In ancient times there were many great ideas which began to shape the way manperceived his environment. However, there were few minds who were able to put all ofthese ideas together. One of these minds belonged to Claudius Ptolemy, or just Ptolemyas he is commonly referred to. We know almost nothing of the chronology of Ptolemy’slife, and we don’t even know his birth or death dates. We do know, though, about hisideas in several fields, which include geography, astronomy, optics, astrology, music, andother topics. His most profound and lasting contributions came in the fields of geographyand astronomy, where his two written works Geography and Almagest dominated thethinking on these subjects throughout ancient times and for many centuries to follow. Togeographers, Geography represented a breakthrough in the spatial tradition of geographythrough Ptolemy’s principles on cartography and the maps that were created from this.This will be reviewed as well as other aspects of Ptolemy’s work that made him such arespected figure in the history of geography.Astronomy and Almagest It is important to mention the impact that Ptolemy had in the field of astronomy,as it allows us to understand the ideas that he was able to bring to geography. Ptolemydid his astronomical observations in Alexandria, Egypt, and it has been estimated byscholars that his findings were made in 150 AD After recording his observations andanalyzing them, he incorporated them into a work that would be called the Almagest,which is a combined Greek and Latin term meaning “the greatest”. Almagest is revered asone of the top astronomical works of all time, as it was a thirteen book mathematicaltreatment of the phenomena of astronomy. It contains a myriad of information rangingfrom earth conceptions to sun, moon, and star movement as well as eclipses and abreakdown on the length of months. Among his astronomical observations were the ideathat the earth did not move, but rather it was the motionless center of the universe withthe sun, moon, planets, and stars revolving around it. Another of Ptolemy’s ideas was thatthe planets were closer to the earth than the stars, but farther away than the moon (whichis true). These and other ideas were accepted as scientific fact for several centuriesfollowing the writing of Almagest. In fact, these ideas weren’t changed or corrected untilthe findings of Copernicus in 1543.Geography Although we don’t know if Geography was written before or after Almagest, itremains a trivial side note compared to geographical concepts presented in it that drawthe interest of geographers. The introduction to Geography states what Ptolemy wants toaccomplish, which includes an explanation of the principles of cartography such asgiving coordinates to places around the world and geographic features as well asrecommendations for making world and regional maps. He then starts his coverage of theworld with Europe in Books 2 and 3. He goes on to cover Africa in Book 4 and coversAsia and summarizes his findings in Books 5-8. Geography included 26 colorizedregional maps as well as one map of the “known world”. Ptolemy stayed away fromorthogonal (or cylindrical) world mapping in favor of three other projection types. Hereturns to orthogonal projection on some regional maps with dimensions based on meanlatitude. The farthest point north on his map was Thule at 63 degrees north, while thefarthest point south was the Agysimba and Prasum promontory east of Africa at 16degrees, 25 minutes south. He measured the north-south length of the known world to beabout 7392 kilometers or 4580 miles, while his east-west measurement was about 13,306kilometers or 8250 miles. Geography held the same respect in the field of geography thatAlmagest had in astronomy. Geography was regarded as a complete and inerrantdocument on the subject of geography, and it dominated geographical theory until theRenaissance. The Almagest is now regarded as a better document than Geographyscientifically. This is because the application of the concepts presented in Geography wassubstantially limited, although advances in geography theory were made.Actions After Geography Ptolemy’s work has been discovered and used through the ages by several notedpeople around the world. Arabic writer al-Mas’udi, while writing around 956, mentioneda colored map of the Geography which had 4530 cities and over 200 mountains.Byzantine monk Maximus Planudes found a copy of the Geography in 1295, and sincethere were no maps in his copy, he drew his own based on the coordinates found in thetext. The first Latin translation of the Geography was made in 1406 by Florentine JacobusAngelus, and since this, various translations in other languages have been made availableto people all over the world. However, the most important discovery of Ptolemy’sGeography may have