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Sunday, 8 July 2018


On January 26, 1788 the British First Fleet, led by Arthur Phillip, sailed into Port Jackson (Sydney Harbor) to establish Sydney, the first permanent European settlement on the Australian continent. The settlers were mostly convicts from crowded prisons in England and Ireland, with a group of soldiers to guard them. 

The Founding of Australia, by Captain Arthur Phillip R.N. Sydney Cove.

Originally it had been intended to call the area New Albion. Instead Phillip named it Sydney Cove in honor of Thomas Townshend, Baron Sydney (later Viscount Sydney), the UK Home Secretary in 1788The settlement became known as Sydney Town. 

There is also a former city in Nova Scotia, Canada, named Sydney after the same man. 

Viscount Sydney never visited Australia or Canada. He was often called “Turnip Townsend”, a reference to his agricultural expertise.

Convict artist Thomas Watling's A Northward View of Sydney Cove, 1794

Captain William Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty fame was made Governor of New South Wales in 1806 with orders to clean up the corrupt rum trade of the New South Wales Corps. Bligh's actions directed against the trade resulted in the so-called Rum Rebellion on January 26, 1808, when 400 soldiers of the New South Wales Corps under the command of Major George Johnston marched on Government House in Sydney to arrest and depose Bligh. The Rum Rebellion was the only successful armed takeover of government in Australian history. 

Propaganda cartoon of Bligh's arrest in Sydney in 1808, portraying him as a coward

Originally a British penal colony, there was a rapid development of Sydney following the discovery of gold in 1851 in the surrounding area.

The main streets of Sydney still follow the lines of the original wagon tracks, and the modern Regency Bligh House survives. 

The Sydney Harbor Bridge opened on March 19, 1932. The event was not without scandal, as before it could be officially declared open by Premier J.T. Lang, the ceremony was interrupted by New Guard member Captain de Groot on horseback. He slashed the ribbon with his sword, declaring that he was opening the bridge in the name of the people of New South Wales.

Francis de Groot declares the bridge open

Sydney Harbor Bridge took nine years to build and another 56 years to pay off the debt incurred in building it. 

The paint used on the Sydney Harbor Bridge dries so fast that, should a drop fall, it would dry before reaching the vehicles underneath.

Sydney Harbor Bridge is often called the Coat Hanger locally because of its shape.

After 15 years of construction, the Sydney Opera House was dedicated by Queen Elizabeth II on October 20, 1973. 

Sydney Opera House seen from Harbor Bridge. By Bernard Gagnon

The 2000 Summer Olympics were held between September 15 and  October 1, 2000 in Sydney. It was the second time that the Summer Olympics had been held in Australia, and also the Southern Hemisphere, the first being in Melbourne, Victoria, in 1956. 

All of the bronze medals from the Sydney Olympics in 2000 were made from melted one-cent coins that Australia had pulled out of circulation.


Sydney sweltered in 45 ˚C (113 ˚F) heat on January 1, 1939, a record temperature for the city.

A low-pressure system that redeveloped off the New South Wales coast dumped a record 328 millimeters (13 inches) of rain in a day on Sydney in 1986.

A storm dropped an estimated 500,000 tonnes of hailstones in Sydney and along the east coast of New South Wales in 1999, causing about A$2.3 billion in damages, the costliest natural disaster in Australian insurance history.


As of June 2017, Sydney's estimated population was 5,131,326 making it the biggest city in Oceania.

Residents of Sydney are called Sydneysiders. 

The city of Sydney marks the biggest celebrations of New Year, as more than 80,000 fireworks are set off from Sydney Harbor Bridge.

Source Daily Express

Saturday, 7 July 2018


The swordfish also known as broadbills in some countries, are large, highly migratory, predatory fish characterized by the long sword-like bill protruding from the upper jaw. 

Their scientific name is Xiphias gladius. Gladius means sword in Latin.


A baby swordfish starts out small enough to fit on your finger.

Swordfish commonly reach 3 m (9.8 ft) in length, but can grow up to 4.55 m (14.9 ft) in length and 650 kg (1,430 lb) in weight. Females are larger than males. 

The sword fish uses its bill to slash its prey, weakening it and making it easier to catch instead of killing her instantly.

Swordfish don't spear prey at the end of their bills—if anything, they thrash their heads from side to side to slash schools of fish.

Swordfish bills can be turned into swords which are sold for hundreds of pounds on the Internet.


A Hawaiian fisherman was killed by a swordfish which punctured his lung in 2015.

