloch, Tarbet and Balmaha.

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Oban
 
Inveraray Castle

Despite the ravages of fire, clan Campbell’s family seat is a splendid pseudo-Gothic palace with pointed towers marking its corners. It was built for the Duke of Argyll in 1745. The lavish interiors were designed by Robert Mylne and contain Regency furniture and priceless works of art. The Armoury was stocked to fight the Jacobites and is an awesome display of weaponry. If you have time (it’s about a 90-minute round trip) walk to the hilltop folly in the grounds.

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The top ten 10 scientific discoveries

1. DNA - James Watson and Francis Crick's discovery in 1953 of the double helix structure of DNA, the genetic code for all living things.

2. Genetic fingerprinting - Alec Jeffreys' development in 1985 at the University of Leicester of a reliable way to detect differences in individuals' DNA.

3. Birth of the first working computer - Freddie Williams and Tom Kilburn, two University of Manchester scientists, are credited with running the world's first stored programme computer.

4. Contraceptive pill - developed by Herchel Smith, a researcher at the University of Manchester, in 1961.

5. Cancer and cell division - in 1987, Paul Nurse and Tim Hunt, scientists for Cancer Research UK, became the first to identify the key genes that govern and regulate cell cycle and division.

6. CDs, DVDs and the internet - these have all been made possible through a technology called strained quantum-well lasers, which was first proposed by Alf Adams at the University of Surrey.

7. The Gaia hypothesis - James Lovelock's development of a revolutionary way of thinking about the Earth with the idea that it is a self-regulating living organism.

8. Eradicating the tsetse fly - scientists at the University of Greenwich have been working to eradicate the tsetse fly from Africa through the use of an artificial cow, which attracts the fly and kills it through insecticides.

9. Stem cells - Research by Martin Evans at the University of Cambridge led to the discovery of embryonic stem cells, which have the potential to grow into the different cells that make up the body.

10. Microscopic footballs - Harry Kroto at the University of Sussex, and his US collaborators, revealed that carbon can exist as tiny spherical molecules.


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Top 10 murderers we secretly love

 

10 - Patrick Bateman
American Psycho

Patrick Bateman-1

Bateman is a unique psychopathic serial killer. He’s unbelievably handsome, fit, rich, narcissistic, and he listens to Phil Collins. The shallow, ornamental, material-based society Bateman inhabits is starting to drive him insane. The creepy, self-narrated scenes where Bateman describes his mind unraveling, while he’s doing 2,000 + sit-ups, lying in a tanning bed, or putting on kiwi facial masks more expensive than most people’s cars, are beyond disturbing.

The reason Bateman is on this list, beyond being a nerdy, yuppie serial killer, which admittedly is kind of cool, is that somehow,at some point in the movie, we begin to feel sorry for this shallow, egotistical monster, who has everything we could ever dream of.

Because, as the audience, we are given access to the lives of these rich-boy yuppies we see that their internal lives are empty. Everything’s an ornament: business cards and attractive blonde fiancés are just won to compare with the business cards and attractive blonde fiancés of other yuppies. We see that, maybe, climbing and spending lead only to more climbing and spending. Bateman’s character only evokes pity. While he does have a certain unique sense of cool, ultimately we just feel sorry for the poor demented bastard.

During one of the final scenes of the movie, where Bateman sobbingly confesses to his lawyer on the phone, (“I guess I’ve killed twenty people….maybe forty” “I ate some of their brains, and I tried to cook a little.”) we feel how scared he really is—for his sanity, for his freedom, for being revealed for who he really is. This is how Dostoevsky portrayed a person who has just committed murder in Crime and Punishment—scared, guilty, ashamed, alone, and I imagine this is how it really feels.

From the final monologue of the movie: “There is no catharsis. My punishment continues to elude me. And I gain no deeper knowledge of myself. No new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing.”

Note: I know some of you will say that the murders never even occurred—that it was all in Bateman’s head. But you’re wrong. You’re dead wrong.

9 - Willis, Jackson, Rhames
Pulp Fiction

Pulp-Fiction

One of Quentin Tarantino’s greatest strengths is his ability to combine the ultra-violent with the everyday. This is why Pulp Fiction was so original and accessible to almost everyone who watched it. There’s murder and violence and obscenities, but there’s also Seinfeldish discussions about the most mundane topics. That these hit men might talk about the same things we talk about with our friends is surreal, and just really freaking cool. Not to mention that all the characters above are all three-dimensional and accessible. They’re bad people, but they’re not just bad people. They can be charming and worrisome and kind people, as well. Tarantino makes them human.

All three of these guys are ultimate bad-asses. They take crap from absolutely no one. Ving Rhames and Bruce Willis’s characters get the nod for their scene in that awful pawn shop together, where they were about to murder each other and instead bond with a shared decency and the disgust they both have for sexual deviants. As much as they might dislike each other—they respect each other. They might be killers, but they’re not perverted sickos.

