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1   Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo_self.jpg, 19 kB

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) was an Italian polymath, being a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the renaissance man, a man whose unquenchable curiosity was equaled only by his powers of invention. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived. Helen Gardner says "The scope and depth of his interests were without precedent...His mind and personality seem to us superhuman, the man himself mysterious and remote".

Born as the illegitimate son of a notary, Piero da Vinci, and a peasant woman, Caterina, at Vinci in the region of Florence, Leonardo was educated in the studio of the renowned Florentine painter, Verrocchio. Much of his earlier working life was spent in the service of Ludovico il Moro in Milan. He later worked in Rome, Bologna and Venice and spent his last years in France, at the home awarded him by Francis I.

Leonardo was and is renowned primarily as a painter. Two of his works, the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, are the most famous, most reproduced and most parodied portrait and religious painting of all time, respectively, their fame approached only by Michelangelo's Creation of Adam. Leonardo's drawing of the Vitruvian Man is also regarded as a cultural icon, being reproduced on everything from the Euro to text books to t-shirts. Perhaps fifteen of his paintings survive, the small number due to his constant, and frequently disastrous, experimentation with new techniques, and his chronic procrastination. Nevertheless, these few works, together with his notebooks, which contain drawings, scientific diagrams, and his thoughts on the nature of painting, comprise a contribution to later generations of artists only rivalled by that of his contemporary, Michelangelo.

Leonardo is revered for his technological ingenuity. He conceptualised a helicopter, a tank, concentrated solar power, a calculator, the double hull and outlined a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics. Relatively few of his designs were constructed or were even feasible during his lifetime, but some of his smaller inventions, such as an automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire, entered the world of manufacturing unheralded. As a scientist, he greatly advanced the state of knowledge in the fields of anatomy, civil engineering, optics, and hydrodynamics.

Leonardo da Vinci    -     hledat v googlu: Leonardo da Vinci, obrázky v googlu: Leonardo da Vinci

2   5.6-magnitude aftershock earthquake strikes Italy

April 8, 2009

An aftershock with a magnitude of 5.6 shook Central Italy on Tuesday, nearly 48 hours after a major 6.3 quake hit the country. Earlier in the day, another aftershock of 4.2 was also reported. The death toll from the quakes has now surpassed 200 with thousands of others injured. At least one person was killed in the aftershock.

The aftershock caused two apartment blocks to collapse in the city of L'Aquila, and slabs of masonry fell from other damaged buildings. Local media reported that an old church and many houses were also damaged. The shaking was felt as far away as Rome.

Francessco Rocha, the head of the Italian Red Cross, estimated that 20,000 people had lost their homes, and it may be many months before they can return to them.

"The victims so far are 207," said the premier of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, at a press conference. "Of these victims, 190 have been identified while other 17 remain unidentified, 15 people are missing and there are more than 1,000 injured, 100 of which are in serious conditions," said Rocha.

"Civil protection men are working hard and for the next 48 hours rescuers will search for other survivors," added Berlusconi. "More than 7,000 men are at work. These people risk their lives and I want to congratulate myself with them, they are doing an extraordinary job considering the frequent ground movements complicate rescuing operations. Already 150 people have been extracted and saved from the ruins."

The 6.3-magnitude quake on April 6 is the deadliest quake to strike Italy since November 23, 1980. Nearly 3,000 people were killed in a magnitude 6.8 earthquake that struck Southern Italy in the Irpinia region. At least 10,000 were injured in that earthquake, with over 300,000 being left homeless.

earthquake    -     hledat v googlu: earthquake, obrázky v googlu: earthquake

3   Scientists crack age-old egg problem

August 1, 2006

Scientists in the UK have developed a new way to ensure boiled eggs are perfectly cooked thanks to a brand new hi-tech logo being printed on shells.

After cooking starts, people will be able to see if their egg is soft, medium or hard-boiled with the help of a thermochromic print which appears in black ink on the egg’s shell.

The eggs will be sold to consumers in the UK within the next few months. A spokeswoman for Lion Quality, the assurance scheme which came up with the idea, said: “We had a lot of inquiries from people which sparked an interest in the industry. We said OK, this is a big issue - people can’t even boil an egg.”

Gilly Beaumont, from B&H Colour Change, the company which created the logos, said: "We are still perfecting the technology, but we are very excited at the prospect of sorting a problem that has wound people up at breakfast time for decades."

The most successful way to cook an egg has baffled some of the greatest chefs in the past. In 1998, Delia Smith dedicated a whole episode of her How To Cook programme on the best way to boil an egg. And last year, a survey carried out by the magazine Waitrose Food Limited showed five top chefs all had different techniques.

egg    -     hledat v googlu: egg, obrázky v googlu: egg

4   Woman robs pawn shop by swallowing stolen goods

On May 27, 2008, in Salt Lake City, Utah, a woman stole two 14-karat gold bracelets from a pawn shop by swallowing them, as shown by a surveillance tape. The bracelets were worth US$2000 each according to the pawn shop.

