Mantua is a city and comune in Lombardy and capital of the province of the same name. In 2016, Mantua became Italian Capital of Culture. In 2017, Mantua was the European Capital of Gastronomy, included in the Eastern Lombardy District. In 2007, Mantua's centro storico and Sabbioneta were declared by UNESCO to be a World Heritage Site. Mantua's historic power and influence under the Gonzaga family has made it one of the main artistic and musical hubs of Northern Italy and the country as a whole. Mantua is noted for its significant role in the history of opera, it is the place where the composer Monteverdi premiered his opera L'Orfeo and where Romeo was banished in Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. It is the nearest town to the birthplace of the Roman poet Virgil, commemorated by a statue at the lakeside park "Piazza Virgiliana". Mantua is surrounded on three sides by artificial lakes, created during the 12th century as the city's defence system; these lakes receive water from the Mincio River, a tributary of the Po River which descends from Lake Garda.

The three lakes are called Lago Superiore, Lago di Mezzo, Lago Inferiore. A fourth lake, Lake Pajolo, which once served as a defensive water ring around the city, dried up at the end of the 18th century; the area and its environs are important not only in naturalistic terms, but anthropologically and historically. These dated, without interruption, from Neolithic times to the Bronze Age and the Gallic phases, ended with Roman residential settlements, which could be traced to the 3rd century AD. In 2017, Legambiente ranked Mantua as the best Italian city for the quality of the life and environment. Mantua was an island settlement, first established about the year 2000 BC on the banks of River Mincio, which flows from Lake Garda to the Adriatic Sea. In the 6th century BC, Mantua was an Etruscan village which, in the Etruscan tradition, was re-founded by Ocnus; the name may derive from the Etruscan god Mantus. After being conquered by the Cenomani, a Gallic tribe, Mantua was subsequently fought between the first and second Punic wars against the Romans, who attributed its name to Manto, a daughter of Tiresias.

This territory was populated by veteran soldiers of Augustus. Mantua's most famous ancient citizen is the poet Virgil, or Publius Vergilius Maro, born in the year 70 BC at a village near the city, now known as Virgilio. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire at the hands of Odoacer in 476 AD, Mantua was, along with the rest of Italy, conquered by the Ostrogoths, it was retaken by the Eastern Roman Empire in the middle of the 6th century following the Gothic war but was subsequently lost again to the Lombards. They were in turn conquered by Charlemagne in 774, thus incorporating Mantua into the Frankish Empire. Partitions of the empire in the Treaties of Verdun and Prüm led to Mantua passing to Middle Francia in 843 the Kingdom of Italy in 855. In 962 Italy was invaded by King Otto I of Germany, Mantua thus became a vassal of the newly formed Holy Roman Empire. In the 11th century, Mantua became a possession of Boniface of marquis of Tuscany; the last ruler of that family was the countess Matilda of Canossa, according to legend, ordered the construction of the precious Rotonda di San Lorenzo in 1082.

The Rotonda still exists today and was renovated in 2013. After the death of Matilda of Canossa, Mantua became a free commune and strenuously defended itself from the influence of the Holy Roman Empire during the 12th and 13th centuries. In 1198, Alberto Pitentino altered the course of River Mincio, creating what the Mantuans call "the four lakes" to reinforce the city's natural protection. Three of these lakes still remain today and the fourth one, which ran through the centre of town, was reclaimed during the 18th century. From 1215, the city was ruled under the podesteria of the Guelph poet-statesman Rambertino Buvalelli. During the struggle between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, Pinamonte Bonacolsi took advantage of the chaotic situation to seize power of the podesteria in 1273, he was declared the Captain General of the People. The Bonacolsi family ruled Mantua for the next two generations and made it more prosperous and artistically beautiful. On August 16, 1328, Luigi Gonzaga, an official in Bonacolsi's podesteria, his family staged a public revolt in Mantua and forced a coup d'état on the last Bonacolsi ruler, Rinaldo.

