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Longmen Grottoes

The Longmen Grottoes or Longmen Caves are some of the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art. Housing tens of thousands of statues of Buddha and his disciples, they are located 12 kilometres south of present-day Luoyang in Henan province, China; the images, many once painted, were carved as outside rock reliefs and inside artificial caves excavated from the limestone cliffs of the Xiangshan and Longmenshan, running east and west. The Yi River flows northward between the area used to be called Yique; the alternative name of "Dragon's Gate Grottoes" derives from the resemblance of the two hills that check the flow of the Yi River to the typical "Chinese gate towers" that once marked the entrance to Luoyang from the south. There are as many as 100,000 statues within the 2,345 caves, ranging from 1 inch to 57 feet in height; the area contains nearly 2,500 stelae and inscriptions, hence the name “Forest of Ancient Stelae", as well as over sixty Buddhist pagodas. Situated in a scenic natural environment, the caves were dug from a 1 kilometre stretch of cliff running along both banks of the river.

30% date from the Northern Wei and 60% from the Tang dynasty, caves from other periods accounting for less than 10% of the total. Starting with the Northern Wei Dynasty in 493 AD, patrons and donors included emperors, Wu Zetian, members of the royal family, other rich families and religious groups. In 2000 the site was inscribed upon the UNESCO World Heritage List as “an outstanding manifestation of human artistic creativity,” for its perfection of an art form, for its encapsulation of the cultural sophistication of Tang China; this complex is one of the three notable grottoes in China. The other two grottoes are the Yungang Caves near Datong in Shanxi Province, the Mogao Caves near Dunhuang in Gansu Province; the valley formed by the Yi River enclosed by two hills ranges of Xiangshan and Longmenshan hills have steep slopes on the western and eastern slopes along the river. Yi is a north flowing tributary of the Luo River; the grottoes are formed in 1 km of the stretch of this river and were carved on both banks, in limestone formations creating the Longmen Caves.

Most of the work was done on the western bank, while the eastern bank caves, of smaller numbers, served as residences for the large groups of monks. Within the 1,400 caves, there are 100,000 statues, some of which are only 1 inch high, while the largest Buddha statue is 57 feet in height. There are approximately 2500 stelae and 60 pagodas; the grottoes are located on both sides of the Yi River. Fifty large and medium-sized caves are seen on the west hill cliffs which are credited to the Northern and Tang Dynasties, while the caves on the east hill were carved during the Tang Dynasty; the plethora of caves and pagodas in Longmen Grottoes depict a definite "progression in style" with the early caves being simple and well shaped with carvings of statues of Buddha and religious people. The change of style is more distinct in the Tang Dynastic periods which are “more complex and incorporate women and court figures as well”; the caves have been numbered sequentially from north to south along the west bank of the Yi River.

Entry to the caves is from the northern end. The earliest history of the creation of Longmen Grottoes is traced to the reign of Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei dynasty when he shifted his capital to Luoyang from Dàtóng; the grottoes were excavated and carved with Buddhist subjects over the period from 493 AD to 1127 AD, in four distinct phases. The first phase started with the Northern Wei dynasty; the second phase saw slow development of caves as there was interruption due to strife in the region, between 524 and 626, during the reign of the Sui dynasty and the early part of the Tang dynasty. The third phase, was during the reign of the Tang dynasty when Chinese Buddhism flourished and there was a proliferation of caves and carvings from 626 to the mid 8th century; the last phase, the fourth, was from the part of the Tang dynastic rule extending to the Northern Song Dynasty rule, which saw a decline in the creation of grottoes. It came to an end due to internecine war between the Yuan dynasties.

Guyangdong or the Shiku Temple, credited to Emperor Xiaowen, was the first cave temple to be built at the center of the southern floor of the West Hill. Emperor Xuanwu of Northern Wei followed up this activity and excavated three more caves, two in memory of his father, Emperor Xiaowen, one in memory of his mother. Over 30% of the caves seen now were built during this period. In 527, the Huangfugong or Shikusi grottoes, a major cave, was completed, it is a well conserved cave located to the south of the West Hill. In 675, Fengxiansi Cave, on the southern floor of the West Hill was completed during the Tang dynasty rule; this marked the peak period of the gottoes' creation. It is estimated that 60% of the caves seen at Longmen came about in this period from 626 till 755. During this period, in addition to the caves which housed Buddha statues of various sizes, some Buddhist temples were built in open spaces with scenic settings in the same complex. However, these are now in ruins. During this phase, Emperor Gaozong and Empress Wu Zetian were instrumental in intensifying the ac

Backlash (1956 film)

