SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

Hong Kong dollar

The Hong Kong dollar is the official currency of Hong Kong. It is subdivided into 100 cents; the Hong Kong Monetary Authority is the governmental currency board and the de facto central bank for Hong Kong and the Hong Kong dollar. Under the licence from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, three commercial banks are licensed to issue their own banknotes for general circulation in Hong Kong; the three commercial banks, HSBC, Bank of China and Standard Chartered issue their own designs of banknotes in denominations of HK$20, HK$50, HK$100, HK$500 and HK$1000, with all designs being similar to one another in the same denomination of banknote. However, the HK$10 banknote and all coins are issued by the Government of Hong Kong; as of April 2019, the Hong Kong dollar is the ninth most traded currency in the world. Apart from its use in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong dollar is used in neighbouring Macau, where the Hong Kong dollar circulates alongside the Macau pataca; when Hong Kong was established as a free trading port in 1841, there was no local currency in everyday circulation.

Foreign currencies such as Indian rupees and Mexican 8 reales, Chinese cash coins circulated. Since 1825, it had been the policy of the British government to introduce sterling silver coinage to all of its colonies, to this end, in 1845 the Spanish and Mexican 8 reales coins were set at a legal tender value of 4 shillings, 2 pence sterling, but just as in the case of the British North American colonies, the attempts to introduce the sterling coinage failed to overcome the strong local adherence to the silver Spanish dollar system. By 1858, the British government gave up all attempts to influence the currency situation in Canada, by the 1860s it came to the same realisation in Hong Kong: that there was no point in trying to displace an existing currency system. In 1863, the Royal Mint in London began issuing special subsidiary coinage for use in Hong Kong within the dollar system. In 1866, a local mint was established at Cleveland Street in Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island for the purpose of minting Hong Kong silver dollar and half dollar coins of the same value and similar likeness to their Mexican counterparts.

The Chinese did not however receive these new Hong Kong dollars well, in 1868 the Hong Kong Mint was closed down with a loss of $440,000. The machinery at the Hong Kong mint was sold first to Jardine Matheson and in turn to the Japanese and used to make the first Yen coins in 1870. In the 1860s, banknotes of the new British colonial banks, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and the Chartered Bank of India and China, denominated in dollars began to circulate in both Hong Kong and the wider region. In 1873, the international silver crisis resulted in a devaluation of silver against gold-based currencies. Since the silver dollars in the US and Canada were attached to a gold exchange standard, this meant that the silver dollars circulating along the China coast dropped in value as compared to the US dollar and the Canadian dollar. By 1895, the circumstances had changed to the extent that there was now a dearth of Mexican dollars and the authorities in both Hong Kong and the Straits Settlements were putting pressure on the authorities in London to take measures to have a regular supply of silver dollar coins.

London acquiesced and legislation was enacted in attempts to regulate the coinage. New British trade dollars were coined at the mints in Calcutta and Bombay for use in both Hong Kong and the Straits Settlements. In 1906, the Straits Settlements issued their own silver dollar coin and attached it to a gold sterling exchange standard at a fixed value of 2 shillings and 4 pence; this was the point of departure as between the Straits unit. By 1935, only Hong Kong and China remained on the silver standard. In that year, Hong Kong, shortly after China, abandoned silver and introduced a crawling peg to sterling of £1 = HK$15.36 to HK$16.45. It was from this point in time that the concept of a Hong Kong dollar as a distinct unit of currency came into existence; the One-Dollar Currency Note Ordinance of that year led to the introduction of one-dollar notes by the government and the government acknowledged the Hong Kong dollar as the local monetary unit. It was not until 1937 that the legal tender of Hong Kong was unified.

In 1939, the Hong Kong dollar was put on a fixed peg of HK$16 = £1. During the Japanese occupation, the Japanese military yen were the only means of everyday exchange in Hong Kong; when the yen was first introduced on 26 December 1941, the exchange rate was ¥1 yen = HK$2. However, in August 1942, the rate was changed to HK$4 to ¥1 yen; the yen became the only legal tender on 1 June 1943. The issue of local currency was resumed by the Hong Kong government and the authorised local banks after liberation, with the pre-war rate of HK$16 = £1 being restored; the yen was exchanged at a rate of ¥100 = HK$1. On 6 September 1945, all military yen notes used in Japanese colonies were declared void by the Japanese Ministry of Finance. In 1967, when sterling was devalued, the dollar's peg to the pound was increased from 1s 3d to 1s ​4 1⁄2d although this did not offset the devaluation. In 1972, the Hong Kong dollar was pegged to the U. S. dollar at a rate of HK$5.65 = US$1. This was revised to HK$5.085 = US$1 in 1973.

