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A banyan (also banian) is a fig that starts its life as an epiphyte when its seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree (or on structures like buildings and bridges). "Banyan" often refers specifically to the Indian Banyan or Ficus benghalensis, the National tree of India, though the term has been generalized to include all figs that share a unique life cycle, and systematically to refer to the subgenus Urostigma. The seeds of banyans are dispersed by fruit-eating birds. The seeds germinate and send down roots towards the ground, and may envelop part of the host tree or building structure with their roots, giving them the casual name of "strangler fig." The "strangling" growth habit is found in a number of tropical forest species, particularly of the genus Ficus, that compete for light. Any Ficus species showing this habit may be termed a strangler fig. The leaves of Banyan tree are large, leathery, glossy green and elliptical in shape. Like most of the fig-trees, leaf bud is covered by two large scales. As the leaf develops the scales fall. Young leaves have an attractive reddish tinge. Older banyan trees are characterized by their Aerial prop roots that grow into thick woody trunks which, with age, can become indistinguishable from the main trunk. Old trees can spread out laterally using these prop roots to cover a wide area. Like other Fig species (which includes the common edible fig Ficus carica), banyans have unique fruit structures and are dependent on fig wasps for reproduction. Proper noun Banyan refers specifically to the species F. benghalensis, which can grow into a giant tree covering several hectares. Due to the complex structure of the roots and extensive branching, the banyan is extensively used for creating Bonsai. Taiwan's oldest living bonsai is a 240-year-old banyan housed in Tainan. The largest such tree is now found in Kolkata in India. One of the most famous of banyan trees was planted on the island of Kabirvad in Gujarat. Records show that the Kabirvad tree is more than 300 years old. Another banyan tree planted by William Owen Smith in 1873 in Lahaina's Courthouse Square in Hawaii has grown to cover two-thirds of an acre. The first banyan tree in the U.S. was planted by Thomas Alva Edison in Fort Myers, Florida. The tree, originally only 4 feet (1.2 m) tall, now covers 400 feet (120 m). [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



Coffeemakers are cooking appliances used to brew coffee without having to boil water in a separate container. While there are many different types of coffeemakers using a number of different brewing principles, in the most common devices, coffee grounds are placed in a paper or metal filter inside a funnel, which is set over a glass or ceramic coffee pot. Cold water is poured into a separate chamber, which is then heated up to the boiling point, and directed into the funnel. This is also called automatic drip-brew. For hundreds of years, making a cup of coffee was a deceptively simple process. Roasted and ground coffee beans were placed in a pot or pan, to which hot water was added, followed by attachment of a lid to commence the infusion process. Throughout the 19th and even the early 20th centuries, it was considered adequate to add ground coffee to hot water in a pot or pan, boil it until it smelled right, and pour the brew into a cup. The first modern method for making coffee—drip brewing—is more than 125 years old, and its design had changed little. The biggin, originating in France ca. 1800, was a two-level pot holding coffee in an upper compartment into which water was poured, to drain through holes in the bottom of the compartment into the coffee pot below. Around the same time, a French inventor developed the "pumping percolator", in which boiling water in a bottom chamber forces itself up a tube and then trickles (percolates) through the ground coffee back into the bottom chamber. An electric drip coffee maker can also be referred to as a dripolator. It normally works by admitting water from a cold water reservoir into a flexible hose in the base of the reservoir leading directly to a thin metal tube or heating chamber (usually, of aluminum), where a heating element surrounding the metal tube heats the water. The heated water moves through the machine using the thermosiphon principle. Thermally-induced pressure and siphoning effect move the heated water through an insulated rubber or vinyl riser hose, into a spray head, and onto the ground coffee, which is contained in a brew basket mounted below the spray head. The coffee passes through a filter and drips down into the carafe. A one-way aromalock valve in the tubing prevents water from siphoning back into the reservoir. A thermostat attached to the heating element turns off the heating element as needed to prevent overheating the water in the metal tube (overheating would produce only steam in the supply hose), then turns back on when the water cools below a certain threshold. For a standard 10-12 cup drip coffeemaker, using a more powerful thermostatically-controlled heating element (in terms of wattage produced), can heat increased amounts of water more quickly using larger heating chambers, generally producing higher average water temperatures at the spray head over the entire brewing cycle. This process can be further improved by changing the aluminum construction of most heating chambers to a metal with superior heat transfer qualities, such as copper. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



The Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) is a series of vehicles manufactured by BAE Systems Land and Armaments based on a common chassis, which vary by payload and mission requirements. The FMTV were derived from the Austrian military truck Steyr 12M18. The Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV) has a 2.5-ton capacity (cargo and van models). The Medium Tactical Vehicle (MTV) has a 5-ton capacity (cargo and long-wheelbase cargo with and without material handling equipment, tractor, van, wrecker, and dump truck models). Three truck variants and two companion trailers, with the same cube and payload capacity as their prime movers, provide air drop capability. M1078s have been deployed to Iraq with armored cabs with roof gun mounts with shields, similar to those fitted on humvees and M113s. The cab-over FMTV replaces obsolete and maintenance-intensive 2.5 ton and 5 ton M35 and M939 series of trucks previously in the fleet and performs local and line haul, unit mobility, unit resupply, and other missions in combat, combat support and combat service support units. It is rapidly deployable worldwide and operates on primary and secondary roads, trails, and cross-country terrain, in all climatic conditions. Commonality of parts across truck chassis variants significantly reduces the logistics burden and operating and support costs. New vehicle applications are being developed to meet new requirements. The FMTV A1 series includes a 1999 Environmental Protection Agency-certified engine, upgraded transmission, electronic data bus, an anti-lock brake system and interactive electronic technical manuals. The FMTV shares its drivetrain with the Caiman MRAP vehicle. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





Möbius syndrome is an extremely rare congenital neurological disorder which is characterized by facial paralysis and the inability to move the eyes from side to side. Most people with Möbius syndrome are born with complete facial paralysis and cannot close their eyes or form facial expressions. Limb and chest wall abnormalities sometimes occur with the syndrome. Most people with Möbius syndrome have normal intelligence, although their lack of facial expression is sometimes incorrectly taken to be due to dullness or unfriendliness. It is named for Paul Julius Möbius, a neurologist who first described the syndrome in 1888. It is estimated that there are, on average, 2 to 20 cases of Möbius syndrome per million births. Although its rarity often leads to late diagnosis, infants with this disorder can be identified at birth by a "mask-like" lack of expression that is detectable during crying or laughing and by an inability to suck while nursing because of paresis (palsy) of the sixth and seventh cranial nerves. Also, because a person with Möbius syndrome cannot follow objects by moving their eyes from side to side, they turn their head instead. There is no single course of medical treatment or cure for Möbius syndrome. Treatment is supportive and in accordance with symptoms. If they have difficulty nursing, infants may require feeding tubes or special bottles to maintain sufficient nutrition. Physical, occupational, and speech therapy can improve motor skills and coordination and can lead to better control of speaking and eating abilities. Often, frequent lubrication with eye drops is sufficient to combat dry eye that results from impaired blinking. Surgery can correct crossed eyes, protect the cornea via tarsorraphy, and improve limb and jaw deformities. Sometimes called "smile surgery" by the media, muscle transfers grafted from the thigh to the corners of the mouth can be performed to provide the ability to smile. Although "smile surgery" may provide the ability to smile, the procedure is complex and can take twelve hours for each side of the face. Also, the surgery cannot be considered a "cure" for Möbius syndrome, because it does not improve the ability to form other facial expressions. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



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