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This week's Signpost report
Don, Marcel, Emily, Jessica and other notables
A fixed slit photo
of a San Francisco cable car
, showing prominent striped background. In slit photography, the photographer captures a two-dimensional image as a sequence of one-dimensional images over time, rather than a single two-dimensional at one point in time (the full field).
This Signpost "Featured content" report covers material promoted from September 22, 2017 through October 11, 2017. Text is adapted from the respective articles and lists; see their page histories for attribution.
- Marcel Lihau (nominated by Indy beetle) was a Congolese politician, jurist, and law professor who served as the First President of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Congo and was involved in the creation of two functional constitutions for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- The Roland TR-808 (nominated by Popcornduff) is a drum machine introduced by the Roland Corporation in 1980. Discontinued in 1983, it remains in use around the world. Launched at a time when electronic music had yet to become mainstream, the 808 was a commercial failure, but attracted a cult following for its affordability, ease of use, and idiosyncratic sounds, particularly its deep, booming bass drum. It became a cornerstone of the emerging electronic, dance, and hip hop genres, popularized by early hits such as Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" (1982) and Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force's "Planet Rock" (1982). The 808 is completely analog, meaning its sounds are generated by hardware rather than prerecorded. Only around 12,000 units were built, but the 808 was eventually used on more hit records than any other drum machine. Its popularity with hip hop artists in particular has made it one of the most influential inventions in popular music, comparable to the Fender Stratocaster and its influence on rock.
- Commander Keen in Invasion of the Vorticons (nominated by PresN) is a three-part episodic side-scrolling platform video game developed by Ideas from the Deep and published by Apogee Software in 1990 for MS-DOS. It is the first set of episodes of the Commander Keen series. The game follows the titular Commander Keen, an eight-year-old child genius on many adventures. Released by Apogee on December 14, 1990, the trilogy of episodes was an immediate success; Apogee, whose monthly sales had been around US$7,000, made US$30,000 on Commander Keen alone in the first two weeks and US$60,000 per month by June.
- "Paradises Lost" (nominated by Vanamonde) is a science fiction novella by American author Ursula K. Le Guin. It was first published in 2002 as a part of the collection The Birthday of the World. It is set during a multigenerational voyage from Earth to a potentially habitable planet. The protagonists, Liu Hsing and Nova Luis, are members of the fifth generation born on the ship. The novella explores the isolation brought on by space travel, as well as themes of religion and utopia. It contains elements of ecocriticism, or a critique of the idea that human beings are altogether separate from their natural environment. The novella and the collections it was published in received high praise from commentators.
- "Watching the River Flow" (nominated by Moisejp) is a blues rock song by American singer Bob Dylan. Produced by Leon Russell, it was written and recorded during a session in March 1971 at Blue Rock Studios in New York City. A minor hit in some countries worldwide, the song was included on the 1971 Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II, and other Dylan compilation albums. In 2011, five current and former Rolling Stones appeared on a recording of "Watching the River Flow" as part of a tribute project for pianist Ian Stewart.
- The Superliner (nominated by Mackensen) is a type of bilevel intercity railroad passenger car used by Amtrak, the national rail passenger carrier in the United States. Pullman-Standard built 284 cars, known as Superliner I, in 1975–1981; Bombardier Transportation built 195, known as Superliner II, in 1991–1996. The Superliner I cars were the last passenger cars built by Pullman. Car types include coaches, Dining cars, lounges, and Sleeping cars. Most passenger spaces are on the upper level, which features a row of windows on both sides. The Sightseer Lounge observation cars have distinctive floor-to-ceiling windows on the upper level. Boarding is on the lower level; passengers climb up a center stairwell to access the upper level. The first Superliner I cars entered service in February 1979. Amtrak assigned the cars to both long-distance and short-distance trains in the Western United States. The first permanent assignment, in October 1979, was to the Chicago–Seattle Empire Builder. Superliner II deliveries began in 1993. Tunnel clearances prevent their use on the Northeast Corridor.
