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Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey is one of the largest and best preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in England. It is located 3 miles south-west of Ripon in North Yorkshire, near to the village of Aldfield. Founded in 1132, the abbey operated for 407 years becoming one of the wealthiest monasteries in England until its dissolution in 1539 under the order of Henry VIII; the abbey is a Grade I listed building owned by the National Trust and part of the designated Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey UNESCO World Heritage Site. After a dispute and riot in 1132 at the Benedictine house of St Mary's Abbey, in York, 13 monks were expelled and were taken under the protection of Thurstan, Archbishop of York, he provided them with land in the valley of the River Skell, a tributary of the Ure. The enclosed valley had all the natural features needed for the creation of a monastery, providing shelter from the weather and timber for building, a supply of running water. After enduring a harsh winter in 1133, the monks applied to join the Cistercian order which since the end of the previous century was a fast-growing reform movement that by the beginning of the 13th century was to have over 500 houses.

So it was that in 1135, Fountains became the second Cistercian house in northern England, after Rievaulx. The Fountains monks became subject to Clairvaux Abbey, in Burgundy, under the rule of St Bernard. Under the guidance of Geoffrey of Ainai, a monk sent from Clairvaux, the group learned how to celebrate the seven Canonical Hours according to Cistercian usage and were shown how to construct wooden buildings in accordance with Cistercian practice. After Henry Murdac was elected abbot in 1143, the small stone church and timber claustral buildings were replaced. Within three years, an aisled nave had been added to the stone church, the first permanent claustral buildings built in stone and roofed in tile had been completed. In 1146 an angry mob, annoyed at Murdac for his role in opposing the election of William FitzHerbert as archbishop of York, attacked the abbey and burnt down all but the church and some surrounding buildings; the community founded four daughter houses. Henry Murdac resigned as abbot in 1147 upon becoming the Archbishop of York and was replaced first by Maurice, Abbot of Rievaulx on the resignation of Maurice, by Thorald.

Thorald was forced by Henry Murdac to resign after two years in office. The next abbot, held the post until his death in 1170 and restored the abbey's stability and prosperity. In 20 years as abbot, he supervised a huge building programme which involved completing repairs to the damaged church and building more accommodation for the increasing number of recruits. Only the chapter house was completed before he died and the work was ably continued by his successor, Robert of Pipewell, under whose rule the abbey gained a reputation for caring for the needy; the next abbot was William, who presided over the abbey from 1180 to 1190 and he was succeeded by Ralph Haget, who had entered Fountains at the age of 30 as a novice, after pursuing a military career. During the European famine of 1194 Haget ordered the construction of shelters in the vicinity of the abbey and provided daily food rations to the poor enhancing the abbey's reputation for caring for the poor and attracting more grants from wealthy benefactors.

In the first half of the 13th century Fountains increased in reputation and prosperity under the next three abbots, John of York, John of Hessle and John of Kent. They were burdened with an inordinate amount of administrative duties and increasing demands for money in taxation and levies but managed to complete another massive expansion of the abbey's buildings; this included building an infirmary. In the second half of the 13th century the abbey was in more straitened circumstances, it was presided over by eleven abbots, became financially unstable due to forward selling its wool crop, the abbey was criticised for its dire material and physical state when it was visited by Archbishop John le Romeyn in 1294. The run of disasters that befell the community continued into the early 14th century when northern England was invaded by the Scots and there were further demands for taxes; the culmination of these misfortunes was the Black Death of 1348–1349. The loss of manpower and income due to the ravages of the plague was ruinous.

A further complication arose as a result of the Papal Schism of 1378–1409. Fountains Abbey along with other English Cistercian houses was told to break off any contact with the mother house of Citeaux, which supported a rival pope; this resulted in the abbots forming their own chapter to rule the order in England and they became involved in internecine politics. In 1410, following the death of Abbot Burley of Fountains, the community was riven by several years of turmoil over the election of his successor. Contending candidates John Ripon, Abbot of Meaux, Roger Frank, a monk of Fountains were locked in conflict until 1415 when Ripon was appointed, ruling until his death in 1434. Under abbots John Greenwell, Thomas Swinton, John Darnton, who undertook some much needed restoration of the fabric of the abbey, including notable work on the church, Marmaduke Huby Fountains regained stability and prosperity. At Abbot Huby's death he was succeeded by William Thirsk, accused by the royal commissioners of immorality and inadequacy and was dismissed as abbot.

