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The megalodon is an extinct species of shark that lived roughly about 25 to 1.5 million years ago, during the Cenozoic Era. The taxonomic assignment of C. megalodon has been debated for nearly a century, and is still under dispute with two major interpretations; Carcharodon megalodon or Carcharocles megalodon. Consequently, scientific name of this species has been commonly abbreviated to C. megalodon in literature. C. megalodon is regarded as one of the largest and most powerful predators in vertebrate history. According to Renaissance accounts, gigantic, triangular fossil teeth often found embedded in rocky formations were once believed to be petrified tongues, or glossopetrae, of the dragons and snakes. This interpretation was corrected in 1667 by a Danish naturalist, Nicolaus Steno, who recognized them as ancient shark teeth. The fossils of C. megalodon have been excavated from many parts of the world, including Europe, North America, South America, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Africa, Malta, Grenadines, and India. Among extant species, the great white shark is regarded as the best analogue to C. megalodon. The lack of well preserved fossil skeletons of C. megalodon have forced scientists to rely on the morphology of the great white shark for the basis of its reconstruction and size estimation. the 1990s, some marine biologists claimed that C. megalodon may have approached a maximum of around 79-82 ft in total length. The early total length estimation of C. megalodon is perhaps not far fetched. At present, general consensus among scientists regarding maximum size of C. megalodon, on the basis of largest available fossils, is that the largest specimens were around 56-67 ft in total length. Consequently, C. megalodon is regarded as the largest shark to have ever lived, and is among the largest fish known to have existed. In 2008, a team of scientists led by Stephen Wroe conducted an experiment to determine the bite force of C. megalodon; results indicate that it had one of the most powerful bites in history. At 52 ft long, C. megalodon was capable of exerting a bite force estimated at 108,514 newtons (N) or 24,000 pound-force, and at 67 ft long, C. megalodon was capable of exerting a bite force estimated at 182,201 newtons (N) or 41,000 pound-force. Through thorough scrutiny of the partially preserved vertebral C. megalodon specimen from Belgium, it became apparent that C. megalodon had a higher vertebral count than found in large specimens of any known shark. Only the vertebral count in great white shark came close in quantity, symbolizing close anatomical ties between the two species. On the basis of the characteristics mentioned above, Gottfried and his colleagues eventually managed to reconstruct the entire skeleton of C. megalodon, which has been put on display in Calvert Marine Museum at Solomons island, Maryland in USA. This C. megalodon skeletal reconstruction is 38 ft long and represents a young individual. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



Hurricane Wilma was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin. Wilma was the twenty-second storm (including the subtropical storm discovered in reanalysis), thirteenth hurricane, sixth major hurricane, and fourth Category 5 hurricane of the record-breaking 2005 season. A tropical depression formed in the Caribbean Sea near Jamaica on October 15, and intensified into a tropical storm two days later, which was named Wilma. After heading westward as a tropical depression, Wilma turned abruptly southward after becoming a tropical storm. Wilma continued intensifying, and eventually became a hurricane on October 18. Shortly thereafter, extreme intensification occurred, and in only 24 hours, Wilma became a Category 5 hurricane with winds of 185 mph (295 km/h). Intensity slowly leveled off after becoming a Category 5 hurricane, and winds had decreased to 150 mph (240 km/h) before reaching the Yucatán Peninsula on October 20 and October 21. After crossing the Yucatán Peninsula, Wilma emerged into the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane. As Wilma began accelerating to the northeast, gradual re-intensification occurred, and the hurricane became a Category 3 hurricane on October 24. Shortly thereafter, Wilma made landfall in Cape Romano, Florida with winds of 120 mph (190 km/h). As Wilma was crossing Florida, it had briefly weakened back to a Category 2 hurricane, but again re-intensified as it reached the Atlantic Ocean. The hurricane intensified into a Category 3 hurricane for the final occasion, but Wilma dropped below that intensity while accelerating northeastward. By October 26, Wilma transitioned into an extratropical cyclone southeast of Nova Scotia. Wilma made several landfalls, with the most destructive effects felt in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, Cuba, and the U.S. state of Florida. At least 62 deaths were reported, and damage is estimated at $29.1 billion (2005 USD, $32.7 billion 2011 USD), $20.6 billion (2005 USD, $23.2 billion 2011 USD) of which occurred in the United States alone. As a result, Wilma is ranked among the top five most costly hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic and the fourth most costly storm in United States history. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



