Saturday, March 29, 2008

Eastern Cape
The Eastern Cape is a province of South Africa. Its capital is Bhisho. It was formed in 1994 out of the "independent" homelands of Transkei and Ciskei, as well as the eastern portion of the Cape Province. It is the traditional home of the Xhosa, and the birthplace of many prominent South Africans, such as Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Steve Biko and Charles Coghlan.

Law and Government
See also List of cities and towns in the Eastern Cape
The Eastern Cape gets progressively wetter from west to east. The west is mostly semi-arid Karoo, except in the far south, which is temperate rainforest in the Tsitsikamma region. The coast is generally rugged with interspersed beaches. Most of the province is hilly to very mountainous between Graaff-Reinet and Rhodes including the Sneeuberge (Afrikaans: Snow Mountains), Stormberge, Winterberge and Drakensberg (Afrikaans: Dragon Mountains). The highest point in the province is Ben Macdhui at 3001m. The east from East London towards the Kwa-Zulu Natal border is lush grassland with intermittent forest. This region, Transkei, is rolling hills punctuated by deep gorges.
Eastern Cape has a shoreline in the south on the South Indian Ocean. In the northeast, it borders the following districts of Lesotho:
Domestically, it borders the following provinces:

Mohale's Hoek - west of Quthing
Quthing - between Mohale and Qacha's Nek
Qacha's Nek - east of Quthing
Western Cape - west
Northern Cape - northwest
Free State - north
KwaZulu-Natal - far northeast Climate
The landscape is extremely diverse. The western interior is largely arid Karoo, while the east is well-watered and green. The Eastern Cape offers a wide array of attractions, including 800 km of untouched and pristine coastline along with some particularly splendid beaches, and "big-five" viewing in a malaria-free environment.
The Addo Elephant National Park, situated 73 km from Port Elizabeth, was proclaimed in 1931. Its 743 km² offers sanctuary to 170 elephants, the last Cape buffalo and 21 black rhino of the very scarce Kenyan sub-species.
The province is the location of South Africa's only ski resort, Tiffindell, which is situated near the hamlet of Rhodes in the Southern Drakensberg on the slopes of the highest mountain peak in the Eastern Cape (3001 m).
The National Arts Festival, held in Grahamstown is Africa's largest and most colourful cultural event, offering a choice of the very best of both indigenous and imported talent. Every year for 11 days the town's population almost doubles, as over 50,000 people flock to the region for a feast of arts, crafts and sheer entertainment.
The Tsitsikamma National Park is an 80 km long coastal strip between Nature's Valley and the mouth of the Storms River. In the park the visitor finds an almost untouched natural landscape. Near the park is the Bloukrans Bridge, which is the world's highest bungee jump.
Jeffreys Bay is an area with some of the country's wildest coastline, which is backed by some of Africa's most spectacular sub-tropical rainforest. Famous for its "supertubes", probably South Africa's longest and most consistently good wave, it's charged with a surf vibe as relaxed as it is friendly, and this tends to soften the effect of the wealthy set who have made this part of the coast their own.
Aliwal North, lying on a splendid agricultural plateau on the southern bank of the Orange River, is one of the country's most popular inland resorts and is famous for its hot springs.
The rugged and unspoilt Wild Coast is a place of spectacular scenery, and a graveyard for many vessels.

The Eastern Cape remains one of the poorest provinces in South Africa. This is largely due to the extreme poverty found in the former homelands, where subsistence agriculture predominates. The two major industrial centres, Port Elizabeth and East London have well-developed economies, based on the automotive industry. General Motors and Volkswagen both have major assembly lines in the Port Elizabeth area, while East London is dominated by the large DaimlerChrysler plant. The largest construction project in Africa is currently underway at Coega, about 20 km north of Port Elizabeth, where a new harbour is being built. It is expected that this development will give the province a major economic boost.

The Eastern Cape Province is divided into 46 municipalities:

Aberdeen Plain Municipality
Alfred Nzo Municipality
Amahlathi Municipality, is seated at Stutterheim
Amatole Municipality
Baviaans Municipality
Blue Crane Route Municipality
Buffalo City Municipality (East London, Bhisho and King William's Town)
Cacadu Municipality
Camdeboo Municipality
Chris Hani Municipality
Elundini Municipality
Emalahleni Municipality
Ngcobo Municipality
Gariep Municipality
Great Kei Municipality
Ikwezi Municipality
Inkwanca Municipality
Intsika Yethu Municipality
Inxuba Yethemba Municipality
King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality
Kouga Municipality
Kou-Kamma Municipality
Lukanji Municipality
Makana Municipality
Maletswai Municipality
Mbhashe Municipality
Mbizana Municipality
Mhlontlo Municipality
Mnquma Municipality
Ndlambe Municipality Municipality
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality (Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage & Despatch)
Ngqushwa Municipality
Nkonkobe Municipality
Ntabankulu Municipality
Nxuba Municipality
Nyandeni Municipality
O.R. Tambo Municipality
Port St. Johns Municipality
Quakeni Municipality
Sakhisizwe Municipality
Senqu Municipality
Sunday's River Valley
Tsolwana Municipality
Ukhahlamba Municipality
Umzimkhulu Municipality
Umzimvubu Municipality