- An ice core (nominated by Mike Christie) is a core sample that is typically removed from an ice sheet or a high mountain glacier. Cores are drilled with hand augers (for shallow holes) or powered drills; they can reach depths of over two miles, and contain ice up to 800,000 years old. The physical properties of the ice and of material trapped in it can be used to reconstruct the climate over the age range of the core. The ratio of oxygen and hydrogen Isotopes provides information about ancient temperatures, and the air trapped in tiny bubbles can indicate the level of atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide. Greenland ice cores contain layers of wind-blown dust that correlate with cold, dry periods in the past. Radioactive elements, either of natural origin or created by nuclear testing, can be used to date the layers of ice. Some volcanic events that were sufficiently powerful to send material around the globe have left a signature in many different cores that can be used to synchronize their time scales. The data from ice cores contributes to climate models.
- Henry W. Sawyer (nominated by Coemgenus) was an American lawyer, civil rights activist, and Democratic Party politician. Born in Philadelphia, he served in World War II and attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Sawyer worked as a corporate lawyer but is best known for his advocacy of civil liberties, especially in First Amendment cases. In Abington School District v. Schempp and Lemon v. Kurtzman, he successfully argued cases before the Supreme Court of the United States that became the basis for all modern Establishment Clause jurisprudence. He pursued civil rights causes in Philadelphia and in the South during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. He also served a four-year term on Philadelphia City Council, where he worked for civil service reform and to increase the amount of public art in the city.
- The florin (nominated by Wehwalt & Arwel Parry), or two shilling coin, was issued from 1849 until 1967, with a final issue for collectors dated 1970. Valued at one tenth of a pound (24 old pence), it was the last coin circulating immediately prior to decimalisation to be demonetised, in 1993, having for a quarter of a century circulated alongside the ten pence piece, identical in specifications and value.
- Donald Trump (Last Week Tonight) (nominated by epicgenius & Another Believer) is a segment of the HBO news satire television series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver devoted to Donald Trump, who later became the President of the United States. It first aired on February 28, 2016, as part of the third episode of Last Week Tonight's third season, when Trump was the frontrunner for the Republican Party nomination for the presidency. During the 22-minute segment, comedian John Oliver discusses Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and his career in business, outlining his campaign rhetoric, varying political positions and failed business ventures. He also says the Trump family name was changed at one point from the ancestral name "Drumpf". The segment went viral on YouTube and Facebook. By Super Tuesday on March 1, two days after broadcast, Google Searches for "Donald Drumpf" had surpassed those for both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who were then competing against Trump for the Republican Party nomination. In eight days, the segment accumulated 19 million views on YouTube, making it Last Week Tonight's most popular segment there. By the end of March 2016, it had received a combined 85 million views on YouTube and Facebook.
- Rotating locomotion in living systems (nominated by swpb) is a mode which several organisms are capable of; but true wheels and propellers—despite their utility in human vehicles—do not appear to play a significant role in the movement of living things (with the notable exception of certain flagella, which function like corkscrews). Biologists have expounded on the reasons for this apparent absence of biological wheels, and wheeled creatures have appeared often in speculative fiction.
- Emily Davison (nominated by SchroCat) was a suffragette who fought for votes for women in the United Kingdom in the early twentieth century. A member of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) and a militant fighter for her cause, she was arrested on nine occasions, went on hunger strike seven times and was force fed on forty-nine occasions. She died after being hit by King George V's horse Anmer at the 1913 Epsom Derby when she walked onto the track during the race.
- Rochdale Cenotaph (nominated by HJ Mitchell) is a First World War memorial on the Esplanade in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, in the north west of England. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, it is one of seven memorials in England based on his Cenotaph on Whitehall in London, and one of his more ambitious designs. The memorial was unveiled in 1922 and consists of a 10-metre (33 ft) pylon, topped by an effigy of a recumbent soldier, and Lutyens' characteristic Stone of Remembrance. Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby, unveiled the memorial on November 26, 1922. It is a Grade I listed structure, having been upgraded in 2015 when Lutyens' war memorials were declared a national collection.