Samuel L. Jackson gets the nod for the redemption he found. He feels like God intervened in his life and, not willing to ignore it or pass it off as coincidence, he decides to change his murdering ways. “I’m trying real hard here, Ringo.” And, though we never see what happens to him, we do witness what happens to his partner (John Travolta), who did pass the intervention off as a coincidence. Jackson’s character is the only one on this list who changed his ways. Because of that he deserves our respect, and is possibly even more bad-ass because of it.

8 - John Doe
Se7ven

Kevin

The movie Se7ven is disturbing, frightening, dark and melancholy. And the scope of what John Doe does is jaw-dropping. A lot of serial killers brag about numbers, or trophies, or the pain they’ve caused. A lot of serial killers kill for no reason except to cause pain, but they have no vision beyond the murders; they are ends in themselves. But all of John Doe’s murders (even his own) were means to an end.

His immense scope and patience and time-in would be respectable if, say, he were doing research on cancer, or studying ancient cultures, but he’s a killer. Not just a killer—a monster. The most sadistic, depraved, frightening, intelligent monster ever shot on screen. What Hannibal Lecter did was peanuts compared to John Doe. While he only committed six murders, and never once on screen, and appeared in the film for only fifteen or twenty minutes he still remains one of the grittiest, most visceral sadists every conceived.

7 - Vic Vega
(Mr. Blonde), Reservoir Dogs

Vic-Vega

Vic Vega is the smoothest, most reserved psychopath ever shot on camera. Before he ever comes on screen, Mr. White and Mr. Pink create a myth of his actions in the foiled bank robbery. They imply that he’s an unhinged, psycho-deviant, without any self-control. But, when he finally arrives at the warehouse sipping soda out of a straw (what is Tarantino’s deal with food and violence), he’s the epitome of cool and calm. He stands up to the most bad-ass actor of all time: Harvey Keitel. “Are you gonna bark all day, little doggy, or are you gonna bite?”

He’s in bewilderment that Mr. White and Mr. Pink are giving him a hard time for assassinating a few expendable hostages. His calm presence makes Mr. White and Mr. Pink look like two little school-girls at their first dance. On reflection, Mr. Blonde makes every other person in this entire movie look like whiny little school-girls (besides, maybe, Joe the ringleader of the whole thing, and his son).

We feel bad for the cop getting his ear cut off—for his family—for staring into the face of a real-life psychopath, who couldn’t care less if he knows anything—just wants to torture him because he enjoys it, but damnit, it’s still one of the coolest scenes in all of cinema. Thank you Mr. Blonde.

6 - Daniel Plainview
There will be Blood

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As the title of the movie suggests, there was blood, and it was Daniel Plainview who spilt it. He’s a self-proclaimed oil man, with a menacing mustache, dark beady eyes and a stubborn limp—he drags around his leg as if it were an albatross he’s been cursed to carry. He’s stubborn and impatient; he’s an alcoholic, a self-made millionaire and father to his creepy little son. And he murders exactly two people in this movie. The first, a vagabond who made the mistake of impersonating his brother, and the second the whiny, creepy preacher, Eli Sunday, who is the only character in the movie as unhappy and misguided as Plainview.

Plainview works his whole life to build an empire, and then when he’s sitting on it he has no idea what to do with himself. He uses everything at his disposal to advance himself, but what he’s really doing is taking steps backwards, toward depravity.

He is on this list, because he’s empathetic. A lot of people really do just care about themselves. A lot of people in the world really are not good people. He hates other people, but he genuinely wants one person to whom he can relate. His son is this person, until he goes deaf in a drilling accident, and becomes unreachable to someone as impatient as Plainview. He then meets someone he believes to be his long-lost brother, and he opens up—let’s himself be vulnerable, until he finds out that it’s not his brother at all—just some drifter who wanted to cash in on his fortune. He murders him, and tries to reconnect with his son, but it’s too late.

He’s lost. He becomes exceptionally lonely, and drowns himself in decadence and alcohol in his mansion. Then he murders Eli Sunday, because he’s a slimy little weasel, yes, and he has nothing to live for, but, fundamentally, because he sees himself in Sunday. And he hates himself more than anything else in the entire world.

Note: The abruptness and finality of Eli’s murder in this movie is shocking, and unexpected. It really can be that easy to murder someone. It really can just happen when we least expect it.

5 - Tommy DeVito
Goodfellas

299Tommy

Coming in at around 5’4’’, Joe Pesci plays the ultimate bad-ass in this Scorsese film. Whether he’s stabbing someone in the chest with a pen or shooting an innocent waiter to death for a mild insult, nobody ever willingly crosses Tommy Devito. He’s ruthless, dangerous, prone to violent outbursts, has severe anger issues and can kill people who cross him with any object that happens to be lying around. Basically he’s a psychotic, murderous Mafioso.

But he still functions. He has beautiful girlfriends, and cool friends, and he’s rich. Not to mention, he’s entertaining as hell to watch. He’s somebody who would be cool to hang out with, if there wasn’t a substantial chance he would stab you to death in the face. He kills because he enjoys it. But at least he’s honest.

