Facts About Starfish

Starfish or sea stars are star-shaped echinoderms belonging to the class Asteroidea. Common usage frequently finds these names being also applied to ophiuroids, which are correctly referred to as brittle stars or basket stars. Starfish are also known as Asteroids due to being in the class Asteroidea.

They have no brain and no blood.

Although they are named "starfish", they are not related to fish at all. Starfish belong to the group of marine invertebrates which also include sea cucumber, sea urchin and sand dollar.

Starfish use filtered sea water to pump nutrients through their nervous system.

Their star-like shape is the reason why they are named starfish or sea stars. Most species have five arms, but there are sea stars with ten, twenty or even forty arms. Sea star with forty arms is called "sun star".

Sea stars can weigh up to 11 pounds.

Starfish vary in size. They usually have five to ten inches in length and weigh up to 11 pounds.

The average lifespan of a sea star is 35 years.

Common feature for all starfish is that their body is radially symmetrical. That means that their body can be divided in five equal pieces (even if they have more than five arms).

A Starfish in not a fish.

Another impressive characteristic of the starfish is their ability to regenerate different (missing) parts of their body.

They’re actually related to sand dollars and sea urchins.

If predator eats part of the starfish, remaining part (one arm for example) will develop missing arms and bring back previous look after some time. This process is not always fast and it may last up to one year.

There are around 2,000 species of sea star.

Starfish is a carnivore who likes to eat clams, shells and mussels. It has two stomachs, one of which can be pushed outside the body during eating. This tactic allows them to eat large prey (that cannot be swallowed with their small mouth).

They live in cold and warm climates all over the world.

Starfish mouth is located on the underside of its body. Anus is located on the upper side of the body.

They usually have five arms.

Starfish move using tube feet, which consists of hundreds projections on the underside of their bodies. They are used for walking and catching of the prey.

There is a group of less common species that have more than five!

Starfish do not have a brain. They also do not have blood like other animals. Instead of blood, sea water circulates through their body with the help of sieve plate.

They cannot survive in fresh water.

Surface of the starfish body is covered with bony skeleton which often contains different kind of spikes and thorns. They serve as excellent protection against predators.

It can take up to a year for a lost limb to grow back.

Typical predators of the starfish are sea otters, rays, sharks, seagulls and different types of fish.

When they capture prey, they have tiny suction cups to grab ahold of their food. Then their stomach exits their mouth to digest the food, and reenters the body when they’re done eating.

Starfish can reproduce sexually (by combining reproductive cells of males and females) or asexually (by dividing its body at the center and by regenerating the missing part).

Depending on the species, a sea star's skin may feel leathery or slightly prickly. Sea stars have a tough covering on their upper side, which is made up of plates of calcium carbonate with tiny spines on their surface.

During sexual reproduction, males and females release millions of sperm and eggs in the water, where they mix together to form a fertilized egg that develops into new starfish. Female is capable of producing millions of eggs at once. This is important because small portion of the eggs survive to become adult starfish.

A sea star's spines are used for protection from predators, which include birds, fish, and sea otters. One very spiny sea star is the aptly named crown-of-thorns starfish.

Starfish are not hermaphrodites (animals which have characteristics of both genders) but they are capable of changing the gender whenever they like during their lifetime.

Instead of blood, sea stars have a circulatory system made up primarily of seawater.

Starfish can survive up to 35 years in the wild.

Sea stars move using hundreds of tube feet located on their underside. The tube feet are filled with seawater, which the sea star brings in through the madreporite on its top side.

Facts About The British Museum

The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury area of London, United Kingdom, is a public institution dedicated to human history, art and culture. Its permanent collection of some eight million works is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence, having been widely sourced during the era of the British Empire.

The British Museum is the world’s oldest national public museum.

Sir Hans Sloane bequeathed his collection to King George II for £20,000, upon his death in January 1753.

The Museum had its own tube station for over 30 years.

On June 7th, 1753 King George II established the British Museum.

The Museum gate was once guarded by a cat named Mike.

King George II added two more collections to the British Museum's original collection including the Cottonian Library (a collection by Sir Robert Bruce Cotton from Elizabethan times), and the Harleian Library (a collection by the Earls of Oxford).

