Pelicans are a genus of large water birds that make up the family Pelecanidae. They are characterised by a long beak and a large throat pouch used for catching prey and draining water from the scooped-up contents before swallowing, they have predominantly pale plumage, the exceptions being the Peruvian pelicans. The bills and bare facial skin of all species become brightly coloured before the breeding season; the eight living pelican species have a patchy global distribution, ranging latitudinally from the tropics to the temperate zone, though they are absent from interior South America and from polar regions and the open ocean. Long thought to be related to frigatebirds, cormorants and gannets and boobies, pelicans instead are now known to be most related to the shoebill and hamerkop, are placed in the order Pelecaniformes. Ibises, spoonbills and bitterns have been classified in the same order. Fossil evidence of pelicans dates back at least 30 million years to the remains of a beak similar to that of modern species recovered from Oligocene strata in France.

They are thought to have spread into the Americas. Pelicans frequent inland and coastal waters, where they feed principally on fish, catching them at or near the water surface, they are gregarious birds, travelling in flocks, hunting cooperatively, breeding colonially. Four white-plumaged species tend to nest on the ground, four brown or grey-plumaged species nest in trees; the relationship between pelicans and people has been contentious. The birds have been persecuted because of their perceived competition with commercial and recreational fishing, their populations have fallen through habitat destruction and environmental pollution, three species are of conservation concern. They have a long history of cultural significance in mythology, in Christian and heraldic iconography; the genus Pelecanus was first formally described by Linnaeus in 1758 in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae'. He described the distinguishing characteristics as a straight bill hooked at the tip, linear nostrils, a bare face, webbed feet.

This early definition included frigatebirds and sulids, as well as pelicans. The name comes from the Ancient Greek word pelekan, itself derived from the word pelekys meaning "axe". In classical times, the word was applied to the woodpecker; the family Pelecanidae was introduced by the French polymath Constantine Samuel Rafinesque in 1815. Pelicans give their name to an order which has a varied taxonomic history. Tropicbirds, cormorants, gannets and frigatebirds, all traditional members of the order, have since been reclassified: tropicbirds into their own order and the remainder into the Suliformes. In their place, ibises, the hamerkop, the shoebill have now been transferred into the Pelecaniformes. Molecular evidence suggests that the shoebill and the hamerkop form a sister group to the pelicans, though some doubt exists as to the exact relationships among the three lineages; the eight living pelican species were traditionally divided into two groups, one containing four ground-nesters with white adult plumage, one containing four grey- or brown-plumaged species which nest preferentially either in trees, or on sea rocks.

The marine brown and Peruvian pelicans considered conspecific, are sometimes separated from the others by placement in the subgenus Leptopelicanus but in fact species with both sorts of appearance and nesting behavior are found in either. DNA sequencing of both mitochondrial and nuclear genes yielded quite different relationships; the Dalmatian, pink-backed, spot-billed were all related to one another, while the Australian white pelican was their next-closest relative. The great white pelican belonged to this lineage, but was the first to diverge from the common ancestor of the other four species; this finding suggests that pelicans evolved in the Old World and spread into the Americas, that preference for tree- or ground-nesting is more related to size than genetics. The fossil record shows, its beak is complete and is morphologically identical to that of present-day pelicans, showing that this advanced feeding apparatus was in existence at the time. An Early Miocene fossil has been named Miopelecanus gracilis on the basis of certain features considered unique, but thought to lie within the range of interspecific variation in Pelecanus.

