Interesting Photo Manipulations by Erik Johansson

Erik Johansson, a young talented artist from Sweden, creates remarkable images by digitally modifying photographs that he took himself.


Interesting Facts about Germany

Land & People

# Germany is the most populous European country (apart from Russia), with a population of 81 million.
# Germany's land area was over 50% larger during the Second Reich (1871-1918) and included most of present-day Poland and parts of Lithuania.
# German people are the second biggest consumers of beer in the world (after the Irish), with an average of 119 litres per person per year (or 0.32 l per day).
# The German language was once the lingua franca of central, eastern and northern Europe, and remains the language with the most native speakers in Europe.
# 15 million people in Germany are of non-German descent (first and second generation), i.e. 18.5% of the population. About half of them are foreign residents, not German citizens.
# About a quarter of all American citizens claim at least partial German ancestry.
# Germany has nearly 700 zoological gardens, wildlife parks, aquariums, bird parks, animal reserves, or safari parks, including 414 registered zoos (more than the USA) ! Berlin's Zoologischer Garten is the largest zoo in the world, both in terms of number of species (1,500) and animal population (14,000).
# The world's youngest billionnaire is the German Prince Albert II von Thurn und Taxis, with net worth is estimated at around $1.9 billion (USD) as of 2006.
# German athletes have won a total of 1548 Olympic medals (summer and winter combined), i.e. more than any other country in the world except the USA.
# The Fairy Grottoes (Feengrotten) in Saalfeld, Thuringia, are the world's most colourful caves, according to the Guinness Book of Records.
# There are some 2.5 million half-timbered houses in Germany, by far the highest number of any country worldwide.

Culture & Sciences

# Classical music has been widely dominated by German-speaking composers. A few famous ones born on the present territory of Germany include Bach, Ha"ndel, Beethoven, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Wagner and R. Strauss.
# Some of the world's greatest philosophers were German : Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger...
# The Germans can be credited for the discovery of insulin, the invention of the clarinet, the pocket watch, the automated calculator, the light bulb, television (partly), paraffin, petrol/gasoline & Diesel engines, the automobile (as well as the engine, differential gear and other important devices), the motorcycle, the jet engine, the LCD screen and the Walkman.
# There are 1,300 beer breweries in Germany, making some 5,000 kinds of beer. German people are the world's third biggest beer drinkers after the Czechs and the Irish.
# Germany was the first country in the world to adopt Daylight saving time (DST, a.k.a. summer time) in 1916, in the midst of WWI.
# The Walhalla temple (Hall of Fame and Honor of the German nation) in Regensburg was built by Ludwig I of Bavaria in the early 19th century to commemorate great figures and events in ethnic German history, beginning with the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (9 CE).
# The Bayreuth Festspielhaus (Bayreuth Festival Theatre) was specifically conceived and built to host performances of operas by Richard Wagner. It opened in 1876 for the premiere of the four-opera cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen.
# As of 1998, there were 5,752 museums in Germany (about as many as Italy and the United Kingdom combined).
# Germany is one of the last Western European countries not to have banned smoking in workplaces, and restaurants (see map). One of the political reason for this is that the Nazi offcially frowned on smoking, and post-war German legislators have been afraid of imitating Nazi regulations.
# No less than forty-two Nobel Prize laureates studied or taught at the Georg-August University of Go"ttingen. Nobel Prize winners notwithstanding, famous people who taught there included Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855), the Brothers Grimm. Alumni count among themselves Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) and the American J. P. Morgan (1837-1913).

Environment & Ecology

# Germans have been the pioneers of the ecological movement and green politics. The world's first Green Party, Die Gru"nen, was founded in 1979-1980. Germany is one of the rare countries (along with Belgium) where the Greens have been part of a government coalition (from 1998 to 2005, so far).
# The term "ecology" was first coined by the German biologist Ernst Haeckel in 1866.
# In 2005 Germany produced approximately 35% of the world's wind energy. There are over 20,000 wind turbines off the coast of northern Germany, the largest of which reach 200 metres in height.
# Germans are among the most avid recyclers. According to a BBC survey, Germany had the third highest recycling rate (48% of waste recycled), only just surpassed by its Swiss and Austrian neighbours.