Backlash is a 1956 American Technicolor Western film directed by John Sturges starring Richard Widmark and Donna Reed. It was directed by John Sturges, unfolds in the vein of the psychological Western, it delivers an unconventional story, written by Borden Chase, that sometimes crosses into film noir, as a colorful cast of supporting characters help or hinder the protagonist during the unfolding of its central mystery. Backlash was filmed on location at Old Tucson Studios. Jim Slater meets Karyl Orton in Arizona, she thinks. When a man with a rifle starts shooting at him, Jim wonders. After Jim kills his foe, he discovers, he takes the body there. When Sheriff J. C. Marson questions him, Jim reveals. Jim's father and four other men were killed by Apaches. Jim believes there was a sixth man who got away and could have gone for help, but instead decided he wanted the gold they found all to himself. Marston reveals. There are two other brothers; when Jim refuses to leave town, Marston suggests he go see Sergeant George Lake in Tucson.

Lake led the detail. Jim finds Lake and his men under siege at an isolated trading post. Lake tells Karyl. While there, Karyl stakes her claim to the gold. Lake and Jim stampede the Apaches' horses, allowing the party to escape. Lake, however, is mortally wounded. Before he dies, he reveals; when Jim returns to Tucson, he encounters Karyl in a hotel, being forced upstairs by a stranger. Karyl calls him by name, whereupon the stranger draws his gun. Jim kills him and wounds another man gunning. Afterward, Karyl reveals that the dead man is the survivor his brother Tony. Jim slaps her, she tracks him down, tends to his wound, offers to trade information. Jim kisses her; when the pair reach their destination, Major Carson tries to recruit Jim against Bonniwell, who has organized the local bandits. Jim is not interested in the upcoming range war, though he does learn that Bonniwell arrived in the region with $60,000, the same amount as the missing gold. One of Carson's gunmen, Johnny Cool, informs Bonniwell of Carson's plans.

Bonniwell gathers his men in town, guns down Sheriff Olson when he tries to keep the peace, prepares an ambush. He finds Jim locked in the jail, he lets the prisoner out when he learns who he is reveals that he is Jim's father, whom Jim had not seen since he was a child. The gold came, not via robbery; the others forced Bonniwell out. Disillusioned, Jim wants nothing to do with his father. Karyl pleads with Jim to leave but he wants to warn Carson; when he tries to fire a warning shot, he discovers. Bonniwell chases his son with a knife, but Jim manages to wrestle a gun from one of the bandits and fire. Alerted, Carson has his men surround the town, whereupon the bandits flee. Bonniwell offers to step out of hiding and draw to see which Slater is faster, but he treacherously has his gun in his hand. Carson's men fatally shoot him just before Jim steps out in the open. Richard Widmark as Jim Slater Donna Reed as Karyl Orton William Campbell as Johnny Cool John McIntire as Jim Bonniwell Barton MacLane as Sgt.

George Lake Harry Morgan as Tony Welker Robert J. Wilke as Jeff Welker Jack Lambert as Mike Benton Roy Roberts as Maj. Carson Edward C. Platt as Sheriff J. C. Marson Robert Foulk as Sheriff John F. Olson Phil Chambers as Deputy Sheriff Dobbs Gregg Barton as Sleepy Fred Graham as Ned McCloud Frank Chase as Cassidy, Shotgun Rider Backlash on IMDb Backlash at the TCM Movie Database Backlash at AllMovie Backlash at the American Film Institute Catalog


PerSay was an Israeli start-up company specializing in Voice Biometrics technology. Founded in 2000, its voice biometrics systems are used in the banking, insurance and telecommunications industries worldwide. PerSay was founded in February 2000 as a spin-off of Verint Systems, part of the Comverse Technology group, its headquarters is with an office in New York City. Its main investor was SKFT, which handled the venture capital activity of the Shrem Fudim Kelner group. In April 2004 the company was valued at $2.9 to $3.7 million. In 2010 the company was sold for an undisclosed amount to Nuance Communications. PerSay markets the following products: VocalPassword, a biometric speaker identification system which verifies the speaker during an interaction using a voice application FreeSpeech, a text-independent biometric speaker identification system which verifies a person's identity in the course of natural conversation S. P. I. D. An audio-processing system which searches for a target’s voice in a volume of intercepted callsPerSay's VocalPassword speaker identification technology has been acquired by Bank Leumi, China Merchants Bank, Bank Hapoalim, Israel Discount Bank, Caja Madrid.