They have special organs next to the eyes that keep their brain and eyes warm in cold water. This improves the swordfish's ability to see. 

Swordfish have a gland that greases up their faces and heads to make them swim faster.

They can swim up to 16 miles per hour (the often quoted speed of 60 miles per hour is a myth), 

The ancient Romans lured swordfish within range of their spears by using boats shaped like their prey.

The International Game Fish Association's all-tackle angling record for a swordfish was a 1,182 lb (535.15 kg) specimen taken off Chile in 1953.

While popular as food, the fish has high mercury levels and should be eaten only once a week or less. 

Swordfish filet. Pixiebay

Source Daily Mail


A sword is a hand-held weapon made for cutting, which is often made of metal. It has a long blade, and a handle called a hilt. It can be used either for cutting, slashing or stabbing, depending on the type of sword.


The first weapons that can be described as "swords" date to around 3300 BC. Found in Arslantepe, Turkey, they are made from arsenical bronze, and are about 60 cm (24 in) long.

Swords created from bronze were made by blacksmiths in Ancient Egypt. Soon other cultures adopted them, and they began to spread quite quickly.

Sword swallowing was first introduced in India in 2000 BC where it was a demonstration of divinity and power. From there, it spread to China and Japan for theatrical performance.

Swords found together with the Nebra skydisk, ca. 1600 BC.By Dbachmann,

Before iron became increasingly common from the 13th century BC, the use of swords was less frequent. However, the easier production and availability of iron compared with bronze permitted for the first time the equipment of entire armies with metal weapons.

The Aztecs made swords embedded with prismatic obsidian blades that are far sharper than even high quality present day steel razor blades. (See picture below).

Portuguese soldiers used black swords in the Age of Discovery in order to not reflect the light and announce their presence on ships, avoiding also its rusting when used near salt water.

Miyamoto Musashi of Japan (c. 1584 – June 13, 1645), was regarded as one of the greatest swordsmen of all time. He won his first duel at the age of 12, beating his Samurai opponent to death with his wooden sword.

Miyamoto Musashi wielding two bokken. Woodblock print by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

For all their swashbuckling reputation, Alexandre Dumas' Three Musketeers would have taken 20 seconds to reload and fire a musket, which explains why the all-action heroes tended to use swords instead.

The sword began to lose its pre-eminence in the early 19th century, reflecting the development of reliable handguns. However, at the outbreak of World War I infantry officers in all combatant armies still carried swords as part of their field equipment. Since the late 1920s and early 1930s, this historic weapon has been discarded by armies, except as a ceremonial part of uniforms.

Winston Churchill presented Joseph Stalin with a ceremonial Sword of Stalingrad in 1943. It was constructed of gold, silver, and crystal. Stalin kissed the sword and handed it to Marshal 
Voroshilov - who promptly dropped it.

Nobuo Fujita, the Japanese pilot who attacked a town in Oregon during World War II returned years later to present his family's 400-year-old samurai sword to the city as a symbol of regret.

It took humanity approximately four times longer to switch from copper swords to steel swords than it took to switch from steel swords to nuclear bombs

The three swords that are used in fencing have evolved from different weapons of combat. The foil developed from the light French court sword and was also the practice weapon of the 17th century. The epee evolved from the 16th-century rapier used by the French musketeers. The saber derives from the slashing cavalry sword of the 18th-century Hungarian hussars.


At weddings, the bride normally stands to the left of the groom so that his sword hand is free to defend against other suitors.

Today, in order to become an approved member of the Sword Swallowers Association International, they require you to swallow a blade between 15 and 20 inches in length.

Modern day Japanese swordsmiths are required by law to use traditional Katana forging techniques, despite the fact that modern day steel does not need to be folded multiple times.

All of the actors in Pirates of the Caribbean learned how to work swords in Pirates School, which included getting trained by the late famed swordsman Bob Anderson, who also was the lightsaber master that fought battles as Darth Vader in Star Wars movies.

At 12 minutes, the climactic fight scene in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith holds the record for the longest sword fight in cinematic history.

Source Todayifoundout

Friday, 6 July 2018


Switzerland is a federation of 20 cantons and six half- cantons (Canton is the name for a political division, derived from Old French).

Thun Pixiebay


On August 1, 1291 three rural communes Schwyz, Uri and Lower Unterwalden signed the Bundesbrief (Federal Charter) to form the Old Swiss Confederacy. The charter documented an eternal alliance to defend their liberties against their Hapsburg overlords. 

