Sunday, February 29, 2004

California, U.S. colonization and acquisition

Secularization of the missions was sought by Spanish-Mexican settlers known as Californios when Mexico became independent of Spain in 1821. Between 1833 and 1840 the mission ranches were parceled out to political favourites by the Mexican government. The padres withdrew, and the Indians were cruelly exploited and diminished. In 1841 the first wagon train of settlers left Missouri

Saturday, February 28, 2004

China, Seizure of power

The period from mid-1966 to early 1969 constituted the Red Guard phase of the Cultural Revolution, and these years in turn included several important turning points. The latter half of 1966 witnessed not only the Red Guard mobilization (including Red Guard reviews of more than 1,000,000 youths at a time by Mao Zedong and Lin Biao in Peking) but also the removal from power of key Political Bureau

Friday, February 27, 2004

Paleogene Period

Also spelled �Palaeogene Period� older of the two stratigraphic divisions of the Cenozoic Era (the Cenozoic Era began about 66.4 million years ago and extends to the present). The Paleogene, whose beginning coincides with that of the Cenozoic Era, ended 23.7 million years ago and was followed by the Neogene Period. The Paleogene, which means �ancient-born,� includes the Paleocene (Palaeocene), Eocene, and Oligocene

Thursday, February 26, 2004


Also called �iron pyrite�, or �fool's gold� a naturally occurring iron disulfide mineral. The name comes from the Greek word pyr, �fire,� because pyrite emits sparks when struck by steel. Pyrite is called fool's gold because its colour may deceive the novice into thinking he has discovered a gold nugget. Nodules of pyrite have been found in prehistoric burial mounds, which suggests their use as a means of producing

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Table Tennis

At the 1997 world table tennis championships in Manchester, Eng., China again dominated play, winning six of the seven titles. The men's team from China defeated France (the first time since 1948 France had reached the final), while the women's team downed North Korea. Deng Yaping, the 24-year-old 1992 and 1996 Olympic champion, won her third world singles championship, then announced her retirement.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Antarctica, Plant life

The cold desert climate of Antarctica supports only an impoverished community of cold-tolerant land plants that are capable of surviving lengthy winter periods of total or near-total darkness during which photosynthesis cannot take place. Growth must occur in short summer bursts lasting only a few days, a few weeks, or a month or two, depending upon such diverse

Monday, February 23, 2004

Finnish Literature

Only in the 19th century did a strong literature in Swedish develop in Finland. Previously it had been somewhat sporadic, although there had been several excellent poets, notably Jacob Frese, Gustaf Philip Creutz, and Frans Mikael Franz�n. In the work of Johan Ludvig Runeberg, the Finnish people and landscape first came to life in literature, and he became the national

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Oum Er-rbia River

Chief river of central Morocco, rising in the Middle (Moyen) Atlas mountains and flowing generally westward for 345 miles (555 km) to the Atlantic Ocean near Azemmour. Although not navigable, it is a perennial, torrential river and a major source of hydroelectric power and irrigation: dams on the river include Afourer, Kasba Zidania, Im Fout, Daourat, Sidi Sa�d Maachou, and Bine

Saturday, February 21, 2004


Turkish �Erdebil, � town, northwestern Iran, 38 miles (61 km) from the Caspian Sea. It stands on an open plain 4,500 feet (1,400 m) above sea level, just east of Mount Sabalan (15,784 feet [4,811 m]), where cold spells occur until late spring. Persian historians have ascribed a founding date to the town in the Sasanian period, but its known history does not begin until the Islamic period. The town was taken by treaty by 'Ali (c. 600 - 661), the fourth caliph.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Deng Yingchao

Deng's involvement in political and social causes began in her youth. She joined the movement to abolish the custom of binding women's feet

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Eads, James B.

His writings are collected in Estill McHenry (ed.), Addresses and Papers of James B. Eads (1884). Florence L. Dorsey, Road to the Sea: The Story of James B. Eads and the Mississippi River (1947), is the standard work, a well-documented biography, based on research in technical and family papers. Louis How, James B. Eads (1900, reissued 1970), is by Eads's grandson. H.J. Hopkins, A Span of Bridges (1970), offers a good account of the building of the bridge. Quinta Scott and Howard S. Miller, The Eads Bridge (1979), includes a photographic essay.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Lord Steward

Also called �Lord Steward Of The Household, � in England, an official of the royal household, whose duties were originally domestic and who was known as the �chief steward� of the household. The office was of considerable political importance under the Tudors and Stuarts, and it carried cabinet rank during the 18th century. In 1924 it ceased to be a political appointment and since then it has been filled at the discretion

Monday, February 16, 2004


The use of cast-metal pieces as a medium of exchange is very ancient and probably developed out of the use in commerce of ordinary ingots of bronze and other metals that possessed an intrinsic value. Until

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Spanish Socialist Workers' Party