More than any other person on this list, Tommy possesses undeniable charisma. After murdering a made guy by stabbing him in the chest with a pen, and then later a knife in his trunk, he goes and eats pasta at his sweet mother’s house with his friends, laughing and drinking like nothing happened. The scariest thing about Tommy is that he might not even be insane. He just doesn’t care. He’ll shoot you, or stab your sister, for one slip of tact. But he’s still a funny guy. (“What do you mean I’m funny? What like a clown? What I’m a clown?”)

Even though he got what was coming to him in the end, and was extremely unstable, we all still kind of wished that Tommy was getting made in his last scene instead of getting whacked.

4 - Karl Childers
Sling Blade

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Another unforgettable movie. While most of the characters on this list are cold-blooded murders, without any morals or empathy, Karl Childers is not one of them (even though he does eat his dinner of french fried ‘petaters’ on a table not three meters from where he just clobbered someone over the head with a lawnmower blade).

In Billy Bob Thornton’s directorial debut, Karl Childers is a semi-retarded inmate being let go from a mental hospital in the South, decades after killing his mother with a sling blade (some people call it a Kaiser blade). Days later he befriends a slow, father-less young boy, who quickly convinces his loving, but submissive, mother to let Karl live in their garage. This sounds like a simple movie, and inherently it is, but it remains one of the sweetest, most uplifting, most genuine movies ever made. Thorton’s character has been the butt of countless jokes, impersonations and even a mock movie, but he rode it all the way to the upper echelons of Hollywood.

There is no doubt in my mind that Karl is the most harmless character to ever murder two people using long, sharp objects. He’s sweet, and has the mental capacity of his slow 12-year-old friend, and so cannot be anything but honest about what he sees, does, witnesses…etc. Before murdering the abusive step-father character, Doyle (portrayed exceptionally well by country singer Dwight Yokam), with a lawnmower blade, he asks him what numbers to dial for the police. Then when Doyle asks him why he wants to know he says, “I reckon I’m gonna kill you with this here lawnmower blade.”

That last scene pretty much sums up the entire mood of the movie. A simpleton, abused by his parents, who sees the same thing happening to the boy he loves more than the world itself, and who will not allow it. This movie would be funny, if it wasn’t so heart-wrenching, to watch this simple, kind man let out into a world that’s too big for him to comprehend.

Note: Dwight Yokam’s character, Doyle, would also definitely earn a spot on the top ten people in a movie that you want to get brutally murdered.

3 - Mickey and Mallory Knox
Natural Born Killers

Killers1

They’re cool, casual, confident and hot. They’re funny and obnoxious and unhinged. They’re the sexiest serial killers in the world. Say hello to Mickey and Mallory Knox.

Oliver Stone got a lot of heat for making this movie. And more than one psychotic couple has cited this movie as the inspiration for their own shooting spree. John Grisham tried to sue Oliver Stone for inciting violence. Quentin Tarantino wrote the script and then removed his name entirely from the film, which I don’t understand, because I’m not sure that Tarantino could have made this movie any better, himself.

A lot of people think this movie promotes senseless violence, but I disagree, wholeheartedly. This movie is a social commentary on the United States: the media and the phoniness stuffed down our throats at every turn. Are Mickey and Mallory psychotic? Yes. Are they evil? Maybe. But they weren’t born psychotic and evil. Stone tries to make it very clear that they are products of their environment.

Neither of them were killers when they met. But there is something about their love that sparks their endless killing spree. The first time Mickey kills is to protect Mallory—who symbolizes natural love. Then something is unleashed. “You’re free, Kevin.” They go on a rampage, killing people because at least murder is something real. And while they kill randomly, without remorse or empathy, all the other main characters in the film are worse.

The cop chasing them is just as psychotic as they are, the warden is a masochistic sociopath, and the journalist (Robert Downey Jr.) is a phony who represents everything wrong with America. The journalist is worse because, even though he doesn’t have blood on his hands (at least before the ending), he represents something more damaging and irreparable. He’s perpetuating the tenets of mindless passivity—to just put filler out for the lost generation out in T.V. land to sit back and watch.

In contrast to Robert Downey Jr’s phony character, is the Native American shaman who tries to help Mickey and Mallory, and who was not a part of the society that created and shunned them. Because of this polar separation from American society, he represents the only purity in this movie. It’s important to note that this is the only victim Mickey and Mallory regret killing, and that his murder was unintentional.

They eventually slay Robert Downey Jr’s character at the end of the movie, even though he helped them escape and had an “epiphany,” which was just as fake as everything else he represented. And maybe, just maybe, you could perceive Mickey and Mallory as agents of rightful retribution, wiping out all the fakeness they see around them, because there’s no other solution. Or maybe they’re just insane.

2 - Anton Chigurh
No Country for Old Men

Anton3

No Country for Old Men is a masterpiece. It’s easily one of the best movies made in the last ten years. And while the two other male leads in this movie played their roles so well that I found myself gripping (literally gripping) the theatre seats in anticipation of the ending, what truly makes this movie stand out as one of the best of all time is Javiar Bardem’s character: Anton Chigurh.

