--------------------------- TÌM KIẾM TRÊN BLOG NÀY BẰNG GOOGLE SEARCH ----------------------------


Click phải, chọn open link in New tab, chọn ngôn ngữ trên giao diện mới, dán văn bản vào và Click SAY – văn bản sẽ được đọc với các thứ tiếng theo hai giọng nam và nữ (chọn male/female)



150 ECG - 150 ĐTĐ - HAMPTON - 4th ED.


Sunday, February 20, 2011


Smiling Sun & Flowers "SMILING S
I was 18 years old — determined it was time to spread my wings, to set out on my own, to get my own place. So, this particular art show was more fun than most.
I looked around through my most critical eye for just the right piece to put in the new apartment I was going to rent.
Many of the pieces I saw were beautiful, but far too expensive for someone with more dreams than money.
However, one picture caught my eye. It was a bright yellow sun in a faded red frame — fairly abstract, more cartoon than art.
A face was painted on the sun ... blue eyes, big red mouth, turned upwards in a smile. It was happy, and looking at it made me happy.
A name was scrawled in the bottom left corner ... "Billy Williams."
Stepping back a little to study it further, I told myself I’d never spend money on a painting like that, because after all, I could paint one just like it if I really wanted one.
There didn’t seem to be a lot of artistic talent, and in fact, it looked like a child had done it. If a child could do something that caught my attention, I could do the same thing, only better! Yeah. That’s what I’d do. I’d paint my own sun picture!
As I began to move away from the booth, something caught my ear. Was someone talking to me? I didn’t see anyone.
I stopped and looked at the picture again. This time, I saw a fellow in a wheelchair trying to get my attention.
"Like it?" I thought I heard him ask. It was hard for me to hear him. The tent was crowded and very loud. I moved closer to the man.
"Do I like it? Yes, I really do, but..." He started talking again, but it was hard for me to understand him.
He talked very softly and slowly, drawing his words out to the point where my mind had a hard time following them.
"I liiiiike to paaaaaint," he said.
"Really?" I asked, noticing for the first time that there were many other paintings in his booth.
"I like your paintings very much," I continued. "How do you come up with so many things to paint?"
"It’s eeeeasy," he replied. "Aaaanyone can dooooo it. All youuu have to dooooo is get an ideeeeea in your heeeead, deciiiiide what you waaant to do, and dooooo it."
He then shared with me how he had painted the sun picture. The entire conversation took about 15 minutes.
Fifteen painful minutes. As he struggled to get the words out and I struggled to understand them, I learned a lesson I have never forgotten.
"How much for this painting?" I asked.
"Fiiiiive dollaaaaars," was the reply. I gave him the $5.00, put my prize under my arm, and left.
It had taken Billy Williams 15 painful minutes to teach me a lesson that I’ve kept close to my heart for the rest of my life. This awkward-looking young man, hands gnarled, legs twisted, tongue thick, had broken the code on a part of life I hadn’t even known existed.
The man who made one of the greatest impacts on my life is someone who will never know it. I’ve never seen him again.
He would never be able to overcome his physical challenges, but he had learned to deal with them.
He had learned that doing what he wanted to do was simply a matter of getting an idea, deciding what he wanted the outcome to look like, and making it happen.
He said anyone could do it. He was right.

Happiness - Hạnh phúc

Happiness - Hạnh phúc

I’ve spent years studying happiness and one of the most significant conclusions I’ve drawn is this: there is little correlation between the circumstances of people’s lives and how happy they are. A moment’s reflection should make this obvious. We all know people who have had a relatively easy life yet are essentially unhappy. And we know people who have suffered a great deal but generally remain happy.

  The first secret is gratitude. All happy people are grateful. Ungrateful people cannot be happy (Dennis Prager). We tend to think that being unhappy leads people to complain but it’s truer to say that complaining leads people to unhappiness. The second secret is realizing that happiness is a byproduct of something else. The most obvious sources are those pursuits that give our lives purposes - anything from studying insects to playing baseball. The more passions we have the more happiness we’re likely to experience.

