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As a practicing physician, the Persian Avicenna (c. AD 980-1037) proved his remarkable competence at the early age of 17. After many prominent physicians had given up on the serious illness of the King of Bukhara (present day Uzbekistan), Avicenna devised an effective remedy that won the King's favor. Although the King offered the young doctor a rich reward, Avicenna asked only for access to the royal library, a resource that would enable him to write his later medical and philosophical works. The most famous of these is Al-Qanun, known to medieval Europeans simply as the Canon, the most important medical reference book in the West for well over 600 years. Written at the turn of the 11th century, the Canon was an exhaustive treatment of classical and medieval medicine that included the work of Muslim sources as well as the fruits of Avicenna's own medical research. Besides being a compilation of ancient medical learning culled from the royal library, the Canon included many original contributions by Avicenna. He offered an early understanding of the spread of disease, and made connections between mental and physical health, such as the medicinal role of music and the phenomenon of love sickness manifesting itself as a physical sickness. Avicenna contributed greatly to the study of both anatomy and gynecology, and argued for the relationship between nerves, muscle movements, and physical pain. For medieval Europe, a good medical reference book couldn't have come at a better time. In a world of plague and malnutrition, the common medical acts now taken for granted like simple operations or childbirth would often end in debilitation or even death. As a result, the 12th-century Latin translation of the Canon met with incredible demand, but its availability was hampered by the slow process of hand copying. With the invention of the printing press, production skyrocketed, with 16 separate editions of the book in the last 30 years of the 15th century alone.--------------------------

he son of Russian immigrants, Samuel Bronfman bought the Bonaventure Liquor Store Company in 1916 in Montreal, Canada. Two years later, Canada passed an alcohol prohibition law, and in 1920 the government impounded all retail liquor distribution--but still allowed sales through the mail. This loophole was attributed to the fact that many Canadians wanted to profit from smuggling alcohol to a "dry" US, which recently had imposed its own prohibition. Bronfman purchased a small distillery, and used the contradictions of US and Canadian law to build his company into one of the world's largest distillers. Bronfman was able to quickly generate enough business by mail order to keep his new distillery profitable. By 1921, opposition to prohibition in Canada grew, and provinces began repealing their prohibition laws. Bronfman was able to expand his market and buy Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, an Ontario distillery. He changed the name to Distillers Corporation-Seagrams Limited and increased production. By the late 1920s, Seagrams reportedly accounted for nearly half the illegal liquor crossing the US border. Bronfman anticipated the end of Prohibition in the US, and began stockpiling whiskey. When the 18th amendment was finally repealed in 1933, Seagrams had the world's largest supply of aged rye and sour mash whiskeys. While US distilleries struggled to catch up, Seagrams established itself as the preeminent maker of high-quality liquor, introducing the blended Seagram's 7 Crown in 1934. Five years later, after blending over 600 whiskey samples, Bronfman created Crown Royal in honor of the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to Canada. During the 1930s, Bronfman purchased three distilleries in the US, and the following decade expanded into wine. When he died in 1971, Bronfman was worth an estimated $400 million. By 1999, the family-run Seagram Company Ltd.--which had since diversified into media, entertainment, and real estate--had revenue of $3.5 -----------------

Most of the matter in the universe is missing, and scientists are eager to find it. In 1932, when they began studying how stars behaved within galaxies, astronomers found too few stars to account for the gravitational pull necessary to keep a galaxy together. Something unseen--termed "dark matter"--had to account for the missing mass, and there had to be a lot of it. Most experts now estimate that 90 percent of the universe is comprised of this elusive stuff. "Dark matter" has escaped detection because it does not emit enough electromagnetic radiation--perhaps none at all. At first, scientists inferred its existence by measuring its gravitational effects on nearby stars and galaxies. But in 2000, scientists found evidence of "cosmological shear," a phenomenon in which light from distant objects bends under matter's gravitational pull. Dark matter may be dying stars, brown dwarfs (objects nearly as large as stars), or vast clouds of neutrinos--fundamental particles that are very difficult to detect. One of the strongest candidates is the hypothetical WIMP, or Weakly Interacting Massive Particle, perhaps 50 times heavier than a proton. Once dark matter is identified, the task of determining how much exists would begin. Some scientists believe there may not be enough dark matter to halt the universe's ever-accelerating expansion, and as stars burn off their fuel (in about 10 trillion years), the universe will grow cold and dark. Conversely, there may be enough dark matter to tip gravity's scales, and start the universe on the road toward a "Big Crunch"--in about 50 billion years--with everything contracting back into a cosmic singularity similar to how the universe started. Were a Big Crunch to occur, the resulting singularity could produce another Big Bang. This hypothesis--of a universe that oscillates between expansion and contraction--mirrors the creation myths found in Hinduism's ancient Puranic texts. Perhaps their anonymous authors, who presciently placed the age of the universe in the billions of years, knew something we don't. ------------------------

When 10-year-old Nikola Tesla, growing up in Croatia, saw an engraving of Niagara Falls in 1866, he envisioned a giant waterwheel harnessing the water's power. In 1895, Tesla realized that vision. He helped George Westinghouse, founder of the Westinghouse Electrical Company, build a power plant at the falls. It transmitted electricity using a system that Tesla designed and that made electric power a feasible source of energy for the world. Thomas Edison was the first person to transmit electric power to homes and businesses, but he relied on direct current, which can only go about a mile before losing potency. To power an entire city, Edison had to build generators for every neighborhood, and often for individual buildings. With that much equipment in operation, power failures and fires were common. Tesla pioneered the use of alternating current (AC), which could be transmitted hundreds of miles from centralized generating facilities, making the transmission of electricity safer and more efficient. AC posed a threat to Edison's generating business (soon to become General Electric), so he tried to portray it as unsafe. After one of Edison's colleagues provided a Tesla-Westinghouse motor for the first electric-chair executions, Edison joked that the prisoners had been "Westinghoused." At the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, Tesla and Westinghouse fought back. Tesla displayed the world's first neon signs, which were powered by AC and shaped to spell the names of famous scientists. He also shot two million volts of AC through his body, and came away unharmed--partly because he wore rubber shoes and partly because he used a high-frequency current; it danced harmlessly across his skin and bathed him in a blue halo of electric flame. His demonstrations convinced the public that AC was safe, and since then more than 80 percent of the electric devices sold have used alternating current.

***TESLA was the GREATEST GENIUS EVER on EARTH.***---------------

A bloodhound is about as homely and messy as a dog can be--baggy skin, long, floppy ears, slobbering mouth, and horrible manners. But to law enforcement officers, this curious canine is a real beauty. For no other creature's unerring sense of smell renders its "testimony" admissible in a court of law. When it comes to locating bombs, drugs, or stolen money, a variety of breeds are put on the case, among them German shepherds, beagles, and retrievers. But when a person is missing or on the run, the canine of choice is the bloodhound. Endowed with a sense of smell up to 3 million times more powerful than a human's, and far stronger than the average dog's, once a bloodhound detects a person's scent it will relentlessly follow the trail to track that person down. It can follow a scent over rough terrain and through crowds of hundreds of people, even after several days of stormy weather. The dog is capable of such an astonishing feat because its long rumpled snout is equipped with 23 inches of a sensory membrane engineered to detect scent (a surface area 50 times greater than that of its human counterpart). As the target keeps moving, he or she leaves behind an invisible trail of odor-bearing flakes of skin, some 50,000 of which we shed daily. The bloodhound's long, velvety ears and fleshy face act as a funnel to help the dog--------------------