Friday, March 28, 2008

Calcium imaging
Calcium imaging is a scientific technique usually carried out in research which is designed to show the calcium status of a tissue or medium. Due to the chemical properties of calcium it can not be imaged easily. Instead, another substance called Fura-2 fluoresces after binding to calcium and being exposed to a fluorescent light. The Fura-Ca complex affects the wavelength typically associated with unbound Fura-2 and the resulting fluorescence can be detected by a camera adapted (usually through a microscope) for fluorescent light imaging. An image is thus created which can be analyzed according to intensity, ultimately reflecting the Ca status.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Russian special purpose regiments or Spetsnaz, Specnaz (Войска специального назначения - спецназ/Voyska spetsialnogo naznacheniya, /spʲeʦnaz/ in IPA) is a general term for "special forces" in Russian, literally "special purpose units".
In Russian the term commonly denotes the special forces of all countries and is used by mass media, and civil people to mark all kinds of special purpose units of all kinds of subordination; in English it refers exclusively to the Russian special forces.
In fact, its use in English usually is associated with Russians writing in English or with writers attempting linguistic authenticity. Generally, English-language media refer to them as "Russian special forces".
Spetsnaz can refer to any elite or special purpose units controlled by the Federal Security Service (FSB) with counter-terrorist and anti-sabotage tasks, Ministry of Interior (police) MVD, and the army special forces controlled by the military intelligence service GRU. Nowadays, the term is used as well to describe any special purpose units or task forces of other ministries (even the Emergency Situations Ministry special rescue unit).
Strictly speaking, all Spetsnaz units operated by the KGB/FSB were called OSNAZ, an acronym for [voiska] osobogo naznacheniya or "special purpose [detachments]". These units originally were raised for internal use against right-wing counter-revolutionaries, dissidents, and other undesirables. There has always been a certain amount of shifting of personnel and units between both the GRU who control SPETSNAZ and the MVD with OSNAZ MVD and OSNAZ KGB or FSB, especially between the latter two. Today, OSNAZ is a term mainly used in connection with GRU-controlled COMINT, ELINT and radio-surveillance units within the Armed Forces.
Spetsnaz carry out reconnaissance and social warfare missions in "peacetime" as well as in war. For example, it is known that the assassination of Afghanistan's president carried out by Spetsnaz in December 1979 was under the direction of the KGB.
According to Vladimir Rezun, a GRU defector who used the pseudonym "Viktor Suvorov", there were 20 Spetsnaz brigades plus 41 separate companies. Thus, total strength of Spetsnaz forces in the 1980s could have been around 30,000 troops.

Spetsnaz Ministry of Interior units
"Nobody but us. Rossiyskiy specnaz."
Spetsnaz GRU, or Russian army special forces, are the original SPETSNAZ and are generally considered the best trained units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. Despite this, they are not very similar to the Special Forces of the US or the SAS of the UK. The Spetsnaz have created a fierce reputation as one of the best special forces in the world today due to the very harsh standards of their training. They are controlled by the GRU (the Russian military intelligence agency). During the Cold War, these units were deployed in Eastern Europe in order to carry out reconnaissance and sabotage missions against the NATO forces in the event of a war in Europe. The units of Spetsnaz GRU have no official names, such as is the case with units of Spetsnaz MVD. They are generally referred to by numbers, for example, "16th Separate Brigade of Spetsnaz", much like any other military unit, and are usually integrated in the structure of the VDV (airborne troops) though not under VDV command aegis.
Few details are actually known about the operations of Spetsnaz GRU, but it is known that the units were heavily involved in wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya. Spetnaz GRU teams usually wear standard-issue VDV uniforms, light blue VDV berets and unit patches in order to avoid identification. However, they can also wear different uniforms, for instance, they would wear the uniform of a unit which is stationed nearby, in order to blend in.
Here are most of the Spetsnaz Brigades and the location at which they are stationed:
and many others, including:
A Spetsnaz brigade consists of three to five Spetsnaz battalions, a signals company, support units, and a headquarters company containing highly skilled professional soldiers responsible for carrying out assassinations, kidnappings, and contact with agents in the enemy rear area. The organisation of a naval SPETSNAZ brigade reflects its emphasis on sea infiltration, with up to three frogman battalions, one parachute battalion, and a mini-submarine battalion, as well as the signals company, headquarters company, and support elements.

2nd ObrSpN - Promezhitsy (Pskov region); strength around 960 (Leningrad Military District)
3rd Guards ObrSpN - Roshinskij (Samara Oblast); (Volga-Ural Military District)
10th (Mountain) ObrSpN - Molkino (Krasnodar region); activated July 1, 2003 (North Caucasus Military District)
12th ObrSpN - city of Asbest-5 Sverdlovsk region); (Volga-Ural Military District)transferring: Chaikovskyy (Perm')
22nd Guards ObrSpN - Kovalevka (Rostov Oblast); (North Caucasus Military District)
67th ObrSpN - Berdsk (Novosibirsk Oblast); (Siberian Military District)
83 SPETZNAZ CDO BDE Ussuryysk (Far East Military District)
216 INDEP SPETZNAZ BN Moscow (Moscow Military District)
14th Separate Brigade of Special Designation Ussuriysk, Far Eastern Military District
16th Spetsnaz Brigade - formerly Teplyi Stan, suburb of Moscow, now [Tambov[Chuchkovo]], Moscow Military District
24th Spetsnaz Brigade - [Ulan-Ude[Kyakhta]], Siberian Military District Russian army special forces
The Soviet Naval Spetsnaz came in to being in 1957 by order of Defence Minister Zhukov.The Black Sea fleet created their spetsnaz unit in 1967. A marine counter terrorist and counter sabotage unit was created in 1969 as "protivodiversionniye sili i sredstva"-counter-underwater forces. In 1970, the Main intelligence service of a General staff (GRU) created a top secret reconnaissance - sabotage group "Delfin" (Dolphin) for operations against sea bases of foreign states. Instructors from group "Delfin" prepared the combat swimmers for KGB groups "Alfa" and "Vympel". At the fall of the Soviet government, each of the Soviet Red Banner Fleets (four total) had a Naval Spetsnaz Brigade assigned to it (see combat swimmers). Furthermore, modern Alfa and Vympel special purpose forces also have naval units.
Russian Naval Infantry, or the Russian Marines, are elite forces, but by no means are they Spetsnaz troops as Naval Special Operations would be carried out by Delfin (Naval Spetsnaz) troops rather than the Marines, which are intended to spearhead amphibious invasions. The 4 Major Naval Spetsnaz units are:

4 INDEP SPETZNAZ PT Parusnoe (Baltyysk) (Baltic Fleet) formerly Viljandi, Estonia (transferred from Army GRU to Navy GRU)
431 INT SPETZNAZ PT Tuapse (Black Sea Fleet) formerly Kronstadt (Baltic Fleet)
42 SPETZNAZ PT Russkyy island (Pacific Fleet)
420 INT SPETZNAZ PT Polyarnyy (Northern Fleet) Russian Naval Spetsnaz
Russian intelligence agencies, MVD, FSB, and the FPS and the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR, "Sluzhba Vneshnej Razvedki", Russian equivalent of the American CIA) have their own Osnaz units.

Spetsnaz The use of the term in the Russian language as of 2004

Alpha Group
Rus (special forces)
Vityaz (MVD)
Spetsnaz (miniseries)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

WTVY Radio Tower
WTVY is a radio station in Dothan, Alabama. Broadcasting at 95.5 FM, the station airs a country music format.
WTVY broadcasts from a 368.5 metre high guyed tower at Webb, Alabama, located at 31°15'17.0" N and 85°15'39.0" W. WTVY Radio Tower was built in 1987.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Since 1997, the Slovak car registration plate number (Slovak: EČV, evidenčné číslo vozidla) generally takes the form XX-NNNYY, where XX is a two letter code corresponding to a district (okres), NNN is three digit number and YY are two letters (assigned alphabetically).
Since May 1, 2004 (Slovakia joined the European Union) there are two forms of car registration plates valid in the country - with the Coat of Arms of Slovakia and also with the European flag.
Since June 1, 2006 there are three forms of car registration plates valid in Slovakia. The latest type contains the EU symbol as well as the national coat of arms (instead of a dash). As such, there are now three valid registration plates forms.

License plates of Slovakia Older form
The older form (Slovak: ŠPZ, štátna poznávacia značka) XX-NNNN or XXY-NNNN - was issued until April 1, 1997. It stopped being valid as from January 1, 2005. Vehicles with this form are not allowed to ride on public roads.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A tower block, block of flats, or apartment block, is a multi-unit high-rise apartment building. In some areas they may be referred to as MDU standing for Multi Dwelling Unit.
Apartment blocks have technical and economic advantages in areas with high population density. They have become a distinguished form of housing accommodation in virtually all densely populated urban areas around the world. In contrast with low-rise and single-family houses, apartment blocks accommodate more inhabitants per unit of area of land they occupy and also decrease the cost of municipal infrastructure.

Apartment blocks around the world

United Kingdom
Tower blocks were first built in the UK after the Second World War, in many cases as a "quick-fix" to cure problems caused by crumbling and unsanitary 19th century dwellings or to replace buildings destroyed by German aerial bombing. Initially, they were welcomed, and their excellent views made them popular living places. Later, as the buildings themselves deteriorated, they grew a reputation for being undesirable low cost housing, and many tower blocks saw rising crime levels, increasing their unpopularity. One response to this was the great increase in the number of housing estates built, which in turn brings its own problems. In the UK, tower blocks particularly lost popularity after the partial collapse of Ronan Point in 1968. The city of Glasgow in Scotland contains the highest concentration of tower blocks in the UK - examples include the Hutchensontown C blocks in the Gorbals, the 20-storey blocks in Sighthill, and the 31-storey Red Road flats in the city's north east.
In recent years, some council or ex-council high-rises in the United Kingdom, including Trellick Tower, Keeling House and The Barbican Estate, have become popular with young professionals due to their excellent views, desirable locations and architectural pedigrees, and now command high prices. After a gap of around 30 years, new high-rise flats are once again being built in Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Cardiff, Liverpool, London, and Manchester however this time for wealthy professionals. Their developers market these properties by using the American term 'apartment buildings', perhaps in an effort to distance these newer buildings from the older tower blocks from the 1950s and '60s.

