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Czech Republic

The Czech Republic known by its short-form name, Czechia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the southeast, Austria to the south, Germany to the west. The Czech Republic is a landlocked country with a hilly landscape that covers an area of 78,866 square kilometers with a temperate continental climate and oceanic climate, it is a unitary parliamentary republic, with 10.7 million inhabitants. Its capital and largest city is Prague, with 1.3 million residents. The Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia and Czech Silesia; the Czech state was formed in the late ninth century as the Duchy of Bohemia under the Great Moravian Empire. In 1002, the duchy was formally recognized as an Imperial State of the Holy Roman Empire along with the Kingdom of Germany, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy. Prague was the imperial seat in periods between the 17th century; the Protestant Bohemian Reformation of the 15th century led to the Hussite Wars, the first of many conflicts with the Catholic Church.

Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the whole Crown of Bohemia was integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy. The Protestant Bohemian Revolt against the Catholic Habsburgs led to the Thirty Years' War. After the Battle of the White Mountain, the Habsburgs consolidated their rule, eradicated Protestantism, reimposed Catholicism, adopted a policy of gradual Germanization; this contributed to anti-Habsburg sentiment and resentment of the Catholic Church that continues to this day. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Bohemian Kingdom became part of the Austrian Empire and the Czech language experienced a revival as a consequence of widespread romantic nationalism. In the 19th century, the Czech lands became the industrial powerhouse of the monarchy and were subsequently the core of the First Czechoslovak Republic, formed in 1918 following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. Czechoslovakia was the only democracy in Central Europe during the interwar period.

However, parts of the country were occupied by Germany in World War II, while the Slovak region became a German puppet state. Czechoslovakia was liberated in 1945 by the United States. Most of the German-speaking minority were expelled following the war; the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia won the 1946 elections and after the 1948 coup d'état established a one-party communist state under Soviet influence. Increasing dissatisfaction with the regime culminated in 1968 to the reform movement known as the Prague Spring, which ended in a Soviet-led invasion. Czechoslovakia remained occupied until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, which peacefully ended communist rule and reestablished democracy and a market economy. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia; the Czech Republic is a developed country with an high income social market economy. It is a welfare state with a European social model, universal health care, tuition-free university education.

It ranks 13th in the UN inequality-adjusted human development and 14th in the World Bank Human Capital Index ahead of countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France. It ranks as the eleventh safest and most peaceful country and performs in democratic governance; the Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004. It is a member of the OECD, the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe; the traditional English name "Bohemia" derives from Latin "Boiohaemum", which means "home of the Boii". The current English name comes from the Polish ethnonym associated with the area, which comes from the Czech word Čech; the name comes from the Slavic tribe and, according to legend, their leader Čech, who brought them to Bohemia, to settle on Říp Mountain. The etymology of the word Čech can be traced back to the Proto-Slavic root *čel-, meaning "member of the people; the country has been traditionally divided into three lands, namely Bohemia in the west, Moravia in the east, Czech Silesia in the northeast.

Known as the lands of the Bohemian Crown since the 14th century, a number of other names for the country have been used, including Czech/Bohemian lands, Bohemian Crown and the lands of the Crown of Saint Wenceslas. When the country regained its independence after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918, the new name of Czechoslovakia was coined to reflect the union of the Czech and Slovak nations within the one country. After Czechoslovakia dissolved in 1992, the new Czech state lacked a common English short name; the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommended the English name Czechia in 1993, the Czech government approved Czechia as the official short name in 2016. Archaeologists have found evidence of prehistoric human settlements in the area, dating back to the Paleolithic era; the Venus of Dolní Věstonice, dated to 29,000–25,000 BCE, together with a few others from nearby locations, is the oldest known ceramic artifact in the world. In the classical era, as a result of the 3rd century BC Celtic migrations