The 1291 Bundesbrief (Federal charter)

In 1315 the people from the Eternal alliance fought the Habsburgs in battles at Morgarten, Sempach and Näfels, winning all three battles. More towns and districts joined them, and there were 13 cantons by 1513.

The Protestant Reformation was accepted in the 1520s by Zurich, Berne and Basel, but the rural cantons remained Catholic.

Switzerland gradually won more freedom from Hapsburg control until its complete independence was recognized by the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648.

A French invasion in 1798 established the Helvetic Republic with a centralized government; this was modified by Napoleon's Act of Mediation in 1803, his attempt at a compromise between the Ancien Régime and a Republic, which made Switzerland a democratic federation.

The Act of Mediation 

In 1815 Switzerland again became independent from France. The Congress of Vienna guaranteed Swiss neutrality, and Switzerland received Geneva and other territories, increasing the number of cantons to 22.

After a civil war between Sonderbund (a union of the Catholic cantons Lucerne, Zug, Freiburg and Valais) and the Liberals, a revised federal constitution, giving the central Swiss government wide powers, was introduced on September 12, 1848: a further revision in 1874 increased its powers and introduced the principle of the referendum.

The flag of Switzerland consists of a red flag with a white cross (a bold, equilateral cross) in the center. 

Use of the white cross as a military ensign had been used in the Old Swiss Confederacy since the 14th century, but the modern design of a white cross suspended in a square red field was introduced only during the Napoleonic period, first used in 1800 during the Hundred Days by general Niklaus Franz von Bachmann, and was introduced as the official national flag in December 1889.

It is one of only two square sovereign-state flags, the other being the flag of Vatican City.


Switzerland has for centuries been a neutral country, and did not fight in World War I or World War II.

Physical map of Switzerland

Switzerland did not join the United Nations for 57 years because of its neutrality. A referendum in 1986 rejected the advice of the government and came out overwhelmingly against membership of the United Nations, but they eventually joined in 2002, leaving the Vatican City as the last widely recognized state without full UN membership.

Switzerland has over 3,000 points of demolition to stop invaders, with bridges rigged to detonate and/or fall on railways, artificial landslides, and hidden artillery are set. On the German side, all tunnels are rigged, and mountains are hollowed for whole divisions.

The country has sufficient nuclear fallout shelter capacity to accommodate 114% of their population.

Switzerland has been the base for many international organisations and a host of many international peace conferences.


Switzerland has no president - instead it has a seven member Swiss Federal Council with shared power.

It's against the law to slam your car door in Switzerland.

In Switzerland, it is still legal to eat dog and cat meat, and some Swiss people still eat it regularly.

You can be denied citizenship in Switzerland for "being too annoying."

The capital of Switzerland is Bern. The largest city of Switzerland is Zürich.

At 2,100 metres (6,890 ft) above sea level, Juf in Switzerland is Europe's highest permanently inhabited community.
The banks of Switzerland and the insurance companies in Switzerland together produce eleven per cent of the gross domestic product.

48 of Switzerland's mountains are 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) above sea level or higher. At 4,634 m (15,203 ft), Monte Rosa is the highest, although the Matterhorn (4,478 m or 14,692 ft) is often regarded as the most famous. 

Matterhorn Pixiebay

Switzerland is abbreviated to ‘CH' because of its Latin name, ‘Confoederatio Helvetica.' - Latin is also still used on stamps and coins.

Switzerland has four official national languages: French, German, Italian and Romansh. Romansh is an old language that is similar to Latin.

About two thirds of the population speak German; French is spoken in the west of the country, while Italian is spoken in the canton of Ticino and Romansh in parts of Graubünden.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Swing (music)

Swing Music is a combination of jazz and popular music, with a rhythmic and often repetitive beat. Swing is usually performed by dance bands having eight or more members, often accompanied by a vocalist and/or vocal group.


The name swing came from the 'swing feel' where the emphasis is on the off–beat or weaker pulse in the music.

Swing music's genesis was the change from ragtime to jazz in the 1910s. Jazz took off with The Original Dixieland Jass Band 's recording of "Livery Stable Blues", which sold a million copies in 1917 and launched jazz as a national phenomenon in the US.

In 1923 Fletcher Henderson begins enlarging jazz ensembles, providing the foundation for swing music. The following year Louis Armstrong joined the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra, arguably the beginning of big band jazz music. 

The Fletcher Henderson Orchestra in 1925, with Louis Armstrong 3rd from left 

The growing popularity of jazz music in the 1920s was enhanced in places where prohibition was not enforced correctly and the speakeasies were very popular, especially in Detroit with the bootleggers. 

