Search This Blog

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Perm (hairstyle)

A permanent wave, commonly called a perm, is the treatment of hair by heat and or chemicals to produce curls.

The first person to produce a method for curling hair was French hairdresser Marcel Grateau, who in 1872, devised a pair of specially manufactured tongs, that when heated on a gas flame and applied to the hair, produced a two-dimensional wave, similar to a curling iron. The correct temperature was achieved by testing the tongs on a newspaper – if the paper browned slightly it was deemed about right.

The curling irons revolutionized hair styling and made the marcel wave (and variations of the wave) popular for over 50 years.

A patent entitled "Hair-Waving Iron", for an electric implement for performing the technique, under the name François Marcel, was published in 1918.

The glamorous waves produced by this archaic version of the curling iron were a huge hit in the 1920s among flappers wanting to spice up their short bobs with the “marcel wave.” One famous wearer was Josephine Baker and many Hollywood stars adopted the style.

The doo-wop group the Marcels were named after the hairstyle.

Edna Fearon (Liverpool, UK) models the Marcel Wave, circa 1930.Wikipedia Commons

The first chemical treatment for curling hair that was suitable for use on people was invented in the year 1905 by the German hairdresser Karl Nessler (1872-1951). He used a mixture of cow urine and water.

Nessler had been working on the idea for a decade, combining Grateau’s method, which used heat to curl hair, along with an older method, which used caustic chemicals to curl wigs, the recipes being too harsh to use on human skin.

By the end of the 19th century, Nessler had moved to Paris, where adapting to the French-speaking environment, he called himself Nestle and began testing his first perm on his wife, Katharina Laible. The first two attempts resulted in completely burning her hair off and some scalp burns.

Nessler moved to London in 1901 where he began his own salon and continued tinkering with new hair-curling methods experimenting on his long-suffering wife.

The first public demonstration took place on October 8, 1905 when Nessler displayed his ‘permanent wave’ machine at 245 Oxford Street, London, in front of prominent hairdressers of the time.

By 1909, Nessler's electric permanent wave machine was being used in London on the long hair of the time.

Early 20th century advertisement for Nessler's permanent wave machine

Early permanent wave machines used electricity and various liquids to perm hair and were difficult to use. The bulky machines required the client to sit for around six hours with 12 brass curlers in their hair. to complete the process of achieving the popular look of waved hair.. However, it saved women countless hours with the curling iron and forever united fashion with 20th-century technology.

Chicago cosmetology school graduate Marjorie Stewart Joyner invented a new version of the permanent wave machine in 1926, becoming the first black woman to earn a U.S. patent two years later.

Permanent wave machine invented in 1928 by Marjorie Joyner

Distressed over how damaged the kinky hair of black women would often turn out after a visit to the hairdresser, Joyner experimented with heated pot roast rods, inspired by a pot roast. She eventually developed a machine that could curl or straighten a woman’s hair for multiple days at a time by “cooking” it beneath a hair dryer hood connected to 16 of the pot roast pins by an electrical cord that allowed a hairdo to stay set for days.

Sources Comptons Encyclopedia,

William Henry Perkin

William Henry Perkin was an English chemist and inventor, who developed the first synthetic dye.

William Henry Perkin

William Perkin was born in the East End of London on March 12, 1838, the youngest of the seven children of George Perkin, a successful builder. His mother, Sarah, was of Scottish descent but moved to east London as a child.

Young William Perkin's interest in chemistry began in a familiar way. He records that when he was about 12, "a young friend showed me some chemical experiments and the wonderful power of substances to crystallise in definite forms especially struck me... and the possibility also of making new discoveries impressed me very much.... I immediately commenced to accumulate bottles of chemicals and make experiments."

Despite his father's opposition Perkin entered the Royal College of Science to study chemistry at the precocious age of 15. It is now part of Imperial College London.

Around his 18th birthday, Perkin was given a challenge by his professor, August Wilhelm von Hofmann, to synthesize quinine. At home for Easter in 1856, Perkin tried to make quinine by oxidizing aniline, an organic chemical compound produced in two stages from benzene. The idea was quite unsound, but one day using alcohol to clean up some chemical residue an intense purple color suddenly appeared before fading rapidly to a less brilliant purple.

At that time, purple dye was one of the priciest, so Perkin worked out how to produce his new color and use it to dye silk. This was the first synthetic organic chemical dye.

Letter from Perkin's son, with a sample of dyed silk

The color was originally called aniline purple or Tyrian purple, the name of an ancient natural dye derived from mollusks.The following year, the dye attained the name mauve in England via the French name for the mallow flower, and chemists later called it mauveine.

Helped by his father, the teenage Perkin set up a small factory to make his 'mauve' and, later, other synthetic dyes based on coal tar products. Remarkably, the teenager and his retired builder father launched the synthetic dye industry, dealing successfully with the novel problems of chemical manufacture and marketing, although little commercial equipment or material was available (they even had to make nitric acid, and re-purify coal tar benzene).

Young Perkin even maintained his academic research, solving by 1860 some important problems on organic acids and synthesizing the amino acid glycine.

Mauve manufacture went on for 10 years; it was used for textiles and the Victorian penny lilac postage stamp. By 1870, its great demand succumbed to newer synthetic colors in the synthetic dye industry.

By age 36, Perkin was able to retire as a dyemaker and pursue his research exclusively. He developed a general synthesis of aromatic acids (the Perkin reaction) and studied magnetic rotatory power.

