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One of the many disadvantages of Bitcoin is that blockchain is both pseudonymous and transparent, which means you can watch, for example, BTC, but you don’t know who (or what) owns the parts. The pseudo-transparency provided by Bitcoin created industry and art around “chain analysis”, allowing researchers to change the cryptocurrency economy in a way that others could not.

However, recently, BitInfo Charts, the latest blockchain analytics site, said that 11.58 million bitcoins, or more than 50% of cryptocurrencies, valued at more than $ 70 billion, are writing this article. It also means that less than 6.8 million BTCs have changed in the last 12 months.

This may mean that the cryptocurrency market remains strongly positive, although bitcoin prices have fallen by 50% over the past five months. The fact is, unless you did a chain analysis, you would not come to this conclusion.

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Related reading: The November closing of the Bitcoin price triggers sales signals over the medium term
What does this status mean?
Yes, CoinMetrics estimates that less than half of the 4 million “depressing” BTC coins were lost in the air, claiming that keyboards lost keyboards and lost keyboards, died and decided they would not have access to other causes, and so on.


How to Be Proactive About The Zika Virus


While the Zika virus has been around since 1947, it has not been recognized as a legitimate threat to the United States until quite recently. Zika is a potent virus that is carried by mosquitoes. Until 2007, the virus was limited only to Africa.
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Since then, it has spread to the South Pacific and into other tropical regions, such as the Caribbean. Zika is particularly concerning for pregnant women who may suffer birth anomalies, such as microcephaly, to their unborn children. However, it can also cause fevers, rashes, headaches and joint pain in anyone affected by it for up to one week.
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Zika Transmission

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Zika is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito. However, it can also be transferred between sexual partners. The species of mosquitoes that carry the virus include Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Currently, only A. aegypti has been spreading Zika in the United States; this species is mostly present in warmer states with more tropical climates.
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However, it can come as far north as Ohio in the Midwest and Connecticut along the Eastern seaboard. While A. albopictus can carry Zika, it has not been known to do so as of yet in the US
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The most recent information shows that the majority of Zika cases in the US are travel-related, meaning that they are due to a person having been bitten by an affected mosquito while traveling out of the country. The only place in the US that has been affected by locally-infected mosquitoes is a small area of ​​Miami just north of the downtown district. Florida, Texas, California, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York have all reported more than 200 cases each with well over 600 reported in Florida. States reporting between 50 to 100 cases include Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan.

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Being Proactive about Zika

Because Zika is spread by mosquitoes, it is vital that you learn how to prevent mosquito bites no matter where you live and particularly if you travel out of the US. You should be aware that virus-laden mosquitoes bite during both the day and the night. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend using insect repellents with high levels of EPA-registered active ingredients, such as DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol or IR3535.
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Some brand name examples of approved repellents include Off !, Cutter Advanced, Repel, and SkinSmart. These repellents are safe even for pregnant women to use as well as for all children over the age of two months. In addition, you will be best protected if you wear long sleeve shirts, long pants and repellent-treated shoes and socks when outdoors. In addition, cover baby carriers with netting to protect very young infants from being bitten.
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The only other way that you could get Zika other than from a mosquito bite is from sexual contact with a person having the virus. To protect this type of transmission, always use a male or female condom during sexual intercourse. Condoms should be used during vaginal, anal and oral sex to prevent transmission from semen or vaginal fluids. Beware that a person may transmit the virus before any symptoms begin and even after symptoms end.

This is Only the Beginning of Zika

The United States government is maintaining a close monitoring system of Zika cases throughout the US as well as in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. The local government of Miami has taken steps to contain and prevent future outbreaks by using aerial spraying in some neighborhoods. In addition, President Obama has asked Congress to approve emergency funding for vaccine development, virus testing and state and local financial aid.

The government does not believe that the mosquitoes carrying Zika will travel much farther north than they already are, which is in Florida and Texas. However, travel-related cases could expand if people do not take proper precautions when traveling. Locally-acquired cases are most likely in Texas and Florida although the mosquitoes that can carry Zika can go as far north as Iowa and New Hampshire and as far west as California.

Get Tested!

If you develop symptoms that are consistent with Zika or have traveled to a different country affected by the virus, you should be tested. In addition, if you had unprotected sex with a person who has or had Zika, your doctor may recommend testing. This is particularly important for pregnant women. Testing can be done using blood or urine samples. A test known as real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction testing, or rRT-PCR, can be done within two weeks following the start of symptoms. It can also be performed on pregnant women who currently have no symptoms but who traveled to an affected country.

While this new information about Zika should not be cause for panic, you should work consistently to prevent transmission of the virus by preventing mosquito bites and by practicing protected sex using condoms.



Capital Airlines and the Vickers-Armstrongs Viscount


Capital Airlines, along with Eastern and US Airways, were the three major carriers to have been incubated in Pennsylvania.
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Fathered by Clifford Ball, an automobile dealer in Hudson-Essex, it was conceived as far back as 1919 when the Stinson airplane he had viewed during an exhibition flight had sparked his interest in aviation. Jointly purchasing 40 acres of land already used for aerial sightseeing purposes in Dravosburg with D. Barr Peat in 1925, he invested $ 35,000 to establish the Pittsburgh McKeesport Airport, clearing the land and building a small hangar with a machine shop before it adopted opened in June .
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Conducting his own sightseeing flights, for which passengers paid $ 5.00, he started a flying school and periodically held air shows, renaming the grass airport Bettis Field the following year in honor of Lieutenant Cyrus Bettis, an air service pilot who had been killed in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.
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Ball’s leisure service, however, was quickly upgraded. After President Coolidge had signed the Kelly Air Mail Act on February 2, 1925-thus allowing the postmaster general to conclude private contracts for the carriage of mail-he was awarded the shortest, 121-mile route for this purpose.
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Extending from Pittsburgh to Cleveland via Youngstown, Ohio, the route, designated CAM (Contract Air Mail) 11, it was characterized by low operating costs; the maximum, $ 3.00-per-pound allowable rate; the highest ton-mile compensation; and a significant mail volume, and therefore made it the most profitable.
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Employing three Waco 9s, he inaugurated service on April 21, 1927, carrying 20,000 pounds of mail and flying more than 70,000 miles during the balance of the year. By 1928, these figures had respectively increased to 55,000 pounds and 85,000 miles.
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An expanding fleet, comprised of Fairchilds, Ryans, Travel Airs, and Waco 9s and 10s, enabled him to earn incremental revenue, at a $ 20-per-passenger rate, from the increased cabin volumes they offered on scheduled mail runs.
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Unlike other contemporary airlines, it enjoyed positive growth, earning $ 291,000 of government revenue, transporting almost 100,000 pounds of mail, and operating night flights between Pittsburgh and Cleveland in 1929, themselves aided by the recently-installed lighted airway.

Spurred by this success, and the needed revenue from his sale of Bettis Field to Aircraft and Airways of America, Inc., to do so, he transformed his company into a full-fledged air transportation carrier, stretching the wings of its hitherto minuscule route network easterly from Pittsburgh to Washington on August 14 of that year.

The mail-accompanying passenger service was upgraded with the acquisition of a single, 12-seat Ford Trimotor in 1930, enabling him to create a combination mail-and-passenger company designated Pennsylvania Air Lines, and a reduction in fares attracted a 2,323 total flown over 209,000 miles.

The expanded operation was short-lived. Postmaster General Walter Folger Brown, intent on creating a nationwide airmail system, sought to connect its current fragments, and therefore granted Ball a six-month contract extension in April of 1930 for his Pittsburgh-Cleveland route until he could sell his fledgling carrier and have it integrated with the larger operation.

The solution came in the form of the Pittsburgh Aviation Industries Corporation (PAIC), the holding company formed in 1928 to oversee aviation interests. Agreeing to acquire 8,000 shares of stock at a $ 10.00-per-share price, and placing an additional $ 57,500 worth in escrow, PAIC took over Pennsylvania Air Lines on October 24, 1930 which, in the event, was guaranteed its founding route to Cleveland until May of 1934. Clifford Ball, at least temporarily, remained its vice president and operations manager.

The post office’s newly created space-volume compensation scheme, replacing the previous weight payment plan, prompted the purchase of larger, multi-engine Stinson and Ford transports. Their increased space, coupled with fare reductions, enabled it to increase the number of passengers carried in 1931 by 100 percent.

In fact, its new owners charted a successful course. When its coveted airmail contract for the Pittsburgh-Washington sector was awarded, it commenced service over it on June 8, 1931, introducing three daily round trips all the way to Cleveland in August. A fourth frequency was added two years later and a route extension saw its aircraft land in Detroit.

But acquisition and merger, once initiated, only propagated. Indeed, progressive PAIC stock purchases ate away at the formerly independent carrier until it became a wholly owned subsidiary on October 1, 1933, sparking the resignation of its very founder.

Following the unsuccessful and accident-plagued Army assumption of airmail service, the postmaster general, under the Black-McKellar Law, once again requested bids from private companies to re-serve it, many of which did so as “new airlines.” These, in effect, were the original ones brandishing new names. The former Ball creation, redesignated Pennsylvania Airlines and Transport Company, Inc., followed suit, but was only granted the short, Detroit-Milwaukee segment, while Central Air Lines, itself the renamed Pittsburgh Airways, settled onto its former turf, from Cleveland to Washington, because of its five-cent-per-mile lower bid.

However, winning bids and profitable bids were not necessarily the same thing. Indeed, John D. and Richard W. Coulter, sons of a Greensburg coal operator, had to inject it with a half-million dollars of life-sustaining capital.

Like its predecessor, it also carried passengers between Pittsburgh and Washington.

Sparks, as well as airplanes, flew on the routes where the two competed, as they tried to counterbalance the scales sinking on one side because of declining mail revenues with those rising due to passenger earnings.

Pennsylvania Airlines, at least from its statistics, appeared successful. In 1935, for instance, it carried 44,855 passengers and flew more than 1.6 million miles. By lowering its fares and replacing its rapidly outdated Stinson and Ford aircraft with ten Boeing 247Ds acquired from United Airlines, it enticed ridership from surface transportation forms, such as trains, and enjoyed explosive growth, with 83,199-passenger and 2.9 million-mile totals in 1936.

Central had carried 11,604 with a five-Stinson fleet in 1935. But these figures only told one side of the story.

A faltering financial foundation, created by declining airmail revenues and dilution of a single market by two competing carriers, resulted in both their losses.

Consolidation of the two, the only envisioned remedy, became effective on November 1, 1936, after Pennsylvania had acquired Central’s shares, and the resultant company, using Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County Airport as its operational base with fight control, meteorology, and maintenance capabilities, was redesignated Pennsylvania-Central Airlines.

The momentum initiated by the two independent carriers continued. Two routes were granted the followed year-Pittsburgh-Parkersburg-Charleston (West Virginia) on April 8 and Washington-Baltimore-Harrisburg-Williamsport-Buffalo on October 26.

Indeed, its aerial momentum, once set in motion, was unarrestible. Four more routes, on which it earned a 33.3-cent-per-mile subsidy, were awarded the following year: Pittsburgh-Buffalo, Washington-Norfolk, Grand Rapids (Michigan) -Chicago, and Detroit-Sault St. Marie. A permanent certificate of convenience and necessity protected it from potential competitors.

Now touching down in key, industry-concentrated cities in the northeast, it quickly became one of the country’s largest regional airlines and posted a profit in 1939.

Along with its ever-expanding network, which soon also encompassed Erie, Knoxville, and Birmingham, came new equipment. Receiving the first of ten Douglas DC-3s that same year, it was able to offer increased capacity and comfort, yet generate a passenger-only, mail-independent profit it had been unable to do with the Boeing 247Ds they replaced. Carrying 342,872 passenger in 1941, it flew almost 6.5 million miles.

World War II made a significant, albeit temporary, imprint on its operation, the CAA requisitioning 16 of its 22 aircraft for military personnel and supply flights, while an agreement with the Air Transport Command saw it operate military cargo services from Washington to Chicago, Miami , and New Orleans. On December 21, 1943, it established the Roanoke Naval Transitional Flying School to provide pilot training.

It emerged from the war clouds through which its DC-3s and Lockheed Lodestars had flown having transported 19,000 military personnel and more than 26 million pounds of cargo.

Propelled by profitability and airliner advancement, it placed a $ 10 million order in September of 1944 for 15 larger-capacity, quad-engined DC-4s, which would signal the transfer of its new headquarters and operations-maintenance base from Allegheny County Airport to Washington and reflect its new name, “PCA – The Capital Airline,” emphasizing its now-outgrown regional carrier status. This was equally cemented when it became the fourth Civil Aeronautics Board-designated carrier, after American, TWA, and United, to serve the coveted New York-Chicago route, although initially via Pittsburgh and Detroit, on December 16, 1945. It inaugurated service between the two the following July.

The service also marked a strategy change. In order to remain competitive with lower-cost airlines and thus retain passengers, trunk carriers were pressured into lowering their fares. Pennsylvania Central, officially rebranding itself “Capital Airlines” in 1948, justified this practice to the CAB by operating its unpressurized DC-4s with 60 higher-density, single-class seating configurations at off-peak, ordinarily idle times to increase aircraft utilization, and, coupled with reduced in-flight amenities, was able to reduce the standard six-cents-per-mile tariff to four. Dubbed “Nighthawk,” these flights to the Windy City began on November 4 of that year at an initial, $ 33.30 one-way fare.

Now the fifth-largest US airline, Capital strove to play catch up to the “Big Four” by differentiating itself with innovation and sought to do so with new powerplant technology mated to a British design. Called the Vickers-Armstrongs Viscount, it would give it a significant competitive edge by offering increased speed, improved passenger comfort, and reduced block times. It would, in effect, create the standard other carriers would aspire to achieve in order to remain competitive-in other words, it led and the others would now have to follow. But its strategy could only be successful if it operated significant numbers of them to blanket its route system.

And the numbers, like the altitudes of a climbing airplane, rapidly increased: three were ordered in May of 1954, 37 followed in August, and another 20 joined the queue in November. It would not only herald a new engine type, it would be the first time that a British aircraft would be operated in the US since the days of the de Havilland DH.4 biplane.

Originally designed to fulfill the Brabazon Committee’s Type IIIB requirement, issued in March of 1945, for a quad-engined, gas turbine airliner to transport 24 passengers on short- to medium-range, inter-European sectors, the aircraft, designated V.609 , was subsequently revised to accommodate 32 in order to meet British European Airways’ needs after it had placed the launch order for it.

The low-wing airliner, sporting pencil-thin nacelles and oval windows, first took to the skies on July 16, 1948, but was once again modified. Powered by four, 1,550 shaft horsepower Rolls Royce Dart RDa3 engines and redubbed the Viscount 700, it incorporated a five-foot wingspan increase and a fuselage stretch to carry between 40 and 53 passengers, first flying in this guise on August 28, 1950.

Nevertheless, it was the prototype, renumbered V.630, which operated the world’s first scheduled turbine-powered flight that summer with BEA, serving London, Paris, and Edinburgh.

Powered by 1,780-shp Rolls Royce RDa6 Dart 510 turboprops, the V.700D, with an 83.10-foot overall length and a 93-foot, 8.5-inch span, featured a 64,500-pound gross weight. Speed ​​was 310 mph at 20,000 feet and range, with its maximum fuel, was 2,000 miles.

Then Britain’s best-selling airliner, the Viscount series, including the higher capacity, stretched-fuselage V.800, achieved 444 sales.

