Early Fall in the Great White North   Leave a comment


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Specifically Winnipeg, Manitoba

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Posted September 21, 2016 by markosun in Cities

The longest speeches ever at the United Nations   Leave a comment


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The document “List of Speeches and Visits Made by Heads of State and Dignitaries” gives the length of speech or speech times for many statements made from 1945-1976.

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The longest timed speech listed in the above document was made by Fidel Castro of Cuba at the 872nd plenary meeting of the General Assembly on 26 September 1960. The time listed is 269 minutes.

Other long speeches:

  • 10 Oct. 1960 – H.E. Mr. Sékou Touré – Guinea – President – 896th Plenary – 144 minutes
  • 23 Sep. 1960 – H.E. Mr. Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev – USSR – Chairman of the Council of Ministers – 869th Plenary – 140 minutes
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  • 30 Sep. 1960 – H.E. Dr. Soekarno – Indonesia – President – 880th Plenary – 121 minutes

In addition, we have this note:

  • 23 Sep. 2009 – H.E. Colonel Muammar Al-Qadhafi – Libyan Arab Jamahiriya – Leader of the Revolution – 96 minutes – (according to the website of the 64th session General Assembly General Debate)

On 23 January 1957 V. K. Krishna Menon delivered an unprecedented eight-hour speech defending India’s stand on Kashmir. To date, the speech is the longest ever delivered in the United Nations Security Council, covering five hours of the 762nd meeting on 23 January, and two hours and forty-eight minutes on the 24th, reportedly concluding with Menon’s collapse on the Security Council floor. During the filibuster, Nehru moved swiftly and successfully to consolidate Indian power in Kashmir. Menon’s passionate defence of Indian sovereignty in Kashmir enlarged his base of support in India, and led to the Indian press temporarily dubbing him the “Hero of Kashmir”.

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Famous Hugo Chavez speech

Speaking one day after Bush addressed the same session of the General Assembly, Chávez announced, “The devil came here yesterday, and it smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of.” At that point, Chávez made the sign of the cross, positioned his hands as if praying, and looked briefly upwards as if invocation of God. He continued “Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the President of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world.” Chávez also said that President Bush “…came [to the General Assembly] to share his nostrums to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world.” Chávez began his talk by recommending Noam Chomsky’s Hegemony or Survival: “It’s an excellent book to help us understand what has been happening in the world throughout the 20th century, and what’s happening now, and the greatest threat looming over our planet.” Citing Chomsky’s book, Chávez explained, “…the American empire is doing all it can to consolidate its system of domination. And we cannot allow them to do that. We cannot allow world dictatorship to be consolidated.”

 

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Posted September 20, 2016 by markosun in Geopolitics

Not your ordinary beds   Leave a comment


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Posted September 19, 2016 by markosun in Home

Da Bears   Leave a comment


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Bear size comparison graph at bottom.

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AMERICAN BROWN or GRIZZLY BEAR Ursus arctos horribilis snarling, July USA

AMERICAN BROWN or GRIZZLY BEAR Ursus arctos horribilis snarling, July USA

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Posted September 19, 2016 by markosun in Animals

A Canyon That Fighter Pilots Love To Scream Through   Leave a comment


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In Death Valley National Park, north of Barstow, California, is Rainbow Canyon. It’s not especially remarkable, just one canyon in an area full of them, all but indistinguishable from its neighbors in an area populated mainly by snakes. But stand on one of the canyon tops for long enough and a fighter jet will suddenly roar into the valley below you, flying fast and very, very low. It will be visible for only a few seconds before it turns hard and disappears behind the next hill. But during those few moments, anyone with a camera has a brief chance to take a spectacular picture. Rainbow Canyon (or Star Wars Canyon, as some call it) is part of the R-2508 restricted airspace complex, host to a busy, low-level training route for combat aircraft.

Military pilots train to fly low and fast, hiding behind hills to fool radar and going fast enough that they can’t be shot at. Since flying is a perishable skill, every fighter or attack pilot periodically has to practice such low-level flights. Rainbow Canyon is in the desert of eastern California, where the population is sparse and the airspace wide open. It’s also surrounded by military bases, bombing ranges, maneuvering grounds and radars—an ideal spot for military pilots to hone their skills. Among the nearby facilities are Edwards AFB, Naval Air Station China Lake, and Plant 42 (where Lockheed and Northrop build advanced aircraft).

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Photos are taken on a high ridge above the jets
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F-18 Hornet with brown camo.
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Posted September 19, 2016 by markosun in Aircraft, Aviation, Military

The birth of the Obama ‘birther’ conspiracy   Leave a comment


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Republican Donald Trump asserted that Democrat Hillary Clinton and her campaign team first raised questions about Barack Obama’s birthplace in 2008 – and that he was the man who settled the issue in 2011.

The truth, however, is markedly different.

As a preface to this latest turn in the Obama “birther” row, it should be noted that the location of Mr Obama’s birth is generally considered irrelevant to whether Mr Obama is eligible to serve as US president. As long as he has one parent who was a US citizen, as Mr Obama’s Kansas-born mother was, he is considered by the US government to be a “natural born citizen”. That – along with being at least 35 years of age and resident in the US for 14 years – is the only necessary constitutional requirement for the presidency.

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Now, according to fact-checkers and contemporary media reports, questions about Mr Obama’s birthplace began circulating among disgruntled Clinton supporters in the last months of her ill-fated campaign against the then-Senator Obama in 2008.

It was desperate times in the Clinton camp, and the candidate did not always acquit herself well, such as when she said that Mr Obama was not a Muslim “as far as I know”. But there is no evidence of ties between her and her campaign staff and the Obama birthplace allegations.

