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The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the "death strip") that contained anti-vehicle trenches, "fakir beds" and other defenses. The Soviet-dominated Eastern Bloc officially claimed that the wall was erected to protect its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the "will of the people" in building a socialist state in East Germany. However, in practice, the Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection that marked Germany and the communist Eastern Bloc during the post-World War II period. The Berlin Wall was officially referred to as the "Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart" (German: Antifaschistischer Schutzwall) by GDR authorities, implying that neighbouring West Germany had not been fully de-Nazified. The West Berlin city government sometimes referred to it as the "Wall of Shame"—a term coined by mayor Willy Brandt—while condemning the Wall's restriction on freedom of movement. Along with the separate and much longer Inner German border (IGB) that demarcated the border between East and West Germany, both borders came to symbolize the "Iron Curtain" that separated Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. Before the Wall's erection, 3.5 million East Germans circumvented Eastern Bloc emigration restrictions and defected from the GDR, many by crossing over the border from East Berlin into West Berlin, from where they could then travel to West Germany and other Western European countries. Between 1961 and 1989, the wall prevented almost all such emigration. During this period, around 5,000 people attempted to escape over the wall, with estimates of the resulting death toll varying between 100 and 200. In 1989, a radical series of political changes occurred in the Eastern Bloc, associated with the liberalization of the Eastern Bloc's authoritarian systems and the erosion of political power in the pro-Soviet governments in nearby Poland and Hungary. After several weeks of civil unrest, the East German government announced on 9 November 1989 that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. Over the next few weeks, a euphoric public and souvenir hunters chipped away parts of the wall; the governments later used industrial equipment to remove most of the rest. The fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for German reunification, which was formally concluded on 3 October 1990. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





Dung beetles are beetles that feed partly or exclusively on feces. All of these species belong to the superfamily Scarabaeoidea; most of them to the subfamilies Scarabaeinae and Aphodiinae of the family Scarabaeidae. This beetle can also be referred to as the scarab beetle. As most species of Scarabaeinae feed exclusively on faeces, that subfamily is often dubbed true dung beetles. There are dung-feeding beetles which belong to other families, such as the Geotrupidae (the earth-boring dung beetle). The Scarabaeinae alone comprises more than 5,000 species. Many dung beetles, known as rollers, are noted for rolling dung into spherical balls, which are used as a food source or brooding chambers. Other dung beetles, known as tunnelers, bury the dung wherever they find it. A third group, the dwellers, neither roll nor burrow: they simply live in manure. They are usually attracted by the dung burrowing owls collect. Dung beetles play a remarkable role in agriculture. By burying and consuming dung, they improve nutrient recycling and soil structure. They also protect livestock, such as cattle, by removing the dung which, if left, could provide habitat for pests such as flies. Most dung beetles search for dung using their sensitive sense of smell. Some of the smaller species, however, simply attach themselves to the dung-providers to wait for their reward. After capturing the dung, a dung beetle will roll it, following a straight line despite all obstacles. Sometimes dung beetles will try to steal the dung ball of another beetle, so the dung beetles have to move rapidly away from a dung pile once they have rolled their ball to prevent it from being stolen. Dung beetles can roll up to 50 times their weight. In 2003, researchers found that one species of dung beetle (the African Scarabaeus zambesianus) navigates by using polarization patterns in moonlight. The discovery is the first proof that any animal can use polarized moonlight for orientation. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



The Brazilian wandering spiders, or banana spiders (not to be confused with the relatively harmless species of the genus Nephila) are a genus of aggressive and highly venomous spiders found in tropical South and Central America. The Brazilian wandering spiders appear in Guinness World Records 2010 as the world's most venomous spider. P. nigriventer is the most venomous species of spider. Its venom contains a potent neurotoxin, known as PhTx3, which acts as a broad-spectrum calcium channel blocker that inhibits glutamate release, calcium uptake and also glutamate uptake in neural synapses. At deadly concentrations, this neurotoxin causes loss of muscle control and breathing problems, resulting in paralysis and eventual asphyxiation. In addition, the venom causes intense pain and inflammation following an attack due to an excitatory effect the venom has on the serotonin 5-HT4 receptors of sensory nerves. This sensory nerve stimulation causes a release of neuropeptides such as substance P which triggers inflammation and pain. Aside from causing intense pain, the venom of the spider can also cause priapism in humans. Erections resulting from the bite are uncomfortable, can last for many hours and can lead to impotence. A component of the venom (Tx2-6) is being studied for use in erectile dysfunction treatments. Spider mouthparts are adapted to envenomate very small prey: They are not well-adapted to attacking large mammals such as humans. A study in March 2009 suggests that Phoneutria inject venom in approximately one-third of their bites, and only a small quantity in one-third of those cases. Research in this area is hindered by the difficulty of identifying particular species. The spider's wandering nature is another reason it is considered so dangerous. In densely populated areas, Phoneutria species usually search for cover and dark places to hide during daytime, leading it to hide within houses, clothes, cars, boots, boxes and log piles, thus generating accidents when people disturb it. Its other common name "banana spider" is attributed, because of its tendency to hide in banana bunches on plantations, and is occasionally found as a stowaway within shipments of bananas. These spiders can also appear in banana crates sent to grocery stores and bulk food centers around the world. One such instance happened with a shipment of bananas arriving at Bridgwater, England, when a man was bitten by a P. fera; however, due to quick medical care he survived, taking nearly a week to recover from the bite following treatment. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





The Boeing 777 is a long-range, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It is the world's largest twinjet and is commonly referred to as the "Triple Seven". The aircraft has seating for over 300 passengers and has a range from 5,235 to 9,380 nautical miles, depending on model. Its distinguishing features include the largest-diameter turbofan engines of any aircraft, six wheels on each main landing gear, a circular fuselage cross-section, and blade-shaped tail cone. Developed in consultation with eight major airlines, the 777 was designed to replace older wide-body airliners and bridge the capacity difference between the 767 and 747. As Boeing's first fly-by-wire airliner, it has computer mediated controls; it is also the first entirely computer-designed commercial aircraft. The 777 is produced in two fuselage lengths. The original 777-200 model first entered service in 1995, followed by the extended-range 777-200ER in 1997; the stretched 777-300, which is 33.3 ft (10.1 m) longer, began service in 1998. The longer-range 777-300ER and 777-200LR variants entered service in 2004 and 2006, respectively, while a freighter version, the 777F, debuted in 2009. Both longer-range versions and the freighter feature General Electric GE90 engines, as well as extended and raked wingtips. Other models are equipped with either the GE90, Pratt & Whitney PW4000, or Rolls-Royce Trent 800 engines. The 777-200LR is the world's longest-range airliner and holds the record for longest distance flown by an unrefueled commercial aircraft, with the demonstrated capability to fly more than halfway around the world. United Airlines first placed the 777 into commercial airline service in 1995. As of March 2011, 60 customers have placed orders for 1,209 aircraft of all variants, with 923 delivered. The most common variant used worldwide is the 777-200ER, with 415 aircraft delivered, and Emirates operates the largest 777 fleet, with 86 aircraft. The airliner has had one hull-loss accident, attributed to a Trent 800 engine fuel component, with no passenger fatalities as of 2011. Through the 2000s, the 777 has emerged as one of its manufacturer's best-selling models. Because of rising fuel costs, airlines have acquired the type as a comparatively fuel-efficient alternative to other wide-body jets and have increasingly used the aircraft on long-haul, transoceanic routes. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





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