Capital took delivery of its first Viscount on June 16, 1955 and inaugurated it into service on July 16, operating two daily nonstops and a single direct frequency on the Washington-Chicago route. As envisioned, its advanced engine technology, higher speeds, and shorter sector times served as a magnet, increasing its market share between any cities it connected.

And it capitalized on this fact by boasting of the aircraft’s advancements in its very ticket jackets, pointing out, “On your flight … the pilots will be flying with Bendix radio equipment. For many years, Bendix Radio navigation and communication equipment has flown with the world’s great airlines. These electronic devices are used by the pilot to guide him on a ‘true as an arrow’ course or to maintain instant radio contact with the ground … ”

The Viscount, however, was only one catalyst of the airline’s explosive growth. For reasons cited as “the strengthening of an individual carrier … for the sound development of the national system of which it is a part,” the Civil Aeronautics Board granted Capital Airlines a treasure-trove of route awards in 1955, allowing it to shed the predominantly short-range northeastern network with which it had been associated since its early expansion and offer nonstop segments from New York to Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Toledo, Detroit, and Chicago. As the largest airline in terms of passenger boardings in Pittsburgh, it enplaned more than 600,000 passengers per year.

By mid-1957, three-fourths of its route system was operated by Viscount aircraft, and the following year, some city pair frequencies had reached shuttle proportions: New York-Chicago (16 daily, ten nonstop), New York-Detroit (15 ), New York-Pittsburgh (ten), and Washington-Chicago (ten).

However, while the fifth-largest trunk carrier was buoyed by the wings of its Viscounts, it was forced into a nose-dove by its revenue, having overestimated the cash flow they were to generate-and with which it could repay its debt to Vickers -Armstrongs. Operating 46 of them in 1956, it ordered another 15, now well on the way to its targeted 75. But it only produced a loss for that year-and the one after that.

Once initiated, its strategy of attracting passengers with advanced technology and superior speed seemed unstoppable-and narrowly focused. Virtually plunged into bankruptcy in 1958 by a mechanic’s strike, it persisted in its purchasing strategy, ordering 14 of the world’s first pure-jet airliner, the de Havilland DH.106 Comet- again designed by the British-and then entered into negotiations with Convair for the quad-engined CV-880, both a higher-capacity and -speed jetliner (by some 100 mph) than even the Comet.
“Because we are always on top of what will happen, we can see when those funds start going toward the exchanges,” Elliptic co-founder and CEO James Smith told CNBC in a telephone interview. “We were able to let our clients know that these funds were going towards them, and they were able to stop them.”
The firm on Wednesday said it raised $ 23m in a funding round led by Japan’s SBI Holdings to push for aggressive expansion in Asia. SBI, a financial services business rooted in SoftBank, has made headlines in the past due to partnerships with blockchain companies such as Ripple and R3. Elliptic also accounts for
Terrorist financing is just one area of ​​illegal activity that the firm’s platform deals with. Hassle has also been used to track down traffickers of child pornography and drugs, as well as hacking resulting in theft. Elliptic points to another side of the crypto industry, as its technology is seen as more favorable to businesses and financial services regulators.
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Smith said the cryptocurrency industry has seen more growth in the past 18 months than in previous years. Bitcoin’s publicity has doubled since the beginning of the year, and Facebook announces plans to launch a virtual asset-backed currency called Libra, in partnership with other tech and finance firms.
Yet, for all the elements that caused Capital to shine, there was an equal number that caused it to tarnish: mounting debt, four Viscount accidents, and the CAB’s delayed granting of lucrative Florida routes as a potential solution. Although it leased 11 DC-6Bs from Pan American for this purpose, it was unable to reverse its dwindling spiral, forced, instead, to accept the lifeline cast out to it by United Airlines.

The CAB, approving its acquisition application on June 1, 1961, gave United a Pennsylvania presence and created the western world’s largest carrier, which served 116 destinations with 267 aircraft, in the process.

As the Viscounts were repainted in its livery, the Capital Airlines name disappeared-one aircraft at a time.
But Libra has faced severe regulatory backlash. President Donald Trump has said Facebook may be required to apply for a bank license to issue it, while some US lawmakers have been planning the company’s digital currency plans. Central bankers have also spilled cold water on the idea, with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell saying the project should be stopped until regulators’ concerns are addressed.
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The Elliptic boss said that while Facebook is “catching fire”, many other companies are exploring asset-backed virtual currencies. “It’s out of the box,” he said. “People are now thinking about it and what is the right way to do it.” Even central bankers are floating the idea, with Bank of England Governor Mark Carney proposing a digital reserve currency and China’s central bank claiming it is close to releasing its own virtual tokens.

Moving forward, Elliptic is opening offices in Singapore and Japan as part of a push to the Asian market. Japan is an example of a country showing more breakthroughs in the industry than others, Smith said, with “major banks” examining ways to provide cryptocurrency services to their customers. The company said revenue in Asia has increased tenfold in the last 12 months alone.



Campgrounds and RV Parks in Grafton


Grafton is a very beautiful city and the county seat of, Taylor County, West Virginia in United States of America. This is a very peaceful place which is perfect for camping holidays and weekend retreats. All the RV parks and campgrounds located here are extremely well maintained and they provide various leisure activities to the visitors.
In this article let me tell you about some very good and well maintained RV parks and campgrounds which are perfect for camping holidays.
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1. Cobourg East Campground
This is a fine RV campground located in Grafton. Here you can find various pull through sites, waterfront access near the lake, shaded trees all around the sites, pet are allowed here and the staff members are extremely cordial and friendly. At this campground you can also get water and electricity sites which you would get at very reasonable rates. Other amenities that you would get here include cable TV, free wireless internet and telephone connection.
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2. Tygart Lake State Park
Tygart Lake State Park is an all facility campground that is suitably located in Grafton. At this place you would get 40 well maintained shaded sites and near to the campground you will also find a large lake which can be used for swimming, boating and fishing.
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The camp sites here include 14 electric sites and 5 standard sites which are suitable for all kind of RVs. Other sites which you have here can be used for tents. This campground is opened from April to October and the amenities that you get here are dining shelters, picnic tables, restrooms, shower rooms and laundry service.
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3. Hartland Lake Marie
This lovely campground is located near a very large lake near which you can peacefully relax during your leisure time. Here you can get 100 sites which include 50 sites with electricity and 50 with full hook-up. This adventurous park is located in a calm rural setting and is very near to Tygart Lake State Park and Country Club.
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Here you can also bring your kids and pets. A pavilion is also available for large gatherings and long term campers are welcomed all around the year. Some nearby attractions which you can find near this campground include Mother’s Day Shrine, many historical sites and B&O Railroad.
I am sure the above mentioned RV campgrounds would surely provide you all the facilities and amenities for a comfortable and pleasant stay. So, com here and enjoy your time to the fullest.
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Electric Cars Are Good for the Environment?


Electric cars are currently touted to save the mother Earth from the issue of global warming but are they really capable of doing that? After all, electricity is generated from coal and coal, just like petrol, is a non-renewable source of energy. Are we better off with the electric cars or do we just need to make the fuel based cars more energy efficient? Electric car certainly save on energy, no doubt about that but they are not zero emission automobiles. Driving it still involves a lot of money and you’d be surprised to know that 49.7 percent of US electricity is generated from coal. However, these cars are certainly much lower in carbon dioxide emissions as compared to the fuel based ones. Toyota recently came out with the Tesla Roadster which gives you 245 milers of travel on a single charge. There is also the 2006 Corolla which is excellent in fuel efficiency give an average of 31 miles on a single gas galleon provided it has manual transmission. After a hundred miles, the Corolla will produce 63.11 pounds of carbon dioxide through 3.23 gallons of gas. Energy Information Administration says that one gallon of gas emits 19.564 pounds of carbon dioxide. This figure again doesn’t include the energy which is spent on taking the oil out of the ground.
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Looking at the Roadster, you will find that this electric car give you 100 miles of travel on a single charge. Out of this, only 70 percent is used in the vehicle movement and the rest is lost due to the inefficiency in charging processor.
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One kilowatt of electricity generation produces about 1.55 pounds of carbon dioxide and this means the Tesla, in 100 miles, produces 48.05 pounds of carbon dioxide. You can check for yourself and the results will wary a bit, depending upon your state. States like West Virginia, North Dakota and Wyoming use a lot of coal and hence the CO2 production is higher. Roadster will end up with a lower carbon dioxide production at the end of the day. On the flip side, if you are a motorist from the Pacific Northwest, I would recommend an EV since this region uses hydroelectric pumps. You can check on the Internet regarding how much electricity does your state make from coal.
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Lower emission of carbon dioxide is not the only reason to purchase electric cars. You won’t see a single electric car having a tail pipe on the back which means these automobiles will not put a thick pile of smoke when they are running. The electric cars produce less nitrous oxide, methane and other green house gases as compared to the gas counterparts. The only exception to this is sulfur dioxide which is produced a lot by coal combustion and can result in acid rain.

The biggest drawback with the electric cars is that they need huge batteries and they are a bit difficult to manufacture. Some people say that if you take in to account the process that is needed for making these batteries, it makes the electric cars less greener.


A Visit to Italy


With World Mission Sunday celebrated across the catholic churches around the globe, and fall season just on the horizons, I took time out to visit Italy this year as part of my vacation. My friend from Brescia invited me to stay with his family during the course of my sojourn in Italy. I was so happy to be welcomed to their home and be treated like a member of their own family. Their warm hospitality was indeed molded with a heart to love, a story to tell, and a home to share that highlights clusters of greatness centering around friendship and good interpersonal relationship.

I came to Brescia on the cusp of excitement to touch base with the family and friends, along with my plan to visit Venice, Piacenza, Milan, and Bassano del Grappa. This year attempt to explore Veneto came out as a window to profoundly high relative time of reconnecting with friends and confreres. It reminded me of an ancient maxim, quoted by Pope John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council, to guide a new pontiff: “Unity in essentials, liberty in doubtful matters, and in all things charity.” I saw some shades of connections in dialogue with my everyday schedule with them.

It was both satisfying and literally suffused with good memories to hold close to my heart. I felt how the world was linked in my circle of gratitude like a powerful bridge between family and friendship. Like learning how to care for others and keep personal ties with faith and sincerity, my experience with them was indeed shared with Christ's presence in our hearts. That was one of my favorite moments living with them at this point in time. As the Bk of Proverb says, “the eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (15: 3).


My friend Dave and I drove to the city of Brescia and visited some major sights like Piazza della Loggia, the Old (Duomo Vecchio) and New Cathedral (Duomo Nuovo). We also visited the remains of the Roman Capitolium which is the Romaneque-Gothic church of Francis, with a Gothic façade and cloisters, the archbishop's residence, the Biblioteca Queriniana (containing rare early manuscripts, including a 14th-century manuscript of Dante, and some rare incunabula), the Broletto (formerly the Province Hall which is a massive building of the 12th and 13th centuries with a lofty tower), and the Piazza del Foro which is the most important array of Roman remains in Lombardy. These include the Capitoline Temple, built by Vespasianus in 73 AD.

According to history, there were different mythological versions of the foundation of Brescia. It says that one was attributed to Hercules and the other was to Altilia (“the other Ilium”) by a fugitive from the siege of Troy. Another version was the king of the Ligures Cidnus who invaded the Padan Plain the late Bronze Age. However, many scholars attributed its foundation to the Etruscans.

The city of Brescia became Roman in 225 BC when the Cenomani gave in to Virginia. It was during the Carthaginian Wars when 'Brixia' was usually allied with the Romans. In 202 BC it was partly under the Celtic confederation that was changed later and was thus conquered. In 89 BC Brixia received its official title as civitas (“city”) and in 41 BC its inhabitants got their Roman citizenship. Augustus and Tiberius were instruments in founding the civil colony and constructing an aqueduct to supply it.

In 312 Constantine advanced against Maxentius and they were compelled to move out as far as Verona. Then in 402 the Visigoths of Alaric I destroyed the city and again was besieged in 452 by the Gothic general Theoderic the Great against Odoacer.

Brescia was made capital by the Lombards in 568 (569) as one of their semi-independent duchies. Dukes were Alachis, the future king Rotharis and Rodoald, Alachis II, a fervent anti-Catholic who was killed in the battle of Cornate d'Adda (688). Desiderius became the last king of the Lombard. Then in 774 Charlemagne captured the city and conquered the Lombard kingdom in northern Italy.

Under Louis II the Younger, Brescia became de facto as capital of the Roman Empire. Bishop's power in those times was described imperial but gradually lessened by the local citizens and nobles. It became a free comune around the arly 12th century. Through the years Brescia expanded in the nearby countryside like Bergamo and Cremona. Then another battle broke off at Pontoglio and Grumore towards the mid-12th century.

Sporadic battles continued to arise between the Lombard cities and the emperors. One of them was the Battle of Legnano. Then followed by the Battle of Cortenova (27 November 1237). Some of the leagues from Cremona, Bergamo, and Mantua fought against Brescia by the emperor Frederick II in 1238. In 1311 Emperor Henry VII attacked Brescia for six months. Then the Scaliger of Verona with the help of the exiled Ghibellines, the battle of Maclodio (1427), Francesco Sforza, captain of the Venetians, and feuds with powerful families such as the Maggi and the Brussati, Brescia was again assaulted. Brescia this time acknowledged the authority of Venice and between 1512 and 1520, the French armies occupied Brescia. Subsequently, it shared the fortunes of the Venetian republic until 1796 when the Austrian army took over. It was followed by devastation when the Church of San nazaro was struck by lightning in 1769. It created a huge fire that caused a massive explosion and destroyed one sixth of the city.

Brescia revolted against the Austrian puppet state called Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia. It was at this time that the poet Giosuè called it “Leonessa d'Italia” (“Italian Lioness”), being the only Lombard town to stage a rally against the King of Pierdmont. In 1859 Brescia got its inclusion to the newly-founded Kingdom of Italy.

It was interesting to know the history and people's background as I tried to discover more some important historical landmarks of Brescia. It came to my mind, too, the historical car race Mille Miglia that takes place in the region. I even went with my friend and his father to see the car race in Castrezzato.

I remembered here some native Brescians who chalked up in their chosen career such as Giovanni Paoli who brought the printing press to the new world in Mexico City under the viceroyalty of Antonio de Mendoza from Spain in 1935; St Angela Merici, who founded the Order of Ursulines in Brescia in 1535; Bartolomeo Beretta, gunsmith and founder of the Beretta arms firm; Giulio Alenio (1582-1649) a missionary called “Confucius from the West”; Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, a pianist of the 20th century, Pope Paul VI, and Giacomo Agostini, world famous Grand Prix motorcycle racers between 1964-1977.


It was a must for me to visit Venice. My friend and I took the early train from Rovato, Brescia heading for Venice. Passengers in drove mostly young people were equipped with gadgets and backpacks. They were all coming from different regions. It took us roughly two hours and a half to get there. Then a cup of cappuccino convinced us to stop by the coffee shop with matching croissant bread as part of our morning breakfast.

Venice is a beautiful capital city of Veneto in northern Italy. As of 2007, there were 268,993 people residing in Venice, of whom 47.5% were male and 52.5% were female. The largest immigrant group so far comes from other European nations (Romanians, the largest group: 3.26%, South Asia: 1.26%, and East Asia: 0.9%). It is predominantly Roman Catholic but with a heavy accent on Orthodox presence due to long-held relationship with Constantinople. Historically, it has been known as the “La Dominante”, “Serenissima”, “Queen of the Adriatic”, “City of Water”. There was a writer in the New York Times who described Venice as “undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man.” It stretched across 118 small islands in the Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in the northeast Italy, formed by 177 canals in a shallow lagoon. Its population estimate of 272,000 inhabitants includes the population of the whole Comune of Venezia.