# The oldest sun observatory currently known in Europe is the so-called Goseck circle in Saxony-Anhalt. It was built some 7,000 years ago.
# The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation was founded by Charlemagne in Aachen in 800 C.E. It lasted over a thousand years, until 1806, when Napoleon dissolved it (mostly because he saw himself as the heir of Charlemagne, the new Emperor of the Occident).
# The Weihenstephaner Brewery in Freising, Bavaria, has been operating since its foundation in 1040, which makes it the world's oldest brewery.
# Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) is the first composer whose biography is known. Her works are considered the foundation to what later became known as opera (over 400 years later).
# Germany played a central role in the Reformation of Christianity. Johannes Gutenberg (1400-1468) printed the world's very first Bible in Mainz in 1456. The development the printing press allowed ordinary people to possess a copy of the holy book, previously reserved to the clergy and nobility. It didn't take long before another German, Martin Luther (1483-1546), compared the actual content of the Bible to the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church, and found major discrepancies. In 1517, Luther famously posted his 95 Thesis on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg (Saxony-Anhalt), in which he emphasized the Bible as the sole source of religious authority and the church as a priesthood of all believers. The Protestant Reformation would cause the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) throughout the Holy Roman Empire, and resulted among others in the independence of Switzerland and of the United Provinces of the Netherlands.
# The University of Marburg (Philipps-Universita"t Marburg), in Hesse, was founded in 1527 as the world's first Protestant university.
# The world's oldest savings bank was established in Oldenburg (Lower Saxony) in 1786.
# Germany has had quite a few capitals in its turbulent history, notably (in chronological order) : Aachen (from 794), Regensburg (seat of the Reichstag from 1663 to 1806), Frankfurt-am-Main (site of the election and coronation of German emperors between 1152 and 1792, seat of the Bundestag of the German Confederation from 1815 to 1871), Berlin (from 1871 to 1949, and 1990 to present), and Bonn (from 1949 to 1990 - West Germany only).

Construction & Architecture

# Ulm Cathedral is the tallest church in the world, with 161.53 metres (530 feet) in height. It was the world's tallest building from 1890 to 1908.
# The Wurzburg Residence possess the world's largest fresco ceiling (677 m^(2) or 7287 square feet). It is the work of Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770).
# The German Autobahn is the oldest motorway network in the world (first section completed in 1932), as well as one of the densest (12,000 km for a country of 357,021 km^(2)). It is also the only one in Europe to have no general speed limit.
# The world's two biggest cuckoo clocks are both located in Schonach im Schwarzwald, Baden-Wu"rttemberg. One of the cuckoos measures nearly five meters and weighs 150 kg.
# Over 300 bunkers and hundreds of kilometres of underground tunnels built during the Nazi-era still remain under the modern city of Berlin - although mostly unaccessible due to crumbling and floods from water tables.


# Since 2003, Germany is the world's largest exporter of goods with $1.016 trillion exported in 2005. 10.1% of world exports come from Germany.
# Germany the world's second producer of cars (after Japan) and motor vehicle in general (after the USA).
# The German company BASF (Badische Anilin- und Soda-Fabrik) is the second largest chemical company in the world, employing some 87,000 people in 160 subsidiaries and joint ventures in 41 countries.
# Germany was ranked by the World Competitiveness Yearbook as No. 1 in patent and copyright protection.
# Germany now suffers from one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe (12% in 2006).
# As of 2006, Germany had the highest corporate tax rate in Europe, close to 40%.
# The biggest train station in Europe opened in Berlin in 2006.
# The European Central Bank is located in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany.
# Frankfurt International Airport claims the world record in the most international destinations served. The Lufthansa, based in Frankfirt, is the world's largest airline in terms of international passengers carried, and Europe's largest in terms of passenger-kilometers flown, freight tonne-kilometers flown and fleet size.
# DELAG, (Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft, translating as "German Airship Transport Corporation") was the world's first airline. It was founded on 16 November 1909 in Frankfurt.
# The largest department store in continental Europe is the KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens) in Berlin, with over 60,000 square metres.


