Friday, January 29, 2010

Paragliding


Paragliding is a recreational and competitive flying sport. A paraglider is a free-flying, foot-launched aircraft. The pilot sits in a harness suspended below a fabric wing, whose shape is formed by its suspension lines and the pressure of air entering vents in the front of the wing.
In 1952 Domina Jalbert advanced governable parachutes with multi-cells and controls for lateral glide.

In 1954, Walter Neumark predicted (in an article in Flight magazine) a time when a glider pilot would be “able to launch himself by running over the edge of a cliff or down a slope ... whether on a rock-climbing holiday in Skye or ski-ing in the Alps”.

In 1961, the French engineer Pierre Lemoigne produced improved parachute designs which led to the Para-Commander. The ‘PC’, had cut-outs at the rear and sides that enabled it to be towed into the air and steered – leading to parasailing/parascending.

Sometimes credited with the greatest development in parachutes since Leonardo da Vinci[by whom?], the American Domina Jalbert invented the Parafoil which had sectioned cells in an aerofoil shape; an open leading edge and a closed trailing edge, inflated by passage through the air – the ram-air design. He filed US Patent 3131894 on January 10, 1963.

Meanwhile, David Barish was developing the Sail Wing for recovery of NASA space capsules – “slope soaring was a way of testing out ... the Sail Wing”. After tests on Hunter Mountain, New York in September 1965, he went on to promote ‘slope soaring’ as a summer activity for ski resorts (apparently without great success). NASA originated the term ‘paraglider’ in the early 1960s, and ‘paragliding’ was first used in the early 1970s to describe foot-launching of gliding parachutes.

In 1971, Steve Snyder marketing the first wing : Paraplane.

Author Walter Neumark wrote Operating Procedures for Ascending Parachutes, and he and a group of enthusiasts with a passion for tow-launching ‘PCs’ and ram-air parachutes eventually broke away from the British Parachute Association to form the British Association of Parascending Clubs (BAPC) in 1973. Authors Patrick Gilligan (Canada) and Betrand Dubuis (Switzerland) wrote the first flight manual "The Paragliding Manual" in 1985, officially coining the word Paragliding.

These threads were pulled together in June 1978 by three friends Jean-Claude Bétemps, André Bohn and Gérard Bosson from Mieussy Haute-Savoie, France. After inspiration from an article on ‘slope soaring’ in the Parachute Manual magazine by parachutist & publisher Dan Poynter, they calculated that on a suitable slope, a ‘square’ ram-air parachute could be inflated by running down the slope; Bétemps launched from Pointe du Pertuiset, Mieussy, and flew 100 m. Bohn followed him and glided down to the football pitch in the valley 1000 metres below. ‘Parapente’ (pente being French for slope) was born.

From the 1980s equipment has continued to improve and the number of paragliding pilots has continued to increase. The first World Championship was held in Kössen, Austria in 1989.

Source : Wikipedia

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hunting


Hunting is the practice of pursuing living animals (usually wildlife) for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law. The species which are hunted are referred to as game and are usually mammals and migratory or non-migratory gamebirds.

Hunting can also involve the elimination of vermin, as a means of pest control to prevent diseases caused by overpopulation. Hunting advocates state that hunting can be a necessary component of modern wildlife management, for example to help maintain a population of healthy animals within an environment's ecological carrying capacity when natural checks such as predators are absent. However, a 2006 study by Penn State's Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics indicated that reducing the game animal population in small areas may lead to higher tick densities, resulting in more tick-borne infections in rodents leading to a high prevalence of tick-borne encephalitis and creating a tick hot-spot. In the United States, wildlife managers are frequently part of hunting regulatory and licensing bodies, where they help to set rules on the number, manner and conditions in which game may be hunted.

The pursuit, capture and release, or capture for food of fish is called fishing, which is not commonly categorized as a form of hunting. Trapping is also usually considered a separate activity. Neither is it considered hunting to pursue animals without intent to kill them, as in wildlife photography or birdwatching. The practice of hunting for plants or mushrooms is a colloquial term for foraging or gathering.