He’s a vicious, cold-blooded psychopath with a bad haircut who murders everything in his path on his way from point A to point B. On the surface it might appear that he’s after money, or that he enjoys killing, but he’s really just an avenger, avenging every mistake ever made on earth. He doesn’t care whether or not his victims are specifically responsible. He’s not a cause, but a byproduct of the new evilness hinted at by the sheriff and the title of the film. He’s the embodiment of retribution and death, killing the majority of people who have the misfortune to cross his path.

He kills out of some purpose we aren’t ever shown, and has morals that we can sense but can’t really imagine. But while his other-worldliness should create a distance between himself and the audience, it is contrasted by these regular human actions, like eating a bag of peanuts while he’s deciding whether or not to kill an innocent (or is he only innocent by how we see things?), gas-station owner, or drinking a bottle of milk inside Llewelyn’s trailer, Into which he has just broken to murder everyone inside. He is human, which we can forget. He can be hurt. He gets shot and he bleeds and cringes and limps just like anyone else would. He’s not from another planet.

And he’s comedic in some way only the Cohen Brothers could have invented: this dry, matter-of-fact, awkwardly candid, honest humor that’s so bewildering and hypnotizing that we’re not even sure if it’s funny, or even whether it was meant to be. It’s this contrast that makes him so accessible. Not to mention he’s super bad-ass, self-sufficient, intelligent, cool, and he uses probably the most bad-ass weapon in any movie, ever.

1 - Dr. Hannibal Lecter
The Hannibal Trilogy

Hannibal-Lecter-Hopkinsopt

Of course Dr. Lecter had to be #1 on this list. Throughout three movies he dazzled us with his charm and wit. In Silence of the Lambs, we heard about his vile crimes before we ever met the man. And, at first, we might have believed that Hannibal was just a kindly old man, trapped in a brick cell for crimes that sounded a little too exaggerated. But very soon we see that isn’t the case at all. His creepiness and power are cerebral. Within minutes of meeting her he puts dainty Clarice Starling on her psychological ass (“You know what you look like to me with you good bag and your cheap shoes, you look like a rube”) His murders are some of the most violent, and yet he remains sophisticated and respectable, no matter how deranged his actions. Not only does he have a svelte, hypnotic voice that manipulates victims and other serial killers alike, he is also the most intelligent and classy serial killer we’ve ever met.

While Mickey and Mallory Knox might dine on some greasy breakfast food at a truck-stop, our dear Hannibal requires nothing less than the finest caviar and Chianti to be found anywhere in the world. Whether cutting off guard’s faces, feeding an out-of-tune violinist to a table of aristocrats, getting one of his patients to cut off his own face and feed it to his dogs, or biting off a nurse’s tongue while his heartbeat remains under 85 beats a minute, Dr. Lecter remains a true gentleman to the end, not killing good people unless he has to, and cutting off his own hand instead of Clarice’s—his muse—when push comes to shove.

And just as we can see the progression of affection our dear Clarice feels for this man (although she would never admit it) we, too, become paralyzed by his charm, even knowing all that we know. Detective Will Graham called him insane, and he probably is—must be—but a part of all Hannibal’s fans realize how thin the line between genius and insanity really is.


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Top 10 Worst Boxing Moments

 

10. The Sad Saga of James Butler


Butler was a very promising young fighter from New York City known by the nickname “Harlem Hammer”.  In November 2001, James Butler fought Richard “The Alien” Grant.  The bout was a charity event to benefit survivors of the September 11 attacks.  After losing by unanimous decision Butler made his way to the middle of the ring to purportedly congratulate Grant.  Grant reacted by stretching his hand out in a motion to embrace.  Instead, Butler (who had already removed his gloves) threw a vicious haymaker to Grant’s face.  Richard Grant suffered numerous facial injuries including a broken jaw, lacerated tongue, and several stitches.  Butler, in turn, was arrested and convicted of assault and served prison time for the attack.

Unfortunately the tale does not end there.  James Butler continued his career after this incident but could never duplicate his earlier success.  In October of 2004, Butler was arrested and charged with murdering Sam Kellerman, brother of HBO Boxinganalyst Max Kellermanwith. He (ironically) used a hammer and set his body on fire after a dispute.  Butler pled guilty in 2006 and was sentenced to 29 years in prison.

9. The Riot at Madison Square Garden


Polish born Andrew Golota entered the ring on July 11, 1996 on the cusp of superstardom with an exceptional 27-0 record. All he had to do was get past the 38-1 former Undisputed Heavyweight champ Riddick Bowe. Golota responded with a brilliant performance. The Polish sensation clobbered the ex-champ round after round, almost into submission. He was well ahead on points and seemingly close to a scoring a knockout.

In the 7th round the fight began to take a very strange turn. Golota (for reasons known only to himself) commenced to blatantly and repeatedly punch Bowe below the belt line.  Golota was warned several times and even received point deductions but his behavior continued.  After several more flagrant low blows the referee was forced to disqualify him.  Riddick Bowe’s corner responded by rushing the ring and viciously attacking Golota and his team.  This triggered a full scale, racially charged riot, which spilled into the stands. MSG security was not equipped to handle a massive brawl and had to wait for New York riot police to arrive. Reinforcements finally arrived but not before dozens of fans, boxing personnel and police were injured in this disgraceful and bizarre incident. (Check the video at 2:54 to see the riot start.)