The British Museum got so big it had to create two other national institutions to cope.

Sir Hans Sloane's collection included approximately 7,000 manuscripts, 40,000 printed books, and 337 volumes of prints, drawings, and specimens of dried plants.

The Museum was one of the first buildings to use electric lighting.

The original British Museum's building was the Montagu House, a mansion bought from the Montagu family for £20,000.

The Museum’s collection was evacuated during the Second World War.

The original collection of the British Museum was based largely on manuscripts, books, and natural history.

The Museum has been a popular film set.

In 1772 the British Museum acquired a collection of antique Greek vases, making its first shift away from manuscripts, books, and other literary pieces.

The British Museum is the largest indoor space on Google Street View.

In 1784 the British Museum acquired a collection by Sir William Hamilton that included Roman and Greek antiquities.

The Museum once had a ‘Cabinet of Obscene Objects’.

By 1802 the British Museum had set up a Buildings Committee to handle plans for expansion. The collection had become too large and Montagu House had begun to fall into disrepair.

Back in 1912, staff at the British Museum had to sit a written entrance exam, as staff were part of the Civil Service.

Montagu House was demolished and the new building's construction began in 1823.

Banksy had an unofficial exhibit at the Museum.

By 1857 the Reading Room and he quadrangular building had been built.

A British Museum snail holds the record for longest suspended animation.

In 1802 the British Museum acquired the Rosetta Stone.

The Japanese Galleries house a replica of a traditional tea house.

In 1816 the British Museum acquired the Parthenon sculptures, also known as the Elgin Marbles, which are now being fought over as Greece believes they should be returned to their country.

The Korea Gallery contains a full-size replica of a scholar’s study, known as a sarangbang.

In the late 1800s the natural history collections were moved to the Natural History Museum, which left more space in the British Museum for antiquities, and other items, including those from other cultures.

With around 6.5 million annual visitors, the British Museum is the UK’s most visited attraction, more popular than the Tate, the National Gallery and even Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

In the late 1800s the British Museum helped to establish the Egypt Exploration Society. In 1897 the British Museum was bequeathed a large collection of ancient Egyptian items, including the Oxus Treasure (a collection from between 550 - 330 BC).

The Museum loans more objects than any other institution in the world.

At the end of the 1800s the British Museum required a lot more space and it has continued to expand ever since. 69 houses were purchased in the area around the museum to make room for expansion in the late 1890s.

The Museum’s pediment depicts ‘the Progress of Civilisation’.

Today there are more than 8 million objects housed in the British Museum. Only 1% (roughly 80,000) of the items are on display at any time, but 2 million can be viewed online.

The Museum has an extremely rare North Korean collection.

More than 6 million people visit the British Museum each year.

The Great Court at the British Museum is the largest covered square in Europe.

Facts About Clarinet

It is generally believed to have been invented by the Nuremberg instrument maker Johann Christoph Denner at the start of the eighteenth century.

The clarinet's earlier single-reed instrument relatives include the alboka, the albogue, the double clarinet, and the chalumeau.

The clarinet produces sound by means of a single reed attached to the mouthpiece.

The chalumeau was converted to a clarinet by changing a key into a register key. The chalumeau was a single-reed instrument made with 8 finger holes. It was first made in France but later it was also made in Germany.

A number of physical finger keys are attached to the cylindrical section (known as the body) and are used to vary the pitch.

As the clarinet was further developed the pads were added to cover the tone holes.

Up until the first half of the eighteenth century, the clarinet had only two finger keys.

The clarinet body is made up of the mouthpiece, barrel, upper joint, pads, keys, ring key, rod, lower joint, and bell.

The configuration that is now standard was perfected by Klosé in the mid-nineteenth century, based on the ideas of Theobald Boehm. Since the instrument is based on Boehm’s system, it is called the Boehm clarinet.

Most believe that it was Johann Denner, not his son Jacob that invented the clarinet in the late 1600s.

There are also clarinets of similar size in different key pitches, which have tubes of varying length.

