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Miniatur Wunderland (German for miniature wonderland) is a model railway attraction in Hamburg, Germany and the largest of its kind in the world. As of January 2011, the railway consists of 12,000 metres (39,370 ft) of track in HO scale, divided into seven sections: Harz, the fictitious city of Knuffingen, the Alps and Austria, Hamburg, America, Scandinavia, and Switzerland. Of the 6,400 square metres (68,889 sq ft) of floorspace, the model takes 1,150 m2 (12,378 sq ft). By 2020, the exhibit is expected to have reached its final construction phase, including at least a total of ten sections in a model area of over 2,300 m2 (24,757 sq ft). The next section covering an airport opened in May 2011. The exhibit includes 890 trains made up of over 11,000 carriages, 300,000 lights, 215,000 trees, and 200,000 human figurines. The creators will work on models of Italy and France now that the airport section is completed. The airport is named Knuffingen International Airport and is modeled after Hamburg International Airport. Possible future additions include Africa, England, or a futuristic landscape. The construction of the first part started in December 2000 and the first three parts were completed in August 2001. The project was created by two brothers Frederik and Gerrit Braun. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





A body farm is a research facility where human decomposition can be studied in a variety of settings. The aim is to gain a better understanding of the decomposition process, permitting the development of techniques for extracting information (such as the timing and circumstances of death) from human remains. Body farm research is particularly important within forensic anthropology and related disciplines, and has applications in the fields of law enforcement and forensic science. Five such facilities exist in the United States, with the research facility operated by Texas State University at Freeman Ranch being the largest at seven acres. The original "Body Farm" is the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility located a few miles from downtown off of Alcoa Highway in Knoxville, Tennessee, behind the University of Tennessee Medical Center. It was first started in late 1981 by anthropologist Dr. William M. Bass as a facility for study of the decomposition of human remains. Dr. Bass became head of the university's anthropology department in 1971, and as official state forensic anthropologist for Tennessee he was frequently consulted in police cases involving decomposed human remains. Since no facilities existed that specifically studied decomposition, in 1981 he opened the department's first body farm. It consists of a 2.5-acre (10,000 m2) wooded plot, surrounded by a razor wire fence. At any one time there will be a number of bodies placed in different settings throughout the facility and left to decompose. The bodies are exposed in a number of ways in order to provide insights into decomposition under varying conditions. Detailed observations and records of the decomposition process are kept, including the sequence and speed of decomposition and the effects of insect activity. There have been proposals to open body farms in other locations in the U.S. and elsewhere. Few of these have been successful as yet; for example, a facility in Las Vegas was proposed in 2003 but was unable to secure funding. The Institute of Criminological and Forensic Sciences at California University of Pennsylvania has entered into an agreement to operate a remote criminal investigative and forensic anthropological research facility located approximately 45 miles (72 km) southeast of the city of Pittsburgh. The Institute has access to over 200 acres (0.81 km2) that have been generously provided by Grace Lair Farm, Inc. The site will be used for training and research in the areas of crime scene investigation and forensic anthropology. There are, however, a number of issues that need to be worked out before this facility becomes operational. Roma Khan of India is taking initial steps toward establishing a body farm in India along the lines of those in the U.S. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



MV Liberty Star is one of two NASA-owned and United Space Alliance operated merchant vessels serving as recovery ships. Each is used in retrieving spent Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB's) following the launch of Space Shuttle missions. Her sister is the MV Freedom Star. The ships were built at Atlantic Marine Shipyard on Fort George Island, Florida, and delivered in January 1981 to their original owner, United Technologies. As well as recovering the Space Shuttle SRB's Liberty Star has since 1998 been used to tow the Space Shuttle external fuel tanks from their assembly plant at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana to the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. She served a similar role in recovering the first test flight of the Ares V and was anticipated to continue recovering boosters for the Constellation program before it was canceled in 2010. The Liberty Star underwent special strengthening enhancements to withstand the greater burden of towing the external fuel tanks. The stern was strengthened at critical points, new bulwark fairings were added, and an H-bitt was installed through which cabling is threaded to keep it centered during towing operations. Also installed was a hydraulic towing winch, referred to as a double-drum waterfall winch, holding 2,000 feet (610 m) or more of wire rope on each drum. One drum supports booster retrievals while the other is devoted to external tank towing. Liberty Star has also occasionally been used to support scientific research operations including research for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and several universities. She is usually docked alongside her sister at the Solid Rocket Booster processing facility at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Each ship is propelled by two main engines providing a total of 2,900 horsepower. The main engines turn two seven-foot (2.1-meter) propellers with controllable pitch, which provides greater response time and maneuverability. The ships also are equipped with two thrusters. The stern thruster is a water jet system that allows the ship to move in any direction without the use of propellers. This system was installed to protect the endangered manatee population that inhabits regions of the Banana River where the ships are based. The system also allows divers to work near the ship during operations at a greatly reduced risk [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



An ice storm is a type of winter storm characterized by freezing rain, also known as a glaze event or in some parts of the United States as a silver thaw. The U.S. National Weather Service defines an ice storm as a storm which results in the accumulation of at least 0.25-inch (0.64 cm) of ice on exposed surfaces. From 1982 to 1994, ice storms were more common than blizzards and averaged 16 per year. Ice storms occur when a layer of warm air is between two layers of cold air. Frozen precipitation melts while falling into the warm air layer, and then proceeds to refreeze in the cold layer above the ground. If the precipitate is partially melted, it will land on the ground as sleet. However, if the warm layer completely melts the precipitate, becoming rain, the liquid droplets will continue to fall, and pass through a thin layer of cold air just above the surface. This thin layer of air then cools the rain to a temperature below freezing (0 C). However, the drops themselves do not freeze, a phenomenon called supercooling (or forming "supercooled drops"). When the supercooled drops strike ground below 0 C or anything else below 0 C (power lines, tree branches, aircraft), they instantly freeze, forming a thin film of ice, hence freezing rain. While meteorologists can predict when and where an ice storm will occur, some storms still occur with little or no warning. Most ice storms are thought to form primarily in the north-eastern US, but damaging storms have occurred farther south. An ice storm in February 1994 resulted in tremendous ice accumulation as far south as Mississippi, and caused reported damage in nine states. More timber was damaged than that caused by Hurricane Camille. An ice storm in eastern Washington in November 1996 directly followed heavy snowfall. The combined weight of the snow and 25 millimetres (0.98 in) to 37 millimetres (1.5 in) of ice caused considerable widespread damage. This was considered to be the most severe ice storm in the Spokane area since 1940. The freezing rain from an ice storm covers everything with heavy, smooth glaze ice. Ice-covered roads become slippery and hazardous, as the ice causes vehicles to skid out of control, which can cause devastating car crashes as well as pile-ups. Pedestrians are severely affected as sidewalks become slippery, causing people to slip and fall, and outside stairs can become an extreme injury hazard. In addition to hazardous driving or walking conditions, branches or even whole trees may break from the weight of ice. Falling branches can block roads, tear down power and telephone lines, and cause other damage. Even without falling trees and tree branches, the weight of the ice itself can easily snap power lines and also break and bring down power/utility poles; even steel frame electricity pylons have been sent crashing to the ground by the weight of the ice. This can leave people without power for anywhere from several days to a month. According to most meteorologists, just one quarter of an inch of ice accumulation can add about 500 pounds of weight per line span. Damage from ice storms is highly capable of shutting down entire metropolitan areas. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



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