Perkin was knighted in 1906, and in the same year was awarded the first Perkin Medal, established to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of his discovery of mauveine.

Perkin died on July 14, 1907 of pneumonia and other complications resulting from a burst appendix. He is buried in the grounds of Christchurch, Harrow, in South-eastern England.

Perkin's Gravestone. By Rzepa at English Wikipedia,

Today, the Perkin Medal is widely acknowledged as the highest honor in American industrial chemistry and has been awarded annually by the American section of the Society of Chemical Industry to many inspiring and gifted chemists.

Source Europress Family Encyclopedia 1999.

Monday, 30 January 2017



Perfumes were used in the earliest human civilizations. The word perfume used today derives from the Latin per fumum, meaning "through smoke." suggesting that it was first obtained by burning aromatic gums and hardened oozings from resinous woods such as balsam, bdellium, myrrh, and frankincense.


Perfumery, or the art of making perfumes, began in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. The earliest form of perfume was incense, which gives off its odor when burned. The first liquid perfumes were prepared as long ago as 3500 BC.

The earliest mention in the Bible of an aromatic substance occurs in Genesis 2:12 in reference to the land of Havilah: "And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium, and the onyx stone."

Bdellium was a fragrant gum resin obtained. from a shrublike tree growing in arid regions of western India. From incisions made in the bark oozed an odoriferous gum that hardened into small, transparent, waxlike pellets resembling fragrant pearls, which early Egyptian women carried about in pouches as perfume. Bdellium was often sold as a cheap aromatic substitute for myrrh.

Egyptian scene depicting the preparation of lily perfume, 4th century BC  Guillaume Blanchard, July 2004,

The world's first recorded chemist is considered to be a woman named Tapputi, a perfume maker who was mentioned in a cuneiform tablet from the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamia. She distilled flowers, oil, and calamus with other aromatics then filtered and put them back in the still several times.

The early Egyptians used containers made of wood and clay for their perfumes. Later, the Egyptians invented glass and perfume bottles were one of the first common uses for glass.

Archaeologists uncovered what is believed to be the world's oldest perfumery in Pyrgos, Cyprus dating back more than 4,000 years. At least 60 stills, mixing bowls, funnels and perfume bottles were found in the 43,000-square-foot (4,000 m2) factory.

The Persians developed perfumery to a fine art. They began to master the art of preservation by placing the rose buds in sealed earthenware jars to be later opened for a special occasion.

The Persians also used perfumes after bathing. One could smell civet on a man's beard and musk placed on other parts of the body.

Perfume really came to the fore in Ancient Greece. The Greeks learned how to make perfumes from the Egyptians and Persians and used scent lavishly on their bodies and in their banquet halls. They had perfumes for every part of the body. Scents were designed to clear the mind, cure illness, and win true love. They even scented their wine with violets and roses.

The Greeks believed the gods were perfume's inventors and it was said that the visit of a god or goddess was marked with the sweet smell as a token of their presence.

Perfume held a special place in ancient Greek ceremonies. In Homer's Ulysses, one can read about the practice of anointing the dead bodies with scented oils. During weddings, the bride's maidens wore crowns of hyacinths.

The ancient Greeks also played an important role in the science of perfume by categorizing them by the part of the plant from which they were made and documenting their compositions.

Though perfume played an integral part of Greek society, some of the greatest philosophers like Socrates thought them "effeminate".

Roman patricians anointed themselves with perfume three times a day.

Etruscan perfume vase shaped like a female head, 2nd century BC

After Rome fell, the art of perfumery was lost in Europe and had to be learned again from the Arabs. The Arabs also acquainted Europe with alcohol, the perfect diluting agent and carrier for scent.

The Arabian alchemist, Al-Kindi (Alkindus), wrote in the 9th century a book on perfumes which contained more than a hundred recipes for fragrant oils and medical substances.

The Persian chemist Avicenna introduced the process of extracting oils from flowers by means of distillation, the procedure most commonly used today. He first experimented with the rose. Until his discovery, liquid perfumes were mixtures of oil and crushed herbs or petals, which made a strong scent. Rose water was more delicate, and immediately became popular.

Alcohol-based perfumes were brought to Europe by the Crusaders. Hungary Water was one of the first Alcoholic perfumes developed in Europe, it was originally concocted for Elizabeth of Hungary in 1370. Its recipe included brandy and rosemary flowers. Hungary Water quickly became a fashion necessity with the voguish elite.

France became the perfume center of Europe during the 16th century. This came about as a result of the village of Grasse's tanning industry starting to make lavender-scented gloves for Catherine de Medici, the Queen consort. When these gloves kick-started Europe's craze for fragrances, Grasse became the world's perfume capital.

In mid-16th century Portugal there were twice as many glove perfumers, and three times as many cosmetics experts, as there are teachers.

The variety of eighteenth-century perfume containers was as wide as that of the fragrances and their uses. Sponges soaked in scented vinaigres de toilette were kept in gilded metal vinaigrettes and liquid perfumes came in beautiful Louis XIV-style pear-shaped bottles.

Vintage atomizer perfume bottle

The fragrance market in 1920s France expanded rapidly. Most of the major haute couture, or high fashion, designers had their own perfumes -Chanel, Lanvin, Schiaparelli, and others.

Chanel No 5 perfume was named because Coco Chanel had rejected the first four fragrances presented to her.