Between 1974 and 1983, the Hong Kong dollar floated. On 17 October 1983, the currency was pegged at a rate of HK$7.8 = US$1, through the currency board system. As of 18 May 2005, in addition to the lower guaranteed limit, a new upper guaranteed limit was set for the Hong Kong dollar at HK$7.75 to the US dollar. The lower limit has been lowered from 7.80 to 7.85 (by 100 pips per week fro

Parasite Rex

Parasite Rex: Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous Creatures is a nonfiction book by Carl Zimmer, published by Free Press in 2000. The book discusses the history of parasites on Earth and how the field and study of parasitology formed, along with a look at the most dangerous parasites found in nature. A special paperback edition was released in March 2011 for the tenth anniversary of the book's publishing, including a new epilogue written by Zimmer. Signed bookplates were given to fans that sent in a photo of themselves with a copy of the special edition; the cover of Parasite Rex includes a scanning electron microscope image of a tick as the focus, along with a number of illustrations in the centerfold of parasites and topics discussed in the book. The book begins by discussing the history of parasites in human knowledge, from the earliest writings about them in ancient cultures, up through modern times; the focus comes to rest extensively on the views and experiments conducted by scientists in the 17th, 18th, 19th centuries, such as those done by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, Japetus Steenstrup, Friedrich Küchenmeister, Ray Lankester.

Among them, Leeuwenhoek was the first to physically view cells through a microscope, Steenstrup was the first to explain and confirm the multiple stages and life cycles of parasites that are different from most other living organisms, Küchenmeister, through his religious beliefs and his views on every creature having a place in the natural order, denied the ideas of his time and proved that all parasites are a part of active evolutionary niches and not biological dead ends by conducting morally ambiguous experiments on prisoners. Lankester is given a specific focus and repeated discussion throughout the book due to his belief that parasites are examples of degenerative evolution in regards to Sacculina, Zimmer's repeated refutation of this idea. Several chapters are given to discussing various types of parasites and how they infect and control their hosts, along with the biochemistry involved in their take-over or evasion of their host's immune system leading to their dispersal into their next form and life cycle.

A significant focus is given on the workings of immunology and how the immune systems of living beings respond to parasite infection, along with the methods that bodily functions are used to counteract and kill invading microorganisms. Woven into this discussion are several specific sites that Zimmer visited during his writing of Parasite Rex and the scientists he worked with to understand different biosystems and all the parasites that live within them, including human sleeping sickness infections in Sudan from the tsetse fly, the parasites of frogs in Costa Rica showcased by filarial worms that infect humans and a variety of species, the USDA National Parasite Collection based out of Maryland; the final chapters focus on an overall effect parasites have had on the evolution of life and the theory that it is due to parasitic infection that sexual reproduction evolved to become dominant, in contrast to previous asexual reproduction methods, due to the increased genetic variety and thus potential parasitic resistance that this would confer.

This research was showcased by W. D. Hamilton and his theories on the evolution of sex, along with the Red Queen hypothesis and the idea of an evolutionary arms race between parasites and their hosts. Zimmer discusses a final time the wide variety of parasites that evolved to have humans as their primary hosts and our attempts through scientific advancement to eradicate them; the closing chapter considers the positive benefits of parasites and how humans have used them to improve agriculture and medical technology, but how ill-considered usage of parasites could destroy various habitats by having them act as invasive species. In the end, Zimmer ponders whether humanity counts as a parasite on the planet and what the effects of this relationship could be. In a review for Science, Albert O. Bush pointed out how Zimmer creates a writing style, written with "clarity and without prejudice" and that while the "purist will find the odd mistakes and minor errors of fact", these are "insignificant" and do not remove from Parasite Rex's "overall quality or, more its focus and take-home message."

The New York Times' Kevin Padian praised the book and Zimmer's writing, saying that it showcases him as "fine a science essayist as we have" and that the importance of this book rests "not only in its accessible presentation of the new science of evolutionary parasitology but in its thoughtful treatment of the global strategies and policies that scientists, health workers and governments will have to consider in order to manage parasites in the future". Publishers Weekly called the book a "exemplary work of popular science" and one of the "most fascinating works" of its kind, while being "its most disgusting". Margaret Henderson, writing for the Library Journal, recommended the book for placement in all libraries, saying that the book "makes parasitology interesting and accessible to anyone". Writing in the Quarterly Review of Biology, May Berenbaum describes Parasite Rex as a "remarkable book", "unique in its focus and is readable" and earns the reviewer's "respect and recommendation" for being able to discuss the life cycles of lancet flukes and the Red Queen hypothesis properly in a single book.