United States
In the United States tower blocks are commonly referred to as midrise or highrise apartment buildings, depending on their height, while buildings that house fewer flats (apartments), or are not as tall as the tower blocks, are called lowrise apartment buildings.
Some of the first residential towers were the Castle Village towers in New York City completed in 1939. Their cross-shaped design was copied in towers in Parkchester and Stuyvesant Town residential developments.
The government's experiments in the 1960s and 70s to use high-rise apartments as a means of providing the housing solution for the poor resulted in a spectacular failure. All but a few high-rise housing projects in the nation's largest cities, such as Cabrini-Green and Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago, Penn South in New York and the Desire projects in New Orleans, fell victim to the "ghettofication" and are now being torn down, renovated, or replaced.
In contrast to their public housing cousins, commercially developed high-rise apartment buildings continue to flourish in cities around the country largely due to high land prices and the housing boom of the 2000s. The Upper East Side in New York City and Chicago's Gold Coast, both featuring high-rise apartments, are the wealthiest urban neighborhoods in the United States.
Tower block
Tower Blocks are Called Flats in Ireland. Most of the flats in the country are in Dublin, in such areas such as Ballymun, Dublin's north inner-city and Inchicore. Gang and Drug abuse problems are very common in these areas and other areas such as Summerhill, Fairview, Tallaght. Over the last five years the largest cities such as Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway have witnessed apartment building. Some large Towns such as Navan, Drogheda and Mullingar have also witnessed lots of apartments being built.

Eastern Europe and Russia
See also: Panelák and Plattenbau

Soviet housing

Post Cold-War buildup
Russia is currently undergoing a dramatic buildout, growing a commercially-shaped skyline that wasn't possible under communism.

Middle East

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Simulated annealing (SA) is a generic probabilistic meta-algorithm for the global optimization problem, namely locating a good approximation to the global optimum of a given function in a large search space. It is often used when the search space is discrete (e.g., all tours that visit a given set of cities). In favorable cases, simulated annealing may be more effective than exhaustive enumeration of the search space.
The name and inspiration come from annealing in metallurgy, a technique involving heating and controlled cooling of a material to increase the size of its crystals and reduce their defects. The heat causes the atoms to become unstuck from their initial positions (a local minimum of the internal energy) and wander randomly through states of higher energy; the slow cooling gives them more chances of finding configurations with lower internal energy than the initial one.
By analogy with this physical process, each step of the SA algorithm replaces the current solution by a random "nearby" solution, chosen with a probability that depends on the difference between the corresponding function values and on a global parameter T (called the temperature), that is gradually decreased during the process. The dependency is such that the current solution changes almost randomly when T is large, but increasingly "downhill" as T goes to zero. The allowance for "uphill" moves saves the method from becoming stuck at local minima—which are the bane of greedier methods.
The method was independently described by S. Kirkpatrick, C. D. Gelatt and M. P. Vecchi in 1983, and by V. Černý in 1985. The method is an adaptation of the Metropolis-Hastings algorithm, a Monte Carlo method to generate sample states of a thermodynamic system, invented by N. Metropolis et al in 1953.

At each step, the SA heuristic considers some neighbour s' of the current state s, and probabilistically decides between moving the system to state s' or staying put in state s. The probabilities are chosen so that the system ultimately tends to move to states of lower energy. Typically this step is repeated until the system reaches a state that is good enough for the application, or until a given computation budget has been exhausted.

The basic iteration
The neighbours of each state (the candidate moves) are specified by the user, usually in an application-specific way. For example, in the traveling salesman problem, each state is typically defined as a particular tour (a permutation of the cities to be visited); and one could define the neighbours of a tour as those tours that can be obtained from it by exchanging any pair of consecutive cities.

The neighbours of a state
The probability of making the transition from the current state s to a candidate new state s' is specified by an acceptance probability function P(e,e',T), that depends on the energies e = E(s) and e' = E(s') of the two states, and on a global time-varying parameter T called the temperature.
One essential requirement for the probability function P is that it must be nonzero when e' > e, meaning that the system may move to the new state even when it is worse (has a higher energy) than the current one. It is this feature that prevents the method from becoming stuck in a local minimum—a state that is worse than the global minimum, yet better than any of its neighbors.
On the other hand, when T goes to zero, the probability P(e,e',T) must tend to zero if e' > e, and to a positive value if e' < e. That way, for sufficiently small values of T, the system will increasingly favor moves that go "downhill" (to lower energy values), and avoid those that go "uphill". In particular, when T becomes 0, the procedure will reduce to the greedy algorithm—which makes the move only if it goes downhill.
In the original description of SA, the probability P(e,e',T) was defined as 1 when e' < e — i.e., the procedure always moved downhill when it found a way to do so, irrespective of the temperature. Many descriptions and implementations of SA still take this condition as part of the method's definition. However, this condition is not essential for the method to work, and one may argue that it is both counterproductive and contrary to its spirit.
The P function is usually chosen so that the probability of accepting a move decreases when the difference e' − e increases—that is, small uphill moves are more likely than large ones. However, this requirement is not strictly necessary, provided that the above requirements are met.
Given these properties, the evolution of the state s depends crucially on the temperature T. Roughly speaking, the evolution of s is sensitive to coarser energy variations when T is large, and to finer variations when T is small.

Acceptance probabilities
Another essential feature of the SA method is that the temperature is gradually reduced as the simulation proceeds. Initially, T is set to a high value (or infinity), and it is decreased at each step according to some annealing schedule—which may be specified by the user, but must end with T = 0 towards the end of the allotted time budget. In this way, the system is expected to wander initially towards a broad region of the search space containing good solutions, ignoring small features of the energy function; then drift towards low-energy regions that become narrower and narrower; and finally move downhill according to the steepest descent heuristic.

The annealing schedule
It can be shown that, for any given finite problem, the probability that the simulated annealing algorithm terminates with the global optimal solution approaches 1 as the annealing schedule is extended. This theoretical result is, however, not particularly helpful, since the annealing time required to ensure a significant probability of success will usually exceed the time required for a complete search of the solution space.

