Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bicycle Infantry

Bicycle infantry are infantry soldiers who maneuver on (or, usually more correctly, between) battlefields using bicycles. Though their use has waned over the years in many armies, they continue to be used in unconventional armies such as militias.

Numerous experiments were carried out to determine the possible role of bicycles and cycling within military establishments because bicycles can carry more equipment and travel longer than walking soldiers. To some extent, bicyclists took over the functions of dragoons (mounted infantry), especially as messengers and scouts, substituting for horses in warfare. Bicycle units or detachments were formed at the end of the 19th century by all European armies and the US armed forces.

The United Kingdom employed bicycle troops in militia or territorial units, but not in regular units. In France, several experimental units were created. In the United States, the most extensive experimentation on bicycle units was carried out by a 1st Lieutenant Moss, of the 25th United States Infantry. Lt. Moss and his troops carried out extensive bicycle journeys covering between 500 and 1,000 miles. Late in the 19th century, the United States Army tested the bicycle's suitability for cross-country troop transport. Buffalo Soldiers stationed in Montana rode bicycles across roadless landscapes for hundreds of miles at high speed.

The first known use of the bicycle in combat occurred during the Jameson Raid, in which cyclists carried messages. In the Second Boer War, military cyclists were used primarily as scouts and messengers. One unit patrolled railroad lines on specially constructed tandem bicycles that were fixed to the rails. Several raids were conducted by cycle-mounted infantry on both sides; the most famous unit was the Theron se Verkenningskorps (Theron Reconnaissance Corps, a Dutch unit led by the scout Daniel Theron, whom British commander Lord Roberts described as "the hardest thorn in the flesh of the British advance." Roberts placed a reward of £1,000 on Theron's head—dead or alive—and dispatched 4,000 soldiers to find and eliminate the TVK.

During World War I, cycle-mounted infantry, scouts, messengers and ambulance carriers were extensively used by all combatants. Italy used bicycles with the Bersaglieri (light infantry units) until the end of the war. German Army J├Ąger (light infantry) battalions each had a bicycle company (Radfahr-Kompanie) at the outbreak of the war, and additional companies were raised during the war bringing the total to 80 companies, a number of which were formed into eight Radfahr-Bataillonen (bicycle battalions).

In its 1937 invasion of China, Japan employed some 50,000 bicycle troops. Early in World War II their southern campaign through Malaya en route to capturing Singapore in 1941 was largely dependent on bicycle-riding soldiers. In both efforts bicycles allowed quiet and flexible transport of thousands of troops who were then able to surprise and confuse the defenders. Bicycles also made few demands on the Japanese war machine, needing neither trucks, nor ships to transport them, nor precious petroleum. Using bicycles, the Japanese troops were able to move faster than the withdrawing Allied Forces, often successfully cutting off their retreat. The speed of Japanese advance, usually along plantation roads, native paths and over improvised bridges, also caught Allied Forces defending the main roads and river crossings by surprise, by attacking them from the rear.

Bicycles continue in military use today, primarily as an easy alternative for transport on long flightlines. The use of the cycle as an infantry transport tool continued into the 21st century with the Swiss Army's Bicycle Regiment, which maintained drills for infantry movement and attack until 2001, when the decision was made to phase the unit out. The Tamil Tigers made use of bicycle mobility in the fighting in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan army also has a bicycle unit. They are mainly stationed and deployed in high security zones in the capital city Colombo.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_infantry







Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pica

Pica is a medical disorder characterized by an appetite for substances largely non-nutritive (e.g., metal, clay, coal, sand, dirt, soil, feces, chalk, pens and pencils, paper, batteries, spoons, toothbrushes, soap, mucus, latex gloves, ash, gum, lip balm, tacks and other office supplies, etc.) The name of the condition originates from the Latin word for magpie, a bird that is reputed to eat almost anything. Pica is seen in all ages, particularly in pregnant women, small children, and those with developmental disabilities. Pica is more common in women and children. Pica can also be found in animals and is most commonly found in dogs.

