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The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was a long-range single-seat World War II fighter aircraft. Designed and built in just 117 days, the Mustang first flew in Royal Air Force (RAF) service as a fighter-bomber and reconnaissance aircraft before conversion to a bomber escort, employed in raids over Germany, helping ensure Allied air superiority from early 1944. The P-51 was in service with Allied air forces in Europe and also saw limited service against the Japanese in the Pacific War. The Mustang began the Korean War as the United Nations' main fighter, but was relegated to a ground attack role when superseded by jet fighters early in the conflict. Nevertheless, it remained in service with some air forces until the early 1980s. As well as being economical to produce, the Mustang was a fast, well-made, and highly durable aircraft. The definitive version, the P-51D, was powered by the Packard V-1650, a two-stage two-speed supercharged version of the legendary Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, and was armed with six .50 caliber (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns. Chuck Yeager, flying a P-51D, was one of the first American pilots to shoot down a Me 262 when he surprised it during its landing approach. On 7 October 1944, Lt. Urban Drew of the 365th Fighter Group went him one better. During a fighter sweep, he surprised and shot down two Me 262s taking off. On the same day, Hubert Zemke, now flying Mustangs, shot down what he thought was a Bf 109, only to have his gun camera film reveal it to be an Me 262. After World War II and the Korean War, many Mustangs were converted for civilian use, especially air racing. The Mustang's reputation was such that, in the mid-1960s, Ford Motor Company's Designer John Najjar proposed the name for a new youth-oriented coupe automobile after the fighter. The most prominent firm to convert Mustangs to civilian use was Trans-Florida Aviation, later renamed Cavalier Aircraft Corporation, which produced the Cavalier Mustang. Modifications included a taller tailfin and wingtip tanks. A number of conversions included a Cavalier Mustang specialty: a "tight" second seat added in the space formerly occupied by the military radio and fuselage fuel tank. Ironically, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the United States Department of Defense wished to supply aircraft to South American countries and later Indonesia for close air support and counter insurgency, it turned to Cavalier to return some of their civilian conversions back to updated military specifications. The P-51 is perhaps the most sought-after of all warbirds on the civilian market; the average price usually exceeds $1 million, even for only partially restored aircraft. Some privately owned P-51s are still flying, often associated with organizations such as the Commemorative Air Force. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



The desert tortoise is a species of tortoise native to the Mojave desert and Sonoran desert of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. This tortoise may attain a length of 10 to 14 inches, with males being slightly larger than females. Male tortoises have a longer gular horn than females, their plastron (lower shell) is concave compared to female tortoises. Males have larger tails than females do. Their shells are high-domed, and greenish-tan to dark brown in color. Desert tortoises can grow from 4–6" in height and weigh 8–15 lb when fully grown. The front limbs have heavy, claw-like scales and are flattened for digging. Back legs are more stumpy and elephantine. The tortoise is able to live where ground temperature may exceed 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) because of its ability to dig underground burrows and escape the heat. At least 95% of its life is spent in burrows. There, it is also protected from freezing winter weather while dormant, from November through February or March. With its burrow, this tortoise creates a subterranean environment that can be beneficial to other reptiles, mammals, birds and invertebrates. Much of the tortoise’s water intake comes from moisture in the grasses and wildflowers they consume in the spring. A large urinary bladder can store over forty percent of the tortoise's body weight in water, urea, uric acid and nitrogenous wastes. During very dry times they may give off waste as a white paste rather than a watery urine. During periods of adequate rainfall, they drink copiously from any pools they find, and eliminate solid urates. Adult tortoises can survive a year or more without access to water. One defense mechanism the tortoise has when it is handled or molested is to empty its bladder. This can leave the tortoise in a very vulnerable condition in dry areas, and they should never be alarmed, handled or picked up in the wild unless they are in imminent danger (like in a road). [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



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]



A breast implant is a prosthesis used to alter the size and shape of a woman's breasts for cosmetic reasons, to reconstruct the breast (e.g. after a mastectomy or to correct congenital chest wall deformities), or as an aspect of male-to-female sex reassignment surgery. Implants have been used since at least 1895 to augment the size or shape of women's breasts. The earliest known implant was attempted by Vincenz Czerny, using a woman's own adipose tissue (from a lipoma, a benign growth, on her back). Gersuny tried paraffin injections in 1889, with disastrous results. Subsequently, in the early to mid-1900s, a number of other substances were tried, including ivory, glass balls, ground rubber, ox cartilage, Terylene wool, gutta-percha, Dicora, polyethylene chips, polyvinyl alcohol-formaldehyde polymer sponge (Ivalon), Ivalon in a polyethylene sac, polyether foam sponge (Etheron), polyethylene tape (Polystan) or strips wound into a ball, polyester (polyurethane foam sponge) Silastic rubber, and teflon-silicone prostheses. Pectoral implants are a related device used in cosmetic and reconstructive procedures of the male chest wall. A breast tissue expander is a temporary breast implant used during staged breast reconstruction procedures. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast augmentation is the most commonly performed cosmetic surgical procedure in the United States. According to data collected by the American Society of Plastic Surgery, in 2007, 307,230 breast augmentation procedures were performed in the U.S., a 12% decrease compared to the previous year. This decrease has been associated with the financial challenges posed by a struggling economy. Despite the decrease, however, breast augmentation surgeries remained as the number one surgical cosmetic procedure performed in the U.S. There are two primary types of breast implants: saline-filled and silicone-gel-filled implants. Saline implants have a silicone elastomer shell filled with sterile saline liquid. Silicone gel implants have a silicone shell filled with a viscous silicone gel. Several alternative types of breast implants had been developed, such as polypropylene string or soy oil, but these are no longer manufactured. Depending on the level of activity required, patients are generally able to resume normal activity in approximately one week's time. Women who have their implants placed underneath the muscle (submuscular placement) will generally have a longer recovery time and experience slightly more pain due to the muscle being cut during surgery. Exercise and strenuous physical activity will often need to be avoided for up to six weeks. 2007 Swedish and US longitudinal study found that women who get cosmetic breast implants are nearly three times as likely to commit suicide as other women. No notable increase was seen in the first 10 years after surgery, but 10 to 19 years after, risk was 4.5 times higher, and six times higher after 20 years, compared with the expected suicide rate. The same study found that women with breast implants also had a tripled risk of death from alcohol and drug use. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



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