In 1925 Louis Armstrong left the Fletcher Henderson band and would add his innovations to New Orleans style jazz to develop Chicago style jazz, another step towards swing.

By the 1930s, Big band jazz had metamorphosed into swing. Swing was less improvised than big band jazz relying more on the written form.

In 1932 Jazz composer Duke Ellington wrote "It Don't Mean a Thing, If It Ain't Got That Swing," a song that presaged the swing era.

In 1935, Benny Goodman's band ended a cross-country tour in Los Angeles. The tour was very disappointing, but when the band opened in Los Angeles, the youngsters went wild. They absolutely loved the music. It is the "official" start of the Swing Music era. 

Goodman with his band and singer, Peggy Lee, in the film Stage Door Canteen

The most famous swing bands rose to popularity in the 1930s and 1940s and included orchestras led by Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller and Count Basie. Their unprecedented success marked the peak of mainstream commercial emergence of swing music.

In 1938 the Archbishop of Dubuque, Francis J. L. Beckman, denounced swing music as "a degenerated musical system… turned loose to gnaw away at the moral fiber of young people", warning that it leads down a "primrose path to hell". His warning was widely ignored.

The great "Swing Era" started to die in the 1940s as the American Musician's Union disastrous strike, and the World War II years took their toll. In December 1946, 13-14 years after Benny Goodman officially started the swing era, the bubble broke. During that month, eight bands called it quits: Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden, Ina Ray Hutton, Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman, Harry James and Benny Carter, all disbanded their orchestras.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Swimming pool


The world's first swimming pool was The Great Bath at Mohenjo-Daro in Pakistan. Built in 2500BC, it was lined with bricks covered in a tar-like sealant.

The Great Bath of the Indus Valley civilization M.Imran at English Wikipedia

Charlemagne had a great marble pool that could accommodate one hundred swimmers at a time at his Aachen palace. Even in his old age he beat young men in races there.

Britain's first indoor swimming pool opened in London's Lemon Street in 1742. The entrance fee for the heated, 43ft pool was one guinea and it was for men only. 

The world owes the rebirth of swimming to Britain. The opening of the first swimming baths at Liverpool in 1828 was soon emulated elsewhere. By about 1837, London owned six pools. 

Rivacre baths Ellesmere Port The Wirral

The ocean liner RMS Titanic, which sank on her maiden voyage after hitting an iceberg in 1912, was one of the first ships to include an indoor heated swimming pool. The pool was 30 feet long and cost a shilling (5p) to use.

Hollywood's superstars Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, married on March 28, 1920. Fairbanks bought his wife as a present a house with the first swimming pool in Beverly Hills.

Toronto, Ontario was home to the biggest swimming pool in the world in 1925. It held 2000 swimmers, and was 300 ft. x 75 ft. It is still in operation.

In 1930 Ernest Hemingway had the first ever swimming pool in Key West built. 

Mao Zedong enjoyed swimming. When was too old to swim any longer, the indoor swimming pool he had at Zhongnanhai was converted into a giant reception hall.


There is a small swimming pool in the middle of the Mojave Desert that can be used by anyone who knows of its location and has obtained the key to open it.

The world's biggest swimming pool covers an area of 1,041,947 square feet (9.68 hectares). The man- made saltwater lagoon is at the Citystars Sharm El Sheikh  resort in Egypt

The world's deepest swimming pool is the Y-40 swimming pool at the Hotel Terme Millepini in Padua, Italy. It is 40 metres (131 ft) deep and contains 4,300 cubic metres (1,136,000 US gal)

Garden City, Kansas is home to the world's largest outdoor concrete municipal swimming pool. The "Big Pool" is so large, it's possible to waterski in it.

Swimmers at "The Big Pool" on a 100-degree afternoon (2010)

24 degrees Celsius is the perfect temperature for swimming pools in the summer time.

In 2010, managers at Vienna's 18 public pools asked swimmers to stop swallowing the water — after calculating they were losing 5,000 litres of pool water a day and spending an extra £1.11 per pool on chlorine, too.

A person's eyes turn red in a swimming pool not because of the chlorine, but because of urine in the pool reacting with the chlorine. In fact, the more strong smelling a pool is, the more contaminated it is.



The earliest records of swimming date back to Stone Age paintings from around 7,000 years ago. The picture below is a painting of swimmers in the Cave of the Swimmers, Wadi Sura, Western Desert, Egypt

 Roland Unger 

The Romans were renowned for their mastery of the water. They used animal bladders to support learner-swimmers. When Horace in his Satires in 35 BC discussed hard and easy ways of training, he referred to the use of animal bladders, which he called water wings. 