Tôi đã dành nhiều năm nghiên cứu hạnh phúc, và một trong những kết luận quan trọng nhất mà tôi đã rút ra là: có rất ít sự tương quan giữa hoàn cảnh sống của con người và mức độ hạnh phúc. Một chút suy nghĩ lại hẳn cũng làm sáng tỏ vấn đề. Chúng ta đều biết rằng những người đã có một cuộc sống tương đối dễ dàng về cơ bản không hạnh phúc. Và chúng ta cũng biết những người vất vả rất nhiều nhưng nhìn chung vẫn thấy hạnh phúc.

Bí quyết hạnh phúc đầu tiên là lòng biết ơn. Tất cả mọi người hạnh phúc đều có lòng biết ơn (Dennis Prager). Người vô ơn không thể có hạnh phúc. Chúng ta có khuynh hướng cho rằng không hạnh phúc dẫn người ta đến chỗ than phiền, nhưng nói đúng hơn là than phiền dẫn người ta đến chỗ bất hạnh. Bí quyết thứ hai là phải nhận thức rằng hạnh phúc mà là một sản phẩm phụ của một cái khác. Dẫn chứng rõ ràng nhất là những theo đuổi mà làm cho cuộc sống của chúng tôi có mục đích - bất cứ mục đích gì từ việc nghiên cứu côn trùng đến chơi bóng chày. Càng có nhiều đam mê, chúng ta càng có nhiều khả năng trải nghiệm hạnh phúc.

Who put the 'butter' in 'butterfly'? - Nguồn gốc từ 'butterfly' (bướm)

Who put the 'butter' in 'butterfly'?

Vladimir Nabokov

Glass Wing ButterflyGlasswing Butterfly

How charming is the butterfly! Symbol of the soul to the ancient
Egyptians, a symbol of the gentle west wind Psyche to the Greeks
and Romans, a lifelong study of the late Vladimir Nabokov,
and the delight of tourists who watch the masses of monarchs
in springtime on the Monterey peninsula in California, the
butterfly has fascinated humankind for thousands of years.
And it has also generated its share of misinformation.

The English common name did originate from the relatively
simple combination of “butter” and “fly,” there’s an Old English
citation for "buttorfleoge," because butterflies we thought to steal milk.

Where, then, does the "butter" of butterfly come from?
About this there are three theories. One, basing itself on an
archaic Dutch word for butterfly, 'boterschijte' is that this
reflects the color of a butterfly's bowel movements. The
problem with this, of course, is that other than to
void excess water, butterflies do not excrete!

A second explanation, i.e., that males of the common
brimstone butterfly (Gonepteryx rhamni, Pieridae) of England
are a buttery yellow, doesn't make much sense either:
Why name butterflies just for the yellow ones?

A third theory holds that, in medieval folklore, butterflies
were believed to be disguised witches or fairies who stole
butter from pantries and churns. The belief in butter-stealing
fairies still existed in England at the time of Shakespeare,
in whose "Midsummer Night's Dream" a fairy asks Puck:

"Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite
Call'd Robin Goodfellow: are you not he
That fright the maidens of the villagery;
Skim milk; and sometimes labour in the quern,
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn;
And sometimes make the drink bear no barm;
Misleed night-wanderers, laughing at their harm?
Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck,
You do their work, and they shall have good luck."
(... The housewife churns "bootlessly" because Puck has stolen her butter.)
In some cultures the butterfly can symbolize transformation or rebirth
into a new life after being inside a cocoon-like existence for a while.
One Japanese superstition says that if a butterfly enters your guestroom
and perches behind the bamboo screen, the person whom you most
love is coming to see you. In Chinese culture two butterflies flying together
is a symbolism for a loving couple, as related in a famous Chinese folk story
called Butterfly Lovers (a Chinese Romeo and Juliet). The Taoist philosopher
Chuang Tzu once had a dream of being a butterfly flying around without any
cares about humanity. When he woke up and realized it was just a dream,
he thought to himself "Was I before a man who dreamt about being a
butterfly, or am I now a butterfly who dreams about being a man?"