The aspects of skillful tracking and acquisition of an elusive target in the pursuit of game have caused the word hunting to be used the vernacular as a metaphor (such as "bargain hunting") sometimes with the killing aspect also implied (such as "hunting down corruption and waste")

Source : Wikipedia

Sport Fencing History


The history of fencing parallels the evolution of civilization, back from the days of ancient Egypt and Rome, to the barbaric Dark Ages, to the fast and elegant Rennassiance, up to the modern, increasingly popular fencing of today. Fencing has always been regarded as more than a sport; it is an art form, an ancient symbol of power and glory, and a deeply personal, individual form of expression. Fencing is and always has been an intrinsic part of life, from the dueling and battle of yore to the widely captivating movies and facets of popular culture such as Zorro and The Princess Bride.
The earliest evidence of fencing as a sport comes from a carving in Egypt, dating back to about 1200 B.C., which shows a sport fencing bout with masks, protective weapon tips, and judges.
The Greek and Roman civilizations favored short swords and light spears, and taught their warriors in schools called ludi. The collapse of the Roman civilization at around 476 A.D., however, brought the crude, heavy weapons of the barbarian invaders and signalled a regression of fencing through the dark ages. It was not until the beginnings of the Renassiance in the 14th centurty that light, fast weapons such as the rapier came back into use, primarily because gunpowder rendered heavy armor obsolete.
The fifteenth century brought the beginnings of modern fencing. Spain had the first true fencers, and the first two fencing manuals were published there in 1471 and 1474, but swordplay guilds such as the Marxbruder from Germany began springing up all across Europe. About 1500 the Italians began extensive use of the Rapier. The right hand held te weapon while the left hand held a dagger (often called a Main Gauche) or buckler (a small shield), used for parrying blows. Italian fencing masters, such as Agrippa, who invented the four fencing positions (prime, seconde, tierce, and quarte), and masters Grassi and Vigiani, who invented the lunge, became very prolific in this time. The 16th century also brought a large increase in the popularity of dueling. More noblemen at during this period were killed in dueling than in war.
The Queen Catherine de Médicis of France had many Italian fencing masters come to France and develop fencing there. She was so successful that in 1567, her son, King Charles IX, officially recognized the French Fencing Academy, and awarded many hereditary titles to the new French fencing masters. These new masters were the first to classify and define fencing attacks and parries. In 1573 Henry de St. Didier was the first french fencing master to publish a treatise, and one of the first to advocate heavy use of the Épeé instead of the Rapier.
During the 17th century several major changes occured in fencing. The “fleuret”, or foil, was devoloped in France as a lighter training weapon for dueling. Right-of-way, a set of rules which made the game a series of alternating attacks and defense, became generally accepted. With right-of-way, duelists were unlikely to impale each other, as they did not both attack at the same time. This made fencing safer and reduced the number of casualties to dueling.
In the 18th century the heavier weapon called the Épeé became the popular weapon for dueling. The sabre, a weapon descended from the Oriental scimitar, becaume the national weapon of Hungary, and while the Italians helped develop the sport immensely, the Hungarians stayed the true masters of the sabre.
1780 brought an extremely important development to fencing. The French fencing master La Boessiere invented the fencing mask, allowing a much safer bout. This sparked a lot of development in non-fatal technique and strategy.
Fencing first came to America in the 1860’s-1870’s via immigrant French and Italian fencing masters, and the first American fencing school was founded in 1874. By this time fencing less resembled its violent roots and was now considered a non-harmful sport. Dueling never completely died out until after the end of World War I, but the majority of fencers were not warriors.
Men’s Sabre and foil competitions were present in the first modern olympic games in 1896, and Men’s Épeé joined in 1900. Women’s foil joined the Olympics in 1924, but it was not until 1996 that Women’s Épeé joined.
At the beginning of the 20th century French, Italians, and Hungarians were the masters of the sport, and thus it is not suprise that the International Fencing Federation (FIE) was founded in France. The French, Italians and Hungarians maintained their grip on the sport until the 1950’s, when eastern European countries such as the Soviet Union and Romania came to the fore. Their style emphasized speed and mobility, relying on touches that before would have gone undetected, but now were seen with the recently invented electric scoring machines.
Today cultural intermingling and competition has eliminated the national fencing styles; there are no longer French or Hungarian fencing techniques. Instead, the sport has become more reliant on individual technique. Fencing history is still being made today. Will Women’s sabre join as an olympic sport? Will wireless scoring devices become the norm with new technology? Only time will tell.

Source : library.thinkquest.org

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Maradona the greatest footballer of all time




Diego Armando Maradona (born 30 October 1960 in Lanús, Buenos Aires) is a former Argentine football player, and current manager of the Argentine national team. He is considered by many to be the greatest footballer of all time; he finished first in an internet vote for the FIFA Player of the Century award, and he shared the award with Pelé.

