Elephants are amongst the world's most intelligent species. With a mass of just over 11 pounds elephant brains are larger than those of any other land animal, and although the largest whales have body masses twenty fold those of a typical elephant, whale brains are barely twice the mass of an elephant's brain.
The elephant's brain is similar to that of humans in terms of structure and complexity—such as the elephant's cortex having as many neurons as a human brain, suggesting convergent evolution. Elephants exhibit a wide variety of behaviors, including those associated with grief, learning, allomothering, mimicry, play, altruism, use of tools, compassion, cooperation, self-awareness, memory and possibly language.
All indicate that elephants are highly intelligent; it is thought they are equal with cetaceans, and primates in this regard. Due to the high intelligence and strong family ties of elephants, some researchers argue it is morally wrong for humans to cull them.
Sagrada Família is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Although incomplete, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in November 2010 was consecrated and proclaimed a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI.
Though construction of Sagrada Família had commenced in 1882, Gaudí became involved in 1883, taking over the project and transforming it with his architectural and engineering style—combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted his last years to the project, and at the time of his death at age 73 in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete. Sagrada Família's construction progressed slowly, as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War—only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s.
Construction passed the halfway point in 2010 with some of the project's greatest challenges remaining and an anticipated completion date of 2026; the centennial of Gaudí's death. The basílica has a long history of dividing the citizens of Barcelona; over the initial possibility it might compete with Barcelona's cathedral, over Gaudí's design itself, over the possibility that work after Gaudí's death disregarded his design, and the recent possibility that an underground tunnel of Spain's high-speed rail link to France could disturb it's stability.
Describing Sagrada Família, art critic Rainer Zerbst said "it is probably impossible to find a church building anything like it in the entire history of art" and Paul Goldberger called it "the most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages.
An executive beat Bill Gates at a game 35/37 times. When they met again, Gates had studied the game and beat him every single time!
From Microsoft's founding in 1975 until 2006, Gates had primary responsibility for the company's product strategy. He aggressively broadened the company's range of products, and wherever Microsoft achieved a dominant position he vigorously defended it.
He gained a reputation for being distant to others; as early as 1981 an industry executive complained in public that "Gates is notorious for not being reachable by phone and for not returning phone calls."
Another executive recalled that after he showed Gates a video game and defeated him 35 of 37 times. When they met again a month later Gates "won or tied every game. He had studied the game until he solved it. That is a competitor."
Blowing from a gun is a method of execution in which the victim is typically tied to the mouth of a cannon and the cannon is fired. Blowing from a gun as a method of execution was used, perhaps most well known, by British troops during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
The British, however, had a long tradition prior to the 1857 rebellion to execute Indian soldiers found guilty of mutiny or desertion in this manner. According to one historian, the British tradition began in 1760, when the government examined the modes of capital punishments in use. In the district of the 24 Perganas, it was found that the common military mode of capital punishment was flogging to death.
Regarding blowing from a gun as an old Mogul punishment, the Government opted for this technique, as being, relative to death by flogging, more deterrent, more public and more humane. Already in 1761, orders were given in Lakhipur "to fire off at the mouth of a cannon the leader of the thieves who was made prisoner, that others may be deterred".
Audie Leon Murphy was one of the most famous and decorated American combat soldiers of World War II. He served in the Mediterranean and European Theater of Operations where he was presented the Medal of Honor and several other decorations for heroism in combat including decorations from France and Belgium.
Murphy, who seized the machine gun of a burning M10 tank destroyer and took on an entire company of German infantry said he did it because "They were killing my friends". He lied about his age to enlist in the military and follow his dream of becoming a soldier. He was only 19 years old when he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Murphy always maintained that the medals belonged to his entire military unit. His postwar stress caused him to sleep with a loaded gun under his pillow, looking for solace in addictive sleeping pills.
Murphy drew public attention to what would in later wars be labeled post-traumatic stress disorder. The Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital in San Antonio is named for him. In his postwar civilian life, Murphy enjoyed a two-decade career as actor. He played himself in the 1955 autobiographical To Hell and Back based on his 1949 memoir of the same name. Most of his 44 films were Westerns. He made guest appearances on celebrity television shows and starred in the television series Whispering Smith. As a song writer, he penned the successful "Shutters and Boards".
He bred quarter horses in California and Arizona, and became a regular participant in horse racing. In the last few years of his life, his film career took a downturn and he found himself plagued with money problems. But he remained aware of his role model influence and refused offers for alcohol and cigarette commercials. Murphy died in a plane crash in Virginia in 1971, just 23 days before what would have been his 46th birthday.