Glass-wing Butterfly

What's the Origin of April Fool's Day? - Nguồn gốc của ngày Cá Tháng Tư

Origin April Fool

What's the Origin of April Fool's Day?

Throughout antiquity numerous festivals included celebrations of foolery and trickery. The Saturnalia, a Roman winter festival observed at the end of December, was the most important of these. It involved dancing, drinking, and general merrymaking. People exchanged gifts, slaves were allowed to pretend that they ruled their masters, and a mock king, the Saturnalicius princeps (or Lord of Misrule), reigned for the day. By the fourth century AD the Saturnalia had transformed into a January 1 New Year's Day celebration, and many of its traditions were incorporated into the observance of Christmas. In late March the Romans honored the resurrection of Attis, son of the Great Mother Cybele, with the Hilaria celebration. This involved rejoicing and the donning of disguises. Further afield in India there was Holi, known as the festival of color, during which street celebrants threw tinted powders at each other, until everyone was covered in garish colors from head to toe. This holiday was held on the full-moon day of the Hindu month of Phalguna (usually the end of February or the beginning of March). Northern Europeans observed an ancient festival to honor Lud, a Celtic god of humor. And there were also popular Northern European customs that made sport of the hierarchy of the Druids. All of these celebrations could have served as precedents for April Fool's Day.

Festus Fatuorum

During the middle ages, a number of celebrations developed which served as direct predecessors to April Fool's Day. The most important of these was the Festus Fatuorum (the Feast of Fools) which evolved out of the Saturnalia. On this day (mostly observed in France) celebrants elected a mock pope and parodied church rituals. The church, of course, did its best to discourage this holiday, but it lingered on until the sixteenth century. Following the suppression of the Feast of Fools, merrymakers focused their attention on Mardi Gras and Carnival. There was also the medieval figure of the Fool, the symbolic patron saint of the day. Fools became prominent in late medieval Europe, practicing their craft in a variety of settings such as town squares and royal courts. Their distinctive dress remains well known today: multicolored robe, horned hat, and scepter and bauble.

Gotham fool

Anthropologists and cultural historians provide their own explanations for the rise of April Fool's Day. According to them, the celebration traces its roots back to festivals marking the Vernal Equinox, or Springtime. Spring is the time of year when the weather becomes fickle, as if Nature is playing tricks on man, and festivals occurring during the Spring (such as May Day) traditionally mirrored this sense of whimsy and surprise. They often involved temporary inversions of the social order. Rules were suspended. Normal behavior no longer governed during the brief moment of transition as the old world died and the new cycle of seasons was born. Raucous partying, trickery, and the turning upside down of status expectations were all allowed. Slaves ruled their masters. Children played tricks on their parents. Anthropologists note that Spring celebrations of misrule and mayhem, such as April Fool's Day, which would appear at first glance to undermine social values of order and stability, paradoxically actually help to reaffirm these values. The celebrations act as a safety valve, giving people a chance to vent their social antagonisms in a harmless way. In addition, they give people a chance to temporarily step outside of accepted rules of behavior. People can then choose either to voluntarily return to a state of order, thereby reaffirming society's values, or to remain in a state of anarchy. Inevitably, they choose order

Poisson d'Avril

The linkage between April Foolery and the Springtime is seen in story that traces the origin of the custom back to the abundance of fish to be found in French streams and rivers during early April when the young fish had just hatched. These young fish were easy to fool with a hook and lure. Therefore, the French called them 'Poisson d'Avril' or 'April Fish.' Soon it became customary (according to this origin theory) to fool people on April 1, as a way of celebrating the abundance of foolish fish. The French still use the term 'Poisson d'Avril' to describe the unfortunate victims of April Fool's Day pranks. They also observe the custom of giving each other chocolate fish on April 1

