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Friday, 12 January 2018


The shrimp is a small crustacean related to the prawn.

Mantis shrimp Pixabay

There are thousands of species of shrimp, and usually there is a species adapted to any particular habitat. Any small crustacean which resembles a shrimp tends to be called one.

Adult shrimp are filter feeding animals that live close to the seafloor on most coasts and estuaries, as well as in rivers and lakes.

Shrimps can swim rapidly backwards, but to escape predators some species flip off the seafloor and dive into the sediment.

Shrimp are often solitary, though they can form large schools during the spawning season.

The shrimp, unlike the crab or lobster, has thin fragile legs which they use primarily for perching.


The common shrimp is greenish, semi-transparent, has its first pair of legs ending in pincers, processes no rostrum (the beak-like structure which extends forward from the head in some crustaceans), and has comparatively shorter antennae than the prawn.

Pistol shrimps, which are about an inch long and generally live in the Mediterranean, emit a deafening crack with their claws to stun prey. This snapping shrimp competes with much larger animals such as the sperm whale for loudest animal in the sea. The sound of every shrimp snapping their claws at once would reach 246 decibels.

Pistol Shrimp By Haplochromis 

Some species of mantis shrimps are capable of breaking through aquarium glass with a single strike.

A shrimp's heart is in its head.

A shrimp has more than a hundred pair of chromosomes in each cell nucleus.


The shrimp plays important roles in the food chain are an important nutrition source for larger animals from fish to whales.

As with other seafood, shrimp is high in calcium, iodine and protein but low in food energy.

Commercial shrimp species support an industry worth 50 billion dollars a year. In 2010 the total commercial production of shrimp was nearly 7 million tonnes.

The most extensively fished species are the akiami paste shrimp, the northern prawn, the southern rough shrimp, and the giant tiger prawn. Together these four species account for nearly half of the total wild capture.


Shrimp farming took off during the 1980s, particularly in China, and by 2007 the harvest from shrimp farms exceeded the capture of wild shrimp.

Drunken shrimp is a dish popular in China, consisting of shrimp placed in strong liquor and then eaten alive.

More than 60,000 pounds of shrimp are consumed in Las Vegas each day, which is higher than the rest of the United States combined.

Barack Obama's favorite meal is wife Michelle’s shrimp linguine.

Thursday, 11 January 2018


Showers originated when ancient people discovered that washing under a waterfall was far more effective than simply bathing in standing water.

The ancient Greeks were the first people to make their own form of shower, which sprayed bathers with water. Their aqueducts and sewage systems made of lead pipes allowed water to be pumped both into and out of large communal shower rooms used by the wealthy and common citizens alike.

What we think of as the shower today was invented in 1767 by William Feetham, a stove maker from Ludgate Hill in London. His shower contraption used a pump to force the water into a vessel above the user's head and a chain would then be pulled to release the water from the vessel.

The shower didn’t come into common usage until the late twentieth century as people realized showering is a far quicker and more hygienic way of washing than having a bath.

By Alexander.stohr at the German language Wikipedia

In the mid 20th century Alcatraz was the only federal prison to offer hot-water showers for its inmates because the prison staff felt the inmates would find the frigid waters of San Francisco Bay almost impossible to withstand during an escape attempt.

Chocolate syrup was used for blood in the famous 45 second shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo movie.

While making Shrek, some members of the movie's development team took mud showers to study the movement of mud.

In Papau New Guinea, one 8.5-minute shower costs $3.38, about 70% of an average resident’s daily income.

Scientists are still debating why shower curtains get blown inward when the shower is running

A shower uses less water on average than a bath: 80 litres for a shower compared with 150 litres for a bath.


Humans only need to shower every two to three days — a daily shower can cause irritated and cracked skin.

Show jumping

Show jumping is a competitive equestrian event in which horse and rider are required to jump, usually within a time limit, a series of obstacles that have been designed for a particular show. It is a part of a group of English riding equestrian events that also includes dressage and eventing.


Show jumping started on July 28, 1868 with the inaugural Dublin Horse Show, the brainchild of hunting enthusiast Lord Howth. On that occasion, there were four days of competition where horses would negotiate the High Leap, the Wide Leap and the Stone Wall. At the time the sport was known as Lepping.