8. Only in America

Don King's mugshot former felon becomes popular boxing promoter

Not anyone can own a professional football franchise. Not anyone can own a baseball franchise. However, anyone can promote a fight- even a convicted killer and numbers operator from Cleveland. In 1974 Don King very shrewdly promoted his first professional fight.  It turned out to be the famed Ali vs. Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire.  This mega-event instantly transformed King into the major player in boxing for the next 30 years.

Unfortunately, the major player likes to play dirty; King’s many exploits are infamous.  He has perpetrated fraud after fraud on any and all promising young fighters to join his stable. King has been implicated in: murder, bribery, theft, bookmaking, breaches of contract, and mafia-assisted racketeering. Larry Holmes once said, “Don King wears his hair like that so he can hide his horns.”

7. Sonny Liston and the Mob


By all accounts Liston had a woeful childhood full of extreme poverty and physical abuse. Liston left home at an early age and participated in numerous violent crimes.  While incarcerated, his boxing skills were discovered and soon after his release he began destroying a string of opponents on his way to the Heavyweight title.  Liston’s incredible prowess caught the attention of several mafia associates including Frankie Carbo and “Blinky” Palermo.

By the time Sonny Liston fought a young Cassius Clay on May 25, 1965 many in the press already suspected that Liston was controlled by the mob.  He nevertheless participated in one of the most obvious fixes in sports history.  In the very first round Liston took a dive and allowed himself to be counted out after Clay threw his famous “Phantom Punch”.  Slow motion review shows a quick combination that seemingly misses or at best only grazes Liston. Coincidently their first fight also ended controversially when Liston refused to come out of his corner for the 7th round, claiming a shoulder injury.  Sonny Liston would die 5 years later under very suspicious circumstances.

6. The Corrupt Richard Steele


A very rare event occurred on March 17, 1990.  On this night two undefeated champions, who were both in the same weight class and who were both in their prime, fought each other.  Julio Cesar Chavez who was 68-0 (and promoted by Don King) met undefeated Olympic gold medalist and welterweight champ Meldrick Taylor.  Chavez was the favorite but it was Taylor who dominated the fight from the opening bell.

Taylor’s trademark speed was beginning to wane but he still held a commanding lead on all scorecards going into the final round.  Moments before the end of the match Chavez scored a knockdown but Taylor rose to his feet quickly. Had the fight continued Taylor would have still won by unanimous decision, but it was not meant to be.  The bout referee Richard Steele stopped the fight with a mere 2 seconds left and awarded the victory to Chavez.  There were immediate protests from Taylor’s camp but the Nevada State Athletic Commission (whose integrity has been routinely called into question) upheld the decision.  Taylor’s career and health were subsequently ruined and Steele, who notoriously favored Don King fighters, forever tarnished the sport.

5. International Boxing Federation Ranking Scandal

International Boxing Federation (IBF) Heavyweight Belt

The IBF, among other entities, is a major sanctioning body based in New Jersey.  The way boxing works: each sanctioning body has a champion and champions are only allowed to fight boxers ranked in the top 15. Ranking committees determine who gets ranked. Ranking committee chairmen have the final say and are notoriously corruptible.

In November 1999 IBF president Bob Lee Sr. was indicted and convicted on numerous racketeering charges.  Lee was conspiring with his rankings chairman C. Douglass Beavers to rig the rankings system to favor boxers whose promoters and handlers paid them cash bribes.  The duo routinely took hundreds of thousands of dollars from the likes of Don King and Cedric Kushner in return for artificial inflation of the rankings of their fighters.  Promoters who didn’t pay didn’t see title fights.  The result, a completely corrupt system that was not in any way based on merit.  Another black eye for boxing.

4. Jim Norris: Boxing’s Not So Golden Age

James D. Norris was a very wealthy and an extremely powerful man in the mid 20th century.  He owned many companies and was heavily involved in the sports world: he owned a National Hockey League franchise, a major stake in Madison Square Garden, and champion racehorses.  Jim Norris was also a very unsavory individual and was widely known to associate with criminals. As president of the International Boxing Club, Norris had a virtual monopoly on championship fights due to a lucrative contract the IBC had to broadcast fights on national television.

Jim Norris was personally responsible for fixing numerous bouts, including: Harry Thomas vs. Max Schmeling in 1937 and Jake Lamotta vs. Billy Fox in 1946.  His corruption knew no limits. Besides match fixing he was also unofficially managing many boxers (usually against their will) and persuading them to hire his associates as advisors.  Norris’ actions perpetuated a chain of farces, which were passed off as competitive bouts to an unsuspecting public- helping to erode boxing’s intregrity. (Image: Legends of Hockey. James Norris is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.)

3. 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea

Many people remember a young Roy Jones Jr. being robbed of a gold medal by corrupt Olympic judges, but few remember the even uglier incident that preceded it.  New Zealander Keith Walker was officiating a bantamweight bout between Byun Jong Il of South Korea and Alexander Hristov of Bulgaria.  The fight was an ugly foul-filled affair and Walker had to repeatedly penalize Jong for head butting.