Gregorian William Hogarth
The most widespread theory about the origin of April Fool's Day involves the Gregorian calendar reform of the late sixteenth century. Although popular, this theory has a number of problems with it. The theory goes like this: In 1582 France became the first country to switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar established by the Council of Trent (1563). This switch meant, among other things, that the beginning of the year was moved from the end of March to January 1. Those who failed to keep up with the change, who stubbornly clung to the old calendar system and continued to celebrate the New Year during the week that fell between March 25th (known in England as Lady Day) and April 1st, had various jokes played on them. For instance, pranksters would surreptitiously stick paper fish to their backs. The victims of this prank were given the epithet Poisson d'Avril, or April Fish. Thus, April Fool's Day was born. (In this illustration by William Hogarth, the leaflet lying on the ground reads, "Give us our eleven days.")

The calendar change hypothesis might provide a reason for why April 1st specifically became the date of the modern holiday. But it is clear that the idea of a springtime festival honoring misrule and mayhem had far more ancient roots. The origin of April Fool's Day remains clouded in obscurity. Basically no one knows exactly where, when, or why the celebration began. What we do know is that references to 'All Fool's Day' (what April Fool's Day was first called) began to appear in Europe during the late Middle Ages. All Fool's Day was a folk celebration and elite participation in it appears to have been minimal (which is why it's so difficult to trace the exact origin of the day, because the people celebrating it back then weren't the kind of people who kept records of what they did). But what is clear is that the tradition of a day devoted to foolery had ancient roots. As we look back in time we find many ancient predecessors of April Fool's Day.

The World's Biggest Dog Ever - Chú khuyển lớn nhất thế giới

The World's Biggest Dog Ever - Chú khuyển lớn nhất thế giới

The World's Biggest Dog Ever According to Guinness World Records

Hercules was recently awarded the honorable distinction of Worlds Biggest Dog by Guinness World Records. Hercules is an English Mastiff and has a 38 inch neck and weighs 282 pounds. With "paws the size of softballs" (reports the Boston Herald), the three-year-old monster is far larger and heavier than his breed's standard 200lb. limit. Hercules owner Mr. Flynn says that Hercules weight is natural and not induced by a bizarre diet: "I fed him normal food and he just grew".... and grew. and grew.

Chocolate Egg With Diamonds - Bánh sô-cô-la gắn kim cương

Chocolate Egg With Diamonds - Bánh sô-cô-la gắn kim cương

Unique chocolate egg with diamonds was prepared on the eve of the holiday of Easter in London. They prepared an immense chocolate egg with the cost of 87 thousand dollars and decorated with hundreds of diamonds of 0,5 carats. Chocolate, diamonds and it's not even from Tokyo. The Ł50 000 ($87,025) diamond-encrusted Easter egg is being shown off in London at La Maison du Chocolat. The Diamond Stella Egg is over in 100 half-carat diamonds and is around two feet tall. The chocolate egg came from Paris and once in London a chef melted small parts of the egg in order to attach the diamonds. The inside of the egg includes peach and apricot chocolate and pralines.

Chocolate Egg with Diamonds

Chocolate Egg with Diamonds

Chocolate Egg with Diamonds

Chocolate Egg with Diamonds

Chocolate Egg with Diamonds

10 Most Beautiful Bridges in the World - Mười chiếc cầu đẹp nhất thế giới

10 Most Beautiful Bridges in the World - Mười chiếc cầu đẹp nhất thế giới

We’ve come a long way in bridge building since crossing a river on a fallen log. The first bridges were built with wooden planks, ropes and stones. Soon, stronger material were required. Wood and stone bridges gave way to iron, then to steel ones. Bridge building techniques also evolved: beam, cantilevered, cable-stayed, and suspension bridges – each with advantages that made it the right choice for a particular location.

Political fortunes and wars have been made or lost by bridges. Throughout history, bridges had been built by engineers and burned by warriors, and crossed by kings and commoners alike. Millions of people owe their livelihood to bridges, as most require them to commute; and yet thousands of people choose to end their lives by jumping off them every year.