One of the tricks of cosmetics mogul Estée Lauder (1906-2004) was spilling her perfume on shop floors. She did this in Paris when a manager of the prestigious Galleries Lafayette was reluctant to place an order. Smelling the scent wafting through the store, customers quickly demanded to know where they could buy it.


In 1954 there were just 19 perfumes on sale to the public. By 2004 a new fragrance was being launched every three days at an average cost of £25 million.

Perfume is composed of 20%–30% pure perfume essence, Eau de Perfum contains 15%–20%, and Eau de Toilette contains 5%–15%

Two fragrances are included in almost every perfume - the extracts of rose and jasmine flowers.

The faint trace of perfume left in the wake of a passing person is known as sillage.

£40m worth of Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds perfume was bought in 2010, making it the best-selling celebrity perfume.

Katy Perry named one of her perfumes after the record "Killer Queen" by Queen. She stated "Freddie Mercury painted the lyrics of this woman who I wanted to be. She seemed very powerful, and she captivated a room when she walked in." Seemingly unbeknownst to the singer, the song was about a high class prostitute.

The faint trace of perfume left in the wake of a passing person is known as sillage.

The most expensive perfume is the Clive Christian No.1 for Men or No.1 for Women at $205,0000 for a 17 ounce bottle.

Sources Daily Mail, Comptons Encyclopedia

Sunday, 29 January 2017


The perch is a predatory fish, slender, highbodied and designed to survive in all kinds of waters. Most authorities recognize three species within the perch genus.

The European perch (Perca fluviatilis) is found in Europe and Asia. This species is typically greenish in color with dark vertical bars on its sides with a red or orange coloring in the tips of its fins.

The Balkhash perch (Perca schrenkii) is found in China, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It is very similar to the European perch, and grows to a comparable size.

The yellow perch (Perca flavescens), smaller and paler than the European perch, is found in North America.

On the top side of the perch, there is a mouth, a pair of nostrils, and two lidless eyes. On the bottom sides are the operculum, which are used to protect the gills.

They have paired pectoral and pelvic fins, and two dorsal fins, the first one spiny and the second soft. These two fins can be separate or joined.

The European perch's distinguishing feature is its saw-like dorsal fin, which is spiny all the way along the point and carries a black spot.

European perch

In fisheries, the European perch tend to a ghost-like pale color. In clear natural water, it displays its impressive dark back and stripes, running down to a greenish flank and light belly, contrasting with its red ventral and anal fins.

The perch’s scales are small and embedded deep in the skin, giving the fish a rough, tough skin, highly resistant to cuts from predators.

When looking through a microscope, the scales look like a plate with growth rings and spikes on the top edges.

Perch have a lateral line system, which a set of sense organs that are sensitive to vibrations in the water.

Yellow perch

An important characteristic of the perch is its ability to camouflage itself when hunting prey and hiding.

Perch feed on smaller fish, shellfish, or insect larvae, but can be caught with nearly any bait.

They have a wide distribution throughout the world, and are very plentiful in the Great Lakes, especially Lake Erie.

Perch can grow to 5lb or more, but the average size in Britain is about 2½ lb.

The official all tackle world record recognized by the International Game Fish Association stands at 2.9 kg (6 lb 6 oz) for a Finnish European Perch caught September 4, 2010.

Source Daily Mail

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Samuel Pepys

Samuel Pepys was born on February 23, 1633 in Salisbury Court, Fleet Street, London to John Pepys (1601–1680), a tailor, and Margaret Pepys (née Kite; died 1667), daughter of a Whitechapel butcher.

Pepys attended Huntingdon Grammar School (Oliver Cromwell was a pupil there 30 years earlier). Later on, he was educated at St Paul's School, London,

Pepys rose to be the Chief Secretary to the Admiralty under King Charles II, and later under James II. Although he had no maritime experience, Pepys rose by patronage, hard work and his talent for administration.

Portrait of Pepys by John Hayls

Pepys suffered for years from a ‘bladder stone’ and, at the age of 25, took the risk of having an operation to remove it. He was so relieved that the operation was successful that he celebrated the event every year for the rest of his life.

He is celebrated today for his detailed private diary, which Pepys kept from 1660 until 1669 and was first published in 1825.

Pepys referred to his health well over a thousand times in his diaries. Most of the time the purpose of noting his condition was to record sickness episodes to help prevent him from falling ill in a similar way in the future. In particular Pepys frequently caught colds, which he made over one hundred references to. The diarist generally blamed the weather for going down with a chill but in fact he should have blame his own susceptibility to colds on his own carelessness. Pepys caught colds after standing in draughts, leaving off his wig and having a bare head, being under dressed without anything to protect his bare legs, and wearing clothes that hadn't been aired.

The six volumes of the diary manuscript

Pepys wrote his diary using a fountain pen, which at the time was quite a novelty. He recorded in his diary in August 1663: "This evening came a letter about business from Mr Coventry, and with it a Silver pen he promised me, to carry inke in(sic); which is very necessary."

Citing poor eyesight, Samuel Pepys recorded his last entry in his diary on May 31, 1669.  His diaries are one of the most important primary sources for the English Restoration period.

At the beginning of 1679 Pepys was elected MP for Harwich in Charles II's third parliament which formed part of the Cavalier Parliament.

In January 1689, Pepys was defeated in the parliamentary election at Harwich. The following month, one week after the accession of William and Mary, he resigned his secretaryship.