Over the course of his professional club career Maradona played for Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Newell's Old Boys and Napoli, setting world-record contract fees. In his international career, playing for Argentina, he earned 91 caps and scored 34 goals. He played in four FIFA World Cup tournaments, including the 1986 World Cup where he captained Argentina and led them to their victory over West Germany in the final, winning the Golden Ball award as the tournament's best player. In that same tournament's quarter-final round he scored two goals in a 2-1 victory over England that entered soccer history, though for two very different reasons. The first goal was an unpenalized handball known as the "Hand of God", while the second goal was a spectacular 60-metre weave through six England players, commonly referred to as "The Goal of the Century".

For various reasons, Maradona is considered one of the sport's most controversial and newsworthy figures. He was suspended from football for 15 months in 1991 after failing a doping test for cocaine in Italy, and he was sent home from the 1994 World Cup in the USA for using ephedrine.

After retiring from playing on his 37th birthday in 1997, he increasingly suffered ill health and weight gain, hardly helped by ongoing cocaine abuse. In 2005 a stomach stapling operation helped control his weight gain. After overcoming his cocaine addiction, he became a popular TV host in Argentina.

His outspoken manners have sometimes put him at odds with journalists and sport executives. Although he had little previous managerial experience, he became head coach of the Argentina national football team in November 2008.

Source : Wikipedia

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Alessandro Nesta


Complete Name: Alessandro Nesta
Nationality: Italian
Place of Birth: Rome, Italy
Date of Birth: 19/03/1976
Height: 187 cm
Weight: 79 kg
National Team: Italy
Current Club: Milan AC
Position: Defender

Biography
Alessandro Nesta (born March 19, 1976 in Rome) is an Italian footballer. He plays at center back for A.C. Milan in Serie A. He has previously played for S.S. Lazio. With amazing tackling skill, game reading ability he is widely considered one of the best defenders in the world.

Sandro had a happy childhood in his quarter of Cinecittà, in Rome. He attended the primary school at "Margherita Bosco", where he first started playing football. Fernando, Alessandro's older brother, was advised to play a sport because of his back problem, and enrolled at the local football club. Young Alessandro threw a tantrum till his father gave in and he was enrolled as well, and so his career began.

In 1985, he joined the youth academy of Lazio, where he rose through the ranks playing in various positions, including striker and midfielder. His international career first showed signs of growth when he played for the Italian national Under-15 and Under-16 sides. In 1993, he managed to join Lazio's first-team squad.

In 1996, Nesta was a member of the Italian Under-21 team that defeated Spain to win the European Under-21 Championship, picking up the award for best defender in the tournament along the way. He made his full international debut for Italy against Moldova on October 5, 1996. In 1997, he was given the captaincy of Lazio. It was in the 1997-'98 season that Lazio won the Coppa Italia (Italian Cup), beating A.C. Milan in the final, with Nesta amongst the goal-scorers.

Just before the 2002-'03 season, Nesta joined A.C. Milan. With Milan he has won the Scudetto Serie A (Italian Championship), Coppa Italia, Champions League and the European Super Cup.

Nesta has appeared over 60 times for the Italian national team and has been a mainstay in it since the late 1990s. He played for his country in Euro 96, the 1998 World Cup, Euro 2000, the 2002 World Cup, and Euro 2004.

He was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004.

Source : 123football.com

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Horse racing



Horse racing is an equestrian sport that has been practiced over the centuries; the chariot races of Roman times are an early example, as is the contest of the steeds of the god Odin and the giant Hrungnir in Norse mythology. It is inextricably associated with gambling. The common sobriquet for Thoroughbred horse racing is The Sport of Kings.

One of the principal forms of horse racing, which is popular in many parts of the world, is Thoroughbred racing. Harness racing for Standardbred horses is also popular in Australia, New Zealand, the eastern United States and more popular than Thoroughbred racing in Canada and parts of Europe. Thoroughbred racing is done on the flat or over jumps, as steeplechasing or hurdles races. Quarter horse racing is also popular in the western United States and Florida. Racing with purebred Arabian horses exists in several states in the United States, as well as in most of Europe and the Middle East. This form of racing is known as endurance racing.

The different types of racing all concern different breeds of horses. The Thoroughbred races moderate distances at very fast paces. The Standardbred horses use their ability to race in harness at a trot or pace instead of under saddle at a gallop. The Quarter Horse is involved in short distance sprinting while the Arabian is involved in endurance racing. These four different breeds of horses possess different muscle structures that make them suitable for their type of racing. These horses race on various track surfaces ranging from dirt to a synthetic surface such as viscoride or polytrack.

The breeding, training and racing of horses in many countries is now a significant economic activity as, to a greater extent, is the gambling industry which is largely supported by it. The time invested in training these horses is extensive and varies according to the type of race the horse is involved in. Exceptional horses can win millions of dollars and might make millions more by providing stud services, such as horse breeding.

Source : Wikipedia

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