Johann Denner was an instrument maker in Germany, who opened his shop in 1678. Soon after he developed the clarinet.

There are several types of soprano clarinets, in keys ranging from C (which has the shortest tube) to G (which has the longest).

The last instrument to be included in the symphony orchestra was the clarinet.

The first evidence of the existence of a bass clarinet comes from France toward the end of the eighteenth century, when a man named Gilles Lot created an instrument called the Basse-Tube.

George Gershwin composed on the most popular clarinet solos ever created. It is called 'Rhapsody in Blue'.

The bass clarinet as we know it today, with its large keys and straight tubular body, was first made by Adolph Sax (inventor of the saxophone) in 1838.

Famous clarinettists include Benny Goodman, Eddie Daniels, Richard Stoltzman, and Sabine Meyer.

The first piece of music to feature the bass clarinet was Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots, which contains a long solo for the instrument in the fifth act.

The most common arrangement of keys and holes on a clarinet was inspired by the Boehm system, developed by Theobald Boehm for the flute. In 1839 Hyacinthe Klose used the Boehm system to develop the clarinet's arrangement. The clarinet arrangement is however different than the original flute arrangement.

Most early clarinets were made of boxwood or ebony — the same materials that were also used to make recorders.

Clarinets are commonly used in the creation of chamber music in combinations such as the clarinet and piano, the clarinet, piano, and another instrument or vocals, the clarinet quintet which includes the clarinet and string quartet, and several others.

Today, grenadilla is now the most commonly used material for clarinet making.

Clarinets were popular in jazz music beginning in the early 1900s, continuing to be popular until the 1940s.

Mozart wrote a magnificent work for clarinet, the Clarinet Concerto in A major, Köchel 622.

Early clarinettists included Sidney Bechet, Larry Shields, Alphonse Picou, Jonny Dodds, and Jimmie Noone.

Aaron Copland wrote his famed Clarinet Concerto for popular clarinetist Benny Goodman.

The clarinet has also been used in rock music and other popular music genres. Musicians and groups such as Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Billy Joel, and Jerry Martini have included the clarinet in their music.

In modern times, the most common clarinet is the B♭ clarinet.

There are a variety of clarinet types including the piccolo clarinet, the E-flat clarinet, the soprano clarinet (in D and C), the B-flat clarinet, the A clarinet, the basset clarinet, the basset-horn clarinet, the alto clarinet, the bass clarinet, and the contrabass and contra-alto clarinets.

The clarinet has proved to be an exceptionally flexible instrument, used in the classical repertoire as in concert bands, military bands, marching bands, klezmer, jazz, and other styles.

Facts About Figs

Sacramento is the capital city of the state of California, located in the northern region of Central Valley. It is believed that Native Americans inhabited Sacramento's region for thousands of years prior to Spanish exploration in the early 1800s. Gabriel Moraga explored Sacramento River and Sacramento Valley in 1808 and named both 'Sacramento' after they were christened after the Holy Communion. Sacramento is Spanish for sacrament. In 1839 Mexico granted John Sutter 50,000 acres, calling the area New Helvetia. In the mid-1880s gold was discovered in the region and the city of Sacramento, 2 miles south of New Helvetia. Sacramento is California's oldest incorporated city, and grew from a population of 10,000 in the 1850s to 485,199 by 2014.Fig is a flowering plant that belongs to the genus Ficus. This plant is native to Middle East and western parts of Asia. Today, figs are grown commercially throughout the world. New varieties of figs were created via selective breeding. Biggest productivity and sweetest fruit are associated with warm, temperate regions that have enough sunny periods during the day. Besides being used in human diet, figs are used in pharmaceutical industry in the manufacture of different creams and lotions. People also cultivate figs for ornamental purposes.

Fig trees have no blossoms on their branches. The blossom is inside of the fruit! Many tiny flowers produce the crunchy little edible seeds that give figs their unique texture.

Fig is a medium-sized tree that can reach 10 to 30 feet in height. Occasionally (under exceptional climate conditions), fig can grow up to 50 feet.

Figs are harvested according to nature’s clock, fully ripened and partially dried on the tree.