been made by Christopher Columbus. Columbus obtained one ofthe first Latin editions of the book (an edition printed in 1475) without the maps. Weknow that he definitely considered Ptolemy’s distances while he was creating his ownmaps since his text of the Geography has some annotations in it and bears his signature(this text is currently in Madrid). In fact, scholars believe that Ptolemy’s information mayhave encouraged Columbus to make his famous voyage. After the voyages by Columbusand Magellan that were sponsored by Prince Henry the Navigator, Ptolemy’s maps werefound to be rather exaggerated and in need of revision. The land mass from Spain toChina was overestimated by Ptolemy and the ocean size was too small, and this was dueto the limits placed on his ability to measure precisely, as was mentioned above.However, the discoveries made by Columbus and Magellan did not overshadowPtolemy’s work and his contributions to the mapping of the world. An example of this isthat his maps, although erroneous, continued to have some their conceptions placed mapsof Africa until the 19th century in some cases.Conclusion As we have seen, Ptolemy’s contributions to the field of geography have beenquite remarkable. Although his findings may not have been perfectly correct, he inspiredother notable people such Columbus to research his results and make correction to themwhere it was necessary. His principles on cartography were particularly innovative in atime where maps were either in a nonexistent or very primitive stage. When his work andinfluence in the field of astronomy is considered in addition to his work in geography, itcan be concluded that Ptolemy was indeed of the great scientific minds of the ancient era.
The Andromeda Strain Andromeda Strain starts when a satellite, code named “Scoop,” crash lands in themiddle of a small town in the southwestern United States called Piedmont. When the USArmy went to pick it up everyone in the town of 48 was dead except an old man and ayoung baby. The Army realized that the deaths were probably the result of the crashedsatellite, so they sent men clothed in bio-hazard suits to retrieve the remains of thecrashed probe Scoop and the two surviving humans. Then they took them back to a secretunderground lab known as “Wildfire.” The scientists at Wildfire were amazed by what they saw. After spending manyhours looking at the satellite with an electron microscope, they found little pieces of whatlooked like luminescent paint. They cut away a single molecule of the substance and sawthat it was a crystal life form. The crystal used everything, wasted nothing, and grew inevery substance known to man. To make matters worse, it grew and multiplied veryquickly. Now that the scientists at Wildfire knew what caused the deaths at Piedmont, theyhad to figure out how to control it. They did a lot of different tests on the crystal andfound out that it grew on every known substance. The US government’s code named forthe project was “Andromeda”. There were no new reported deaths related to AndromedaStrain near Piedmont or any other neighboring towns. The scientists assumed the it wasdead. Then a story came through that a fighter pilot had flown over the area andafterwards his air mask and everything else made or rubber just dissolved into thin air. Meanwhile the President of the United States was being told about AndromedaStrain. With hopes of eliminating the threat, the President considered and agreed todropping a nuclear bomb on the Piedmont area. At the same time the team at Wildfirehad come upon a major discovery. The Andromeda Strain thrived on energy sources likeplutonium and radiation. They realized that the President was planning on nuking thePiedmont area, which would result in a huge spread of this disease. Their only hope wasthat the Andromeda Strain would either mutate into a non-fatal form, or that theircontinued experiments would uncover a cure or a way to make it harmless. The Presidenttook back his previous order to drop the bomb. During this debate about dropping thebomb, some of the researchers realized why the old man and the boy did not die.Andromeda could only survive in a very narrow range of blood pH. If anyone’s blood wastoo acid (the old man had two bleeding stomach ulcers) or too alkaline (the baby hadbeen crying for hours causing the alkalinity in his blood to increase), then the AndromedaStrain could not survive in that person’s body. There was still no way to contain Andromeda, which had turned in to a non lethalform and it spread throughout the whole southwestern US Meanwhile, the people atWildfire did all they could to prevent Andromeda from mutating again. They seeded theclouds over the Pacific Ocean where Andromeda was so the rain would force Andromedainto the ocean where the water would be too acidic for it to survive.
