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The Nine Emperor Gods Festival is a nine-day Taoist celebration beginning on the eve of 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar, which is observed primarily in Southeast Asian countries like Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, and also the Riau Islands. The Nine Emperors is formed by the 7 stars of the Big Dipper of the North Ursa Major (visible) and two assistant stars (invisible). When viewed closely, the arrangement of the 7 stars "the Ladle" and the 2 assistant stars on its left and right resembles a Yin-Yang pattern form. n the eve of the ninth moon, temples of the deities hold a ceremony to invoke and welcome the nine emperors. Since the arrival of the gods are believed to be through the waterways, processions are held from temples to the sea-shore or river to symbolize this belief. Devotees dressed in traditional white, carrying incense and candles, await the arrival of their excellencies. A carnival-like atmosphere pervades the temple throughout the nine-day festival. During this period of time, the constant tinkling of a prayer bell and chants from the temple priests are heard. Most devotees stay at the temple, eat vegetarian meals and recite continuous chanting of prayer. It is believed that there will be rain throughout the nine days of celebration. The ninth day of the festival is its climax. A procession which draws scores of devotees send the deities back home. In Thailand this festival is called Tesagan Gin Je the Vegetarian Festival. It is celebrated throughout the entire country, but the festivities are at their height in Phuket, where about 35% of the population is Chinese. he festivities in Phuket include a procession of mah song wearing elaborate costumes who pierce their cheeks and tongues with all manner of things, including swords, banners, machine guns, table lamps, and flowers. While the face is the most common area pierced, some also pierce their arms with pins and fishhooks. Teams of people accompany the mah song to keep their wounds clean and to help support the heavier piercings. It is believed that while they are possessed the mah song will not feel any pain. They can also be seen shaking their heads back and forth continually, and usually do not seem to "see" their surroundings. At the temple during the festival there is also firewalking and blade-ladder climbing. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



Lava is molten rock expelled by a volcano during eruption. When first expelled from a volcanic vent, it is a liquid at temperatures from 700 C to 1,200 C (1,300 F to 2,200 F). Although lava is quite viscous, with about 100,000 times the viscosity of water, it can flow great distances before cooling and solidifying, because of both its thixotropic and shear thinning properties. A lava flow is a moving outpouring of lava, which is created during a non-explosive effusive eruption. When it has stopped moving, lava solidifies to form igneous rock. The term lava flow is commonly shortened to lava. Explosive eruptions produce a mixture of volcanic ash and other fragments called tephra, rather than lava flows. The word "lava" comes from Italian, and is probably derived from the Latin word labes which means a fall or slide. The viscosity of lava is important because it determines how the lava will behave. Lavas with high viscosity are rhyolite, dacite, andesite and trachyte, with cooled basaltic lava also quite viscous; those with low viscosities are freshly erupted basalt, carbonatited and occasionally andesite. Lava domes are formed by the extrusion of viscous felsic magma. They can form prominent rounded protuberances, such as at Valles Caldera. As a volcano extrudes silicic lava, it can form an inflation dome, gradually building up a large, pillow-like structure which cracks, fissures, and may release cooled chunks of rock and rubble. The top and side margins of an inflating lava dome tend to be covered in fragments of rock, breccia and ash. Lava flows are enormously destructive to property in their path but generally move slowly enough for people to get out of their way but this is dependant on the viscosity of the lava, so casualties caused directly by active lava flows are rare. Nevertheless injuries and deaths have occurred, either because people had their escape route cut off, because they got too close to the flow or, more rarely, if the lava flow front travelled too quickly. This notably happened during the eruption of Nyiragongo in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) on 10 January 1977 when the crater wall was breached during the night and the fluid lava lake in it drained out in less than an hour. Flowing down the steep slopes of the volcano at up to 100 km/h, the lava swiftly overwhelmed several villages whilst their residents were asleep. As a result of this disaster, the mountain was designated a Decade Volcano in 1991. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



