Wombats are Australian marsupials. The have four short legs, grow to approximately 1 metre long, weigh between 20 and 35kg, and have a short, stubby tail. They are found in forested, mountainous, and heathland areas of south-eastern Australia. They’re mainly nocturnal. Female wombats give birth to a single young in the spring. They have a backwards pouch for their young, which is important, because they spend a lot of time digging burrows.
Its melting point is 1287°C.
The Great Auk lived in the North Atlantic. They were sea birds that came ashore to breed, nesting on rocky shores in large colonies. The birds mated for life. The female bird laid a single egg, and both parents would care for the offspring. Great Auks had no defences against their major predator, man, and were killed in great numbers for food, feathers and as collectables. As they became more rare, they became more valuable, despite laws put in place to try to stop their extinction. The last Great Auk in Britain was shot in 1813. The last Great Auk sighting was recorded in Iceland in the middle of the 19th Century.
The term Cheshire cat predates Carroll’s use of it. A classical dictionary of the vulgar tongue by Francis Grose (London 1788) contains the entry: "He grins like a Cheshire cat; said of any one who shows his teeth and gums in laughing." In 1792, John Wolcot’s Pair of Lyric Epistles states "Lo, like a Cheshire cat our court will grin."
The phrase "Grinning like a Cheshire Cat" may have its origins in the large number of dairy farms in Chesire – cats would grin with pleasure owing to the abundance of milk and cream.
The word "vorpal" appears twice in "Jabberwocky," a poem describing a young boy's quest to slay a monster called the Jabberwock. The boy “took his vorpal sword in hand”… “The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
Readers and scholars have speculated about exactly what vorpal means. It probably had very little meaning when Carroll composed the poem, which consists almost entirely of nonsense words. Indeed, Carroll himself once wrote, "I am afraid I can't explain 'vorpal blade' for you—nor yet 'tulgey wood.'"
However, the word has since entered the English language, and has thus been assigned various definitions. In current usage, it is sometimes used to refer to an extremely effective weapon capable of severing a head or a limb with a single blow.
A Bowden cable is a type of flexible cable used to transmit mechanical force or energy, by the movement of an inner cable (usually made of steel) relative to a hollow casing. The casing usually comprises a helical steel wire, often lined with plastic, and a plastic outer sheath. The movement of the inner cable creates a pulling force. The cable tension can be adjusted, lengthening or shortening the casing relative to a fixed anchor point.
The Bowden mechanism was invented by Irishman Ernest Monnington Bowden, who patented it in 1896, primarily for use in bicycle brakes, although it had the potential for other applications. The Bowden Brake was publicly launched in the bicycling press in 1896.
Richard III is a play by William Shakespeare, dating from about 1591. It depicts the Machiavellian rise to power and short reign of Richard III of England. Next to Hamlet, it is Shakespeare’s longest play. It is rarely performed at full length – often certain peripheral characters are removed entirely, and linking lines added in to establish continuity. The original play assumes that the audience is familiar with the Henry VI plays, and frequently references events in these.
Richard is bitter, ambitious, hunchbacked, and jealous of his brother, King Edward. So he plots the downfall of his rivals, lies, cheats and murders his way to the throne, and meets his doom in the final Act.
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of English painters, poets and critics, founded in 1848. It had seven members - Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens and Thomas Woolner.
Surrealism evolved from Dadaism, which held that excessive rational thought and bourgeois values had contributed to the outbreak of the First World War. It also drew inspiration from Freud's work with free association, dream analysis, and the unconscious. Surrealism advocated for the importance of ordinary and depictive expressions, while allowing their arrangement to be open to the full range of imagination.
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475-1564) was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer, who exerted an enormous influence on the development of Western Art.
In the early 1500s, he was commissioned by Pope Julius II to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He worked on the giant fresco for four years (1508–1512). The original commission was to paint the 12 Apostles against a starry sky, but Michelangelo preferred a more complex arrangement, representing creation, the Downfall of Man and the Promise of Salvation. The composition eventually contained over 300 figures and had at its center nine episodes from Genesis. Among the most famous paintings on the ceiling are The Creation of Adam, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and the Great Flood.
René François Ghislain Magritte (1898-1967) was a Belgian surrealist artist. He was famous for his witty and thought-provoking images. His work challenges preconditioned perceptions of reality. His painting, The Treachery of Images, shows a pipe, with words painted below: "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" - "This is not a pipe." He was making the point that it is in fact a painting of a pipe, not a pipe itself, and is therefore unable to "satisfy emotionally" as a pipe can. When asked about the image, he said of course it is not a pipe -- just try to fill it with tobacco.
"The Wreck of the Hesperus" is a narrative poem by American Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, first published in Ballads and Other Poems in 1842. It tells the story of the tragic consequences of a sea captain's pride. The captain ignored the advice of one of his experienced men, who feared the approach of a hurricane. The ship crashes onto the reef of Norman’s Woe, and all aboard are lost, included the Captain’s daughter. Longfellow was inspired by the great Blizzard of 1839, which raged across America’s northeast coast for 12 hours, destroying 20 ships and killing 40 people. A ship called Favourite was destroyed on the reef of Norman's Woe, in Massachusetts, and all were killed, including a woman.