click links in text for more info

Prasophyllum frenchii

Prasophyllum frenchii known as the maroon leek orchid or swamp leek orchid, is a species of orchid endemic to south-eastern continental Australia. It has a single tubular green leaf and up to sixty five reddish-brown or red flowers. More widespread, it is now confined to seven populations containing a total of fewer than 1,000 plants. Prasophyllum frenchii is a terrestrial, deciduous, herb with an underground tuber and a single tube-shaped leaf up to 200 mm long, 5–10 mm wide at the base and, withered by flowering time. Between twenty and sixty five scented flowers are arranged along a flowering stem 150–600 mm or more high; the flowers are scented, reddish-brown or red and as with others in the genus, are inverted so that the labellum is above the column rather than below it. The dorsal sepal is egg-shaped, 5–8 mm long and the lateral sepals are lance-shaped, 5–8 mm long, more or less parallel to and free from each other; the petals are oblong in shape, 6 -- turn forwards. The labellum is egg-shaped, green or reddish, 5–6 mm long and turns upwards through about 90° near its middle.

The upturned part is triangular and the edges of the labellum are crinkled. There is a raised, horseshoe-shaped callus in the centre of the labellum. Flowering occurs from October to November. Prasophyllum frenchii was first formally described in 1889 by Ferdinand von Mueller and the description was published in The Victorian Naturalist from a specimen collected by "G. French"; the specific epithet "is named after the youthful collector, who has filially inherited from one of the principal founders of the Field-Naturalists' Club his ardour for forming, by searches of his own and phytologic collections, instituting observations thereon". The maroon leek orchid is widespread but rare, occurring from south-eastern Victoria to the south-east of South Australia, it grows in grassland and open forest. Records indicate that P. frenchii was once to have numbered in many thousands and occurred as far east as Mallacoota in far East Gippsland. It is preserved in Wilsons Promontory National Park but is now extinct east of there.

Only about 250 to 750 plants survive in seven populations and the species is listed as "Endangered" under the Commonwealth Government Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 Act, as "Threatened" under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and as "Endangered" under the South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972. The main threats to the population are weed invasion and inappropriate fire regimes. Media related to Prasophyllum frenchii at Wikimedia Commons Data related to Prasophyllum frenchii at Wikispecies

Vince Vance & the Valiants

Vince Vance & the Valiants are an American country pop and roll and novelty musical group from New Orleans, United States. The title character Vince Vance is portrayed by the only permanent member of the group, he was born Andrew John Franichevich Jr. The remainder of the Valiants are rotating musicians; the group's most sustained hit record, one, uncharacteristic of their usual stylings, is the country ballad "All I Want for Christmas Is You", which charted on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts on six separate occasions in the 1990s. As a novelty band, their best-known record was their 1980 version of the parody song "Bomb Iran", which narrowly missed the Billboard Hot 100 in 1981. On November 20, 2010, Vince Vance was surprised during his performance at a "Louisiana Legends" fundraiser at New Orleans Rock'n Bowl venue, with induction into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame for his outstanding career, including the Christmas icon "All I Want for Christmas is You" and his most current "I Am New Orleans".

Official Site

National Military Command System

The National Military Command System was the federal government of the United States' Cold War command and control system that consisted of the National Military Command Center at The Pentagon, the Alternate National Military Command Center at Pennsylvania Raven Rock Mountain, 3 National Emergency Airborne Command Post aircraft on 24-hour ground alert, 2 National Emergency Command Post Afloat ships, "and interconnecting communications". The United States' Cold War command and control history included numerous developments such as the: 195x Air Force Command Post established at the Pentagon when the Korean War broke out 1955 & 1957 Strategic Air Command nuclear bunkers 1956 War Room Annex completed in July at the 1953 Raven Rock nuclear bunker in Pennsylvania 1958 "reorganization in National Command Authority relations with the joint commands" after President Dwight D. Eisenhower expressed concern about nuclear command and control. 1958 McGuire AFB groundbreaking in MONTH for the Burroughs SS-416L Control and Warning Support System with the Semi Automatic Ground Environment to control nuclear anti-aircraft missiles 1960 BMEWS Central Computer and Display Facility at Ent AFB, operational on September 20 for centralizing Thule Site J BMEWS radar observations for NORAD and SAC to assess a USSR ICBM attack.