The Republic of Venice was a major maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. It was the place where the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto took place. As a center of commerce, Venice was mainly known for silk, grain and spice trade. It was also known for classical music, history, and its renowned prodigy in this field was Antonio Vivaldi.

According to history, the original population of Venice comprised refugees from Roman cities such as Padua, Aquileia, Altino and Concordia (now the modern Portugruaro) who were fleeing successive waves of Germanic invasions and Huns. Early settlers here were known as lagoon dwellers and they increased in number especially when the Lombards conquered the Byzantine territories which had their local governor based in Malamocco.

In 775-776, the ecclesiastical seat of Olivolo (Helipolis) was established. Duke Agnello Particiaco (811-827) took his ducal seat in Rialto (Rivoalto, “High Shore”) island, the current location of Venice. This time the monastery of St. George Zachary, the first ducal palace, and the basilica of St. Mary Mark were built.

Venice had always had connections with the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim world in many ways. The governmental system was in some ways similar to what the ancient Rome had with an elected chief executive (the Doge or Duke), a senate-like assembly of nobles, and a mass of citizens with limited political power.

Relics of St. George Mark the Evangelist from Alexandria were placed in the new basilica around 828. The patriarchal seat continued to develop and this led to achieve their autonomy and freedom.

We took scores of photographs in Piazza San Marco, the Basilica di San Marco, St Lucia Church, Santa Maria della Salute, La Torre dell'Orologio (St Mark's Clock), La Fenice Opera House, and the Rialto Bridge. I loved watching those pigeons crowding through the center while tourists enjoyed feeding them.

History says that from the ninth to the twelfth century Venice developed into a city state (an Italian thalassocracy or Repubblica Marinara, the other three being Genoa, Pisa, and Amalfi). It became a flourishing trade center between Europe and the rest of the world (especially the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world).

Venice came to grips with countless invaders like Turks (1453) and Normans in those days but remained closely associated with Constantinople. Known as orthodox Roman Catholic, people of Venice wrestled for religious heresy during the Counter-Reformation. Plagues brought devastation in Venice around 1348 and1630, respectively. Its decline started in the 15th century during the time of unsuccessful attempt to hold Thessalonica against the Ottomans (1423-1430). It began to lose its position as a center of international trade during the later part of the Renaissance as Portugal became Europe's principal intermediary in the trade with the East. While France and Spain fought for hegemony over Italy, Venice remained a major exporter of agricultural products until the mid-18th century and by the end of the 15th century, it had become the European capital of printing being one of the first cities in Italy ( after Subiaco and Rome) to have a printing press after those established in Germany.

During the Fourth Crusade in 1204, Venice became an imperial power. The Byzantine Empire was greatly weakened and great multitudes of stuffs were brought back to Venice which included the gilt bronze horse which we now see above the entrance to St Mark Cathedral.

Located on the Adriatic Sea, we took the view of San Giorgio Maggiore and eventually rode the motorized waterbus (vaporetto) which brought us to this place. We saw many gondolas with crushed velvet seats and Persian rugs. I heard that gondoliers usually charge 80 and 100 euros for half an hour excursion around some canals. I did not bother myself to ride in one of them but just took a picture. That gave me a difference.

I took some snapshots of other churches and bought some post cards. While sightseeing the whole panorama from St Giorgio's belfry, I thought of the high water following certain tides in Venice. I thought of flood tides which were evidently a threat to residents here. Some experts said that the best way to protect Venice is to physically lift the city of Venice to a greater height above sea level, by pumping water into the soil underneath the city. The lifting system as they claimed would be permanent. At least it would protect Venice for many years.

I really enjoyed seeing these historical landmarks with majestic architectural designs; their antiquated history and origin. Those palaces such as the Palazzo di Doge, Foscari, Grassi, Labia, and Maliperio reminded me of the emperial reigns of the rich and famous in this city. I saw in many shops different types of masks which reminded me of that musical play 'The Phantom of the Opera.' These are worn during the Carnival of Venice known for Venetian masks. It is held annually two weeks before Ash Wednesday and then it ends on Shrove Tuesday. It was something cultural and it could be traced back to centuries, in the 14th century when Venetian men would wear tight-fitting multicolored hose known as Compagnie della Calza (“Trouser Club”).

We took a long walk back to the train station following the labyrinthine road which made us wonder if we were in the right direction. We asked some those we met and inquired about the way back to the station. We got there quarter before 5 pm and the train departed at exactly 5. We arrived back to Rovato, Brescia at 7 pm and by the time we reached home it was half past seven in the evening.


Two days after we visted Venice, we drove to Piacenza. It is a city in the Emilia-Romagna region and the capital of the province of Piacenza. Geographically, it is at a major crossroads at the intersection of Route E35 / A1 between Bologna (known as the gateway to eastern Italy) and Milan (gateway to the Alps), and Route E70 / A21 between Brescia at the foot of the Alps and Tortona, where branches lead to Torino in the north, a major industrial city, and Genova, a major coastal port.

Long before the Roman foundation shaped the area of ​​Piacenza, the Etruscans, Gauls took the entire Po valley. The Etruscans were famous for the practice of divining by the entrails of sheep. A bronze sculpture of a liver called the “Liver of Piacenza” was found in 1877 at Gossolengo just to the south of Piacenza complete with the name of regions. It has been connected to the practice of haruspicy, which was adopted by the Romans. Thus far, the liver can be attributed to the middle Roman settlement.

According to history, Piacenza and Cremona were founded as a Roman military colonies in May of 218 BC. There was a battle with the Gauls and Ligurians and cities were besieged with cruelty and violence. Devastations occurred several times but the city was always recovered and by the 6th century Procopius was calling it “the principal city in the country of Aemilia.”

Diocletian had a long reign during the era of Late Antiquity in Piacenza (4th / 9th centuries AD) and remained anti-Christian. Christians being killed and massacred were rampant in those days and one of them was Antoninus in 303 AD who was beheaded (as had been St. Moritz) at Travo in Val Trebbia. The first Bishop of Piacenza (322-357), San Vittorio, declared Antoninus the patron saint of Piacenza and had the first Basilica di S. Antonio constructed in his honor in 324 in downtown Piacenza. It was restored and rebuilt in 1101. Actually, the remains of the bishop and soldier-saint are in urns under the altar.

During the Middle Ages Piacenza underwent a number of conquests by the Byzantines, Lombards, and Franks (9th century). It was followed by a gradual transition of powers from the feudal lords to a new enterprising class of the countryside.

In 1126 Piacenza was a free commune and became a member of the Lombard League. It took part in a war against the emperor Frederick Barbarossa and in the subsequent battle of Legnano in 1176. In the 13th century, Piacenza was able to gain its strongholds on the Lombardy shore of the Po River. Struggles for control were a common practice in the second half of the 13th century. Rich and powerful families such as Scotti, Pallavicino and Scoto (1290-1313) held power and leadership during this regime and Piacenza became a Sforza possession until 1499.

Piacenza was ruled by France until 1521 and under Pope Leo X, it became part of the Papal States. In 1545, it became part of the newly established Duchy of Parma and Piacenza, which was under the duress of the Farnese family.

The city underwent a series of transitions especially when it became a capital city of the duchy until Ottavio Farnese (1547-1586) moved it to Parma. Between 1732 and 1859, Piacenza and Parma were ruled by the House of Bourbon. In the 18th century, a number of edifices were built which belonged to noble families such as Scotti, Landi and Fogliani.

In 1882 Napoleon's army annexed Piacenza to the French Empire. The city was plundered of a huge number of artworks and were also ravaged by bandits and French soldiers.

In 1848 Austrian and Croatian troops occupied Piacenza until a plebiscite marked the beginning of the city in the Kingdom of Sardinia. Then bombardment of the city occurred during World War II by the Allies. Roads and bridges across Trebbia and the Po Rivers, along with the railways yards were devastated. Piacenza was severely damaged by the bombing.

In spite of all the World War II bombings and devastations by the allied medium bombers from Corsica, Piacenza remained as one of the famous cities in Italy for the arts. Their historical palaces and edifices are often surrounded by lovely gardens.

Due to our limited time to visit some major sights of the city, nevertheless, I had the opportunity to see Piazza Cavalli and the façade of Il Gotico where my friend and I took some pictures. We passed by the Church of Sant'Antonino, patron of Piacenza and the Palazzo Comunale, also known as il Gotico. Then we also saw the Duomo di Piacenza. We wanted to go inside to pray but it was closed. So we decided to just a take a picture of its façade.

We also passed by other churches like Santa Maria in Campagna, a Renaissance church, faces Piazzale delle Crociate (“Crusades Square”), so called because Pope Urban II summoned the First Crusade here in 1095. It was built in 1522-1528 to house a miraculous wooden sculpture of the Madonna. The interior side of the church was originally on the Greek cross plan, but was later changed into a Latin cross one.

We were not able to visit the churches of St Sixtus, a Renaissance church with a precious choir, designed by Alessio Tramello in the 15th century. Another church designed by Tramello is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It has the most famous relic of the region's pre-Roman civilization known as the Bronze Liver of Piacenza. It is very significant because it is an Etruscan bronze model of a sheep's liver that dates back from the end of the second century to the start of the first century BC.

I remember when I lived here for a year, the common specialties which were typical Piacentini are panceta (rolled seasoned pork belly, salted and spiced), coppa (seasoned pork neck) and salame (chopped pork meat flavored with spices and wine, and made into sausages). Others eat them with Gorgonzola cheese and Robiola.

As it was already getting dark, we decided to drive back home in Brescia and be on time for dinner with my friend's uncle. It was a lovely time we spent in the city sightseeing and window shopping. Both convinced us to combine our visit with spending for clothes or other souvenirs. That really wrapped up our day amid the stillness and welcome contrast from other bustling cities like Milan, Venice, Vicenza, Brescia or Padova. Piacenza remained like a serene image of body and soul steeped in classic speaking gifts. Oh, Piacenza! You're still replete with serenity and precious antiquity.


This was my last leg as regards my itinerary here in northern Italy. I really made an effort to maximize my time visiting these places. Though at times exhaustion would knock me down and lead me to stay home, still the inner engine would draw me out and emerge on the road. I felt the twinge of being privileged to be here. The beauty of the place, its richness in history and culture; and the people themselves reminded me of what Elizabeth Kübler-Ross once wrote: “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. ” And I found its verisimilitude in dealing with people across cultures.

According to history, Vicenza is the capital of the eponymous province in the Veneto region, at the northern base of the Monte Berico, straddling the Bacchiglione. It is approximately 60 kn west of Venice and 200 km east of Milan.

It is a cosmopolitan city with many museums, art galleries, piazzas, villas, churches and beautiful Renaissance palaces. The famous Palladian Villas of the Veneto and the Teatro Olimpico can be found here. Other historical landmarks are: the Basilica Palladiana, Palazzo Thiene by Palladio, Villa Almerico Capra, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunciata, Palazzo Chiericati, Palazzo Porto, Palazzo del Barbaran da Porto, etc. The inventor of silicon, Federico Faggin, was born here. It is the third-largest Italian industrial center in terms of exports, engineering / computer components industry.

The Romans conquered this region when the Gauls were inhabitants here in 157 BC. They gave the name Vicentia or Vincentia, meaning “victorious.” When the Western Roman Empire fell, the Heruls, Vandals, Huns, Alaric and his Visigoths laid waste to the area. At the beginning of the sixth century a number of Benedictine monasteries were built here.

In 899, Vicenza was destroyed by Magyar raiders. A League was formed with Verona and Lombard to go against Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa compelling Padua and Treviso to join. There were some inner rivalries with Padua, Bassano del Grappa and other cities. In 1230 the Second Lombard League went against Emperor Frederick II that brought to the fore the restoration of the old oligarchic republic political structure.

Vicenza came under rule of Venice in 1404. But it was besieged by the Emperor Sigismund, and Maximilian I in 1509 and 1516. The period of Reformation saw the growing inclination in art especially at the time of Andrea Palladio who left many outstanding examples of art with palaces and villas in the city's territory.

At the time of Napoleon Bonaparte in the 18th century, Vicenza was made a duché grand-fief (not a grand duchy, but a hereditary, nominal duchy, a rare honor reserved for French officials). Then after 1814, Vicenza was under the Austrian Empire. Italy was still divided at that time but as part of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, it was tied up with Italy after the third war of Italian independence.

Vicenza was heavily damaged by World War I and World War II. But after World War II, economy began to bloom slowly. And now Vicenza is home to the US Army post Caserma Ederle, also known as the US Army Garrison Vicenza.

Some famous people from this area are: Flavio Albanese, architect; Roberto Baggio, football player; Giuseppina M. Bakhita, saint, Valerio Belli, sculptor and engraver; Maria Bertilla Boscardin, saint; and many others.

a. Bassano del Grappa

Following this, I really made an effort to visit Bassano del Grappa. It is a place where we have a seminary. And now it is housed by our elderly and sick.confreres in the congregation. For me it was like another episode of reconnecting so meaningful that I almost shed in tears when I saw them.

It is a city and comune in the province of Vicenza, region Veneto. Its involved communes are Cassola, Marostica, Solagna, Pove del Grappa, Romano d'Ezzelino, Campolongo sul Brenta, Conco, Rosà, Cartigliano and Nove.

The city was founded in the second century by a Roman called Bassianus. It was under the family of the Ezzelinos in the 13th century. But it was acquired by the Visconti of Milan in 1368. It became famous in all parts of Europe because of the Remondini printers.

During the French Revolutionary Wars Bassano was the seat of the battle. It was part of the unified Kingdom of Italy in 1866. Napoleon Bonaparte stayed here in Bassano del Grappa for many months.

The original name of this place was Bassano Veneto. Because of so many casualties during World War I, the name was changed to Bassano del Grappa, meaning Bassano of Mount Grappa. This was made to honor those soldiers who were killed during the war.

My friend and I went to the Bridge of the Alpini which was designed by the architect Andrea Palladio in 1569. This bridge was destroyed many times. The Alpine soldiers, or Alpini have always revered the wooden bridge and Bassano del Grappa. It was a memorial marker for them, so significant that they would remember songs from their days as alpine soldiers.

We took a number of pictures around this area. It was so meaningful that I could not help but associate it also with our seminary. It was like a connecting bridge to sacred forces – bringing life and hope to the local church.

There were also other sights to see such as: the Cathedral (Duomo) built around the year 1000 but renovated in 1417, The Castello Superiore (Upper Castle), the Church of St John the Baptist which was built in the 14th century and restored in the 18th century.

The many facets of these places made me reflect the different set of values ​​for defining beauty and truth, achievements judged according to popular standards like wealth of the nation, power, prestige and on the other side of the coin, achievements judged according to divine standards like service or compassion. The immense beauty and historicity of Italy have enormous wealth to share with people of all ages. As a pilgrim on the road, I will hold ever dear in my heart those works of art, people's inner beauty, faith, and solidarity as life and memory go on through time and space.

Like many visitors to Italy, I would always say, 'Ciao e ci vediamo.'