In 1893 American pharmacist Caleb B. Bradburn developed a sweet, cola-flavored, carbonated beverage, which was known as "Brad's Drink". It was intended to cure stomach pains and was sold for five cents a glass at soda fountains.

Bradburn's original recipe was a concoction of rare oils, carbonated water, cola nuts, vanilla and sugar.

Caleb D. Bradburn renamed his syrup Pepsi Cola on August 28, 1898, partly in imitation of Coca-Cola and partly as he was marketing it as a cure for peptic ulcers.

The pharmacy of Caleb Bradham, with a Pepsi dispenser. By Sandstein - Wikipedia

As the syrup developed in popularity in the early 1900s, Bradham launched the Pepsi-Cola Company in the back room of his pharmacy. The business continued to grow, and he moved the bottling of the drink from his drugstore to a rented warehouse. On June 16, 1903, "Pepsi-Cola" became an official trademark.

In 1903, Bradham sold 7,968 gallons of his syrup. The next year, Pepsi was sold in six-ounce bottles, and sales increased to 19,848 gallons.

Automobile race pioneer Barney Oldfield was the first celebrity to endorse Pepsi-Cola in 1909. He described it as "A bully drink...refreshing, invigorating, a fine bracer before a race".

1919 newspaper ad for Pepsi-Cola

During the Great Depression, Pepsi gained popularity following the introduction in 1936 of a 12-ounce bottle. Initially priced at 10 cents, sales were slow, but when the price was slashed to five cents, sales increased substantially. Pepsi-Cola's profits doubled between 1936 to 1938.

In 1948 Continental Can Company and Pepsi-Cola launched the first major soft drink in steel cans. Twelve ounces of Pepsi sold for ten cents.

Pepsi was one of the first to advertise directly to African-Americans, with advertisements in the 1940s portraying them as "self-confident middle-class citizens", as well as the hiring of an all-black sales team to promote Pepsi around the country.

James Dean begun his acting career with an appearance in a Pepsi commercial on December 13, 1950.

Movie actress Joan Crawford became a spokesperson for Pepsi, after marrying then Pepsi-Cola President Alfred N. Steele. She appeared in commercials on behalf of the company and had images of the soft drink placed prominently in several of her later films. When Steele died in 1959, Crawford was appointed to the Board of Directors of Pepsi-Cola.

During the making of the 1962 movie What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Bette Davis had a Coca-Cola machine installed on the set because of her co-lead Joan Crawford's affiliation with Pepsi. Crawford got her revenge by putting weights in her pockets when Davis had to drag Crawford across the floor during certain scenes.

Patio was created by the Pepsi-Cola Company in 1964. It was the first Diet Pepsi cola and the first diet soft drink to be distributed nationally throughout the US.


PepsiCo was formed in 1965 with the merger of the Pepsi-Cola Company and Frito-Lay, Inc.

In 1995, PepsiCo launched Josta, the first energy drink introduced by a major US beverage company (one that had interests outside energy drinks). Pepsi discontinued the product after four years.

PepsiCo's global headquarters building is located in Purchase, New York.

PepsiCo World HQ By Peter Bond from Philadelphia, Wikipedia

Today PepsiCo is a global food and beverage leader with net revenues of more than $65 billion and a product portfolio that includes 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales. Based on net revenue, PepsiCo is the second largest food and beverage business in the world.

PepsiCo's main businesses are – Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay and Pepsi-Cola.


Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho lost a $750,000 deal with Coca-Cola because he took a sip from a Pepsi.

Friday, 27 January 2017



The 1st century AD Roman gourmet Marcus Gavius Apicius spent vast sums to satisfy his craving for exotic foods and wrote ten books on the art of cooking which were summarized in De Re Coquinaria ("On Cookery").

Apicus' recipes included numerous spices including pepper intended to preserve food, aid the digestion, and improve the flavor of the dull Roman fare. "Sprinkle with pepper and serve" was the last step in a recipe for diced pork and apples from one cookbook. He even recommended the use of pepper in sweet desserts.

When the Visigoths attacked Rome in 408, their leader Alaric I demanded a ransom part of which was 3,000 lbs of the much-prized spice, pepper. This payoff was his price for sparing the population from death.

Pepper was such a valuable commodity in medieval Europe that there were instances of men selling their wives in exchange for it.

The small, round Chiltepin chilli pepper was used as a tax payment by the Aztecs, paid to their emperors.

Christopher Columbus brought back chili peppers from the Americas. He wrote in his log, "there is also plenty of ají, which is their pepper, which is more valuable than [black] pepper, and all the people eat nothing else, it being very wholesome".

After bringing back chili peppers from America, Diego Álvarez Chanca the physician and companion of Columbus discovered their medicinal properties, and developed a chutney to administer them.

Chili Pepper

Three years after Vasco Da Gama's journey to India 100 tons of spice arrived in Portugal. As a result pepper sold in Lisbon was five times cheaper than in Venice.

In Elizabethan England, pepper was sold by the individual grain and guards on the London docks had their pockets sewn up so they couldn't steal any spices.


The Black pepper is a plant that is grown to produce the dried fruit called the peppercorn, and the ground pepper derived from it.


The smaller the peppercorn the hotter it tastes, but as they grow they lose a little heat while their aroma intensifies.