The most talked about characters in Andromeda Strain are Dr. Mark Hall, Dr. PeterLeavitt and Dr. Jeremy Stone. Dr. Stone was the head of all operations at Wildfire in away because he helped plan and make it happen. Most of the story depended on Dr. Hall.He was the only single man among the other scientists. He also made many of theimportant discoveries.
The TelephoneTHE INVENTION The telephone is a device that was such a wonder in its early days but now we justtake it for granted. Life would be very different without the telephone and its spin-offslike the fax machine, the computer with modem or the cellular phone. All of these arebased on some of the principles of the telephone. The telephone makes many thingspossible, whether its talking to someone on the other side of the world or next door. It all started in 1854 when the French inventor Charles Bourseul suggested thatvibrations from the voice could move a diaphragm and connect and disconnect anelectric circuit. This would produce similar vibrations in a diaphragm at another location,where the original sound would be reproduced. A few years later, the German physicistJohann Philip Reis invented an instrument that transmitted musical tones but could notreproduce speech. This only worked with musical notes but an American inventor namedAlexander Graham Bell discovered that only a steady electric current could be used totransmit speech. So he improved the idea and produced the first telephone capable oftransmitting and receiving human speech with any quality. The basic unit of Bell’s invention consisted of a transmitter, a receiver, and asingle connecting wire. The transmitter and receiver were identical; each contained aflexible metallic diaphragm and a horseshoe magnet with a wire coil. Sound waveswould strike the diaphragm cause it to vibrate in the field of the magnet. This vibrationgenerated an electric current in the coil that varied in proportion to the vibrations of thediaphragm. Then the current traveled through a wire to the receiving station, where itproduced changes in the strength of the magnetic field of the receiver, causing itsdiaphragm to vibrate and reproducing the original sound. In the receiver of a modern telephone the magnet has been flattened into the formof a watch, and the magnetic field acting on an iron diaphragm has been made moreexact and uniform. The modern transmitter consists of a thin diaphragm mounted behinda perforated grill. At the center of the diaphragm is a small dome that makes an enclosurefilled with carbon granules. Sound waves pass through the grill and make the dome movein and out. When the diaphragm presses in, the granules become densely packed,allowing an increase in the flow of current through the transmitter. In early telephones the current was generated by a battery. In addition to a batteryand a transmitter, there was one winding of a transformer called an induction coil; theother winding, connected to the line, increased the voltage of the sound wave. Theconnections between telephones were made manually, by operators working atswitchboards located in central switching offices. The switchboard operators wereusually women because it was considered to easy for a mans work and the managerscould get women to work for cheaper. As telephone systems grew, manual switching wastoo slow and labor intensive. This provided the development of a series of mechanicaland electronic devices that allowed switching to be done automatically. In the modern telephone, an electronic device transmits either a number ofsuccessive impulses of current or a series of audible tones corresponding to the numberbeing called. Electronic equipment at a central switching station automatically translatesthe signal and routes the call to the receiving party. The signal of modern telephones isrelayed through at least one of these methods, by standard telephone cable, underseatelephone cable, radio or satellite. A computer modem uses the same idea as a telephonebut instead of converting voice into electrical impulses and back, it turns digitalinformation from a computer into electrical impulses and backMoDem- Mo=modulate, Dem=demodulate
THE Inventor Alexander Graham Bell was an American inventor and teacher of the deaf, ofcourse he is most famous for his invention of the telephone. He was born on March 3,1847, in Edinburgh, Scotland, and educated at the universities of Edinburgh and London.He immigrated to Canada in 1870 and to the United States in 1871. In the United Stateshe began teaching students that were either deaf, mute or both. He taught by the systemcalled visible speech. This system, was developed by his father, a Scottish educatornamed Alexander Melville Bell. It shows how the lips, tongue, and throat are used tomake sound. In 1872 Bell founded a school for deaf-mutes in Boston, Massachusetts. Theschool later became part of Boston University, where Bell was appointed professor ofvocal physiology. He became a naturalized US citizen in 1882. Ever since the age of 18, Bell had been working on the idea of transmittingspeech. In 1874, while working on a multiple telegraph, he developed the basic ideas forthe telephone. His experiments with his assistant Thomas Watson finally provedsuccessful