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Cape Town

Cape Town is the second most populous city in South Africa after Johannesburg and the legislative capital of South Africa. Colloquially named the Mother City, it is the largest city of the Western Cape province and forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality; the Parliament of South Africa sits in Cape Town. The other two capitals are located in Bloemfontein; the city is known for its harbour, for its natural setting in the Cape Floristic Region, for landmarks such as Table Mountain and Cape Point. Cape Town is home to 64% of the Western Cape's population; the city was named the World Design Capital for 2014 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. In 2014, Cape Town was named the best place in the world to visit by both The New York Times and The Daily Telegraph. Cape Town was one of the host cities of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town, as the oldest urban area in South Africa, was developed by the United East India Company as a supply station for Dutch ships sailing to East Africa and the Far East.

Jan van Riebeeck's arrival on 6 April 1652 established VOC Cape Colony, the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. Cape Town outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope, becoming the economic and cultural hub of the Cape Colony; until the Witwatersrand Gold Rush and the development of Johannesburg, Cape Town was the largest city in South Africa. The earliest known remnants in the region were found at Peers Cave in Fish Hoek and date to between 15,000 and 12,000 years ago. Little is known of the history of the region's first residents, since there is no written history from the area before it was first mentioned by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1488, the first European to reach the area and named it "Cape of Storms", it was renamed by John II of Portugal as "Cape of Good Hope" because of the great optimism engendered by the opening of a sea route to India and the East. Vasco da Gama recorded a sighting of the Cape of Good Hope in 1497.

In 1510, at the Battle of Salt River, Francisco de Almeida and fifty of his men were killed and his party were defeated by ox-mounted! Uriǁ’aekua, one of the so-called Khoekhoe clans of the area that included the! Uriǁ’aeǀ’ona, said to be the ancestors of the! Ora nation of today. In the late 16th century, French, Danish and English but Portuguese ships continued to stop over in Table Bay en route to the Indies, they traded tobacco and iron with the Khoekhoe-speaking clans of the region, in exchange for fresh meat. In 1652, Jan van Riebeeck and other employees of the United East India Company were sent to the Cape to establish a way-station for ships travelling to the Dutch East Indies, the Fort de Goede Hoop; the settlement grew during this period, as it was hard to find adequate labour. This labour shortage prompted the authorities to import slaves from Madagascar. Many of these became ancestors of the first Cape Coloured communities. Under Van Riebeeck and his successors as VOC commanders and governors at the Cape, an impressive range of useful plants were introduced to the Cape – in the process changing the natural environment forever.

Some of these, including grapes, ground nuts, potatoes and citrus, had an important and lasting influence on the societies and economies of the region. The Dutch Republic being transformed in Revolutionary France's vassal Batavian Republic, Great Britain moved to take control of its colonies. Britain captured Cape Town in 1795, but the Cape was returned to the Dutch by treaty in 1803. British forces occupied the Cape again in 1806 following the Battle of Blaauwberg. In the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814, Cape Town was permanently ceded to Britain, it became the capital of the newly formed Cape Colony, whose territory expanded substantially through the 1800s. With expansion came calls for greater independence from Britain, with the Cape attaining its own parliament and a locally accountable Prime Minister. Suffrage was established according to sexist Cape Qualified Franchise. During the 1850s and 1860s additional plan species were introduced from Australia by the British authorities. Notably rooikrans to stabilise the sand of the Cape Flats to allow for a road connecting the peninsula with the rest of the African continent and eucalyptus to drain marshes so as to help to eliminate malaria.

The discovery of diamonds in Griqualand West in 1867, the Witwatersrand Gold Rush in 1886, prompted a flood of immigrants to South Africa. Conflicts between the Boer republics in the interior and the British colonial government resulted in the Second Boer War of 1899–1902, which Britain won. In 1910, Britain established the Union of South Africa, which unified the Cape Colony with the two defeated Boer Republics and the British colony of Natal. Cape Town became the legislative capital of the Union, of the Republic of South Africa. Prior to the mid-twentieth century the Cape Town was arguably the most racially integrated city in the South Africa. In the 1948 national elections, the National Party won on a platform of apartheid under the slogan of "swart gevaar"; this led to the erosion and eventual abolition of the Cape's multirac

Action of 13 December 1814

The Action of 13 December 1814 was a naval action during the War of 1812. A flotilla of British longboats were on their way to fight the Battle of Lake Borgne. Before reaching the lake, they would encounter an American schooner of the United States Navy; the Louisiana Campaign had begun, British ships were sailing off the American southern coast, destination New Orleans. The British landing area for the invasion of Louisiana was set for Lake Borgne but in order to land, a squadron of American gunboats and other ships, had to be destroyed. At night, on December 13, 1814, the British set course for the lake. Alexander Cochrane, of the Royal Navy, ordered Captain Nicholas Lockyer to proceed to the lake with a force of forty-two armed longboats, armed barges, armed launches and three armed gigs. Manned by 1,000 to 1,200 sailors and marines with 8 to 24 pound guns, mounted at the bow of the longboats; the force pushed off from HMS Armide at an unknown time of evening. American forces, on USS Sea Horse and commanded by Sailing Master William Johnson were on a mission to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi to destroy a store of weapons to prevent its possible capture by the British fleet sailing in the region.