He was replaced by Marmaduke Bradley, a monk of the abbey who had reported Thirsk's supposed offences, testified against him and offered the authorities six hundred marks for t

Wutong Mountain

Wutong Mountain is a mountain located near the border of Luohu and Yantian in Shenzhen, China. At 943.7m, it is the tallest mountain in Shenzhen. The mountain is source of the Shenzhen River. With an area of 31.82 square kilometres, founded in 1989 and situated in central south part of Shenzhen, Mount Wutong National Park nears the Roc Bay of South China Sea in the east, connects Hong Kong in the south, borders on Shenzhen Reservoir in the west, approaches the secondary boundaries of the pre-Shenzhen Special Economic Zone in the north. Wutong Mountain is a rare natural scenic spot in China, located in urban area, with coastal mountains and natural vegetations as its main scenery. There are eight scenery blocks such as "Musical Instrument in Phoenix Valley", "Wutong Clouds", "A Phoenix Perching on the Green Wutong", "East Lake Park" and "Fairy Lake Botanical Garden" etc. In 1993 it was awarded the title of National Park of Guangdong by the Guangdong Provincial Government. In December 2009, it was conferred the title of National Park of China by the State Council.

With range of green hills, Wutong Mountain rises from west to east. There are three main peaks, namely Small Wutong, Bean Curd Head and Great Wutong, which are called "Three Towering Peaks" in history. With an attitude of 943.7 metres, Great Wutong is the highest peak in Shenzhen. The majestic mountain matches the cloud which changes irregularly, it connes Hong Kong with mountains. Known far and wide, Wutong Mountain has a long history. "Wuling Heavenly Pound" had been praised as one of eight sceneries in Xin'an County in history. Now, "Wutong Clouds" has been listed as one of eight new sceneries of Shenzhen for its capricious and magic scenery. Praised as "City Lung" vividly, vast vegetation of Wutong Mountain from the significant ecological barrier of Shenzhen; the forest coverage rate of Wutong Mountain reaches 88.6%. The types of vegetation in the mountain are multiple. South subtropics seasonal rainforest, mountainous orderly broad-leaf forest, hilltop dwarf forest, hilltop shrubs and glasses are distributed orderly from the foot to the top of the mountain.

At present, such ecological sceneries as "Ten miles flowers of Rhododentron" and "Camellia flowers sea of Wutong" etc, which constructing according to the natural conditions of Wutong Mountain display striking "flower sea" sceneries. Wutong Mountain with plentiful animals and plants resources is an important species gene bank of Shenzhen. Wutong Mountain is home to 1,376 species of rescular plants, 537 species of insects, 196 species of different animals in the national park, of which there are 36 species of plants such as Aquilaria sinensis, Amentotaxus argotaenia, Alsophila spinulosa etc. and over 20 species of animals such as Python molurus, Manis pentadactyla, virerricula indica etc. which were approved as national and key protected animals and plants. Qiniangshan List of parks in Shenzhen

Dhairya Dand

Dhairya Dand is an Indian-born New York City based inventor and artist. His work investigates the human body as a medium for computation, new materials as a tool to embody interactions and design as a vehicle for mindfulness, his work takes form of devices, installations, new technology and materials. Dand is a Principal at ODD Industries, a futurist factory and lab in NYC, an artist in residence at the NEW Museum and on the scientific advisory board of the X PRIZE Foundation. Dand is a core member of the W3C Standards Committee, he was a key member of Amazon's secretive Concept Lab. He has taught conceptual design based courses at the Art Institute of Seattle, the Carnegie Mellon School of Design, Tisch School of the Arts and the MIT Design Innovation Workshops. Dand is a graduate of the Media and Sciences program at the MIT Media Lab. Dand was born in India to parents who were plumbers and storytellers. Dand attributes his cross-disciplinary work to being trained as a plumber by his father and listening to stories and mythologies by his mother.

He attended Victoria Jubilee Technological Institute for an undergraduate in Computer Science and the Industrial Design Centre for courses in design. Dand lived in Singapore, Phnom Penh, London, Kampala before moving to the United States to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dand's inventions range from sensorial interfaces, smart devices, display technologies, social systems, bio-based architecture, educational toys, emotional robots. In SuperShoes, Dand created insoles that work on a tickling interface, they tickle the feet and guide the wearer across the city; the insoles talk to the smartphone for location and access to the users personality preferences. The insoles help with navigation, taking mindful breaks, discovering new places in a city. In Programmable Hair, Dand made a contraption worn on the hair that allows the wearer to program their hairstyle, either by choosing from a library of hairstyles or by taking a picture of someone else's hairstyle. With Obake, Dand created a 2.5 D elastic computer display technology.