The Late Eocene Protopelicanus may be a pelecaniform or suliform – or a similar aquatic bird such as a pseudotooth. The supposed Miocene pelican Liptornis from Patagonia is a nomen dubium, being based on fragments providing insufficient evidence to support a valid description. Fossil finds from North America have been meagre compared with Europe, which has a richer fossil record. Several Pelecanus species have been described from fossil material, including: Pelecanus cadimurka, Rich & van Tets, 1981 (Late Pliocene, South Australia

Joseph T. Thomas

Joseph "Jihad Jack" Terrence Thomas is an Australian citizen who undertook pistol, light firearm and demolition training with Al-Qaeda. Osama Bin Laden visited his training camp three times while he was in attendance and he shook hands with him, he was convicted for received funds from Al-Qaeda, overturned on appeal. Thomas referred to in Australian media as "Jihad Jack", was acquitted of providing resources that would assist in a terrorist act before becoming the first Australian to be placed under a control order under the Australian Anti-Terrorism Act 2005. Joseph Terrence Thomas was the first Australian to be convicted under anti-terrorism laws introduced in Australia after the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States, he was sentenced on 31 March 2006 to five years prison with a non-parole period of two years. Thomas's lawyer, Rob Stary, described the not guilty verdicts on the more serious charges as a "significant victory". Attorney-General of Australia Philip Ruddock said after news of the conviction, The convictions of Mr. Thomas for the terrorist offence and the offence related to passport manipulation demonstrate the seriousness with which these issues are dealt with by the law and highlights the consequences of becoming involved in these activities.

This was in relation to his travels to Pakistan and Afghanistan, after he married and converted to Islam. Thomas left Australia for Pakistan on 23 March 2001, returned home on 6 June 2003. Since his arrest, Thomas has been referred to in the media as "Jihad Jack"; when he converted to Islam the self described Aussie battler took on the name Jihad, Arabic for struggle. The trial was controversial, as the evidence used to prosecute Thomas consisted of an interview conducted in a Pakistani military prison. Despite claims that the evidence was obtained under duress and that Thomas had been tortured, the judge deemed the interview to be admissible; the conviction was overturned on appeal by the Victorian Court of Appeal in the case of R v Thomas, with the appeals judges ruling that the trial judge should have ruled the evidence inadmissible. On 28 August 2006, following the quashing of the convictions, Thomas was the first person to be issued with a control order under the Australian Anti-Terrorism Act 2005 after written consent was provided by the Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock.

The control order places the following restrictions on Thomas: He must abide by a curfew, confining him to his home from midnight until 5am each morning. He is restricted in the phone services he is allowed to operate and must have these approved by the Australian Federal Police, he is prohibited from using public pay phones. He is required to seek written approval to make telephone calls, he is not to communicate with a list of persons identified as terrorists including Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi He must agree to be fingerprinted. He must not leave Australia. Australian federal magistrate Graham Mowbray made the assessment that Thomas is capable of launching a terrorist attack and that his wife has links to the alleged spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah, Abu Bakar Bashir. Thomas and his wife have stated that his wife was a friend of a friend of the woman who became Bashir's wife. Sidney Jones of the International Crisis Group says the link is a case of mistaken identity based on surname.

Since granting the control order Magistrate Mowbray has criticised the inclusion of Osama Bin Laden on the list of people with whom Thomas must not have contact. He has criticised the timing of the order, which interrupted a holiday Thomas was having with his family. Thomas unsuccessfully appealed the making of the control order to the High Court of Australia. On 20 December 2006 Thomas was ordered to face a retrial, based on an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Four Corners television program. On 23 October 2008 Thomas was found not guilty of the terrorism charges but was found guilty of a passport offense e, which carries a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment. Thomas has served nine months. Justice Elizabeth Curtain on 29 October 2008 ordered that Thomas be imprisoned for nine months but found he was free to go after taking into account time served. "No other penalty is appropriate in the circumstances of this case other than a sentence of imprisonment," Justice Curtain said.