Interesting Facts about Jesse James

Mysteries & Secrets - Jesse James

[- A hero or desperado? -]
On February 1, 1874, Missouri newspapers carried the banner headline, "The Most Daring Train Robbery on Record!" The report went on to tell of a gang of heavily armed, uncommonly tall men, riding handsome horses, who had the previous day seized the Iron Mountain Railroad flag station in tiny Gads Hill, Missouri. The writer said that the brazen bandits had thrown the signal switches, stopping the southbound express to Little Rock and taking $22,000 in cash and gold from the train's safe.

Though the gang was not identified, everyone recognized the stylish work of Jesse Woodson James and his brother Frank. In fact, the news bulletin itself was penned by Jesse, who left his handwritten press release with the train engineer just before riding off into the woods with the loot. Jesse believed in publicity, for he knew that much of his success in Missouri was dependent upon the tacit approval of its rustic citizens. Poor and struggling farmers for the most part, they idolized him and his cohorts as symbols of bold defiance against the authorities.

Learning the Trade

Jesse James learned his wild and wily ways as a teenaged guerrilla in the Civil War "army" of William Quantrill. This gang of adventurers, working nominally for the Confederate cause in Union held Missouri, robbed Union mail, ambushed federal patrols, and attacked shipping along the Missouri River with a speed and brutality that the Union regulars could seldom match. As Quantrill's men were never on any payroll - indeed, the Confederate army officially disavowed any connection with them - the guerrillas supported themselves by any means available, including robbery and extortion.

In 1864 the 17 year old Jesse joined one of Quantrill's squads, a gang of cutthroats under the command of "Bloody Bill" Anderson, following his older brother Frank and his cousin, Cole Younger, both veteran bushwhackers. Anderson had much to teach them about planning raids, carrying out intelligence gathering missions, deploying attackers for maximum advantage, and using horses and small arms to deadly effect.

Anderson soon came to regard Jesse James as the "keenest and cleanest fighter in the command," a judgment confirmed in a bloody encounter with Union troops at Centralia, Missouri, on September 27, 1864. The guerrillas halted a passing train, stole $3,000 in Union currency, and slaughtered more than 225 armed Union troops. James, riding hard with the reins of his horse in his teeth and firing a six shooter in each hand, reportedly killed three of the enemy.

When the war ended, Confederate guerrillas like Jesse and Frank James were not offered amnesty, as were the regulars, but were declared outlaws and ordered to give themselves up for prosecution. Frank did so and was soon paroled, but Jesse was shot by federal soldiers outside of Lexington, Missouri. Seriously wounded, he was allowed to be carried home to his mother's farm in Kearney, Missouri, presumably to die. But Jesse was soon on the road to recovery, and as his strength returned, he and Frank, cousin Cole, and three others of the Younger clan decided to take up where they had left off, plundering at will, only this time going after a different enemy: banks, railroads, and large landowners.

Pursuing a Bloody Trade

On February 13, 1866, the James brothers launched their new careers in nearby Liberty, Missouri, with the holdup of the Clay County Savings Bank. While eight gang members took up defensive positions on the main street, Frank and Jesse went into the bank, their guns drawn, and ordered the cashier to open the vault and fill the wheat sacks they carried with cash and securities. Then, with an estimated $60,000 in their possession, the gang mounted up and rode out of town. None of the outlaws was recognized; and, when a citizen posse attempted to follow their trail, it was stopped by a blizzard. After dividing the spoils, each of the bandits slipped back to his family homestead where he did his best to avoid attracting attention. For more than three years, the gang pursued its bloody trade deliberately but infrequently, and without serious interference. Along the way they killed the mayor of one town, several bank clerks, and a score or more bystanders, collecting enough money to live comfortably. Though many privately suspected the James and Younger brothers, there was so much local sympathy for the gang's activities that no one dared testify against its members.

