Wikisnaps! We find what's interesting on Wikipedia, so you don't have to!

The best-known rat species are the Black Rat (Rattus rattus) and the Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus). The group is generally known as the Old World rats or true rats, and originated in Asia. Rats are bigger than most Old World mice, which are their relatives, but seldom weigh over 500 grams (1 lb) in the wild. The term "rat" is also used in the names of other small mammals which are not true rats. Examples include the North American pack rats, a number of species loosely called kangaroo rats, and others. Rats such as the Bandicoot rat (Bandicota bengalensis) are murine rodents related to true rats, but are not members of the genus Rattus. Male rats are called bucks, unmated females are called does, pregnant or parent females are called dams, and infants are called kittens or pups. A group of rats is either referred to as a pack or a mischief. Domestic rats differ from wild rats in many ways. They are calmer and less likely to bite; they can tolerate greater crowding; they breed earlier and produce more offspring; and their brains, livers, kidneys, adrenal glands, and hearts are smaller . Wild rats can carry many different "zoonotic" pathogens, such as e.g. Leptospira, Toxoplasma gondii and Campylobacter, and may transfer these across species, for example to humans. The Black Death is traditionally believed to have been caused by the micro-organism Yersinia pestis, carried by the Tropical Rat Flea which preyed on Black Rat living in European cities during the epidemic outbreaks of the Middle Ages; these rats were used as transport hosts. Today, this cycle still exists in many countries of the world and plague outbreaks still occur every year. The normal lifespan of rats ranges from two to five years, and is typically three years. Rats are edible by humans and are sometimes captured and eaten in emergency situations. For some cultures, rats are considered a staple. Bandicoot rats are an important food source among some peoples in Southeast Asia. Reasons why rat meat is not more widely eaten include the strong proscription against it in Halal and Kashrut tradition, and the fact that eating rat is not socially accepted in many cultures. Another argument against eating rat is the risk of Weil's disease: the British SAS's rule book lists rat as the only meat which its members in action are not allowed to eat. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]

The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is an American single-engine, high-performance, supersonic interceptor aircraft that served with the United States Air Force (USAF) from 1958 until 1969. One of the Century Series of aircraft, it continued in service with Air National Guard units until it was phased out in 1975. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) flew a small mixed fleet of F-104 types in supersonic flight tests and spaceflight programs until they were retired in 1994. USAF F-104Cs saw service during the Vietnam War, and F-104A aircraft were deployed by Pakistan briefly during the Indo-Pakistani wars. Republic of China Air Force (Taiwan) F-104s also engaged the People's Liberation Army Air Force (mainland China) over the disputed island of Kinmen. The ultimate production version of the basic fighter-model F-104 was the F-104S all-weather interceptor designed by Aeritalia for the Italian Air Force, and equipped with radar-guided AIM-7 Sparrow missiles. An advanced F-104 with a high-mounted wing, known as the CL-1200 Lancer, did not proceed past the mock-up stage. A set of modifications produced the F-104G model, which won a NATO competition for a new fighter-bomber. Several two-seat trainer versions were also produced, the most numerous being the TF-104G. A total of 2,578 Starfighters were eventually produced, mostly by NATO members. The F-104 served with the air forces of over a dozen nations. The operational service of the Starfighter ended with its retirement by the Italian Air Force in May 2004, some 46 years after its introduction in 1958 by the USAF. The safety record of the F-104 Starfighter became high-profile news especially in Germany in the mid-1960s, and lingers in the minds of the public even to this day. Some operators lost a large proportion of their aircraft through accidents, although the accident rate varied widely depending on the user and operating conditions; the Luftwaffe lost about 30% of aircraft in accidents over its operating career, and Canada lost over 50% of its F-104s. The Spanish Air Force, however, lost none. The Starfighter was a particular favorite of the Aeronautica Militare Italiana (Italian Air Force), although the AMI's accident rate was far from the lowest of Starfighter users. Since being withdrawn from service the Starfighter has been preserved in museums and is a popular Gate guardian. In late 2010 the Dutch Defence Department announced it would take back J79 engines (as well the Northrop NF-5's J85 engines) that were donated to museums and for educational purposes due to nuclear and asbestos hazards. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]