Vietnam is the world’s leading exporter of black pepper, producing 34% of the world's supply in 2013.

The genus Capsicum is of the nightshade family. It includes the Chili pepper which is the one most often used as a vegetable.

The most popular sweet pepper in the United States is the bell pepper.

As bell peppers mature, their color changes from green to red and they become sweeter.

Paprika is made from bell pepper.

Bell Pepper

There is a pepper grown in Japan called the Shishito pepper. Only 1 out of 10 is spicy and there's no way of knowing beforehand.

Red, green, and yellow peppers are all the same species of plants that are in different stages of ripening.

In 2012, the Trinidad moruga “Scorpion” pepper was rated the hottest pepper in the world at 1.2 million Scoville units.

Source Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

Thursday, 26 January 2017


Pentecostalism is a renewal movement within Evangelical Christianity. Pentecostals believe in a personal experience with God that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism with the Holy Spirit. This empowerment includes the use of spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues and divine healing.

Pentecostals at an Assemblies of God church in Cancun, Mexico. By Rayttc 

The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks. For Christians, this event commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus Christ, as described in the second chapter of the Book of Acts.

On January 1, 1901, during a prayer meeting at Charles Fox Parham's Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas one of the students, Agnes Ozman received the gift of speaking in tongues. Not long afterwards, Parham, who was a minister of Methodist background and other students received the same gift.

Charles Fox Parham

Parham formulated the teaching that speaking in tongues in unknown languages in the same way early Christians did on Pentecost day was evidence that a person was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Within a few years this Pentecostal doctrine was spreading throughout the southern states of the United States.

The Pentecostal Movement was bought to the attention of the world when members of the black congregation of the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles started meeting under the leadership of their pastor, William Seymour, a former holiness preacher and pupil of Parham, in a private house. On April 9, 1906 they experienced baptism in the Spirit and started speaking in tongues.

The Apostolic Faith Mission on Azusa Street, considered to be the birthplace of Pentecostalism

As word spread, many Christians from all over the world visited Azusa Street and returned home fired up by the Holy Spirit. Many Pentecostal churches were formed.

The Pentecostal Movement was introduced to Europe in 1907 by Thomas Ball Barratt, an English-Norwegian Methodist Minister. He was influenced by Seymour during a fund-raising tour of the United States and was baptised in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues in November 1906 while staying in New York City. Barratt is credited with beginning the Pentecostal movement in Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and England.

Barratt introduced the Pentecostal Movement to England in 1908. There was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in an Anglican Church in Monk Weirmouth, in north England, when the congregation, whilst meeting together in prayer and worship, begin speaking in tongues.

In 1913 a Pentecostal publication, The Word And Witness, called for the many autonomous Pentecostal churches that had sprung up to unite. The following year at Hot Springs, Arkansas, around 300 church leaders, agreed to form a loosely knit fellowship of independent churches, which became known as the Assemblies of God.

The Assemblies of God based their theology on the teachings of William H Durham of Chicago's "finished work" theory. This doctrine stressed sanctification as a progressive work following conversion with baptism in the Holy Spirit following as the second blessing.

By the middle of the twentieth century when the Pentecostal influenced Charismatic Movement began to flourish, teachings originating from Pentecostal Churches began to infiltrate mainline Protestant and Catholic Churches.

Today there are an estimated 279 million Pentecostals world-wide with the largest make up 4 percent of the total world population and 12.8 percent of the world's Christian population.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Pentagon

The Pentagon was dedicated in Arlington, Virginia on January 15, 1943. Construction took just 16 months. It is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense.

Northwest exposure of the Pentagon's construction underway, July 1942

On September 11, 2001, exactly 60 years after the Pentagon's construction began, American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked by Islam terrorists and flown into the western side of the building, killing 189 people. It was the first significant foreign attack on Washington's governmental facilities since the city was burned by the British and Canadians during the War of 1812.

The world's largest office building, The Pentagon's massive structure covers 34 acres of land and has 17 miles of corridors, plus, a whole lot of secret places that we'll never know about.

The Pentagon is 6,500,000 sq ft (600,000 m2), (twice the size of the Empire State Building) The Pentagon is so large it has six different postcodes.

The Pentagon was constructed so that no point in the building is more than a 10 minute walk from any other point in the building.

The Pentagon By David B. Gleason from Chicago, IL  Wikipedia

Approximately 23,000 military and civilian employees and about 3,000 non-defense support personnel occupy The Pentagon.

The Pentagon was built with 284 separate toilets when it was completed in 1943, twice the required amount as racial segregation laws in Virginia were still in place during construction.

The Pentagon has over 100,000 miles of telephone, fiber optic, and ethernet lines.

The Pentagon's "Cafe Ground Zero. is a hot dog that stand in the middle of the building. The Soviets believed it housed the most top secret meeting room because satellite images showed U.S. military officers entering and exiting the hot dog stand at the same time every day.

The Pentagon runs 234 military golf courses around the world at a cost that is undisclosed.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017



The first European settlers in Pennsylvania were from Sweden. They arrived in 1643 and part of the present state (along the Delaware River), together with the present State of Delaware was organized as the Colony of New Sweden.

On March 4, 1681, Charles II of England, gave a large area of land between Maryland and present-day western New York to William Penn. His father, Admiral Penn had been a loyal supporter of the king. Penn used the land to create a home for Quakers.

