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Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Tower of Pisa is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa, known worldwide for its nearly four-degree lean, the result of an unstable foundation. The tower is situated behind the Pisa Cathedral and is the third-oldest structure in the city's Cathedral Square, after the cathedral and the Pisa Baptistry; the height of the tower is 55.86 metres from the ground on the low side and 56.67 metres on the high side. The width of the walls at the base is 2.44 m. Its weight is estimated at 14,500 metric tons; the tower has 294 steps. The tower began to lean during construction in the 12th century, due to soft ground which could not properly support the structure's weight, it worsened through the completion of construction in the 14th century. By 1990 the tilt had reached 5.5 degrees. The structure was stabilized by remedial work between 1993 and 2001, which reduced the tilt to 3.97 degrees. There has been controversy about the real identity of the architect of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

For many years, the design was attributed to Guglielmo and Bonanno Pisano, a well-known 12th-century resident artist of Pisa, known for his bronze casting in the Pisa Duomo. Pisano left Pisa in 1185 for Monreale, only to come back and die in his home town. A piece of cast bearing his name was discovered at the foot of the tower in 1820, but this may be related to the bronze door in the façade of the cathedral, destroyed in 1595. A 2001 study seems to indicate Diotisalvi was the original architect, due to the time of construction and affinity with other Diotisalvi works, notably the bell tower of San Nicola and the Baptistery, both in Pisa. Construction of the tower occurred in three stages over 199 years. On 5 January 1172, Donna Berta di Bernardo, a widow and resident of the house of dell'Opera di Santa Maria, bequeathed sixty soldi to the Opera Campanilis petrarum Sancte Marie; the sum was used toward the purchase of a few stones which still form the base of the bell tower. On 9 August 1173, the foundations of the tower were laid.

Work on the ground floor of the white marble campanile began on 14 August of the same year during a period of military success and prosperity. This ground floor is a blind arcade articulated by engaged columns with classical Corinthian capitals. Nearly four centuries Giorgio Vasari wrote: "Guglielmo, according to what is being said, in the year 1174, together with sculptor Bonanno, laid the foundations of the bell tower of the cathedral in Pisa"; the tower began to sink after construction had progressed to the second floor in 1178. This was due to a mere three-metre foundation, set in weak, unstable subsoil, a design, flawed from the beginning. Construction was subsequently halted for a century, as the Republic of Pisa was continually engaged in battles with Genoa and Florence; this allowed time for the underlying soil to settle. Otherwise, the tower would certainly have toppled. On 27 December 1233, the worker Benenato, son of Gerardo Bottici, oversaw the continuation of the tower's construction.

On 23 February 1260, Guido Speziale, son of Giovanni Pisano, was elected to oversee the building of the tower. On 12 April 1264, the master builder Giovanni di Simone, architect of the Camposanto, 23 workers went to the mountains close to Pisa to cut marble; the cut stones were given to worker of St. Francesco. In 1272, construction resumed under Di Simone. In an effort to compensate for the tilt, the engineers built upper floors with one side taller than the other; because of this, the tower is curved. Construction was halted again in 1284 when the Pisans were defeated by the Genoans in the Battle of Meloria; the seventh floor was completed in 1319. The bell-chamber was added in 1372, it was built by Tommaso di Andrea Pisano, who succeeded in harmonizing the Gothic elements of the belfry with the Romanesque style of the tower. There are one for each note of the musical major scale; the largest one was installed in 1655. Between 1589 and 1592, Galileo Galilei, who lived in Pisa at the time, is said to have dropped two cannonballs of different masses from the tower to demonstrate that their speed of descent was independent of their mass.

The primary source for this is the biography Racconto istorico della vita di Galileo Galilei, written by Galileo's pupil and secretary Vincenzo Viviani in 1654, but only published in 1717, long after his death. During World War II, the Allies suspected that the Germans were using the tower as an observation post. A U. S. Army sergeant sent to confirm the presence of German troops in the tower was impressed by the beauty of the cathedral and its campanile, thus refrained from ordering an artillery strike, sparing it from destruction. Numerous efforts have been made to restore the tower to a vertical orientation or at least keep it from falling over. Most of these efforts failed. On 27 February 1964, the government of Italy requested aid in preventing the tower from toppling, it was, considered important to retain the current tilt, due to the role that this element played in promoting the tourism industry of Pisa. A multinational task force of engineers and historians gathered on the Azores islands to discuss stabilisation methods.