- Jessica Chastain (nominated by Krimuk2.0) is an American actress and film producer. In addition to acting in many films, Chastain is the founder of the production company Freckle Films, which was created to promote diversity in film. She is vocal about mental health issues, and gender and racial equality. Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012. She is married to the fashion executive Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo.
- William Henry Harrison presidential campaign, 1840 (nominated by Wehwalt) William Henry Harrison was elected President of the United States in 1840 and seems to have been a unique presidential candidate when compared with those before him. He was the first Whig Party candidate to win, he died only a month after taking office, he was known for fighting Native Americans, he fought in the War of 1812, he was elected to Congress and he held a number of federal offices. He was defeated in his first campaign for the presidency but didn't stop running until he won four years later. A Democratic Party paper in Baltimore once suggested that if offered a pension and some hard cider to drink in a log cabin, Harrison would turn aside from his campaign. His party embraced the charge and turned the cabin and cider into campaign emblems. Harrison rallies were huge for the time and became a popular form of entertainment. While some view his campaign askance because of the role emotion played in it, others note how it was the beginning of political techniques used even today.
- Pied butcherbird (nominated by Cas Liber) The Australian pied butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis) is a black and white bird 28 to 32 cm (11 to 12.5 in.) long with a long hooked bill. The juvenile and immature birds are predominantly brown and white. As they mature their brown feathers are replaced by black feathers. Its song described as a "magic flute". Quite a vocalist, the bird has at least three types of songs and can mimic other birds as well as dogs barking, lambs bleating or even people whistling. It is carnivorous, and eats beetles, bugs, ants, caterpillars, cockroaches, spiders and worms. It preys on vertebrates up to the size of frogs, skinks, mice and small birds. Some individuals look for scraps around houses and picnic sites, and can become tame enough to be hand-fed by people.
- The Battle of Rossbach (nominated by auntieruth) was an important engagement of the Seven Years' War in which Prussian forces commanded by Frederick the Great out-manoeuvred and soundly defeated a much larger French and Holy Roman Imperial force. The battle is considered one of Frederick's greatest strategic masterpieces, and effectively knocked France out of this theatre of the war.
- The Referendum Party (nominated by Midnightblueowl) was a Eurosceptic, single-issue political party that was active in the United Kingdom from 1994 to 1997. The party's sole objective was for a referendum to be held on the nature of the UK's membership of the European Union. Specifically, it called for a referendum on whether the British people wanted to either be part of a federal European state or revert to being a sovereign nation that was part of a free-trade bloc without wider political functions. The party was founded by the Anglo-French multi-millionaire businessman and politician James Goldsmith in November 1994. The party's structure was centralised and hierarchical, giving Goldsmith near total control over its operations. Although not offering party membership, it claimed to have 160,000 registered "supporters", an exaggerated number. In 1997, the party gained a Member of Parliament (MP) for two weeks when George Gardiner, the MP for Reigate, defected to it from the Conservatives shortly before that year's general election. In the build-up to the 1997 general election, the Referendum Party spent more on press advertising than either the incumbent Conservatives or their main rival, the Labour Party. It stood candidates in 547 constituencies, more than any minor party had ever fielded in a UK election. Ultimately, it gained 811,827 votes, representing 2.6% of the national total. Support was strongest in southern and eastern England, and weakest in inner London, northern England, and Scotland. The party failed to win any seats in the House of Commons. Following the election, psephologists argued that the impact of the Referendum Party deprived Conservative candidates of victory in somewhere between four and sixteen parliamentary seats. In the months following the election, the party renamed itself the Referendum Movement. Goldsmith died in July 1997, and the party disbanded shortly after.
- The sea mink (nominated by Dunkleosteus77) is a recently extinct species of carnivore from the eastern coast of North America. The only known remains are fragments unearthed in Native American shell middens. Its actual size is speculative, based largely on tooth remains. The sea mink was first described in 1903, after its extinction; information regarding its external appearance and habits stem from speculation and from accounts made by fur traders and Native Americans. It may have exhibited behavior similar to the American mink, in that it probably maintained home ranges, was polygynandrous, and had a similar diet, though more seaward-oriented. It was probably found on the New England coast and the Maritime Provinces, though its range may have stretched further south during the last glacial period. Conversely, its range may have been restricted solely to the New England coast, specifically the Gulf of Maine, or just to nearby islands. Largest of the minks, the sea mink was more desirable to fur traders and became extinct in the late 1800s or the early 1900s.