Spanish �Partido Socialista Obrero Espa�ol (PSOE)� socialist party that played an important role in 20th-century Spanish politics. The party was founded in 1879 by the Madrid typographer Pablo Iglesias. He was also the founder in 1888 of the party's affiliated trade union confederation, the Uni�n General de Trabajadores (UGT; General Union of Workers). The party grew slowly at first, partly because the UGT had to compete with the

Saturday, February 14, 2004


(from �holy day�), originally, a day of dedication to religious observance; in modern times, a day of either religious or secular commemoration. Many holidays of the major world religions tend to occur at the approximate dates of more ancient, pagan festivals. In the case of Christianity, this is sometimes owing to the policy of the early church of scheduling Christian

Friday, February 13, 2004

Port Essington

Inlet of the Arafura Sea, indenting the north shore of the Cobourg Peninsula, at the extreme north of the Northern Territory, Australia. About 11 miles (30 km) long and 7 miles (11 km) wide, it was surveyed in 1818 by Captain Phillip Parker King of the Royal Navy, who named it for Admiral Sir William Essington. In 1824 it was the site of Britain's third attempt to settle the north coast of Australia.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Macaulay, Catharine

She was privately educated, and her readings in Greek and Roman history inculcated in her an enthusiasm for libertarian and republican ideals. Following her marriage to the Scottish physician George Macaulay in 1760, she began her History of England from the Accession

Wednesday, February 11, 2004


Any of a family of games played in walled courts or against a single wall, with a small rubber ball that is struck with hand or fist against the wall. The object is to cause the ball to rebound with variations of power or speed and at such an angle that the opposition cannot return it. There are three versions of handball: four-wall, three-wall, and one-wall. Each may be played

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Algebra, Quaternions and vectors

Remaining doubts about the legitimacy of complex numbers were finally dispelled when their geometric interpretation became widespread among mathematicians. This interpretation, initially and independently conceived by the Norwegian surveyor Caspar Wessel and the French bookkeeper Jean-Robert Argand (see Argand diagram), was made known to a larger audience

Monday, February 09, 2004

Digestive System Disease, Ascites

The accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, or ascites, is related to portal hypertension, significant reduction in serum albumin, and renal retention of sodium. When albumin levels in the blood are lower than normal, there is a marked reduction in the force that holds plasma water within the blood vessels and normally resists the effects of the intravascular

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Fore-edge Painting

Technique of painting the edges of the leaves, or folios, of a book, employed in the European Middle Ages. Manuscript books with gold-tooled bindings often had the edges of their pages gilded with burnished gold. They were also frequently goffered with heated tools and were occasionally coloured. From 1650 onward a number of London binders practiced a new decorative method

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Nicephorus Iii Botaneiates

Nicephorus, who belonged to the military aristocracy of Asia Minor and who was related to the powerful Phocas family, became commander of the Anatolian theme (administrative district). When discontent against the government of

Friday, February 06, 2004

Hennepin, Louis

Hennepin joined the R�collet Order of Friars Minor, B�thune, France, and in 1675 went to Canada with La Salle, whose chaplain he became in

Thursday, February 05, 2004


Carboxylic acid esters, formula RCOOR� (R and R� are any organic combining groups), are commonly prepared by reaction of carboxylic acids and alcohols in the presence of hydrochloric acid or sulfuric

Wednesday, February 04, 2004


Tibetan �Bod, �in full �Tibet Autonomous Region, �Chinese (Wade-Giles) �Hsi-tsang Tzu-chih-ch'�, �(Pinyin) �Xizang Zizhiqu � historic region and autonomous region of China that is often called �the roof of the world.� It occupies about 471,700 square miles (1,221,600 square kilometres) of the plateaus and mountains of Central Asia, including Mount Everest (Chu-mu-lang-ma Feng). It is bordered by the Chinese provinces of Tsinghai to the northeast, Szechwan to the east, and Yunnan to the southeast; Myanmar (Burma), India,

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Aquinas, Thomas, Saint, Commentaries on Aristotle

In octo libros Physicorum expositio (1268 - 71; Commentary on Aristotle's Physics, 1963); In tres libros De anima (undated; The Commentary of St. Thomas Aquinas on Aristotle's Treatise on the Soul, 1946); In librum De sensu et sensato expositio (1270 - 71); In decem libros Ethicorum expositio (1271 - 72; Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics, 1964); In duodecim libros Metaphysicorum expositio (c. 1272; Commentary on the Metaphysics of Aristotle, 1961); In libros De caelo et mundo expositio (1272 - 73); In libros Posteriorum analyticorum expositio (undated; probably late).

Monday, February 02, 2004


Macadamias originated in the coastal rain forests and scrubs of what is now Queensland in northeastern Australia. The macadamias grown commercially in Hawaii and Australia are principally

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Performing Arts, Latin America.

The Brazilian director Walter Salles, Jr., enjoyed worldwide success with Central do Brasil (Central Station), the story of a mean old spinster who unwillingly discovers her own resources of humanity through an encounter with an irresistibly appealing little orphan boy. In marked contrast was the visionary style of Djalma Limongi Batista's fantasy biography of