Simulated annealing Convergence to the optimum
The following pseudo-code implements the simulated annealing heuristic, as described above, starting from state s0 and continuing to a maximum of kmax steps or until a state with energy emax or less is found. The call neighbour(s) should generate a randomly chosen neighbour of a given state s; the call random() should return a random value in the range [0,1). The annealing schedule is defined by the call temp(r), which should yield the temperature to use, given the fraction r of the time budget that has been expended so far.

As in any metaheuristic, one should keep track of the best solution seen so far, in a separate state variable. Namely:
Note that the step s := sn happens only on a small fraction of the moves. Therefore, this variation on the basic method is usually worth the cost, even if state-copying is an expensive operation.

Saving the best solution seen
In order to apply the SA method to a specific problem, one must specify the following parameters: the state space, the energy (goal) function E(), the candidate generator procedure neighbour(), the acceptance probability function P(), and the annealing schedule temp(). These choices can have a significant impact on the method's effectiveness. Unfortunately, there are no choices of these parameters that will be good for all problems, and there is no general way to find the best choices for a given problem. Indeed, it has been observed that applying the SA method is more an art than a science. The following sections give some general guidelines.

Selecting the parameters
Simulated annealing may be modeled as a random walk on a search graph, whose vertices are all possible states, and whose edges are the candidate moves. An essential requirement for the neighbour() function is that it must provide a sufficiently short path on this graph from the initial state to any state which may be the global optimum. (In other words, the diameter of the search graph must be small.) In the traveling salesman example above, for instance, the search space for n = 20 cities has n! = 2432902008176640000 (2.5 quintillion) states; yet the neighbor generator function that swaps two consecutive cities can get from any state (tour) to any other state in n(n − 1) / 2 = 190 steps.

Diameter of the search graph
For each edge (s,s') of the search graph, one defines a transition probability, which is the probability that the SA algorithm will move to state s' when its current state is s. This probability obviously depends on the current temperature, and is determined by the order in which the candidate moves are generated by the neighbour() function, and by the acceptance probability function P(). (Note that the transition probability is not simply P(e,e',T), because the candidates are tested serially).
The transition probabilities and the annealing schedule determine the likelihood that the SA iteration will reach the global optimum within the allotted time. Therefore, the parameters neighbour(), P(), and temp must be tuned together to maximize the chance of this event.

Acceptance probabilities
When choosing the candidate generator neighbour(), one must consider that after a few iterations of the SA algorithm, the current state is expected to have much lower energy than a random state. Therefore, as a general rule, one should skew the generator towards candidate moves where the energy of the destination state s' is likely to be similar to that of the current state. This heuristic (which is the main principle of the Metropolis-Hastings algorithm) tends to exclude "very good" candidate moves as well as "very bad" ones; however, the latter are much more common than the former, so the heuristic is generally quite effective.
In the traveling salesman problem above, for example, swapping two consecutive cities in a low-energy tour is expected to have a modest effect on its energy (length); whereas swapping two arbitrary cities is far more likely to increase its length than to decrease it. Thus, the consecutive-swap neighbor generator is expected to perform better than the arbitrary-swap one, even though the latter could provide a somewhat shorter path to the optimum (with n − 1 swaps, instead of n(n − 1) / 2).
A more precise statement of the heuristic is that one should try first candidate states s' for which P(E(s),E(s'),T) is large. For the "standard" acceptance function P above, it means that E(s') − E(s) is on the order of T or less. Thus, in the traveling salesman example above, one could use a neighbour() function that swaps two random cities, where the probability of choosing a city pair vanishes as their distance increases beyond T.

Efficient candidate generation
When choosing the candidate generator neighbour() one must also try to reduce the number of "deep" local minima — states (or sets of connected states) that have much lower energy than all its neighboring states. Such "closed catchment basins" of the energy function may trap the SA algorithm with high probability (roughly proportional to the number of states in the basin) and for a very long time (roughly exponential on the energy difference between the surrounding state and the bottom of the basin).
As a rule, it is impossible to design a candidate generator that will satisfy this goal and also prioritize candidates with similar energy. On the other hand, one can often vastly improve the efficiency of SA by relatively simple changes to the generator. In the traveling salesman problem, for instance, it is not hard to exhibit two tours A, B, with nearly equal lengths, such that (0) A is optimal, (1) every sequence of city-pair swaps that converts A to B goes through tours that are much longer than both, and (2) A can be transformed into B by flipping (reversing the order of) a set of consecutive cities. In this example, A and B lie in different "deep basins" if the generator performs only random pair-swaps; but they will be in the same basin if the generator performs random segment-flips.

Barrier avoidance
The physical analogy that is used to justify SA assumes that the cooling rate is low enough for the probability distribution of the current state to be near thermodynamic equilibrium at all times. Unfortunately, the relaxation time—the time one must wait for the equilibrium to be restored after a change in temperature—strongly depends on the "topography" of the energy function and on the current temperature. In the SA algorithm, the relaxation time also depends on the candidate generator, in a very complicated way. Note that all these parameters are usually provided as black box functions to the SA algorithm.
Therefore, in practice the ideal cooling rate cannot be determined beforehand, and should be empirically adjusted for each problem. The variant of SA known as thermodynamic simulated annealing tries to avoid this problem by dispensing with the cooling schedule, and instead automatically adjusting the temperature at each step based on the energy difference between the two states, according to the laws of thermodynamics.