At the conclusion of the fight Hristov was announced the winner but this only incensed Jong’s countrymen.  Numerous South Korean boxing officials and coaches stormed the ring and viciously attacked referee Keith Walker with punches, kicks, bottles, and even chairs.  The terrified Walker barely escaped serious injury and directly headed to the airport and took the first plane back to New Zealand. Shamed and embarrassed, the Korean Boxing Federation president and the president of the Korean Olympic Committee both resigned after this deplorable incident. (Photo: Byun Jong II sits in the ring and refuses to get up.)

2. The Actions of Panama Lewis


At one time Carlos “Panama” Lewis was a world-class trainer. His character, on the other hand was anything but world class.  Despite already being under a cloud of suspicion for allegedly giving his boxers water spiked with illegal stimulants and for gambling on fights that he was involved in; Panama Lewis concocted a wicked plan for his figher Luis Resto.  Resto was nothing more than a journeyman fighter or simply a professional opponent when he took on undefeated rising star Billy Collins Jr, on June 16, 1983.

Knowing Resto was overmatched, Panama and another trainer removed padding from Resto’s gloves and poured an illegal hardening agent on his hand wraps.  Luis Resto proceeded to brutalize his unsuspecting opponent for 10 rounds.  After being declared the winner Resto approached Collins’ corner.  Collins’ father, who at that point was suspicious of Resto’s new found power, touched Resto’s hand and immediately notified ringside officials (see video). The gloves and hand wraps in question were confiscated by the state Athletic Commission and both were brought up on charges.  Panama Lewis and Luis Resto both had their licenses permanently revoked and were given prison sentences.  Sadly, Billy Collins Jr. would never fight again, his once promising career shattered by the injuries he received.  Collins Jr. was dead less than one year later, suicide was suspected.

1. The Death of Duk Koo Kim


A superstar in South Korea, Kim had risen all the way to number one lightweight contender and earned a world title shot against the famed Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini on November 13, 1982.  The bout was extremely brutal, especially for Kim, who had begun to wear down in the latter rounds after absorbing tremendous punishment from the champion.  In the early part of the 14th round Mancini hit Kim with a crushing right hand that caused him to fly toward the ropes and hit his head on the canvas.

Kim managed to rise but the referee stopped the fight.  Minutes later Duk Koo Kim collapsed into a coma and was carried out of the ring and taken directly to the hospital.  Tragically the Korean star died 4 days later from severe brain trauma.  Out of the hundreds of recorded ring fatalities Kim’s death was one of the saddest.  Kim’s opponent Ray Mancini would never again be the same caliber fighter and it was widely reported that he blamed himself for Kim’s death. Kim’s mother committed suicide three months after her son’s death by drinking a bottle of pesticide.  The bout’s referee Richard Green, consumed by guilt, also committed suicide shortly after the fight.


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You all know that Admin is a hopeless Apple freak, and a big big fan of my beloved iPhone, so this may not be to everyone's taste, but seeing as it is my 3000th post, this time I'm allowed. And if you haven't got your iPhone yet, why not??!!

 

Top 10 Very Useful iPhone Apps

Anyone who has an iPhone (or is looking for an excuse to get an iPhone) has spent a bit of time in the App Store on iTunes looking through the thousands of iPhone apps that are available. However, it can be challenging to separate the best from the rest on the App Store, as even some of the worst apps can get loads of downloads and attention.

To keep you from having to wade through all of the biggest wasters of time and money, here are 10 very useful apps in the iTunes App Store:

10. Yelp!

Yelp iPhone Application Example

Yelp! is the perfect iPhone companion to help you find whatever you need close by. The Yelp! application determines your location using the iPhone’s built-in location services, and searches within a short distance from your location for whatever type of establishment you’re looking for.  You can then look at business hours, contact information, reviews, and maps to the location.  This app can be a lifesaver in a pinch.

9. Kindle/Stanza

Stanza ebook reader iphone application

Kindle and Stanza are among the many apps that allow you to read full books on the iPhone.  Stanza users can download many books for free or cheap, and Kindle connects to Amazon.com to download books from an even greater selection of authors.  Use one of these to keep learning, or just to pass the time when riding on public transportation, waiting for an appointment, or enjoying a quiet evening at home with a good book.

8. AT&T Easy Wi-Fi

AT&T Easy WiFi iphone app

The built-in Wi-Fi on the Apple iPhone comes with access to AT&T wireless hotspots all over the country.  The interface for using the AT&T Wi-Fi service can be overly confusing and difficult if you aren’t particularly savvy, and can waste a lot of time if you don’t know what you are doing.

The AT&T Easy Wi-Fi app makes this process much easier.  Simply install the app, complete the registration once, and from then on when you are in range of an AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot you will have one-click internet access.  This app gives the Staples “Easy Button” some significant competition.

7. Free Memory

Free Memory app for iPhone

The iPhone does a TON of work all the time.  Running email, sending and receiving texts, maintaining phone service, syncing online calendars, playing games, and a host of other processes can put a huge strain on any smart phone.  While the iPhone does a fantastic job of keeping up with all of these processes, even it cannot keep up with everything it tries to do 100% of the time.