Fig has large leaves that are divided in three to five lobes. They are easily recognized because, according to the Bible, Adam and Eve used leaves of fig to cover their nudity.

Figs naturally help hold in moisture in baked goods, keeping them fresher.

Root of the fig is usually located near the surface of the ground. Diameter of the root is 3 times bigger than the crown.
Certain figs, such as those living in South Africa, have incredible deep roots. Deepest recorded root reaches the depth of 400 feet.

Fig puree can be used to replace fat in baked goods.

Fruit of fig is actually inverted flower which blooms inside the fleshy structure. Flower is not visible from the outside. Scientific name for this type of flower is infructescence.

California grows many varieties of figs, but the two most common are the amber-colored, slightly nutty-flavored Golden and the dark purple, sweet Mission.

Figs are pollinated by special type of wasp which enters the infructescence through a tiny passage. Various animals eat figs and disperse their seed via feces.

California produces 100% of the nation’s dried figs and 98% of the fresh figs.

All figs are divided in four categories based on the type of flower and method of reproduction. Only one type of fig, called caprifig, produces pollen while other three types depend on its pollen. Figs can reproduce without pollen in the process called parthenogenesis (produced fruit is sterile).

The Spaniards introduced Mission Figs to the California territory in the early 16th century.

Besides from seeds, fig can develop from cuttings, tissue cultures and grafts. This type of reproduction (called vegetative) is faster compared to the reproduction via seed.

The priests at Mission San Diego originally planted figs in California in 1769. This is how the dark purple fig became known as “Mission.”

Figs normally produce fruit on the branches. Certain types of figs in Philippines are able to develop fruit on the stem.
Figs are rich source of fibers, mineral and vitamins. Figs have pleasant and sweet taste. They can be consumed raw, dried or as a part of sweet and salty meals.

Many believe it was figs that were actually the fruit in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, not apples.

Figs also have several health benefits. Fruit can be used in the treatment of chest congestion and as a facial mask (that tightens the skin). Juice extracted from the leaves can be used to soothe insect bites.

The early Olympic athletes used figs as a training food. Figs were also presented as laurels to the winners, becoming the first Olympic “medal.”

Figs are recommended to the people who would like to quit smoking. Due to high alkalinity of the fruit, figs diminish desire for cigarettes.

In Roman times figs were considered to be restorative. They were believed to increase the strength of young people, to maintain the elderly in better health and to make them look younger with fewer wrinkles. –Pliny (52-113 AD).

People also use figs as a substitute for coffee.

Figs made their first commercial product appearance with the 1892 introduction of Fig Newtons® cookies.

Milky sap produced in the green parts of the fig can induce skin irritations.

The fig tree is a symbol of abundance, fertility and sweetness.

Cultivated figs can survive around 35 years.

Eating one half cup of figs has as much calcium as drinking one-half cup of milk.

Facts About Sacramento

Sacramento is actually California’s sixth capital since 1854. It was the state capital in the past, was then dropped, and then, of course, is now the reigning city once again. Prior capitals include Monterey, Vallejo, Benicia, and San Jose.

Sacramento is located where the American River and Sacramento River converge.

When Sacramento renovated the Capitol building in 1976, it was recorded as the largest restoration project in U.S. history at that time.

Sacramento covers an area of 100.105 square miles.

Sacramento is home to the original Pony Express. This expansive mail delivery service originated in Sacramento and stretched all the way to Missouri.

Sacramento was not the first capital of California. There were five others, including Monterey, San Jose, Vellejo, Benicia, and San Francisco. Sacramento was the capital by 1862, but a fire destroyed the capital building and for a brief period the capital was temporarily San Francisco.

Sacramento has a prolific amount of museums. From the California State Railroad Museum to the Crocker Art Museum, there are dozens of free and admission-paid museums in the Sacramento region. The Crocker, a local downtown art museum, is the longest-running art museum in the western United States.

The Pony Express that stretched from Sacramento to Missouri originated in Sacramento in 1860.

The Sacramento Jazz Festival was held for more than 40 years (ending in 2017) and took place every Memorial Day weekend. Multiple cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds came together in Old Sacramento to enjoy some incredible local talent from all genres of music.