She ordered that Thomas be released on a Commonwealth recognisance order to be of good behaviour for the five days remaining of his sentence once the 265 days of pre-sentence detention had been taken into account. He was required to pay a $1000 bond. Thomas was represented by former Victorian Deputy Premier Jim Kennan. Islamic terrorism and Australia Thomas v Mowbray Justice for Jack Campaign website National Security website from the Australian Attorney-General's Department

Caplock mechanism

The caplock mechanism, percussion lock, or cap and ball was the successor of the flintlock mechanism in firearm technology, used a percussion cap struck by the hammer to set off the main charge, rather than using a piece of flint to strike a steel frizzen. The caplock mechanism consists of a hammer, similar to the cock used in a flintlock, a nipple, which holds a small percussion cap; the nipple contains a tube. The percussion cap contains a chemical compound called mercuric fulminate or fulminate of mercury, whose chemical formula is Hg2, it is made from nitric acid and alcohol. When the trigger releases the hammer, it strikes the cap; the flames from this explosion travel down the tube in the nipple and enter the barrel, where they ignite the main powder charge. The rudimentary percussion system was invented in Scotland by Reverend Alexander John Forsyth as a solution to the problem that birds would startle when smoke puffed from the powder pan of his flintlock shotgun, giving them sufficient warning to escape the shot.

His invention of a fulminate-primed firing mechanism deprived the birds of their early warning system, both by avoiding the initial puff of smoke from the flintlock powder pan, as well as shortening the interval between the trigger pull and the shot leaving the muzzle. Forsyth patented his "scent bottle" ignition system in 1807. However, it was not until after Forsyth's patents expired that the conventional percussion cap system was developed. Joseph Manton invented a precursor to the percussion cap in 1814, comprising a copper tube that detonated when crushed; this was further developed in 1822 by the artist Joshua Shaw, as a copper cup filled with fulminates. The caplock offered many improvements over the flintlock; the caplock was easier to load, more resistant to weather, was much more reliable than the flintlock. Many older flintlock weapons were converted into caplocks so that they could take advantage of this increased reliability; the first purpose built caplock guns were fowling pieces commissioned by sportsmen in Regency era England.

Due to the mechanism's compactness and superior reliability compared to the flintlock, gunsmiths were able to manufacture pistols and long guns with two barrels. Early caplock handguns with two or more barrels and a single lock are known as turn-over or twister pistols, due to the need to manually rotate the second barrel to align with the hammer. Pocket sized versions of this pistol were used by gamblers in the Old West. With the addition of a third barrel, a ratchet to mechanically turn the barrels while cocking the hammer, these caplock pistols evolved into the pepperbox revolver during the 1830s. From the 1830s onwards, the armies of Britain, France and America began converting their muskets to the new percussion system; the Americans' breech loading caplock Hall rifles, muzzle loading rifled muskets and Colt Dragoon revolvers gave them an advantage over the smoothbore flintlock Brown Bess muskets used by Santa Anna's troops during the Mexican War. In Japan, matchlock pistols and muskets were converted to percussion from the 1850s onwards, new guns based on existing designs were manufactured as caplocks.

The Austrians instead used a variant of Manton's tube lock in their Augustin musket until the conventional caplock Lorenz rifle was introduced in 1855, the Prussians replaced their muzzle loading flintlock Potsdam muskets with the bolt action Dreyse needle gun in 1841. The needle gun fired paper cartridges containing a bullet, powder charge and percussion cap, but by the time of the Franco-Prussian War this had evolved into modern brass ammunition. After the American Civil War, Britain and America began converting existing caplock guns to accept brass rimfire and centrefire cartridges. For muskets such as the 1853 Enfield and 1861 Springfield, this involved installing a firing pin in place of the nipple, a trapdoor in the breech to accept the new bullets. Examples include the Trapdoor Springfield, Tabatiere rifle, Westley Richards and Snider Enfield conversions; the British army used Snider Enfields contemporaneously with the Martini-Henry rifle until the.303 bolt action Lee-Metford repeating rifle was introduced in the 1880s.

Military surplus Sniders were purchased as hunting and defensive weapons by British colonists and trusted local natives. Caplock revolvers such as the Colt Navy and Remington were widely converted during the late 19th century, by replacing the existing cylinder with one designed for modern ammunition; these were used extensively by the Turks in the Russo-Turkish War, the US Cavalry during the Indian Wars, by gunfighters and outlaws in the Old West. Arquebuse Cap gun Internal ballistics Minié ball Tubes and primers for ammunition How percussion caps work