Wikipedia:Main Page history/2012 April 1

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Pigeon with German miniature camera, probably taken during the First World War

Pigeon photography was an aerial photography technique invented in 1907 by Julius Neubronner, court apothecary of Empress Frederick, who also used pigeons for film special effects and to deliver medications. A homing pigeon was fitted with an aluminum breast harness to which a lightweight time-delayed miniature camera could be attached. The technique was publicized at the 1909 Dresden International Photographic Exhibition. It was successfully demonstrated at the first German Aviation Show and at the 1910 and 1911 Paris Air Shows. The lack of military or commercial interest in the technology after the First World War led Neubronner to abandon his experiments, but his idea was briefly resurrected in the 1930s by a Swiss clockmaker, and reportedly also by the German and French militaries. There was interest in the concept even during the Cold War, by the American Central Intelligence Agency. The construction of sufficiently small and light cameras with a timer mechanism, and the training and handling of the birds to carry the necessary loads, presented major challenges, as did the limited control over the pigeons' position, orientation and speed when the photographs were being taken. Today some researchers, enthusiasts, and artists similarly employ small digital photo or video cameras with various species of wild or domestic animals. (more...)

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  • In the news

    Macky Sall

  • In the Gambian parliamentary election, the incumbent APRC party wins an absolute majority of seats in the National Assembly.
  • The fourth BRICS summit is held in New Delhi.
  • The Deepsea Challenger completes the first solo voyage to reach the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, the deepest point on Earth.
  • Macky Sall (pictured) is elected President of Senegal.
  • The African Union suspends Mali after President Amadou Toumani Touré is ousted in a coup d'état.
  • The Mahon Tribunal into political corruption in Ireland concludes with findings against high-profile politicians, including two former Taoisigh.
  • On this day...

    April 1: Palm Sunday (Christianity, 2012); Rama Navami (Hinduism, 2012); April Fools' Day; Assyrian New Year; National Day in Iran (1979); Edible Book Day

    The Curragh plain, County Kildare, Ireland

  • 1234 – An Englishman lost the Battle of the Curragh in Ireland (location pictured), at the same place where an Australian would win the 1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge in Scotland many years later.
  • 1293Robert Winchelsey left England for Rome to be consecrated by the Pope, only to find that there wasn't one.
  • 1918 – The British Armed Forces started to grant personnel the power to fly.
  • 1970 – The first of over 670,000 gremlins were released into North America to crush imported machines.
  • 1997Marriage in the Netherlands became more samey.
  • 2006 – As mandated by a 2005 Act of the British Parliament, several British policing agencies joined together to become very serious and organised.
  • More anniversaries: March 31 April 1 April 2

    It is now April 1, 2012 (UTC) – Refresh this page

    Today's featured picture

    Vegetable Lamb of Tartary

    A drawing of the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary (Agnus scythicus), a zoophyte of Central Asia. Botanist Henry Lee described it as both a true animal and a living plant, although he did allow for the possibility that the lamb was the fruit of the plant. The lamb was believed to have blood, bones, and flesh like that of a normal lamb. It was connected to the earth by a stem similar to an umbilical cord that propped the lamb up above ground. The cord could flex downward allowing the lamb to feed on the grass and plants surrounding it. Once the plants within reach were eaten, the lamb died, at which point its cotton-like wool would be harvested and used to make textiles.

    Artist: Unknown, after Johann Zahn

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