Ludovico Gonzaga, Podestà of Mantua since 1318, was duly elected Captain General of the People. The Gonzagas renovated the city in the 14th century. During the Italian Renaissance, the Gonzaga family softened their despotic rule and further raised the level of culture and refinement in Mantua. Mantua became a significant center of humanism. Marquis Gianfrancesco Gonzaga had brought Vittorino da Feltre to Mantua in 1423 to open his famous humanist school, the Casa Giocosa. Isabella d'Este, Marchioness of Mantua, married Francesco I

1995 PBA season

The 1995 PBA season was the 21st season of the Philippine Basketball Association. Ramon Fernandez, one of the remaining pioneer players in the league announced his retirement on February 17, his #19 jersey was retired by the San Miguel Beermen in a ceremony held at the San Miguel Corporation offices in Mandaluyong City. The league returned to the Araneta Coliseum after a decade of absence with the scheduled games on Friday being held at the Big Dome; the PBA All-star game returned to its old format of Veterans vs Rookies/Sophomores/Juniors team the All-Star event was moved in the month of July with the first-ever PBA fans day held at the Araneta Coliseum a week before the annual all-star game. A mid-1990s rivalry was born between the Sunkist Orange Juicers and the Alaska Milkmen, the two teams battled in two memorable finals for the season; the Orange Juicers had won the first two conferences but failed in its bid to win the Grandslam with the Alaska Milkmen taking home the Third Conference trophy.

Vergel Meneses of Sunkist was the season's best, winning the prestigious MVP Award as well as the All-Star MVP and Best Player of the Conference in the Juicers' two straight championships. The PBA board approved the rule changes for implementation starting this season: The shot clock was reduced to 24 seconds from the previous 25 second limit; the 25 second shot clock was implemented since the league started in 1975 due to a limitation of the shot clock used at the Araneta Coliseum where it can only be set in 5 second intervals. The first two minutes of each quarter will be played in "running time"; the clock will only be stopped on violations. Teams will now have six 90-second regular timeouts and one 20-second timeout for the eliminations and semifinals. Substitutions during free throw situations are only allowed before the last free throw attempt. Foul shooters are allowed to shoot their first free throw if the other players are not yet in position in the lines bordering the painted area; the muses for the participating teams are as follows: All-Filipino Cup: Sunkist Orange Juicers Commissioner's Cup: Sunkist Orange Juicers Governor's Cup: Alaska Milkmen Team with best win-loss percentage: Sunkist Orange Juicers Best Team of the Year: Sunkist Orange Juicers Most Valuable Player: Vergel Meneses Rookie of the Year: Jeffrey Cariaso Sportsmanship Award: Rey Evangelista Most Improved Player: Bonel Balingit Defensive Player of the Year: Art dela Cruz Mythical Five: Johnny Abarrientos Bong Hawkins Allan Caidic Benjie Paras Vergel Meneses Mythical Second Team: Boybits Victoria Jojo Lastimosa Bonel Balingit Alvin Patrimonio Nelson Asaytono All Defensive Team: Jerry Codiñera Glenn Capacio Chris Jackson Elpidio Villamin Art dela Cruz Coach of the Year: Derrick Pumaren Mr. Quality Minutes: Porfirio "Jun" Marzan Executive of the Year: Elmer Yanga Comeback Player of the Year: Elpidio Villamin Referee of the Year: Ernesto de Leon Emilio Bernardino Ruben Cleofe Jose Concepcion III Teodoro Dimayuga Nazario Avendaño Wilfred Steven Uytengsu Eliseo Santiago Vicente Santos Luis Lorenzo, Sr Bernabe Navarro

Eric Pianka

Eric Rodger Pianka is an American herpetologist and evolutionary ecologist. Pianka was born in Siskiyou County in 1939. At age 13, he was injured in a bazooka blast in the front yard of his childhood home in Yreka, California, his left leg became gangrenous, he lost 10 cm of his tibia, as well as the terminal digit of the middle finger on his right hand. Pianka's childhood injury left him with a short and paralyzed leg. In life, his short leg resulted in spinal scoliosis and cervical spondylosis. Pianka graduated from Carleton College and earned his Ph. D. from the University of Washington in 1965. He went on to do postdoctoral work with ecologist Robert MacArthur at Princeton University; this period, during which he worked with the temporarily studentless MacArthur, had a major influence on Pianka's thinking. In 1966, with MacArthur, Pianka coauthored the paper, "On optimal use of a patchy environment". Pianka mentions MacArthur in his lectures and keeps a webpage for his deceased mentor and colleague.

