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Articolele zilei - Articles of the day

The Kayan are a Tibeto-Burman ethnic group known for their unusual tradition of body modification, which consists of coiling lengths of brass around women's necks. The coils are first applied to young girls when they are approximately five years old, and each coil is replaced with a longer one as the weight of the brass pushes the collar bone down and compresses the rib cage. Contrary to popular belief, the neck vertebrae are not actually lengthened. Can wearers remove the rings entirely? Discuss
Hussars originated in 15th-century Hungary as a light-horse corps, but the term now applies to members of various light cavalry regiments in European armies, renowned for their elegant dress. The brilliantly colored Hungarian hussar's uniform consisted of a high cylindrical cap, a jacket with heavy braiding, and a loose coat worn hanging from the left shoulder. Several hussar regiments of the British army survive today as armored units. What were the original meanings of the word "hussar"? Discuss
Read was an Australian criminal and author. He committed numerous crimes, including armed robbery, assault, and kidnapping and spent only 13 months outside of jail between the ages of 20 and 38. He used his criminal and prison exploits as fodder for a bestselling series of true-crime books. In them, he tells of attacking a judge, robbing drug dealers, torturing members of the criminal underworld, and starting a prison war. What children's book written by Read was the target of an attempted ban? Discuss
Tooth decay is a common health problem, second in prevalence only to the common cold. About 75% of all people have had their first cavity by the age of 5. Decay is caused by 3 factors: plaque bacteria, sugar, and a vulnerable tooth surface. Although several microorganisms can cause tooth decay, the primary disease agent appears to be Streptococcus mutans. If left untreated, decay can lead to tooth loss, infection, and, in severe cases, death. What drugs can lead to rampant tooth decay? Discuss
In 1859, French physicist Gaston Planté invented the lead acid battery, the world's first rechargeable electric battery and the forerunner of the modern automobile battery. His early model consisted of two sheets of coiled lead soaked in sulfuric acid, but he soon revised this design, and just a year later, he presented a nine-cell version to the Academy of Sciences. What mechanical device did Planté invent as part of his investigation into the differences between static and dynamic electricity? Discuss
Philippe Petit is a French high-wire artist who gained fame for his illegal 1974 walk between the former Twin Towers in New York. After six years of planning, Petit used a 450-pound (204-kg) cable and a 26-foot (8-m), 55-pound (25-kg) balancing pole to make eight crossings between the still unfinished towers—walking, jumping, and lying down on the wire for more than an hour before being arrested when he returned to the tower roof. What punishment did Petit receive for his stunt? Discuss
Before the dawn of movies, vaudeville shows packed US theaters. Following the format of beer hall variety shows, each vaudeville performance had 10–15 unrelated acts that could include anything from acrobats to opera singers. Vaudeville emerged in the early 1880s as former circus performer Tony Pastor cleaned up variety shows. He banned the sale of liquor and eliminated the cruder acts, and his success prompted other managers to do the same. What did Pastor give to vaudeville show attendees? Discuss
The members of the Charan caste living in the Gujarat and Rajasthan states of India are revered for their willingness to die for their beliefs and for their bravery in war. Though caste members are taught to respect bravery, loyalty, and truth more than life, they also value the literary arts. Poetry is an integral part of Charan identity, and some caste members are addressed as Kaviraj, a title meaning "Great Poet." The practice of self-immolation is common in Charan culture. What is it? Discuss
Known as both the "Mad" and "Bloody" Baron, Baron Roman Ungern von Sternberg was a military commander who became an independent warlord after the Russian Civil War. A mystic who believed he was the reincarnation of Genghis Khan, he aimed to unite the Far-Eastern nations under one monarch. In 1921, he achieved this goal, becoming dictator of Mongolia before being captured by his own troops and executed by the Red Army. How did he trick the Chinese into abandoning Mongolia's capital city, Urga? Discuss
A local currency is a currency that is not backed by a national government and is intended for trade only in a small area. Today, more than 2,500 local currency systems operate throughout the world. Though advocates say local currencies enable people in economically depressed regions to improve their situation, opponents argue that such systems can interfere with economies of scale and lead to tax evasion. What are some examples of local currencies? Discuss