Lepping competitions were brought to Britain a year later when a “competition for leaping horses” was included in the program of an Agricultural Hall Society horse show in London. By 1900 most of the more important shows in Britain had Lepping classes.

Theodore Roosevelt was nicknamed The Man on Horseback. In 1886, his horse, Hempstead beat the world equine record for high jumping, clearing 6ft 8 in at the New York Horse Show.

Italian cavalry officer and equestrian, Captain Federico Caprilli (April 8, 1868 - December 6, 1907), heavily influenced the world of jumping with his ideas promoting a forward position with shorter stirrups. This style, now known as the forward seat, placed the rider in a position that did not interfere with the balance of the horse while negotiating obstacles. Due to his developments, the Italian cavalry began to dominate international competition, and riders came from countries around the world to study Caprilli's system. The forward seat formed the modern-day technique used by all jumping riders today.

Captain Caprilli jumping in Italy

The first major show jumping competition held in England was at Olympia in 1907. Most of the competitors were members of the military.

Horse jumping events were held at the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris and show jumping has been held at every Olympics from 1912 in both individual and team competition.

The Badminton Horse Trials were held for the first time on April 20, 1949. It was the second three-day event held in Britain, with the first being its inspiration – the 1948 Olympics and was won by John Shedden, on Golden Willow. Golden Willow, five years old at the time, is also the youngest horse to win, and wouldn’t qualify today as horses must be at least seven.

Gemma Tattersall and Jesters Quest 2007 By Henry Bucklow/Lazy Photography 

The tenor Luciano Pavarotti was also an equestrian expert. He organized the Pavarotti International, an international show jumping circuit competition.

Show jumping is one of the very few sports where men and women are completely equal in competition.


The horses in Olympic equestrian events have their own passports and fly business class.

In Sweden there is a rabbit show jumping competition called Kaninhoppning.

Sources Encyclopedia Britannica, Equilifeworld

Wednesday, 10 January 2018


When Archimedes discovered the theory of buoyancy he went better than just shouting "oh buoy". He ran through the streets of Syracuse naked buoyantly shouting "Eureka, eureka!".

Simeon Stylites was a 5th century saint who spent 36 years living on top of a pillar in modern day Syria. He stood upright from dawn to dusk shouting sermons to the crowds below.

Simeon Stylites

Since 1405 until the present day without interruption, the Swiss city of Lausanne has maintained a lookout in the Cathedral bell tower. The lookout announces the time by yelling the hour from 10 pm to 2 am, 365 days a year. The lookout cries the hour to each cardinal direction.

The drum-major's staff in military bands is an old institution, which controls the starting, halting and stopping, and the rhythm and volume of the music. Its introduction dates back to the 18th century when the loud music made it impossible for the men to hear any shouted command. A shouted "right wheel," for instance, would go unheard and unheeded. Therefore, the staff's purpose was to convey all marching orders visually.

Touching wood is a common superstition. The most likely explanation for the practice is a popular 19th century children's game, Tig-Touch-Wood, in which touching wood makes you safe from being tagged: shouting out the phrase "touch wood" was even a part of the game itself.

The custom of yelling Geronimo's name before doing a courageous act originated in a 1939 movie about the Apache leader. A number of American Indians in the paratroop units coined and popularized the phrase, shouting "Geronimo" to show they have no fear of jumping out of an airplane.

Not only did Alexander Graham Bell invent the telephone but he also invented the device that makes a telephone ring. Previously anyone making a call had to shout down the line to alert the people at the other end to pick up the receiver.

The actress Charlize Theron was discovered when she got into a shouting match with a bank teller and a talent agent in line behind her was impressed.

Human shouting registers under 90 decibels. The loudest land animal is the Howler monkey whose deep growl registers about 128.

Annalisa Flanagan, a primary school teacher in Finaghy, south Belfast is listed in the Guinness Book Of Records for the loudest shout. Ironically it happened when she yelled the word “quiet” at a Citybus shouting contest in 1994, reaching an impressive 121.7 decibels.