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In June 2008 the Obama campaign released a photocopy of his short-form “certificate of live birth” showing that he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on 4 August, 1961. (Reporters also unearthed a contemporaneous birth announcement published in a Hawaiian newspaper.)

This was not enough for some conspiracy-minded Obama critics, however, who questioned the authenticity of the document and demanded the “long-form” certificate from the Democrat’s birth hospital.

During the general election campaign the rumours spread to the fringes of the right – evidenced most notably when a woman at a John McCain rally told the Republican candidate that Mr Obama was an “Arab”.

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Senator McCain took away her microphone and informed her she was wrong.

“Senator Obama is a decent person and a person you don’t have to be scared of as president of the United States,” he said.

From there, the conspiracy theories continued to simmer on the right in the early days of Mr Obama’s first term in office. Orly Taitz, a conservative activist, filed lawsuits challenging the president’s eligibility to serve – but all were quickly dismissed from US courts.

Enter Donald Trump.

In March 2011, he first began mentioning that he had “real doubts” about whether Mr Obama had a US birth certificate.

In the days that followed, he said he was sending a team of private investigators to Hawaii to learn the truth and promised to donate $5m to charity if anyone could convince him Mr Obama was born on US soil.

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On 27 April, 2011, the Obama White House released his original “long-form” birth certificate.

In a press release on Thursday night and on stage in Washington, DC, on Friday morning, this is the moment Mr Trump pointed to as the “great service” he performed in laying to rest questions about Mr Obama’s birthplace.

The truth here, however, is also markedly different.

Over the following years, Mr Trump continued to raise questions and express doubts.

In 2012 he tweeted that he had an “extremely credible source” who told him the birth certificate was a fraud.

In 2013 he raised suspicion about the death of a Hawaiian health official who verified copies of Mr Obama’s “birth certificate”.

In 2014 he asked hackers to access Mr Obama’s college records and check his “place of birth”.

As recently as this month, Mr Trump did not back away from his past support of the “birther” cause.

“I don’t talk about it because if I talk about that, your whole thing will be about that,”Trump said. “So I don’t talk about it.”

Mr Trump did talk about it on Friday – and he’s right, it’s all anyone is going to write about.

 

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Posted September 18, 2016 by markosun in Politics

Amazing 42-story University Building   Leave a comment


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The above photo appears to be of a European city, but no, it’s Pennsylvania, USA.

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The Cathedral of Learning, a Pittsburgh landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is the centerpiece of the University of Pittsburgh’s main campus in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. Standing at 535 feet (163 m), the 42-story Late Gothic Revival Cathedral is the tallest educational building in the Western hemisphere and the second tallest university building (fourth tallest educationally-purposed building) in the world. It is also the second tallest gothic-styled building in the world. The Cathedral of Learning was commissioned in 1921 and ground was broken in 1926. The first class was held in the building in 1931 and its exterior finished in October 1934, prior to its formal dedication in June 1937.

Colloquially referred to as “Cathy” by Pitt students, the Cathedral of Learning is a steel frame structure overlaid with Indiana limestone and contains more than 2,000 rooms and windows. It functions as a primary classroom and administrative center of the university, and is home to the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and many of its departments, as well as the University Honors College. It served as home of the university’s College of General Studies until its relocation to Posvar Hall in 2014. It houses many specialty spaces, including a studio theater, food court, study lounges, offices, computer and language labs, 30 Nationality Rooms, and a 12-acre (2,000 m2), 4-story-high, vaulted, gothic study and event hall. The building contains noted examples of stained glass, stone, wood, and iron work and is often used by the university in photographs, postcards, and other advertisements.

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Commons room on the main floor

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The basement and floors up to (and including) floor 40 are used for educational purposes, although most floors above 36 house the building’s mechanical equipment. These floors include theaters, computer laboratories, language laboratories, classrooms, and departmental offices. The basement contains a black box theater and the ground floor contains computer labs, language labs, classrooms, and the Cathedral Café food court. The “lobby”, comprising the first through third floors, contains a massive gothic “Commons Room” that is used as a general study area and for special events and is ringed by three floors of classrooms, including, on the first and third floors, the 30 Nationality Rooms designed by members of the Pittsburgh community in the styles of different nations and ethnic groups. Twenty-eight of these serve as functional classrooms while more conventional classrooms are located on the second floor and elsewhere throughout the building. The first floor also serves as the home to the offices of the Chancellor, Executive Vice Chancellor, and other administration offices, as well as the Nationality Rooms Gift Shop. The fourth floor, which used to be home to the main stacks of the university’s library, is now occupied by the McCarl Center for Nontraditional Student Success. The fifth floor originally housed the main borrowing, reference, and reading rooms of the university library, and now houses the Department of English. The Pitt Humanities Center is housed on the sixth floor. Additionally, the University Honors College is located on the 35th and 36th floors.

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The Cathedral of Learning houses the Department of Philosophy, considered one of the top five in the United States, and the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, consistently ranked at the top of the field. Other departments in the Cathedral include English, Religious Studies, Statistics, Theatre Arts, and the School of Social Work which maintains the highest classrooms in the building located on the 23rd floor. Floors 37–40 are closed to the general public, as they contain electrical wiring for the building, as well as the Babcock Room, a large conference room on the 40th floor used for meetings, seminars, and special events and which provides a panoramic view of downtown Pittsburgh and the rest of the university. The 40th floor balcony also houses a nesting pair of Peregrine falcons. A view from the top is available via a webcam. Golden lights, dubbed “victory lights,” surround the outside of the highest floors and are lit following Pitt football wins and other notable victories, giving the upper part of the Cathedral an amber glow.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Posted September 18, 2016 by markosun in Buildings