Penn's Treaty with the Indians, by Edward Hicks

Penn drafted a charter of liberties for the settlement creating a political utopia guaranteeing free and fair trial by jury, freedom of religion, freedom from unjust imprisonment and free elections that became a model for modern democracies around the world.

The land became known as "Penn's Woods", as Pennsylvania has many forests. In Latin this is "Pennsylvania". This became adopted as the name of the colony.

The explanation for the phrase "raining cats and dogs," meaning a heavy downpour is thought to date back to German migrants who had settled in south-eastern Pennsylvania. Their English was hard to understand. Heavy showers reminded them of a popular saying "back home." It spoke of raining so much that it kept in the cats and brought out the ducks. In their strong German accent the ducks sounded very much like dogs. Those listening to them, puzzled by what they were talking about, misunderstood them to say that it was raining cats and dogs. The strange combination of two pets that usually keep strictly apart, made the bizarre phrase all the more memorable.

Armies from France and Great Britain fought for control of the source of the Ohio River in the western part of Pennsylvania during the mid-18th century as part of the French and Indian War. Great Britain eventually won the conflict for this location and built a fort called Fort Pitt. The fort grew into a city which is now called Pittsburgh.

Benjamin Franklin was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1750, serving there until 1764. He transformed Philadelphia by giving it a police force, paving and lighting the streets and improving the fire brigade.

The first solely medical hospital in North America, the Pennsylvania General Hospital was established in Philadelphia in 1751.

The Pennsylvania Packet & General Advertiser, launched in 1784, was the first successful regular daily newspaper in the United States.

Pennsylvania was one of the 13 colonies that fought Great Britain in the American Revolution. Valley Forge near Philadelphia was General Washington's headquarters during the bitter winter of 1777–78.

After the war, Pennsylvania was the second state to join the United States and Philadelphia was capital of the United States before Washington, D.C..

The Masters-Penn mansion housed Pennsylvania's governor in the early 1770s. It later served as the presidential mansion of George Washington and John Adams, 1790–1800, while Philadelphia was the temporary national capital.

President's House (Masters-Penn Msnsion). 

Pennsylvania is misspelled "Pensylvania" on the Liberty Bell, because that is how they spelled it in the 18th century.

The Whiskey Rebellion broke out August 1, 1794 in Western Pennsylvania. Farmers revolted in protest to an excise duty on stills and spirits distilled in the U.S. George Washington later ordered in the militia and managed to end the rebellion without bloodshed.

The Whiskey Rebellion

Kerosene was discovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859, leading to the start of the oil industry in the United States.

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1–3, 1863 in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Large deposits of coal were found in and around Pittsburgh in the 19th century. This caused Pittsburgh to become a major industrial city.

Charles Hires, the first person to successfully market a commercial brand of root beer, decided to call his drink "root beer" despite it not containing any alcohol because he wanted to market it to Pennsylvania coal miners.

Built by the old Pennsylvania Railroad, the Rockville Bridge in Harrisburg opened on March 30, 1902. It is the longest stone masonry arch railroad viaduct in the world. The bridge is considered an icon of railroad engineering—it is 3,820 feet long, composed of 220,000 tons of stone, and took 800 laborers two years to build.

Rockbille Bridge By Don Kasak from St. Louis, MO, US -  Wikipedia


Pennsylvania's highest point happens to be lower than the lowest point in Colorado.

Pennsylvania has 140 miles (225 km) of shoreline along Lake Erie and the Delaware Estuary.

The University of Pennsylvania has produced 25 billionaires, the most of any college in the world.

The University of Pennsylvania quadrangle in Philadelphia

Pittsburgh has been rated two times as the “Most Livable City” by Places Rated Almanac. The city was honored with the title first in 1985 and most recently in 2007.

Mushrooms are one of the most important crops for the state; ranking second in economic importance after greenhouse and nursery products. Happy Kennett Square, Pennsylvania is considered the mushroom capital of the world and harvests one million lbs of mushrooms each year.

The King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania, the biggest in the US is located in King of Prussia, a census-designated place within Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County in southeastern Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia.

Entrance to King of Prussia Mall By Dough4872 - Wikipedia

Hershey, Pennsylvania is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state. Chocolate Avenue in downtown Hershey is filled with street lamps (Kiss Lamps) in the shapes of the renowned treats.

Pennsylvania's state parks all have free admission, which means you can go out and enjoy the outdoors without spending one cent.

Sources Europress Enyclopedia,

William Penn

William Penn was born on October 14, 1644 at at Tower Hill, London. He was the son of English Admiral Sir William Penn (1621-1670).

William Penn, Sr. served in the Commonwealth Navy during the English Civil War and was rewarded by Oliver Cromwell with estates in Ireland. The lands were seized from Irish Catholics in retaliation for the failed Irish Rebellion of 1641.

When Penn was in his early teens, he met Thomas Loe, a Quaker missionary, who was maligned by both Catholics and Protestants. Penn started attending Quaker meetings in Cork, Ireland to his aristocratic father's dismay.

By the late 1650s, Admiral William Penn had lost faith in the republican experiment and helped restore the dead king’s exiled son, Charles II, to the throne in 1660. The admiral became a trusted adviser of Charles’s brother, James, who served as the Duke of York and ran the English navy. He was knighted for his services and gained a powerful position as Commissioner of the Navy.