on March 10, 1876, when the first complete sentence was transmitted:?Watson, come here; I want you.? At the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia,Pennsylvania, introduced the telephone to the world and this led to the organization ofthe Bell Telephone Company in 1877. In 1880 France gave Bell the Volta Prize, worth50,000 francs, for his invention. With this money he founded the Volta Laboratory inWashington, D.C., where, in that same year, he and his associates invented thephotophone, which transmits speech by light rays. Some of his other inventions includedthe audiometer, used to measure acuity in hearing; the induction balance, used to locatemetal objects in human bodies. He also made the first wax recording cylinder in 1886.This cylinder, together with the flat wax disc, formed the basis of the modernphonograph. Bell was one of the cofounders of the National Geographic Society, and he servedas its president from 1896 to 1904. He also founded the journal Science in 1883.After 1895 Bell’s interest turned mostly to aeronautics. Many of his inventions in thisarea were first tested near his summer home at Baddeck on Cape Breton Island in NovaScotia, Canada. His study of flight began with the construction of large kites, and in 1907he devised a kite capable of carrying a person. With a group of associates, including theAmerican inventor and aviator Glenn Hammond Curtiss, Bell developed the aileron, amovable section of an airplane wing. They also developed the tricycle landing gear,which first permitted takeoff and landing on a flying field. Applying the principles ofaeronautics to marine propulsion, his group started work on hydrofoil boats, which travelabove the water at high speeds. His final full-sized ?hydrodrome,? developed in 1917,reached speeds in excess of 113 km/h (70 mph) and for many years was the fastest boatin the world.
Area 51, is it a government cover-up or does it just exist in the mindsof some people? After researching it would be almost impossible to say itdoesn’t exist. With all of the current information that has been leaking outand that Area 51 is in fact visible from the top of a ridge it must be there. Deep in the mountains of Nevada is a secret military base dubbed Area51 for some odd reason. This secret base is not there according togovernment officials. Area 51, is in south central Nevada 120 milesnorthwest of Las Vegas. It is between isolated desert mountain ranges andnear the Atomic Energy Commissions nuclear bomb test area. If you look atFederal Aviation Administration pilot maps and charts you will not see it, allyou will see is flat dry expanse of land called Groom Lake. Area 51 hasmany other nicknames such as Dreamland, The Ranch, The Box, Watertown,The Strip and The Pig Farm. This secret air base built on the now dried up Groom Lake was startedin 1954, when the CIA gave Lockheed a contract to start designing andbuilding a spyplane that could fly higher and faster than any other plane.They named this project U-2 and the main target was The Soviet Union.Once built they needed a place to keep it a secret, the test pilot named TonyLeVier was sent off in a small plane to find a the spot. He chose GroomLake for its remoteness and it being near the Atomic Energy Commissionsnuclear bomb test area. This helped cover up the building of the runway,hangar and other buildings needed for the U-2. Many other things are said tohave happened at Area 51, flight testing or the SR-71 and the A-12 in 1962.Covertly obtained Soviet fighters were hidden and flight tested here and theF-117 first flew from Area 51 in the early 1980’s. New projects startedduring the Reagan administration and a replacement for the SR-71 called theAurora began flying out of Area 51. Since March 1994 the Air Force has been trying to close off FreedomRidge, Crisis Corner, White Sides and the Supplemental Hills that make up4,000 acres of land owned by BLM that overlook Area 51. The governmentalready seized 89,000 acres of land from BLM in 1984. There is already aformidable ring of security way off the base on public land to keep unwantedpeople out. This consists of a fence line monitored by solar powered videocameras and signs that say Use of Deadly Force Authorized. There is one group of watchers that call themselves the DreamlandInterceptors. They come to watch the secret military aircraft and to see wheretax dollars are going. These people camp on top of White Sides where theykeep a look out or what they call bird watching. They use equipment likebinoculars, spotting scopes, radio-frequency scanners, night-vision goggles,tape recorders, dark clothing, walkie-talkies and most important to them lawnchairs. At Groom Lake, most of what is needed like people, supplies and theaircraft being tested are brought in the expensive way, by air. The largeAircraft are disassembled then delivered like everything else in a huge cargoplane. Civilian listeners have put two and two together and by usingscanners they have followed the Boeing 737 jets to an airport terminal by adefense contractor called EG&G Corp. They flight code name is Janet, thisbase makes 10 – 12 flights per day. With that many transport jets it isestimated that 1,500 – 2,500 people work at Area 51.