Bridges are stylish: from classical to modern, they are as much a work of art as they are marvels of engineering. To celebrate the wonders of "classic" bridges, here are Neatorama’s picks for the Top 10 Most Beautiful Bridges in the World:

10. Khaju Bridge

Khaju Bridge at night.

The Khaju Bridge (Pol-e-Khajoo) in Isfahan, Iran, was built in the 17th century by Shah Abbas II. The bridge also serves as a dam, with sluice gates under the archways. When the gates are closed, the water level behind the bridge is raised to irrigate gardens alongside the Zayandeh River.

The Khoju Bridge has two stories of arcades, marked by the distinctive intersecting arches decorated with richly colored tiles. At the center of the bridge, there are two large pavilions, called the Prince Parlors, that were originally reserved for the Shah.

9. Pont du Gard

Pont du Gard.

Pont du Gard, an aqueduct spanning the Gard River in southern France, is a masterpiece of Roman engineering. It wasn’t built to transport people (though there is a pedestrian footbridge on it) – instead, it was part of a complex aqueduct system that carried water over 30 miles (about 50 km) to the ancient Roman city of Nemausus (now Nîmes).

The Pont du Gard was built by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa (63 – 12 BC), the son-in-law of Caesar Augustus. The bridge’s stones, some of which weigh up to 6 tons, were cut perfectly to fit together without any mortar.

The wedge-shaped stones, known as voussoirs, were arranged in three levels, the top-most being the water conduit. So precise was the engineering that the entire system descends only 56 ft. (17 m) vertically – over 30 miles! – to deliver 5 million gallons (20,00 m3) of water to the city.

8. Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs.

In the 19th century, Lord Byron named a Venetian limestone bridge across the Rio di Palazzo connecting the Doge’s prison to the interrogation room in the main palace, the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri). Supposedly, the prisoners would sigh when they look out the window – with stone bars no less – to see their last view of beautiful Venice before their imprisonment, torture or execution.

In reality, Doge’s prison held mostly small-time criminals. Also, the bridge was built in 1600 by Antonio Contino, after the days of the inquisitions and summary executions. Legend has it that if lovers kissed on a gondola underneath the Bridge of Sighs at sunset, their love would last for eternity.

7. Iron Bridge

Iron Bridge.

Iron bridge at night. Notice how the bridge and its reflection make a perfect circle.

The Iron Bridge, spanning the Severn river in Shropshire, England, isn’t a particularly large or ornate bridge, but it does have something that made it unique: it’s the first bridge made completely out of cast iron.

In the 18th century, Shropshire was rich in iron and coal – indeed, there were more iron factories within two-mile radius of the town than any other city in the world. It was also there that iron was first smelt with coke. So it was only natural that the bridge would be made out of iron, a stronger alternative to wood. (Photo of the railing: zorro [Flickr])

Architect Thomas Farnolls Pritchard proposed a single arch bridge that would let boats pass underneath, but he died before the bridge was built. The construction of the Iron Bridge was carried out by a local master ironworker named Abraham Darby III. About 400 tons (363 tonnes) of cast iron was used, with about 800 separate castings. The Iron Bridge has 5 arch ribs, each cast in two halves. It only took three months to put the parts together (which they did using screws instead of bolts!).

The ease and speed of the Iron Bridge’s construction helped convince engineers of the versatility and strength of iron, and helped usher in the Industrial Revolution era. Darby, however, didn’t fare so well: he severely underestimated the cost to build the bridge, and remained in debt for the rest of his life. (Source)

6. Covered Bridges

The West Montrose Covered Bridge on the Grand River, Ontario, Canada. It’s known locally as the Kissing Bridge.

Pisgah Covered Bridge in southern Randolph County, North Carolina. It was washed away by a flood in 2003, but rebuilt with 90% of the original wood. It’s now one of two historic covered bridges left in the state.

Thomas Malone Covered Bridge in Beaver Creek State Park, Ohio.