Penn enrolled at Oxford’s Christ Church College in 1660. However he continued to follow the Quaker leader George Fox's teachings there, and refused to attend the university's mandatory Sunday Anglican service. He also rebelled against Oxford’s dress code, which required pupils to wear surplices, a type of religious garment. Instead, Penn wore simple clothes, drawing the ire of school officials.

William Penn at 22

Fed up with his rebellious behavior, Oxford expelled Penn in 1662. His father, in a rage, attacked his rebellious son with a cane and forced him from their home. Penn's mother made peace in the family, which allowed him to return home.

Penn wrote and distributed a revolutionary pamphlet titled The Sandy Foundation Shaken in 1668, which attacked the doctrine of the Trinity. Since this was a crime at the time, Penn was jailed inside the Tower of London, where he remained for eight months.

In 1670, Penn conducted a Quaker meeting in London and was charged with violating the Conventicle Act. He and one of his associates were jailed for two weeks before a jury acquitted them. However, the jurors refused to convict him of preaching an illegal religion (Quakerism) to an unlawful assembly, his congregation. The case is credited with the modern concept of an independent jury. It also provided the bases for the U.S. Constitution's first amendment rights of freedom of speech, religion, and peaceable assembly.

Frederick S. Lamb's painting of William Penn at the Brooklyn Museum

Throughout his life, Admiral Penn loaned a large sum of money to the crown. Though he'd passed away in 1670, the interest on this small fortune had accumulated. By 1680 King Charles II found himself £16,000 in debt to the Penn family. In May 1680, William Penn petitioned the King for a grant of land in the New World in settlement of the monarch’s debts.

Charles II took up the offer and on March 4, 1681 he granted William Penn a large area between Maryland and present-day western New York together with the right to govern it. The new colony where he carried out his "Holy Experiment in Religious Toleration" was named Pennsylvania and Penn supervised the building of Philadelphia, which means "brotherly love" as its capital.

The Birth of Pennsylvania, 1680, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris. William Penn, holding paper, standing and facing King Charles II, in the King's breakfast chamber at Whitehall.

Penn first married Gulielma Maria Posthuma Springett (1644–1696), daughter of William S. Springett. They had three sons and five daughters. Two years after Gulielma's death he married Hannah Margaret Callowhill (1671–1726), daughter of Thomas Callowhill and Anna (Hannah) Hollister. William Penn married Hannah when she was 25 and he was 52. They had another eight children.

Penn returned to England in 1701 and immediately became embroiled in financial and family troubles. His eldest son William, Jr. was leading a dissolute life, and running up gambling debts. Penn's own finances were also in turmoil. He had sunk over £30,000 in America and received little back except some bartered goods. the Pennsylvania founder had made many generous loans which he failed to press. In addition,  Philip Ford, his financial adviser, had cheated Penn out of thousands of pounds by concealing and diverting rents from Penn's Irish lands.

Lely William Penn

Penn’s ability to govern his colony from abroad was compromised by three paralytic strokes he suffered in 1712. As her husband’s health deteriorated, his second wife Hannah stepped up. Over the next six years, she oversaw Pennsylvania’s affairs from an ocean away, mailing instructions off to governor Charles Gookin and collaborating extensively with her husband's secretary James Logan.

William Penn died penniless in 1718, at his home in Ruscombe, near Twyford in Berkshire, and is buried in a grave next to his first wife in the cemetery of the Jordans Quaker meeting house near Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire in England. His wife as sole executor continued to run Pennsylvania for another eight years after his passing until her death in 1726.

Friends' Meeting House at Jordans where Penn is buried

Penn and his second wife Hannah were made honorary United States citizens in 1984 by US President Ronald Reagan.


Monday, 23 January 2017


While working on the influenza virus at St Mary's Hospital in London on September 28, 1928, Alexander Fleming observed that mold, which had developed accidentally on a germ-colored glass plate that he had left in the sink, had created a bacteria-free circle around itself. After further experiments the Scottish biologist and pharmacologist  found that a mold culture, Penicillium notatum, was releasing a substance that inhibited bacterial growth, even when diluted 800 times. He named the active substance penicillin.

Fleming's paper describing this phenomenon mentioned the possibility of this substance being a treatment for eye infections. However he was unable to obtain penicillin in a sufficiently pure form to produce reliable results in infected patients, and he became convinced that it could not last long enough in the human body to kill disease producing bacteria. Fleming abandoned this particular research in 1931.

In the 1930s, penicillin was so precious that it was re-extracted from the urine of patients to conserve every last bit of it.

Penicillin was originally called ‘mold juice’.

Sample of penicillin mould presented by Alexander Fleming to Douglas Macleod, 1935. Science Museum London / Science and Society Picture Library

In 1939 René Dubos, a French-American bacteriologist isolated tyrothricin, the first commercially produced antibiotic. His pioneering work stimulated others to look at Fleming’s work on penicillin, including in 1940 a team of Oxford research scientists led by an Australian pathologist Howard Florey and including the German-British biochemist Ernst Chain. They proved that penicillin could fight infections in people, after treating PC Albert Alexander for a dangerous infection caused by a scratch from a thorn. the results were excellent but the team ran out of penicillin and he died.

Florey and Chain's work resulted in the mass producing of the drug. Penicillin saved the lives of countless soldiers during World War II, who would have died from their wounds in previous wars.

Florey and Chain shared the 1945 Nobel Prize in medicine with Fleming for their work. Fleming humbly responded to receiving the award  “Nature makes penicillin; I just found it."

