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1   Jean Nicot

JeanNicot.jpg, 27 kB

Jean Nicot (1530 – 1600) was a French diplomat and scholar.

Born in Nîmes, in the south of France, he was French ambassador in Lisbon, Portugal from 1559 to 1561.

Jean Nicot was 29-years-old in 1559 when he was sent from France to Portugal to negotiate the marriage of six-year-old Princess Marguerite de Valois to five-year-old King Sebastian of Portugal.

When Nicot returned, he brought tobacco plants. He introduced snuff to the French court. The queen mother, Catherine de' Medici, became an instant tobacco convert. The plant was also an instant success with the Father Superior of Malta, who shared tobacco with all of his monks. More and more of the fashionable people of Paris began to use the plant, making Nicot a celebrity.

At first, the plant was called Nicotina. But nicotine later came to refer only to the particular chemical in the plant.

The tobacco plant, Nicotiana, also a flowering garden plant, is named after him, as is nicotine. Nicot described its medicinal properties (1559) and sent it as a medicine to the French court.

Jean Nicot also compiled one of the first French dictionaries Thresor de la langue françoyse tant ancienne que moderne (published in 1606).

Jean Nicot    -     hledat v googlu: Jean Nicot, obrázky v googlu: Jean Nicot

2   Prism (optics)

prism.jpg, 30 kB

A prism is a special piece of glass, crystal, or plastic that bends light. The light bends (or refracts) because it moves slower in the glass, crystal or plastic than it does in air. If different colors of light move at different speeds, each color bends a different amount. This splits the light into lots of different colors called a spectrum. This spectrum has the same colors as a rainbow does. Rainbows are also made by bending light. They happen when light is bent by tiny drops of water floating in the air. If the light doesn't come out when you shine it into the prism, it is called internal reflection.

Prisms are used in binoculars to bend the light. This lets the tubes of the binoculars be short. Sometimes prisms are used to reflect light instead of bending it. Some cameras use a prism to send light to the viewfinder, so the photographer can see what will be photographed.

Prism    -     hledat v googlu: Prism, obrázky v googlu: Prism

3   Atlantic Ocean

Atlantic_Ocean.jpg, 20 kB

The Atlantic Ocean is the body of water bordered

- on its west by the Americas and part of the Pacific Ocean,
- on its east by Europe, Africa, and the Indian Ocean,
- to the north by the Arctic Ocean, and
- to the south by the Southern Ocean.

Scientists say that millions of years ago, there was only one ocean, and that most of the land in the world was joined together over where the Atlantic Ocean is now. Eventually, they think an enormous crack developed in the ground due to volcanic forces, and that the continents started ever so slowly drifting away from each other. The crack would have filled with water from rivers, and eventually the sea might have broken through from the north and the south. Even to this day, the east coast of the Americas is shaped somewhat like the west coast of Africa, but the difference is actually much greater than it might appear, so it is not really an exact fit or even a close one. The Atlantic Ocean is still growing now, because of sea-floor spreading from the mid-Atlantic Ridge, while the Pacific Ocean is said to be shrinking because the sea floor is folding under itself.

Gulf Stream
The Atlantic Ocean has important ocean currents. One of these, called the Gulf Stream, flows across the North Atlantic. Water gets heated by the sun in the Caribbean Sea and then moves northwest toward the North Pole. This makes France, Ireland, Britain, Iceland, and Norway in Europe much warmer in winter than Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in Canada. Without the Gulf Stream, the climates of northeast Canada and northwest Europe might be the same, because these places are about the same distance from the North Pole.

There are currents in the South Atlantic too, but the shape of this sea means that it has less effect on South Africa.

Atlantic Ocean    -     hledat v googlu: Atlantic Ocean, obrázky v googlu: Atlantic Ocean

4   Ice age

An ice age is a period when for a long time the temperature of Earth's climate is very low. This leads to an expansion of the continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and mountain glaciers.

Ice age is a phrase coined for the period of extensive ice sheets in the recent Pleistocene period. We now know that ice ages have happened a number of times in the past, the greatest and longest of which took place in the Proterozoic era, before multi-cellular eukaryotes evolved.

Within an ice age, there are stages. The longer cold stages are called glacials or glacial periods. The shorter warm periods are called interglacials.

We are still, in a sense, in an ice age, because the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets still exist. When speaking of the last two million years, the Pleistocene ice age, in the glacials there were extensive ice sheets over the North American and Eurasian continents. The last glacial ended about 11,000 years ago when the present interglacial started.

Many glacial periods have occurred during the last few million years, initially at 40,000-year frequency but more recently at 100,000-year frequencies. These are the best studied. There have been four major ice ages in the further past.