Then, in December 1869, the James brothers' luck changed when they raided a bank in Gallatin, Missouri. The ordinarily cool Jesse shot the cashier, who reminded him of a despised Union officer, and the noise of gunfire drew a crowd to see what was happening. The brothers barely escaped the hail of bullets fired by the townspeople, and in the melee Jesse's mount became skittish and galloped off, throwing Jesse from his saddle and dragging him some 30 feet. When Jesse finally freed himself, he was able to climb up behind Frank on another horse and get away. But Jesse's horse was caught and its owner's identity established for certain. Jesse and Frank decided it was time to lie low, and this they did for nearly two years.

When they did resume their raiding parties, it was in the next state, at Corydon, Iowa, in June 1871. The Corydon escapade turned out to be one of the easiest holdups of their career, and the outlaws enjoyed themselves immensely. Stopping briefly at the church on their way out of town, Jesse interrupted the minister to announce that "some riders" had just robbed the town's bank. "You folks best get down there in a hurry," said the bandit to the astonished worshipers. In the next three years the James brothers grew ever bolder, as one success followed on another. On September 26, 1872, they rode into the giant fairgrounds at Kansas City and, before huge crowds, stole the cash receipts rumored to be about $10,000. Then, to be sure that their exploits were duly appreciated, they rode through the throngs, shooting over their heads like some kind of Wild West circus act.
Going for Higher Stakes

Not long after the raid on the fairgrounds, the brothers decided to try their hands at robbing trains. As the gang's first target, they chose the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific express, which was scheduled to run eastbound with $100,000 in gold on July 21, 1873. On a curving stretch of railbed near Council Bluffs, Iowa, the gang pulled a section of track out of line. Before the approaching train's engineer had a chance to slow down, the engine overshot the curve and ran off the tracks, the following coaches crunching one into the next. One trainman died and a dozen passengers were injured. The James brothers boarded the baggage car and ordered the clerks to open their safes, only to discover that the gold had gone through ahead of schedule and that just a few thousand in federal notes remained. In subsequent attempts they did far better. In addition to the $22,000 carried off from the Gads Hill train robbery in January 1874, they netted $135,000 in three other train robberies.

As the roaster of crimes grew and local law enforcement officers did little or nothing to apprehend the outlaws, the bankers and railroad interests took matters into their own hands and hired the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. But because Allan Pinkerton himself had been closely allied with the Union cause, having set up a secret service for the Union army, his men were regarded as enemies among the large segment of Missouri society still sympathetic to the defeated Confederacy. The detectives were placed at further disadvantage by having no photographs of any of the alleged culprits to help them track their quarry without local help. The James gang, by contrast, had no trouble spotting Pinkerton men nor any compunctions about shooting them dead when the opportunity presented itself.

Three Pinkerton operatives were murdered in a single week early in 1874. Stepping up its efforts, the agency laid plans to surround the Kearney homestead where the James brothers' remarried mother, Mrs. Zerelda Samuel, lived on the presumption that they would trap Jesse and Frank during a filial visit. Hearing rumors that the James boys were already on the premises, one of the agents lobbed a bomb into the house. But all they managed to accomplish was to blow off Mrs. Samuel's right arm and kill Jesse's eight year old half brother, Archie. The outlaws were safely ensconced in Tennessee at the time. The vicious bombing only improved Jesse's reputation as a social martyr.

Forced into Hiding

The gang's luck ran out during a bank robbery in Northfield, Minnesota, on September 7, 1876. Two of the James gang were killed on the spot; a third died in a fight with a posse sent after them. The three Younger brothers were wounded and captured several days later. Frank and Jesse were the only ones to escape, and because they were now more earnestly sought by the law than ever, they decided that their only recourse was to take new names and hide out once more.