Borussia Dortmund supporter Christian Kinner has impressive lung capacity! The football fan yelled “Tor” – which is the German word for “goal” – for 43.56 seconds in 2016, breaking the Guinness World Record for longest shout.

If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days, you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.

The British shout "Say cheese!" when taking a photo, but in Spain, the phrase is "Diga treinta y tres", which means "Say 33"

Technically it is illegal in the UK to shout “Taxi!” to hail a taxi as it may distract the driver.

Source Europress Enyclopedia

Dmitri Shostakovich

Dmitri Shostakovich was born at Podolskaya street in Saint Petersburg, Russia on September 25, 1906.

Shostakovich in 1950. By Fotothek

Dmitri's parents came from Siberia. His father was a biologist and engineer, and his mother was a pianist.

The Shostakovichs lived comfortably during Dmitri's early childhood, although this was to change after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

Dmitri displayed significant musical talent after he began piano lessons with his mother at the age of nine. He had an amazing musical memory and could play almost anything he knew by ear.

In 1919, at the age of thirteen, Dmitri was allowed to enter the Petrograd Conservatory, where he studied the piano and composition. (St. Petersburg was called Petrograd between 1914 and 1924.)

When Shostakovich's father died in 1922 his family felt the pinch. The 16-year-old Dmitri went out and got himself a job as a cinema pianist playing music to accompany the silent films.

Shostakovich in 1925

After graduation, Shostakovich initially embarked on a dual career as concert pianist and composer


Shostakovich's music is tonal end expressive, and sometimes highly dramatic. He is best known for his fifteen symphonies and fifteen string quartets.

Shostakovich's first major musical achievement was the First Symphony (premiered 1926), written as his graduation piece at the age of nineteen.

His most important opera is Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District which was first performed on January 22, 1934 at the Leningrad Maly Theatre. It was deemed to be very successful until Josef Stalin came to hear a performance. The Russian dictator did not enjoy the work, and he left during the performance. A few days later an article appeared in the Pravda newspaper, which said the opera was full of horrible music and noisy chords. Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District was then suppressed as "too divorced from the proletariat," but revived in 1963 as Katerina Izmaylova.

December 2014 production By Lorenzo Gaudenzi

Shostakovich's patriotic Symphony No. 7 marked a temporary return to favor. The première took place on August 9, 1942 during the Second World War, while Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) was under siege by Nazi German forces. The Russian composer had intended for the piece to be premièred by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, but they had been evacuated because of the siege, along with the composer, and the world première was instead held in Kuybyshev (now Samara) where Shostakovich and his family had been relocated.

The Leningrad première of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7 took place August 9, 1942. It was performed by the surviving musicians of the Leningrad Radio Orchestra, supplemented with military performers. Most of the musicians were starving, and three died during rehearsals. Supported by a Soviet military offensive intended to silence German forces, the performance was a success, prompting an hour-long ovation. The symphony was broadcast to the German lines by loudspeaker as a form of psychological warfare.

The Festive Overture in A major, Op. 96, was written by Dmitri Shostakovich and premiered in 1954 at a concert held at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the October Revolution (which took place in 1917. The work was later used as the theme music of the 1980 Summer Olympics.

Major Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, sang a Shostakovich song, "My Homeland Hears", over the radio on his first space mission.


Dmitri Shostakovich was a timid, nervous man, who according to his daughter Galina was "obsessed with cleanliness."

Shostakovich in 1950. By Deutsche Fotothek‎,

Dmitri Shostakovich was so obsessive that he regularly sent cards to himself to test how well the postal service was working.

The obsessive Shostakovich insisted that all the clocks in his apartment had to be synchronized.

Shostakovich was fanatic about football. Galina recalled: "He not only knew every footballer's name by heart, but he also kept records to compare match results," especially of his team Zenith Leningrad.

The Russian composer was a qualified football referee.


Shostakovich had to endure much ill-health in his later years. He had poliomyelitis, which made it difficult for him to use his hands and legs. He suffered several heart attacks, and started to lose his sight.

