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The My Lai Massacre was the mass murder conducted by a unit of the U.S. Army on March 16, 1968 of 347-504 unarmed citizens in South Vietnam, all of whom were civilians and a majority of whom were women, children (including babies) and elderly people. When the incident became public knowledge in 1969, it prompted widespread outrage around the world. The massacre also increased domestic opposition to the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. On the morning of March 16th Charlie Company landed following a short artillery and helicopter gunship preparation. Though the Americans found no enemy fighters in the village, many soldiers suspected there were NLF troops hiding underground in the homes of their elderly parents or wives. The U.S. soldiers, one platoon of which was led by Second Lieutenant William Calley, went in shooting at what they deemed to be an enemy position. Once the first civilians were wounded or killed by indiscriminate fire, the soldiers began attacking humans and animals alike, with firearms, grenades and bayonets. The scale of the massacre compounded, the brutality only increasing with each killing. BBC News described the scene: "Dozens of people, herded into an irrigation ditch and other locations, were killed with automatic weapons." Many of the victims were raped, beaten, tortured, and some of the bodies were found mutilated. A large group of about 70-80 villagers, rounded up by the 1st Platoon in the center of the village, were killed on an order given by Calley who also participated. Calley also shot two other large groups of civilians with a weapon taken from a soldier who had refused to do any further killing. On trial, Captain Ernest Medina denied giving the orders that led to the massacre, and was acquitted of all charges, effectively negating the prosecution's theory of "command responsibility", now referred to as the "Medina standard". Several months after his acquittal, however, Medina admitted that he had suppressed evidence and had lied to Colonel Henderson about the number of civilian deaths. Most of the enlisted men who were involved in the events at My Lai had already left military service, and were thus legally exempt from prosecution. In the end, of the 26 men initially charged, Calley's was the only conviction. Originally given a life sentence, he served three years under house arrest. Some have argued that the outcome of the My Lai courts-martial was a reversal of the laws of war that were set forth in the Nuremberg and Tokyo War Crimes Tribunals. Secretary of the Army Howard Callaway was quoted in the New York Times as stating that Calley's sentence was reduced because Calley honestly believed that what he did was a part of his orders - a rationale that stands in direct contradiction of the standards set at Nuremberg and Tokyo, where German and Japanese soldiers were executed for similar acts. Three U.S. servicemen who made an effort to halt the massacre and protect the wounded were later denounced by U.S. Congressmen. They received hate mail, death threats and found mutilated animals on their doorsteps. It would take 30 years before they were honored for their efforts. [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]



The Ford Model T (colloquially known as the Tin Lizzie, Flivver, T-Model Ford, or T) is an automobile that was produced by Henry Ford's Ford Motor Company from 1908 through 1927. The Model T set 1908 as the historic year that the automobile became popular. It is generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, the car that opened travel to the common middle-class American; some of this was because of Ford's innovations, including assembly line production instead of individual hand crafting. The first production Model T was produced on August 12, 1908 and left the factory on September 27, 1908, at the Piquette Plant in Detroit, Michigan. On May 26, 1927, Henry Ford watched the 15 millionth Model T Ford roll off the assembly line at his factory in Highland Park, Michigan. The Model T was the first automobile mass produced on assembly lines with completely interchangeable parts, marketed to the middle class. There were several cars produced or prototyped by Henry Ford from the founding of the company in 1903 until the Model T came along. Although he started with the Model A, there were not 19 production models (A through T); some were only prototypes. The production model immediately before the Model T was the Model S, an upgraded version of the company's largest success to that point, the Model N. The follow-up was the Ford Model A and not the Model U. Company publicity said this was because the new car was such a departure from the old that Henry wanted to start all over again with the letter A. As it happens, the first Plymouth car (1928), built by competitor Chrysler Corporation, was named Model U. The Ford Model T was named the world's most influential car of the 20th century in an international poll. Henry Ford said of the vehicle: "I will build a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one - and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God's great open spaces." Sales passed 250,000 in 1914. By 1916, as the price dropped to $360 for the basic touring car, sales reached 472,000. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening of the San Francisco Bay onto the Pacific Ocean. As part of both U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1, it connects the city of San Francisco on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula to Marin County. The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge span in the world when it was completed during the year 1937, and has become an internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco and California. Since its completion, the span length has been surpassed by eight other bridges. It still has the second longest suspension bridge main span in the United States, after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City. In 2007, it was ranked fifth on the List of America's Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects. Despite its red appearance, the color of the bridge is officially an orange vermilion called international orange. The color was selected by consulting architect Irving Morrow because it blends well with the natural surroundings yet enhances the bridge's visibility in fog. The Golden Gate Bridge is the most popular place to commit suicide in the United States and is one of the most popular in the world. The deck is approximately 245 feet (75 m) above the water. After a fall of approximately four seconds, jumpers hit the water at some 86 miles per hour (138 km/h), which is often fatal in and by itself. Some of those who survive the initial impact, drown or die of hypothermia in the cold water. The weight of the roadway is hung from two cables that pass through the two main towers and are fixed in concrete at each end. Each cable is made of 27,572 strands of wire. There are 80,000 miles (129,000 km) of wire in the main cables. The bridge has approximately 1,200,000 total rivets. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



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