A plasma display panel (PDP) is a type of flat panel display common to large TV displays 30 inches (76 cm) or larger. They are called "plasma" displays because the technology utilizes small cells containing electrically charged ionized gases, or what are in essence chambers more commonly known as fluorescent lamps. Plasma displays are bright (1,000 lux or higher for the module), have a wide color gamut, and can be produced in fairly large sizes—up to 150 inches (3.8 m) diagonally. They have a very low-luminance "dark-room" black level compared to the lighter grey of the unilluminated parts of an LCD screen (i.e. the blacks are blacker on plasmas and greyer on LCDs). LED-backlit LCD televisions have been developed to reduce this distinction. The display panel itself is about 6 cm (2.5 inches) thick, generally allowing the device's total thickness (including electronics) to be less than 10 cm (4 inches). Plasma displays use as much power per square meter as a CRT or an AMLCD television. Power consumption varies greatly with picture content, with bright scenes drawing significantly more power than darker ones – this is also true of CRTs. Typical power consumption is 400 watts for a 50-inch (127 cm) screen. 200 to 310 watts for a 50-inch (127 cm) display when set to cinema mode. Most screens are set to 'shop' mode by default, which draws at least twice the power (around 500–700 watts) of a 'home' setting of less extreme brightness. Panasonic states that PDPs will consume only half the power of their previous series of plasma sets to achieve the same overall brightness for a given display size. The lifetime of the latest generation of plasma displays is estimated at 100,000 hours of actual display time, or 27 years at 10 hours per day. This is the estimated time over which maximum picture brightness degrades to half the original value. Plasma display screens are made from glass, which reflects more light than the material used to make an LCD screen. This causes glare from reflected objects in the viewing area. Companies such as Panasonic coat their newer plasma screens with an anti-glare filter material. Currently, plasma panels cannot be economically manufactured in screen sizes smaller than 32 inches. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]

The Atlantic goliath grouper or itajara (Epinephelus itajara) is a large saltwater fish of the grouper family. It is commonly known as the jewfish; however, in 2001 the Committee on Names of Fishes, a seven-member joint committee of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists and the American Fisheries Society made the decision to change the name to "Goliath Grouper". Genus Epinephelus also includes the Pacific goliath grouper. The goliath grouper is found primarily in shallow tropical waters among coral and artificial reefs at depths of up to 165 feet. Their range includes the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, most of the Caribbean, and practically all of the Brazilian coast, where they are known as mero. On some occasions it is caught in New England off Maine and Massachusetts but it is not that common. In the eastern Atlantic Ocean, it occurs from Congo to Senegal. Young grouper may live in brackish estuaries, canals, and mangrove swamps, unusual behavior among grouper. They may reach extremely large sizes, growing to lengths of 8.2 feet and can weigh as much as 800 pounds. The world record for a hook and line captured specimen is 680 pounds, caught off Fernandina Beach, Florida, in 1961. They are usually around 400 lb when mature. Considered of fine food quality, the goliath grouper were a highly sought after quarry for fishermen of all types. The goliath grouper's inquisitive and generally fearless nature make it a relatively easy prey for spear fishermen. They also tend to spawn in large aggregations returning like clockwork to the same locations making them particularly vulnerable to mass harvesting. Until a harvest ban was placed on the species, the species was in rapid decline. The goliath grouper is entirely protected from harvest and is recognized as a critically endangered species by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). The U.S. began protection in 1990 and the Caribbean in 1993. The species' population has been recovering since the ban, however with the fish's slow growth rate it will take some time for populations to return to their previous levels. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE] is not affiliated with or endorsed by wikipedia. wikipedia and the wikipedia globe are registered trademarks of
article content reproduced in compliance with wikipedia's copyright policy and gnu free documentation license
view our privacy policy and terms of service here