Navteq is a Chicago, Illinois-based provider of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data and is a dominant company in providing the base electronic navigable maps. Navteq's underlying map database is based on first-hand observation of geographic features rather than relying on official government maps. It provides data used in a wide range of applications, including automotive navigation systems for many car makers, accounting for around 85% of market share. Portable GPS devices made by Garmin, Magellan, Lowrance, NDrive and web-based applications, such as Yahoo! Maps, Bing Maps, and MapQuest also use its maps. Microsoft's Flight Simulator X uses Navteq data for automatic terrain generation. Nokia Ovi Maps also use its maps in smartphones. Ovi Maps provides offline maps, eliminating the need for a constant internet data feed. Navteq is also the data aggregator used by XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio to display traffic data on navigation systems that are capable of that display, and partners with various third party agencies and companies to provide government and transportation related services, such as the GPS and GSM-based sex offender tracking system currently in use in parts of North Carolina and Georgia. Navteq also provides graphics systems, information services and personnel for TV and radio broadcasting (Navteq Media Services). Most of the clients utilize Navteq for providing broadcast traffic reports in major metro areas througout North America. Navteq also has smaller offices in Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York, Atlanta, Washington, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, Boston, Fargo, San Diego, and throughout most big cities around the world, where Navteq cartographers live. Its main competitors are the American company Google and the Dutch company Tele Atlas. On October 1, 2007, it was announced that Nokia would acquire Navteq in a deal valued at an estimated $8.1 billion (5.7 billion). Navteq shareholders approved the deal in December 2007. The European Commission in July 2008 ruled the deal did not violate anti-trust rules clearing the way for closing the deal. On December 13, 2010, it was announced that Navteq purchased Trapster, a four-person California-based company that provides a free mobile and web application that includes such community-generated content as speed traps, red-light cameras, and road hazard alerts. Trapster was a finalist in NAVTEQs 2008 Global LBS Challenge. A Navteq spokesperson said that "Navteq believes that community-generated data has a critical part to play in location content". [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



The great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, also known as great white, white pointer, white shark, or white death, is a large lamniform shark found in coastal surface waters in all major oceans. The great white shark is very well known for its size, with the largest individuals known to have approached or exceeded 6 metres (20 ft) in length and 2,240 kilograms (4,938 lb) in weight. It reaches maturity at around 15 years of age and can have a life span of over 30 years. The great white shark is arguably the world's largest known extant macropredatory fish and is one of the primary predators of marine mammals. It is the only surviving species of its genus, Carcharodon. Great white sharks are carnivorous, and prey upon fish (tuna, rays, other sharks), cetaceans (dolphins, porpoises, whales), pinnipeds (seals, fur seals, and sea lions), sea turtles, sea otters, and seabirds. Great whites have also been known to eat objects that they are unable to digest. The great white shark has a robust large conical snout. The upper and lower lobes on the tail fin are approximately the same size (like most mackerel sharks, but unlike most others). Great whites display countershading, having a white underside and a grey dorsal area (sometimes in a brown or blue shade) that gives an overall "mottled" appearance. The coloration makes it difficult for prey to spot the shark because it breaks up the shark's outline when seen from the side. From above, the darker shade blends with the sea and from below it exposes a minimal silhouette against the sunlight. Great white sharks, like many other sharks, have rows of serrated teeth behind the main ones, ready to replace any that break off. When the shark bites it shakes its head side to side helping the teeth saw off large chunks of flesh. In 2008, a team of scientists led by Stephen Wroe conducted an experiment to determine great white shark's jaw power and findings indicated that specimen more than 6.1 m (20 ft) long could exert a bite force of over 18,000 newtons (4,000 lbf). The best selling novel Jaws and the subsequent blockbuster film by Steven Spielberg depicted the great white shark as a "ferocious man eater". In reality, humans are not the preferred prey item of great white shark. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



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