Home page "Emerging Tech Talk #45 - Voice Biometrics - Ariel Freidenberg of PerSay" on

Jacopo Vignali

Jacopo Vignali was an Italian painter of the early Baroque period. Vignali was born in Pratovecchio, near Arezzo, trained under Matteo Rosselli, he painted the ceiling fresco of the Love of the Fatherland and Jacob's dream for the Casa Buonarroti in Florence. In 1616 he entered the Accademia del Disegno in Florence. In the 1620s, he painted the Investiture of St Benedict for the Confraternità di San Benedetto Bianco. In 1622–23 he contributed to fresco cycles for the Medici at the Casino Mediceo di San Marco in Florence, at the Villa di Poggio Imperiale. Among his pupils were Domenico Bettini, Romolo Panfi, Alessandro Rosi, Carlo Dolci. Wittkower, Rudolf. Art and Architecture in Italy, 1600-1750. Pelican History of Art. P. 344. Grove encyclopedia biography on Artnet


An alidade or a turning board is a device that allows one to sight a distant object and use the line of sight to perform a task. This task can be, for example, to draw a line on a plane table in the direction of the object or to measure the angle to the object from some reference point. Angles measured can be vertical or in any chosen plane; the alidade was a part of many types of scientific and astronomical instrument. At one time, some alidades those used on graduated circles as on astrolabes, were called diopters. With modern technology, the name is applied to complete instruments such as the plane table alidade; the word in Arabic, signifies the same device. In Greek and Latin, it is called δίοπτρα, "dioptra", linea fiduciae, "fiducial line"; the earliest alidades consisted of rod or similar component with a vane on each end. Each vane has a slot or other indicator through which one can view a distant object. There may be a pointer or pointers on the alidade to indicate a position on a scale.

Alidades have been made of wood, ivory and other materials. The figure on the left displays drawings that attempt to show the general forms of various alidades that can be found on many antique instruments. Real alidades of these types could be much more decorative, revealing the maker's artistic talents as well as his technical skills. In the terminology of the time, the edge of an alidade at which one reads a scale or draws a line is called a fiducial edge. Alidade B in the diagram shows a flat bar with a vane at either end. No pointers are used; the vanes are not centred on the bar but offset so that the sight line coincides with the edge of the bar. The vanes have a rectangular hole in each with a fine wire held vertically in the opening. To use the alidade, the user sights an object and lines it up with the wires in each vane; this type of alidade could be found on graphometer or similar instrument. Alidades A and C have a slit or circular hole without a wire. In the diagram, the openings are exaggerated in size to show the shape.

One can look through the openings and line the openings up with the object of interest in the distance. With a small opening, the error in sighting the object is small. However, if a dim object such as a star is observed through a small hole, the image is difficult to see; this form is shown in the diagram as having pointers. These can be used to read off an angle on a scale, engraved around the outer edge of the instrument. Alidades of this form are found on mariner's astrolabes and similar instruments. Alidade D has vanes without any openings. In this case, the object is viewed and the alidade is rotated until the two opposite vanes eclipse the object. With skill, this sort of alidade can yield precise measures. In this example, pointers are shown. Alidade E is a representation of a interesting design by Johannes Hevelius. Hevelius was cataloging star positions with high accuracy, he did have access to the telescopic sights that were being used by astronomers in other countries, however, he chose to use naked-eye observations for his positional instruments.

Due to the design of his instruments and the alidades, as well as his diligent practices, he was able to yield precise measures. Hevelius' design featured a pivot point with a vane at the observer's end; the vane had two narrow slits that were spaced the same distance apart as the diameter of the cylinder. If the observer could sight a star on only one side of the cylinder, as seen in F, the alignment was off. By moving the vane so that the star could just be seen on either side of the cylinder, the alidade was aligned with the position of the star; this could not be used with a located object. A star, being so far away as to exhibit no parallax to the naked-eye, would be observable as a point source on both sides; the alidade is the part of a theodolite that rotates around the vertical axis, that bears the horizontal axis around which the telescope turns up or down. In a sextant the alidade is the turnable arm carrying a mirror and an index to a graduated circle in a vertical plane. Today it is more called an index arm.