A dead mall or greyfield is a shopping mall with a high vacancy rate or a low consumer traffic level, or that is dated or deteriorating in some manner. Many malls in the United States are considered "dead" when they have no surviving anchor store (often a large department store) or successor that could serve as an entry into or attraction to the mall. Without the access, the small stores inside are difficult to reach; without the pedestrian traffic that a department store generates, sales volumes plummet for the stores, and rental revenues from those stores can no longer sustain the costly maintenance of the malls. Attitudes about malls are also changing. With changing priorities, people have less time to spend driving to and strolling through malls, and in the current economic climate, the specialty stores offer what many shoppers see as useless luxuries they can no longer afford. In this respect, big box stores and conventional strip malls have a time-saving advantage. The rise in big box stores since the 1980s left malls reliant on an older business model that couldn't change with the times. 21st-century retailing trends favor open air lifestyle centers, which resemble elements of power centers, big box stores, and strip malls over indoor malls. The massive change led Newsweek to declare the indoor mall format obsolete in 2008. Dead malls are occasionally redeveloped. Leasing or management companies may change the architecture, layout, decor, or other component of a shopping center to attract more renters and draw more profits. Sometimes redevelopment can involve a switch from retail usage to office or educational use for a building (such as is the case with Park Central Mall in Phoenix, and the Eastmont Town Center in Oakland, California. As a last resort, the structure is demolished and the property redeveloped for other uses, known as building on a greyfield site. In places such as Vermont with a strict permitting process, and in major urban areas where open fields are long gone, this can be much easier and cheaper than building on a greenfield site. One of the most infamous dead malls is the Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois, which was featured in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers. The car chase scenes were filmed at Dixie Square after the mall had been closed, and filmmakers had to dress the mall to make it appear functional and open for business. Over thirty years later, the crumbling building is still standing in spite of low demand for site redevelopment. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



William Henry 'Bill' Mauldin was a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist from the United States. While in the 45th Infantry Division, Mauldin volunteered to work for the unit's newspaper, drawing cartoons about regular soldiers or "dogfaces". Eventually he created two cartoon infantrymen, Willie (who was modeled after his comrade and friend Irving Richtel) and Joe, who became synonymous with the average American GI. During July 1943, Mauldin's cartoon work continued when, as a sergeant of the 45th Division's press corps, he landed with the division in the invasion of Sicily and later in the Italian campaign.[1] Mauldin began working for Stars and Stripes, the American soldiers' newspaper; as well as the 45th Division News, until he was officially transferred to the Stars and Stripes in February 1944. By March 1944, he was given his own jeep, in which he roamed the front, collecting material and producing six cartoons a week. His cartoons were viewed by soldiers throughout Europe during World War II, and were also published in the United States. The War Office supported their syndication, not only because they helped publicize the ground forces but also to show the grim and bitter side of war, which helped show that victory would not be easy. Willie was on the cover of Time Magazine in 1945, and Mauldin himself made the cover in 1958. Those officers who had served in the army before the war were generally offended by Mauldin, who parodied the spit-shine and obedience-to-order-without-question view that was more easily maintained during that time of peace. General George Patton once summoned Mauldin to his office and threatened to "throw his ass in jail" for "spreading dissent," this after one of Mauldin's cartoons made fun of Patton's demand that all soldiers must be clean-shaven at all times, even in combat. But Dwight Eisenhower, Supreme Commander European Theater, told Patton to leave Mauldin alone, because he felt that Mauldin's cartoons gave the soldiers an outlet for their frustrations. In 1945, at the age of 23, Mauldin won the Pulitzer Prize. The first collection of his work, Up Front, was a best-seller. The cartoons are interwoven with an impassioned telling of his observations of war. In 1998, Mauldin drew "Willie and Joe" for publication one last time, as part of a Veterans Day strip for the popular comic, Peanuts. The creator of Peanuts and a World War II veteran himself, Charles M. Schulz, had long described Mauldin as his hero. He signed the strip Schulz, and my Hero, and then had Mauldin sign his name underneath. Mauldin died on January 22, 2003, from complications of Alzheimer's disease and a bathtub scalding. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on January 29, 2003. Married three times, he was survived by 7 children. On March 31, 2010, the United States Post Office released a first-class denomination ($.44) postage stamp in Mauldin's honor depicting him with Willie & Joe. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





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