Cooling schedule
Sometimes it is better to move back to a solution that was significantly better rather than always moving from the current state. This is called restarting. To do this we set s and e to sb and eb and perhaps restart the annealing schedule. The decision to restart could be based on a fixed number of steps, or based on the current energy being too high from the best energy so far.

Related methods

Adaptive simulated annealing
Markov chain
Combinatorial optimization
Automatic label placement
Multidisciplinary optimization
Place and route
Traveling salesman problem
Reactive search
Graph cuts in computer vision

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Albert Ayler (July 13, 1936November 1970) was an American jazz saxophonist, singer and composer.

Born in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Ayler was first taught alto saxophone by his father Edward with whom he played duets in church. He later studied at the Academy of Music in Cleveland with jazz saxophonist Benny Miller. As a teen Ayler played with such skill that he was known around Cleveland as "Little Bird," Although it is reasonable to assume the Aylers had explored or were exploring psychedelic drugs like LSD, there is no evidence this significantly influenced their mental stability.
For the next two and half years Ayler turned to recording music not too far removed from rock and roll, often with utopian, hippie lyrics provided by his live-in girlfriend Mary Maria Parks. Ayler drew on his very early career, incorporating doses of R&B, with funky, electric rhythm sections and extra horns (including Scottish highland bagpipe) on some songs. The first album in this vein, New Grass, is reviled by his fans and generally considered to be the worst of his work. Following its commercial failure, Ayler unsuccessfully attempted to bridge his earlier "space bebop" recordings and the sound of New Grass with Music Is The Healing Force Of The Universe. In July of 1970 Ayler returned to the free jazz idiom for a group of shows in France but the band he was able to assemble was amateurish and not nearly of the caliber of his earlier groups.

Albert Ayler Biography
Ayler disappeared on November 5, 1970, and he was found dead in New York City's East River on November 25, a presumed suicide. For some time afterwards, rumors circulated that Ayler had been murdered, possibly due to his involvement in the black power movement. Later, however, Parks would say that Albert had been depressed and feeling guilty, blaming himself for his brother's problems. She stated that, just before his death, he had several times threatened to kill himself, smashed one of his saxophones over their television set after she tried to dissuade him, then took the Statue of Liberty ferry and jumped off as it neared Liberty Island. He is buried in Cleveland, Ohio.

Ayler in film
Year of recording, original album title, original record label and country of origin.(p) indicates posthumous release.

1962: Something Different!!!!! (aka The First Recordings Vol. 1) (Bird Notes) (Sweden)
1962: The First Recordings, Vol. 2 (Bird Notes) (Sweden)
1963: My name is Albert Ayler (Debut) (Denmark)
1964: Spirits (aka Witches & Devils) (Debut) (Denmark)
1964: Swing low sweet spiritual (Osmosis) (Holland) (p) (CD release: Goin' Home (Black Lion))
1964: Prophecy [live] (ESP/Base) (Italy) (p)
1964: Albert Smiles With Sunny [live] (In Respect] (Germany) (p) (CD 1: Prophecy, CD 2: extra material from same concert, subsequently included on Holy Ghost)
1964: Spiritual Unity (ESP Disk) (US)
1964: New York Eye And Ear Control (ESP) (US)
1964: Albert Ayler [live] (Philology) (Italy) (p) (CD release: Live In Europe 1964-1966 (Landscape) (France). 1964 tracks included on The Copenhagen Tapes, 1966 tracks included on Holy Ghost)
1964: The Copenhagen tapes [live] (Ayler Records) (Sweden) (p)
1964: Ghosts (aka Vibrations) (Debut) (Denmark)
1964: The Hilversum session (Osmosis) (Holland) (p)
1965: Bells [live] (ESP) (US)
1965: Spirits rejoice (ESP) (US)
1965: Sonny's Time Now (Jihad) (US)
1966: At Slug's saloon, vol. 1 & 2 [live] (ESP/Base) (Italy) (p)
1966: Lörrach / Paris 1966 [live] (hat HUT) (Switzerland) (p)
1966: In Greenwich Village [live] (Impulse! Records) (US)
1966: The Village Concerts [live] (Impulse! Records) (US) (p) (CD release of In Greenwich Village and The Village Concerts as Live In Greenwich Village: The Complete Impulse Recordings (Impulse! Records))
1967: Love cry (Impulse! Records) (US)
1968: New grass (Impulse! Records) (US)
1969: Music is the healing force of the universe (Impulse! Records) (US)
1969: The last album (Impulse! Records) (US) (p)
1970: Nuits de la Fondation Maeght Vol. 1 & 2 [live] (Shandar) (France) (p)
1970: Albert Ayler Quintet 1970 [live] (Blu Jazz) (Italy) (p) (re-released as Live On The Riviera (ESP) (US))
1960-1970: Holy Ghost (Revenant) (US) (p) (10 disc box set featuring Ayler's first and last recordings, plus other previously unreleased material.)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Choice of law
Choice of law is a procedural stage in the litigation of a case involving the conflict of laws when it is necessary to reconcile the differences between the laws of different legal jurisdictions, such as states, federated states (as in the US), or provinces. The outcome of this process is potentially to require the courts of one jurisdiction to apply the law of a different jurisdiction in lawsuits arising from, say, family law, tort or contract. The law which is applied is sometimes referred to as the "proper law".