The display can be physically deformed, pulled, pushed. It can self-actuate. While in Seattle, Dand was part of Amazon's secretive Concept Lab, where he is credited for key inventions and Alexa devices; some of his inventions which are public, involve invisible interfaces and using hand gestures to use the air as a medium for computing. Dand's Cheers are alcohol aware ice-cubes, they change their colors depending on how much the person has consumed alcohol, they strobe in response to the ambient music. Dand designed a bio-building that reacts to its environment. During the day, cells in the building's ` membranes' allowing for more ventilation. Dand's ThinkerToys are modular educational toys made from e-Waste which led to an NGO called openTOYS. By plugging in these modules, a keyboard can be used as a piano, a mouse for language learning and speakers as storytelling devices. One of his early work was Lokshahi, a m-governance system for political transparency in rural India. Dand has worked on several accessibility related inventions for emotional communication and motor impairment.

Dand was named in the Forbes magazine's 30 under 30 list in 2016 and 2015. In 2015 Future of StoryTelling named him as a Fellow, he was one of ELLE magazine's 20 names to know and VOGUE's Cool People list. In 2014 WIRED named him as an Innovation Fellow, INK Talks named him as an INK Fellow, his work was selected by the Smithsonian as one of the 20 designs for the People's Choice Design Award. In 2013, he was one of the Boston Globe's Top 25 Innovators, he has presented at W3C's Annual Summit, Tencent's WE Summit, Tokyo Designers Week, WIRED Innovation Conference, INK Talks, TEDx events including TEDxHamburg and TEDxKlagenfurt, the ICA and the MIT Media Lab. Dand's work has been exhibited at the prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum in London, MIT Museum in Cambridge, Singapore Arts House and at international conferences including UIST St Andrews, CHI Paris, TEI Barcelona. Official Website ODD Industries Website Talk at TEDx in Austria Talk at TEDx in Germany Profile page at MIT Media Lab Forbes profile on Dhairya Dand


GeneSweep or Gene Sweepstake was a sweepstake and scientific wager for scientists to bet on the total number of genes in the human genome. The sweepstake was started at a Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory conference in 2000. Bets could be placed for $1, raised to $5 in 2001 and to $20 in 2002; the cost of placing a bet increased because participants were expected to have much more accurate information available to inform their guesses. By May 23, 2000, 228 bets had been placed, with the average number of predicted genes among them being 62,598. On May 30, 2003, Ewan Birney of the European Bioinformatics Institute, who had organized the pool, announced the winner: Lee Rowen of the Institute for Systems Biology. Rowen had guessed that the human genome would contain 25,947 genes, the closest to the estimated number of 24,847 given by the Ensembl genome database project. In addition to being the winning guess, this was the lowest of the more than 460 bets that were placed. Rowen split the $1,200 prize pool with Paul Dear of the Medical Research Council and Olivier Jaillon of Genoscope.

Rowen credited Jean Weissenbach of Genoscope with convincing her that the true number of human genes would be low. All three winners shared the prize because they were the only betters who guessed under 30,000, Birney was certain that the total number of genes was less than that; the sweepstakes had always been planned to end in 2003, because Birney had expected that Ensembl would have completed counting the number of human genes by then. Once it became clear that they would need more time to arrive at an exact number, Birney planned on extending the sweepstakes for five more years. However, David Stewart convinced Birney to choose a winner by pointing out that the rules specified that a winner had to be chosen in 2003, with no exceptions. Birney noted that, though the exact number was still unknown, there was no doubt that the number of human genes was much less than 26,000, he announced that 21,000 was the best estimate in a 2003 talk; as of 2018 there is continuing debate amongst scientists about the total number of genes in the human genome, with most estimates ranging from 19,000 and 22,000

Tamai Kobayashi

Tamai Kobayashi is a Canadian writer, who won the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT writers in 2014. Kobayashi was co-editor with Mona Oikawa of All Names Spoken, an anthology of lesbian writing published by Sister Vision Press in 1992, she published two short story collections and the Heart and Quixotic Erotic, before publishing her debut novel, Prairie Ostrich, in 2014. In addition, she wrote the short film Short Hymn, Silent War, directed by Charles Officer, her short story "Panopte's Eye" appeared in the 2004 science fiction anthology So Long Been Dreaming, her first short film, Later, In the Life, is about two older lesbians, whose friendship is affected when one of them starts dating. She was a founding member of Asian Lesbians of Toronto. All Names Spoken Exile and the Heart Quixotic Erotic Prairie Ostrich Official website