A Tourist Guide to North Carolina’s Outer Banks


1. Introduction

Remote and removed, the thin band of interconnected barrier islands that stretch some 130 miles along the coast of North Carolina and form the Outer Banks seem more a part of the Atlantic than the continent to which they are appendaged by causeways, bridges, and ferries. Islands in and of sand, whose dunes ebb and flow with the sometimes wicked winds like bobbing boats, they serve as the threshold to North America-or the end of it-depending upon the direction of travel.

Defined by land, or the lack of it, a trip here can entail sailing, fishing, kayaking, water skiing, parasailing, hang gliding, kite surfing, dune climbing, dolphin watching, and sand surfing. More than anything, however, it is about firsts-the first English colonists to leave footprints in the sand, the first aviators to leave tracks in the sand as they conquered flight, and the sea and dunes and wind which made both possible.

2. From Mountains to Shores

Although these flat, marshy islands and splotches of the Outer Banks could not be more opposed to the towering Appalachian Mountains that rise in the west, it is from these peaks that they emanated, becoming the third rendition of them.

Rivers, which are collections of rainwater, flowed eastward from them, sharply dropping from the edge of the second, or lower, topographical feature, the Piedmont. Off shore currents, then acting upon and molding, like clay, their sediment, itself carried from this mountainous origin 25,000 years ago, having created the barrier islands and their water thresholding beaches.

Because currents are anything but static, their never-resting forces continue to reshape and reposition these island masterpieces, as they are subjected to the constantly remolding hands of the wind and the water. This dynamic phenomenon is the very key to their protective nature as they shield the more permanent mainland and, like shock absorbers, they often field the first brunt of hurricanes and other severe weather systems.

Both created and defined by nature’s forces, these sounds form the second largest estaurine system in the US after the Chesapeake Bay, covering almost 3,000 square miles and draining 30,000 square miles of water.

“A thin, broken strand of islands,” according to the National Park Service, “curves out into the Atlantic Ocean and back again in a sheltering embrace of North Carolina’s mainland coast and offshore islands.”

3. Access and Orientation

The Outer Banks consist of Northern Beaches, with towns such as Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head; Roanoke Island; and Cape Hatteras National Seashore, itself comprised of Bodie, Hatteras, and Ocracoke islands.

Scheduled airline service is provided to Norfolk and Raleigh-Durham International airports located, respectively, in Virginia and North Carolina, while charter fights operate to Dare County Regional Airport on Roanoke Island. Private aircraft serve First Flight Airstrip in Kill Devil Hills and Billy Mitchell Airport on Hatteras Island.

By road, the Outer Banks are served by US 158 and the Wright Memorial Bridge from the north and US 64 via the 5.2-mile-long Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge, Roanoke Island, the Nags Head-Manteo Causeway, and the Washington Baum Bridge from the west. As from the north, the route leads to the four-lane US 158 artery and traverses the 16.5-mile island, accessing shops, outlets, restaurants, and attractions. The narrower, two-lane NC 12-which is also known as the “Beach Road”-serves residential communities, hotels, and restaurants, often with views of the Atlantic. The same road threads its way down Hatteras Island and, after a complementary ferry ride, Ocracoke Island.

4. Kitty Hawk

Despite consensus belief and aviation history books to the contrary, Kitty Hawk did not serve as the site of the world’s first successful flight, although the Wright Brothers stayed in the village. Instead, that historic event occurred about four miles south of it, in Kill Devil Hills. Nevertheless, there is still an aeronautics-related attraction next to the Aycock Brown Welcome Center, which itself offers brochures and trip planning information about area sights, restaurants, entertainment, shops, and hotels.

Designated Monument to a Century of Flight, it was created by Icarus International and dedicated on November 8, 2003 on the centennial of powered flight to celebrate the history, beauty, and mysteries of flight and soaring of the human spirit. Set against the open sky of Kitty Hawk to create a contemplative environment, the monument itself consists of 14 wing-shaped, stainless steel pylons rising from ten to 20 feet in a 120-foot orbit to reflect the distance of the Wright Brothers’ first flight on December 17, 1903 and to represent man’s climb to the sky and space.

“Humankind is a continuum of pioneers,” according to the monument, “sharing timeless dreams and the boundless possibilities of vast unexplored worlds.”

Black granite panels are engraved with 100 of the most significant aviation achievements of the past century and a center, six-foot-diameter dome depicts earth’s continents and is inscribed with the words, “When Orville Wright lifted from the sands of Kitty Hawk at 10:35 a.m. on the morning of December 17, 1903, we were on our way to the moon and beyond.”

5. Kill Devil Hills

Kill Devil Hills is, of course, the site of the world’s first powered, controlled, and sustained flight and the Wright Brothers National Memorial, visible from US 158, pays tribute to it.

Although the Wrights were raised in Dayton, Ohio, they conducted all their early unpowered (glider) and powered (airplane) flight experiments in North Carolina because it offered lofty dunes for foot launches, high winds to generate lift with minimal ground speed, soft sand for wheelless, minimal-damage landings, and isolation from press and spectators.

According to the Visitor Center’s museum-which sports exhibits, 1902 glider and 1903 Wright Flyer reproductions, National Park Service talks and programs, and a book/gift shop-the brothers were inspired by and based their designs upon aerodynamic principles laid down by four earlier pioneers: Sir George Cayley (1773-1857), who established the very foundation of aerodynamics; Alphonse Penaud (1850-1880), who built a rubber band-powered planophone model and flew it 131 feet; Otto Lilienthal (1848-1896), who conducted extensive glider experiments; and Octave Chanute (1832-1910), who became a virtual clearing house for all aviation-related developments and published them in a book entitled “Progress in Flying Machines.” The Wright Brothers’ biplane glider, in fact, was a virtual copy of his own.

According to the museum, the memorial is the birthplace of aviation. “Here, on December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright made the first successful, power-driven flight in world history,” it claims. “The Wrights believed that flight by man was possible and could be achieved through systematic study.”

That systematic approach, coupled with their intuitive mechanical ability and analytical intelligence, enabled them to understand that lift opposed weight and that thrust opposed drag, but, more importantly, that flight could only be conquered by controlling its three lateral, longitudinal, and vertical axes. This lack of understanding had caused all previous experimenters to fail.

Devising control surfaces to tame them and thus maintain an aircraft’s stability, they were able to morph their unpowered gliders, subjected to hundreds of foot launches from nearby Kill Devil Hill, into the successful Wright Flyer.

Two reconstructed buildings represent the Wright Brothers’ 1903 camp, that to the left a hangar and that to the right their workshop and living quarters with a stove, a crude kitchen, a pantry, a table, and a ladder to access the burlap slings hung from the rafters that served as their bunks.

The commemorative granite boulder marks the take off point of the four successful flights on December 17, 1903 and the markers positioned on the field indicate each one’s distance and the amount of aerial time required to reach them.

Taking control of the Wright Flyer while Wilbur served as his “ground crew” and stabilized its wings, Orville divorced himself from the take off track at 10:35 a.m. that historic day, covering 120 feet in 12 seconds, while Wilbur himself, piloting the next attempt, covered 175 feet in the same amount of time. The penultimate fight flew 200 feet in 15 seconds and the final, and longest, one traversed 852 feet in 59 seconds, after which damage to the aircraft, along with end-of-the-season weather severities, precluded further testing and the brothers returned to Ohio.

According to the boulder erected by the National Aeronautics Association of the USA on December 17, 1928 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the event, “The first successful flight of an airplane was made from this spot by Orville Wright, December 17, 1903, in a machine designed and built by Wilbur Wright and Orville Wright.”

The former sea of sands and dunes stretching out from the first flight boulder, still acted upon by the wind as much as the Wright’s gliders and powered designs had been, was now replaced with a sloping green field, but the aerodynamic forces invisibly brushing the delicate tips of its grass still caused them to sway, in memory, perhaps, of this event more than a century later.

The distance from the take off point, marked by the launching track, to the fourth and furthest marker, requires a brisk walk using the feet with which man has been endowed, but in 1903, it was covered with the wings with which birds had been endowed. The Wrights thus successfully crossbred the human and animal species, manifested as a machine.

The 60-foot monument, mounted on top of the 90-foot, now grass-covered Kill Devil Hill sand dune across from First Flight Airport with its 3,000-foot runway, marks the starting point of the Wright’s hundreds of unpowered glider flights.

“… the sand fairly blinds us,” they wrote at the time. “It blows across the ground in clouds. We certainly can’t complain of the place. We came down here for wind and sand, and we got them.”

A full-size stainless steel sculpture of the Wright Flyer, located on the far side of the hill at its base and weighing far more than the original airplane at 10,000 pounds, depicts the historic first flight with photographer John Daniels, from the local lifesaving station, about to snap the only picture ever taken of it.

The Centennial Pavilion, across the parking lot from the combined Visitor Center, museum, and flight room, offers films and aviation and Outer Banks exhibits.

6. Nags Head

Only a few miles south of Kill Devil Hills, in Nags head, is another flight-related attraction, Jockey’s Ridge State Park.

One of North Carolina’s 35 state parks and four recreation areas that stretch from Mount Mitchell-the highest peak in the west-to Jockey’s Ridge in the east, the 425-acre facility sports the highest sand dune on the coast, which, over the years, has varied in height from 90 to 110 feet.

Its Visitor Center features a museum with photographs of the dune and its evolution, along with displays about area flora and fauna, while two hiking trails provide first-hand exposure to the park: the 45-minute Soundside Nature Trail and the 1.5-mile Tracks in the Sand. But its jewel is unmistakably the dune itself and it is synonymous with hang gliding. The way that Kill Devil Hills was the birthplace of powered flight, so, too, was Nags Head for unpowered, personal flight, since the sport, in many ways, traces its roots here.

Francis Rogallo, like the Wright Brothers who preceded him by almost five decades, laid the foundation of the sport and is therefore considered the “father of modern hang gliding.” Seeking to make flying affordable and accessible to everyone, he took to the sky in 1948 on a makeshift glider whose wings had been assembled from his wife’s kitchen curtains, claiming, “My intention was to give everyone the opportunity to experience flight first hand.”

Following the Wright’s footsteps in the sand until they disappeared into the sky, he employed their same foot launch techniques less than five miles from those used in Kill Devil Hills.

Kitty Hawk Kites, which serves Jockey’s Ridge and was established in 1974, teaches both this foot launch and the towed hang gliding procedure, and is today the world’s largest such flight school, counting more than 300,000 students on its roster.

Initial, certified instructor-taught lessons entail a ground briefing, a dune foot launch, and a glide at a five- to 15-foot altitude.

The Hang Gliding Spectacular, the longest running hang gliding competition, is held annually in May on Jockey’s Ridge.

7. Roanoke Island

Sandwiched between the Outer Banks’s Northern Beaches and the Dare mainland, Roanoke Island, at eight miles long and two miles wide, is the site of the first English settlement in the New World and has several attractions to interpret it.

Manteo, its commercial and governmental hub, is a quaint, waterfront town of artists, fishermen, inns, bed-and-breakfasts, cafes, gift shops, galleries, restaurants, boardwalks, and a 53-slip marina on Shallowbag Bay, and its history is reflected by street names such as Queen Elizabeth Avenue and Sir Walter Raleigh Street.

Named after the Croatan chief who returned with the first English explorers in the late-16th century, and incorporated as a town in 1899, it offers several sights of its own. The Magnolia Marketplace, for instance, is an open-air pavilion used for town-sponsored events. The Tranquil House Inn, located on Queen Elizabeth Avenue, resembles a stately, 19th-century Outer Banks seaboard hotel with cyprus woodwork, beveled stained glass, rear porches with bay views, canopy beds, continental breakfast, afternoon wine and cheese, and its own 1587 Restaurant.

Another attraction is the North Carolina Maritime Museum, an outpost of the main one in Beaufort and located in the George Washington Creef boathouse, which overlooks Croatan Sound. Before the fire of 1939, the area was the site of Manteo’s boat building industry and the current structure was built by Creef’s son the following year to repair the shadboats his father had designed and which subsequently became the state’s official vessel.

More a workshop than a museum, it affords the visitor the opportunity to observe the mostly volunteer staff restore and rebuild wooden hulls, although a shadboat itself is on display, along with other memorabilia.

A boardwalk leads to another of the town’s sights, the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse. An exterior reconstruction of the square, cottage-style, screwpile lighthouses that guided ships through the narrow channel between Pamlico and Croatan sounds on the south side of the island in an area called “Roanoke Marshes” from 1877 to 1955, the original was decommissioned that year, but swallowed by water during an attempted relocation.

The current replica, with a fixed, white light, fourth order Fresnel lens, was dedicated in 2004, during which Mayor John Wilson said, “In the years to come, as islanders mingle with visitors along the Manteo waterfront, let us remember that, on this spot, where so many vessels have been built and launched, dreams still light the way… a lighthouse now casts its reassuring beam into the night sky… “

Lighthouse and maritime history photographs and exhibits can be perused inside.

A quick drive down Queen Elizabeth Avenue and over the Cora Mae Bas Bridge leads to Roanoke Island Festival Park, a 25-acre outdoor, living history complex that celebrates the first English settlement in America, with several recreations.

Its American Indian Town, for example, portrays coastal Algonquian culture, which flourished on Roanoke Island and in the surrounding areas for thousands of years until the 1500s, at which time its nomadic hunter lifestyle was transformed into a more sedentary, agriculturally based one.

No written language existed. As a result, first-hand accounts of the English explorers, archaeological remains uncovered within the region, and the oral tradition of storytelling and craft-making provided the foundation for the park’s exhibits.

Under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I, the initial expedition, organized by Sir Walter Raleigh, but undertaken by Captain Arthur Barlowe and scientist Thomas Harriot, arrived on the shores of the New World in 1584, and both recorded their impressions of the land they had hoped to colonize. The small Indian Town reproduction is representative of the type they encountered.

The principle structure in any Algonquian settlement was the “weroance” or “leader’s” house and it was subdivided into an internal perimeter, which was intended for public use and served as the guest welcoming and entertaining area, and the interior rooms, where private functions, such as high level meetings and family activities, occurred.

Several English explorers were greeted by the wife of Granganimeo, the local leader, and then led to the house’s outer perimeter rooms, where they were warmed by a fire while their feet were washed and their clothes were laundered, before being led into an inner room for a feast.

Another typical settlement structure was the longhouse. Supported by sapling poles, whose bark was striped from young trees, it assumed a curved roof in order to reduce its vulnerability to the wind, its poles lashed together with cordage. Its framework was then covered with reeds or bark mats.

Mats or animal skins equally covered the small doorways in order to reduce the loss of heat.

Other houses, outdoor cooking and eating areas, and work shelters surrounded the longhouse, and corn and other staples were typically grown on the grounds.

Settlements standardly supported between 100 and 200 villagers and were vacated when the land on which they were located was no longer cultivable, although a decade between abandonment and re-occupation usually restored its farmability.

Indian life is further illustrated by cocking and food preparation exhibits, dugout canoes, and fishing weirs.

The highlight, perhaps, of Roanoke Island Festival Park is the bay-moored and visitable Elizabeth II ship, crewed, like the rest of its sites, by costumed interpreters.

Built in 1983 at the North Carolina Maritime Museum across the bay, the replica, with a 69-foot overall length and 17-foot width, is a composite of the then-prevalent, three-masted merchant ships. Representing the type originally constructed to transport the second, or 1585, expedition’s colonists after Thomas Cavendish mortgaged his estate to finance it, the vessel, commemorating the 400th-anniversary of the event, employs hand-hewn juniper timbers and locust wood pegs in its keel, frame, and planking. Although the relatively small ship, with a 50-ton displacement and 65-foot main mast, was primarily intended for European trade voyages, it equally crossed the open seas.