In some ways, Pianka's own research program expands upon and continues the work that he and MacArthur began. Since 1968, Pianka has been on the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin, his research centers on empirical and theoretical components of natural history, systematics and landscape ecology. Pianka has performed extensive ecological investigations on vertebrate communities in three desert systems on three continents: the Great Basin and Sonora Deserts in North America, his monographic treatment of this work is a landmark ecological synthesis. Pianka's current work focuses on lizard communities in Australia, his research projects include study of the phylogeny and ecology of a number of groups of Australian lizards and an extensive study of the unique biotic landscape produced by Australian brush fires. His favorite lizard is a small Australian goanna, Varanus eremius. In his research, Pianka combines traditional field biological methods with recent technological innovations in statistical analysis, phylogenetic reconstruction, imaging of the Earth's surface in attempts to answer major questions about evolution and ecology.

Pianka has trained other scientists and twelve of his former graduate students are professors at major universities, including Kirk Winemiller, a professor at Texas A&M University, Raymond Huey, a professor at the University of Washington. Additionally, he teaches a range of popular undergraduate courses. Pianka's acceptance speech for the 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist Award from the Texas Academy of Science resulted in a controversy in the popular press when Forrest Mims, vice-chair of the Academy's section on environmental science, claimed in the Society for Amateur Scientists e-journal The Citizen Scientist that Pianka had "endorsed the elimination of 95 percent of the human population" through a disease such as an airborne strain of the Ebola virus. Mims claimed that Pianka said the Earth would not survive unless its population was reduced by 95% suggesting that the planet would be "better off" if the human population were reduced and that a mutant strain of Ebola would be the most efficient means.

Mims' affiliate at the Discovery Institute, William Dembski informed the Department of Homeland Security that Pianka's speech may have been intended to foment bioterrorism. This resulted in the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewing Pianka in Austin. Pianka has stated that Mims took his statements out of context and that he was describing what would happen from biological principles alone if present human population trends continue, that he was not in any way advocating for it to happen; the Texas Academy, which hosted the speech, released a statement asserting that "Many of Dr. Pianka's statements have been misconstrued and sensationalized." However, Dr. Kenneth Summy, an Academy member who observed the speech, wrote a letter of support for Mims' account, saying "Dr. Pianka chose to deliver an inflammatory message in his keynote address, so he should not be surprised to be the recipient of a lot of criticism from TAS membership. Forrest Mims did not misrepresent anything regarding the presentation."

Pianka appeared on NBC-affiliate KXAN Austin and on two cable talk-show and posted a statement on his University of Texas website that said in part: I have two grandchildren and I want them to inherit a stable Earth. But I fear for them. Humans have overpopulated the Earth and in the process have created an ideal nutritional substrate on which bacteria and viruses will grow and prosper. We are behaving like bacteria growing on an agar plate, flourishing until natural limits are reached or until another microbe colonizes and takes over, using them as their resource. In addition to our high population density, we are social and mobile the conditions that favor growth and spread of pathogenic microbes. I believe it is only a matter of time until microbes once again assert control over our population, since we are unwilling to control it ourselves; this idea is nothing new. People just don't want to hear it. I do not bear any ill will toward people. However, I am convinced that the world, including all humanity, WOULD be much better off without so many of us.

Stopping the destruction of rainforests would help mediate some current planetary ills, including the release of unknown pathogens. The ancient Chinese curse "may you live in interesting times" comes to mind – we are living in one of the most interesting times humans hav