Victorias Milling Company

Victorias Milling Company, Inc. a publicly-listed company in the Philippines established in 1919, is largest producer of sugar in the country and one of the largest sugar millers and refineries in Asia. Its core business is the production of integrated raw and refined sugar and engaging in engineering services. Trading on the Philippine Stock Exchange, the company is in Victorias City, Negros Occidental, Philippines where its plant facilities are located. Victorias Milling Company, considered the Philippines' leading sugar firm and the largest sugar producer, was founded by Don Miguel Ossorio together with wife Maria Paz Yangco, Claudio Ruiz de Luzuriaga, his brother Francisco Ossorio, Shiras Jones, its mill and refinery facilities for sugar and allied products are in Victorias City, Negros Occidental. Established on May 7, 1919, it is one of the earliest sugar mills established in the Philippines. Two years earlier, Ossorio founded the North Negros Sugar Company, a 300-TCD centrifugal mill in Manapla, Negros Occidental, where the sugar planters from Victorias milled their produce.

VMC was bigger at a capacity of 1,500 TCD when it started operations in 1921, both companies were merged after World War II. Equipment and machinery in Manpala were utilized to repair the site in Victorias, damaged, a sugar refinery was constructed with a capacity of a million pounds of sugar per year; the Spanish-descent Ossorio was the president and chairman from the start until 1967. He invited his wife Paz, his brother Francisco, entrepreneurs Jones and Claudio R. de Luzurriaga, Sr. as partners. In 1921, the chemist Carlos Locsin of Silay City joined the management team; the following became president of the company: Miguel Ossorio's son. The company grew to become one of the largest integrated raw and refined sugar manufacturer in Asia and produced half of the country's demand for refined sugar, it raised P525 million from its initial public offering in September, 1993. During the Asian financial crisis, it sought debt relief during its bankruptcy in 1995. Accounting issues were uncovered on the use of loan sugar quedans.

Its financial situation were attributed to the competition brought about by cheap imported sugar, not operating to full capacity, loans that were spent for facility repairs and ventures to other industries, trading extension of its subsidiary, the North Negros Marketing Corporation. On March, 1997, the company sought and was approved for a 90-day moratorium on principal payments on its loans from 32 creditors; the company was suspended from trading in the stock exchange on that year due to its failure in filing the required documentation and fees, as well as concerns on material information of the company's disclosures. The local bourse issued a warning to de-list the company in 1999; the board replaced Gerardo B. Javellana with Manuel Mañalac as president in June, 1997. By July, it requested the SEC to suspend further debt payments and to establish a committee to oversee the company's management and to come up with a rehabilitation plan, which involved selling common shares, reducing debt such as converting debts to equity, reducing the workforce, adding new business partners.

Isidro Alcantara Jr. vice president of PCIBank, was appointed by SEC as Mancom's head on the rehabilitation plan's implementation. The company established a creditor-driven program to improve its financial standing and to settle the maturity of obligations earlier than schedule. By May 31, 2013, it has turned around its operations by settling P4.4 billion restructured loans and by redeeming issued convertible notes. By December 16, 2013, it has converted P70.5 million in notes to 70,049,966 shares. In 2018, VMC sought SEC's approval to modify the rehabilitation plan to add loans worth P1.19 billion that were the subject of litigation with creditors. The loans consisted of refined sugar delivery orders and quedans that were issued by the company and utilized by its subsidiary, the North Negros Marketing Co. Inc, to facilitate borrowing; these loans were not part of the rehabilitation program, were up for resolution in the court, according to the company, "lacked any factual or legal basis and that the officers who issued them acted fraudulently.”By December, 2018, VMC again proposed to amend the rehabilitation plan to include compromise payment scheme on some of its loans.

Asserting that it didn't benefit from the proceeds of the loans, the company agreed to debt settlements spread over 10 years to prevent "future and protracted litigation." Filipino businessman Lucio Tan, who gave a critical lifeline in the midst of the Asian crisis, owned a 30.9% stake, while the public owned 24% of its stock. When VMC stocks were opened for trading in 2012, its price rose by 931%, its share was valued at P0.29 when it was last traded on October 8, 1997, it closed at P2.99 on May 21, 2012. On July 3, 2013, the SEC approved the company to engage into other industries aside from manufacturing sugar and allied products and engaging in engineering services; the forerunners of its subsidiaries were established much earlier. For instance, the company's foundry division began in 1964, agribusiness in 1976, management and technical services group in 1977, food processing division in 1979; the company's subsidiaries include Victorias Foods Corporation, into sardines and meat products, Victorias Agricultural Land Corporation, Victorias Green Energy Corporation, Canetown Development Corporation, the 65-hectare Victorias Golf and Cou