Shah Abbas I ascended the Persian throne in the late 16th century, after participating in the coup that deposed his father. Persian artistic achievement flourished during Abbas's reign. The empire's new capital, Isfahan, was transformed into one of the world's most beautiful cities and quickly became one of the most important cultural centers in the Islamic world. Abbas's rule was tarnished, however, by his cruelty to his family. What did he do to three of his sons? Discuss
The Adirondack Forty-Sixers is a club whose members have successfully climbed all 46 of the traditionally recognized High Peaks of the Adirondack Mountains in New York. The first "46ers" devised the criteria for the club in the early 20th century, selecting only those summits that rise more than 4,000 ft (1,219 m) above sea level and have at least 300 ft (91 m) of vertical rise on all sides. Some take the challenge further and re-climb all the peaks in winter. How long is the winter 46 season? Discuss
The Maasai are a largely nomadic pastoral people whose territory is divided between Tanzania and Kenya. Their distinctive customs and dress and their proximity to many East African game parks have made them one of the most internationally well-known African ethnic groups. The Maasai measure wealth in terms of cattle and children, rather than money, and someone who has plenty of one but not the other is considered poor. How does killing lions factor into traditional Maasai culture? Discuss
The were-jaguar is one of the most prominent and enigmatic designs of the Olmec people, who flourished between 1200 BCE and 400 BCE in south-central Mexico. Seen in murals and statues, the design is characterized by a down-turned mouth, almond-shaped eyes, fleshy lips, and a cleft forehead. Though the term is derived from the Old English "were," meaning "man," and "jaguar," the predatory cat revered by the Olmec people, some scholars believe were-jaguars represent a different animal. Which one? Discuss
Considered by some art historians to be the beginning of the Renaissance, the Trecento was a 14th-century period in Italy that saw renewed focus on the arts, including painting, architecture, literature, and, especially, music. Influenced by troubadours and a type of polyphonic sacred music called the conductus, composers throughout the period pioneered new forms of expression, especially in secular songs written in the Italian vernacular. Who was the period's most famous composer? Discuss
The elixir of life is a mythical potion said to confer immortality. The ancient Chinese thought that precious substances like gold and mercury brought longevity, and these ingredients were often used in their elixirs. Ironically, some metals are highly toxic and thus poisoned the longevity seekers who ingested them. Buddhism gave the Chinese alternate routes to immortality, but the elixir of life received renewed attention in the 18th century with what claims about the Comte de St. Germain? Discuss
The music industry's tendency to record, produce, and broadcast music at progressively increasing levels of loudness to create a distinct sound is known as the Loudness War. Because the maximum amplitude of recorded music cannot be increased, overall loudness can only be boosted by reducing the dynamic range of source audio and distorting recordings, leading to complaints from some audiophiles. What 1997 remix of a 1973 album is considered by some to be the loudest rock CD ever recorded? Discuss
If the universe is assumed to contain an infinite number of uniformly distributed luminous stars, then every point in the sky should be as bright as a star. So why is the sky dark at night? That is the question posed by Olbers's paradox, named for astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers, who described it in 1823, more than 200 years after Johannes Kepler first posed the question as an argument against the notion of a limitless universe with infinite stars. How has the paradox since been resolved? Discuss
Often considered the most-viewed total solar eclipse in human history, the eclipse of August 11, 1999, was the first total eclipse visible from Europe in nearly a decade. The path of the moon's shadow began in the Atlantic Ocean just before noon and traversed England, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Serbia before reaching maximum coverage in Romania and continuing across Bulgaria, the Black Sea, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and India. What spacecraft also observed the moon's shadow? Discuss
Widely used in thought experiments—imagined scenarios whose outcomes are reasoned but not physically played out—philosophical zombies are hypothetical beings indistinguishable from normal humans in all but one respect—they lack conscious experience. This quality makes the "p-zombie" an ideal subject for philosophical musings. According to physicalism, everything that exists is ultimately physical. How have philosophers used these hypothetical beings in arguments disputing this perspective? Discuss
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