Alidade tables have long been used in fire towers for sighting the bearing to a forest fire. A topographic map of the local area, with a suitable scale, is oriented and permanently mounted on a leveled circular table surrounded by an arc calibrated to true north of the map and graduated in degrees of arc. Two vertical sight apertures are arranged opposite each other and can be rotated along the graduated arc of the horizontal table. To determine a bearing to a suspected fire, the user looks through the two sights and adjusts them until they are aligned with the source of the smoke. See Osborne Fire Finder. Gunsight Pelorus Gerard L'E. Turner, Nineteenth Century Scientific Instruments, Sotheby Publications, 1983, ISBN 0-85667-170-3 Gerard L'E. Turner, Antique Scientific Instruments, Blandford Press Ltd. 1980, ISBN 0-7137-1068-3 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chambers, Ephraim, ed.. "article name needed". Cyclopædia, or an Univer


IonCube Ltd. is a software company based near Canterbury, Kent, in the United Kingdom. IonCube was founded in 2002, introduced tools to protect software written using the PHP programming language from being viewed and run on unlicensed computers; the encoding technology grew out of earlier work on the PHP Accelerator project, at first launch included an online encoding service where PHP scripts can be uploaded and an encoded version downloaded in return, a command line tool for Linux soon after. The tools use the technique of compiling to bytecode prior to encoding so that source code is eliminated, runtime overheads are reduced. A PHP extension called the ionCube Loader handles the reading and execution of encoded files at run time. Unlike CPU's such as 8086, where compiled code from many years ago continues to run on its derivatives today, the virtual machine instruction set of PHP has changed over time; the ionCube Loader uses the technique of on the fly patching of compiled code in memory to achieve back compatibility of running older files on newer versions of PHP.

The encoding products were subsequently ported to FreeBSD, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X, the range of products expanded to offer additional features such as product licensing and encryption of non-PHP files. In July 2004 a Windows GUI was introduced, no longer requiring use of the command line for Windows users. In 2004, ionCube introduced IPF, for Linux and Windows. IPF allows web applications to be packaged as a Windows executable installer that can automatically deploy a web application to a remote server, as well as performing various installation and configuration tasks, launching the browser on the main page of the installed application. IonCube produce a product called the Bundler. Unrelated to PHP, the Bundler is a Windows and Linux tool to produce self-extracting archives for Windows. In December 2010 ionCube released version 7.0 of their Encoder, including support for the PHP 5.3 language. In May 2013 ionCube released version 8.0 with support for encoding the PHP 5.4 language. This was followed by an 8.1 release in October 2013 with changes including an updated GUI, enhanced security and a feature to assist selecting optimal security settings.

February 2014 saw the release of Encoder 8.2 with some new features, most notably a GUI for OS X users. As of April 18, 2014, Encoder 8.3 was released with support for encoding PHP 5.5 language features. In May 2015 ionCube released version 9 with support for PHP 5.6 language syntax and new security features such as decrypting compiled code using algorithmically runtime generated rather than static keys, followed by version 10 with support for PHP 7.1 in August 2017. In Q1 2015, ionCube introduced a service called ionCube24 offering realtime malware protection for PHP websites. IonCube24 uses the ionCube Loader to monitor and block any unexpected PHP code, as might be introduced by a software vulnerability exploit, before it executes. Alongside the security aspect of ionCube24, it provides realtime PHP and Javascript error reporting, along with server monitoring from various regions including Asia, North America and Europe. IonCube was invited to talk about their EPIK community project and Minecraft with NetBeans JavaOne in San Francisco October 2014.

In December 2014, ionCube presented a talk at the 2014 Google Developers Group DevFest conference in Istanbul, about how websites can be hacked and how this can be prevented, featuring a live proof of concept demonstration with an emergency light and car alarm triggered when a website intrusion was detected. In February 2012, ionCube launched an initiative called EPIK, aimed at Encouraging Programming In Kids for people aged 16 to 24 through a programming competition, with winners sharing part of a £1000 prize fund and having the opportunity of an IT apprenticeship. In February 2013 the ionCube EPIK initiative was expanded, ran a three-day coding event for young developers with age ranges from under 10 to their early 20s. Most participants had no prior experience of coding or web technologies, with support of industry mentors from ionCube and elsewhere, teams at three regional sites in Kent conceived and developed a range of website projects over two days. Teams came together for a third day of coding at the Turner Contemporary gallery before making final presentations of their projects with live websites.

Judges from ionCube and Sony awarded various prizes, including Raspberry Pi and related hardware, a future presentation to the British Computer Society, further one-to-one industry mentoring. Subsequent events have included a Minecraft 3D printing day in May 2013, a B9Creator 3D printer build day, events in conjunction with Mozilla. On August 6 to 10 2012, ionCube hosted a week-long hackathon in Kent, South East England, as part of the Young Rewired State 2012 Festival of Code event for encouraging self-motivated young programmers. Attendees were aged from 9 to 18, with the guidance of mentors and the remit to use some Open data and produced a website called In 2015 and 2016, ionCube helped organise the Youth Zone at Mozilla MozFest, interviewing some of the attendees and young makers at the 2016 event. Official website Young Rewired State