Had the James brothers remained incognito, Jesse might have died in bed of old age. But three years after disappearing, he and Frank formed a new gang and began stirring up more excitement. Missouri's new governor, Thomas T. Crittenden, put a price of $5,000 on the arrest of Jesse or Frank James, with added amounts if either were convicted for robbery or murder.

Robert and Charles Ford, two recent recruits to the James gang who felt none of the loyalty that their predecessors had known, found the offer too good to refuse. Bob Ford secretly went to Crittenden and won a promise of amnesty in return for delivering Jesse James. The two Fords then paid a social call on Jesse and his family, who were living in St. Joseph, Missouri, under the assumed name of Howard. James was delighted to see his comrades in arms and invited them to stay a while. The Fords waited several days until they found Jesse unarmed, of all improbable circurnstances, the moment came one morning when the outlaw took off his gun belt, climbed up on a chair, his back to Bob Ford, and began dusting a picture on the wall. Slowly, Ford drew his weapon, aimed at Jesse's head, and pulled the trigger. The bullet killed him instantly.

Five months later, 39 year old Frank James surrendered on his own, laying his gun belt before the governor with a ceremonial flourish. Crittenden promised him a fair trial; and, perhaps because the public had been so outraged by the treacherous nature of Jesse's assassination, Frank was acquitted of all charges. He lived out the rest of his life in peace.

The Jesse James legend lives on. To generations of Americans, the outlaw was remembered as a brazen hero who stole from the rich to give to the poor but fell victim to the unjust power of the state. It was an image perpetuated in dime novels, folk ballads, and theatrical entertainments. That he and his cohorts in fact made no distinction between rich and poor, murdered a dozen or more innocent people, and created a climate of fear and disorder in many parts of the West simply did not fit the populist image, and, consequently, was left out of the telling.


Interesting Beam Mounts

A montage of unique beam mounts,
Including Aisha Gerber, Alexandra Marinescu, Andreea Munteanu, Catalina Ponor, Charlotte Mackie, Daniela Silivas, Daniele Hypolito, Dominique Dawes, Dominique Moceanu, Elene Zamolodchikova, Elise Ray, Elvire Teza, Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, Emilia Eberle, Grace Taylor , Hollie Vise, Ivana Hong, Kim Zmeskal, Kristie Phillips, Lavinia Milosovici, Li Li, Ludivine Furnon, Ludmilla Ezhova, Melanie Sinclair, Mo Huillan, Natalia Shaposhnikova, Olga Korbut, Olga Mostepanova, Shannon Miller, Shayla Worley, Svetlana Khorkina, Tatiana Groshkova, Tatiana Lysenko and Terin Humphrey.

Interesting Facts of Dynamite

Dynamite is an Explosive material based (in its standard form) on the explosive potential of nitroglycerin, initially using diatomaceous earth (kieselgur: United States spelling; kieselguhr: UK spelling) or another absorbent substance such as sawdust as an absorbent. It was invented by Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Nobel in 1866 in Krummel (Geesthacht, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany), and patented in 1867. Military dynamite achieves greater stability by avoiding nitroglycerin.

It is usually sold in the form of a stick 20 centimetres (roughly 8 inches) long and 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) in diameter, but other sizes also exist. Dynamite is considered a high explosive, which means it detonates rather than deflagrates.

Another form of dynamite consists of nitroglycerin dissolved in nitrocellulose and a small amount of ketone. This form of dynamite is similar to cordite. This form of dynamite is much safer than the simple mix of nitroglycerin and diatomaceous earth/kieselgur


Briefly in the late 19th century, dynamite guns were used experimentally and in very limited combat. The early US Navy submarine USS Holland included a dynamite gun in its armament. Limited range and sensitivity of nitroglycerin based dynamite led to the early abandonment of dynamite guns.

Dynamite has been replaced for combat engineering purposes (construction) by 'military dynamite', a stable mixture of TNT, RDX, inert binders and anti-freeze agents. Military dynamite is equivalent in strength to 60 percent straight nitroglycerin commercial dynamite and is used by the military as a direct replacement for "60% straight dynamite".