Between 1584 and 1590, eight English expeditions, entailing 22 ships and 1,200 soldiers, sailors, and colonists (including 28 women and children) were undertaken.

The complex’s settlement site, which represents the first English military one on American soil, features a sergeant’s tent, a forge and blacksmith shop, a foot- and rope-configured lathe, and a stockade.

Aside from these exhibits, Roanoke Island Festival Park also sports a Visitor Center; a film, “The Legend of Two-Path;” the Roanoke Adventure Museum; and a significant gift shop.

The chronicle of the first English settlers is elaborated upon at another important Roanoke Island attraction, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.

Although Sir Walter Raleigh himself never set foot in the New World, he was granted a charter by Queen Elizabeth I, as already recounted, to launch the first of the three so-called “Roanoke voyages” to America in 1584 to select a site for colonization, establish a camp from which to dispatch raids on Spanish ships, and to seek precious metals, such as gold. It arrived in July.

Upon return to England, it was decided that the island, because of its protected shores, was the optimum location, and its land was very favorably viewed, as expressed by Captain Arthur Barlowe in his report to Sir Walter Raleigh.

“We found it to be a most pleasant and fertile ground,” he wrote, “replenished with goodly cedars and diverse other sweet woods full of currants, of flax, and many notable commodities… The soil is the most plentiful, sweet, fruitful, and wholesome of the whole world.”

A second expedition, dispatched the following year with 108 soldiers, was intended to stake England’s definitive claim.

Toward this more permanent settlement, an earthen fort was constructed on the north side of the island, but a decline in the previously friendly relations with the Native Americans occurred when they began to succumb to English-introduced diseases and the winter, hardly as bountiful in crops and food as the warmer months, caused the colonists to become increasingly dependent upon the Native Americans until relations became strained. The killing of Chief Wingina, the most pivotal event in the history of the fledgling colony, sealed the European’s fate and they were henceforth declared “enemies.”

Promised supply ships, apparently late, prompted their return to England at the first opportunity-and when Sir Francis Drake sailed into Roanoke Island, that opportunity presented itself. Fifteen colonists, however, remained to keep watch over the fort and the land they had already claimed.

Once again crossing the Atlantic on the third expedition in 1587, 117 men, women, and children, intent on establishing a permanent settlement and more representative of the real population, were promised individual plots of land.

Yet, only sailing back to Roanoke Island to re-provision the original 15 before journeying further inland to establish their own village, they found no trace of them.

John White, appointed governor of the new colony, returned to England for what was only intended as a short supply trip, but conflicting events-including a dearth of vessels with which to sail–precluded his re-departure until 1590. That trip, along with subsequent ones in the early 17th century, also failed to locate the lost colonists, who had apparently only left the abandoned fort and a few artifacts behind.

They had, however, been instructed to post notice if they elected to leave the area or if unforeseen events proved detrimental to their safety, and toward this end, the letters “CRO” were carved in a tree and the full word “CROATAN” appeared on a gate post, both referring to the local tribe and perhaps the reason for their disappearance.

Although excavations continue, no definitive reason has ever been found, leaving three hypotheses: they died of natural causes, they were attacked, or they voluntarily left-but to where and by what means has never been determined, if, in fact, this third theory is true.

Part of this story is told by artifacts uncovered during the fort’s excavation and displayed in the Lindsay Warren Visitor Center’s museum, whose highlight is the decorative wood paneling characteristic of an Elizabethan estate that once graced the walls of Heronden Hall in Kent, England, before being purchased by William Randolph Hearst in 1926 for his own castle in San Simeon, California. The National Park Service acquired it during the 1960s. Rooms such as the one in the Visitor Center would have been prevalent in the homes of wealthy men, such as Sir Walter Raleigh himself.

An outdoor trail leads to the foundation of the reconstructed earthen fort. “On this site,” according to the stone marker ahead of it, “in July-August 1585, colonists sent out from England by Sir Walter Raleigh built a fort called by them ‘the new fort in Virginia.’ These colonists were the first settlers of the English race in America. They returned to England in July, 1586, with Sir Francis Drake. Near this place was born, on the 18th of August, 1587, Virginia Dare, the first child of English parents born in America.”

An historical account of the first English settlers, billed as “a true story of adventure, courage, and sacrifice,” which “enriches, educates, and entertains” is entitled “The Lost Colony” and is performed from late-May to late-August at the outdoor Waterside Theatre, on the grounds of Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. Based upon the story written by Pulitzer Prize winning author Paul Green, it was first performed in 1937, but has been running ever since and employs a cast of more than 100 actors, singers, and dancers, who recreate the events that led to the first colonists’ disappearance through royal pageantry, Indian dance, epic battles, Elizabethan music, and elaborate costumes.

Another local attraction is the Elizabethan Gardens, a 10.5-acre botanical garden accessed by brick and sand footpaths and offering more than a thousand varieties of trees, shrubs, and flowers.

“Created to honor the first English colonists who graced these shores,” according to the museum, it explains, “History, mystery, and fantasy are combined in these special gardens created by the Garden Club of North Carolina in 1951 as a living memorial to the first English colonists who came to explore the New World in 1584-1587 and to settle on Roanoke Island.”

According to the sign in front of the Gate House, the garden’s entrance and gift shop, “A performance of ‘The Lost Colony Symphonic Outdoor Drama’ planted the seed in the creative minds that first envisioned this garden.”

There are numerous highlights in this tranquil oasis. The Queen Elizabeth I statue, for instance, is the world’s largest honoring her, while a smaller statue of Virginia Dare is located nearby. Handcrafted bricks, gargoyle benches, seasonal blooms, a marble table, and a stone birdbath accentuate the garden-framed view of Roanoke Sound from the Overlook Terrace. The Colony Walk honors the lost colonists who once walked these very shores and is lined with coastal-tolerant plants. Reeds from Norfolk, England, were used in the thatched roof of the replica of a 16th-century gazebo. The Camellia Collection features more than 125 species of the flower, while an ancient oak tree is believed to have survived from the days when the colonists inhabited the island in 1585.

Another Roanoke Island attraction is the North Carolina Aquarium, one of the three state-run facilities on the coast. Located, specifically, on the banks of Roanoke Sound only a short distance from the Dare County Regional Airport, it depicts the “Waters of the Outer Banks,” its theme.

North Carolina’s coastal plain, as illustrated by its “Coastal Freshwaters” display, provides wildlife with a variety of freshwater habitats. Creeks and rivers flow through marshes, pocosins, and other wetlands on their way to the sounds. The waterways link all of these habitats, allowing wildlife to pass from one to the other.

Albemarle Sound is fed by seven freshwater rivers. In order to survive in the sound itself, plants and animals must be able to adjust to salinity changes, which themselves are created by rains and draughts.

River otters and alligators roam the “Wetlands on the Edge” exhibit, while other displays include those designated “Marine Communities” and “The Open Ocean.”

Focal point of the aquarium is the 285,000-gallon “Graveyard of the Atlantic” saltwater exhibit, which features more than 200 fish and the largest collection of sharks in North Carolina.


Solving The Mysteries Of Our Galaxy's Dark And Secretive Heart


Supermassive black holes are thought to hide in the dark and secretive hearts of every large galaxy in the Universe, and these hungry, hidden beasts can weigh millions to billions of times more than our Star, the Sun. In fact, our starlit, barred-spiral, Milky Way Galaxy harbors its own mysterious supermassive black hole. Our resident beast, lurking in sinister secret in the heart of our Galaxy, is named Sagittarius A * (pronounced Sagittarius- A-Star ) or Sgr A *, for short, and it is a relative light-weight, as far as supermassive black holes go, weighing-in at a “mere” 4 million solar-masses. Sgr A * has kept its many secrets well, but in October 2014, astronomers announced that they may be in the process of solving one of these myriad mysteries: is matter falling into the supermassive beast haunting the dark heart of our Milky Way or is it being ejected from it ? That is the question – and no one knows for sure, but a University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) astrophysicist is searching for an answer.

Dr. Carl Gwinn, a professor in UCSB's Department of Physics, and colleagues, have analyzed images obtained by the Russian spacecraft Radio Their findings are published in the September 30 2014 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

RadioAstron was launched into orbit from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, in July 2011, along with several other scientific missions, one of which was to study the scattering of pulsars by interstellar gas. Pulsars are the very dense cores of dead, massive stars that have perished in the raging, fiery fury of a supernova blast. What the team of astrophysicists discovered led them to study additional observations of Sgr A * –which is visible at radio, infrared and X-ray wavelengths.

Black Hearts

Over the past two decades, astronomers have managed to collect powerful evidence in support of the idea that our Galaxy does indeed host a supermassive black hole, hiding in sinister secret, waiting for its dinner – a doomed star, perhaps, or an unfortunate cloud of gas. Because this mysterious entity lurks relatively close to Earth, it provides valuable information about the weird, and bewildering, way that extreme gravity behaves – and it also sheds light on Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity (1915). Because black holes are so utterly black, astronomers must try to understand their bizarre properties by studying the light that is emitted from the searing-hot, glaring gas immediately circling them.

Despite their name, black holes are far from being empty space. Rather, they form when an extremely large amount of matter is crowded into a very small area! Supermassive black holes are unambiguously some of the most bizarre entities lurking in the Universe. These bewitching and strange objects gain weight by feasting on their surroundings, and they are insatiably hungry, greedily consuming gas, stars, and whatever else wanders in too close to their irresistible gravitational embrace! Black holes also have bad table manners, and are extremely sloppy as they greedily swallow their unfortunate dinners, seeking to bite of more than they can chew. Sgr A * is a calm, sluggish, elderly black hole now, but it was much more active in its voracious and brilliant blazing youth, billions of years ago, when our very ancient Galaxy was young.

Smaller black holes of “only” stellar mass also haunt the Cosmos. These relatively light-weight and comparatively petite gravitational monsters are born from the burned-out wreckage of a very heavy star that has perished in the incandescent violence of a glaringly bright and fiery supernova explosion – that blasted the former star into oblivion. The supernova fireworks signal the tragic end of a massive star's brilliant “life” as a main-sequence (hydrogen-burning) stellar denizen of the Cosmos. After a black hole has formed from the wreckage of what was once its star, it can continue to gain more and more weight by consuming whatever is unlucky enough to travel in too close to its greedy, grasping, snatching claws of merciless, pulling gravity.

Stars and gas swirl around and then down, down, down into the violently whirling vortex of enormous supermassive black holes, and this tumbling feast creates a huge disk, termed an accretion disk. This doomed banquet grows increasingly hotter and hotter, and then sends forth an enormous amount of radiation, as it arrives ever-closer to that hell-like point where it must abandon all hope – entering that infamous point of no return called the event horizon . The event horizon is at the innermost region of the accretion disk.

Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity predicts the existence of black holes, which he postulated to be entities possessing such deep gravitational wells that nothing –not even light – could escape to freedom. Anything unfortunate enough to travel in too close to one of these insatiably hungry black holes is doomed to be devoured. However, the real existence in the Universe of such gravitational monstrosities seemed so bizarre at the time, that even Einstein questioned his own prediction. However, eventually, he came to colorfully characterize them in this way: “Black holes are where God divided by zero”.

Black holes can be defined as a region in Spacetime where the grasp of gravity is so strong that literally nothing can escape from its pull. The incredible lure of gravity is intensely powerful because a large amount of matter has been squeezed into a very tiny space. Crowd enough matter into a small enough space, and you will get a black hole every time!

Most supermassive black holes, such as our Milky Way's own Sgr A *, accrete at a lazy rate, and are difficult to distinguish from the dark hearts of the galaxies in which they dwell. Sgr A * provides a precious and instructive exception to this general rule. This is because astronomers can get a closer view of its comparatively gentle X-ray emission. However, Sgr A * itself does not emit radiation, but is instead visible from the gas that swirls around it. The gas is being acted upon by Sgr A * 's extremely powerful gravitational field. The wavelengths that render Sgr A * visible are scattered by interstellar gas along the line of sight in a way that is comparable to how light is scattered by fog on our own planet.

Our Milky Way's Dark And Secretive Heart

Dr. Gwinn and his team discovered that the pictures taken by RadioAstron showed small spots. “I was quite surprised to find that the effect of scattering produced images with small lumps in the overall smooth image. We call these substructure. Some previous theories had predicted similar effects in the 1980s, and a quite controversial observation in the 1970s had hinted at their presence, “Dr. Gwinn explained in the October 13, 2014 UCSB Press Release.

In order to acquire a better understanding of the mysterious substructure, Dr. Michael Johnson, Dr. Gwinn's former graduate student who is currently at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, conducted theoretical research. He came to the realization that the strange anomalies could be used to determine the true size of the underlying source.

Still more observations were conducted using the Very Long Baseline Array , which is an interferometer made up of 10 identical antennas distributed across the United States. In addition, the 100-meter Green Bank Telescope located in West Virginia revealed the haunting presence of lumps in the image of Sgr A * . More recent upgrades have greatly enhanced the sensitivity of these telescopes but, even so, evidence of the lumps – or substructure – remain very faint.

“The theory and observations allow us to make statements about the interstellar gas responsible for the scattering, and about the emission region around the black hole. It turns out that the size of that emission region is only 20 times the diameter of the event horizon as it would be seen from Earth. With additional observations, we can begin to understand the behavior of this extreme environment, “Dr. Johnson said in the October 13, 2014 UCSB Press Release.

Even though no scientific team has yet been able to produce a complete image of Sgr A * 's emission, astronomers have drawn some inferences pertaining to scattering properties derived from observations conducted at longer wavelengths. “From these they can extrapolate those properties to 1 centimeter and use that to make a rough estimate of the size of the source. We seem to agree quite well with that estimate,” Dr. Gwinn said in the UCSB Press Release.

Dr. Gwinn and his team not only were able to directly confirm these indirect inferences about the size of Sgr A * , they were also able to provide new information regarding fluctuations in the interstellar gas that cause scattering. Their study demonstrates that the spectrum of interstellar turbulence is shallow.

“There are different ways of interpreting observations of the scattering, and we showed that one of them is right and the others are wrong. This will be important for future research on the gas near this black hole. This work is a good example of the synergy between different modern research infrastructures, technologies, and science ideas, “study co-investigator Dr. Yuri Kovalev explained in the UCSB Press Release. Dr. Kovalev is the RadioAstron project scientist.

There is a friendly international race currently going on to see who will be the first to finally image the black hole's emissions and thereby determine whether gas falls into the black hole or is being ejected in the form of a jet.

“The character of the substructure seems to be random, so we are keen to go back and confirm the statistics of our sample with more data. We're also interested in looking at shorter wavelengths where we think the emission region may be smaller and we can get closer to the black hole. We may be able to extract more information than just the size of the emission region. We might possibly be able to make a simple image of how matter falls into a black hole or is ejected from it. would be very exciting to produce such an image, “Dr. Gwinn commented in the UCSB Press Release.


Richard Wright’s Last Literary Efforts and Last Days on Earth in Exile in Paris


Richard Wright moved to Paris in 1946, with his wife and a 4 year old daughter. He met among others Gertrude Stein, Andre Gide Simone de Beavoir, Aime Cesaire and Leopold Senghor. He even assists Senghor, Cesaire and Alioune Diop in founding the Presence Africaine magazine. He returned to the United States only briefly. He then returned to Paris and became a permanent American expatriate befriending existentialists like Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus while going through an Existentialist phase in his second novel, The Outsider (1953) which describes an African American character’s involvement with the Communist Party in New York. Acclaimed as the first American existential novel, he warned that the black man had awakened in a disintegrating society not ready to include him.