Covered bridges are simply that: bridges that have enclosed sides and roof. Though technically the Bridge of Sigh, Ponte Vecchio, and the Wind and Rain Bridges in this list are covered bridges, this term usually means simple, single-lane bridges in rural settings.

Before they are made famous by the 1995 Clint Eastwood film The Bridges of Madison County, "kissing bridges" or "tunnels of love" have been the pride and joy of many small towns across Europe and especially Northern America where more than ten thousands of such bridges were built.

In the 19th century, timber was plentiful and cheap (or, in many cases, free). So it’s natural that these bridges were made of wood. But why were they covered? Well, lovers aside, the real reason was much more practical: the wooden beams of the bridge lasted longer when protected from the elements.

Unfortunately, due to neglect, theft of lumber, vandalism, and fire, most covered bridges in the United States and Canada have disappeared.

5. Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio.

Ponte Vecchio at night

The Ponte Vecchio is a medieval bridge over the Arno River. Actually, it’s much more than a bridge – it’s a street, a marketplace, and a landmark of Florence, Italy.

The Ponte Vecchio that we know today was built in 1345 by Taddeo Gaddi after an older span was destroyed in a flood. To finance the bridge, lots along the roadway were rented out to merchants, especially butchers and tanners, to hawk their wares.

In 1565, Duke Cosimo I de Medici ordered an architect named Giorgio Vasari to construct a roofed passageway. Soon after, jewelers, goldsmiths, and merchants of luxury goods pushed out the butchers out of Ponte Vecchio. Centuries of haphazard additions gave the bridge’s distinctive, irregular appearance today.

During World War II, after having survived many floods, the bridge faced its gravest threat: German bombers were blowing up bridges in Florence. It was a direct order from Hitler that spared Ponte Vecchio from certain destruction.

It is said that the word "bankruptcy" came from Ponte Vecchio. When a merchant failed to pay his debt, the table ("banco") he used to sell his wares was broken ("rotto") by soldiers. Not having a table anymore ("bancorotto"), meant the seller was bankrupt.

4. The Wind and Rain Bridge

Chengyang Bridge

The wind and rain bridges were a type of bridge built by the Dong people (a minority ethnic group) in China. Because they live in the lowlands and the valleys with many rivers, the Dong people are excellent bridge builders. They are called "wind and rain" bridges because the covered bridges not only let people cross the river, but also protect them from the elements.

The Dong people don’t use nails or rivets to build these bridges – instead, they dovetail all of the wood. The largest and most magnificent is the Chenyang Bridge, spanning the Linxi River near the Dong village of Maan. The bridge is about 100 years old, and like all wind and rain bridges, it was built without a single nail.

3. Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn Bridge at sunrise

In 1855, engineer John Roebling started to design a bridge that at the time would be the longest suspension bridge in the world, with towers being the tallest structures in the Western Hemisphere: the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

Today, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the main crossings of the East River and one of the most heavily trafficked bridges in the world. But in the late 19th century, it took Roebling more than 14 years to convince the city to build the bridge.

After he got approval, Roebling was surveying a site when his foot was crushed by a ferry. Three weeks before the scheduled groundbreaking, he died of tetanus. His son, an engineer named Washington Roebling took over the project.

In 1872, while working on caissons to set the foundation for the towers, Washington fell ill with caisson disease (a decompression sickness commonly known as "the bends") that left him barely able to see, talk, or write. His wife, Emily Warren Roebling, rose to the occasion – she learned engineering on the fly and for nine years went to the job site to deliver her husband’s directions. Washington himself was said to watch the construction from his room through a binocular.

When the Brooklyn Bridge was opened, Emily was honored with the first ride over the bridge. She held a rooster, a symbol of victory, in her lap. Washington himself rarely visited the bridge till his death in 1926.

One interesting note about the Brooklyn Bridge: it stood fast while other bridges built around the same time had crumbled. Engineers credit Roebling for designing a bridge and truss system six times as strong as he thought it needed to be!

2. Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge at twilight

Tower Bridge at night

It’s funny to think about ancient traffic jams, but that was why the Tower Bridge in London, England was built. By the end of the 19th century, the development of the eastern part of London caused such a load on the London Bridge that the city decided to build a new bridge.

Construction of the Tower Bridge started in 1886, led by architect Sir Horace Jones and engineer Sir John Wolfe Barry. The design was a bascule (draw) bridge with two towers built on piers, so the bridge wouldn’t interefere with the port facilities nearby.

A year after construction was started, Jones died and his replacement, George D. Stevenson along with Barry decided to modify the design a little bit. Instead of the original brick facade design, the Tower Bridge had a more ornate Victorian Gothic style meant to harmonize it with the nearby Tower of London.

When the bridge opened in 1894, the public was aghast. H. Heathcote Statham, Fellow of the Royal Insitute of British Architect, wrote the familiar sentiment as thus: "The Tower Bridge … represents the vice of tawdriness and pretentiousness, and of falsification of the actual facts of the structure."

But over time, people warmed up to the bridge. Indeed, the Tower Bridge grew to be one of London’s most recognizable landmarks. Even one of its loudest critics, architectural critic Eric de Maré conceded: the British people "have grown fond of the old fraud … and we must admit that it has carried on its task with admirable regularity and efficiency."

1. Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge in HDR as the first big storm of the season hits San Francisco.

Golden Gate Bridge at sunset

Golden Gate Bridge at night

The Golden Gate Bridge is such an iconic symbol of San Francisco (and of suspension bridge in general) that it’s hard to imagine a time when it didn’t exist. But before it was built, most people thought it was an impossible task.

In 1916, the idea of a bridge to cross the Golden Gate, a narrow strait that separated San Francisco Peninsula and the Marin Headlands, was conceived. Though it was almost immediately dismissed as the cost was estimated to be $100 million (astronomical for the time), a veteran bridge builder named Joseph Strauss lobbied for more than two decades to have it built.

The Golden Gate Bridge faced tough opposition: the Department of War thought it would interfere with ship traffic and the Southern Pacific Railroad opposed it as competition to its ferry service. At first, even the public didn’t like the bridge … because Strauss’ original design was deemed too ugly! But Strauss finally won, and after 22-years of drumming up support, the bridge was built.

Strauss insisted that the project take worker’s safety seriously. It was the first major bridge project that used hard hats and a safety net. During the course of construction, 19 people were saved by the net to become members of the Halfway to Hell Club.

The color of the Golden Gate Bridge is actually not red – it’s an orange vermillion called International Orange. The color was chosen specifically because it complements the bridge’s natural surrounding yet enhances its visibility in the fog.

Construction took more than four years, at a cost of $27 million. The Golden Gate Bridge actually came in $1.3 million under budget (though 5 months late). For his work, Strauss got $1 million … and a lifetime bridge pass!

Legend Of The Katana - Truyền thuyết về kiếm Katana

Legend Of The Katana - Truyền thuyết về kiếm Katana

Katana is a type of Japanese backsword or longsword. In use after the 1400s, the Katana is a curved, single-edged sword traditionally used by the samurai.

Pronounced[kah-tah-nah] in the kun'yomi (Japanese reading) of the kanji, the word has been adopted as a loan word by the English language; as Japanese does not have separate plural and singular forms, both "katanas" and "katana" are considered acceptable plural forms in English.

The katana was typically paired with the wakizashi or shoto, a similarly made but shorter sword, both worn by the members of the warrior class. It could also be worn with the tanto, an even smaller similarly shaped blade.

The two weapons together were called the daisho, and represented the social power and personal honour of the samurai. The long blade was used for open combat, while the shorter blade was considered a side arm, more suited for stabbing, close quarters combat, decapitating beaten opponents when taking heads on the battlefield, and seppuku, a form of ritual suicide.

Japanese swords are fairly common today, antique and even modern forged swords can still be found and purchased. Modern nihonto or Japanese-made swords are only made by a few hundred smiths in Japan today at contests hosted by the All Japan Swordsmiths Association.