The World at the End of Time

World at the End of Time is a 1990 hard science fiction novel by American writer Frederik Pohl. It tells the parallel stories of a human and a plasma-based intelligence who manage to survive to the time near the heat death of the universe; the book is thus a combined work in speculative space colonization. World at the End of Time follows the story of a young Earth-born human, Viktor Sorricaine, on a colony expedition to a distant star system; the colonists are frozen for the long trip between stars. Unknown to both the humans of Earth and the colonists, the stars around them are home to immensely long-lived plasma creatures—with no knowledge of, or interest in, the activities of insignificant matter creatures. Wan-To, one of the oldest and most powerful plasma creatures, is engaged in a war. After creating modified copies of himself, or "children", for company, Wan-To finds himself in a deadly game of chess with them; the "board" is the entire galaxy and the weapons are the stars themselves. Each star may be home to an enemy "child".

Some time after the colonists have left Earth, its own sun falls victim to the war, being made to explode with humanity on Earth being destroyed as a " collateral damage". Into the middle of this battlefield, the three colony ships unwittingly head for their new home. Upon arriving, the colony begins to establish itself... only to discover that their entire local group of stars appears to be undergoing a bizarre acceleration, are dimming. After a disastrous disease outbreak and terraforming failures, the desperate colonists decide to investigate the strange radiation emissions from a small world within their solar system. Upon arriving in orbit, their ship is badly damaged and Viktor is forced into the onboard freezer systems, they are rescued and unfrozen four hundred of the colony's years to find the colony in an more desperate situation. The star around which the colony's world orbits has dimmed and they are now travelling so fast that, due to relativistic effects, the universe around them has shrunk to a bright dot.

The colony has become factionalized and religious, with scientific investigation discouraged. Viktor is frozen again for attempting to investigate why they have been accelerating, he wakes four thousand of the colony's years to find the far descendants of the colony have rebuilt their society into habitats orbiting the dim star and created a high-technology civilization dedicated to pleasure and comfort. He makes his way to the former colony to find only a few fellow-colonists unfrozen and attempting to rebuild it, his unique status as someone, born on "old Earth" brings publicity to their efforts and the rebuilding forges ahead. During the four thousand years of Viktor's frozen sleep, the star system has been slowed again. After the vast amount of time that has passed, all that remains of the once young universe are dead stars and black holes, with Wan-To surviving on the energy provided by proton decay. Wan-To receives a tachyon transmission from his long-forgotten systems and makes preparations to move into these last remaining stars — believing that the small matter creatures inhabiting the system are irrelevant and can be destroyed should they become an irritation.

The World at the End of Time title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database

Obscure Sound

Obscure Sound is an mp3 blog launched in the mid-2000s by Mike Mineo. The website is updated daily with articles and reviews covering a range of musical genres, including indie rock, indie folk and electronica. Obscure Sound began as a small mp3 blog in February 2006. Before launching Obscure Sound, founder Mike Mineo wrote for Stylus Magazine; the website's noted focus on music, "obscure" is outlined in its mission statement, which states a preference to feature "artists you’ve never heard of before." As such, New York Times journalist Jon Pareles identified that Obscure Sound "gather hard-to-find songs for listeners to download directly." Similar to other online music publications, Obscure Sound publishes reviews, videos and forums. In some cases, Obscure Sound has premiered underground music that becomes popular. For example, following a feature published by Obscure Sound in 2010, The Guardian featured Canadian electronica artist Grimes as their feature "New Band of the Week" in 2011; the Guardian quoted Obscure Sound in their description of Grimes for her "late-night driving songs, hangover antidotes, exotic lullabies."

Obscure Sound has been featured in many media worldwide. In addition to the New York Times and The Guardian, Obscure Sound has been featured in the Boston Globe, The Toronto Star, The Independent, The Observer, Wired, BBC Radio 1, New York Magazine and VH1’s "Best Week Ever." In 2012, CD Baby included Obscure Sound on its list of "The Top 100 Must-Follow Music Resources on Twitter." In 2013, Refinery29 included Obscure Sound on its list of "The Best Music Blogs That Aren't Pitchfork." When NME printed its final issue in March 2018, Descrier News published a list of alternative "magazines and zines that have replaced," which included Obscure Sound alongside other online music publications. Official Website