- Miriam Makeba (nominated by Vanamonde) also known as Mama Africa, was a South African singer, actor, United Nations goodwill ambassador, and civil rights activist. Associated with musical genres including Afropop, jazz, and world music, she was an advocate against apartheid and white-minority government in South Africa. Makeba was among the first African musicians to receive worldwide recognition. She brought African music to a Western audience, and popularised the world music and Afropop genres. She also made popular several songs critical of apartheid, and became a symbol of opposition to the system, particularly after her right to return was revoked. Upon her death, former South African President Nelson Mandela said that "her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us."
- The birthday-number effect (nominated by Edwininlondon) is the unconscious tendency of people to prefer the numbers in the date of their birthday over other numbers. First reported in 1997 by Japanese psychologists Shinobu Kitayama and Mayumi Karasawa, the birthday-number effect has been replicated in various countries. It holds across age and gender. The effect is most prominent for numbers over 12.
- List of Pokémon (nominated by Cyclonebiskit) is an inspiring display of piquant table formatting and undoubtedly a trip down memory lane for those aficionados who want to remember their past-times with fondness. Probably the most thorough list on the topic.
- List of NASCAR race wins by Jeff Gordon (nominated by Bcschneider53) who drove in the Cup Series full-time from 1993 to 2015. In 1992, Rick Hendrick watched Gordon race in a Busch Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and Gordon joined Hendrick Motorsports two days later. During Gordon's career with Hendrick, he won his first race in 1994 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600, and later became a four-time Cup Series champion. He also won the Daytona 500 three times, in 1997, 1999, and 2005. As of 2017, he ranks third on the all-time Cup wins list with 93 career wins, the most in NASCAR's modern era (1972–present). Over the course of his racing career, Gordon won a total of 98 NASCAR races, including five races in the Busch Series. His final NASCAR victory came at Martinsville Speedway in 2015 in the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500.
- List of tallest buildings in Houston (nominated by Sandvich18) over 427 feet (130 m), 35 of which stand taller than 492 feet (150 m). The tallest building in the city is the JPMorgan Chase Tower, which rises 1,002 feet (305 m) in Downtown Houston and was completed in 1982. It also stands as the tallest building in Texas and the 16th-tallest building in the United States. The second-tallest skyscraper in the city is the Wells Fargo Plaza, which rises 992 feet (302 m) and was completed in 1983. The history of skyscrapers in the city began with the construction of the original Binz Building in 1895. This building, rising six floors, is often regarded as the first skyscraper in Houston; it was demolished in 1951 to allow for the construction of a more modern building of the same name, which was in turn replaced by another, 14-floor-tall high-rise that also kept the original name. Houston's first building standing more than 492 feet (150 m) was the El Paso Energy Building, completed in 1962.
- List of India women Twenty20 International cricketers (nominated by Vensatry) documents the 20 overs-per-side cricket match played in a maximum of 150 minutes between two representative teams, each having WT20I status as determined by the International Cricket Council (ICC), and is played under the rules of Twenty20 cricket. Though cricket may not be a sport that is played globally, this list article organizes an impressive roster of female cricket players who all are notable and linked to articles on each one of them.
- List of Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015 TV series) episodes (nominated by PanagiotisZois), a globally-viewed animated cartoon series that began online December 31, 2014, in China (excluding Hong Kong). It then appeared on television February 9, 2015, on Canal J in France. Cartoon Network began broadcasting the series on March 14, 2015. The lovable transformer, Bumblebee, is the main character and performs the role of a law enforcement professional on the home world of Cybertron. The series develops from there into a visit to Earth and confrontations with the Decepticons. Of course the good guys win in the end.
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