The scant research that has been done on the causes of pica suggests that the disorder is a specific appetite caused by mineral deficiency in many cases, such as iron deficiency, which sometimes is a result of celiac disease or hookworm infection. Often the substance eaten by someone with pica contains the mineral in which that individual is deficient. More recently, cases of pica have been tied to the obsessive–compulsive spectrum, and there is a move to consider OCD in the etiology of pica; however, pica is currently recognized as a mental disorder by the widely used Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV)..

Examples:
Coprophagy: Consumption of feces
Geophagy: Consumption of soil, clay, or chalk
Hyalophagia: Consumption of glass
Mucophagia: Consumption of mucus
Odowa: Consumption of soft stones eaten by pregnant women in Kenya
Pagophagia: Pathological consumption of ice
Self-cannibalism: Rare condition where body parts may be consumed; see also Lesch-Nyhan syndrome
Trichophagia: Consumption of hair or wool
Urophagia: Consumption of urine
Xylophagia: Consumption of wood or paper

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pica_(disorder)



Thursday, August 11, 2011

One Red Paperclip

The website One red paperclip was created by Kyle MacDonald, a Canadian blogger who bartered his way from a single red paperclip to a house in a series of online trades over the course of a year. MacDonald was inspired by the childhood game Bigger, Better, and the site received a considerable amount of notice for tracking the transactions.

MacDonald made his first trade, a red paper clip for a fish-shaped pen, on July 14, 2005. He reached his goal of trading up to a house with the fourteenth transaction, trading a movie role for a house. This is the list of all transactions MacDonald made:

1. On July 14, 2005, he went to Vancouver and traded the paperclip for a fish-shaped pen.

2. He then traded the pen the same day for a hand-sculpted doorknob from Seattle, Washington, which he nicknamed "Knob-T".

3. On July 25, 2005, he traveled to Amherst, Massachusetts, with a friend to trade the Knob-T for a Coleman camp stove (with fuel).

4. On September 24, 2005, he went to San Clemente, California, and traded the camp stove for a Honda generator.

5. On November 16, 2005, he made a second (and successful) attempt (after having the generator confiscated by the New York City Fire Department) in Maspeth, Queens, to trade the generator for an "instant party": an empty keg, an IOU for filling the keg with the beer of the holder's choice, and a neon Budweiser sign.

6. On December 8, 2005, he traded the "instant party" to Quebec comedian and radio personality Michel Barrette for a Ski-doo snowmobile.

7. Within a week of that, he traded the snowmobile for a two-person trip to Yahk, British Columbia, in February 2006.

8. On or about January 7, 2006, the second person on the trip to Yahk traded Kyle a cube van for the privilege.

9. On or about February 22, 2006, he traded the cube van for a recording contract with Metal Works in Toronto.

10. On or about April 11, 2006, he traded the recording contract to Jody Gnant for a year's rent in Phoenix, Arizona.

11. On or about April 26, 2006, he traded the one year's rent in Phoenix, Arizona, for one afternoon with Alice Cooper.

12. On or about May 26, 2006, he traded the one afternoon with Alice Cooper for a KISS motorized snow globe.

13. On or about June 2, 2006, he traded the KISS motorized snow globe to Corbin Bernsen for a role in the film Donna on Demand.

14. On or about July 5, 2006, he traded the movie role for a two-story farmhouse in Kipling, Saskatchewan.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_red_paperclip






Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rogue Taxidermy

Rogue taxidermy is the creation of stuffed animals which do not have real, live counterparts. Many taxidermists do not consider this true taxidermy. They may represent unrealistic hybrids such as the jackalope and the skvader, extinct species, mythical creatures such as dragons, chimeras, griffins, unicorns or mermaids, or may be entirely of the maker's imagination. Some are made from parts of more than one kind of animal, or they may be artificially created. Rogue taxidermy is often seen in sideshows and dime museums among genuine freak animals.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_Taxidermy#Rogue_taxidermy






Rogue Taxidermy - Bonus Pictures!