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Frosty the Snowman is an American animated television special based on the popular song of the same title. The program, which first aired on December 7, 1969 on CBS, was produced for television by Rankin/Bass and featured the voices of comedians Jimmy Durante as narrator and Jackie Vernon as the titular character. This special marked the first use of traditional cel animation (as opposed to stop-motion animation) for Rankin/Bass in a Christmas special. Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass wanted to give the show and its characters the look of a Christmas card, so Paul Coker, Jr., a greeting card and Mad magazine artist, was hired to do the character and background drawings. The animation was produced by Mushi Production in Japan, with then-Mushi staffer Osamu Dezaki among the animation staff. Rankin/Bass veteran writer Romeo Muller adapted and expanded the story for television as he had done with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. TV Guide ranked the special number 4 on its 10 Best Family Holiday Specials list. In 1970, June Foray's voice was replaced by an uncredited voice (Foray's voice is still heard as Karen's singing voice, as well as other minor roles). The dubbing is also obvious on the DVD, as the audio quality of the replacement voice is better than that of the other sounds. The current restored version, which debuted in 2005, does not restore Foray's voice. At the time, rumors implied a controversy over copyrights and/or royalties as the reason behind the change, but the reason remains unknown. The original soundtrack with Foray's original voice track is available on CD. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]







Top Fuel racing is a class of drag racing in which the cars are run on a mix of approximately 90% nitromethane and 10% methanol (also known as racing alcohol) rather than gasoline or simply methanol. The cars are purpose-built for drag racing, with an exaggerated layout that in some ways resembles open-wheel circuit racing vehicles. However, top fuel dragsters are much longer, much narrower, and are equipped with large tires in back and small tires in front, all in order to maximize their straight-line acceleration and speed. Top fuel dragsters are the fastest category of drag racers, with the fastest competitors reaching speeds of 333 mph and finishing quarter mile (402 m) runs in less than 4.5 seconds. The raw speed and power of these cars is such that, at some events, races are run over 1000-foot (304m) distances rather than the traditional 1320 foot quarter mile, particularly when races are held at locations with insufficient room for cars to slow down after having completed the race. A top fuel dragster accelerates from a standstill to 100 mph (160 km/h) in as little as 0.7 seconds (less than one fifth the time required by a production Porsche 911 Turbo to reach 60 mph) and can exceed 280 mph (450 km/h) in just 660 feet (0.2 km). This acceleration subjects the driver to a maximum force of about 5.7 G. Before their run, racers often perform a burnout in order to clean and heat tires. Additionally, the burnout applies a layer of fresh rubber to the track surface, which greatly improves traction during launch. A burnout may cover up to one quarter of the track's distance. At maximum throttle and RPM, the exhaust gases escaping from a dragster's open headers produce about 800-1000 pounds (3.6 kilonewtons) of downforce. The massive foil over and behind the rear wheels produces much more, peaking at around 12,000 lbf (53 kN) when the car reaches a speed of about 324 mph (521 km/h). The engine of a Top Fuel dragster generates 120 dB of sound at full throttle, enough to cause physical pain in some individuals. A sound that intense is not just heard, but also felt as pounding vibrations all over one's body, leading many to compare the experience of watching a Top Fuel dragster make a pass to 'feeling as though the entire drag strip is being bombed'. Prior to a run, race announcers usually advise spectators to cover or plug their ears. Ear plugs and even earmuffs are often handed out to fans at the entrance of a Top Fuel event. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



The Astute class submarines are the next-generation nuclear fleet submarines of the Royal Navy. When completed, the boats will set a new standard for the Royal Navy in terms of weapons load, improved communications facilities, stealth and comfort for the crew. The boats are being constructed by BAE Systems Submarine Solutions at Barrow-in-Furness. The Royal Navy has changed its submarine-employment strategy from the Cold War emphasis on anti-submarine warfare to the concept of "Maritime Contributions to Joint Operations." Original plans were for seven boats of the Astute class to replace five Swiftsure-class submarines (Sovereign, Superb, Sceptre, Spartan, and Splendid) and the two oldest Trafalgar-class boats (Trafalgar and Turbulent). The Swiftsure-class entered service between 1973 and 1977 and will be entirely decommissioned by 2010, when only the first of the Astute-class will be coming into service. HMS Trafalgar is due to be decommissioned in 2009, followed by HMS Turbulent in 2011. Astute-class boats are powered by a Rolls-Royce PWR2 (Core H) reactor and fitted with a pump-jet propulsor. The PWR2 reactor was developed for Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines. As a result Astute-class boats are about 30 per cent larger than previous British attack submarines, which were powered by smaller reactors. It is the first Royal Navy submarine class to have a bunk for each member of the ship's company, ending the practice of 'hot bunking', whereby two sailors on opposite watches shared the same bunk. Like all Royal Navy submarines, the bridge fin of the Astute-class boats is specially reinforced to allow surfacing through ice caps. They can fire Tomahawk cruise missiles from their launch tubes, including the new "tactical Tomahawk" currently under development. More than 39,000 acoustic tiles mask the vessel's sonar signature, giving the Astute class a better stealth quality than any other submarine previously operated by the Royal Navy. The vessel is equipped with the advanced 2076 Sonar System, which is capable of identifying and tracking vessels across thousands of square miles of ocean. First-of-class HMS Astute was launched by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall on 8 June 2007. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





The shortfin mako shark, Isurus oxyrinchus ("sharp nose"), is a large mackerel shark. Along with the closely related longfin mako (Isurus paucus) it is commonly referred to as "mako shark". This species grows to an average full-grown length of 1.823.2 m (610 ft) and to a weight of approximately 60400 kg (135-880 lb). The largest reported mako was said to be 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) and 4 m (13.2 ft), although the largest confirmed size is 3.96 m (13 ft) and 794 kg (1,750 lb). It has a bluish back and white underside. Although the sexes grow at about the same rate, females are thought to have a longer life span, and grow larger and weigh more than the males. Shortfin makos are renowned for their speed and their ability to leap out of the water. In fact, there are cases when an angry mako will jump out of the water and into the boat after it has been caught on the hook. The shortfin mako feeds mainly upon bony fishes including mackerels, tunas, bonitos, swordfish, and sailfish, but it may also eat other sharks, porpoises, sea turtles, and seabirds. In Ganzirri and Isola Lipari, Sicily, shortfin makos have been found with amputated swordfish bills impaled into their head and gills, suggesting from the dangerous location of the wounds found on the Mako sharks that swordfish seriously injure and likely kill makos. In addition, this location, off the coast of Sicily and the timing, late spring and early summer, corresponding to the swordfish's spawning cycle suggests that these makos prey on swordfish while they are most vulnerable, typical of many predators. The shortfin mako's speed has been recorded at 50 km/h (31 mph), and there are reports that it can achieve bursts of up to 74 km/h (46 mph). It can jump up to 9 m (28 ft.) in the air. Due to its speed and agility, this high-leaping fish is sought as game worldwide. This shark is highly migratory. Its endothermic constitution partly accounts for its relatively great speed. The shortfin mako has a formidable and foreboding appearance. The ISAF statistics on attacking species of sharks purports that between 1580 and 2007, the shortfin mako has had eight recorded unprovoked attacks on humans with two ending in fatality and twenty boat attacks. In New Zealand Mako sharks are often encountered in the waters of the North Island. Sharks can be attracted to caught fish with accounts of spear fishermen being approached by curious sharks and even being "slapped" with cavitation bubbles from a swift tail flick. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





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