Enter the Free Memory app for iPhone.  The Free Memory program taps into the running process list and instantly frees up 20 MB of active memory, preventing the iPhone from freezing up and dropping its functions.  Free Memory will streamline the work that your iPhone does with a single tap, allowing you to keep doing what you’re doing without a hiccup.

6. WeatherBug Elite

Weatherbug Elite iPhone App

The pay version of the WeatherBug application does exactly the same thing, only without ads. WeatherBug Elite is the best weather-reporting application currently available.  WeatherBug provides reporting video, 7-day outlook, radar maps, and even National Weather Service alerts direct to your phone for multiple user-chosen locations.  Perfect for planning your picnic or your trips.

5. I Can Has Cheezeburger

I Can Haz Cheezeburger app for iPhone

No iPhone App list would be complete without at least one fun functionality.  I Can Has Cheezeburger links your iPhone to the online Cheezeburger Network sites such as FailBlog, Totally Looks Like, LOLCats, and LOLDogs, Engrish Funny, and others- providing endless humor wherever you are.

4. ZenBe

Zenbe iPhone app for list making and organization

Zenbe is a list making application that is most useful with multiple iPods or iPhones and the Internet. ZenBe’s special brand of usefulness comes from its ability to connect and synchronize with other ZenBe apps and the ZenBe online interface.  What this means is that mom can make a grocery list from \her home computer and sync it with dad, who can then go buy the items.  Dad can then make a list of chores from his iPhone for his son to receive on his iPod Touch, and keep track of progress as each item on the list is checked off throughout the day.  The potential uses for this app are almost limitless. (Funny example pictured above: iphoneappreviews.net.)

3. Road Trip

Roadtrip app for iphone helps track mileage, fuel

Very few people know what they should do to care for their cars, and even fewer actually care for their cars the way they should.  Keeping track of your automobile’s health is important, and there are many iPhone apps that do much to make tracking the status of your car easier and more exact. Use the Road Trip app to track your car expenses such as fuel efficiency, travel statistics, miles since last service, and even cost per mile to plan trips.

2. Wikipanion

Wikipanion app for iphone app

Wikipedia has become this generation’s first instinct when it comes to acquiring desired information, to the point that “wiki” has become a verb in the English language.  Now the iPhone gives the ability to wiki anything anywhere via one of the many Wikipedia linked apps in the App Store.  Of the Wikipedia apps, two stand a cut above: Wikipanion and Wikiamo.  Wikipanion makes it to the list because of its attractive interface and ease of use.

1. Things

Things iPhone Application helps you stay organized

Things is the most useful app in the App Store to increase your productivity.  Another listing app, Things actually helps to organize and prioritize your to-do’s by due date, searchable tags, and a “today” screen which lists the most urgent to-do’s in an easy-access location.  The most urgent “things” also appear as a red number on the Things icon on the iPhone home screen.

The Things app stands out among all other apps because of the amount of work its creators have put into making it as easy to use as possible.  The Things iPhone app links to the Mac version of Things to create a complete to-do system, and through manipulation of the inner workings of Apple computers,l makes organizing and prioritizing your to-do’s a seamless and painless affair.

 


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Top 10 signs of pregnancy


If you're extremely tuned in to your body's rhythms, you may begin to suspect you're pregnant soon after conception. But most women won't experience any early pregnancy symptoms until the fertilised egg attaches itself to the uterine wall, several days after conception. Others may notice no signs of pregnancy for weeks and begin to wonder "Am I pregnant?" only when they miss a period. Below is a list of some of the first signs of impending motherhood. You may experience all, some, or none of these symptoms of pregnancy:

1. Food cravings. Yes, it's a cliché, but food cravings sometimes can be a sign of pregnancy. Don't rely on them as a sure symptom (it may be all in your head, or even a sign that your body is low on a particular nutrient), but if cravings are accompanied by some of the other symptoms on this list, start counting the days from your last period.

2. Darkening of your areolas. If the skin around your nipples gets darker, you may have successfully conceived, though this may also signal a hormonal imbalance unrelated to pregnancy or be a leftover effect from a previous pregnancy.

3. Implantation bleeding or cramping. 3. About eight days after ovulation, you may experience implantation spotting, a slight staining of a pink or brown colour, as well as some cramping. This is caused by the egg burrowing into the endometrial lining. You might also see some spotting around the time you expect your period.

4. Frequent urination. Once the embryo implants and begins producing the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), you may find yourself going to the bathroom more often.

5. Fatigue. Feeling tired? No, make that exhausted. High levels of the hormone progesterone can make you feel as if you've run a marathon when all you've done is put in a day at the office. Fatigue is a hallmark of early pregnancy, though probably not a surefire symptom on its own.

6. Tender, swollen breasts. If you're pregnant, your breasts will probably become increasingly tender to the touch, similar to the way they feel before your period, only more so. Once your body grows accustomed to the hormone surge, the pain will subside.