1960 Joint War Room at the Pentagon with consoles operational in November 1961 groundbreaking for the Cheyenne Mountain nuclear bunkerAfter initial planning May–July 1962, DoD Directive S-5100.30 "conceived" the Worldwide Military Command and Control System with five planned groups of C2 systems: the NMCS was the primary group and was to serve the President, the United States Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Alternate National Military Command Center was established on 1 October 1962 at Raven Rock Mountain Complex and included a joint War Room Annex, "Headquarters USAF Advanced" center, an Army communications complex to connect the ANMCC to several communications networks such as NORAD's Alert Network Number 1; the ANMCC subsequently had equipment of Control System. The National Military Command Center opened at the Pentagon in early October 1962 to replace the Air Force Command Post as the Joint Chiefs' command post; the ANMCC included 473L C2 equipment, including several IBM computers.

It was started in early 1962 when the JCS area with the Joint War Room was expanded from ~7,000 sq ft to ~21,000 sq ft by 1965 The NMCC was considered an "interim" location until the Deep Underground Command Center could be completed below the Pentagon. The NMCC had "direct communications with MACV headquarters in Saigon" during the Vietnam War. 1972 upgrade The WWMCCS "ADP upgrade program" included 1972 computer installations and c. mid-1972, additional NMCC expansion enlarged it to ~30,000 sq ft and included the Joint Operational Reporting system. In 1977, the NMCC was 1 of 6 initial sites of the WWMCCS Intercomputer Network developed from a 1971-7 experimental program with testing and use by the JCS; the Command Center Processing and Display System replaced NMCC UNIVAC 1106 computers c. 1977 with "dedicated UNIVAC 1100/42 computers" for console and large screen displays. By 1981 as part of the WWMCCS Information System, the NMCC received data "directly from the Satellite Early Warning System and directly from the PAVE PAWS sensor systems".

The NMCC at 38°52′16″N 77°03′20″W coordinated responses to the 2001 September 11 attacks and other events. By 2008, the NMCC had the NMCC Alert Center for intelligence fusion in the National Operations and Intelligence Watch Officer Network

Richard L. Alexander

Richard Lear Alexander was an American World War II fighter ace who fought for the Allies in both the Royal Canadian Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces. Alexander was born in Grant Park, Illinois on July 22, 1914, he played as an outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds' minor league farm team for eight years and was a professional middleweight boxer. Alexander attempted to join the United States Army Air Corps but was rejected because he had only received a high school education and at least some college education was required for USAAF service, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in October 1940 to get involved in the war as a pilot as well as to avoid being drafted and sent to serve in the infantry. At the time, he had only 25 hours of flying experience, far below the normal requirements for the Royal Air Force, he was assigned to the 133 Eagle Squadron in England. Nearly a year in August 1942, Alexander participated in Operation Jubilee, which he called his "most memorable day in the RAF".

In two missions as a part of this operation he damaged a third. In September 1942, Alexander transferred to the United States Army Air Forces 4th Fighter Group, he joined the 109th Observation Squadron in January 1943 as deputy flight commander. Based near Shrewsbury, this squadron was created as the first operation training unit for American pilots. Given their experience after years of flying for the RAF and the relative inexperience of American recruits, instructors like Alexander found themselves training pilots of higher rank than they were. Around this time was the introduction of the P-47D Thunderbolt to US air forces. Alexander became one of the first American pilots to fly the "Jug" on 10 April 1943, he remained in Europe until April 1943, at which point he joined the 52nd Fighter Group's 2nd Fighter Squadron in North Africa. On 30 May 1944, Alexander was shot down over Austria and taken as a prisoner of war by the Germans after evading capture for five days, he was held at Stalag Luft III in Bavaria until it was liberated in May 1945.

In the course of his service in World War II, Alexander was credited with five confirmed kills and one probable kill, qualifying him to be labeled an ace. Alexander served with the 33rd Fighter Group's 60th Fighter Squadron in Germany until an accident cost him his right arm in January 1947. Following the accident, he was medically retired from the Air Force on 7 February 1948. Alexander was a recipient of a Silver Star, a Distinguished Flying Cross, a Purple Heart, the Air Medal with 12 oak leaf clusters, among other medals. Bibliography Caine, Philip D.. American Pilots in the RAF. Brassey's. ISBN 0028810708. OCLC 27814272. Haugland, Vern; the Eagle Squadrons: Yanks in the RAF 1940-1942. Ziff-Davis Flying Books. ISBN 0871650282. OCLC 5428497. Haugland, Vern; the Eagles' War. Jason Aronson. ISBN 0876684959. OCLC 8195076

Airship Industries Skyship 600

The Airship Industries Skyship 600 is a modern airship designed by British company Airship Industries, further developed by a subsidiary of Westinghouse Electric Corporation the type certificate holder is now Skyship Services of Orlando, Florida in the United States. The first Skyship 600 made its maiden flight on 6 March 1984. By August 1987 a further six had been flown; the Skyship 600 is similar in appearance to, but larger than, the Skyship 500. Airship Industries collapsed in 1990. Westinghouse Electric's defense arm had taken over the US Navy's airship programme in which Airship Industries was a partner and bought the military marketing rights and intellectual rights to the Skyship designs from the official receiver. Slingsby Aviation, the principal subcontractor to Airship Industries bought other assets, marketing rights and intellectual property for civil versions along with the type certificates. Westinghouse purchased the Skyship 600S demonstrator, Airship International – who were to market the civil design in the Americas – bought two unfinished Skyships and Skyship 600-02, took over the equipment of Airship Industries US arm.