Wright travelled through Europe, Asia, and Africa, experiences which led to many non-fiction works like Black Power (1954), a commentary on the emerging nations of Africa.

In 1949, Wright contributed to the anti-communist anthology The God That Failed his essay which had been published in the Atlantic Monthly three years earlier and was derived from the unpublished portion of Black Boy. This led to an invitation to become involved with the Congress for Cultural Freedom, which he rejected, suspecting that it had connections with the CIA which with the FBI, had Wright under surveillance from 1943.

In 1955, he visited Indonesia for the Bandung Conference and recorded his observations on it in his book The Color Curtain: A Report on the Bandung Conference. Wright was optimistic about the immense possibilities posed by this meeting and the resulting alliance between recently-oppressed but now independent nations which became known as non-aligned states..

Other works including White Man, Listen! (1957), and another novel, The Long Dream (1958) as well as a collection of short stories, Eight Men, were published only after his death in 1961.

His works primarily deal with the poverty, anger, and the protests of northern and southern urban black Americans.

Despite overwhelming negative criticism from his agent, Paul Reynolds, of his four-hundred page “Island of Hallucinations” manuscript in February 1959, Wright, in March, outlined this third novel in which Fish was finally to be liberated from his racial conditioning and would become a dominating character.

By May 1959 Wright had developed a desire to leave Paris to live in London for he felt French politics had become increasingly submissive to American pressure, and the peaceful Parisian atmosphere he had once enjoyed had been shattered by quarrels and attacks instigated by enemies of the expatriate black writers.

On June 26, 1959, after a party which marked the French publication of White Man, Listen!, Wright became ill,as a result of a severe attack of amoebic dysentery which he had probably contracted during his stay in Ghana. He was so ill that even when in November 1959 Ellen secured a London apartment, he decided “to abandon any desire to live in England. By this decision he also abridged his protracted hassles with British immigration officials.

On February 19, 1960 Wright learned from Reynolds that the New York premiere of the stage adaptation of The Long Dream received such bad reviews that the adapter, Ketti Frings, had decided to cancel other performances. Meanwhile, Wright was running into additional problems trying to get The Long Dream published in France. These setbacks prevented his finishing revisions of “Island of Hallucinations,” which he needed to get a commitment from Doubleday.

In June 1960 Wright recorded a series of discussions for French radio dealing primarily with his books and literary career but also with the racial situation in the United States and the world, specifically denouncing American policy in Africa.

In late September, to cover extra expenses brought on by his daughter Julia’s move from London to Paris to attend the Sorbonne, Wright wrote blurbs for record jackets for Nicole Barclay, director of the largest record company in Paris.

In spite of his being in financial difficulties Wright refused to compromise his principles. He declined to participate in a series of programs for Canadian radio because he suspected American control over the programs, and he rejected the proposal of the Congress for Cultural Freedom that he goes to India to speak at a conference in memory of Leo Tolstoy for the same reason.

Still interested in literature, Wright offered to help Kyle Onstott get Mandingo (1957) published in France. His last display of explosive energy occurred on November 8, 1960 in his polemical lecture, “The Situation of the Black Artist and Intellectual in the United States,” delivered to students and members of the American Church in Paris. Wright argued that American society reduced the most militant members of the black community to slaves whenever they wanted to question the racial status quo. He offered as proof the subversive attacks of the Communists against Native Son and the quarrels which James Baldwin and other authors sought with him.

On 26 November 1960 Wright talked enthusiastically about Daddy Goodness with Langston Hughes and gave him the manuscript. Since Wright contracted Amoebic dysentery, his health became unstable despite various treatments. His health deteriorated over the next three years until he died in Paris of a heart attack at the age of 52.and was interred there in Le Père Lachaise Cemetery. Claims have been made that he was murdered.

Wright became enchanted with the haiku a Japanese poetry form which wrote over 4,000 of. In 1998 a book was published (“Haiku: This Other World” with 817 of his most preferred ones.

Upon his death, Wright left behind an unfinished book A Father’s Law. which looks at a black policeman and the son he suspects of murder. Clearly influenced by James Joyce’s Ulysses, it presents one day in the life of Jake Jackson a violent man from Chicago, who has not much hope in his mean environment. Wright had finished this manuscript in 1934, titled it Cesspool, after repeatedly being rejected by publishers before Native Son was released. Wright’s daughter, Julia published it in January 2008. His travel writings, edited by Virginia Whatley Smith, had appeared in 2001, published by the Mississippi University Press.

Some of the more candid passages dealing with race, sex, and politics in Wright’s books had been cut or omitted before original publication. But in 1991, unexpurgated versions of Native Son, Black Boy, and his other works were published. In addition, a previously unpublished novella, Rite of Passage, appeared in 1994.

Wright’s books published during the 1950s disappointed some critics, as they felt that his move to Europe had cut him off from his social, emotional and psychological roots.

During the 1970s and 1980s increasing interest is being shown in Richard Wright. with ceaseless flows of critical essays written about his writing in prestigious journals, conferences held on him on university campuses, a new film version of Native Son, with a screenplay by Richard Wesley, released in December 1986 and selected Wright novels becoming required reading in a growing number of international universities and colleges.

Recently critics have called for a reassessment of Wright’s later work in view of his philosophical thrust. Paul Gilroy, for instance has argued that “the depth of his philosophical interests has been either overlooked or misconceived by the almost exclusively literary enquiries that have dominated analysis of his writing. ” His most significant contribution, however, remains his desire to accurately portray blacks to white readers, thereby destroying the white myth of the patient, humorous, subservient black man. While some of his work is weak and unsuccessful especially that completed within the last three years of his life-his best work will continue to attract readers. His three masterpieces Uncle Tom’s Children, Native Son, and Black Boy-are a crowning achievement for him and for American literature.

This prolific accumulation of literary works was well prepared for when as a young man living in Memphis, Tennessee, Wright began an intense reading period in which he became familiar with a wide range of authors, many of them contemporary American authors. Of that period in his life he wrote: Reading was like a drug, a dope. The novels created moods in which I lived for days


Richard Wright Papers at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. (The largest collection of Wright’s papers)

o Richard Wright Small Manuscripts Collection (MUM00488) owned by the University of Mississippi Department of Archives and Special Collections.

o Richard Wright’s Biography at the Mississippi Writers Page

o Richard Wright Collection (MUM00488) owned by the University of Mississippi.

o Richard Wright at the Independent Television Service

o Richard Wright’s Photo & Gravesite

o Summary of Richard Wright’s Novels

o Synopsis of Wright’s Fiction

o Biography of Wright and his later papers

o Reviews of Wright’s Work

o Biography of Wright and his works

o Critical Reception of Wright’s Travel Writings

o Review of The Outsider

Materials in the Fales Collection of the New York University Library

The Firestone Library at Princeton University.

Private papers and letters housed at the Beinecke and at the Schomburg Library in New York City.

John A. Williams, Richard Wright (1969),

Constance Webb, Richard Wright: A Biography (1968). Webb, a friend of Wright’s, had access to his personal papers, and after Wright’s death she spoke at length with Ellen Wright, who made available to Webb all of her husband’s files.

Margaret Walker, Richard Wright: Daemonic Genius (1988)

Michel Fabre, The Unfinished Quest of Richard Wright (1973; rev. ed., 1993), a more literary account of the writer’s life. The 1993 edition of The Unfinished Quest includes an excellent bibliographical essay, but much of Fabre’s biographical material relies on Webb’s book.

Charles T. Davis and Fabre, Richard Wright: A Primary Bibliography (1982);

C.T. Davis and M. Fabre, Richard Wright: A Primary Biography (1982);

Michel Fabre, The World of Richard Wright (1985)

Addison Gayle, Richard Wright: Ordeal of a Native Son (1980), focuses on Wright’s surveillance by the CIA and the FBI during his life.

Robert Bone, Richard Wright (1969);

Keneth Kinnamon, The Emergence of Richard Wright (1972);

ed. by K. Kinnamon Richard Wright (1990)

Kinnamon, ed., New Essays on “Native Son” (1990).

Kinnamon, A Richard Wright Bibliography: Fifty Years of Criticism and Commentary, 1933-1982.

Evelyn Gross Avery, Rebels and Victims: The Fiction of Richard Wright (1979);

Joyce Ann Joyce, Richard Wright’s Art of Tragedy (1986);

Jean Franco Goundard, The Racial Problem in the Works of Richard Wright (1992).

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Kwame Anthony Appiah, eds., Richard Wright: Critical Perspectives Past and Present (1993);

Richard Abcarian, Richard Wright’s “Native Son”: A Critical Handbook (1970);

C. James Trotman, ed., Richard Wright: Myths and Realities (1988);

An obituary in the New York Times, 30 Nov. 1960.

http://www.anb.org/articles/16/16-01806.html; American National Biography Online Feb. 2000. Access Date: Sun Mar 18 12:28:42 2001 Copyright (c) 2000 American Council of Learned Societies. Published by Oxford University Press.

James Baldwin Notes of a Native Son (1955);

David Bakish Richard Wright (1973);

Robert Felgar Richard Wright (1980);

Critical Essays on Richard Wright, ed. by Yashinobu Hakutani (1982);

Richard Wright and Racial Discourse by Yashinobu Hakutani (1996);

Richard Wright by Addison Gayle (1983);

Richard Wright’s Art of Tragedy by J.A. Joyce (1986);

Richard Wright’s Native Son, ed. by H. Bloom (1988);

Richard Wright’s Black Boy, ed. by H. Bloom (1988),

Voice of a Native Son by E. Miller (1990);

‘Richard Wright: Native Son and Novelist’, in Great Black Writers by Steven Otfinoski (1994);

The Critical Response to Richard Wright, ed by Robert J. Butler (1995);

Richard Wright: The Life and Times by Hazel Rowley (2001)

William Burrison “Another Look at Lawd Today,” CLA Journal 29 (June 1986): 424-41).


Van Rentals For Your Roadtrip


Disney World is the most magical place on earth for a reason. Located outside Orlando, in the heart of Florida, the different theme parks that comprise Disney World make it a great place to visit for kids and adults alike. If you're taking a vacation car rental, you may as well make it into the trip of a lifetime and see some of the scenic spots along the way.

If you're heading from New England in a 15 passenger van rental or a economy car rental you may be tempted to stop in one or more of the major American cities along the Eastern seaboard. New York you could spend a week or more visiting and seeing the sights, but for a viable road trip to Florida, think about an afternoon instead. Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC and even Charleston are all beautiful American cities rich with history and full of good restaurants for when you need a pit stop or a place to spend the night.

If you prefer the more natural route, wind your way through the ancient Appalachians. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a serpentine trail that winds from Shenandoah National Park in Southern Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This trip is especially gorgeous if you're driving during the fall. Along the way stop at the Biltmore Estate. Built by George Washington Vanderbilt II, it's the largest privately owned residence in the US at over 175,000 square feet!

Historic National Road is another great route to take. Slightly farther north (in Maryland) this old road was once a gateway to the west for intrepid settlers. Today you can see the old toll houses, antique shops and rail stations and learn all about them.

Or you can cruise along US 1. While up north this stretch of highway has its fair share of seedy motels, neon signs, and dirty dives, it is one of the more interesting ways to travel through Florida. There are plenty of boutiques and cafes in the small towns along the coast. And further South, you can head to Miami before or after you reach Disney World. The nightlife, Cuban food and art deco architecture make it one of the great American cities worth visiting.

And once you get to Disney World and have the time of your life, you can choose the route you didn't take for the way back. The Eastern United States has a lot to see, so soak it all up while in your vacation car rental. And if you don't see it all this year, there's always next!


The Commuter Airlines of Long Island MacArthur Airport



Although commuter airline operations, conducted by a variety of almost-exclusively turboprop aircraft that accommodated between 19 and 50 passengers,augmented Long Island MacArthur Airport’s six-and-a-half decade scheduled service history, they were integral to its development as a regional airfield, providing both origin-and-destination and connecting, major-carrier aligned, two-letter code share links to many northeast cities with equipment optimized for sector length, demand, capacity, frequency, and cost.

These services can be subdivided into “Initial Service,” “Area-Airport Shuttles,” “Northeast Commuter Service,” “Code-Share Hub Feed,” and “Last Commuter Carrier Operation” categories.

Initial Service:

Initial, scheduled service, inaugurated shortly after the airport’s 5,000-square-foot, rectangular-shaped terminal was completed, entailed a tri-city route system, connecting Long Island with Boston, Newark, and Washington, and operated in 1959 by Gateway Airlines with de Havilland DH.104 Dove and DH.114 Heron aircraft.

The former, a conventional low-wing monoplane with a 57-foot span and two de Havilland Gipsy Queen 70 Mk 3 six-cylinder, air-cooled, in-line piston engines rated at 400 hp, was designed to meet the Brabazon Committee’s Type VB specifications for a post-war mini- or commuter-airliners, but nevertheless incorporated several “large aircraft” advancements, including all-metal Redux bonding construction, geared and supercharged powerplants, braking propellers, power operated trailing edge flaps, and a tricycle undercarriage configuration.

Resembling it, its DH.114 Heron successor, seating between 14 and 17 in an 8.6-foot longer cabin, was powered by four 250-hp Gipsy Queen 30 Mk 2 piston engines and had a 13,500-pound gross weight, whose lift was facilitated by a 71.6-foot wingspan. It first flew in prototype form on May 10, 1950.

Inauspicious and short-lived, the Gateway Airlines flights, only lasting eight months, nevertheless served as the aerial threshold to Long Island MacArthur’s future northeast commuter operations.

Area-Airport Shuttles:

While Gateway’s Newark service paved the way to other, similar area-airport shuttles, it demonstrated that if Long Island MacArthur could not offer further-afield service on its own, it could provide quick-hop connections to other, more established New York airports that could.

One such attempt, although a little longer in duration, occurred between 1979 and 1980 with Nitlyn Airways, whose Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftains tried to feed TWA’s flights at JFK.

Intended as a successor to the company’s PA-23-250 twin piston private and executive Aztec, the Navajo had a 34.6-foot length and 40.8-foot span. Powered by two 425-hp Lycoming TIGO-541-E1A six-cylinder, horizontally opposed engines, it had a 7,800-pound gross weight and 1,285-mile range, and could be configured with various standard, commuter, and business seating arrangements for up to eight, who boarded by means of an aft, left air stair door.

Much later in MacArthur’s history, another carrier, enjoying greater longevity and success, linked the Long Island airfield with Newark International Airport. In this case, the airline was Brit, which operated under a Continental Express code-share agreement for the purpose of feeding Continental’s mainline flights and the equipment encompassed the very modern ATR-42-300.

This design, which has yet to be usurped by a more advanced turboprop in 2020, remains one of the two premier regional airliners.

Following the latest intra-European cooperation trend, the French Aerospatiale and Italian Aeritalia aerospace firms elected to collaborate on a regional airliner that combined design elements of their respective, once-independent AS-35 and AIT-230 proposals.

Redesignated ATR-42-the letters representing the French “Avions de Transport Regional” and “Aerei di Trasporto Regionale” and the number reflecting the average seating capacity-the high-wing, twin-turboprop, not-quite-t-tail with its main undercarriage bogies retracting into fuselage underside blisters, was powered by two 1,800-shp Pratt and Whitney Canada PW120 engines when it first flew as the ATR-42-200 on August 16, 1984. The production version, the ATR-42-300, featured uprated, 2,000-shp powerplants.