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was born on November 30, 1874.He is known for his courageous leadership as prime minister during World War II.He graduated from the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. Winston served inIndia and the Sudan and became a correspondent during the Boer War. A daringescape after he had been captured made him a national hero. In 1900 he waselected to Parliament as a Conservative, in 1904 he switched to the Liberal party.Then in 1910-11 he worked for special reform with David Lloyd George as homesecretary . Churchill’s role in World War I was controversial and almost destroyed hiscareer. Between his problems with the Navy and his support for the disastrousGallipoli campaign forced his resignation. From 1917 to 1922 he filled severalimportant positions, including minister of munitions and secretary for war. Whilehe was a battalion commander in France, he joined Lloyd George’s coalitioncabinet. After the collapse of Lloyd George and the Liberal party in 1922 Churchillwas left out of Parliament between 1922 and 1924. Then he returned in 1924 andbecame chancellor of the Exchequer in Stanley Baldwin’s Conservativegovernment. He showed conservatism by returning Britain to the gold standardand condemning the trade unions during a strike in 1926. During the depression years (1929-39) Churchill was denied a cabinetoffice. Neville Chamberlain, who dominated the national government from 1931 to1940 disliked Churchill’s idea for India to be self-governed and his support ofEdward VIII To Churchill, Chamberlain’s association with Adolph Hitler at Munichin 1938 aroused suspicion. When Britain declared war on Germany in September1939, however, Churchill’s views were finally appreciated, and the public’sopinion demanded his return. Churchill succeeded Chamberlain as prime minister on May 10, 1940.During the dark days of World War II that followed Churchill’s rousing speechesrallied the British to continue the fight. He urged his fellow citizens to conductthemselves so that, ?if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for athousand years, men will still say, ?This was their finest hour.? By good dealingswith President Franklin D. Roosevelt he was able to get military aid and moralsupport from the United States. After the Soviet Union and the US entered thewar in 1941, Churchill established close ties with leaders of what he called theGrand Alliance. He traveled throughout the war and did a lot to coordinate militarystrategy and to guarantee Hitler’s defeat. His meetings with Roosevelt and Stalinshaped the map Europe after the war. By 1945 he was admired throughout theworld, even though Britain’s military role had become secondary. Churchill wasdefeated by the Labour party in the election of 1945 because he ignored thedemands for social change after the war. He made his ?Iron Curtain? speech inMissouri, in 1946, it was the about the dangers of Soviet expansion. He wasprime minister again from 1951 to 1955, but now his old age and poor healthprevented him from providing good leadership. Churchill received a Nobel Prizefor literature and a knighthood in 1953. Churchill resigned in 1955 and devoted his last years to painting andwriting. He died on January 24, 1965, at the age of 90. Following a state funeralhe was buried near Blenheim Palace. The death of Churchill in 1965, like thedeath of Queen Victoria in 1901, marked the end of an era in British history. Heparticipated in Britain’s transformation from empire to welfare state, and itsdecline as a world power. His true importance is the fact that with sheer stubborncourage he led the British people, the from defeat to a final victory in the greatestconflict the world has seen.