7. Altered sense of taste. You may notice that your sense of taste changes. Some women say they have a metallic taste in their mouth, others that they cannot stand the taste of coffee, tea, or a food they usually like.

8. Morning sickness. If you're lucky, morning sickness won't hit you until a few weeks after conception. (A lucky few escape it altogether.) But as early as a couple of days following conception, you may begin feeling nauseated and queasy. And not just in the morning, either -- pregnancy-related nausea can be a problem morning, noon, or night.

9. A missed period. If you're usually pretty regular and your period is late, it's worth trying a pregnancy test. A missed period is the surest sign of pregnancy in a woman of childbearing age who usually has regular periods.

And finally...

10. A positive home pregnancy test. If you've waited to test until at least the first day of a missed period and a blue line appears in the test window, you're most likely to be in the family way. Make an appointment with your doctor to confirm the good news, and head on over to our pregnancy area. Congratulations!

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Top 10 iPhone Knockoffs

Chinese manufacturers piggyback off of successful products by cranking out thousands of copies, nowhere is this truer than with the success of the iPhone.  There are literally hundreds of iPhone knockoffs, ranging from empty shells with the LED Apple logo lit up to exact copies (until the phone stops working and you crack it open to find all the parts are in the wrong place).

Here are our ten favorite wannabe phones:

10. Prada

Prada phone iphone knockoff, clone, android phone

We had to start the list off with the Prada for two reasons: one, because the name is so closely associated with great design, and two, because the design here is so flagrantly an iPhone it’s hilarious.

Seriously, Prada?  How often do you complain about those evil pirates stealing your clothes, and then you turn around and do this?  We’re going to buy knockoff handbags without wincing, now.

9. LG Dare

LG Dare phone iphone knockoff, clone, android phone

LG, on the other hand, should really know better.  So, your big innovation on the iPhone is…to mess up the icons on the screen?  Really?  That’s your big sales innovation?  Sheesh.

8. oPhone

oPhone phone iphone knockoff, clone, android phone

The oPhone is the first of many fine Chinese products that will make this list, but it comes first because this is from a respectable manufacturer.  Lenovo is what IBM’s computer division used to be before IBM became a trivia question.  And, we see they’re carrying on the torch of innovation that led to IBM being taken over by a Chinese company in the first place.  We think they just recycled the case from a Palm for this one.

7. The tPhone

tPhone phone iphone knockoff, clone, android phone

Of all the competitors on this list, the tPhone gets the praise for being the most gutsy. They don’t even pretend they’re not ripping off the iPhone, they just get right in there and even steal the Apple logo, flipping it around so that, well, we guess that if you look in the mirror you can pretend you own an iPhone (image: chineseornot.com).

6. The 200 Fashion Mobile Phone

200 fashion mobile phone iphone knockoff, clone, android phone

The 200 Fashion,  on the other hand, is just kind of sad.  It’s like they wanted to do an iPhone knockoff, they were so close, but the touch screen thing just wasn’t affordable, so they kind of stuffed a keypad down at the bottom and called it a day.  There’s nothing sadder than piracy that fails.

5. The A88

A88 phone iphone knockoff, clone, android phone

On the other end of the spectrum is the A88, a knockoff so perfect you won’t even notice it’s a knockoff until you look more closely at the icons on the screen, and try to use the phone (which isn’t exactly a zippy, fun-filled experience) and realize you’ve been had.  As counterfeits go, this one is awesome.  Also, illegal.

4. The HiPhone

The highphone phone iphone knockoff, clone, android phone

Second place in the fairly convincing knockoff sweepstakes is the HiPhone, which is just like the iPhone, but not quite enough for Apple to sue, because other than looking exactly like it, it’s one letter off.  Somehow, we don’t think the Jimmy Hart Version laws really apply to consumer electronics, guys.

3. The C-002

C-002 phone iphone knockoff, clone, android phone

The C-002 missed first place for one reason; that screen is terrible!  Even in the few ugly as heck JPEGs we found of this thing, it looked like somebody had run over a monitor from 1995 with a steamroller.  Who was this going to fool?  The blind?  The technophobic?  It’s the details that make a forgery, people!  I mean, really, if you don’t even care enough to get the details right…

2. Meizu M8

Meizu m8 phone iphone knockoff, clone, android phone

Of all our knockoffs, the Meizu M8 deserves credit for actually bothering to inject some of its own design elements. Instead of just looking completely like an iPhone, it injects a little bit of its own style into the mix.  Granted that style makes it look like it’s from the late ’90s, but it’s a start, anyway.

1. CECT P168

CECT p168 phone iphone knockoff, clone, android phone

Our number one phone gets the top position for a very simple reason. It’s kind of exactly what you imagine when you imagine “iPhone knockoff;” something with the same design that’s just not quite as good as the original.

For us, the hilarious part is the speaker grills drilled into each corner.  They kept the speaker grill from the original iPhone design, but added another four.  It makes this thing look like it’s made out of Lego.  Or that it’s a kid’s toy.  But this is apparently a fully functional phone.  It’s just kind of ridiculous looking.

Although that pretty much describes all of the phones on this list…

Don't say I didn't warn you...!

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