Fleming ever made any money from his discovery. He had no wish to do so.

Florey and Chain's work is estimated to have saved up to 200,000,000 lives.

Almost a century after the discovery of penicillin, bacterial infections continue to kill about 700,000 people each year.



The men among Magellan's 1519-1522 expedition across the world were the first Europeans to discover the black 'goose' which had to be skinned instead of plucked — the penguin.

The earliest known use of the word "penguin" in English was in 1577. It was used in the "Log of the Golden Hinde" by Francis Fletcher, who was a clergyman who sailed with Francis Drake.

In 1840, French explorer Jules Dumont d’Urville discovered Adélie penguins and named them after his wife, Adèle. His reasons for this are unknown.

Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) feeding young. By Jerzy Strzelecki 


It is unclear whether the word 'penguin' comes from the Latin 'pinguis' meaning 'fat' or the Welsh 'pen gwyn', which means 'white head' (though penguins do not have white heads).

Originally the word ‘penguin’ referred to the Newfoundland albatross or the great auk.

‘Spheniscine’ means ‘pertaining to penguins’.


On August 24, 1967, two penguins from Chessington Zoo were taken by their keepers to join skaters at London’s Streatham ice-rink to cool off as the city sweltered in 27c (80,5f).

In 2011, Joao Pereira de Souza, found a South American Magellanic penguin covered in oil and starving on a beach on an island off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. He nursed him back to health and named him Dindim. Since then the penguin, which normally breeds on the Patagonia coasts of Argentina and Chile, has swum 3 to 5 thousand miles every year to spend time with his human soulmate.

A young Humboldt penguin named Penguin 337 spent two months at large in Tokyo in March 2012 after scaling a wall and slipping through a fence at the Sea Life Park. 337 was eventually spotted in Tokyo Bay and caught on the banks of one of the city’s rivers.

Humboldt Penguin

Britain's oldest penguin, Pat, (and the second oldest in Europe) died in Torquay, Devon on December 8, 2015 at the age of 37. She was an African penguin, whose average lifespan is 15 to 20 years in the wild or 30 years in captivity.

Grape-kun (April 16, 1996 – October 12, 2017), a Humboldt penguin that lived in a zoo in Japan, grew so attached to a cardboard cutout of an anime girl that he lived with it as his 'waifu' till his death.

Humboldt penguin Grape-kun and his Hululu cutout. By Seibi hancho (aka. diagraph01)

A king penguin named Nils Olav III is a high-ranking officer in the Norwegian King’s Guard. He is the third generation of penguins with such a position. All have lived at Edinburgh zoo. Nils Olav III was promoted from the rank of colonel-in-chief to brigadier in 2016.


Penguins have the highest feather density of any bird, at about 100 feathers per square inch.

The tuxedo pattern of a penguin's feathers is a form of camouflage. From above, their dark body blends into the ocean water, from below their white stomachs match the bright, sun-lit surface.

Newborn penguins do not have waterproof feathers so must wait before going in the water.

Penguins can swim underwater at speeds of up to 25mph.

Adélie penguins have pink feet; Gentoo penguins' feet are orange.

Since penguins don't need hollow, light bones to fly, the bones in their flippers are solid and can be used to fight off rivals.

Emperor penguins have a gland behind their ears that filters salt from the water out of their system.

Emperor Penguin

Penguins are generally extremely short-sighted on land, though they can see very well under water.

The emperor penguin has the largest body mass of all penguins.

The fairy penguin is the smallest species of penguin, growing to an average 33 cm (13 in).


The number of breeding pairs of penguins in Antarctica is estimated to be 20 million.

Penguin pair

Penguins typically mate only once a year and "propose" by giving their mate a pebble. King and emperor penguins lay one egg. All other species of penguin lay two eggs.

Until it is old enough to find its own food, an emperor penguin chick is fed about 185 pounds of regurgitated seafood.


There are 17 species of penguin of which all but four are threatened, endangered or nearly extinct. .

The 17 species of penguin range from the 4ft tall emperor penguin to the 16-inch little blue.

Only one bird—the emperor penguin—will winter on Antarctica and use the frozen continent as a nursery.

In 2012, satellite mapping technology was used to count Emperor penguins from space. It found there were twice as many as had been thought.

Emperor Penguins


Penguins spend as much as 75 percent of their lives at sea, coming ashore for molting or breeding.

Penguins have been known to push a fellow penguin into the water to check if the area is safe and free of predators.

In 2000 scientists proved that waddling is the most efficient way for Emperor penguins to walk, as they burn less fat.

Penguins drink saltwater, but their supraorbital gland filters salt from their bloodstream. The salt gets excreted when penguins sneeze.

Penguins can't taste sweet or savory flavors — in fact, the only flavors they can taste are sour and salty ones, which means they cannot taste fish. Taste is critical for survival in most animals, but may not matter in the penguin, which swallows fish whole,

When a male penguin falls in love with a female penguin, he searches the entire beach to find the perfect pebble to present to her.


Each year, a South American Magellanic penguin swims 5,000 miles to be reunited with the Brazilian fisherman who saved his life.

Oamaru, New Zealand has built a tunnel underneath a road for blue penguins, who march from a harbor to their nesting site every night.

In Japan, there's a penguin named La La who's been trained to wear a backpack. Every day he walks into town by himself with his backpack to collect fish from the local market.

Sources Daily Express,