It was found that the tilt was increasing in combination with the softer foundations on the lower side. Many methods were proposed to stabilise the tower, including the addition of 800 tonnes of l

Maestro guitars

Maestro Guitars is a guitar manufacturing company based in Singapore. It is best known for creating custom-made acoustic ukuleles; the founder is a former Singapore Management University graduate. Their instruments are used by professional Italian musician Franco Morone and were used by guitarist Paul Ponnudorai; the founder of Maestro Guitars, Ho Zen, started off learning how to fix guitars in his father’s piano shop. In 2004, he improved his guitar-making skills by learning them from an English luthier Chris Horton, in Goa. Upon his return in 2011, Ho Zen started Maestro Guitars in a shop in Peninsula Excelsior Hotel and soon opened a workshop; the company's name, was inspired by the Spanish word of the same spelling which translates to mean "master". In music, a "maestro" refers to someone, a master in his art a composer, conductor or music teacher. In 2015, Maestro Guitars launched two new acoustic guitar models and showcasing a few models from their Double Top Series and Island Series ukuleles at the NAMM Show.

Maestro Guitars is best known for its custom-made guitars. The guitars are handcrafted in a 100% humidity controlled facility to ensure its stability and dependability, they use new technology such as the flame-resistant material, Nomex, to craft their guitars. The company is presently looking to expand to Asian countries such as Hong Malaysia, their products are available in Australia and France. The company works with various companies to provide materials for their custom-made guitars, such as Elixir Strings, Grover Musical Products and d'Addario. Official website

Route Halifax Saint-Pierre Ocean Race

Route Halifax Saint-Pierre Ocean Race is an ocean race held in late June or early July, every two years, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada for a distance of 350 nautical miles to Saint-Pierre, in the French Archipelago of Saint-Pierre et Miquelon off of coastal Newfoundland. It is raced by crews of two or more people, most in sailboats in the 30 to 40 foot range, but boats from 21 feet to 60 feet have been raced in the past; the 2020 edition of the race will be the 10th time. The race attracts both amateur and professional sailors from Canada, United States and Europe to compete on true time or under handicap rules in double-handed or crewed monohull boats. Winning times are in the 36 to 48 hour range, but it can take more than 60 hours to complete the race; the race record time is 29 hours. Sailors Philippe Paturel and Hal Davies met. Davies retired as an officer in the Canadian Forces Maritime Command, was an active racer in the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Davies and Paturel met and joked over a drink about the next opportunity to compete again in ocean racing, suggesting a race where the winner would be the first to arrive in Saint-Pierre. In 2002, as a result of their discussions, the Route Halifax/Saint-Pierre was established, it was first sponsored as a joint project of the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron in Halifax and the Yacht Club de Saint-Pierre. There were 20 boats entered in the first race, with 40 sailboats of all sizes in years; the race is run every two years, starting at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron in Halifax. Davies died in February 2011; the scheduled day for the 2020 Route Halifax Saint-Pierre start is Friday, June 26, at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on the Halifax city waterfront. The First gun for the start of Route Halifax Saint-Pierre 2020 is at 1155 hrs. By July, the winds in the region are dominated by the Azores high and this has resulted in a 75% chance of moderate winds aft of the beam for ideal sailing conditions.

Records of the seven races indicate that six have tended to be fast with boats with a Performance Handicap Racing Fleet rating of 75 finishing with an elapsed time ranging from 47 to 56 hours. But, there was one slow race; the race receives a warm welcome from the residents of Saint-Pierre. Local families each adopt a racing crew and there is live music at the completion of the race, all part of the French national holiday, Bastille Day on July 14; the race record is held by Derek Hatfield's Open 60 "Spirit of Canada" which in 2010 set an elapsed time of 29 hours, 43 minutes, 56 seconds. The André H. Paturel Trophy is awarded to the first monohull to finish Route Halifax Saint-Pierre on elapsed time; the USHIP Trophy is awarded to the first Multihull to finish ROUTE Halifax SaintPierre on elapsed time. The Founders’ Trophy is awarded to the best team of two monohulls in Route Halifax Saint-Pierre scored under ORC; the Etat Français trophy is awarded to the best boat in any monohull division of Route Halifax Saint-Pierre sailed by a crew of two, scored under ORC.

The Hal Davies Memorial Trophy is awarded to the best monohull in Route Halifax Saint-Pierre, scored under ORC, where the Person in Charge is entering for the first time. The Trophée SPM 1ère is awarded to the boat providing the race-related, reporting; the Friar Trophy is awarded for the best combined finish in both the Route Halifax Saint-Pierre Ocean Race and the Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race in consecutive years. The Georges Acland Trophy is awarded to the best boat in Division I – Ocean Class The Trophée de Saint-Pierre et Miquelon – Des îles d’exception is awarded to the best boat in Division I – Class 40 The SNSM Trophy is awarded to the best boat in Division I – Multi 50 The Trophée de la Ville de Saint-Pierre is awarded to the best boat in Division II – ORC-Racing The Trophée de la Collectivité Territoriale de Saint-Pierre et Miquelon is awarded to the best boat in Division III – ORC-Non-Spinnaker Official website