Ice age    -     hledat v googlu: Ice age, obrázky v googlu: Ice age

5   Kite

tricolor_kites.jpg, 18 kB

A kite is a flying object that is attached to the ground by a rope, or ropes. Kites can be flown for fun, or in competitions.

The kite was created in China, about 2,800 years ago. Later it spread into other Asian countries, like (India), Japan and Korea. However, the kite only appeared in Europe by about the year 1600.

The first kites had sails made of paper or light fabrics such as silk. The poles were made from bamboo, or other strong but flexible woods, and the kite line was made from string or twine.

Modern kites are made from synthetic materials, such as ripstop nylon or more exotic fabrics on the sails. They have fiberglass or carbon fiber poles, and use dacron or dyneema for the kite lines.

Today, there are many different types of kite. Some are large and are made to look good, but some are smaller and are made for speed and competitions.

Kite    -     hledat v googlu: Kite, obrázky v googlu: Kite

6   International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

international_comite.jpg, 35 kB

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is a movement to save human life and health.

Although it is a big international organisation, it is privately run. No government controls the Red Cross.

The Red Cross has a special purpose, given by international law. It is the only private group to have its jobs set out by international law.

Three things make up the movement:

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was created in 1863 in Geneva, Switzerland. Its job, under international law, is to protect the life and dignity of the victims of war.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) was founded in 1919. It tries to make sure the national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies can work together and organise relief assistance missions in case of large-scale emergencies. The International Federation Secretariat is also based in Geneva, Switzerland.

There is a Red Cross and Red Crescent society in nearly every country in the world. 186 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are recognized by the ICRC and admitted as full members of the Federation. Each one works in its home country, following the ideas of international humanitarian law and the statutes of the international Movement. If possible National Societies can take on additional humanitarian tasks that are not directly defined by international humanitarian law or the mandates of the international Movement. The British Red Cross Society, for example, organises volunteer ambulances at public events. The German Red Cross operates a blood bank and a professional full-time ambulance service for hospitals.

According to the Geneva conventions, there are five goals for International red cross and red crescent movements;

- to monitor compliance of warring parties with the Geneva Conventions
- to organize nursing and care for those who are wounded on the battlefield
- to supervise the treatment of prisoners of war
- to help with the search for missing persons in a war (tracing service)
- to organize protection and care for normal people
- to make peace between groups in war

red_cross.jpg, 11 kB red_crescent.jpg, 12 kB red_crystal.jpg, 13 kB
red cross red crescent red crystal

Red Cross    -     hledat v googlu: Red Cross, obrázky v googlu: Red Cross

7   Roman Empire

The Roman Empire was a very big empire with its capital in Rome, ruled by an emperor. The first emperor of Rome was Octavian, from the year 27 B.C.E. Before that, Rome had been a Republic ruled by a council called the "Senate."

Many modern countries are on land that was once part of the Roman Empire, including England (without Scotland), Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Germany, Egypt, and the north coast of Africa. The language of the Roman Empire was Latin. The western part of the Roman Empire continued for almost 1000 years, and the eastern part, including Greece and Turkey, continued for about a thousand years more. The eastern part was called the Byzantine Empire with a capital at Constantinople.

In order to control their large empire, the Romans developed important ideas about law and government. Many emperors had absolute control, and could do as they pleased. When the emperor died, his favorite friend whom he had adopted as a son often became the next emperor, since many of them never had sons of their own. After a while, emperors grew so weak that the military would just pick one of their generals to be the next emperor. Many times they would have civil wars to see which general was the most powerful.

The Romans fought many wars against other countries, and enjoyed watching violent sports. They enjoyed watching races between chariots pulled by horses, and fights between men using weapons (gladiators). Unlike in modern sports, the fighters were often killed in these fights. Romans enjoyed these shows in the Roman Colosseum.

The Romans built many big buildings, aqueducts to carry water, and very good stone bridges and roads. Some of these structures can still be seen today. Many famous writers were also Romans, including Cicero and Virgil.

The New Testament of the Bible tells about the Romans in the life of Jesus Christ. During Jesus' life, the Romans, who were pagan, controlled his country. Later, several emperors tried to destroy Christianity in any way possible, but they could not. The people were becoming Christian, even though the pagan emperors called themselves gods. By 312 C.E., the emperor Galerius allowed people freedom to follow Christianity, and the next year, a Christian general, named Constantine, defeated the pagans and became emperor over what was already a largely Christian land.

The main coin of the Roman Empire was the denarius. It was spent by the wealthy, often on luxuries.

The city of Rome was taken over several times by barbarians, notably in 410 C.E. when the Goths sacked, or stole the goods of, the city. The last Western Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, resigned in 476 C.E. The Roman Empire would last another 1,000 years as the Byzantine Empire in the east.

Roman Empire    -     hledat v googlu: Roman Empire, obrázky v googlu: Roman Empire

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