Dynamite was invented by Alfred Nobel and was the first safely manageable explosive stronger than black powder. Nobel obtained patents for his invention: in England on 7 May 1867 and in Sweden on 19 October 1867. He originally sold dynamite as "Nobel's Blasting Powder". After its introduction, dynamite rapidly gained popularity as a safe alternative to gunpowder and nitroglycerin. Nobel tightly controlled the patent, and unlicensed duplicators were quickly shut down. However, a few American businessmen got around the patent by using a slightly different formula

United States

Advertisement for the Aetna Explosives Company of New York.

In the United States, in 1885, chemist Russell S. Penniman invented ammonium dynamite, a form which used ammonium nitrate in addition to the more costly nitroglycerin. These dynamites were marketed with the trade name "Extra". Ammonium nitrate has 85% of the energy of "straight" nitroglycerin. Dynamite was manufactured by the E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Inc. until the mid-1970s. Other U.S. dynamite makers of the era included Hercules, Atlas, Trojan-US Powder, Austin, and several other smaller firms. Dynamite was eventually phased out in favor of water gel explosives, which are cheaper to manufacture and in many ways safer to handle.

Difference from TNT

It is a common misconception that TNT and dynamite are the same thing. Though both are high explosives, there is no other similarity between them. While dynamite is an absorbent mixture soaked in nitroglycerin, then compacted into a cylindrical shape and wrapped in paper, TNT is a specific chemical compound called 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene.

A stick of dynamite contains roughly 2.1 million joules of energy. The energy density (joules/kilogram) of dynamite is approximately 7.5 megajoules/kilogram, compared to 4.6 megajoules/kilogram of TNT.

source: wikipedia

Interesting Refeeres and Goalkeepers

Interesting Prison Hobbies

These are a few of the probably numerous interesting makeshift hobbies found in an Alabama maximum security prison. From custom guitars and cases built from balsa wood model boat kits to strip club VIP lounge blueprints, these guys are avoiding idle hands.

Interesting Facts about Copper

Did you know?

Archaeologists have recovered a portion of a water plumbing system from the Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt. The copper piping was found to be in serviceable condition after more than five thousand years.

Gold is so soft that it can be moulded with the hands, so to make it usable a small amount of copper is added. Even twenty-four carat gold contains some copper.

New York's Statue of Liberty is sheathed in more than 80 tonnes of copper mined in Norway and fabricated by French craftsmen.

To protect them from barnacles and other kinds of bio-fouling, the ships in which Columbus sailed to the Americas were fitted with copper skins below the water line. Today, a copper-containing coating is applied to most seagoing vessels to provide similar protection to the hull.

One of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls found in Israel is made of copper instead of more fragile animal skins. The scroll contains no religious writings but only clues to still undiscovered treasures.

Copper cookware is the most highly-regarded by the world's chefs. It has the best heat transfer of any material used in cooking, and as heating is uniform there are no hot spots.

Copper is a natural antibacterial, and so inhibits the spread of bacteria in water and air distribution systems made from it. In the same way, brass doorknobs, handrails and fingerplates in public buildings can help to minimise risk of bacterial transfer.

Tools made from copper or copper alloys will not cause a spark, and thus are used wherever there may be a danger of explosion.

A copper coating applied to a surgeon's scalpel conducts electricity to heat the blade, rendering the instrument self-cauterising.

Copper's exceptional resistance to corrosion is invaluable in many inhospitable environments - not least in deep-sea oil and gas exploration and extraction. Sweden's nuclear authority is to encapsulate spent nuclear fuel in canisters protected by copper five centimetres thick. These canisters are required to remain effective for at least a hundred thousand years, but are expected to last even ten times as long.

Scores of lives and huge sums of money could be saved each year if buildings were properly protected against lightning strikes. A copper earthing system is all that is required.

It is estimated that about 80% of the copper humanity has ever produced is still in use. It will continue to be recycled over and over again without any effect on its properties.