The sequence of events in conflict cases
The "traditional approach" looks to territorial factors, e.g. the domicile or nationality of the parties, where the components comprising each cause of action occurred, where any relevant assets, whether movable or immovable, are located, etc., and chooses the law or laws that have the greatest connection to the cause(s) of action. Even though this is a very flexible system, there has been some reluctance to apply it and various "escape devices" have developed, which allow courts to apply their local laws (the lex fori) even though the disputed events took place in a different jurisdiction. The parties themselves may plead the case either to avoid invoking a foreign law or agree to the choice of law, assuming that the judge will not of his or her own motion go behind the pleadings. Their motive will be pragmatic. Full-scale conflict cases take longer and cost more to litigate. However, the courts in some states are predisposed to prefer the lex fori wherever possible. This may reflect the belief that the interests of justice will be better served if the judges apply the law with which they are most familiar, or it may reflect a more general parochialism in systems not used to considering extraterritorial principles of law. One of the most common judicial strategies is to skew the characterization process. By determining that a claim is one involving a contract instead of tort, or a question of family law instead of a testamentary issue, the Court can change the choice of law rules. For example, if an employee is hired by an employer in State A, is injured due to the employer's negligence in State B, and files a lawsuit to recover for the injury in State A, the court in State A might look to the employment contract to see if it contained a clause that governed the employer's duty of care with respect to the employee. If so, the court may be able characterize the claim as a breach of the contract, instead of a tort, and apply the law of the State A either because it was the place where the contract was made (the lex loci contractus) or, if it were the place where the wage or salary was to be paid, where the contract was intended to be performed (the lex loci solutionis).
In this context, it is noted that, since the 1960s, the courts in the United States began developing a number of new approaches, as well as new escape devices. This reflects the number of different laws that might be relevant in any given case before an American court. There is significant interstate trade and social mobility, and with the laws of each state of the Union representing a possible opportunity for conflict, it was necessary to produce a coherent system that could be applied in the courts of all fifty states.

The choice of law stage
To limit the damage that would result from forum shopping, it is desirable that the same law is applied to achieve the same result no matter where the case is litigated. The system of renvoi, which literally means "send back", is an attempt to achieve that end.

The traditional approach is based on the idea that the territorial sovereignty of states must be respected. For example, when an event happens in a state that gives rise to a lawsuit - if two parties are involved in an automobile accident, for example - that state in which the accident occurred provides the parties with certain "vested rights". These rights include such things as the ability of a plaintiff to file a lawsuit, the imposition of a statute of limitations to prevent a defendant from being subjected to a lawsuit after too much time has passed, limitations on recovery, and specified burdens of evidence. These so-called vested rights compete with the policy claims of other states for their laws to be applied. What follows is a generalised summary of the rules. The approach in the U.S. is rather different (see Conflict of laws in the U.S.).

Traditional approach
Status is relevant for a wide array of issues. Self-evidently, unless the proposed litigant has legal personality, there will be no jurisdiction. It will also be relevant to immigration, entitlement to social security and similar benefits, family law, contract, etc. The choice of law rule is the law of the domicile (lex domicilii) if the forum is common law, or law of nationality (lex patriae) or habitual residence if the forum is civil law applies to determine all question of status and its legal attributes. The lex fori determines the domicile, nationality or habitual residence, and applies that law to establish an in rem set of rights and capacities. Thus, under some laws, the status of illegitimate affects the rights of inheritance in the case of an intestacy, etc. As to corporations, the choice of law rule is the law of incorporation (the lex incorporationis) for all matters of capacity, validity, shareholders' rights, etc.

For a full explanation, see: contract (conflict)
The choice of law rules for contracts are more complicated than the law affecting other obligations because they depend on the express or implied intentions of the parties and their personal circumstances. For example, questions as to whether a contract is valid may depend on the capacity of the parties to enter into a contract. This could be decided by reference to the lex domicilii, lex patriae or habitual residence of the parties, or for policy reasons, by reference to the lex loci contractus. But, if the contract was made electronically, where the contract was actually made must first be decided either by the lex fori or the putative proper law depending on the forum rules. There may also be problems if the parties selected the place where the contract was made in the hope of evading the operation of some mandatory provisions in another relevant law.
On the other hand, deciding matters relating to performance will usually depend on the lex loci solutionis. Another unique characteristic of contracts is that the parties can decide which law should apply for most purposes, and memorialize that decision into the contract itself (see forum selection clause and choice of law clause) — although not every jurisdiction will enforce such provisions. For the harmonising provisions on contractual obligations in EU law, see the Rome Convention (contract).

Family Law
For jja full explanation, see: property (conflict)
The rule for immovable property (called real property in common law states) is that the lex situs applies to all questions of title. Movable property (called personalty in common law states) claims are governed by the law of the state in which the property is located at the time the rights are supposedly created. An important distinction, however, must be made for a contract which has some incidental effect on property, both immovable and movable, such as a loan with property pledged as a collateral. If the property is incidental to the contract, then the contract is evaluated under traditional choice of law principles for a contract. If, however, the primary purpose of the contract is to transfer the property, then the entire contract will be evaluated under the law of the state where the property is located.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Executive One
Executive One is the call sign designated