The type certificates for the Skyship 600 series was purchased from Westinghouse Airships in 1994 by American company Global Skyship Industries, transferred to Skycruiser Corporation in 2004 and changed hands again in 2012 to Skyship Services. Most Skyship 600s have been used for advertising purposes, like 600-05 which flew in 2006-7 as "Spirit of Dubai". A purpose built Skyship was used to promote the Division Bell tour by Pink Floyd in 1994 until the ship's destruction. Pieces of the craft used by Pink Floyd became souvenirs. In December 2007, a Skyship 600 was leased by supporters of US presidential candidate Ron Paul to fly with the banner "Who is Ron Paul? Google Ron Paul". Others have been used including during the 2004 Summer Olympics; the first Skyship, No 600-01 registered G-SKSC, was used for trials with the French Navy. The 2.2 tonne-payload fifth built was sold to a Canadian mining company for aerial survey work. The envelope is fabricated from polyester cloth, coated inside with saran film for gas retention and outside with polyurethane loaded with titanium dioxide for durability.

The gondola is a kevlar-reinforced moulding, suspended from the top of the envelope by kevlar cables. The pilot controls elevators and rudders on the tail surfaces by fore-aft and lateral movement of a yoke, via a manual, cable-operated system. In response to Airship Industries intent to enter the military market, Marconi did start on a system using fibre optics to carry the control signals to electrical actuators; this could reduce pilot workload, make control response more precise but be resistant to electrical interference. Skyships are equipped with a pair of ballonets, one forward and one aft comprising a maximum of 27% of the envelope's gross volume. Ballonets are air-filled compartments within an airship that compensate for the expansion and contraction of the helium, thereby maintaining envelope pressure, they can be filled, or filled, with air. Emptying of air is done through four valves under the envelope; the valves open automatically. During descent, air from the propeller ducts, and/or electric fans is used to inflate the ballonets, keep the envelope from collapsing.

The ballonets can be independently filled by using shut-off dampers in the air supply trunking. Through differential inflation a measure of pitch trim can be obtained. Earlier models were propelled by two Porsche 930 turbocharged piston engines, but some have been modified with Textron Lycoming IO-540 engines. One important feature of this series is thrust-vector control; the ducted propellers can be swivelled in the vertical plane upwards and downwards, providing vertical thrust for use in takeoff and hovering. Spirit of Dubai – The Palm was one of three Skyship 600 aircraft operated by Airship Management Services of Greenwich, CT, USA; these ships are now the world's largest operating non-rigid airships. The airship, N605SK was built by Airship Industries in Cardington, UK and first flew as G-SKSJ in November 1986, it is owned and operated by Skycruise Switzerland AG. Airship Industries went into administration in 1990 and it was divided up between Slingsby and Westinghouse Corporation. In November 2006, the ship was leased and decorated with new artwork and flown under the name Spirit of Dubai.

It was planned to make a publicity tour from London to United Arab Emirates. The journey was being undertaken to promote The Palm Jumeirah in Dubai; the journey was planned to take in landmarks including Big Ben, the London Eye and Tower Bridge in London and the White Cliffs of Dover in England, the Eiffel Tower and Palace of Versailles in Paris, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Pisa and the Colosseum in Rome, the Parthenon in Athens, the Great Pyramids in Egypt. The airship made it to the island of Crete; the next leg of the journey was planned to go through Egypt. However, for reasons unexplained, the Egyptian authorities refused to grant permission for the airship to make the trip. In the spring of 2007 the ship returned to Europe for use in sightseeing. Prior to its departure from London, the aircraft was used for sightseeing tours in Switzerland under its owner/operator company name Skycruise Switzerland. Ten Skyship 600s have been built and a successor, the Skyship 600B, has been planned. Although ATG received two orders for the Skyship 600B, a higher-performance version of the 600, in its early years, it sold the type certificate for the 600 to Julian Benscher of Global Skyship.

Data from Jane's All the World's Ai