It is not certain who introduced swimming into the British Isles. It might have been the Phoenicians, Vikings, or Romans. Or the Britons may have learned swimming independently. 

An early literary evidence of swimming is contained in the seventh- or eighth-century epic poem Beowulf. For five days its hero is made to swim in a tempestuous sea, killing sea monsters with his sword. 

Aquatic sports fell out of favor during Europe's Dark Ages as diseases, especially the epidemics that decimated Europe's population in frightening measure, were thought to be spread by the water. As a result, ordinary people began to shun swimming for fear of catching a fatal sickness. 

However, members of the nobility, it appears, did not give up swimming. They felt that it was not only a military necessity but that its skill and art were part of the true gentleman.

Timurid conqueror Babur's troops swim across a river. in the early 16th century

In 1531, Sir Thomas Elyot published The Boke Named The Governour. He referred to "the Usefulness of Swymmynge," though his concern was limited to times of war. 

The first book on swimming is attributed to a German professor of languages, Nicolaus Wynmann, who published in Latin, in 1538, a volume in the then popular dialog form. He called it, The Diver, or A Dialog Concerning the Art of Swimming, Both Pleasant and Joyful to Read

Benjamin Franklin was a good and keen swimmer. One of his first inventions was a set of paddles to give him greater swimming speed. 

The nineteenth century saw a revival of aquatic sports. The world owes the rebirth of swimming to Britain and London is said to have been the first city to introduce competitive swimming

Swimming clubs began to be established in the 1860s, and the Serpentine Club claims to be one of the oldest. Soon inter-club competitions followed.

In 1869 the Metropolitan Swimming Association was formed in the UK. It changed its name later to the London Swimming Association. 

From 1838-1902, it was illegal to go swimming during the daytime at public beaches in Australia.

The crawl had been practiced either unknown or unheeded among indigenous American tribes, including the Aztecs, as well as in western Africa, and on the islands of the South Pacific. 

In 1844 a Native American came to London and won a competition swimming the crawl, a stroke never seen by the Western world, who then regarded it as "un-European". 

Swimmer breathing during front crawl

The Cavill family developed the crawl in Australia and were responsible for its world-wide adoption. London-born Frederick Cavill had excelled in swimming in his own country. Twice he attempted to emulate Captain Webb in crossing the English Channel. Each time using the breast stroke, he had failed within sight of his goal.

In 1879 Frederick Cavill emigrated to Australia with his family. He built and owned in Sydney a floating swimming pool and trained numerous people in the sport, including his six sons.

One of his sons, Australian champion swimmer Richmond "Dick" Cavill developed the crawl with his brother "Tums." It was Aleck Wickham, a Solomon Islander living in Sydney and employed there as houseboy to a doctor, who gave the Cavills the idea when they saw him swim at Bronte baths

Alick Wickham (left) with swimmer Dick Cavill in the early 1920s.

Dick Cavill was the first to use the crawl in a competition, winning the 100 yards State championship in 1899.

At first, people called the crawl the "splash stroke." How it gained the name "crawl" has a number of explanations. 

The flip turn in swimming was invented by backstroker Adolph Kiefer and his coach, Julian "Tex" Robertson, while Kiefer was training for the 1936 Olympics.

The butterfly stroke in swimming was invented in the 1930s as a variant of the breaststroke but not accepted as a separate stroke until 1952.

While in office, the Australian Prime Minister Howard Holt went for a swim in Port Philip Bay near Melbourne in stormy conditions on December 17, 1967. He disappeared and his body was never found. 


Swims upside down still looks like "Swims."

The "Freestyle" Stroke is actually called the Front Crawl, It just happens that in the freestyle swimming competition that Front Crawl is universally the fastest stroke so everyone uses it. That is where the name/misnamed stroke comes from.

Australians introduced the crawl and the butterfly stroke in competitive swimming, and the continent has produced many world-class swimmers. 

Swimming uses nearly every muscle in your body.

Newborn babys can instinctively swim for the first four months or so of their lives. But this reflex is lost and has to be re-taught.

If you go swimming, it's estimated that you swallow as many viruses as there are people on Earth.

A study of 14,000 people around the world revealed that over half could not swim.

44% of Americans and 20% of Britons can't swim.

Jellyfish have developed the most efficient form of swimming among all animals. They manage to achieve a 48% lower cost of movement than other aquatic animals.

Sources Europress Encyclopedia, Compton's Encyclopedia