Econstudentlog

Wikipedia articles of interest

i. Tasmanian Devil (featured).

“The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is a carnivorous marsupial of the family Dasyuridae, now found in the wild only on the Australian island state of Tasmania. The size of a small dog, it became the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world following the extinction of the thylacine in 1936. It is characterised by its stocky and muscular build, black fur, pungent odour, extremely loud and disturbing screech, keen sense of smell, and ferocity when feeding. The Tasmanian devil’s large head and neck allow it to generate amongst the strongest bite per unit body mass of any extant mammal land predator,[2] and it hunts prey and scavenges carrion as well as eating household products if humans are living nearby. Although it usually is solitary, it sometimes eats with other devils and defecates in a communal location. Unlike most other dasyurids, the devil thermoregulates effectively and is active during the middle of the day without overheating. Despite its rotund appearance, the devil is capable of surprising speed and endurance, and can climb trees and swim across rivers. […]

On average, devils eat about 15% of their body weight each day, although they can eat up to 40% of their body weight in 30 minutes if the opportunity arises.[43] This means they can become very heavy and lethargic after a large meal; in this state they tend to waddle away slowly and lie down, becoming easy to approach. […]

Since the late 1990s, devil facial tumour disease has drastically reduced the devil population and now threatens the survival of the species, which in 2008 was declared to be endangered. Programs are currently being undertaken by the Government of Tasmania to reduce the impact of the disease, including an initiative to build up a group of healthy devils in captivity, isolated from the disease. […] First seen in 1996, devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) has ravaged Tasmania’s wild devils, and estimates of the impact range from 20% to as much as a 50% decline in the devil population, with over 65% of the state affected. The state’s west coast area and far north-west are the only places where devils are tumour free.[125][126] Individual devils die within months of infection.[127]

The disease is an example of a transmissible cancer, which means that it is contagious and passed from one animal to another.[128] Short of a cure, scientists are removing the sick animals and quarantining healthy devils in case the wild population dies out.[128] Because Tasmanian devils have extremely low levels of genetic diversity and a chromosomal mutation unique among carnivorous mammals, they are more prone to the infectious cancer.[129]

ii. Mengistu Haile Mariam. A bad guy.

He “is an Ethiopian politician who was the most prominent officer of the Derg, the Communist military junta that governed Ethiopia from 1974 to 1987, and President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia from 1987 to 1991. He oversaw the Ethiopian Red Terror of 1977–1978,[4] a campaign of repression against the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party and other anti-Derg factions. Mengistu fled to Zimbabwe in 1991 at the conclusion of the Ethiopian Civil War, and remains there despite an Ethiopian court verdict finding him guilty in absentia of genocide.[5] Some estimates, for the number of deaths his regime were responsible for, are as high as 1.285 million dead.[6]

iii. Waldseemüller map.

The full version is at the link, 29,700 × 16,500 pixels and almost 100 MB.

“The Waldseemüller map, Universalis Cosmographia, is a printed wall map of the world by German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller, originally published in April 1507. It is known as the first map to use the name “America“. The map is drafted on a modification of Ptolemy’s second projection, expanded to accommodate the Americas and the high latitudes.[1] A single copy of the map survives, presently housed at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. […]

While some maps after 1500 show, with ambiguity, an eastern coastline for Asia distinct from the Americas, the Waldseemüller map apparently indicates the existence of a new ocean between the trans-Atlantic regions of the Spanish discoveries and the Asia of Ptolemy and Marco Polo as exhibited on the 1492 Behaim globe. The first historical records of Europeans to set eyes on this ocean, the Pacific, are recorded as Vasco Núñez de Balboa in 1513 or, Ponce de León in 1512 or 1513. Those dates are five to six years after Waldseemüller made his map. […] The historian Peter Whitfield has theorized that Waldseemüller incorporated the ocean into his map because Vespucci’s accounts of the Americas, with their so-called “savage” peoples, could not be reconciled with contemporary knowledge of India, China, and the islands of Indies. Thus, in the view of Whitfield, Waldseemüller reasoned that the newly discovered lands could not be part of Asia, but must be separate from it, a leap of intuition that was later proved uncannily precise.”

iv. Battle of Arnhem. The Wikipedia community thinks it’s a ‘good article’, I think it’s great.

v. Thermohaline circulation. Did I write about this back when I covered Earth? Probably, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t link to this back then.

vi. Centipede game (game theory).

“In game theory, the centipede game, first introduced by Rosenthal (1981), is an extensive form game in which two players take turns choosing either to take a slightly larger share of a slowly increasing pot, or to pass the pot to the other player. The payoffs are arranged so that if one passes the pot to one’s opponent and the opponent takes the pot on the next round, one receives slightly less than if one had taken the pot on this round. Although the traditional centipede game had a limit of 100 rounds (hence the name), any game with this structure but a different number of rounds is called a centipede game. Wherein thus discussed becomes particularly an objective of coverage rather than that of gain and the unique subgame perfect equilibrium (and every Nash equilibrium) of these games indicates that the first player take the pot on the very first round of the game; however in empirical tests relatively few players do so, and as a result achieve a higher payoff than the payoff predicted by the equilibria analysis. These results are taken to show that subgame perfect equilibria and Nash equilibria fail to predict human play in some circumstances. The Centipede game is commonly used in introductory game theory courses and texts to highlight the concept of backward induction and the iterated elimination of dominated strategies, which show a standard way of providing a solution to the game.”

vii. Compromise of 1850.

“The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five bills, passed in September 1850, which defused a four-year confrontation between the slave states of the South and the free states of the North regarding the status of territories acquired during the Mexican-American War (1846–1848). The compromise, drafted by Whig Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky and brokered by Clay and Democrat Stephen Douglas, avoided secession or civil war and reduced sectional conflict for four years.

The Compromise was greeted with relief, although each side disliked specific provisions.”

The article has much more, including plenty of relevant maps.

September 19, 2012 - Posted by | biology, Game theory, Geography, Geology, history, wikipedia

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