Shostakovich died of lung cancer on August 9, 1975. A civic funeral was conducted and he was interred in the Novodevichy Cemetery, Moscow.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Shopping mall

With the rise of the suburb and automobile culture in the US, a new form of shopping mall was created away from city centers. The Country Club Plaza was opened in 1922 by National Department Stores about four miles (6.44 km) south of downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The 55-acre site was the first shopping center in the world designed to accommodate shoppers arriving by car.

Country Club Plaza, Kansas City, Missouri

The concept of the enclosed mall was the brainchild of Austrian architect Victor Gruen who is believed to have modeled his concept on the inner city shopping district of Vienna.

Though he had pioneered shopping centers in Seattle (1950) and Detroit (1954), it was Gruen's 'roofed over' shopping center in Edina, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis which is considered the first shopping mall. Opened in 1956 as Southdale Centre, the mall was complete with shops, a school, an auditorium and a skating rink. Gruen designed the shopping center to challenge the "car-centric" America that was rising in the 1950s.

Malls peaked in America in the 1980s-1990s when many larger malls (more than 37,000 sq m in size) were built, attracting consumers from within a 32 km radius with their luxurious department stores.

The Mall of America opened its doors to the public in Bloomington, Minnesota, on August 11, 1992.  When it opened the complex held the title of largest shopping mall on earth. The sprawling complex comprises 530 stores spread out over 4.9 million square feet.

Mall of America
The Mall of America's 42 million annual visitors equal roughly eight times the population of the state of Minnesota.

No new malls were built in America between 2007 and 2012.

The biggest mall of all when measured in terms of gross leasable area is the New South China Mall, Dongguan, China, covering a floor area twenty times that of St Peter's in Rome, and well over twice of the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania, the biggest in the US.

The Dubai Mall is the world's largest mall by total area with over 12 million square feet. It is the 15th largest shopping mall in the world by gross leasable area. Located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, it is part of the 20-billion-dollar Downtown complex, which as well as 1,200 shops, also includes a zoo, a hotel complex and a theme park. In 2012 the Dubai Mall was the most visited shopping and leisure destination on earth, attracting over 65 million visitors.

Dubai Mall By Shahroozporia 

Two of the world’s five largest shopping malls are in the Philippines. The other three are in China.

Shopping malls in 2017 accounted for 8% of retailing space in the United States.

Shopping cart (or trolley)

Shopping carts are used by customers in supermarkets and other large stores with self-service for transport of merchandise to the checkout counter during shopping. In British English shopping carts are called shopping trolleys. The term is used in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Africa and some regions of Canada.


Sylvan N. Goldman, the manager of Humpty Dumpty Stores and Standard Food Markets, a small supermarket in Oklahoma City, developed the shopping cart after he realized that if customers could carry more shopping, they would buy more. He asked one of his employees, a mechanic named Fred Young, to make him a "shopping basket on wheels", which was a folding metal chair, mounted on castors with two baskets fitted to the front and the chairback acting as a handle.

When Sylvan Goldman first introduced the shopping cart on June 4, 1937 people were hesitant to use it. Men thought it 'effeminate,' and women felt it demeaned their ability to carry a shopping basket. So he paid models to push his "shopping basket on wheels" around the store filled with groceries, in order to encourage his customers to do likewise. After a while shopping carts became extremely popular and Goldman became a multimillionaire.

A mechanic named Arthur Kosted developed a method to mass-produce the shopping carts by inventing an assembly line capable of forming and welding the wire. The cart was awarded patent number 2,196,914 on April 9, 1940.


The first ever shopping trolley appeared in the UK in 1950 when the first Sainsbury's self-service store opened in Croydon, Surrey.

In 1996 Sweden became the first country to charge someone with being drunk in charge of a shopping cart.

In continental European countries, the customer has to pay a small deposit by inserting a coin, token or card, which is returned if and when the customer returns the cart to a designated cart parking point. The reason for this is to reduce the expense of employees having to gather carts that are not returned. The deposit system is less common in the United Kingdom and Canada and has not been widely adopted in the United States, with the exception of some chains like the German owned Aldi, which require a $0.25 deposit.


A 2014 study published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics found that more than 24,000 US children every year are treated in hospital emergency departments for injuries involving supermarket shopping carts.

Source The Book of Firsts by Ian Harrison