Of modern airliner design, it accommodated up to 49 four-abreast passengers with a central aisle, overhead storage compartments, a flat ceiling, a galley, and a lavatory.

Granted its French and Italian airworthiness certificate in September of 1985 after final assembly in Toulouse, France, it entered scheduled service four months later on December 9 with Air Littoral. With a 37,300-pound maximum takeoff weight, it had a 265-knot maximum speed at a 25,000-foot service ceiling.

Northeast Commuter Service:

Although Gateway Airlines was the first to provide northeast commuter service from the then-fledgling airport in Islip, many carriers followed in the ensuing decades-this time from the new oval passenger terminal that replaced the original rectangular one.

One of the early ones was Pilgrim Airlines, which operated two nonstops to Albany, one to Groton/New London, two to New Haven, and a single frequency to Washington-National, principally with de Havilland of Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft.

Incorporating the rugged simplicity of its predecessor, the single-engine DHC-3 Otter, designed for remote, unprepared field operations often in the bush, it retained its basic high wing configuration and many of its wing and fuselage components, but introduced double the number of powerplants. Featuring a greater, 51.9-foot overall length to facilitate the installation of up to 20 seats divided by an aisle, a 65-foot span with double-slotted trailing edge flaps, and a redesigned nose and tail, it still employed the Otter’s fixed, tricycle undercarriage and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capability.

Powered by two 652-shp Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6A-27 engines, it first flew on May 20, 1965. Its three versions included the DHC-6-200 with a longer nose for increased baggage space, and the DHC-6-300, which had a 210-mph maximum speed and 12,500-pound gross weight.

Other than the Fokker F.27 Friendship, the DHC-6 Twin Otter became Pilgrim’s workhorse, making the 20-minute hop across Long Island Sound from Islip to New Haven. On the December 1, 1985 cover of its system timetable, it advertised, “New nonstops to Washington and New Haven.”

Connecticut competition from NewAir, which was originally designated New Haven Airways, offered identical service. Based at Tweed New Haven Airport, it advertised itself as “Connecticut’s Airline Connection,” but utilized low-wing, equally-sized Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante commuter aircraft.

Named after the Brazilians who explored and colonized the western portion of the country in the 17th century, the conventional design, with two three-bladed turboprops and a retractable tricycle undercarriage, accommodated between 15 and 18 passengers. It was the first South American commercial aircraft to have been ordered by European and US carriers.

Originally sporting circular passenger windows and powered by PT6A-20 engines, it entailed a three-prototype certification program, each aircraft respectively first taking to the air on October 28, 1968, October 19, 1969, and June 26, 1970. Although initially designated the C-95 when launch-ordered by the Brazilian Air Force (for 60 of the type), the EMB-110 was certified two years later on August 9.

Powered by PT6A-27 engines, production aircraft featured square passenger windows, a 50.3-foot wingspan, a forward, left air stair door, and redesigned nacelles so that the main undercarriage units could be fully enclosed in the retracted position.

Designated EMB-110C and accommodating 15, the type entered scheduled service with Transbrasil on April 16, 1973 and it was integral in filling its and VASP’s feederline needs.

Six rows of three-abreast seats with an offset aisle and 12,345-pound gross weights characterized the third level/commuter EMB-110P version, while the longer fuselage EMB-110P2, first ordered by French commuter carrier Air Littoral, was powered by uprated, 750-shp PT6A-34s and offered seating for 21.

According to NewAir’s September 1, 1983 timetable, it served the eight destinations of Baltimore, Islip, New Haven, New London, Newark, New York-La Guardia, Philadelphia, and Washington-National. From Long Island MacArthur itself, it offered two daily departures to Baltimore, two to New Haven, and one to New London.

Air service was also offered to neighboring state Rhode Island by Newport State Airport based National Air. “All flights are operated with 22-passenger CASA C-212-200 aircraft, providing National Air’s passengers with widebody, stand-up headroom comfort,” it advertized. “In-flight service (beverage only) is provided on all flights by courteous flight attendants.”

Designed by Construcciones Aeronautics SA (CASA) as a multi-role transport for the Spanish Air Force, the high-wing, dual-engine, fixed tricycle undercarriage design sported porthole-shaped passenger windows, a dorsal fin, and a rear loading ramp that led to the uninterrupted, box-shaped cabin. Its civil application was nevertheless considered from design inception.

Intended as a replacement for the Spanish Air Force’s now antiquated Junkers Ju.52/3ms, Douglas DC-3s, and CASA 207 Azors, it was powered by two 776-shp Garrett AiResearch TPE331 turboprops. Two prototypes, first flying on March 26 and October 23 of 1971, preceded the first production example, which took to the sky a year later on November 17.

In military guise, it was operated as a paratrooper, an air ambulance, a freighter, a crew trainer, and a photo surveyor, while its commercial counterpart, the C-212C, accommodated 19 passengers.

The C-212-200, with a 44.9-foot overall length, 62.4-foot wingspan, 900-shp Garrett AiResearch TPE331-10-501C engines, a 219-mph cruise speed, a 28,000-foot service ceiling, and a 16,093-pound gross weight, had a 470-mile range with its maximum fuel.

By the end of 1981, 292 civil and military Aviocars had been in operation in 27 countries.

From Islip, National Air operated three daily departures to Newport to the east with continuing service to Providence and Boston and three to New York-JFK in the west. Philadelphia was the only other destination in its minuscule route system at this time. Passenger check-in, like that of NewAir, took place at the Pilgrim Airlines ticket counter.

Another New England-served state from Islip was Vermont by appropriately named Air Vermont.

Based in Morrisville and established in 1981, it served 13 northeast cities,according to its October 1, 1983 timetable: Albany, Berlin (New Hampshire), Boston, Burlington, Hartford, Long Island, Nantucket, Newport (Vermont), New York-JFK, Portland, Washington-National, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and Worcester. It also used the now-crowded Pilgrim Airlines facilities.

Its fleet consisted of Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftains and Beech C99s.

The latter, perhaps its “flagship,” was a development of the Queen Air business/executive aircraft, whose capacity was insufficient for commuter routes. Subjected to a fuselage stretch in 1965, which gave it a new, 44.7-foot overall length, it was now able to accommodate 15 passengers arranged in single seats on either side of a central aisle. It featured an aft, left air stair door.

Powered by two 715-shp Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6A-27 engines, yet resembling its Queen Air predecessor with its low wing, conventional tail, and retractable tricycle undercarriage, it received its FAA type approval on May 2, 1968. With a 10,900-pound gross weight and 283-mph maximum cruise speed, it had between a 530- and 838-mile range, depending upon payload-to-fuel ratios.

Commuter Airlines of Chicago inaugurated it into service. Although 164 B99s and B99As were produced, the C99, with a 44-cubic-foot eternal, under-fuselage pannier, provided a needed addition to the otherwise standard forward and aft baggage compartments. The latter, which marked the resumption of the type’s production in 1979, had uprated, 715-shp PT6A-36 engines and a 285-knot maximum speed at 8,000 feet. It first flew on June 20 of the following year.

National Air offered three daily nonstops to Newport with the aircraft departing at 0935, 1345, and 1850. All continued on to Albany and Burlington.

There were several other commuter carriers, which, like actors, both periodically and temporarily appeared on the MacArthur stage to collect passengers and transport them to northeastern destinations with an eye toward making a profit. Many did not.

Albany-based Mall Airways, for instance, in existence between 1973 and 1989, served 18 destinations in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia, along with operating trans-border sectors to Ontario and Quebec in Canada, although hardly all from Islip. A heavy New York state route concentration had it touch down in Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Elmira, Islip, Ithaca, New York-La Guardia, Rochester, Syracuse, and White Plains with a fleet of Piper Navajo Chieftains, Beech King Air 90s, B99s, and B1900Cs.

The latter, a stretched version of the Super King Air (which in high-density commuter configuration could carry 13), retained the same low wing mounting and t-tail, but its longer, 25.3-foot cabin, with a 425 cubic-foot volume, accommodated 19 with a central aisle. Intended for multiple-stop commuter routes, it was powered by two wing-mounted Pratt and Whitney Canada 1,100-shp PT6A-65B engines and could operate from grass and unprepared fields. First flying on September 3, 1982, it was certified the following year on November 22.

The more capacious B1900D, only the second 19-seater to offer standup headroom after the British Aerospace Jetstream 31, introduced a higher ceiling, greater internal volume, more powerful engines, modified propellers, winglets, a larger tail, and an electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) cockpit.

Another New York State-based, Long Island MacArthur operator, reflected by its very name, was Empire Airlines and it flew, at least initially, B1900C-resembling equipment-in this case, the Swearingen Metro.

Founded in 1976 by Paul Quackenbush, it inaugurated service from Utica/Rome’s Oneida Country Airport, often to small cities that had been abandoned by Allegheny Airlines, and eventually touched down in the ten states of Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia, and the two Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

Mirroring the now Allegheny absorbed route system of Mohawk Airlines, the “Empire State” carrier served Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Elmira, Islip, Ithaca, New York-JFK, New York-La Guardia, Niagara Falls, Rochester, Syracuse, White Plains, and Utica/Roma.

Although it operated 13 Fokker F.28-4000 Fellowship pure-jets between 1980 and 1986, six Metro IIs formed the backbone of its earlier turboprop fleet.

Itself a stretch of the six- to eight-passenger Swearingen Merlin IIIA executive aircraft, it introduced a longer fuselage, increasing its length to 59.4 feet from the Merlin’s 42.2 for accommodation of up to 22, but retained its engines, wing, and tail surfaces. Designed by Ed Swearingen for commuter operations, it first flew on June 11, 1970, designated SA-226TC.

Swearingen itself became a subsidiary of Fairchild Industries in November of 1971, resulting in the type’s San Antonio, Texas, final assembly.

Air Wisconsin became the first major customer.

The upgraded Metro II, powered by 940-shp Garrett AiResearch TPE331-3U-303G engines and introduced in 1971, replaced the original oval passenger windows with square ones, had a 43.3-foot wingspan, a 12,500-pound gross weight, and could cruise at 294 mph.

Empire operated three daily Metro flights to its Syracuse hub, departing at 0905, 1525, and 1830 and facilitating connections to Albany, Binghamton, Elmira, Ithaca, Montreal, Rochester, and Utica/Rome. According to its April 1, 1985 system timetable, “Flights 1 through 99 are operated with 85-passenger Fokker F.28 jets. Flights 100 through 999 are operated with 19-passenger Swearingen Metro II jetprops.”

After Empire was acquired by Piedmont Airlines in 1985, its Syracuse hub joined Piedmont’s own-that is, those in Baltimore, Charlotte, and Dayton.

Northeast carriers often made their imprints on the Long Island air field, fleeting though they were. Late to the scene, Windsor Locks, Connecticut-based Shuttle America, a low-fare, de Havilland of Canada DHC-8-300 operator, inaugurated service between Hartford and Buffalo, but soon touched down in Albany, Boston (in Hanscom Field), Greensboro, Islip (as of November 13, 1998), New York-La Guardia, Norfolk, Trenton, and Wilmington with its half-dozen aircraft.

Boston became the battleground for several independent commuter airlines. One of the largest carriers to connect Long Island with it was Ransome Airlines.

Founded by J. Dawson Ransome in 1967 and based at Northeast Philadelphia Airport, it commenced service that March with 11-passenger Beechcraft 18s, progressively expanding into a significantly sized regional carrier with a northeast route system. It operated both independently and aligned with major airlines for two-letter code-share feed, specifically as Allegheny Commuter, the Delta Connection, and finally Pan Am Express. It operated for 28 years.

Two aircraft were integral to its expansion.

The first of these was the Nord 262. Initially envisioned as a development of the dual-engine MH-260 Broussard, which had first flown on July 29, 1960 and which subsequently became the responsibility of state-owned Nord Aviation, it was modified with a pressurized, circular fuselage to permit three-abreast seating for 24, first flying in prototype form as the redesignated Nord 262 two years later on December 24, then powered by two 1,080-shp Bastan VIB2 turboprops. Three pre-production and a single production example, visibly distinguishable by its dorsal fin, ultimately partook of the flight test program.

Sporting a 63.3-foot length, a 71-foot span of its high wing, and a retractable tricycle undercarriage, it had a 23,370-pound gross weight and could cruise at up to 233 mph.

Lake Central Airlines, US launch customer with an order for 12, inaugurated the type into service in May of 1965, and the aircraft was transferred to Allegheny three years later upon Lake Central’s acquisition. They were subsequently operated by the Allegheny Commuter consortium.

Because its French powerplants hindered further US sales, it was retrofitted with five-bladed, 1,180-shp Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6A-45As and updated systems, and redesignated the Mohawk M-298 to reflect the FAR 298 airworthiness regulations that governed its operation.

First flying on January 7, 1975, it entered service two years later with Allegheny Commuter, of which Ransome was a member.

The other major type in its fleet, perhaps then considered the “granddaddy” of the early commuter turboprops, was the de Havilland of Canada DHC-7.

Resembling, in overall configuration, the DHC-6 Twin Otter, it featured an 80.8-foot overall length; a high, straight wing with a 93-foot span; four 1,120-shp PT6A-50 turboprop engines; a sizeable dorsal fin; a t-tail; a retractable tricycle undercarriage; and accommodation of 54 four-abreast passengers in a wide-look cabin with a galley and a lavatory.

Intended for short takeoff and landing operations from fields as short as 2,000 feet-and, in fact, was able to operate from the runway stubs at Washington National Airport without requiring a specific landing slot-it generated high lift by means of the five-bladed, slow-turning propellers, that bathed the airfoils’ upper surface and eliminated the need for leading edge devices. Aside from reducing external and internal cabin noise levels, it facilitated steep, controlled approaches.

Construction of two prototypes, preceded by Canadian government financial backing, commenced in 1972, and they first flew three years later on March 27 and June 26. The first production version, intended for launch customer Rocky Mountain airways, first took to the sky on May 30, 1977.

With an 11,350-pound payload and a 44,000-pound maximum takeoff weight, it had ranges between 840 and 1,335 miles, the latter with its full fuel uplift.

Ransome came as close as any other airline to establishing a mini-commuter carrier hub at Long Island MacArthur Airport with 23 daily M-298 and DHC-7-100 weekday nonstops, including three to Baltimore, six to Boston, two to Hartford, one to Newark, six to Philadelphia, and five to Providence.

In its October 31, 1982 system timetable, it proclaimed, “Rely on Ransome Airlines, American’s most experienced regional airline.”

Another, albeit much smaller, commuter carrier that provided Boston service was Precision Airlines. Based at Springfield State Airport in Springfield, Vermont, it operated Dornier Do-228-200s.

Very loosely based upon the Do-28D-2 Skyservant, a 12-passenger utility airplane, it equally sported a high-mounted “TNT Tragfluegels neuer Technologie” or “new technology wing,” consisting of a Dornier A-5 airfoil section with swept tips.

Powered by two 715-shp Garrett AiResearch TPE331-5 engines, it had a 54.3-foot length and a 55.7-foot span. Retracting its undercarriage main bogies into under-fuselage fairings, it had a 12,570-pound gross weight, 268-mph maximum cruising speed at 10,000 feet, and 715-mile, full-payload range.

Its two versions, the 15-passenger Do-228-100 and the 19-passenger Do-228-200, respectively first flew on March 28 and May 9, 1981.