The clerk noticed the bracelets were missing minutes after she had swallowed them and asked the woman for an explanation. She responded, "You can search me." The bracelets were not found. It was only clear who the thief was after the shop reviewed the surveillance footage.

Norma Porchas-Robles, 41, who had been a regular customer at the shop for over four years, has been charged with retail theft and will appear in court June 19. The pawn shop, however, must continue to do business with her, as she had pawned several items which have not yet been sold.

pawn shop    -     hledat v googlu: pawn shop, obrázky v googlu: pawn shop

5   US automakers GM and Chrysler seek more government aid

February 18, 2009

2001-2005_Chrysler_PT_Cruiser.jpg, 13 kB

The United States auto manufacturer Chrysler, which has been badly affected by the ongoing recession, has asked the US government for an additional US$5 billion in aid on top of the four billion it has already received, saying that it plans to fire three thousand employees. At the end of last year, the auto maker had just over 54,000 employees, meaning that the layoffs will equal about six percent of its total workforce.

In addition, Chrysler will cut the Chrysler Aspen, PT Cruiser, and Durango from production.

Another automaker, General Motors (GM), announced that it seeks $16.6 billion in loans from the government, in addition to the $13.4 billion that it has already received. GM plans to lay off 47,000 employees and close five factories. GM says that it might need as much as $30 billion from the US Treasury Department, an increase over their previous estimate of $18 billion. The company has warned that it might run out of money by March if more aid was not given.

Rick Wagoner, GM's chief executive, described the firm's plan as "comprehensive, responsive, achievable, and flexible". "We have a lot of work in front of us, but I am confident it will result in a profitable General Motors," he said, adding that "today's plan is significantly more aggressive because it has to be." GM says that it could be profitable in two years' time, and might be able to repay all its loans by 2017.

A third US car manufacturer, Ford Motor Company, has said that it can make it through this year without any government aid.

The US Treasury Department will review the car makers' survival plans for several weeks before a decision is made on whether or not to extend the loans. That decision is due by the end of next month.

GM and Chrysler    -     hledat v googlu: GM and Chrysler, obrázky v googlu: GM and Chrysler

6   Da Vinci Code publisher Random House in court

February 28, 2006

Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, who jointly wrote together with a third author, a 1982 Non-Fiction book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail have taken The Da Vinci Code publisher Random House, to court claiming that The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail storyline has been stolen by Dan Brown.

The third author of Holy Blood and the Holy Grail Henry Lincoln, is not involved in the case.

Random House is the of publisher of both The Da Vinci Code and The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail.

The central theme of the two books is that the bloodline from a marriage between Jesus and Mary Magdalene survives today.

Random House has denied the claim and, Random House chief executive Gail Rebuck says in a statement that she believed the lawsuit was without merit.

"As publisher of both The Da Vinci Code and The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail, we are genuinely saddened that two of the three authors of HBHG have chosen to bring this litigation against us...Random House takes no pleasure in defending a legal action that it believes is without merit and we are confident that we will prevail."

If this case is successful it could threaten the film; starring Tom Hanks and Sir Ian McKellen from opening.

The Da Vinci Code is a fiction book and has over 36 million copies in print worldwide. The dust jacket for the novel apparently includes longitude and latitude coordinates which lead to the CIA headquarters near Langley, Virginia.

Brown's next book, The Solomon Key, is rumoured to be about the Yale Skull and Bones society. Notable alumni of the society include current United States President George W. Bush, former President George H.W. Bush, and Massachusettes Senator John Kerry.

Da Vinci Code    -     hledat v googlu: Da Vinci Code, obrázky v googlu: Da Vinci Code

7   2008 Young Designers' Exhibition to interact with the world

May 16, 2008

2008 The 27th Young Designers' Exhibition, opened on May 15 at the Taipei World Trade Center and closes Sunday May 18. It features participation by 87 academic groups in Taiwan and 20 groups from United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Australia to showcase various achievements in industrial design. It is recognized by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) as the largest show of student creations.

Besides the several design competitions, sponsors like International Forum Design (iF), EPSON, MUJI (in Japanese: 無印良品, Mujirushi Ryohin), Tsann Kuen Trans-nation Group will showcase different solutions for the design, creative, and cultural industries. The show's organizer, Taiwan Design Center, also designed several on-site events like "On-line Graduate Season Show", "Career Match-up", "Creative and Cultural Showcase and Performance", "Seminars of YODEX 2008" to link the actual exhibition with the on-line exhibition.

Besides of the previously announced "Wow! Taiwan Design Award", winners from "2008 Young Designers' Competition" and "2008 YODEX Interior Design Competition" were announced on Saturday, May 17.

Taipei    -     hledat v googlu: Taipei, obrázky v googlu: Taipei

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