Sacramento has had several nicknames over the years including Sactown, the Big Tomato, River City, City of Trees, and Camellia Capital of the World.

The Sacramento Zoo is a historical treasure. It’s been around since 1927 and continues to delight visitors from various generations. The zoo has experienced many transitions but still plays host to the regular opportunity for school and non-profit groups to sleep over on the property and enjoy nature in the middle of the night.

Sacramento's Discovery Park is submerged in the winter to help control flooding.

Sacramento processes more almonds than anyone else in the world. Blue Diamond has its headquarters here, and during harvest time each year brings millions of pounds of almonds to market.

In Old Sacramento tourists can ride paddle steamers and steam-hauled trains.

Sacramento is located 90 miles northeast of San Francisco and 100 miles southwest of Lake Tahoe, providing locals with both active city adventures and natural beauty within driving distance.

In Old Sacramento, the streets are cobblestone and there are many buildings dating back to the 1850s and 1860s.

Currently, Sacramento is home to 500,000 residents in the official city of Sacramento, along with 1.9 million in the surrounding towns, cities, and counties.

Sacramento is home to the California State Railroad Museum, which houses 21 restored locomotives.

Sacramento’s climate is considered to be Mediterranean. We enjoy mild temperatures with plenty of sunshine. Unfortunately, this can also mean a heat wave in summer months.

The only city in the world with more trees than Sacramento is Paris, France.

In Sacramento alone you will find the Sacramento Ballet, Sacramento Opera, Sacramento Theatre Company, and California Musical Theater. The latter hosts Broadway touring companies whenever they come to town.

Despite being an inland city, Sacramento has a thriving port, accessible via the San Joaquin Delta River and Sacramento River.

The Sacramento region is also home to over 30 theaters, museums and more. The Second Saturday Art Walk exists to promote these grassroots arts groups.

There is a large tunnel network under the city of Sacramento, but it became evident that the city would have to be raised to deal with flooding, and the tunnels were abandoned.

Many nightclubs exist all over Sacramento, including line dancing, swing dancing, hip-hop, and good old fashioned rock and roll.

Sacramento is home to the art museum The Crocker, which is the oldest art museum in the western U.S.

Before they were the Kings, they were a semi-professional team from Rochester, NY known as The Royals. They then became the Kansas City Kings and in 1985 became the Sacramento Kings.

Sacramento Zoo was founded in 1927. School and other groups can have a sleep over in the zoo to experience nature and the zoo at night.

The Kings have almost been relocated four times since their 1980s move to Sacramento. The first attempt was to relocate to Anaheim in 2011. Next, the Sacramento rail yards downtown became a real prospect. The Maloof family backed out of the deal. Virginia Beach then tried to lure the Kings away from Sacramento. Seattle was the well-covered move opportunity in 2013. The deal was called off when a Bay Area businessman purchased the team and kept them in Sacramento.

The biggest almond processing plant in the world is located in Sacramento. It is the Blue Diamond plant, which processes as many as 12 million pounds a day during harvest.

The Kings were sold for over $500 million in 2013.

The climate in Sacramento is Mediterranean, with mild temperatures and lots of sun.

The Kings mascot is a lion named Slamson. You will often see him at games and at city events.

There are many attractions in Sacramento that can be enjoyed without paying a fee including museums on Free Museum Day, Jelly Belly Factory, Second Saturday Art Walk, American River Bike Trail, and Folsom Lake, which is a recreational area with 75 miles of shoreline.

If you’ll be visiting Sacramento for the first time, you’ll find it best to visit in the spring or autumn. Summer weather gets as hot as 115 degrees, although temperatures rarely reach such extremes.

Sacramento is home to California's largest 'Certified Farmers Market'. There are at least 50 farmers markets in the city thanks to the climate and ability to grow produce with high yields.