The Spanish-American War started when the United States waged war on Spainin 1898. It started because the war was fought in the Spanish colonies of the Philippinesand Cuba. The United State government got mad at the Spanish Governor because hesent many Cuban citizens to reconcentration camps. President McKinley tried to keepneutral but at first Spain would not pull out of Cuba. McKinley offered to just buy Cubabut that didn’t happen. The event that got the United States into the war was when theSpanish sunk the Maine, a United States battle ship. At the same time there wereproblems in the Philippines with the Spanish once again. The United State government got angry at the Spanish governor-generalValeriano Weyler. Weyler had ordered many Cuban men, women and children intoreconcentration camps. He wasn’t able to tell the citizens from the rebels and in thesecamps around 200,000 of the population died from illness and starvation. This upsetAmerican citizens. American President at the time, Grover Cleveland said if “the uselesssacrifice of human life ” went on then the US would take action. President McKinleytook office midway through the conflict and he too tried to stay neutral, he even tried tobuy Cuba to ” avert this terrible calamity” but his plan was rejected. In 1897 an attempt tosettle the conflict was made by the Spanish prime minister, Pr?xedes Mateo Sagasta.Partial control was to be given to the Cubans, and the outrageous system of prison campswas to be abolished. But this wasn’t enough and they continued to try for completeindependence. The Spanish Ambassador for the United States, Enrique Dupuy de Lomewrote a letter and it was published in the Journal and in the letter he called McKinley”weak and a bidder of the crowd…”. This caused the ambassador to resign and this wasn’tany help to the relation between Spain and the US. Six days later the Maine, an Americanbattleship was sunk off the coast of Cuba near Havana. Two hundred and sixty of thecrew members were killed. US naval experts discovered that the blast came from outsidethe ship meaning it was sunk intentionally. The Spanish said that they had no mines inthe area. The press or more reliable the yellow press “discovered” that Spain wasresponsible and they even found some diagrams showing how it was done. Congress tookaction and allocated 50 million dollars in war funds. McKinley demanded that Spain giveCuba full independence. When Spain did not reply, Congress declared war on April 25.The expansionists of the nation were thrilled to get more land but their dreams weredazzled when Congress attached the Teller Agreement that left the Cubans in controlafter peace was made. With the war declared there was a huge demand for volunteers to becomesoldiers. There were only 28,000 at the time so McKinley called for 200,000 volunteers.The hard part was to organize some 17,000 of those volunteers and the current troopsinto a usable and powerful force. These troops left in June for Cuba from Tampa, Florida.Supplies were low and the soldiers were given old wool uniforms, out dated ammunition,meager medical supplies and almost inedible rations. The group that probably helped themost was a group called the Rough Riders, these were once horse back soldiers but theirhorses were in Florida so they resorted to foot travel. This group took the hill overlookingSantiago. In this war there were also 4 units of African American soldiers to lend a handfor their country. Four of these soldiers were awarded with a Congressional Medal ofHonor. The Spanish-American War all started because Spain wouldn’t let Cuba and thePhilippines run the way they wanted. Spain treated the people there very badly and allalong the United States tried to stay neutral but after a battleship, the Maine was sunkwhile in Harbor near Havana the United States declared war on Spain. The United Statesdidn’t have enough military personal so they got around 17,000 volunteer soldiers tosupplement the force they already had so they could go to war. The expansionists gotvery excited about getting another territory so they could maybe add another star to theflag down the road. But the humanitarians in Congress attached the Teller Amendment tothe declaration of war that did not allow this to happen. The Spanish-American War is awar like most others the United States has fought in, it could have easily been avoided.