According to Precision’s November 15, 1983 timetable, it offered three daily nonstops to Philadelphia and three to Boston from Islip, the latter continuing to Manchester, New Hampshire.

Another Boston service provider was Business Express Airlines.

Founded in 1982 as Atlantic Air, but stressing its business-oriented route system in its subsequently changed name, it expanded by acquiring some of the carriers that had independently served Islip, including Pilgrim Airlines in 1986 (which itself had already taken over NewAir); Mall Airways in 1989, which gave it access to the Canadian cities of Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa; and Brockway Air, also in 1989, which provisioned it with a fleet of B1900Cs and Saab 340s. The latter became its MacArthur (and northeast) workhorse.

As the first collaborative US-European design, it was jointly produced by Fairchild Corporation’s Swearingen subsidiary, which already had commuter airliner experience, and Swedish manufacturer Saab AB, which did not, traditionally having focused on the military sector, such as with its JAS-39 Gripen mufti-role combat design.

Turning its attention to a commercial application for the first time, Saab began design studies for a 30-passenger commuter turboprop. Because of the scope of the project, which would have been the largest industrial venture in Sweden, it sought a risk sharing partner, which, in the event, appeared as Fairchild. It would produce the wings, engine nacelles, and tail, while Saab itself would manufacture the fuselage and fin, and assume 75 percent of the program’s development, systems integration, and certification aspects.

Designated SF-340 (for “Saab-Fairchild”), the resultant aircraft, an aerodynamically clean, low-wing monoplane with a high aspect ratio airfoil and large-span single-slotted flaps, two 1,870-shp General Electric CT79B engines, and a retractable tricycle undercarriage, accommodated 34 passengers at a 30-inch seat pitch with an offset aisle, enclosed overhead storage compartments, a galley, a lavatory, and a forward, left air stair.

Featuring a 64.9-foot length and a 70.4-foot span, the aircraft had a 7,500-pound payload and 29,000-pound maximum takeoff weight capability. Typical initial block hour fuel consumption was 1,015 pounds out of the 5,690-pound total.

Redesignated Saab 340 after Fairchild withdrew from the program, with 40 airframes having been built, Saab became the sole manufacturer of it.

The Saab 340B, succeeding the basic 340A, introduced more powerful engines, an increased horizontal stabilizer span, higher weights, and greater range. The 340B Plus offered active noise and vibration control.

Business Express flew 23 S-340As and 20 S-340Bs. After the carrier was purchased by AMR Eagle Holding Corporation and became American Eagle on December 1, 2000, it continued to operate its half-dozen nonstops from Islip to Boston in the new carrier’s livery, although it ceased to independently exist itself.

As perhaps a smaller reflection of Business Express, CommutAir also offered Long Island-Boston service. Founded in 1989 and eventually serving 22 northeast destinations with 30 19-passenger B1900Ds, it dispatched three weekday departures to Boston, with the balance of its eight flights calling at Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse.

Having operated as a US Airways Express and Continental Connection carrier, it surrendered its Boston frequencies to Colgan Air in time.

Code-Share Hub Feed Service:

Although several airlines inaugurated Islip service as independent operators, such as Ransome, Precision, Business Express, and CommutAir, they ultimately continued under two-letter code share agreements with major airlines from the Delta Connection to Northwest Airlink. Some inceptionally operated in this guise.

One of them was the Allegheny Commmuter consortium. “USAir and Allegheny Commuter-a great team to go with,” the carrier proclaimed in its advertising. “Service to over 120 cities in the US and Canada. All flights C500 through C1999 (listed in its system timetable) are approved by the Civil Aeronautics Board. These flights are operated with Beech 99, de Havilland Twin Otter, de Havilland Dash 7, Nord 262, M-298, Shorts 330, CASA-212, and Swearingen Metro equipment.”

Aside from Ransome, Suburban Airlines was a significant member of the consortium, initially operating Shorts 330 and later Shorts 360 aircraft.

Based upon the early-1960’s Skyvan, the former can trace some of its design elements to it. Characterized by a box-section fuselage for straight-in rear loading, a stubby, high-mounted wing, twin vertical tails, and a fixed tricycle undercarriage, it could carry up to 19 passengers or 4,000 pounds of cargo.

While the longer, sleeker Shorts 330 retained the Skyvan’s outer wing panels, it introduced a new center section, five-bladed PT6A-45 engines that replaced the previous Garrett AiResearch ones, a retractable landing gear, and a 30-seat, three-abreast interior with enclosed overhead storage compartments.

Launched after receiving UK government funding, the initially designated SD3-30 first flew on August 22, 1974 and was ordered by launch customer Command Airways in the US and Time Air in Canada.

The series 200, succeeding the 100, offered a 22,900-pound gross weight attained with more powerful, 1,020-shp PT6A-45R powerplants.

The Shorts 360, the ultimate development of the Skyvan and 330 lineage, had a three-foot forward fuselage plug, increasing its length from 58 to 70.6 feet, a tapered aft section with revised contours, a single vertical tail, enhanced cruise performance, and the addition of two seat rows, increasing capacity from 30 to 36.

First flying on June 1, 1981, it had a 25,700-pound gross weight and 243-mph high-speed cruise capability at 10,000 feet. Suburban Airlines was the launch customer.

Its ten-point route system encompassed Allentown, Binghamton, Buffalo, Lancaster, Long Island, New London/Groton, Newark, New York-JFK, Philadelphia, and Reading. In-flight service consisted of miniature trays of cheddar cheese spread, breadsticks, chips, and a beverage selection from the cart.

Its November 1, 1985 timetable listed four weekday nonstops to Boston and five to Philadelphia from Islip.

Another early-if not the first-commuter-main carrier cooperation was that between Henson and Allegheny Commuter.

Formed in 1961 by Richard A. Henson as Henson Aviation, a fixed base operator in Hagerstown, Maryland, it inaugurated a scheduled route to Washington the following year under the “Hagerstown Commuter” name. Inaugurating two-letter code share service as an Allegheny Commuter carrier five years later, it operated 15-passenger Beech 99s.

Headquartered in Salisbury, Maryland, in 1968, it maintained a tri-point route system, encompassing Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington and introduced cabin attendant service with the acquisition of Shorts 330 aircraft, succeeding it with de Havilland of Canada DHC-8-100s.

Resembling its DHC-7 predecessor, but sporting two instead of four powerplants, the 37-passenger Dash 8 was powered by 1,800-shp PW120s and their elongated nacelles provided stowage for the aircraft’s rearward retracting main undercarriage struts. With a 73-foot length and an 84.11-foot wingspan, whose center section was rectangular, but whose outboard sections featured taper and dihedral, it had a 34,500-pound gross weight and 310-mph speed.

Registered C-GDNK, it first flew in prototype form on June 20, 1983 and was delivered to launch customer NorOntair on October 23 of the following year.

Before operating its own DHC-8-100s, Henson, which had been rebranded “Henson, The Piedmont Regional Airline” after Piedmont’s agreement with it, fielded two daily B99s (flights 1710 and 1719) and three daily Shorts 330s (flights 1502, 1528, and 1539) to Piedmont’s Baltimore hub, with connections to Charlottesville, Hagerstown, Newport News, Norfolk, Ocean City, Richmond, Roanoke, Salisbury, Shenandoah Valley, and Washington-National, according to its January 15, 1984 timetable.

Another major carrier-aligned regional, operating aircraft in its major’s livery, using its two-letter code, and partaking of a joint marketing agreement for the purposes of hub feed, was Atlantic Coast, which assumed the profile of United Express.

The agreement, concluded on December 15, 1989, ensured secondary city funneling into United’s Chicago-O’Hare and Washington-Dulles hubs with several commuter aircraft-the Jetstream 31, the Jetstream 41, the DHC-8, and the EMB-120 among them. It was the latter type that it operated into Islip.

Building upon the foundation created by the EMB-110 Bandeirante, the EMB-120, a low-wing, circular-fuselage, t-tail design optimized for 30 three-abreast passengers, was hatched from Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S. A.’s Sao Jose dos Campos facility in Sao Paulo. Powered by two 1,800-shp Pratt and Whitney Canada PW118 or -118A engines, it had a maximum, 298-knot speed and a 30,000-foot service ceiling.

Ideal for commuter sectors, it attracted considerable US sales, including 62 from ASA Atlantic Southeast Airlines, 40 from Comair, 70 from SkyWest, 35 from WestAir, and 34 from Texas Air.

Atlantic Coast’s October 31, 1990 timetable stated, “The following carrier has a cooperative agreement with United, offering expanded destinations, coordinated schedules, and the same travel service featured on United. Applicable carrier and United flight range: Atlantic Coast/United Express: Flight numbers UA3570-UA3739.”

Its four daily flights to Washington-Dulles departed at 0645, 1200, 1450, and 1800.

Although not offering much major carrier feed, another code share operator from Long Island MacArthur was Metro Air Northeast, which assumed the identify of TWExpress, dispatching five daily nonstops with Saab 340 aircraft at 0630, 0915, 1250, 1605, and 1825 to Albany with “7000” flight numbers. The first departure, for instance, was TW 7941.

Its December 1, 1990 timetable advertised, “The shortest distance between you and TWA” and “Your commuter connection to TWA.”

Last Commuter Carrier Operation:

Change, the result of market conditions, was the only constant. But as fuel and operational costs increased, the number of daily commuter flights and the mostly northeast cities they served decreased. Consequently, as the airline players disappeared, so, too, did the passengers.

Like a ghost town of commuter operations whose only propeller sounds were those in the minds of the passengers who remembered them, Long Island MacArthur Airport became the stage for a final attempt at restoring them in the guise of Alaska-based PenAir.

Taking advantage of the FAA’s Air Carrier Incentive Plan, which entailed reduced fees to entice new entrants to begin flights in underserved markets, it replaced the Boston service vacated by American Eagle in 2008 by inaugurating two daily Saab 340 departures, at 0840 and 1910, with one-way, $119 introductory fares, citing Islip a logical extension to its three-point route system of Bar Harbor, Presque Isle, and Plattsburgh. Yet logic did not always equal profitability and after a valiant year’s effort, the carrier was left without choice but to discontinue the service due to low load factors.

After the multitude of commuter airlines had opened the passenger floodgates at Long Island MacArthur Airport during a more than five-decade period, PenAir closed them. At the dawn of 2020, there was not a single propeller providing scheduled service to be heard.


Learn How the Ostrich Behaves


Ostriches are a type of bird that are considered to be flightless. The only other common flightless bird is the penguin. However, unlike penguins they are some of the tallest birds in existence and what they lack in wingspan they make up for in running speed. Their extremely long legs allow them to run up to 45 mph and to keep this pace for more then 30 minutes.

Most species of the ostrich will pair up during the winter months or spend it alone. About 16% of people who have spotted these animals saw them with larger groups. During the season were they breed the animals will together in nomadic groups that can hold anywhere between 5 to 50 of them at one time. They are led by the top hen and will travel along with zebras or antelopes.

These animals have been classified as diurnal – but it is possible to see a few of them being more active during the nighttime hours. Their eyesight is very acute and allows them to see their prey from a far distance and give them time to get away in time. They will get away from their predator by running away or lying down on the ground.

When they lay down the will drop their whole bodies to the floor and lay their necks down flat on the ground. This helps them to impersonate a mound of earth from a far distance. Because of this people created the myth of ostriches pushing their heads into the ground when they are scared.

A few years back people began farming these animals in the United States. These farms would sell meat to consumers and use them to create ostrich leather products. Unfortunately these farms were not able to stay open because of how expensive these products were.


Hierosonic Band Interview


Every so often, we come across a band that sets itself apart from the rest of the music scene. Whether intentional or not (and we think it is), Hierosonic is one of those bands. Formed in 2003 and hailing from Harrisburg, the members of Hierosonic have certainly proven themselves. While many others seem to be following a trend or desperately trying to stay away from trends, Hierosonic creates music that is entirely its own and at the same time not contrived.

I caught up with the band in mid-April at Gullifty's in Camp Hill, as they managed to gather quite a crowd for themselves on a Wednesday night.

The band explains how its sound has evolved:

H: We didn't set out to sound the way that we sound now. I think we did try to make sure it wasn't entirely “typical.” We had no real direction, but we knew what we liked. I think we just have a lot of different influences and each member has stayed true to their influences and their roots, and just kind of luckily meshed. Sometimes people come from different types of sounds and you end up with a mess. It's worked, so we're pleased.

Their approach is certainly working with music fans all over. The energy at a Hierosonic show is electrified, with every eye in the venue on the band. The band is simply captivating, and the fans are obviously not the only ones to think so. “Pornos and Razorblades” (released Fall 2005) featured Amanda from the Dresden Dolls singing vocals on one track, and Hierosonic were recently invited to perform at HUMANWINE's final date of their US tour.

Following their very successful first album was the limited edition “Circuits & Wires” EP that was available only to the people attending the release show in February. The band put on an incredible performance to hundreds that night, and as members of the crowd, we knew what the audience was feeling. I asked the band what their experience was like during that show.

H: We had a blast that night. First and foremost, we make sure that we have fun with what we do. Otherwise, it's kind of pointless. It's always a blast, no matter how many people show up or what kind of venue we play in. It's always fun. It's always a relief too, to see how much we're enjoying ourselves and everyone else is too. When you work so hard, not only promoting but just writing songs, and all the hard work behind it that people don't see, to know that they come out and can enjoy what you're doing. It's flattering. It's kind of funny how it goes from a song being an idea in your head and it evolves and all five members of the band work on it, and it gets put onto the CD, and all of a sudden you're playing it in front of like hundreds of people and they dig it. It's like when they respond it, that's just like the most fascinating part of any show that we play. Especially with the CD release show when we're putting out new material and people are eating it up, because to us, we remember how it started in our rooms, like being wrapped up in a blanket and drinking orange juice or something. You know, something really simple like that, and then it turns into something that a mass of people are listening to.

WOM: We thought it was cool how a lot of people were singing along, and you couldn't buy the songs yet.

H: Yeah. That surprised us, too, to tell you the truth. That always surprises us. I mean, it's wild to me to ever see anyone singing the lyrics. I remember what I was doing when I wrote the lyrics. When I see people singing along to certain parts, I remember exactly what I was doing at the point when I wrote that. It seems so simple. Some of the times we'll be in the van, and I'll pull out my notepad and jot some lyrics down, and that'll be how those lyrics come about. So, that's always wild seeing someone sing the lyrics.

The band has a few exciting projects coming up, including a slew of shows and a tour of campuses all across the US next year ending with a festival raising money for the restoration of New Orleans.
As dedicated fans of the band know, Hierosonic doesn't perform all of their shows locally. The band plays quite a few out of state shows.

H: I'd say in the past month, we've played more locally than we had in the past two years. We try to spread out our shows. We've just had several opportunities, like our CD release show, and a week after that was the Milennium Music Conference, and then Jimmie's Chicken Shack, that was a lot of fun. Then their (HUMAWINE'S) booking agent called and asked if they could be added to any shows because they were passing through the area. So a lot of shows happened to get planned that way. We've been trying to set up more out of state shows, because it's fun to play them.
Of course, sometimes it's necessary to travel to see your favorite band, as Hierosonic fans know, as well.

H: I never thought we would have a following. People that we meet out of state will come specifically to see us. When we played West Virginia, we were getting people that came to see us, and in Massachusetts. We did really well there. We had maybe 40 or 50 people there to see us, and for seven hours away, that's pretty flattering.