Sea Horse had a crew of fourteen men. The Americans had a shore battery and unknown amount of artillery on land. Both sailors and artillery were sparse in the frontier South. USS Sea Horse had not yet made it to Bay St. Louis when spotted by Captain Lockyer's longboats late at night on December 13, somewhere in a waterway between Lake Borgne and the Bay of St. Louis along the Gulf of Mexico; as soon as Lockyer spotted Sea Horse from a distance, an unknown number of boats were sent in that direction to cut the American schooner off and capture her. At some point, Sailing Master Johnson attacked. A brief exchange occurred which resulted in light damage to the American schooner by a couple British shots. Two men were killed and another two wounded. William Johnson ordered his crew to head for the nearby coastline, protected by an artillery battery; the British vessels followed. Once drawing the British boat fleet into range of the artillery battery, Sea Horse turned and headed back into battle; the artillery on the coast began firing and the British flotilla retreated, but only for a short while.

After fighting off a British attack, Master Johnson felt the coastline under protection of the battery was a good place to anchor his ship until the next morning. So the anchor was dropped and the Sea Horse's crew began to settle for the night. After short while of rest, the British longboats returned, more in numbers this time; the Royal Navy was able to achieve a closer range than during their first attack, due to the Americans believing their action was over for that night. One member of the fourteen man U. S. crew spotted the silently approaching British boats and the alarm was raised. The crew were ordered to arm themselves with the schooner's issue of muskets, or man the sailing vessel's one gun; the British boats drew close and the Americans opened fire. Hearing the Sea Horse's fire, the American battery commenced. Accurate fire from the Americans' small arsenal of weapons proved efficient and another longboat attack was driven off. Captain Lockyer decided to abandon his attempt to capture the Sea Horse and ordered his men to continue on to Lake Borgne.

The British suffered several armed longboats damaged in action and an unknown number of dead and wounded. The United States lost the said two wounded, as well as minor damage to the schooner. William Johnson, just after his encounter with the British, realized that the enemy fleet was nearby and the capture of his ship by the main Royal Navy fleet was indeed possible. So he ordered his ship to make for the nearest settlement. Once there, near a friendly location to prevent being stranded, Johnson ran his schooner aground on a beach and had her burnt. Gene A. Smith, Thomas ap Catesby Jones, Commodore of Manifest Destiny ISBN 1-55750-848-8 The Glorious Eighth of January — colorful account by Grace King The Battle of New Orleans — account by Theodore Roosevelt Siege of Fort St. Philip — eyewitness accounts, as published in the Louisiana Historical Quarterly

Peripheral drift illusion

The peripheral drift illusion refers to a motion illusion generated by the presentation of a sawtooth luminance grating in the visual periphery. This illusion was first described by Faubert and Herbert, although a similar effect called the "escalator illusion" was reported by Fraser and Wilcox. A variant of the PDI was created by Kitaoka Akiyoshi and Ashida who took the continuous sawtooth luminance change, reversed the intermediate greys. Kitaoka has created numerous variants of the PDI, one called "rotating snakes" has become popular; the latter demonstration has kindled great interest in the PDI. The illusion is seen when fixating off to the side of it, blinking as fast as possible. Most observers can see the illusion when reading text with the illusion figure in the periphery; the motion of such illusions is perceived in a dark-to-light direction. Two papers have been published examining the neural mechanisms involved in seeing the PDI. Faubert and Herbert suggested the illusion was based on temporal differences in luminance processing producing a signal that tricks the motion system.

Both of the articles from 2005 are broadly consistent with those ideas, although contrast appears to be an important factor. Rotating snakes is an optical illusion developed by Professor Akiyoshi Kitaoka in 2003. A type of peripheral drift illusion, the "snakes" consist of several bands of color which resemble coiled serpents. Although the image is static, the snakes appear to be moving in circles; the speed of perceived motion depends on the frequency of microsaccadic eye movements. Faubert, J. & Herbert, A. M.. The peripheral drift illusion: A motion illusion in the visual periphery. Perception, 28, 617–622. Fraser, A. Wilcox, K. J.. Perception of illusory movement. Nature, 281, 565–566. Kitaoka. A. Ashida. H.. Phenomenal characteristics of the peripheral drift illusion. Vision, 15, 261–262. Backus, B. T. & Oruç, İ.. Illusory motion from change over time in the response to contrast and luminance. Journal of Vision, 5, 1055–1069, doi:10.1167/5.11.10. Conway, B. R. Kitaoka, A. Yazdanbakhsh, A. Pack, C. C. Livingstone, M.

S.. Neural basis for a powerful static motion illusion. Journal of Neuroscience, 25, 5651–5656. Alexander, R. G.. Eye Movement Research. Springer, Cham, 104-106, doi:10.1007/978-3-030-20085-5_3 Rotating snakes at Akiyoshi's illusion pages Rotating rings at Sarcone's optical illusion pattern page These patterns move, but it’s an illusion by Smithsonian Research Lab