Facts About Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin is a former intelligence officer and Russian politician who has essentially been the ruler in one form or another since 1999. Putin first served as acting prime minister in 1999 and then became acting president when the president at the time, Boris Yeltsin, resigned on December 31, 1999. Putin then won the presidential election in March 2000 and served as Russia's president for two terms, but was barred by the Russian Constitution from winning a third consecutive term. He then served as the prime minister until 2012, before easily winning the presidency again. Since the Russian Constitution was changed on December 31, 2008, Putin came up for reelection in 2018 and easily won once more. Putin was born Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin on October 7, 1952 to Vladimir and Marina Putin in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), United Soviet Socialist Republics. Putin studied law and joined the KGB before marrying Lyudmila Shkrebneva in 1983 and having two daughters with her. The couple has since divorced. Putin is known to be a controversial yet popular figure. He has been accused of voter fraud and has been criticized for his treatment of gays, different non-Russian ethnic groups, and his use of force in Crimea, but he is still able to draw large crowds of followers.

On Aug. 18, 2015, Putin took a ride in a mini-sub to explore the ruins of a 10th-century Byzantine trading ship (pictured). Putin was visiting Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014. He's also done this in 2013 when he dove in a submersible in the Gulf of Finland to explore the remains of a naval frigate.

Perhaps influenced by his Soviet background, Putin has portrayed himself as a fit, virile man over the years, releasing video of him riding horses and working out. With that said, he is a black belt in judo and has trained in sambo.

He married Lyudmila Putina in 1983, and the couple had two daughters: Maria and Katerina Putina. The children went to school under assumed names for security reasons. In April 2014, Putin and his wife separated after 31 years of marriage.

Putin was once popular in the West with liberal politicians, but he has lately been a bit of a boogey man, accused of influencing elections and behind pretty much anything negative in many countries.

His mother didn't approve of his decision to start learning judo when he was 11. An avid martial artist, Putin earned the fifth dan black belt in judo in 2001, the highest ranked ninth dan in taekwondo in 2013 and the eighth dan black belt in karate in 2014.

Putin helped land the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The Russian President is a dog lover. He named his Bulgarian shepherd dog, Buffy, after holding a nationwide naming contest. His other dog is an Akita Inu named Yume. Most of his pets were gifted to him, including a goat Skazka, a dwarf horse named Vadik and even a Siberian tiger cub.

As Putin has been accused by many Americans in the mainstream media, some of the intelligence agencies, and members of both the Democratic and Republican parties of attempting, or trying to influence American elections, he has shot back that Hillary Clinton and many of those same institutions have tried influencing Russian elections.

Putin enjoys "active leisure" wherein he enjoys fishing, horse-riding, whitewater rafting, scuba diving, skiing and ice hockey. He also frequents an open-air gym where he does some intensive weight training.

Putin is the head of the All-Russia People's Front, which isn't so much a political party as it is a coalition of parties and individuals who share similar, nationalist ideas.

After a stint at law school, Putin joined the KGB (main security agency for the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991), rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. During that period, he was posted to East Germany and monitored foreigners and consular officials in the main intelligence office there.

Since the KGB was an intelligence organization, the extent and details of what Putin did with that group is unknown. What is known, though, is that he served in East Germany during the Cold War.

Putin's paternal grandfather, Spiridon Ivanovich Putin, worked as a chef at Lenin’s country house and later as Stalin's chef. Trained by the NKVD, a predecessor to the KGB, Spiridon passed on how to balance political instincts with survival to his grandson.

After the collapse of the communist system, Putin used his influence and connections to quickly move up in the new Russian government. He befriended President Boris Yeltsin, which proved to be the biggest boon for his career.

Apart from Russian, Putin learned German in high school and speaks it fluently. He acted as an interpreter for German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her 2013 trip to Russia. He rarely uses English but picked up the language during his KGB stints in Europe.

Putin has been given credit for stabilizing Russia's declining birthrate and helping stabilize the country's economy. One of the ways he did that was by forming new economic partnerships with large, yet developing nations. The BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa - is an economic partnership and summit that he has supported since 2009.

Putin has won overall approval of Russian citizens. In elections, he won 53 percent of the vote in 2000 and 73 percent in 2004, while his ally Dmitry Medvedev won 70 percent votes in 2008. According to public opinion surveys, Putin's domestic approval rating was 89 percent in June 2015, an all-time high.

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