Joe Eaton in the Whole Earth Review categorized Parasite Rex as "one of those books that change the way you see the world" due to how it shows that ecosystems are made up of the parasites that the individual organisms carry. A review in The American Biology Teacher by Donald A. Lawrence labeled the book as a "splendid overview of curre

Louise Nevelson

Louise Nevelson was an American sculptor known for her monumental, wooden wall pieces and outdoor sculptures. Born in the Poltava Governorate of the Russian Empire, she emigrated with her family to the United States in the early 20th century. Nevelson learned English at school. By the early 1930s she was attending art classes at the Art Students League of New York, in 1941 she had her first solo exhibition. A student of Hans Hofmann and Chaim Gross, Nevelson experimented with early conceptual art using found objects, dabbled in painting and printing before dedicating her lifework to sculpture. Created out of wood, her sculptures appear puzzle-like, with multiple intricately cut pieces placed into wall sculptures or independently standing pieces 3-D. One unique feature of her work is that her figures are painted in monochromatic black or white. A figure in the international art scene, Nevelson was showcased at the 31st Venice Biennale, her work is seen in major collections in corporations. Nevelson remains one of the most important figures in 20th-century American sculpture.

Louise Nevelson was born Leah Berliawsky in 1899 in Pereiaslav, Poltava Governorate, Russian Empire, to Minna Sadie and Isaac Berliawsky, a contractor and lumber merchant. Though the family lived comfortably, Nevelson's relatives had begun to leave the Russian Empire for America in the 1880s; the Berliawskys had to stay behind, as the youngest brother, had to care for his parents. While still in Europe, Minna gave birth to two of Nevelson's siblings: Anita. On his mother's death, Isaac moved to the United States in 1902. After he left and the children moved to the Kiev area. According to family lore, young Nevelson was so forlorn about her father's departure that she became mute for six months. In 1905, Minna and the children emigrated to the United States, where they joined Isaac in Rockland, Maine. Isaac struggled to establish himself there, suffering from depression while the family settled into their new home, he worked as a woodcutter before opening a junkyard. His work as a lumberjack made wood a consistent presence in the family household, a material that would figure prominently in Nevelson's work.

He became a successful lumberyard owner and realtor. The family had another child, Lillian, in 1906. Nevelson was close to her mother, who suffered from depression, a condition believed to be brought on by the family's migration from Russia and their minority status as a Jewish family living in Maine. Minna overly compensated for this, dressing herself and the children up in clothing "regarded as sophisticated in the Old Country", her mother wore flamboyant outfits with heavy make-up. Nevelson's first experience of art was at the age of nine at the Rockland Public Library, where she saw a plaster cast of Joan of Arc. Shortly thereafter she decided to study art, taking drawing in high school, where she served as basketball captain, she painted watercolor interiors, in which furniture appeared molecular in structure, rather like her professional work. Female figures made frequent appearances. In school, she practiced her second language, as Yiddish was spoken at home. Unhappy with her family's economic status, language differences, the religious discrimination of the community, her school, Nevelson set her sights on moving to high school in New York.

She graduated from high school in 1918, began working as a stenographer at a local law office. There she met Bernard Nevelson, co-owner with his brother Charles of the Nevelson Brothers Company, a shipping business. Bernard introduced her to his brother, Charles and Louise Nevelson were married in June 1920 in a Jewish wedding at the Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. Having satisfied her parent's hope that she would marry into a wealthy family and her new husband moved to New York City, where she began to study painting, singing and dancing, she became pregnant, in 1922 she gave birth to her son Myron, who grew up to be a sculptor. Nevelson studied art, despite the disapproval of her parents-in-law, she commented: "My husband's family was refined. Within that circle you could know Beethoven, but God forbid if you were Beethoven."In 1924 the family moved to Mount Vernon, New York, a popular Jewish area of Westchester County. Nevelson was upset with the move, which removed her from her artistic environment.

During the winter of 1932–1933 she separated from Charles, unwilling to become the socialite wife he expected her to be. She never sought financial support from Charles, in 1941 the couple divorced. Starting in 1929, Nevelson studied art full-time under Kenneth Hayes Miller and Kimon Nicolaides at the Art Students League. Nevelson credited an exhibition of Noh kimonos at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a catalyst for her to study art further. In 1931 she sent her son Mike to live with family and went to Europe, paying for the trip by selling a diamond bracelet that her now ex-husband had given her on the occasion of Mike's birth. In Munich she studied with Hans Hofmann before visiting France. Returning to New York in 1932 she once again studied under Hofmann, serving as a guest instructor at the Art Students League, she met Diego Rivera in 1933 and worked as his assistant on his mural Man at the Crossroads at Rockefeller Plaza. The two had an affair which caused a rift between Nevelson and Rivera's wife, Frida Kahlo, an artist Nevelson admired.

Shortly thereafter, Nevelso