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Panorama (disambiguation)
Panorama most commonly refers to the panorama format.
Panorama may also refer to:
Panorama may also refer to the placename:
Panorama (TV series), a long-running current affairs documentary series on BBC television
Panorama (Cars album), an album by The Cars.
Panorama (Braintax album), an album by Braintax.
Panorama (Canadian TV series), a Canadian public affairs newsmagazine, airing nightly on TFO
Panorama (Steel drum competition), an annual competition held in Trinidad
Panorama Ski Resort, the short name for the Panorama Mountain Village ski resort near Invermere, British Columbia.
Panorama, an anthology of English poems by Oxford University Press for CISCE
Panorama (Italian magazine), an Italian magazine
Panorama (database engine), database engine
Panorama (GIS), a Russian GIS system.
Simcoe Panorama, an event that occurs in Simcoe, Ontario, Canada
Fiat Panorama, a compact station wagon (built in the 1980s)
Freedom of panorama, allows for taking pictures in public places
Panorama Records, a record label
Panorama Tools, open source panorama creation and viewing software
Panorama Stitchers, Viewers and Utilities, panorama software resources
Panorama Software (BI), a Canadian Business Intelligence software company.
Panorama (Layout Engine), a worldwide text composition engine.
Panorama (German wartime newsreel), a German quarterly color newsreel produced from 1944 until the end of World War 2.
Panorama, Brazil
Panorama, Thessaloniki, in Greece
Panorama City, Los Angeles, California
Panorama Park, Iowa
Panorama Village, Texas
Panorama Lounge, in Toronto, Canada
Panorama Hills, Calgary, a neighbourhood in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Monday, March 17, 2008

Middelburg, Netherlands
This is about the city in the Netherlands. For other uses, see Middelburg (disambiguation).
Middelburg (pronunciation ) is a municipality and a city in the south-western Netherlands and the capital of Zeeland province situated on the peninsula of Walcheren.

History of Middelburg
In 2004 the prestigious Roosevelt Academy opened its doors in Middelburg. This international oriented liberal arts and sciences college is an honors college of Utrecht University and is the only university in the province of Zeeland.

Middelburg has a railway station with IC connections to Vlissingen, Goes, Roosendaal, Rotterdam, The Hague, Leiden, Schiphol International Airport and Amsterdam, among others.


Flag of Belgium Vilvoorde, Belgium
Flag of Japan Nagasaki, Japan
Flag of Poland Glogow, Poland
Flag of Romania Simeria, Romania
Flag of Romania Teius, Romania

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Spring Valley, Washington, D.C.
Spring Valley is an affluent neighborhood in northwest Washington, D.C., known for its large homes and tree-lined streets.
The neighborhood houses the main campus of American University at 4400 Massachusetts Avenue. Nebraska Avenue and Loughboro Road are to its south, Dalecarlia Parkway is to its west, and Massachusetts Avenue is to its northeast. Paradoxically, the neighborhood to the northeast is called American University Park, even though the bulk of the main campus is located in Spring Valley.
During World War I, Spring Valley was home to a military defense installation in which chemical munitions were manufactured and tested. Although the area had become a residential neighborhood by the Second World War, its legacy as a weapons facility returned in 1993, when weapons were found buried in the neighborhood (see below).
Spring Valley's residents include notable media personalities (e.g., Ann Compton, Jim Vance), lawyers (e.g., Brendan Sullivan), politicians, corporate officers, and elite Washington society (e.g. Washington Nationals principle owners Ed and Debra Cohen). Richard M. Nixon lived in Spring Valley before becoming President; his immediate predecessor, Lyndon Baines Johnson, after becoming Vice President under John F. Kennedy, purchased a three-story mansion named Les Ormes (The Elms) in Spring Valley that had previously been the home of socialite and ambassador Perle Mesta[1]. George H.W. Bush also lived in the neighborhood prior to his White House years.
Several embassy residences are located in the neighborhood, such as the ambassador's houses of South Korea, Bahrain, Qatar, and Yemen. The median home sale price in 2007 was US$1.725 million.[2]

Saturday, March 15, 2008

London Waterloo is a major railway station and transport interchange complex in London, England. It is located in the London Borough of Lambeth, near to the South Bank. The complex comprises four linked railway stations and a bus station. The whole complex is within Travelcard Zone 1. The adjoining Waterloo International station is the current London terminus of Eurostar Channel Tunnel passenger trains. Waterloo East and Waterloo Tube Station also adjoin.
According to the station usage figures for 2004-2005 and 2005-2006, London Waterloo is the busiest station in the UK (in terms of passenger numbers). This is thought to be due to the Eurostar connections and is likely to drop in 2007 when High Speed 1 is fully open.

Waterloo station Waterloo mainline station
Waterloo International station adjoins Waterloo mainline station and has its own two-level concourse and train shed. It is the current London terminus for Eurostar trains to Belgium and France. The station is managed by Eurostar.
It was built in the early 1990s at a cost of £130 million

Waterloo International

Main article: Waterloo East railway stationWaterloo station Waterloo Pier

Waterloo station and the Waterloo Underground station are the setting for the Kinks song "Waterloo Sunset", written by Ray Davies and recorded in 1967. Its lyrics describe two people meeting at Waterloo Station and crossing over the river (via Waterloo Bridge, as Davies has confirmed). The song has been recorded by Cathy Dennis and Def Leppard, whilst other acts (like David Bowie and Elliott Smith) have covered the song in live performances.
The station is also the subject of John Schlesinger's documentary film Terminus.
The Bourne Ultimatum, staring Matt Damon, was filmed at Waterloo Station during mid-April 2007
The lyrics in the 1979 song "Rendezvous 6:02" by British progressive band U.K. describe a meeting at Waterloo Station.
The lyrics to "Torn On The Platform" by Jack Penate refer to the station ("train leaves at two, platform 3, Waterloo").